Typography

I was asked to look into different types of Typography and look into articles in which designers who have worked on branding or logos have discuissed this. I thought I would first investigate into a few typographers and then look for an artical on my main subject which is Paul Rand.

Pablo Cánepa

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I really like this typography as the designer has used three rabbits within the logo design. I thought this really pulled the brand into the logo (Bad Rabbits, using rabbits within their logo) and also just simply made the logo look really unique. This isnt something I have personally seen done before and considering its so simple, I doubt I would have been able to think of doing something like this without researching into other creatives first.

Turner Duckworth

http://www.designboom.com/design/david-turner-turner-duckworth-interview/

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I think this typography is really awesome in how they manage to put the ‘truce’ into itself again. I have seen a similar thing done with tattoos and its nice to see something like this done for a logo as it really does play with your mind. I thought I would look into this typographer, and to my delight I discovered some phrases within interviews which I felt really fit with my previous work on logos and idents. I discovered that during the process of creating idents and logos, the company would ‘rotate other designers in and out of the team to keep the ideas fresh. we use a process we call ‘distant crit’. creative teams or individuals in the sister office review work in progress and provide input.’ This is a great idea to keep new ideas flooding in but to also be reviewed on their ideas by people external to the project so that the critique is similar to that of someone outside the company observing it.

  Dominique Falla

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Researching into more typographers I discovered Dominique, and looking into her I discovered an interview in which she says the following;

After illustrating for 20 years, hand-drawing type comes naturally to her: “I don’t think I could ever be bothered scrolling through hundreds of typefaces on my computer anymore. It’s just easier for me to get out the sketch book. I also think typography is a passion that once you develop it, it becomes an obsession. I have that obsession now but when I was a student, I hated type. I just didn’t understand it, but something clicked along the way and now it’s all I want to use in my work.”

Just as a side note, This links in with me as a creative as we are asked to use the sketchbook as an alternative to digital sketches. I find that using my sketchbook helps me more then just rushing straight to digital forms of expression, and that when using my sketchbook I end up coming up with better prototypes in regards to creativity. I think if I was to develop my own typography, then I would begin in my sketchbook just as Dominique suggests.

“I get bored very easily, and I also think if there’s a concept behind what the piece is saying, the way it says it should also reinforce the concept. My thought process usually goes “what am I trying to say?” and then once I devise a quote or statement, I try and work out if anything in the statement suggests a medium or technique. So far thankfully, it has.” This applies to logos and idents as these should be inforced by the imagery and typography what the company is about or what they are wanting to put forward. This should be thought through fully and experimented with on a range of designs before settling for one. I have never really thought about coming up with a phrase before developing the design, and thinking about it now it could possibly help as it would possibly help me in thinking out of the box when developing logos or idents. Maybe even if just listing key words rather then a phrase? Its something to consider.

Trying new things each time however doesn’t come without risk of failure: “Oh yes, I’ve had many false starts, pieces that didn’t quite work, pieces that needed fixing and so on. Sometimes they’re so bad that I’m forced to change my concept mid-project. I read somewhere it’s called ‘confusion endurance’. You don’t always know what you’re doing but you need to cultivate the energy to just keep going anyway.”

Paul Randhttp://www.paul-rand.com/foundation/thoughts_logosflags/

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Paul Rand is an American Graphic Designer, born in August 15,1914. He was well known for his coporate logo designs such as :- “IBM”, “UPS”, “Enron”, “Westinghouse”, “ABC” and ”Steve Jobs NeXT” although his most famous was the IBM logo which currently still is the logo for this major company.

Bad design is frequently the consequence of mindless dabbling, and the difficulty is not confined merely to the design of logos. This lack of understanding pervades all visual design.

To me, this really says a lot as some of the bad designs I have noticed seem to be designed by people who don’t know their company, or their companies market. They seem to ‘dabble’ in something their don’t know much about which would affect the overall logo not achieving its purpose.

When a logo is designed is irrelevant; quality, not vintage nor vanity, is the determining factor.

I agree, I don’t think the age of the logo matters, but it’s the overall quality which defines a good logo and a bad logo. For example if a logo was made 50 years ago, and it was bad, seeing it now would still make it bad. The same applies for good logos hence why the IBM Logo has remained the same, it’s a good logo, despite its age.

If, in the business of communications, “image is king,” the essence of this image, the logo, is a jewel in its crown. 

A logo should help a business’s image shine through, acting as a flag for the company, but not act as the company itself.

http://www.paul-rand.com/foundation/thoughts_typeTalks/

That’s an understatement. There are essentially two kinds of typography: The familiar kind for reading, and the other, simply for viewing, like a painting. Some say that readability is most important. There are really two important things about typography: readability and beauty; both are equally important..

I agree with all of this statement, but the ending is what stands out most to me. Typography is its own art, thus it should be beautiful in its own right but what I find most annoying about some typography is that it is unreadable and hard to interpret. This leaves the typography ineffective as it does not serve its purpose for example…

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Semiotics: Recognising meaning, and creating meaning

I thought I would reflect on the differences between signifiers and signified, objects and signs in order to gain a better understanding, Although iv spoken about this before it was very long winded so I thought id create a more simplified version which is structured so it can have a clear definition of the differences between each and what each actually are. So, here are my definitions of each!

  • Signified –  This is the physical object which is giving a message for example..

nosmokeLIFE-SYMBOLS-fish-300x176 Pokemon symbols

Each of these symbols have a meaning behind them, from left to right these are: No smoking, Christanity, Pokemon type symbols.

  • Signifier – This is the actual meaning and the reasoning for a signifer, for example..

Rose

There can be more then one variation of a signifier, for example a heart doesn’t have to just mean love, it can also mean passion. Another example could be a can of coke, this doesn’t simply mean a beverage, it could signify thirst. Each of these signify a different meaning, but with just seeing the image we know what it relates to. This is why logo’s are so effective when applying both signifiers and signified as by simply seeing a particular symbol or even colour can remind you of a company, so applying this effectively is just a basic mechanic to good marketing.

What I like in particular in regards to semiotics is the use of colour and how it can be used effectively; colour can really make a difference when designing a logo as it leads to how people will interpritate that business at first glance.

In the sphere of marketing and advertising, brand identity is the visual essence of a business or organization. Visual identity is often highly correlated with color through symbolism. The chosen color, in consort with other aspects of the design, has the potential to project the entire flavor of the organization to the world. – http://understandinggraphics.com

If you would like to read more within semiotics, then please check out my other blog post

Character Design: What defines good character design?

Character design is extremely important part of games design, and using it effectively can create the most beautiful and surreal experiences for those playing. This means that creating a good character design is important, but how do we define good character design?

One thing I would like to particularly discuss is the characters that are defined by the ‘Vin Diesel Approach’ (No, this is not a technical term, although it really does describe it perfectly so should be!) in which the male characters are created with similar aesthetics in order for the player to project themselves onto that character. It appears to be that this is done because it’s easier for the player to relate themselves to that design by creating such a bland character.

In my opinion this can be both good and bad. Good because it allows the player to immerse themselves on a deeper level and get more involved with the story as they become projected onto the character. On the other hand, this could be bad because you don’t get any empathy for the character so this could cause issues for the game (depending on the game of course). Naturally, this often happens for the female characters too although the females tend to get overly sexualised. Linking this to my last CATS session, we discussed the topic of sexualisation of woman and we agreed that sexualisation within female characters is becoming less frequent within games.

I think sexualisation occurs in both male and female characters, but more so in the female characters. Some woman think ‘if you’ve got it, fault it’ in regards to sexualisation within female characters but others feel as if it is a poor representation of woman and is promoting the wrong points. I feel sometimes when sexualisation is used too heavily it can really take away from a character, as the focus changes from the woman’s personality to her appearance.  The game industry is constantly changing and maybe in the future we will begin to see a change in regards to character design.

Relating back to my first question, how do we define good character design? Well, it’s simple really. In order to create good character design it takes a lot of planning and thinking your character through. Other than the basic characteristics of your character such as hair colour, eye colour etc, you need to take other details into account for example If the character acts a particular way, then you must think of the standard ‘how? What? Why? Where?’ Why is the character acting this way? How does he put himself forward? Etc. Another example being if the character is a mute, what is the reason for this? When did this occur? Every detail of your character must have a back story to how they gained that detail of themselves.

Casual game markets and revenue streams 12/03/2014

candycrushweb

I thought I would start to research into the  Revenue Streams of casual gaming in order to get a better understanding of the market. The Casual gaming market currently has over 200 million people to play casual games through the internet.

The casual games market is booming, with over $2.25 billion in yearly revenue despite virtually no brick-and-mortar representation or advertising and marketing costs –

Casual games are typically distributed online and go by the ‘Try before you buy’ business model allowing players to play game for a limited number of times before needing to purchase the game itself or ‘in game content’ in order to continue playing. Once the player has made this payment, usually through online transactions, the player can then play the game to their leasuire. Typically only 1% of players actually purchase the game in order to continue playing it, and if the game reaches 2% then it is considered a hit title. Typically it costs around £100,000 to develop a casual game if you were to generalise the pricing according to some websites but according to the Casual Game Association it costs between 200,000 – 500,000 dollars for development, so if we were to generalise this it would cost roughly around £150,000. Casual games make their money numerous ways, these are paying for the downloaded game, paying for a subscription, through advertising or even through supporting other games. Depending on the platform would also affect the cost of development so this would need to be taken into account when developing the game.

According to the CGA’s 2007 Market Report  updating an online casual game for: iOS, mobile & PDA versions  cost 20,000 USD, hotel room versions cost 10,000 USD, Console versions  cost 230,000 USD and handheld versions cost 300,000 USD

It is a well known fact that it costs a far lot less to create a casual game then it does a ‘hard core’ console game. Just to really put it into perspective, I found this image during my research which I thought strung out the fact really well.

revenue

To summerise this, this shows the total revenue at the beginning, then all costs are subtracted so you are let with your margin value. At the end of subtracting what is owed out, console games typically make around 37%, while social/casual games make 87% once money is deducted from the profits. This means that Console games much charge a larger value for the game in order to cover costs such as packaging and marketing in comparison to casual games which spend no money on packaging and require little to no marketing. Other things that need to be taken into account are royalities and development/marketing costs. I was personally suprised the figures were so high, although I already knew that casual gaming was cheaper to develop and ship then console games.

References taken from:

http://www.casualgamesassociation.org/news.php

http://gigaom.com/2008/05/02/casual-games-the-bottom-line/

http://www.businessinsider.com/casual-gaming-profit-margins-near-90-2009-10

Flash: experimenting with animation

Due to a lot of my briefs being within flash, and one in particular that I can animate within, I thought I should have a play around with some tools within Flash. The main tool that allowed me to create this short animation is the Onion Skin tool, which allowed the key frames to become transparent. I also used blank keyframes a lot, which allowed me to draw in a clean frame ontop of my other layers (e.g. background) this allowed the onion tool to kick in so that I could see the previous key frame in order to draw the next one. This overall allowed me to create this brief animation. I hope to experiment with this more in order to use it effectively within my brief as a way to me present my ideas.

3D digital building/sculpting from observation – Searching for reference

For my observation project, I have been requested to build/sculpt from observation a Colonne Morris which is also known as a Morris Column. I was unsure at first what a Colonne Morris actually was so I thought I would search through Google Images to get a better understanding of what im being asked to model, so after looking on google I found these reference images:

web1 web2 web3

For this brief, I have to do several tasks so i thought the best way to do these would be to do a seperate post on most of these tasks; the tasks are as follows:

A – To seek out my item (I have located a few of these within Hull)

B – To take a photo of myself with the chosen item

C – to develop reference imagery, photos, basic dims sketches, drawings and sketches.

D – Begin developing the 3d Artifact from my reference

E – Return to get more reference if necessary, as many times as necessary.

Casual Gaming

10 yrs – 14 yrs

Cartoons:

  • Winx
  • Phenus + Ferb
  • Digimon
  • Pokemon
  • Ben 10

Products/Brands:

  • Shoes aimed at children (seen on most TV adverts)
  • Barbie
  • Polly Pocket
  • Doll house

Game types/ideas:

  • Dress up games
  • Monster fighting games
  • Educational games (Iv seen this works well with learning new languages)

Some current games aimed this market:

Spongebob Squarepants Planktons robotic revenge

Adventure Time: explore the dungeon because I DON’T KNOW

Skylanders Giants

Game idea

  • My game idea for this market would be a small casual ‘flash’ game. The aim of the game would be to collect all the requested objects and bring it from destination A to B. If I was to theme the game, I would probably use characters of my own I have created which would use games such as Pokémon or Adventure Time as influence. I think the theme of my game would revolve around sweets because what children doesn’t enjoy candy?

14+ yrs female market, original concept

When researching into this I decided to look at toys r us and I found out that 14+ female girls are into WWE and Fifa (it was nice to see this wasn’t stereotyped as harshly as I assumed it possibly would have been!)

Things a 14 year old female is into (stereotypically/generalised) this information was gathered from my 14 year old sister, so I assumed listening and taking hers and her friends interest would give me an idea of what some 14 year old females like:

  • Phineas and Ferb
  • Cartoon Network
  • Popworld
  • Music (mainstream music such as 1 Direction)
  • Starting to get into makeup
  • Monster High
  • Disney films

Games targeted at this market currently:

Garden Warfare

Lego Movie

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

35+ yrs (SF, Fantasy, Horror) Market, original concept

When compiling this list, I gathered what I thought a typical 35 year old would be interested in so this may be slightly stereotypical:

  • Watch television (a lot)
  • Enjoy a drink (beer, wine)
  • Socialising with old college friends/work colleagues
  • Taking care after children so a lot of family days out
  • FPS (CoD, Halo)
  • World of Warcraft

Game Idea

  • For my game idea I thought I would create a hardcore game as during my research I found that a lot of gamers of this age enjoy more hardcore games such as WoW and CoD. I would like to make a Horror game as I find these games to be immersing, but would like it to be a FPS as during my research I discovered that most of this audience enjoy FPS. I think my game would be a survival game, for example to survive a horde of a particular monster while battling a timer with your aim to escape the building.

3dsmax: Hammer

05/02/2014: For my first two 3d realisation lessons, we were asked to select a card which would in turn indicate a particular object we had to create in 3d using 3dsmax. I have had difficulty using this piece of software and was slightly scared on first glance of this task. After selecting my card, I was given the job of creating a hammer. This was perfect for me as it wasn’t too complex and allowed me to practice my current skills in order to advance and progress within the software.

During my first lesson, I was able to produce both my hammer handle and the hammer head on a basic level. This was the result which I was satisified with as for a large portion of the lesson was dedicated to me refreshing my current knowledge of 3dsmax and expanding my current knowledge. I used a range of tools such as extrude, inset, blevel to create the shapes as shown.
MC-Hammer1

19/02/2014: I was able to complete my hammor after a lot of fiddling about, although I am happy with my final result as this has been my first completed asset. I was able to apply a simple colour and shading to my asset rather then texture as I am still having issues with this and hope to improve my skills enough later on in order to maybe reappempt this project with the ability to texture to get a better outcome. I used the material editor to apply shadows and colours to my model. Here is my finished result.

hammor

hammer1

Game Mechanics 101: The 24 basics of game mechanics

During our games design introduction lecture this week we discussed the 24 basic game mechanics on a basic level. I took these 24 basic game mechanics and decided to look into some of them in more detail. So, here are the 24 basics of game mechanics we discussed.

Game Mechanics 101
The 24 basics of game mechanics
List of 24 basic game mechanics

• Achievements

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Achievements can be seen as both virtual and physical representations that you have completed a particular task or objective. For many achievements I have personally seen, the achievements for a game tend to range in difficulty so that a player may need to have additional skill or dedication to a game to gain particular achievements. Achievements can be gained by a single player or by a group, and can also vary in regards to if it is something that must be done online or offline. When an achievement is not yet gained it is considered ‘locked’ until the player has achieved the particular goal, in which then said achievement becomes unlocked. Most games have achievements, and those that are considered to not have achievements are most likely to have been remastered or remade with the mechanic added. For example Runescape used to only have ‘capes’ given to players who have gained 99 on a particular skill. If a player achieved 99 in woodcutting they would receive a woodcutting cape, but due to recent changes they have made additional capes for when players reach midway points. For example they can claim a ‘mid-way’ cape for a skill at level 50 rather than wait all the way to 99 so they can show off their current level.

• Appointment dynamics

This is when something such as an objective or a rare item which can only be accessible at particular times or locations. The user would have to log on at such time in order to be able to partake in the activity.
• Bonuses

A bonus in regards to gaming is something that is achieved after completing a set amount of tasks sequentially. Bonuses allow the player to achieve additional things such as experience or items.

• Combo

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A combo is basically when repetition is used or by doing a chain of things in order to create a ‘combo’. For example if a character was to kick and then punch 5 times in a row this would create a combo. This mechanic is used to create excitement for the player and aids in disregarding how much repetition is being used. Typically when a combo is achieved, there tends to be additional bonus qualities for completion of a combo. A combo doesn’t have to be a series of moves, but could in fact be a combination of actions or achievements in a row.
• Levels

a ‘level’ is a visible progressive aspect of a game which shows the user where they currently are and where they will be once they progress. For example on Pokemon if one of my Pokemon achieved Level 11, if I was to compare this against a Level 20 Pokemon, it would signify that the opposing Pokemon is stronger.
• Infinite gameplay

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Infinite gameplay basically means when a game doesn’t have an end and can’t be ‘completed’. Some examples of games with infinite gameplay include games such as Farmville, Cityville, Pac Man, Tetris and Bus Simulator. When a player has ‘finished’ a game play session, scores are still shown but this game can be played with no completion. Infinite gameplay is considered repetitive and consistency with player engagement as the player begins to feel that if they stop playing they ‘fail’.

• Epicness

Epicness is when an element within a game is too perfect/amazing/great/awesome that players have an obligation to complete/obtain it. An example of epicness is defeating the boss of all bosses, and once you have defeated him you achieve epicness.
• Behavioral Momentum

This is where a player will do something over and over, this is typically in order to gain levels in a particular skill on games such as Runescape and WoW with things such as woodcutting and fishing.
• Ownership

Ownership is where the player begins to grow attached emotionally to digital items or life forms such as creatures within a game which the player has a close relationship or own the particular subject. An example of ownership could be a sword a player has had since the start of a game which they could lose which would cause a player distress, or even something like the loss of an in-game pet.

• Loss Aversion

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Loss Aversion to summarize is the human characteristic of fearing loss. This is used in games such as Runescape by a player being unable to use a particular item if they do not have a membership. Another example within Runescape is the loss of the Quest cape if you do not keep up to date with the latest quests. Even if you do achieve the cape once, you must consistently complete quests otherwise you lose the cape. Loss aversion doesn’t have to be from losing something you have actually possessed but also applies to other things such as loss of time or not achieving the end result.

• Urgent Optimism

Urgent Optimism is the act and idea of being able to complete a task as soon as possible with little to no trouble because you believe that you can complete a task with ease. An example of this could be a novice quest which a level 10 could do, and you are at level 50.

• Quests

A quest is simply a group of challenges that a player must overcome, and once the player has reached completion is usually issues a reward either this be an item, money or experience would vary on the quest.

• Status

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This mechanic is basically referring to how a player shows their success of a game, such as their current level or rank. People tend to like status as it gives them motivation for improvement in order to be better than their friends. Status can be shown typically through wealth, titles, level, rank or owning particular items such as crowns which are wieldable. Some games that use the status mechanic include World of Warcraft, Fable 3, Crazy Taxi, Runescape and Guild Wars.

• Productivity

productivity is being able to complete a task in the most efficient and cheapest way so that money, time and effort can be reduced but with the same outcome as if you were to still complete the task as previously completed. An example could be taking a quicker route to a mining field to mine ore, or to use a better axe in order to collect more wood when woodcutting.

• Free Lunch

Free Lunch is just the idea of obtaining something for nothing, for example if you were in a group, then free lunch would be gaining experience without doing any contribution to the group during a battle.

• Discovery

Discovery is literally that, to discover. In regards to game mechanics, Discovery is giving experience to players for discovering new locations or if they were to obtain a new item for the first time.

• Countdowns

This dynamic is when a player has a set amount of time to complete a task, such as the objectives within Dead Rising 2, where the player is constantly limited on the time for each objective, otherwise missing out.

• Virality

Virality is when something is shared usually online from one player to another. For example, when a game allows you to request a players help, and if they were to complete this task they would obtain an item or experience.

• Progression

Progression is a visual representation of where the player is currently in regards to things such as experience to next level, how far through a quest etc. It is shown on bars or using statistics to give the player quick information so they are constantly being informed by simply just observing the visual representation.

• Collaboration

Collaboration is just team work or working with another individual to achieve common goals, such as a quest, challenge or even just exploring an environment together.

• Lottery

Lottery mechanic is when a player will gamble in game to hopefully win something. These tickets can be purchased with in game money but sometimes requires the player to purchase using real money.

• Points

This is one of the oldest forms of visual reward in games. Points are values which are displayed to the player on the screen. An example of points being used effectively is when it displays your kill count at the end of a match, for example if you managed to kill 28 players during that match. It is useful as it gives the player an indication of how well they have done.

• Rewards Schedules

This mechanic works around time, it is basically when a player is rewarded for completing a task within the game during a set period of time. Iv seen this occur on some games when missions are completed in what is considered ‘fast’ so instead of just simply completing a common quest, you are rewarded additionally for completing it within a set time frame.

• Cascading information

Cascading information is just information that is displayed in short text, managing to inform the player in few words as possible. This normally appears when you walk towards an item to view it, and you would gain a brief description of the item itself.