Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Gdes2014 Final Hand In of Concept Work & Online Exhibition

This post and the following one will form the 'online exhibition' of work resultant from the UW Lakeside Bushcraft eActivity Book concept design project that the yr 2 Children's Book Design students have created. 
A huge thanks go again to client Rob Delahay who gave up time to come over and talk with and feed back to students working on the brief. Rob also looked around the work in situ when we staged a 'mini exhibition' on hand in of work and added:

Client Rob Delahay looks over student Anna Solcova's final concept work.

Rob adds: "The students in very different ways, completely captured the essence of the design brief. In my mind I had an idea of what I wanted these resources to look like, but all these design concepts surpassed my expectations.

Impressively students clearly went to a lot of effort during the research stage too and included ‘real life’ information, games and activities that could be used. The designs look current and modern, but also in keeping with the ethos of the Lakeside Campus facility.

Many of the designs will be now collated and used on trial projects for schools and groups engaging with the site."

After further consideration, Client Rob has chosen the following student outputs as his 'most effective' concept work, adding "Great work by all students – really impressive; my favourites below. (This was an extremely hard decision)": 
  1. Anna Solcova
  2. Charlotte Bullock
  3. Joe Baber
  4. Katie Ledgerwood
  5. Lenka Simackova
  6. Anna Peskova 
Student concept work (in alphabetical order).

Joe Baber (Please click images to enlarge)

What key research references inspired you and why?

For my design Alfred Weinwright was an inspiration due to his hand written typography and his pristine layouts and designs. Additionally, ‘Bushcraft A Family Guide Book’ by John Boe and Owen Senior was another thing that influenced me and my designs as I liked the classical style used. The existing activities and books I look into also gave me a insight into design methods and pattern that I could incorporate in my design.

Why are your designs for you cover spreads and activity sheets effective and why?

I think my designs are effective as they incorporate some multimedia aspects as well as illustrations to support the text. I feel that my cover works well as the background hints towards the Bushcraft activities. I think my activity pages’ work well with my favourite being the artefact page as I enjoyed drawing all the insects for the page.

What considerations with materials (paper, origami, collected materials etc.) did you use and why?

For my designs I would like them to incorporate recycled/natural materials as this would reduce cost as well as give the pages a more rustic aesthetic that would complement my existing design. This could also include some different texture that would make the design more tactile and interactive.

Charlotte Bullock

1) The main research that inspired my work was my primary research to the lakeside campus as it made the brief more realistic. Looking into the Stick Book and other images from Google inspired me to create a bright colourful design for children aged 7-11 years old.

2) I think all of my designs, including the origami activity page design are all very bright and colourful in order for them to be suitable for children. I think this factor along with their content are reasons why it makes my designs effective.

3) My book design would be seen on screen as an eBook as that is the main requirement. It could also be printed out if necessary, it may be something to think about whether it is necessary to laminate the pages if it is being taken outside in the dirt etc. This would be something for the individual teacher to think about but it is an option.

Tom Hodgson

What key research refs inspired you and why?

When I was looking into current products in the genre already on the market, there was a key trend to the design style of these books. These books all were designed to look as if they were made by someone in the target audiences age group, having a diy, hand assembled look. I really admired this and thought it was great so this was the direction I wanted to go with for my own work.

Why are your designs for your covers, spreads and activity sheet effective?

I feel they are effective because they follow trends with accordance to the already popular trends in the market. Using techniques to and visual elements such as having information looking like it’s on rips of paper, or post it notes; all imagery has intentions to play to the most of it’s ability to representing a hand made feel book.

What considerations with materials did you use and why?

For the 3D element of a pop-out collection pocket for the children to put their findings in, I thought a stronger material would be more efficient for the role. Such as a card, or corrugated cardboard to withstand the weight of the things the user would put in and the constant bending of the element.

Jack Humphries

I researched into a particular designer called owen davey who visually inspired me to create this book design, using his layered and original ways of layout and composition on a page to keep a clear and consistent look for the book.

I also looked into videos about how children learn and experience new things, and how they learn with the help of vibrant colors and having textures engages them into learning and getting involved.

My designs for the activity sheet are effective due to the spacing and interesting way I have layered the page, also the bug hunt activity sheet is effective because it encourages the children to go and find and search for things. Also my interactive origami page is effective as it is clear and easy to read, I hand coloured all the pages to show that it is a personal project and that would entice the children to colour in the pages and interact.

I decided to use origami as one of the activity sheets as I wanted a hand craft product that was very simplistic, also using natural materials for the bug hotel and wind chime pages were a choice I made due to me wanting the children to go and venture into the wildlife and learn new textures, find new materials, investigate new surroundings and get involved and messy which I feel is important for the younger generation.

Katie Ledgerwood

1.  Some of my inspirational references are the gruffalo activity book as this was in a similar style to the sort of thing I wanted to do. The site visit to lakeside also helped in my designs as I could put the visualisation into my designs

2. I think my designs are vibrant and colourful which I think would engage with children more, The layout is quite simple and I think it would easy for a child to understand

3. My book would be predominantly be on screen as it is an e-book but it could be printed out on paper if necessary. There wouldn't be a need for many materials as it would just be the paper for the origami.

Anna Peskova

(Wording to arrive soon)

April Portman

What key research inspired me?
Research into how children learn I think was the most important factor for me.

Also looking at a video called project wild thing whereby it was made to encourage children to come away from technological devices and into the outdoors - this was my inspiration.

I believe my designs, from practice in user testing, are effective and suit the target audience and its purpose of entertaining and teaching children. As I said from user testing I was able to discover what the bad and good points were for my designs and by that I was able to make improvements. I believe my designs are easily understandable and encourage children to be more interactive with the outdoors.

I considered for the 3D origami page - a natural material (matte)

Noa Rakic

A. Making a book for children aged 5 to 9, at the beginning of the module I was inspired and influenced with mixed media ( collage and watercolour). But the result was too abstract. By looking through children's books and multiple websites, it gave me a new inspiration on how to approach children design. Illustrations made in Adobe Illustrator seemed perfect for an e-book, allowing children to easily recognise shapes and sizes while making objects friendly and playful.

B. The Illustrations made in Illustrator are made without a frame, which makes it look like a collage technique, more familiar to children. The Adobe Illustrator makes the shapes more precise and thus recognisable, and the broad range of shapes and colour makes it more realistic and interesting.

C. Materials used are paper based mixed with materials found in the environment around you (nature). This will allow children to have already ready template to know how to use and approach their 3D artifact, whilst learning how to use natural materials to decorate and improve their object, learning about the materials used.

Lenka Simackova

1. https://lenkasimackovablog.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/week-5/

I took inspiration from this poster\picture called Make your own stick man. I took the idea how to put together illustration\design, infographic. Basically from this picture came idea of using infographic elements in this project.

2. I think, that it is effective, because it is simple to understand for young children. By using pictures more than text.

3. In this book are activities, where children should collect sticks for fishing rod, or find some empty cupboard box for shadow theatre and more. I use these materials, because this book should be some kind of process, how to get children into the nature and if they do for example origami, they can do it at home as well, they can not go to the nature, but if they want to do fishing rod, they have to go to the nature collect a sticks. 

Anna Solcova

What key research refs inspired you and why?

I have used a Scaut's Diary from Walt Disney company as my biggest inspiration in terms of content. I have used this book when I was in the same age as I am designing for and it was one of my favorite books thanks to its illustration and easy description of each activity. This book I think is designed because it is not just for kids but even adults can learn from it. I tried to imagine myself to kid again and that was the way I have come up with my final design. In terms of illustrations, I have got inspired by Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutching where I like how they created depth off their illustration by using short lines that reminds hairs of the fox. And also by Madeleine Rogers and her The Forrest Folk book where she used quite sharp shapes for her forest animals and I had feeling I managed to create something similar to her style she has. I aimed to create clean, sharp, vector look and I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, without loads of details. For my main character, I have decided for Wolfie - as university basketball team's mascot is a wolf.

Why are your designs for your cover, spreads and activity sheet effective and why?

I think it is effective because of the color palette I have used. I tried to keep bright colors, 'summerish' colors that remind of a sunny summer day. But it is effective mainly because of my guide character.From my user testing, I have got very positive feedback if terms of using wolf as a guide through book for kids.I have tried to make it funny because I know that kids want to have fun while reading a book, that I have also included board game that they can keep in their pocket and play it nearly anywhere they want.

What considerations with materials did you use and why?

I have used mainly paper for my book - I didn't include any special features, but for my activity I have included pebbles. As my activity is board game that will be part of my book, I wanted to create something where children can get their hands "dirty" My idea is therefore to collect few pebbles and then paint on them so they use them for storytelling by the campfire of as a figures to play with on the board game.

Ben White

Going on a stick hunt influenced my work in terms of art style; I chose to experiment with this style because it created a professional immersive environment with playful qualities in typography.

I justify using this style as it helps to visualize and promote the natural environment and the childlike typography relates to my audience.

I chose to experiment with this type of gridding system as it helped to categorize the process of these tasks

And translated information appropriately, it was also a common style used in this type of book.

The designs for my cover sheet are effective because they sell the atmosphere and tasks available at the site in an appealing way which is personalized for kids reading disabilities by using bright colors to invite and a strong use of semiotics to translate this information rather than extended text.

When considering materials for my interactive elements I considered, origami animals to create with a explanation of that creature however I didn’t think it was practical enough for an outdoor activity center so I decided to create a mobile instead. Initial the whole piece would be composed of cut outs which the creator could hang outside there stick shelter however after some development I refined this idea to give the user a chance to find some of there own materials to hand on the mobile this was to create a higher level of engagement with the task.

Alex Williams

What key research references inspired your designs and why are these important?

I originally looked at strong illustrative styles and found the poly art style, which I eventually used. This was important as the information is boring alone, and without an interesting style it would be uninteresting and useless. The poly style brought in excitement and vibrancy to the book, better than any normal art style could.

Why are your designs for your covers, spreads and activity sheet effective?

My designs are effective because of the art style, colours and fonts. These all work well together to produce a strong, bold and creative booklet that has a uniform design and conveys the information to the user successfully.

What considerations with materials for your 3D element have you included and why?

For my 3D element I simply wanted to use paper. I wanted to make a 3D origami element fairly early on so I didn’t consider any different materials or 3D activities. The use of an origami piece linked in well with my art style, and the use of paper went hand in hand.

N.B. A couple of students didn't eventually submit for this module.

Student comments from this module running:
  • ‘I really liked this module as I feel that it was something different that we haven’t touched on before. It was also good to have the audience that is children’
  • 'On 13th April, we were blessed to go to London to see the London Book Fair 2016 which took place at Olympia. It was one of a kind event, everyone from the publishing world couldn't miss this opportunity to see all the beautiful new books that coming out very soon, innovations, talks and much more. It was my first time that I saw Olympia and my first thought was " It's massive and it's full of books - wow" and I was right… I have to say I had an amazing time there… we did speak to one gentleman. From him we have found out that very popular are coloring books for adults.
  • ‘I cannot decide what I liked most, maybe origami which we made in class or a tutorial with Lynda Murray and more. (our tutor) is a perfect teacher and he knows how to make the session interesting.’
  • ‘Everything was great about this module – I felt engaged the whole time, tutor is very passionate about his topic. I got proper feedback – I also liked that we had a practitioner to give us feedback as well’
  • ‘I love the topic, research and tasks! Love the main brief too!
  • … this module and this project has taught me how to think different and be like a child again. I really enjoyed these sessions and all the work. I obtained new interesting and useful skills and knowledge.
  • ‘I think the module was ran very well and I most liked getting the chance to expand my knowledge in this area and also learning new skills in InDesign for the layout.’
  • ‘(I liked) The organisation of the lectures and the module brief, using digital and hand-rendered practices and workshops, evaluating and researching into professional picture books – helpful information given.’
  • It (this module) has helped me to understand the conventions of children books, but more importantly it helped me understand the steps I need to take when entering a specific genre in a wide industry. I am hoping I will be able to transfer some of those skills into my future practise.
  • ‘(I liked) The final project and seeing my work progress’
  • Well I have definitely learnt a lot... designing for children is a lot harder than designing for adults; children have more needs when it comes to understanding and keeping them engaged.
  • Further experience gained while on this module was a talk from a professional in the Children’s Book Publishing as well as a visit to the London Book Fair, both gave me valuable insights into the publishing industry, such as seeing the way in which Publishers network, or hearing first-hand experience about entering the industry for the first time.
  • ‘(I liked) Having to create something different that I haven’t really done before – despite not having the most enthusiasm for it’


  1. Wow, some fantastic work posted here! I'm really impressed (hand on heart!) because every single submission has really exciting design elements and looks well thought through. The ideas behind the designs for the visual theme and hands-on activities are really engaging, and there's a lovely range of treatments with some very professional looking covers and spreads. Good job folks!
    Lynda Murray

    1. Ah thanks Lynda, yes there's some really nice solutions to the brief here definitely. With some of them client Rob's already said "I could use (that one) tomorrow as is!".. We'll be developing a 'top 5 most effective' next and these will then inform the final eActivity book. A huge thanks again on my part for all the time and effort you've put in with them again this time - well over and above the 'official' visit bit we'd arranged - big thanks.. :)