Details & Timeframe:
- Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Design.
- Module: Major Project.
- Date Set: Monday 10th February 2014.
- Deadline: Friday 23rd May 2014.
BBC Stargazing LIVE was set up in 2011 to highlight the subject of astronomy. Every January sees three prime-time hour long TV programmes over three nights on BBC2 at 8pm.
Various astronomical topics are discussed and the programme focuses on making the subject enjoyable and understandable. Participation in observing the night sky is encouraged, whether it is just looking up into the night sky at the constellations or using a telescope to search for exoplanets (in 2012.)
Who is the client?
BBC Stargazing LIVE.
What is the issue?
There is the need for a much stronger year-round visual presence. Peak interest is reached in the week of the prime time live TV shows in late January, but rapidly drops to a low level for the rest of the year. While the website produces functional visual information, it does not maximise the visual beauty of the subject it covers. A stronger offline presence is also needed.
Who is the audience?
The BBC Stargazing LIVE audience, which is made up of a mixture of ages and understanding of the subject. However, the aim is also to catch the interest of as many people as possible, potentially those already interested in the natural environment as the two subjects share some similarities.
How to solve the issue?
To design something that is accessible and easily understandable. This lends itself well to information graphics. which could be created to cover a range of astronomical topics, helping to continue the successes that the BBC Stargazing LIVE team have had in making people interested in this subject all year-round. An online version will also be provided to add to their online resources.
To increase their offline presence, producing printed information graphics — examples of which could be posters, books and leaflets — will help to increase their visibility and presence for the audience.
What qualities should the finished designs have?
Information Graphics (the precise format will decided upon later.)
Proposal for project:
What do I intend on creating and why?
Information graphics to answer the brief. I set up this brief as information graphics appeal to me, as it can be very visual helping my illustrative side, but with information overlaid that allow me to deal with facts and figures and advance other skills such as typography and layout.
As for the subject of space and astronomy, I have a base knowledge, but nothing spectacular, so it provides an opportunity to research in-depth for a subject I am interested in.
The end goal is for a suitable design that commands attention and can be used as a successful portfolio piece.
Subject: It is important that I have an understanding of the subject, so I know what I am doing when designing to ensure the designs make sense and crucially, are suitable for the target audience. Therefore I will be expecting to research into areas the information graphics will cover, such as the Solar System and constellations.
Design: It is important to understand what is already out there and how this can inspire me, especially as information graphics are a very popular design area. Most specifically, my design research will focus on these, but will extend to posters, coffee-table books, to anything that I think is interesting or inspiring in a particular way. I have learnt the best inspiration can come from the most unusual sources.
Experimenting & Ideas:
It is important to experiment in order to properly explore the design options open to me, building on my research, and find the boundaries of the topic. I usually start with mind-maps to get initial thoughts onto paper, before creating thumbnail sketches, before progressing onto larger, more detailed sketches and digital mock-ups, which will directly evolve into the final designs.
To receive the feedback I need over the suitability of my designs, I will be speaking to tutors, fellow students in general and interim crits, to gather their opinions. Of course, I will also need to discuss with certain audience members to assess the suitability of my designs. I have found dialogue very important in progressing my designs. I will also use critical theory to explore visual communication theories relating to this project, analysing designs along the way.
I will need to think about the costs of this project, which being mostly print-based, will be where it lies. I will need to think about paper stock as well as how to get them printed, either by myself using the college resources or by employing a professional printers instead.
Documenting & Reflecting:
I will use my blog to document the creative process with regular blog posts. The advantage of this is I can share designs and links along the way, better highlighting the process I am undertaking. At the relevant stages, I will also focus blog posts on reflecting on the project’s progress, as well as my working practices.
Production Schedule & Contingency:
Regarding the schedule, I now have experience of completing larger projects and have learnt many lessons along the way, such as workload, so I have built this into it. I have also added some contingency time in for the later stages of the project, as I have learnt nothing ever goes smoothly all the time!