Emmajaneallen's Blog

Colour and Politics.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 30, 2010

For anyone that knows anything about politics the use of colour is evidently vital. The two main colours in British politics are Blue and Red and they have been for many many years. First of all the Labour party.

After being founded in 1900 the labour party have always used the colour red, it is listed on their website as their ‘official colour’ which shows how important it is to the group. Red is commonly used to symbolise courage and also sacrifice, something that the Labour party heavily believe in. Examples of this can be found not only in the Labour party logo but also in the flags of many different countries for example, USA and Britain.

In Christianity, red is a very important colour, it is used all the time to signify the blood of those that have died and suffered for the faith.

The term “red-blooded” also describes someone who is audacious, robust, or virile another image that i’m sure the Labour party would like to give across to their voters.

Also at the time that the logo was created politics was extremely male dominated, that may explain the masculine influence and the red theme.

The red rose is also featured heavily in the party’s campaigns as it is the national Flower, it has connotations of patriotism and gives the impression that they are very proud and involved in the country that they represent. Also, within the UK the rose is very heavily associated with the monarchy, the Labour party have close relations with the Queen and the royal family and this maybe something they want to promote.

Secondly I would like to highlight the Conservative party logo. First I would like to add that it has been changed ALOT since the party began, perhaps suggesting that it isn’t quite as strong and clear a message as that of the Labour Party. Like the Labour party they have used a very strong colour and once again they have an ‘official colour’ blue.

Blue has connotations of happiness and optimism, for example everybody feels better when the skys are blue and the sun is out. However particularly in western countries, the colour blue is used to signify male and masculinity, when compared to pink, female. Although this isn’t true in most countries it is most definitely true within the UK and again we can see the connection with the masculine nature of politics.

Then if you compare those two to the Liberal Democrats Logo we can see that the designers of this logo have probably been the most calculated and thoughtful when they designed it. The Lib Dems are the youngest of the three parties and have consciously used a totally separate colour from the other parties when designing their logo.

The Liberal Democrats official colour is yellow, it has very positive connotations of happiness and vibrancy, however on the other hand yellow also denotes cowardliness and also deceit.

Unlike the other parties, yellow isn’t a very strong, powerful colour. Instead it is gentle and moderate. Maybe a concious decision by the designer to display the liberal and democratic nature of the party.

In conclusion, I believe that the colours that the parties use are very much telling a story about what the parties want to say and what they are about. They have cleverly been chosen to show the voter exactly what they wanted to.

A prime example of how colour can really be the corner stone of logo design.


Photos courtesy of their respective parties websites.


Colour and business.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 28, 2010


When looking at the issue of brands using colour I decided to look firstly at Calpol. The child’s medicine is famous within the UK and the purple and pink colour scheme is heavily associated with the medicine. The designers of the bottle have most definitely taken into account the message that they would like to put across when designing the bottle and the box.

The purple has connotations of calm and relaxation while the dash of pink is almost a cheeky accent, maybe suggesting that the calm won’t be around for long after the Calpol has been taken.

Purple also has connotations of tradition and trustworthyness, vital, as parents are putting their trust in the medicine every time they give it to their children.

The success of the colour scheme for this particular product is obvious as it hasn’t been changed at all in the entire lifetime of the product. The logo itself has stayed almost exactly the same and the only change has been a slight adjustment in the font that appears.

The colour has also been used on other products in the Calpol range such as tablets and thermometers and it has taken its success with it and it still is calming parents all over the world today.


Secondly I have chosen a totally different brand, Chanel is famed as being a sophisticated and traditional fashion brand. It uses black and white and often accents of gold and the designers of the logo, although simple have really taken this into account. Chanel was founded in 1909 and in those times colour might have been seen as quite common and black and white is simpler and more importantly classier. Chanel also has a very famous suit that is simply black with white trim and that also comes to mind when you look at the logo.

Even in the 21st century the ethos of Chanel has stayed somewhat the same and its creative director Karl Lagerfield very rarely shows any kind of colour in his shows, further keeping the association with the colours black and white and further cementing the brand as that of a traditional, classy and sophisticated clothing label.



Thirdly I would like to look at the very expensive and very powerful brand of Ferrari. Within their logo they use a range of colours, yellow, red, black and green. Again the designers of the logo have been very calculated in the decision to use these particular colours. First of all the green and red are used to signify the Italien flag, other than the fact that it is the place where the car is made there is also a widely held belief that Italien men are very swarve, very sophisticated and high rollers, that could get any woman that they wanted. With the Ferrari logo they are very much selling a lifestyle and an image rather than just a car.

The horse design also has connotations of speed and the definition between that and the yellow background means that it really pops out.

Yellow also makes the view think of freshness, new, young, trendy? Again selling the lifestyle.

I personally believe that this logo is focused  mainly on men and seems to me very masculine, the colours are also quite masculine and the designers have quite plainly done a good job.

You only have to look at the history of the company and the fact that the logo has never changed to see that it is very very effective and that it really is selling the brand.

Colour by association.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 28, 2010

I found this on the website (http://www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/branding/imageandbrandingcolumnistjohnwilliams/article175428.html) I found it extremely useful when looking at colour and deciding what works best where.

It throughly looks at colour and the emotions that they evoke.

Red: Red activates your pituitary gland, increasing your heart rate and causing you to breathe more rapidly. This visceral response makes red aggressive, energetic, provocative and attention-grabbing. Count on red to evoke a passionate response, albeit not always a favorable one. For example, red can represent danger or indebtedness.

Green: In general, green connotes health, freshness and serenity. However, green’s meaning varies with its many shades. Deeper greens are associated with wealth or prestige, while light greens are calming.

Yellow: In every society, yellow is associated with the sun. Thus, it communicates optimism, positivism, light and warmth. Certain shades seem to motivate and stimulate creative thought and energy. The eye sees bright yellows before any other color, making them great for point-of-purchase displays.

Purple: Purple is a color favored by creative types. With its blend of passionate red and tranquil blue, it evokes mystery, sophistication, spirituality and royalty. Lavender evokes nostalgia and sentimentality.

Pink: Pink’s message varies by intensity. Hot pinks convey energy, youthfulness, fun and excitement and are recommended for less expensive or trendy products for women or girls. Dusty pinks appear sentimental. Lighter pinks are more romantic.

Orange: Cheerful orange evokes exuberance, fun and vitality. With the drama of red plus the cheer of yellow, orange is viewed as gregarious and often childlike. Research indicates its lighter shades appeal to an upscale market. Peach tones work well with health care, restaurants and beauty salons.

Brown: This earthy color conveys simplicity, durability and stability. It can also elicit a negative response from consumers who relate to it as dirty. Certain shades of brown, like terracotta, can convey an upscale look. From a functional perspective, brown tends to hide dirt, making it a logical choice for some trucking and industrial companies.

Black: Black is serious, bold, powerful and classic. It creates drama and connotes sophistication. Black works well for expensive products, but can also make a product look heavy.

White: White connotes simplicity, cleanliness and purity. The human eye views white as a brilliant color, so it immediately catches the eye in signage. White is often used with infant and health-related products.

All the colors above can be categorized into two basic categories: warm and cold. In general, warm colors, like red and yellow, send an outgoing, energetic message, while cool colors, like blue, are calmer and more reserved. However, brightening a cool color increases its vibrancy and reduces its reserve.

Photos from Flickr.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 24, 2010

Outside Moor Street

This photo shows the modern meeting the tradition, outside of Moor street station is the metal industrial signage whereas inside is such a contrast. One thing that does stay the same however is the sansserif font, the clearer font has stayed the favourite for signage for years and year.

Fazeley St.

This photo was taken very close to the centre of Birmingham however it perfect displays part of the city that seems to have been forgotten. This old broken down pub has been left behind when just a short trip up the road everything in sight has been rejuvenated and upgraded. The signage and displays hark back to the age of the local, when the traditional pub was the centre of the community.

Park St.

This is a section of a sign I found on Park St, again close to the modern centre of Birmingham however the type that has been used and the setting of the exposed brick work show once again the old worldy tradition of Birmingham. This particular sector of Birmingham is very traditional and although yards from, for example, the famous Selfridges building, it has been left behind.

Shaws Passage

So close to the middle of the city and absolutely saturated with industry and business. This signage was found on the side of a bridge, oddly enough, this was the side that faced away from the modern centre of Birmingham and no signs were found on the other side. So many signs with accents of Graffiti. I found it interesting that only feet away from the sale of tyres there are handbags being sold for thousands and thousands of pounds. Only in Birmingham.

Selfridges building

The busy, the modern, the centre, sans serif, yellow, fresh, bright.,

The divide

I believe this photo plots the exact divide between the old and the new in Birmingham. Digbeth, the markets and industry to the left, shopping, money and handbags to the right. The tradition is still evident through the sign.

Lamp post

This picture was taken just outside Selfridges. Even though there is all modern, cleanlines over the other side of the road there is still room for the stickers and adverts here. Birmingham is a very creative city and here is a prime example of how that seeps into every space it can in the city. The bright clashing colours mean that the adverts stand out against the blue lamp post and grab the attention of the passer by, after all isn’t that what they’re suppose to do?

Moor Street

The photo plots the distinct difference between New Street and Moor Street stations. The signage is printed into the wood in the traditional method, the black and white colour scheme and the exposed brick work gives connotations of tradition.


As you can see this photo was taken yards from the middle of Birmingham and the sign reflects that. The Sans-Serif font that has been used has connotations of modernism, however the navy, royal blue has contrasting connotations of traditionalism and even superiority. It maintains the city’s local but international feel. Global, City, Local, Heart.

You’ll find these photos along with many others at


New Street, Moor Street, Snow Hill.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 24, 2010

New street is very much the main train station in the centre of Birmingham. It links Birmingham to the rest of the country and that is plainly obvious when from the interior and exterior decor of the station. Its extremely commercialised and there is adverts and design everywhere. The station is modern and full of clean lines as you would expect from such a heavily used station it creates a certain impact when you enter the station. The signs are eyecatching, to the point and informative.

The station is used by over 41 million commuters every year and the designs of the building and the advertisers inside the building have most definitely taken that into account. The comparison with the other stations in the city couldn’t be more different.

The Moor Street station is a small walk away however the difference is obvious. Unlike the modern signage in New street station at Moor Street the signs have been embossed into wood and then painted over to create this traditional look. The exposed brickwork and greenery again add to the look. It is more laid back than New Street, the feeling of leisure and tradition breezes over you from the moment you enter the station. The signage gives the impression of travelling on a turn of the century seaside holiday rather than rushing to a meeting.

In comparison, snow hill station is a lot like New street. It is very much used for commuters to get to work. It is situated in the business sector of the city centre and that is evident from the station itself. At Snow Hill there is nothing for commuters to do while at the station, it is simply a platform for trains and nothing else. Unlike New Street that is situated in a shopping centre and has several different shops and places to eat inside the station itself. This is a reflection of the amount of commuters and simply what they are using the station for. The lack of signage here is very telling of the stations uses, it is purely for the worker, the signage is very focus towards that no nonsense “I need to be somewhere” attitude.




Business Cards…

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 13, 2010

Week 2 Type and Typography

Using Type and several fonts I created this business card for myself. I liked the simple,eyecatching style and will definitely be developing on this piece in the future. This piece really shows how much you can do and how affective a piece can be by simply using type alone.

I also used the InDesign application to experiment with different types and typography, after looking at a lot of other advertisements and examples of design I found that it is common practice for designers to apply aspects of the actual word to the font that it is written in. For example, the word stretch could be stretched. After experimenting using InDesign I found that this method is extremely effect. Below you will find my efforts. I will definitely be using this technique in my own work.

The things that you can do w

ith text to make it more exciting really is endless and relatively simple.

I managed to create both the business card and the typography experiments with very little knowledge of the InDesign software.

We were then set the task of extending our business card and involving the name of the company, Bright Ideas. I found this extremely hard as my lack of knowledge really held me back, when it came to the software that we had to use. However I did really like the business card the way that it is, I therefore began to look at other options and how I could bring in a logo in some form without ruining the original business card.

I looked at some more modern business cards and found that business had began to use both sides of the card. As the design was spreading and growing, designers needed more room. I took that idea and used it in my design.

I designed the back of the card to include the new logo, I used a lot of font, as I did on the front and kept the colour scheme to black and white because I wanted to tie it in with the design that featured on the front. I then thought that unlike the front of the business card that is quite simple, I decided to go the other way and pack this side of the card with image and detail. I began by using the name of the business, BRIGHT IDEAS and simply repeated it over and over using the font Times New Roman as I thought this would be particularly eye catching. I wanted to create the effect of a picture that you have to stare at for a long period of time and the picture will appear. Instead though I simple added the words BRIGHT IDEAS on top of the black writing in white. It stands out but not too much so the effect is maintained and the picture makes the viewer really focus.

The main thing with business cards is that they have to stand out, there are millions of other business cards floating about in wallets all over the world and I wanted mine to stand out as an individual and original piece.

It catches the eye initially because it looks nonsensical but it maintains the view by becoming clearer.

Also I liked the irony of the image, it is advertising the company BRIGHT IDEAS however it isn’t bright at all.

I also toyed with the idea of using something that showed the bright ideas logo on the front but I really don’t think it worked quite as well…I think it looks basic and amateur.

I might be basic and amateur but it doesn’t have to be obvious.

All in all I believe I did have a good idea that could have been expanded on further. I have however learnt from this exercise that I have to brush up my skills in InDesign if I want to move forward with Visual Design.

An interesting type case study…

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 13, 2010

After looking thoroughly at type and typography I have chosen VOGUE and specifically the November issue as a type case study. I believe its a good case study simply because it showcases so many different fonts and type in an effective and original way.

The obvious centre of the page to draw to readers attention is the model, Lara Stone’s eyes. As they are the darkest colour featured on the page they stand out, also the fact that they arn’t totally straight means the eye is even more occupied.

The reader then begins to look around the eyes, drawn to the large famous VOGUE logo.  After research I have discovered that the specific font used in the vogue was made for them and has not been released. However I have found a font that is extremely close. It is called Bauer Bodoni, it is a serif font.

Serif Fonts have small hooks at the end of letters, this has connotations of tradition, reliability and trustworthiness.I believe this is precisely why Vogue has used it for their logo. It is how the whole world knows Vogue and it is such a massive brand. It has definitely been conciously chosen to promote the brand as that of a traditional, trust worthy and credible magazine. It is then complemented with the san Serif font of the sub headings (all but one) San serif font has no hooks at the end of the letters and in comparison has connotations of being modern and up-t0-date. Being a fashion magazine this is vital to Vogue, they are constantly wanting to be at the forefront of fashion and a modern image is exactly want they need.

The contrast with the traditional definitely makes the magazine stand out on the shelf. A vital skill for any magazine in the fight for readership.

I also think the amount of type that is on the front of the magazine makes the cover stand out. All the space around the outside of the cover is taken up by font and titles of features in the magazine, this is to make the reader excited.

SOOOOO many things to read.

So many different sizes, to keep the eye interested.

An extremely exciting and affective front cover and only one picture. The type is what pulls in the reader!

Logo for my humble abode.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 13, 2010



When given the task to make a logo for my house I began my search by looking at other logos, other companies and business’ that are already established to see what really works. I think the main themes that I should maintain within my logo will be:

  • Simple (something simple and bold)
  • Memorable (something that will stick in the mind of consumers)
  • Relevant (keeping in mind not only the product but also the customer)
  • Current (it’s important to stand out but standing out for the right reasons is key)
  • Individual (it can’t look like anything thats been before it, we don’t want people to be confused)

I began to brainstorm ideas with the people that this logo is meant to represent, my family. This was mainly to help me make up a better picture of what would actually fit for the purpose.

I then began to look at other logos from established companies as I thought they might give me extra inspiration when coming to design my own. It would be a good indication of what works and what really is a good logo.

My first reference point was http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/. I found that, as i suspected it was the simpliest logos that worked the best. All the biggest companies had either just a word or just a word and one picture to represent themselves. I have inserted some of my favourites and would like to use them as refernce rfor my own.

  • Simple
  • Vibrant
  • Small picture
  • Helvetica font (easily read)

Again simple

Larger picture

Good use of positioning

Dont like the mixture of fonts

  • Again simple
  • I like the black Cat feature
  • Like the way that the picture is involved in the text
  • The z instead of an s is terrible

Like the way that the picture is incorporated within the text

Again, vibrant yet simple

More colour


I think that the best logo to use would be simple. Not too much colour, not too many words and something that people will remember and will be attached to the brand.

After consulting my family I think the cat would be a good picture to use within the logo so I’d like to do a bit more research into cats and what they symbolise.

  • The Ancient Egyptians thought of them as royalty and put them on pedestals.
  • Cats are also used to symbolise instinct and feeling.
  • Cats also symbolise women.
  • ‘While we normally associate cats with independence, cats can also symbolize vulnerability’

I think therefore they would be perfect…

I want to add some text and after playing with some designs, my final piece is…

During our workshop lesson I had used type in many different ways and really liked over laying text and creating a bit of a different dimension by turning the a around.

I have then added a picture but kept it very simple with a cat eye.

I wanted to keep the colour scheme simple so stuck with black and white.

I think the font, being Serif makes the word look more feminine and feline and is very much inkeeping with the theme of the logo.

I have also since shown the logo to my family and they believe it to be very representative of them and the house. I believe that this logo, however basic has been quite sucessful for a first attempt. I would, however like to further my knowledge of the tools and tricks when making logos to make it better in the future.

I would also like to further my knowledge of the industry and my creativity when it comes to design.

I think I can do better…

Useful resources for Visual Design.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 10, 2010

When looking for a visual design resource that I thought would be useful to my colleagues the first site that came to mind was one that I used almost every week when studying Graphic Design at the City of Wolverhampton College. www.sxc.hu is a stock photo site that provides free photos that can be used for any purpose. Copyrights are avoided and the material could be used to make pieces of visual design.

It includes a search engine so images can be easily found and also features images that can be paid for but the majority on the site are free to download.

I think the site is perfect for the up and coming designers that simple can’t afford to pay for images. Its good for designers to build a portfolio for showing perspective clients what they can do.

During this particular exercise I have fully realised the use of working together as a group and sharing our knowledge. When it comes to Visual Design, a second opinion or someone elses expertise is totally priceless. I will definitely be talking to other members of the class more to really pool all of our talents and expertise.

Examples of Visual Design and Why I like them.

Posted in Uncategorized by emmajaneallen on October 10, 2010

As I have mentioned in earlier posts I have a particular interest in fashion advertising, designer brands and interesting clothes lead visual design. The first piece of advertising visual design that I chose was this Westfield London advert. I feel that it is perfect for its purpose, it is spread over a whole page in Grazia. It features a model walking away from a broken cast of herself. Its meant to signify leaving the old behind and walking into “A/W 10” The way in which the model is breaking free is extremely liberating for the customer. For the independant feminist of the 21st Century this is a very provocative image. Its eyecatching as it really says something about not just the product but also the shopper and thats what makes this advert such a great advert.

The plain and simple nature of the image lets the clothes be showcased in the best way whilst still telling a story. The title of the advert is also inkeeping with the simple theme of the advert. ‘FASHION LIVES’ is straight across the middle of the advert very much like a newspaper, a sallacious tabloid headline. It dominates the advert but it very much fits and isn’t too overpowering. Just enough to catch the customers eye.

Then at the bottom of the advert we are reminded what the producers of this piece are actually advertising. I think this is the case simply because it doesnt matter very much. Its almost secondary to the advert itself, simply a formality.

The fact that the shopping centre is in London and is actually miles away from where the magazine is being distributed is actually not really much of a problem either. The advert shows such a desirable, aspirational image for women that I believe people would be willing to travel to shop there.