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Full Page Advert

We have been asked to add another page to our music magazine, which is going to be a full page advert. The reason for this is mostly a technical reason, as our magazines are going to be now exported from a devoted program, and for to it to work, we require a page between the cover and contents. While it won’t give any marks, its useful to ponder what advertisement to put, as advertisements will be targeted towards specific audiences in mind. This will show our understanding of the audience. As my audience is a balance between young (who favour contemporary) and older males (who prefer older rock, such as AC/DC) with a mix of sport, entertainment, and building industry with both of the age gaps being of left wing disposition, it will be harder to choose a product that will pique their combined interests. So instead I’ll probably choose an advertisement that will cater to only one of the demographics. Realistically, the magazine would have space for different kind of advertisements to target different audience subgroups, so I don’t think I’ll miss out on much. I think I’ll do a Nike advertisement with a heavy focus on a sport sponsorship, as sport is was common aspect of the many different kinds of fans. I also considered using Red Bull as well, since a part of the target audience are likely to ingest it and Red Bull’s brand image is in line with their psycho graphics.

I’ve been also asked to add an advertisement for band in the magazine, this will further showcase my knowledge about the target audience. I decided to go with Kasabian, as they a quite vigorous band.

 

 

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Draft 5, Teacher feedback and final targets

We are quickly approaching the looming deadline. Our teacher assessed and gave us feedback for our work one last time, before we hand it in. But first, here’s the penultimate drafts in order.

Front Page


Contents Page


Double Page Spread


Teacher Feedback and Final Targets


In summary, I have done well, but there are few things to do to improve my grade.

  • I need to proof read my pages thoroughly. There are few spelling (I wrote “Finish” rather then “Finnish”) and grammar mistakes, and some of the writing can be improved, especially on the contents page, and the main article.
  • I need to finish redrafting the article before the submission date. This will probably result in me moving the text boxes in the double page spread.
  • The fonts on the contents page need to be changed, they communicate the wrong message. The contents page fonts are either too bubbly such as “Venla”, or too formal, such as the contents page.
  • I should enhance the main image on the contents page, as its lacking in colour compared to other images. I’ve been advised to increase the saturation to bring out more colour. I’ll try that.
  • The cover lines on the front cover page are unimaginative, they look like they have been slapped on. I should try to spice it up somehow. I’ll look at professional magazine for inspiration.
  • The barcode in the front cover page does not work with one of the cover lines right next to it. I should get rid of that cover line, and leave the barcode as it should be.
  • Include some bylines.

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Feedback for Article

Now I have written the first draft of the article, we have again gave each other feedback so we can improve it. Our peers read the article out loud so that we can spot faults easier.

Here’s the article:

 

Feedback


Here’s a audio of the feedback I got from one fellow student. I have some points summerised further below.

 

  • Some of the adjectives and verbs I used seem to be from another genre of writing. For example, the phrase “materialised atom by atom” seem straight from a sci-fi novel, while “indicates” is way too formal. I have to write in mind of the audience. I’ll change the words that are out of place.
  • Second paragraph told was too dense, too many “-isms”, while I been told I lack “cultural imperialism”. I’ll shorten it, and implement the former too.
  • Metaphor of “broken glass” does not work. Find another.
  • More fitting language, perhaps some Russian street slang e.g “Gopnik”?
  • Add more ways to identify him as some of Soviet influence, as well military-like.
  • Some of the descriptions are two long for the little effect they give. E.g. “The only indicator that this is the 21st century, is that a minority of the villagers wear t-shirts with a brand from the west”
  • The rhetorical question is weak in the first paragraph, find something stronger.
  • I should aim to make the writing of the criticism to be more amusing, so far the entertainment category is rather weak.
  • Too many times the word “music” has been said. Use a different one.
  • Find a name for a backwater Russian village.
  • Improve the ending somehow. The buildup drops quite dully.

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Article Idea Development

It is time to prepare to write the article.

We had access to a helpful preparation document. I address the most important parts right below.

In summary, I had to consider several factors which would determine the nature of the article. Factors include, the audience, the actual content and structure, the needs and wants of the audience according to Blummer and Kartz, discussion topics, genre of the magazine, etc. I thought about the content of the article, and how to incorporated the aforementioned things, and I concluded with the idea of an inspiring Russian artist trying to change the world via the power of music. Here’s how it went.

The main theme for discussion is the problems of the world. For the past few years, many things has have happened that the divided public opinion and caused huge general outrage. The US election, Brexit are just a few to name. Its easy to say that the media spent being outraged at one thing, before the story got old, before a new story was found to feel outraged about. In general, there’s a huge outrage over things, although general discontent is normal throughout generations, we have come to a peak recently. Therefore it is easy to discuss ways on how to fix these problems, although it is harder to find a solution. The article will be about an Soviet idealist young Russian who grew up in some backwater village and discovers the horrors of modern life. He’ll label the obvious problems in a Soviet perspective before offering one way to fix it, via emphatic power of music.

I must consider the language being used. As its for the common man, I’ll have to avoid technical vocabulary I’m prone to add during the process of creative writing, otherwise I’m going to distance myself from the target audience.

I also considered to end paragraphs with something which would persuade readers to continue reading onto the next paragraph, like a leading question.

In relation to Blumler and Katz’s theory, the following needs will be address:

  • Personal Identity: Soviet theme and general anger
  • Social Interaction: Discussion of social issues, hopefully makes the reader think about issues mentioned, and therefore talk to others about it
  • Entertainment: Writing, and criticism of the issues to be amusing
  • Education: Highlights current issues

One more important thing is to remember of the mark scheme’s needs, that is successful integration of text and image. In this context, I’ll have to make sure the article reflects the design, and the design reflects the article.

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Language Analysis

Before we set out to write articles for our double page spread, we have been tasked to analyse a professional one. By doing this we hope we can learn from the professionals and prepare for it.

The article I have analysed is Q, (Unknown date), Cash for Questions, Paul Stokes.

Language Analysis: Alt-J Q&A Q Magazine

First of all, the article starts out with a stand first, dropping of well known names such Miley Cyrus and David Cameron. This is an effective way of getting members of the audience to read the article, as according to Uses and Gratifications of Media theory, individuals use media for personal identity. If other forms of media are linked with their personal favourite media, they are more likely to view it. It’s an effective way of grabbing the audience. And even if they don’t link themselves with the aforementioned subjects, the out of place references create intrigue, giving audience an incentive to read on. There are is also an ellipsis, this gives the implication that the intrigue that has been raised will be answered if the audience continues to read on.

The structure of the article is the standard Q&A, with the questions being from the readers. The choice of questions issued to them are conventional, they are being asked seemingly human questions such as taking their parents out for a meal. This gives them the image of being more relatable quirky, and partial hopeless. They’re not being asked about their dreams, ambitions, but trivial questions, which often reveals their ineptitude. For example, one band member reveals his failure to get away copying homework from other student. Its as if the audience knows the band’s futility.

In terms of language, the semantic field consists of words with connotations of intellect. “Cerebral” and “boffin” sets up the band as plain clever, although this is contrasted by some of the responses given by the band which sets them as practically inept. This creates a star image of being unpractical nerds, and in turn makes them appeal to a certain audience, which in this case, is equally intellectual nerds. In other regards, there’s amusement present when reading these, seeing intellectuals struggle with issues others would simply brush off. Seeing these, the audience can relate much more easier to the stars, and in doing so there’s an increased chance of the readers becoming fans, which is one of the articles aims.     

The journalists portrays alt-J as a self-aware bookish conclave of nerds trying and failing to look cool. This is apparent due to the multiple contrasts present in the article, for one example, one member is pictured wearing a leather jacket while reading a book that look like it was printed in the 19th century, while being inside a prestigious library. The semantic fields paired up with anecdotes of failure also help to achieve this image. One effective thing the journalist does is keeping the audience’s attention by giving additional incentives throughout the article. After the band is established as impractical nerds, the following questions bring amusement as their ineffectual struggles are revealed, giving a further incentive. While this is not important for a short article, it is important for a double page spread as the attention of the audience might fade due to the large amount of content that needs to be absorbed by the audience.       

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Draft 4 Feedback and Targets

During the Christmas holidays, over teacher looked over our current drafts and gave constructive feedback. Below is his video feedback.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vECv3DgUg1I&feature=em-share_video_user

In summary I agree on a lot of his comments. The cover and contents need reworking, especially the masthead. He mentioned that I might have muddled my genre and I can see why. I was originally going for alternative music music band, but looking at it  now, it does not feel like it. Its quite bold, the mis-en-scene is quite intimidating and loud. He mentioned to look at the band Kasabian, which actually I was listening intensively during the period of making the magazine (the analysis of album was that introduced me to it). I’m certain it influenced me a lot during these design process, I got the idea of Rezov aiming the guitar as a gun from one of Kasabian’s music videos “Fire” specifically. At this point I think I might go for a rock magazine. It wouldn’t require a lot of changes as my magazine already feels like it. The only thing that requires intensive work is probably the star image and target audience.

Targets


  • The contents will be reworked, to show its not only about Rezov, and it will show I’m not a one-trick pony.
  • The cover will be reworked, with a new more appropriate masthead, with constructivism added in.
  • The typeface overall requires improvement, aside from the Soviet font.
  • I’ll have to make the double page spread more appropirate for text.
  • Spice up the photographs, what if implement a constructivism style to one photo of Rezov?

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Latest Drafts

Here’s the links to the latest drafts so far:

Front Cover:

Contents Page:

Double Page Spread:

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Draft 3 – Double Page Spread

First Draft


Now its time to design the double page spread. For this one, we had to balance text and image, with the article in mind, as well as integrate it together. I decided to have one giant image rather then the multiple small ones, such this will help to integrate text and image much more better, such as text being wrapped around the main image. With an image with lead space, its quite effective in getting the audiences attention.

The are some issues that I can spot already. The image of the artist has a white crispy edge, I’ll edit to get rid of it.  The text wrapping is in such a way that its hard to read the nearby text, however, this issue will be addressed once the proper text will be implemented, which will be as soon we have our lesson on writing articles, as they will have the actual letters I’ll need to move around.

Currently, I have two potential designs. One with a more soviet feel to it, while the other is more in line with constuctivism style that was implemented in the other pages. So far, I find the latter one to be more visually appealing, although it does deviate from the established theme, so far the only hint you have of being Russian is the font and colour, there must be more otherwise it will fall flat.  While constructivism art was used by the Soviets, most people don’t know that, and won’t therefore ascribe the style to the Soviets. I doubt that my target audience would know that fact, so I’ll need to change it to be more Soviet. A combination of both is what I should aim for, however, I’ll need to improve my skills first before such an attempt.

Peer Feedback 


For my double page spread, it seems like I hit the mark, I’ve successfully implemented the constructivism background, the typeface is great, the photo is great. The background seems great, the placement of  the photo of the artist is great. There’s no immediate problems I can spot, aside the text wrapping, and I’ve been told to make sure the two different text boxes which represents two different paragraphs, otherwise the reader might continue reading downwards into a completely different part of the article. Oh and polish up the image, some of the edges are too sharp, and therefore does not blend into the background that well. I’ll have to blur the edges.

I have been told that the maybe one image is not enough, maybe go for a second one. I feel that I don’t have space for a second one, although I’ll ask others for this.

I’ll start resizing the text boxes when I’ll start putting in the text boxes.

Targets for Improvement


  • Make the two different text boxes much look much more separated
  • Make the text wrapping look pleasing
  • Polish up the image, there’s a few loose pixels from the magic wand

A New Improved Draft


Following the advice I received, I performed some subtle changes. With the first draft of the article in place, it helped me to assign sizes of text boxes, font and quotes. While they aren’t final (as the final version of the article might be longer or shorter), it helps to set down what to aim for. I decreased the size of the black line in the middle of the page, so that the text and the pull quote have more room, looks less squashed. The size of the horizontal line I increased to make the the two different text boxes look much more separated. I also gave the two text boxes a drop capital each. Again, this would help the audience  to identify that the two text boxes are separate.

I polished up the image, getting rid of loose pixels and blurred the edges of the main star. I also erased some of his hair, because his outer edges of hair had gaps in between, showing the previous background. Removing the background in each gap would have been too time consuming, so I simply trimmed his hair a bit.

I’m very happen about these two pages. I don’t feel like there could be any improvement to them, of course its folly to think this so I’ll ask about my fellow classmates about any blemishes they can spot.

These pages will be edited a bit once I put in my final version of the article, as the article could be too big and the text needs resizing, etc. I do feel the top right quote is rather weak, while I fear the bottom might have inappropriate language. I’ll ask if one of the words needs to be censored or not.

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Draft 2 – Contents Page Draft

Draft of the Contents


Next’s up is the contents page. I decided to stick with the block style, as it more effective, and fits well for the constructivism theme I’m aiming for. I went for two design choices with the fonts for the contents list, either keep the same, or keep it different in order to have the fonts give an impression about the nature of the article. For example, a sans serif font denotes the prestige of the subject. I also added an inset, as a teaser for upcoming content in the magazine. Looking back on it, I think having only two images is not good. The addition of only one image make it feel like it was added in as an afterthought. Looking back on examples of professional magazine content pages, they either have a single dominating image without any accompanying images, or with. I have not seen any that has only just one accompanying image. I should either go for one large image, or one smaller one with more accompanying insets. I’ll wait for peer feedback before such a decision is made.

Another problem which I can identify now is that the right image, wasn’t edited correctly. I’ve used the magic wand tool to get rid of the background, however, it failed to select certain pixels, and are still left on the image, which can be spotted. I’m wanting for peer feedback before I decide on which I should do.  Also, the edge of the image and the background is quite sharp, it makes it look like as if its more artificial. Next time, when I cut out an image in Photoshop, I’ll add a blur/smooth effect on the edge of the image, which will make it blend into the background much more, and therefore look much more better.

Another concern is that the current block style feels artificial, without any texture present. Comparing to the examples of constructivism on the web, the shapes have texture and feel to it, while my ones feel much more artificial. I’ll ask others if they agree.

Looking back, I can notice that the contents list is quite scarce in actual content, looking back on professional magazines, they have a longer contents list, with the a much smaller text. I’ll have to edit my contents list to a similar style, as this the current list size denotes amateurism. Also, the layout of the contents is a bit stiff, and unimaginatively conventional. I’ll experiment with different layouts for the contents, maybe the contents dotted around the page rather than being restrained in a list?

Without font differentiation.

With font differentiation.

    

Peer Feedback


Again we analysed our work we have done so far, and gave each other constructive feedback in order to improve our work.

One thing the whole class realised was that professional and puiblished magazines have a bigger contents list than the ones we have made. All of us will increase the size of the list when possible.

Going for the list layout is very conventional and does not fully represent my creative side, I should experiment with other layouts, such as more freestyle one, with titles and page numbers scattered about  the place.

One of the images has some random pixels attached to it that is encroaching the page, I’ll get rid of those.

After some thought, I have realised that I might be overdoing it with the constructivism style and the main cover artist. While its essential at the cover and the double page spread where the main cover artist takes spotlight, its not essential in the contents, or the very least . At this point in time it might seem that my entire magazine is devoted to this one artist, which is not the case. Its suppose to be an alt-music magazine,not a Russian alt music one. What I think I’ll do to fix this issue is to tone it down on the contents page, with the style only present near the main cover artist. The rest of the page will have a design that will appeal to the intended target audience, this will break the monotony of red and yellow.

Also, one fellow student with good memory, remembered the lesson on the links between design and human physiology, aka leading space. Rezov’s face is aiming to the right, which means that he looking either at advert (if this was an actual magazine), or into empty space as this is the second page. The latter applies. Its better to flip otherwise the audience will be misled to empty space. Although he is also looking at the contents. I think I’ll flip the location of the contents.

Targets for Improvement


  • More contents
  • Experiment with different layouts
  • Polish up the images
  • Experiment with a block style with different textures
  • Reduce the constructivism style significantly and design the general look for the magazine, and make Rezov take less space up

A New Improved Front Page


I followed the advice I was given and totally redesigned the contents page. I tried to give a recognisable style for the magazine, when its not swamped by a constructivist style. I didn’t exactly add an extended list of contents, but rather a contents list with small descriptions underneath. The writing present here is not my best, they are the first drafts. Rezov now has a smaller influence on the page, with him being edited to be in the appropriate art style. However, I feel his placement is now out of place and forced.There must a better way to introduce him.

The layout is conventional, and certainly won’t be praised. However, this was the only way to implement picture of the other star. As a requirement, I need 4 original pictures done by me present in the magazine. With this layout, I have achieved that requirement.

I’m not happy about the typeface still. I think I’ll go for distinct fonts for each of the contents I think. It will help to identify what will be present, e.g. a grungy typeface will hint of the grunge genre.

I think I should try to create a more recognisable brand of magazine, because otherwise it will look my entire magazine is based around contrucivism.

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2nd Photo Shoot Contact Sheets

I would say this shoot went rather well. This time I went for a model with an emphasis on pride, military might and femininity, which would contrast well against the first model. The location this time was a castle (a western one, not a Kremlin style one), it was a good place to get a mis-en-scene of military might, such as posing with cannons or looking over the battlements. The costume I went for was a more of a typical Russian wear, with a fur hat, none of the Western consumer wear in usage. Although I did not manage to get the clothes I had originally intended, the substitutes were a good intimation.

Instead of posting all the photos into one whole contact sheet, we were instructed to sort photos into “good” and “bad” categories, and the reasoning behind them, resulting in lesson of what not to do the next time we go for a photoshoot.

For the most of my bad photos, out of focus is the reason. I’m not used to taking photos without a tripod, and I got unusually shaky hands, this leads to a higher ratio of out of focus camera shots. However, as rule of thumb, photographers should aim to take multiple shots of one subject with different settings. Since I followed this rule, I’ve managed to acquire some good photos. Other things that ruined a photo include the model moving, bad framing (this was due to vivid experimentation), and in some cases bad lighting. It was particularly cloudy on that day, thus the photos were much more darker than normal, although it did lead to some interesting backgrounds.

 

The good photographs are the polar opposite of the bad photos, in focus, good framing and some creativity are present. I successfully implemented canted angles, rule of thirds and leading spaces. There are some “bad” photos in the good photo category, that’s because I think I can salvage these via photoshop wizardry, and cropping them into a better frame.

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