Evaluation of Visual Communication
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The task required book cover designs for two novels, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy and “The Slap” by Christios Tsiolkas. For “The Road,” the design is of a road winding into the trees and disappearing into the unknown. I believe the visuals are effective because they represent both the literal and symbolic meaning of the novel. Moreover, the strength of the design in terms of visual communication lies in the evenness or sameness of the theme, message, and atmosphere of the novel to the design. Although, I must admit that the design lacks depth and perspective, the post-apocalyptic and drab atmosphere in the novel is best represented by the visual elements in the cover. The design for The Slap, on the other hand, encapsulates major elements in the story and represents the perspectives from which readers could perceive the story. The keyhole is symbolic of the aspect of the plot where the abuse is done “behind closed doors.” Furthermore, the design does not fully represent or embody what the novel is about such that one would not entirely expect the novel to be about child abuse by looking at the visual elements alone. The perception of an individual about the book would be more accurate after reading the synopsis.
In terms of aesthetics, I think my designs suffer mainly from the colors used in some elements of the design. In The Road, the color used in the texts, especially for the title of the novel, seems inconsistent with the rest of the design. While the color of the background is neutral and dull and the central design is infused with dark colors, the color of the text is light. While in The Slap, the color of the text and the hand do not fully blend well with the color of the background and the central image in the cover. The central image that could be seen through the keyhole seems detached with the hand and the text because of the light color that greatly contrasts with the other images.
Although I have identified some weaknesses in both of my designs, I think that my designs are effective visually because the aesthetic elements in the cover are consistent, from the font of the texts, the cover background, and the illustration. The unanimity of the visual elements to the novel and what the novel’s plot represent makes the design an ideal and effective cover. In The Slap, the strength of the aesthetic elements is in the appropriateness of the design to the intended audience of the novel. In addition, the colors applied in the design draws visual attention effectively. Whether the design is strong or weak, what is most important to me is that I was able to deliver what was asked for in the brief and that I was able to apply my technical abilities in creating the design. If given the chance, I could create more effective and stronger designs by making them 3-dimensional using Photoshop. I am looking forward to learning more about creating three-dimensional images.
During the design process, I enjoyed doing Layer Tennis, which is an enjoyable diversion for me. I also liked the Idea Generation process because I am able to practice and apply my creativity by generating ideas, which is practically like drawing and sketching. However, Idea Generation is also the most challenging phase because I need to keep myself updated with new techniques and strategies in designs. Time was also one of greatest challenge in my working process. At first, I had trouble balancing time between work, studying, doing the tutorials in my own time, brainstorming, and actually planning and putting together the design. The lack of time posed a great problem because it limited my capacity to explore more techniques and design possibilities, and incorporate other elements that could have enhanced the overall visual outcomes. After a while, I was able to overcome my difficulties concerning time through time management. To cope with other challenges and difficulties during the design process, I sought to understand the themes of the novels were essential in my working process. Designing and putting together the visual elements required my understanding and comprehension of what the novel is about, especially the plot sequences that underscore the major themes and conflicts in both stories. My knowledge and awareness of the themes and symbolism in both novels helped in the development of inspiration in putting together the design and accomplishing the specific purpose of book cover design. Aside from my familiarity of the novels, my efforts in learning about layer tennis also contributed to my working process. As I have mentioned, I participated in tutorials both online and magazines. What I have learned in the process contributed greatly to my technical skills and knowledge in aesthetic design. In addition, my constant exposure to various designs through tutorial allowed me to consider various elements and techniques. The learning process contributed to creativity.