CalArts: Funds. of Graphic Design-W4: 4.9 Composition in Context

So far we’ve looked at composition in a fairly abstract way. We’ve really isolated it and looked at it in exercises, whether that’s with objects or lettering or abstract shapes. We’ve done this in order to learn about composition.

And now we’re gonna try and put what we’ve learned back into the context of a real piece of graphic design.

So we’re really going to try and put it all together using elements that we’ve worked on, and knowledge that we’ve gained during the last few classes.

So I’m going to take some of the images from the first image making classes that we did, and I’m going to take some.

I’m gonna for range of images here. I may or may not use all of these, but I’m just gonna pick six.

So I’m gonna pick some that are purely just line work. Some with volume vector based, photographic, or textural print making techniques, black and white, some with backgrounds, some that are cut out shapes that I can easily float.

I’m not, I really don’t have an idea of what I’m gonna do with these yet. 
I’m just making a selection of images that I think are interesting.

And I’m gonna be using these to make a poster for an imaginary band. The band, I’m gonna make up a name for the band as well.

So, I’m gonna use my object from the first week, and so the apple. And I’m gonna add an adjective to that.

So my band is gonna be called the Rotten Apples.

And I’m just gonna make up a name for the title of their album that we’re gonna be promoting. My album’s going to be called, Bite Me!

And I’m also going to use some of the shapes that I had made and had used in my composition exercises earlier as well.

So now I’ve got all the pieces to begin thinking about making a real piece of graphic design.

I’ve got images to use for image making. Shapes to use as part of my composition, ancillary elements, and also vehicles for working with color and tonality. 
And I’ve got some texts, so I can be able to play with my typography.

And I’m gonna put all of these things together in the context of an 11 x 17 poster, that’s gonna be promoting the band’s album.

So it’s gonna be a poster for Bite Me! By The Rotten Apples.

So I’ve very quickly made a series of compositions, all 11 by 17 posters.

So we can look at some of the issues of composition we’ve looked at. And also look at composition’s relationship to aesthetic’s and style.

So this might be the first poster that I might make, very easy, fast, simple. And I’m really working very quickly. Not over thinking these things.

So a very simple type face, no background color, not a lot of scale change in the type. A nice, kind of, bright, vibrant, contrasting image, and a very centered composition. 
So quite, quite simple poster, and gradually we’re gonna try and work with these things and make them more and more complex.

So imagine now we’re gonna introduce a second element.

We’re gonna crop one of those elements here, have it bleed off the side of the page, add a little color to the type, some scale changes to the typography.

And then we’re also going to make the viewer now much more aware of the white space that’s happening here.

We’re gonna force their eye to travel through the composition like this, and to traverse เดินข้าม the white space.

And if you remember, in our composition segment, we looked at how the intersection of thirds can create visual interest for a viewer.

And you can see that this Apple here is actually falling at one of those intersections, and again being accentuated by having the white space around it.

So let’s look at some other simple compositional variations.

Here you can see we’re using much more diagonal lines. We’re also using the weight of this image, by sitting it at the bottom of the picture plane, right on the edge of this frame. It’s definitely weighted. It’s kind of grounded at the bottom here.

So these elements then, can float up in space. You can also see that the type has a relationship to this little bit of direction in the image.

So let’s switch it up a little bit, and look at one of our other images.

We’re still keeping it very simple. We’ve still got a centered composition, but now we’re relying much more on the image itself. The texture of the image, the quality of the image.

And we’ve now introduced a little bit of scale change in the typography you can see.

We’ve also introduced a difference in color in the typography, and also a difference in the typeface as well.

And one of the things I think is interesting about this image is really the color and the texture in here, the qualities of the image itself.

So, let’s see what happens if we change the scale and increase that dramatically, so we can see a little bit more of the image.

So much in fact that we’re gonna let it bleed, let it run off the sides of the page here. There’s also kind of a nice relationship if you think back to when we were looking at color.

So you can see here those greens that are relating to the color of this typography, reds relating to the color of this typography.

So it feels like there are three elements even though they’re very simple and in a simple composition, they all have a relationship together.

So one thing we haven’t really talked about in this Fundamentals of Graphic Design class, but that we can bring up a little bit now, is just the relationship between aesthetics and content.

You can see here we’re making a poster for a band, and here’s another one where we’re using the same content, but a much more simpler approach.

So that might have some effect on what kind of music you think this band might be making.

So part of that is just understanding that we’re making form here, but we are not really considering the context or the idea, the concept of that as much. 
We really are just looking at form here for forms sake.

So if we take a much more simple approach here, we’ve reduced the image to just an outline. There’s very few elements. It feels much sparser บางตา,เบาบาง. 
Maybe again, a different kind of music that’s being produced by this group.

So let’s take that same image that was sparse, and now start to add some volume to it.

And here we were trying to make the color be a much more important and powerful aspect of the design.

So you can see we’re still really working with fairly simple composition, but now we’ve got a background color, we’re trying to get the color to be a more important part of the composition here.

So as I’m looking at this image, there’s something quite interesting about the circle here. And this little bit of type makes me think of a label on a piece of fruit.

So we could try actually adding that as a little bit of an idea, back into this. Still keeping this very minimal style, very few elements happening.

So now let’s see what happens if we change that a little bit more dramatically.

So for this one, for instance, we’ve put a lot more emphasis on the type. The type has a lot of scale. The type has volume and weight with this color. It’s very solid, blobby typeface.

And then the apple itself very, very light. Just a line drawing, and we’ve still got this element as a sticker.

And these become kind of counter points to the likeness of this to the heaviness of the type.

So far we’ve really been working with fairly simple composition, and we’ve been shifting the focus between typography, color, image and texture.

Let’s see what happens now if we try and make our composition a little bit more complicated. Add more elements and try and deal with all of those things at the same time.

So here’s a totally different poster, and now we’ve got a lot more going on.

We’ve got a, two differences in the typography. Color in the typography. Scale in the typography. We got a background color, and we got three or four different kinds of image all colliding here. We’ve got line work, a print with color, photographic image, some texture. We’ve also got some of our vector based graphic elements.

And we’re trying to put these together into an interesting composition, so you can see how the type up here is getting a little bit of space around it, a little bit of emphasis. All of the images are basically melding a little bit into one, but there’s still some direction in here, in our composition. These little linear aspects. The circles, the lines happening around here.

So this is definitely a little bit more complicated then what we looked at before.

And here’s another version, a variation.

So you can see we’ve got a different background color here. Some different typography. We’re still really looking at the relationships between the linear, the textual. We’ve got again, different elements happening here but way more graphic elements happening. You can see this is starting to have a slightly different aesthetic to it than the previous image as well.

If we keep going with this one, and add more elements.

you can see it begins to get a little bit crazy, a little bit more complicated. To the point where we’ve really got a lot going on, and there’s kind of a lot of visual noise.

A lot of direction happening with the typography, with the shape, framing the type here. Again, different kinds of imagery. Having things overlap in different ways.

So our problems of composition are kind of becoming more complicated.

And as you work on some of these, just as exercises, they’re really useful because the more elements you put in there, the more you have to really think about them and consider them.

If we go back to our earliest poster that we made,

there’s not that much to consider here, because we haven’t actually put that many pieces, that many aspects of design into our poster. 
We don’t have many bricks to work with to make an interesting building.

Back with this poster

you can see we’ve got a lot to work with, and a lot of considerations to make.

So it can become much more time consuming and a little bit more difficult the more elements that you have.

So let’s try and make sense of some of those elements now and try and put them into a little bit more of an orderly fashion.

So you can see here, we’ve given some of the elements a little bit more space. 
We’re trying to work a little bit more with hierarchy. 
And we’re also making more clear the directional lines of the composition.

So you can see here, we’re using things like the worm, the line into the negative space here, the line of images clustering together, or even this graphic element contrasting type here.
In terms of scale, but also actually echoing the same angle, as well.

So we’re generally trying to make this design feel partly chaotic, but also a little bit more controlled.

So if we keep reducing this design down,

you can see that the individual elements now a little bit more visible.

They’re also more harmonious. 
Our color palette is reduced. Each of the elements is starting to have a little bit of space around it, so they become their own distinct elements.

So is starting to feel a little more controlled
A little more designed perhaps. 
And again these are really aesthetic decisions.

You might decide that for a certain kind of music or a certain project, you might need a lot of elements and a lot of visual noise, a lot going on.

And for other projects you might need a much more reduced and minimal approach.

So you can see here as we continue to make this quieter and quieter. There’s fewer and fewer elements, but what that does is it puts more and more emphasis on those few elements.

So we’re really aware of the relationship and the angles between these pieces of type.
 We’re really aware of this image just as a very light line drawing. And we’re starting to look down here and really wonder what this kind of shape means, because there’s only really five things going on, so we’re gonna look quite closely at all five of those.

So we can keep removing elements of our composition.

So here we’ve literally just got the two pieces of typography, and the most simple apple image that we could get, in a very limited color palette.

We’ve got two blues and a black, and those are quite harmonious. The light blue could easily be a tint of this darker blue.

And these last few images,

just very, very back to our very simple compositions again.

So we’ve kind of built up the complexity in this series of posters and then reduced it back down again.

And here you can see we’ve got rid of the color background, but we’ve added another image. So we’re really trying to build a relationship between these two images that might have some kind of meaning.

And here’s the last one that I made,

where it’s really again quite simple composition. We’re looking at a very centered composition. But now we’re looking at a relationship between the color and the typography in the image.

I quite like this relationship between the linear apple and the solid apple, and a little bit of humor, putting an emphasis and a focus on the worm coming out of the apple.

So whenever I do an exercise like this in composition, I tend to generate a lot of things quite quickly, and not really care that much about finessing them.

You can always make a decision which ones are appropriate, which ones are working and finesse them later.

But what that does give you is a range of works, a range of ideas, a range of aesthetics to look at.

So if we look back through some of these things,

some of these posters that we’ve made quite quickly.

Even though none of them are that great.

You can see that they’re really giving you a range to decide from, and to figure out what kind of designer you want to be.

And what kind of work you want to make.

I’m really getting a range of tools.

So you can decide when you do have a project that requires a poster or a piece of graphic design looking a certain way,

you can really figure out how you want to approach it and what kind of design you want to make.