Monday, 12 November 2012

Design and Branding

The UCA CG Arts blog needs to represent the course and subject in a true but simple manner. Website design works best when it is simple and functional and as such this is my goal for the final design. A branding design is also necessary to keep a consistency for the website, making it accessible, easy to navigate and easy to read. Before delving into specific issues and areas that need most work I wanted to simply separate the project into some important components.

The Plan
- Branding
- Colour
- Layout
- Blog Management and Future Upkeep
- Links and External Content
- Graphical Design - Titles, Icons etc
- Population and User Control
- Loading Speeds

The website is a hive of activity, with students across all years adding and sharing content. This is the aspect that we must keep alive and enhance. The blog is an online community which helps extend learning and interaction beyond the classroom. Thus the design of the site must still allow for users to have control, but also provide a simple and effective framework for which they can flourish.

Dark / Light - The initial plans for the layout are to keep the website dark. A bright white background or similar results in a poor reading experience and instantly causing issues with images and text. Darker sites provide a more relaxed tone, whilst also allowing for images and work to stand out as though presented in a gallery.
Size / Format - Extending the width of the blog would allow for images and videos to be presented in a more natural format whilst also allowing for text to be spaced out somewhat. However, if this width is too wide, font is often hard to read and keep track. The format of the site will be divided into numerous sections, obviously with the main body but in addition; tabs, icons, headers and useful links will allow for easy access to areas of interest.
Theme - The blog will need to follow and exhibit notions of animation and film, however, these should not extend beyond their means. Extreme images and generic CG ideas often result in something that lacks character and loses focus. Simplicity seems like the best way forward.

Feature Articles - One key features of the blog is the authored articles which contribute detailed and serious discussion on a variety of topics. These provide a backbone to the site, allowing for students to comment and discuss, but also giving others the confidence to share and display work. They also provide a level of detail, similar to a magazine, by which they can discuss and debate a single issue to a new audience. Somehow, these articles must be linked together in design so that they feel linked but at the same time can be easily recognizable as important content. Currently, these articles are:

- The Post with the Most
- CGAA Cinema
- CGAA Miscellaneous
- CGAA One a Day Animation
- CGAA Recommended Reading
- CGAA Design
- CGAA The Tune
- The Supplement

Tabs and Resources - User navigation and access is extremely important to the students. A series of tabs and links will be needed to help students find important information. Whether this be course material or simple a Youtube channel resource, they are all aspects which enable students to learn for themselves. After all, learning to learn is the most important part of education.

Community - The community within the CG Arts course is what really makes us special. This is an aspect that is already important to the blog, however, further use of this will not only help people learn and communicate with others, but also allow for open debate and discussion. It may be possible to implement a series of extra articles and events on the blog which help bring people together and discuss as a group. A few of these ideas have been outlined below but in future will need development and planning.

- CG AA Critique - An open blog critique of work from a single project. Allowing people on other years to comment and give advice on work.
- CG AA Competitions - With project deadlines facing all students, it is difficult to get people to work on competitions that last for any substantial period of time. Therefore, a series of regular short competitions could be held to help people interact and work on new things in a short space of time. For example, CGAA Self Portrait Competition - A weekend competition challenging students to create a self portrait. It will provide more content from students directly on the blog and enable discussion and critique.
- CG AA Sketch - A sketching assignment set on a specific topic to get all years sketching together. For example - Environment Sketching
- CG AA Meetup - Organised events for the CG community to meet up. Films / Lectures / Drinks etc
- CG AA Professional - Possible articles from industry professionals and artists outside of CG.

I will be using this blog as a way of organizing ideas and influences. At some point in the future I would like to get feedback from the CG community about ideas they might want to see and how they would like the website to function.

Keep an eye out as the website starts to evolve.


  1. Hi Jordan,

    God - I'm feeling so neglectful about all this great thinking re. the blog. I LOVE all the CGAA variants - did you see the CGAA Speed Paint Challenge stuff over Xmas - very exciting. Post-Florida, I'll pick up the pace with you about this and we'll get something concrete sorted out. Again - apologies for leaving you out on a limb :(

  2. Hi Phil, not a problem. I'll be rendering over the next week or so, which means I'll be reduced to a sketchbook and pencil. So, I'll draw up some ideas and thoughts and we can discuss them when you get back. Enjoy the trip to Florida, hope all goes well and we'll speak soon.