Here are snippets of some of the things I tried. I decided the crack in the building for Managua was probably not a selling point! The colours reflect the Sandanista flag, but are very garish.
I couldn’t find anything about Melbourne that got me excited, but I’ve never been there, and I sure it really is a lovely place. So my design is a bit of a mess I think, probably my least favourite design.
I tried this, and I tried that, and in several cases I wasn’t sure which one worked best, perhaps because the ones I wasn’t sure of were never quite right!
This was one I wasn’t really sure about, perhaps because I don’t know very much about Montreal, although I understand it’s very much an outdoor zone, and the Olympic building is iconic. However, the building looks a bit of a lump, especially if you don’t know what it is. The other striking thing is the redness of the Autumn trees. I wanted to have the word in a strong Autumnal colour, with a muted background to reflect the winter landscape.
The challenge for this design was to think of a strong design for a grey and rainy Victorian city. I opted for a yellow and red football, thinking these were Man U colours but I was put right and told it’s red and white, so I changed it! I started with the tall grey buildings and then thought the addition of a railway bridge would help evoke Victorian building. Not entirely satisfying though.
This was a much bigger exercise than I anticipated and I reckon I have spent at least 10 hours on it. It was a good challenge, and I know it may seem that I have misinterpreted the brief, but rather, I deliberately expanded it. I understood that the idea was to experiment with various software packages and to experiment with blocks of colour, dominant, accent and subordinate. I tried using Photoshop, Pagemaker and Sketchbook Pro, but I always end up back with the app Skribl, because I know it best and it does everything I need for this exercise. I find it significantly faster to work in this app than in Adobe Creative Suite, with the added advantage that I can work flopped on the sofa, in bed or at a table.
First I started by researching the basic characteristics of each city, as follows:
Characteristics of cities for Abstract Cities project
Madrid: Spanish: Miro symbol, nightlife, art, hot, bull.
Malmo: Swedish: post industrial, new architecture, studenty, cold, green
Managua: Nicaragua, earthquakes, destruction, civil war, Sandinistas, coffee bananas, hot, volcano, black, red, yellow
Manchester: Victorian architecture, rain, northern, busy, culture, gay centre, studenty textiles, china town
Manhattan: busy, money, banks, skyscrapers, culture, china town, population, romance
Marrakech: pattern, hot, red, ochre, Berber, tourist, carpets, medina, mountains, Sahara, tile
Marseilles: French, sea, blue, rocks, port, ships, Mediterranean, hot, food, relaxed
Melbourne: mountains, sea, culture, skyscraper, green, sand, port, hot, beach huts, white, bridge, blue, grey
Montreal:three hills, red trees, cold, winter, French English, skyscrapers, culture sport
Mumbai: packed, Indian, gateway, harbour, poverty and wealth, orange sun, film, finance .
Then I started gathering photos to represent each of these characteristics. Once I’d done these I used them as reference for each design. Some designs seemed to appear with little effort, and others took much longer to develop, and were less successful. After experimenting with a few fonts I stuck with one, and used it at more or less the same size throughout. The colour varied depending on the image though.
I always enjoy playing with colour so spending a couple of hours doing this was just the thing to end a hard work day. First I did the exercise to compare colours I like with colours I don’t. This was a bit of an artificial thing to do because i do t dislike any colours really so what I chose to do was to select the least used colours in my palette on the right hand page and the most used (ie the pans are nearly empty) on the left. The overall effect does confirm the point of the exercise, and that is that so called dull colours have interesting and easing tonal ranges and harmonies when sitting together in a group. It is a reminder to use them more in conjunction with each other and or alongside brighter colours.
Then I moved on to the Itten squares exercise, first just comparing colour mixes and then trying to come up with colour mixes to express words. I used inks for this because I wanted vibrant colours and used Brusho crystals for some because I love their brightness. I did consider doing this exercise digitally but thought it would be more fun on paper.
These pictures were all taken in artificial light so the colours won’t be true unfortunately. I am happy with most of my colour choices but actually Brusho was probably not the best thing to use because you never know quite how the colour is going to come out! So for example, youthful definitely was not the colour I intended. Ah well. Overall this was just a playful thing to do and reminds me to think of the relationship of colour to emotion and convention.