Printed my Animated Poster

It was quite difficult to find somewhere that would print me a high quality art exhibition ready poster with no notice at all but I found somewhere and rushed it over forking out £37 to get this bad boy done. Only to realise there’s a single spelling mistake which has forced a solemn single tear to run down my cheek…..I will never spell the word habits with two b’s again.

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This is what the finished product looks like, spelling mistake included in the version below too.

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I decided to keep the text down to as much a minimum as possible whilst trying to add fun little things in to keep it interesting. I’ve put the two authors I’ve quoted in as characters on the poster with relevant animated posed. I’ve arranged and numbered everything so it’s easy to follow (hopefully) and added my business logo for living paint and that’s it really. I’ve never done a canvas poster before so it was quite interesting seeing the final result over the counter at the print shop, quite chuffed actually. Should look a treat in the exhibition!

I’ve got to take this in tomorrow and present it as a final part of the module then send it on its way to the exhibition.

Definitely keeping this for future office use later, spelling mistake included!

WIP: Animated Research Poster

Using my research presentation to create the animated poster which will be in our gallery exhibition on the 28th May. Mine will be about UX design however I’ve had to change the question from “Should UX designers try to change user habits?” to “What triggers can you use to change user habits?”.

Though I’m not happy with that either because as a research preposition I don’t feel it has the depth to give a real reflective question that I can explore properly. I instead decided to change the question to “Should user habits be considered as the top priority when planning a design?”. I feel that has a lot more potential to it then the previous two and I was only made aware of that through the presentation of my research two weeks prior to today with my module leader Andrew Love.

I designed the below in Photoshop CS5 only, all of it was designed by myself using shapes, selection tools and just my own typography skills. I added the green landscape to later on add interesting features for what will be a text laden poster to keep it more interesting.

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10- Reflections: Career aspirations

What next for me & why? Well I’m going to do my top up year at University to make sure I finish my time with a BA degree. After that I want to continue doing free lance work with ‘living paint’ my little design company. I’m still in two minds whether I want to seek employment for a while to gain further experience in a proper agency before eventually doing what I want to do which is making my own design agency (within our own office as opposed to working from home).

I want to continue doing multimedia consultancy for several businesses as I am already, primarily my family business the law firm. There’s a lot of opportunity to travel in that business and if I can combine it with my aspirations they could actually go quite well hand in hand.

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Developing my User Experience (UX) skills is a must throughout the rest of this year and beyond. I’d love to do more UX heavy projects and hone my skills so that I can specialise in it fully once I leave University. The art of understanding how a user experiences a website and how best to guide them to convert into a sale is SUCH a powerful tool that I could many uses for it going forward in all the projects I work in or consult for.

Understanding the psyche of someone who visits a website and why they don’t buy is equally as intriguing.

How do you design a website that helps funnel and appropriate as many sales as possible from people just visiting.

My end goal is to have my own design agency that specialises in a great user experiences that yields powerful results! One day🙂

9. Reflections: Design Journal.

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I’ve learnt a lot about the tyre industry and making effective e-shops for large multi-national companies. Using the design journal alongside this project has been a very new experience for me but one that I’ve always been interested in doing to map out and record my thoughts as a creative practitioner. I’ve learnt for example I rely far too heavily on pre-built plugin, templates and designs rather than doing my own work from scratch. However that is also down to people’s budgets, if I could get larger projects I could afford to spend more time making bespoke widgets, plugin and websites.

As for the company I’ve realised over the next 2 years there is a large scope for growth and they want to keep me on for those two years a freelance consultant, supporting them through their growth. Which I’m happy to do, they’re already opening several new branches in Scotland and coming out with a new tire brand, so there would be plenty to do.

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I felt the weekly Skype meetings was a fantastic improvement on speaking only 2-3 times at most with a client as it brought us closer together in terms of understanding each others design visions. It’s something I’ll probably keep for all my clients going forward, to try and atleast have fortnightly meetings.

8. Design Task update. Store Locator

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I’ve finally finished the store locator page and it looks just like the Halfords page I used as inspiration below.

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Very simple to use, easy to find the store and it gives you step by step instructions on how to get there. Luckily it was fairly easy to configure however difficult to find. I had to go through 3 other plugins for WordPress that claimed to do the same thing but were awful in comparison. They were either aesthetically incompatible, or just plain didn’t work at all. The plugin I used was the one below ‘WordPress Store Locator’ from the main WordPress website in the plugin section.

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7. Profile2.

Another person who I will be working with but I’m not at the moment is Adam Mousa, who is a video graphics designer. I had a brief chat and meeting with him over Skype and he told me what he’d need to make the video and what recommendations he would make for the length and style of the video.

We mostly speak by email and skype. Whilst he isn’t doing freelance work Adam teaches at his local University in the Philippines. This is some of his previous work he did for another project we worked on together.

6. Profile1.

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I’m working mostly by myself on this project aside from Humza Salah who is my contact at H&H. We have weekly Skype meetings on Fridays, that help them discuss their vision, keep on track of development and make sure that I get to create something that has been fully approved by the client every step of the way so their can be no qualms at the end. Humza is the manager of the Glasgow branch of H&H and ultimately in charge of marketing for the whole company, so working with him gives access to the decision maker which makes life much easier, rather than working with a middle person who needs to constantly seek approval from a higher up. That can always slow things down tremendously.

5.Take a look at what I’m working on?

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So far I’ve been having weekly Skype meetings with the client keeping them up-to-date with the on-going work which is has been really useful with working with somebody who isn’t even in the same country/proximity as you! The work has been full-on now with it being an e-shop (always a large task to under take).

The design has come to a final look now with the client approving its look however the technical aspects remain unfinished. Things such as the contact page, the store locator and the tyre filter plugin on the shop page. The contact page requires a working map and aesthetically acceptable contact form. The correct store locator plugin still needs to be found though that’s not a major issue just yet as there are plenty to choose from however the ones I’ve used so far have not been up to standard for a website of this size and quality. They’ve either lacked aesthetic quality or just not been to snuff for what’s technically needed. Finally the tyre filter plugin requires a lot of customisation for it to be relevant to the client however I’m waiting on a database of product information before I can amend that accordingly so that it fits the clients needs perfectly.

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I’m starting to learn more towards User Experience (UX) design the more freelance work I do as I find very fascinating and actually quite powerful. Powerful in the sense that if you can understand how to give a proper UX experience for a customer you can learn to convert visitors to sales even better on websites. Right now the average rough estimate for visitors to sales conversations on e-shops is about 3-6% of all visitors to that site, but how do you achieve/improve upon on it? The art of understanding that intrigues and improving a user experience from web search to sale could be very powerful when I run my own design agency one day which is what I eventually want to do and working on e-shops like this certainly help!

4.Research: Prototyping.

So far the website looks like this, with large picture based sliders on the front and the client was very happy with the aesthetic result of this.

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The guy holding the tire on the ‘auto’s page had to be changed from orange to black due to client demands. I did that in Adobe Photoshop, recolouring each pixel to give it a realistic, professional finish. You can’t even tell which one is the original!
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The shop has had to be taken down due to it not being finished so we’ve had a disclaimer on there to stop clients from trying to purchase anything (payments are disabled) and stop complaints from coming in asking why the new website isn’t working. This is happened since we’ve moved this website from the test servers on livingpaint.co.uk to the live domain handhtyres.com.

3.Research: Technical.

What do I need to do/learn technically to make it happen? How else might I do it?

In terms of technical knowledge that needs to be acquired the following are the areas of concern approaching this particular design task.

– Tyre knowledge
– Tyre brands
– Tyre Filter plugins
– Store Locator
– Stock motion graphic videos (storyboard, script writing, other examples)

I generally need to have a brief knowledge of tyre sizes/types/brands etc to give myself  a base of knowledge to help give whatever design choices I employ to be relevant to the Industry and audience I’m targeting. So I’ll have to look at other tyre brand sites (Pirelli, Michellin, Bridgestone etc) and other part-worn tyre retailers to see how they use the new features I’m trying to employ above effectively or ineffectively. It’s usually how I go about building a website in an industry I’ve never built one in before, I’ve done it for Inks and toners, Immigration Law practices, interpretation/translation firms etc.

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In terms of the tyre filter plugin and store locator, aside from the initial research of seeing how other websites in the industry do it. I base my standard of what I should expect from that and go ahead to find something similar on code canyon or other pre-built code websites that package that feature for you to simply slot into your website with minimal setup. Once I’ve trawled through those sites and found what I’m looking for, I’d pay for it and amend the code to fit the needs of the client and aesthetically the website so I would have to make sure I understand from my initial research on the competition what is the standard for how it is done and how it could be done better.

The other option is to build it from scratch which would be very time consuming but very effective in terms of increasing website load time by not having wasteful code and getting exactly what the client wants from it with me having complete control over it, unfortunately due to the customers budget it would not be worth the time to make it compared to the return.

As for the stock motion graphic videos I would need to research other tyre based companies and see how they’ve done these video’s before. Unfortunately for many industries their websites and marketing materials (videos) are not always done to a high professional standard and you end up finding you have NO inspiration to work with. This happened to be one of those industries and with the bits and bobs I did find, I decided to substitute the concept/research from other industries that had made a brochure stock motion video that explained their company in a short time frame. I will be outsourcing these two videos to my video designer Adam, who only requires a storyboard and script to generally get started. Those are items I need to work with the client on before this video can be made and I would need to do research on how best to create those two items. Fortunately I’ve done storyboards/scripts for University film projects we’ve done though never for stock-motion graphic videos. I have though on my placement last summer at Atomic Media been privvy to how stock motion graphic videos have their story boards created and amended to a high standard with the clients script/concept. Researching best practices though will help on creating it for my own client and I highly relish the experience!

This is something I’d be looking to make however it would definitely need a Scottish voice over, as I find stock motion graphic videos without one are far less interesting like the one below.

(despite this one having fireworks and rock music it still doesn’t hold my interest as much as the one with the voice over!)

I could design the video myself and use stock motion graphics from stock websites and put it together myself however it would need be to the same quality as somebody who specialises in it (Adam) so it’s better to outsource certain aspects of a project/design task to ensure a professional/timely finish for the client.

2.Research: Concept & Audience.

The concept for the design task (which is the website) is to polish the brand and give it a simple yet professional touch resembling the ‘Pirelli’ brand. The reason being is it’s an established and prestigious online/offline brand with a colour scheme that closely matches the black/orange/white colour scheme H&H employ.

pirelliwebsitehttp://www.pirelli.com/tyres/en-gb/car/homepage

Aesthetics aside, similar to this website the client also wants a tyre filter page for the shop section and a store locator. The latter is self-explanatory, it finds the nearest H&H store in the UK/Europe simply by typing in the post code. That can be done through a simple plugin or pre-created script that I can buy online from http://codecanyon.net/. The tyre filter function would allow customers on the shop page to choose the correct tyre measurements they’re looking for to see if we have that product in stock, again which can be a pre-bought script from code canyon like the store locator.

Now that’s the e-shop, I’ve got till about the end of March to finalise that however on that website the client wants their new tire range Sportrak to be launched through it and that will require it’s own web-page, stock-motion video explaining the brand and finally some professional polish  for the brand as a whole (they already have the logo made). The end date on that is May and with that will also come the stock-motion video for H&H which will give an intro into the main H&H company. To save time and money though still get the message across both the stock-motion graphic videos will roughly be a minute in length and will require a script/storyboard before I can work on bringing that to completion.

This is all targeted towards whole sale customers and individual retail customers for part-worn tyres some of which are existing customers though this website is mostly here to attract new customers.

1.Career Aspirations, Placement & Design Task overview.

UX-Design-I want to be a User Interface or User Experience Designer (UI/UX). The more I work, study and progress in this industry I realise I would perhaps enjoy being a user experience designer rather than a literal interface designer. That’s because I’d like to understand the psyche and thought process of someone who uses an intractable product. I find that aspect of UX work far more interesting than actually designing the button they’ll press. Understanding the user journey from start to finish has become a much larger aspect of my work, intentionally or unintentionally, I don’t know but it’s very important especially in sales based websites. Understanding an effective user experience to convert that visit to a sale is an actual valuable skill which I’ve had to use in several projects now including this one.

h&hlogo_small_blackThis project being the one I’m going to focus on for my work placement this year for Media Creatives course (year 2) with H & H tyres. The company in question is an international part-worn tyre company based in Glasgow, Scotland who want to add some real polish to their brand.

What they’ve asked me to do is to essentially make them an e-shop to sell their tyres to individual retail customer and wholesale handhyellwebsitecustomers who buy large amounts in bulk. That is the main design task, however after speaking to them I convinced them change the design task to something more encompassing of a brand overhaul. H&H already had a website made by yell.com (which looked awful) and it was my suggestion that rather having to drastically different looking websites, why not combine the two and make one all encompassing website with the e-shop and their brochure company info. On top of that I am to design two stock motion videos explaining what H&H is and their new tyre brand Sportrak. I am also to help launch their Sportrak brand in the UK which is their new line of tyres. All of this will also have a social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Presentation day at Broadway Cinema!

The presentation was scheduled to be at 12pm at the Broadway Cinema, the first one there out of the two groups was to present first. Our group was to meet outside Tesco’s near the NCN Adams building off the tramp stop at 10.45am. With the group assembled there we made our merry way to the Broadway Cinema, with coffee in hand! We made it moments after the first group which meant we were to go second! Which is fair enough though we all did have to prepare our slides at 11am starting with Team Sonic than ourselves (Team Mario). Once everything was setup and ready to go we took our seats in the cinema and as the judges came one by one Team Sonic began their pitch.

They had the whole group up presenting and that’s fine for a University projects having everybody who did their respective work talking about it. Though we were told in the begining that we were meant to have 3 people presenting and time and time again I see this happening at university that people don’t really listen to what’s said and shoot themselves in the foot. I don’t think it’s a particularly big issue but if we’re asked to have 3 main presenters then you should adhere to that, why go out your way to spread yourself thin on the performance of everyone in your team hoping they can speak clearly and an informed manner when pitching. Luckily it turned out well for them and I thought their pitch was well presented though the brand for me didn’t really connect and I think they aimed more towards the gamer demographic rather than what the client wanted.

For example in their video they had references to games that a non-gamer wouldn’t have a clue about, so they’ve instantly alienated them and the logo was your typical pixelated gaming logo. We had plenty of those but it was my job and the leadership to say no to those ideas because they didn’t adhere to the clients needs, they again ignored the initial brief from client and our lecturers. I still however felt it was a great video in terms of production though everything else seemed to lack a theme/brand which I knew we had tried VERY hard to achieve by throwing out a lot of ideas until we come up with something more cohesive.

Also they had attempted to try do some work on merchandise similar to ours though they only stuck with clothing and didn’t really work. I thought the pitch on that particular section was terrible, presentation wise and also the look of the graphics they were using to represent the t-shirts.
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When we were finalising our presentation we had a WHOLE host of merchandise designed for the brand but we mostly chose clothing. Though days before the presentation we realised, that’s not the most important aspect and it’s also not going to really connect with the client. So instead we replaced it with lots of tech/gaming items to help relate it for every day use and spun so that we wanted the client to sell these stickers/decals/logo-icon as an icon of national video-game pride/heritage. That wherever you saw that logo you would know it represents video-gaming in the UK. That’s what our pitch became for the presentation and I think that far and above shot out the water what Team Sonic had done.

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They finished with a brief Q/A from the judges and then it was our turn. Ashley opened and then I followed with 3.5 minute section on logos, posters and merchandise. I felt it wasn’t my strongest presentation performance ever though it did the job but what followed me was the force that was Emily! An absolute gem in the group and I could tell from our rehearsals her presentation was going to be really strong. She came across very passionate, knowledgeable and believable. If I was hearing a pitch the way she presented really made me connect to the product and she didn’t really have the best bits of the presentation, but she made them interesting! We worked on scripts and cue cards on the Wednesday and we all stayed late helping Emily and I made sure she had interesting facts that related back to our pitch/brand and it turned out REALLY well in the end.

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In the Q/A afterwards a lot of questions were asked about our time/people/idea/resource management issues and myself and Ashley answered it between us. We spoke about how difficult it was to manage 15 people, their ideas and to keep people motivated and productive. Then a lot of the questions came up regarding our logo which the judges felt was very strong because I made sure to mention its diversity as it could be viewed as nut, UFO, football, portal out of Stargate or anything really that you could conceive which would make it very strong for animation (comments from Deborah/Andrew really helped here). So what turned out to be a perceived weakness as we all felt towards the end that the logo was the weakest part including myself as I preferred the flat design it turned out to be our GREATEST asset.

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We also spoke about how our ideas took a huge development path and we really racked our brains to come up with what we had so that it appealed to our target demographics and I think the judges really connected with that effort on our part. The below was the view from our point of view.
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Aftwards our course leader Deborah directed us upstairs towards the buffet for some networking and post-presentation deliberation. We were fairly confident we presented a strong pitch but you never know with these things what the judges could pick out and be happy with what they may not. After almost 45 minutes of deliberation and a lot of food/drink! We were gather together for the results…
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As well as the main prize there was prizes for those who we’re there groups most valuable members and voted for by their group. Myself, Ashley and Emily won the prizes for our group and deservedly so, in terms of hours and creative input I think we put in some of the most, I think Zack also deserved to win but I’m happy with the results. Ashley really tried hard with this project and the results showed, he was on us day in day out to get results from us so I’m very thankful to him for motivating 15 people to work together day in day out for 3 weeks right to the very end!

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The results came back….and after a tense pause it was announced…..THAT WE TEAM MARIO HAD WON!!

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The reasons behind our victory were explained that our logo and brand theme were very coherent, strong and highly marketable. They also felt that we connected with our clients need far more than Team Sonis, which I totally agreed with. So we took some photos, collected our prizes and headed for our well deserved victory drink!

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Cheers! Me and George we’re temporarily lost en route to weather spoons due to a shop giving away free clothes that diverted our attention momentarily only to realise they were giving away perhaps 10 items of clothes for free that we’re from the 70’s. HOWEVER, we made it in the end!

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Memorieeessss likeee the oneess we useeedd to haveee!🙂

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R.I.P Team Sonic.

Booklet design for NVA Pitch at Broadway

Myself and Zack today in whatever time we had in-between the presentation design, worked on the booklet to be handed at Broadway on Friday. I envisioned a glossy card booklet stapled in the middle with high quality images of our work and ourself s with a full brand theme breakdown + action plan. I designed and wrote up the content including the brand theme + page layouts.

This is the design Zack came up with. I wasn’t able to work fully with him on the design today due to me being spread thing elsewhere but tomorrow we were fully going to devote our time to it.
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I think it looks amazing and Zack did a great job on it however I’d have like to have added more video production photos on the back. I normally don’t like the fonts used by others but this time he chose a really good font. I also advised for the logo’s to be added at the bottom and all in all it turned out really well! Also I like the logo colours he’s put in the top right hand corner, all credit to him, a very nice cover for our handout booklet.

Team Meeting – Video, Presentation, Booklet!

So Ashley’s finished editing the videos and here they are!

This is the one that most resembles the idea that I shared with the group in the very start and I think it turned out very well as did the other one. The outro animation was designed by Andrew Rothe and all the audio/music/soundbites were done by Ashley.

I don’t think the outro he used was quite the best in terms of keeping tempo and appealing to the demographic we were after but nevertheless it turned out well. If I had done it I would have done that part slightly differently and used calmer music to maybe just a short video game sound bite and not something from the transformers to follow after as I think that was too much!

The meeting however was attended by myself, Emily, Zack and Ashley and we stayed and starved ourselves to get things right deep into the late afternoon. We worked on the presentation and the scripts that we were to read from. I personally wrote down bullet points on cue-cards however we did a rehersal at the end of the day and it went fairly well. We were 3 minutes over our allotted time so we all had to amend our pacing and what we spoke about.

Despite the groups best wishes Ashley and Zack and wanted to do the presentation in Prezi which I detest but due to consensus, I voiced my opinion and let them do the presentation on there. I would prefer MS Powerpoint due to professionalism and ease of customisation to showcase exactly what we needed to pitch to the client on Friday however we went with Prezi and we did struggle on it. Trying to showcase the posters proved problematic due to the way the pictures zoom in Prezi and also the look of it wasn’t great though it did the job, barley. In a proper client meeting outside of University I would never personally use Prezi unless the client asked me to use it or commission it for use themselves.

http://prezi.com/r0rnabcx3evo/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Poster Work #2 – Adding QR codes and Capitalisation!

So after wide-spread discussion we were overall quite happy with the posters however decided capitalisation of the strap-line was needed in the posters as well as the QR codes made by Zack. To which I mostly agreed, I didn’t think the capitalisation would look good but after it was done, it actually worked really well and made it stand out. Also the QR codes were very important of course.

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Video Ideas #2 – My Idea got scrapped, kinda! :(

So in the end the video idea was changed once again. This time however I didn’t know. Not that it really matters a significant amount as I’m not in the video team but I just felt the idea I previously gave was a very good one! They’re due to start recording today and tomorrow so it’s a pretty final decision and all the best to them. As far as I understand its a combination of two 30 second videos in the vox-populi style. With one of the video’s being similar to my idea but not quite.

So not sure what the team is really going to do with it although I know we’ll need several actors and my girlfriend did volunteer to act however on Wednesday she’d be unavailable which was sad as they were planning to come to our flat to record!😦

Oh well, I hope it turns out well!

Poster Work #1 – Childhood, adventure, imagination! Did I capture it?

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These are the current posters ideas I’ve come up. A slight bit unhappy with what the group has come up with, not in unhappy sense but in terms of adherent to the clients criteria. I think this successfully invokes feelings of adventures, risk and nostalgia! Which should help bring in the different demographics they were after, by trying to get the parents / grand parents / teachers etc excited to take themselves or their children there on a day out! I think the father and son picture on the back drop of a day that’s almost over tells a story that they’ve had a long day of adventure which began and ended at the National Videogame Arcade. I think everything works in this poster, the typography, the logo placement and even the opening date placement font.

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This idea was alongside my original set of poster ideas which I in the end scrapped. It was to take something deeply nostalgic like marbles or a chopper bike and add our strap-line to it to show similarities between what you enjoyed as a young person and what young people today enjoy! The stock image of marbles in an old styled bag is a beautiful one but I fear it’s not a powerful one though it could be compared today to candy crush, it’s a quite a stretch this one but it at least looks the part. I’ll have to see from group feedback, what everyone thinks.

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In a similar vein to the previous poster I’ve gone further and made it black and white to symbolise nostalgia. However it’s the type of poster where two people can see two entirely different ideas from it, for example a young person may see loot rolls from World of Warcraft from the dice or Games Workshop table top games and civilization from the board game set pieces. I think that’s the beauty of video games and I truly believe these posters to be able to connect the different demographics as traditional pixelated gaming iconography and art styles would probably repel those who don’t normally play games and therefore not engage them AT ALL to visit the NVA. I’ve also used the flat logo design here which I think works particularly well.