Assignment 2 – The Brief

The brief

The brief was to create images which would be used within a campaign for a supermarket, to package and promote a range of seasonal foods. The supermarket is respected for the quality of food they supply. They want to promote this notion of quality in their design and packaging. The finished images will be a‘point of sale’ display sited in a store near to the fruit and vegetables. The final reproduction size will be 12 x12 inches. Your artwork can be same size or in scale.

Identifying key words

Summer Fruits and Autumn Fruits were chosen as the focus for the brief.  The key words for this brief were the seasons chosen and the fact that it was fruit associated with it.

Responding to words

A spider diagram was created to see what words were associated with ‘Summer’ and ‘Autumn’.  These words would assist in generating ideas for the point of sale images.


Generating ideas

From the words evoked from the spider diagram, the key ideas that were extracted were colours associated with the seasons and type of fruit commonly associated with them.



For research I examined the type of point of sales that shops had in my local area.  The only real point of sale for summer fruit was a chalk board with special prices on it.  Packages were often just transparent and the only visual on it was related to organic farming so displayed the farm it came from.  This was a photo rather than an illustration.  Logos and writing were the main focus for the packaging and often came in healthy green shades to indicate fresh and organic.The main source for images were found in magazines and advertisements and a range of images can be seen here on my link:

Drawing ideas up

Based on the research I wanted to create an image that would highlight all the positives of the season while expressing the common associations with it as much as possible.  First sketches were done in a mix of pencil, marker and ink.  I experimented with ideas on whether to express the fruit is a single way, grouped or as characters.

Having explored that idea I felt that although cute, the characterization of the fruit wasn’t meeting the briefs requirements of ‘ quality’.  It was a little too quirky and therefore the playful aspect could overwhelm the important message of quality of produce.

I then tried creating single fruit assets in illustrator.  The idea would be to create individual fruit and then copy and paste in group formats or create a pattern with the fruit.

Choosing ideas

As the illustrator images were much cleaner and sharper, they gave the impression that they were watery and healthy, therefore quality.  This meant that the brief would be met in relation to expressing quality fruit so I went with that.

Working within the given format and creating ‘thumbnails’

I decided that the first thumbnail allowed for the autumn theme to be conveyed easily and grouping the fruit together in the centre would bring the attention to it quicker.

The summer fruit theme worked for the 2nd thumbnail as I liked the idea of having falling fruit and a background of strong colour.  Strawberries and cream would be easily relatable as a summer fruit treat.


Considering viewpoint, composition and content

The idea for the autumn image was to ensure that the focal point was the fruit and that it appeared as if just picked.  The elements for autumn would be in the background and suggested through props.  Putting the fruit in the centre of the image and leaving some room at the top and bottom of the image would give room for text if needed.

As the image template was 12×12 inches, the important aspects would be to show off the fruit in their best light and ensure that the image wasn’t overwhelmed by other things.  I wanted the customer to see the fruit and understand that it was a point of sale for the fruit and not something else.



I created two sample boards which best represented the type of images that met the brief of ‘quality’.  In the autumn board the dominant colours are warm but definitely part of the autumn season.  The sky has changed colour and the warmer oranges and red dominate the fruit and landscape.

All images were sourced from, and as well as

The summer board has much brighter colours and blue is a dominant colour to give the impression that summer is here.  It works in this season but couldn’t be used in the autumn one as it would give the fruit an impression of decay or off season.  The blue can be used to convey summer for the image here, but has to be toned down for the autumn image.

All images were sourced from, and as well as

From there I started on the summer image and created a ‘strawberries and cream’ style image.  However, it went too far in one direction and lost the focus for the brief which was ‘quality’.  It began to look like a point of sale for strawberries only.

Hilary Lawler – Assignment 2 – 1st draft

Final artwork

I put the fruit in a group composition in the center of the images.  I used a larger image of two items of fruit in both and adjusted the layer properties to give the vibrant colour.  This gave the background a healthy and vibrant colour in the summer image and a lovely dark autumn plum and green tone in the autumn image.

The water splash was a free png image from and using this as a layer gave the impression that the fruit was fresh and mouthwatering.

The composition of the fruit was positioned in the lower half of the image for the autumn image and centered which I felt worked well.  There are a lot of triangle shapes in it which are offset by circles from the grapes and clusters of apples.

Both images have a coherency with each other even though they are different seasons.  They represent fruit that would be commonly found in supermarkets in Ireland and exotic or short season fruits have been excluded to give the images a longer shelf life usage.  Had I included figs, raspberries, melons or pineapples, then the point of sale would have had a short lifespan for use.

Images with text are also shown to demonstrate that this had been taken into consideration during the design process.  The font used was a Moon Flower font downloaded for study use only from

Exercise 13 – Visual metaphors

Exercise 13 – Visual Metaphors

Literal – Free from exaggeration or embellishment.

Metaphorical  – Expressing one thing in terms normally denoting another.

Receiving the brief

Choose one from the phrases and create a drawn visual list of objects and subjects which could be used to symbolise them:

Reaching retirement                      Dreams of romance                        Broken relationship

Censorship of the press                High achievement                           Economic catastrophe

phrase chosen:  Censorship of the press


Identifying key words

press – paper, media, printing, conveying information, expressing opinions, exchanging views, covering stories

censorship – prevention, not permitted, suppression of free speech, public communication or information that may be deemed harmful, sensitive or objectionable by another body, institution or government.

Responding to words

Press – journalists/papers/black & white/ truth seekers/uncovering/travel/exposing/war reporters/paparazzi/cameras/pencil and paper/researching/bigger picture/exploring possibilities/shutdown

censorship – stopping/cease/prevented/shut up/violent/covering up truth/preventing communication/control/power/governments/dictators/negative/people/denied/harmful/preventative measures/glorified/unnecessary/necessary

Using images that were taken from a google search of ‘censorship’, I put together a sample board of those posters, impressions and images that stood out to me.



The quotation coupled with a strong image of a powerful hand squashing the masses shows us the leverage and control expressed through censorship, while the image of the typist pokes fun at the ‘people just doing their job’ because they were told to.

Ai Weiwei,, is an artist and a political activist from China.  After the earthquake disaster in 2008 he led an investigation into the worst hit areas in a bid to uncover the names of the student victims and compile a list of all those who perished.  His blog revealed a number of issues with the governments transparency around naming those that died.  In 2011 he was arrested and held without official charge for 81days.  His work reflects so many aspects of the restrictions in his country and he constantly pushing the boundaries and limitations in a bid to have freedom of expression.

The cartoon illustrations stood out because they poked fun and I liked the humor and dry wit in them that commented on censorship.  The badge and statue of liberty poster stood out as the badge was witty and played on the meaning in a great way while the poster was commenting on the technological aspect of censorship rather than the paper aspect.

The statue of Liberty being watched and covered up so that she can’t see, hear or speak is a great metaphor for the American people being watched in their own country.  The use of the colours in the poster also lend to a very stark image and echoes that of a Soviet Communist propaganda poster – in this article it mentions that countries like China and Iran are perfecting the art of online censorship, with some journalists having to resort to cryptography to avoid censorship.

I also collected a lot of visual metaphor examples through pinterest –


Drawing ideas up


I had a few ideas sketched down that were going from the traditional form of a hand over a mouth to a person sitting at a computer with ‘no access’ sign on it.  These were quite common and even the 3 monkey symbol of ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ was coming up a lot too.  I thought about having a demonstration with placards having their words blackened out so you could only partially see the information.

I wasn’t sure what to create, but knew that it would be either a standalone image without words or a cartoon illustration with a comment in it.  After a few sketches and jotting down ideas I thought the bird cage was the one that appealed to me the most.

Choosing ideas

I wanted to create an image with a bird in a cage with boss cats around it in a menacing fashion.  The bird would be a parrot as parrots can talk, and the bird would be molting and the feathers falling out would have words written on them such as ‘truth’, ‘freedom’, ‘free speech’.  The idea behind it being that the parrot can talk but can’t due to the restrictions around it and the censorship of what it wants to say.  The style could merge the cartoon illustration with some spoken words if I needed while the symbolism in the cage, bird and cats would hopefully be transparent to the viewer.

Fat cat –

Working within the given format and creating ‘thumbnails’


9 thumbnails were created using the idea of a bird in a cage and a number of ‘fat cats’ lounging around the cage keeping an eye on it.

Considering viewpoint, composition and content

 Of the 9 thumbnails created, the ones that I wanted to explore were the 1st, 4th, 8th and 9th.  I liked the idea of a interaction between the body of the cat with the cage, wrapping itself around it like it owned it.

The first and last thumbnails were more about the observation and control of a fat cat on the parrot.  The bird is stuck in the situation and unable to control it fully.  It can speak, but it is restricted and the outside influences can be felt and there is a menacing quality to them.



a chinese paper that was censored.  A Chinese paper successfully censored the stock market crash –



Antique wallpaper was used for the texture and a sketch was done of a parrot using a google image of a parrot as loose reference.

Final artwork

I used photoshop to merge all the layers together and then used the multiply and divide to create a layer that blended with the others.  The parrot was layered as an inverse select layer and a loose range of colours were put over it but they didn’t really work.

Instead I chose to allow one of the inverse layers to be normal and then coloured the other to give a slight gradient look to it.  The Chinese newspaper that censored the stockmarket crash was flipped backwards and a layer effect looked like sections of the paper had been removed, giving it a feel of further censorship.

The final step was a layer with a gradient copied and flipped so that the antique effect showed through more.  The layer with the antique wallpaper was too strong so had to be faded out but I still wanted the edges of it to show on the image in some way.  A gradient was the best option.Exercise13_Censorshipofthepress

Exercise 12 – Choosing content


Main character:

  • deep thinker
  • determined
  • thoughtful
  • middle-aged
  • repressed anger
  • tall
  • lines in his face
  • 1940s clothing and style
  • most likely facial hair
  • well dressed with a suit
  • bags under his eyes at times due to working late



The clothing would be definitely a full suit with waistcoat and trenchcoat and hat.  It would be well tailored but reasonably priced and well worn.

exercise 12 - character board

All images were sourced via image search for noir, detective, 1940s men and Scotland Yard.


The furniture in the main area is a large simple desk.  The space is described as not having comfort but not being uncomfortable, so that would indicate sparsely furnished with what was necessary for a well run office.

Maybe a typewriter, pen, phone and note pad on the desk and a filing cabinet with files in it.  No window dressing was present but the glass in the window was plate glass.

exercise 12 - image board interior and light

All images were sourced via, gettyimages and shuttershock through a general image search for detective, 1940s furniture and Scotland Yard.

Visual reference: – life in Scotland Yard 1940s gives a great example of the type of interior and exterior of Scotland Yard during this decade.  It also shows what type of style, mannerisms and ways of communicating the police officers would have engaged with.

Something that really stands out is that the men wore full suits and hat.  The style was very distinguished but as they had to work in them they became a little tired looking after a while.  The images provide a clear reference for the type of styles and furniture that would have been encountered at that time.

A selection of noir detective styles were also made into a board on pinterest  – – for further visual references.

Mood Board:

Using a spider diagram I explored the words that I associated with ‘Dark’ as I felt that the passage reflected a dark and somber mood around a frustrated detective unable to solve a crime.


A combination of shadow and light, smoke, war torn London and reflective surfaces were used to create the mood of the piece.  It was also important to create a clear palette for it and black and white was the most dominant feeling for the 1940s.  Almost a film noir type vibe was imagined and the images of a detective imply a quiet anger rather than an explosive one.  The shadowy figure in the top right indicates the elusive and sneaky qualities of the perpetrator that cannot be caught.

Tweed represented the weaved material that would stand out in the dark due to its pattern while the glass and heavier materials offer a more reflective type surface.  All the light feels a little diffused rather than strong and piercing, almost giving the impression that it has to pass through smoke or fog.


For the portrait I wanted to capture a mature man with a suit who was middle aged but looked worn out.  Maybe due to the frustration of his job coupled with the fact that Britain was recovering from the war.  I also wanted to keep with a black and white image and merge layers together to give the impression that we could almost see what London looked like.

Based on the extract there were two possible options for the figure.  Sitting at the desk or standing at the window.  I chose to do the standing pose and incorporate the window into the image in some way.   Initial sketches almost looked cartoon like.  Then a few others produced too light an effect or too strong an effect. I tried another approach as the sketches were very varied.


The position of the person in the room was something I was happy with but the character needed more refining.  This nearly worked but looked too modern so I reverted back to the previous sketch.

I used some of the images from my mood board and layered them in PS along with my sketches to see which one worked best.   I also tried an inverted version to see if this would work in some way.  I was imagining it would be a book cover.

Both of the images worked well, but I felt that the man was looking a little too modern and didn’t fit the decade fully.

I tried it again with the other sketch and used an inverted image also, but felt the inverted image didn’t work as well as the sketch layer.  It still has something good about it but the outline got a little lost around the face and the opacity adjusted didn’t allow the other images to come through enough without losing the inverted image completely.

The one I picked as the best representation for the portrait and what the extract wanted to convey is featured below.  It met the brief for expressing a repressed, angered, middle aged man from the 1940s, looking out a tall uncurtained window in Scotland Yard onto a war torn London.  It felt more like an observation from a moment in time and rather than the character looking directly at us, he is looking through us out towards the landscape of London.

Exercise 12 - final image3



Exercise 11 – Black & White Drawing


This was chosen as the focus for Exercise 11.  I created a spider diagram to explore what the word meant for me.  After exploring different associations I went with the word ‘detached’ and proceeded to gather images that are related to detached homes.

From the images selected the basic shape of a detached house on the market was square, 2 storey with 4 windows at the front and an extended porch area.  Based on this I sketched an image of a house picking features from the sample board.  The front of the house garden area was an important feature and for the image I wanted to give some type of contrast so included a strong tree theme and hedge area.

The pencil sketch wasn’t a strong black colour when scanned and so it had to be adjusted in PS and made stronger.  The pencil sketch also meant that some of the lines were not crisp and clean.  As a result when selecting areas, some of the lines were not completely closed around a shape and the cutting was not neat.


Although I didn’t work with a strong black and white line image from the start, these images managed to work out well as cutting sections where shadow was suggested really stood out.  As it was in PS it meant that the white and black of the image was very clean and clear.

The clouds were not clean lines so they didn’t cut neatly, but experimenting with the outline wasn’t too bad.  In the inverted image it would have stood out better had I coloured in the sketch with grey clouds.  The inverted image would have had clean white clouds.  The shadow under the porch area in the night time image really gives the effect of a strong full moon evening.

Based on the above results I felt it was important to create a clean line drawing of the image and explore that.  I went back over the sketch with a 0.2 fine black pen to see if a cleaner inverted image would make much of a difference.


I put in a little more structure for the garden to see if that would provide more contrast.  It did but still not enough to make the image pop.  Cutting sections wasn’t working as well as the previous experiment so I went back and got a black marker and filled in sections of the image with a view that they would be highlighted sections in the inverse image.

This produced a far more interesting effect and the clouds definitely worked better.  The colours are not as clean however, but somehow that had the effect of giving texture to the exterior of the house.  The leaves and the trees definitely benefitted from the block colour as the bark texture worked.  However, the marker was perhaps too heavy handed and a smaller nib would have been a better choice.

Both images can stand on their own and wouldn’t look out of place in a comic panel for a contrasting image of day and night.  The rays around the sun were deliberate in a bid to give a full moon aura effect in the inverse image.

My favourite however is the one below:Exercise11_inverted

What works for me in this image is the bark of the trees and leaves along with the shrubs.  The shading on the house prevented the house from being as good as it could have been but the other elements work and I like the contrast created by the dark and light and varied tones under the hedge.


Exercise 10 – a subjective drawing

A spider diagram was drawn up highlighting all the adjectives associated with my chosen word ‘glasses’ and the words chosen for this project were ‘square’ and ‘reflective’.  The first word was picked and explored but didn’t yield a result that I was happy with so  I tried another word.  ‘Reflective’ turned into reflection as that was the meaning behind it that I wanted to go with.

The mood board represents the type of reflection that occurs when the world around you gets reflected back via your lenses.  The mood suggests not only reflection but also a transparent quality in that the lens is being viewed through and reflecting at the same time.

I sketched the shadows that my glasses made on my sketchbook and varied the height and angle to give a different perspective on the frame and lenses.  I then coloured the shapes in and altered the image using an app on my phone to vary the tones and exposure.

These images were then brought into photoshop and altered to see what type of colours adjusting the opacity and contrast would create.  The inverted image was quite strong so I used that as the main image and put an overlay of a glowing image and a second layer of the same inverted image to give the reflective and almost lens flare effect.  The other adjusted images were too weak so they weren’t used for this final piece.

Exercise 10 - a subjective drawing

This works as it gives the impression of reflection as well as transparency.  It almost feels like it is under water in some ways.  The colour gradient created in the layering echoes the same type of colours commonly seen in a lens flare while the various strengths of the colour displayed gives a rough texture to the image.

I tried mixing up some other layers and got a different effect for each one using the inverted image as a hard mix and adjusting the opacity.  I think the one above is the strongest of the 4 but still like the effects generated from trying it all out.

The second and third image have more of a graphic quality to it and the exposed three colours from the effects of the layers makes some of the frames stand out a little more.  It still has a sense of not being an object but you can make out some of the shape to understand what it is.

The darker colours still work and the centre being lighter somehow gives a focal point for light.