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Page layout and design evaluation!!

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  • 1. Page Layout and Design – Evaluation Overall, after looking back at my three final designs, there are certain elements in which I could alter in the future, which have been pinpointed by one of my peers, as well as what I have discovered myself. I think that I managed my time rather well within this specific project, due to the fact that I completed my assigned work in time, with no means of overlapping, which reflected that of my previous, ‘Design for Advertising’ project, where some of the work in which I completed, was not finished in time, therefore, I had to edit some of the written content at home so that I could stay on track and not create a contingency plan, where I would have to allow myself extra time in order to complete my work. Every week I completed each task for this unit, as I learnt from my previous task (design for advertising) that I had to stay on track, otherwise, I would not be able to keep up with the amount of foreseeable tasks. I feel as though I have reviewed my work well as I have gone through my tasks, as I discussed each development stage for the three individual layouts (tabloid, fanzine and broadsheet) in full, where in have entailed upon the different designs in which I have created and where they could be improved in the future. I found that by looking back over the stages in which I had completed, it enabled me to really visualise how the final outcome would appear like, as in certain parts, there were areas that could be improved on my work and by reviewing it step by step, it made the process much easier and I was able to initiate three final products in which I was content with. I could have completed this type of ‘review’ in Unit 31 (Social Action and Community Media Production), as I feel as though I did not discuss the different aspects of my final designs in enough detail at each development stage. I think that if I completed this specific step, I would have been happy with that particular project overall. In this project, I have carried out similar processes in which I have used in the past for previous projects, such as for ‘Recipe Cards’, where Photoshop was used as a way of creating the whole final project designs. However, in this specific project, I utilised Adobe InDesign as a way of creating the layouts of my tabloid, broadsheet and fanzine article. I did use Photoshop to create certain elements for my tabloid article, such as the red autoshape box that would match the colour tone of the ‘red top’ Daily Star masthead in which I inputted into InDesign. I needed to use Photoshop to create certain elements in which I could feature into my layout, as I would have been unable to initiate in InDesign, due to the lack of necessary tools in that specific programme. Overall, I think that I have done rather well from a technical standpoint because of the quality in which my tabloid publication was produced, which I believe to be my most ‘professional’ looking piece out of all three of my layouts. I attempted to imitate the traditional layout of ‘The Daily Star’ into my tabloid piece, as I wanted it to appear as realistic looking as possible. I used good quality images in my tabloid as I thought that it would appear more eye-catching in general if I featured this specific element into my work. I inputted the images from the internet into my work, as opposed to taking my own, as I thought that it would not apply to the ‘hip-hop’ theme if I attempted to create them, so I decided to collect several images of rap and hip-hop stars including Eminem and Kanye West and I put them into my final layouts in order for all three of my layouts to appear as though they could be featured within an actual publication. I think that my three final designs (tabloid, broadsheet and fanzine) look rather professional in the sense that with my broadsheet and tabloid publications, I followed the page measurement
  • 2. guidelines correctly and I included the typical conventions that are found within these publications, such as the masthead, main headline, structured columns as well as a main, focal image. After reflecting on previous projects, I have realised that I had not paid enough attention to the ‘professional’ aspect; I just created my work depending on how I felt that it should look like at the time. As an example, I used my own interpretation into the work in the ‘Graphic Narrative’ unit, so to speak, where I sketched my ideas down, without considering the aesthetic aspect of the final outcome of my project. I would say that the ‘Graphic Narrative’ unit relied a lot on a sense of professionalism into the visual aspect of the work, much like this project; however, I think that I took my own views from my ‘Graphic Narrative’ project and reflected them into this one. I found that by undertaking this, my current work benefited in the long run, as I focused more on the visual aspect in a serious manner within this project. Furthermore, my creative abilities varied within this project, as I was allowed to experiment with different layouts within my work. I found this to be very interesting, as I was able to feature a range of elements within my layouts that would add significantly to the overall final outcome of each of my layouts. I feel as though my creative abilities have grown significantly throughout this project, as I have created three diverse products (tabloid, broadsheet and fanzine) that feature a sense of creativeness within them. I would say that this specific project reminds me of the ‘Experimental Photography’ unit, in the sense that it is very creative and you are enabled to initially ‘experiment’ with different Photoshop techniques before creating your final products. I would say that my fanzine article was the most creative out of all three of my layouts because of the fact that it included a haphazard layout and I could manoeuvre my different elements in whatever fashion I wanted. I placed a mix of autoshapes with images, as well as typography in which I inputted from Dafont. It is notable that each piece of text within the layout is different, which makes it unique and suitable for use in a fanzine article because of the informal style that is typically presented by one. I also displayed the font in a range of font sizes, as it added a ‘quirky’ edge to the layout, which was my main aim for the fanzine layout. I think that I managed to be very creative throughout the project, not just in a visual manner, with the use of colour within my final layouts, but also in a written manner, as for my tabloid publication, I had to initiate pun-based headlines into my work, which had to be humorous and creative. I ended up with ‘All That Mathers’ and ‘Time Tupac the Violence’ in my tabloid publication, as they are effective and link to the theme of hip-hop (which was the main theme behind my work). I tried to invent something that would initially catch the attention of the audience, which is why I featured puns, as this type of linguistic device is used traditionally within a tabloid; therefore, I wanted my own product to look as though it could be an actual copy of the tabloid in which it was based on, ‘The Daily Star’. The three final products in which I created featured an audience behind them; and the elements, which I included within these products, determined which particular category these layouts would fit into. My tabloid publication was based upon that of ‘The Daily Star’, a red- top publication that features elements including pun-based headlines, the blatant use of the colour red, as well as a high image:text ratio. I included these elements within my work so that my tabloid would appear as though it could be ‘real’, so to speak. The typical primary target audience for ‘The Daily Star’ would be individuals who fall into the economic category of E (non working) and C2 (Skilled working class), who are usually male. I tried to make my tabloid article pander to this particular audience with the use of humorous language, as well
  • 3. as colloquial slurs that are highly informal. The secondary audience would be associated with a female audience, who also fall under the same socio-economic category as the male audience. The secondary audience would stereotypically focus on the celebrity stories, which are produced, as opposed to the sport section. I think that the content of my tabloid product would appeal to both audiences due to the fact that the theme of ‘hip-hop’ is not gender specified. Furthermore, my broadsheet article matches the general style of existing broadsheet newspapers, where it is not specified, so to speak. A typical broadsheet publication, such as ‘The Observer’ panders to an upper middle class audience, most probably falling under the grade A section in the NRS social grade list. This type of publication does not feature informal language, like a tabloid would. It features more text than imagery, as it is targeted towards a more sophisticated audience. On my broadsheet product, I managed to include a range of elements such as several text boxes, in contrast with my tabloid piece, which featured a minimal amount of text. Also, I have inputted a stylistic masthead, which is similar to that of existing broadsheet publications, in the sense that they look rather professional, almost calligraphic in a way. The typography within my work was inspired by ‘The Times’, which includes a san-serif font style, which I have mimicked into my own work in order to add a sense of realism into my final product. Moreover, my fanzine article pandered to no specific age audience, just those who enjoy hip- hop music, as with any fanzine, it is hard to determine the age range for it unless it is associated with a genre or subject that applies to one specific age group. However, I would say that my fanzine might apply to a younger audience in a way, as it features a high emphasis on images, as opposed to text. It includes ‘abstract’ fonts that were collected from Dafont, in contrast with my broadsheet article, which featured standard san-serif fonts. I feel as though fanzine articles are more informal in a sense, as they do not harbour a set structure; it is free and open to interpretation, whilst tabloid and broadsheet newspapers have to stick to a set if rules that are outlined by the companies which produce them. This particular section on ‘target audiences’ compares to that of the ‘Marketing and PR’ unit, as we had to outline who was the main consumer for the ‘Compare the Meerkat’ advertisement and how it reached out to its audience. It appealed to children, due to the feature of the ‘’free teddy bear’ in the advertisement, which was available if the main consumer (the adult) purchased car insurance with the. It was a clever marketing technique that helped to define both their primary and secondary target audience. The primary sector being the adult, but then children were drawn into it as the secondary audience, as they would want the plush toy that was featured within the advertisement itself. It matches that of my three products in this project in the sense that they have been set out to pander to a specific audience. It is notable that the conventions displayed in my three final products are put into the layout purposely, as they all specifically appeal to their set audiences. The content from my copy that I used in my final three products (tabloid, broadsheet and fanzine) differed in the sense that for my tabloid publication, I utilised colloquial language as a way of presenting my text, as traditionally with this particular type of publication, informal language is used as a way of attracting in the attention of the audience. I would say that my text suited the layout perfectly in the sense that it featured puns, which are commonly found in tabloids and are a good way of attracting in the attention from the primary consumer. The images in which I have used for my tabloid publication are rather large in size due to the fact that tabloid newspapers feature a high image:text ratio, as they focus mainly on a visual
  • 4. aspect. This contrasts with that of my broadsheet piece, however, broadsheet publications are known to be formal in structure, focusing on the written aspect, as opposed to a range of ‘candid’ images that are apparent in a tabloid. I would say that the overall style of my tabloid product is rather structured, due to the fact that it features set column text boxes, as well as a set dimension guideline, much like that of a broadsheet article. However, my fanzine inhabits a haphazard structure, due to its informal nature, which means that is free- restricting. I have used stock images from the internet for all three of my products, as if I used my own images; they would not appear professional looking enough and would not link in with the theme of hip-hop. I inputted photographs of Eminem, Kanye West and Tupac Shakur into my work as they are associated with the copy (news stories) in which I placed into my work. Also, by completing this step, my work would appear more genuine and realistic in comparison with that of existing publications on a tabloid, broadsheet and fanzine basis. I would say that the overall style of my fanzine article is rather ‘abstract’ because it includes a range of different text sizes in conjunction with coloured autoshapes and stock images, which makes it rather unique in a sense and much different to that of my broadsheet article, which (much like the tabloid) features a formalised structure because of the primary target audience in which it is aimed at. I wanted my products to match that of actual tabloid and broadsheet publications, such as ‘The Daily Star’ and ‘The Observer’, which are the UK- based newspapers that both my tabloid and broadsheet articles are based on. It is notable that they are professional piece; however, I have tried to mimic their style. However, with my fanzine article, the layout differs, as you cannot really base it on anything, as the final outlook of the design depends solely on the vision of the author of the product. I would say that the skills that I have used within this particular project have progressed significantly, as before embarking upon this, I did not have a great knowledge of Adobe InDesign, and by carrying it out on all three of my final products, I have found that I am now able to use this programme in order to produce a certain layout. I would say that my skills in general have also improved, as I have never created any type of newspaper layout before, so I initiated flat plans prior to this. Therefore, my designing skills heightened and it allowed me to be creative as possible. Another skill that I have attained from not only this project, but from the start of the course in ‘Digital Graphics’, was the use of Adobe Photoshop, which I had not utilised before starting the course, therefore, it was completely new to me. I would say that I am a lot more confident in using this programme, and in this project, I required it as a way of creating certain elements for my tabloid product, such as the red-top masthead, edited images, as well as coloured autoshapes. I think that this is one of the most important skills in which I have learnt from the course, as it is a useful way of enabling your creativeness to grow, in a way. I think that I have managed to achieve what I set out to do, as I planned to create three products (tabloid, broadsheet and fanzine publications) that would initially match that of professional standards and look appealing visually. I received peer feedback on my broadsheet article, where I was complemented on the proportions of my article, with the key elements (such as the masthead) being the correct size on my page. Also, my work has been viewed as being ‘realistic’ looking because of the feature of a barcode, issue number and price. However, there are certain areas which could be improved, such as the headline, which could have been made slightly bigger, as pointed out in my peer assessment. Also, the general body of text could have been featured in a bigger font size, so that it would stand out more to the viewer. On my tabloid news article, I was praised for the high quality, cut-out
  • 5. image which I used on my layout, which helped to break up the text aspect on the page. Also, the use of a chunky bold font, as well as the feature of a pun was effective, as it stated a sense of realism within the product and also helped grab the attention of the audience. Although, to improve, I would have to go into more detail on the second news story in the article, as it was rather bare. Also, the colour of the outline of the text could be altered in the future, where I would look for an alternative font colour to replace it. Lastly, my fanzine product was complemented for the use of text that spread all across the page and was featured in different typefaces, which initially made it more interesting for the audience to view. Another appraisal was that of the colourful background, which was effective in the sense that it eliminated any means of unnecessary ‘white space’ on the layout, alongside the ‘mix and match’ feel to the product, which gave it that urban edge in which I was trying to convey throughout my fanzine article itself. In terms of improvement, my peer feedback said that the image of Eminem was a little stretched, therefore, it should be altered in the future, or it could be cropped as an image itself. I agree with all of the feedback in which I have received from my peer, as it shows both the positive and negative aspects of my three final products; displaying where I should add some improvements into my work, such as with the stretched image of Eminem on my tabloid, which I believe could be altered if I ever decided to edit it in the future. However, I am content with the appraisal of the ‘realistic’ aspects that were complemented in all three of my products, with the proportions of my broadsheet publication being correct to the original size of an actual publication. I also found the feedback to be interesting, as it made me review my own work back and see what improvements I could make on it, whilst also looking back at what elements I was pleased with overall. In order to solve the problems that have been posed by my work, I would look at professional, commercialised products that match my three products, such as ‘The Daily Star’ (tabloid publication), ‘The Observer’ (broadsheet), as well as an existing hip-hop fanzine such as ‘The Beat’, in order to gain a further understanding of how these types of magazines appeal to their target audience. I think that all three of my final products do contain the specific elements that are required, however, in the future; I will look into the different aspects more and study the typical layouts in which a tabloid and broadsheet inhabit, and where the conventions are placed upon in them. I think that all of my products appear similar to their industry-standard counterparts; however, as pointed out in my peer feedback, there are certain elements that could be looked over in the future.

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