PLEASE NOTE: All CMIT modules have now been withdrawn,
and are unavailable for the 2010/11 academic year
These web pages and lecture notes are left as reference for those students requiring CMIT modules to complete their programme only, and are not an indication of modules currently offered.
Design a series of pictograms and a signing system using those pictograms for the London Olympic Games in 2012, or the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Produce a typeset critique of the pictograms and sign system, including an account of the design process.
Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, or a similar vector graphics package must be used for the graphic design part of the task. Other applications, such as Photoshop, can be used to assist in the preparation of material for the designs.
The Signing System
The Olympic Games events are represented by a series of pictograms which are used for printed literature, multimedia and wayfinding signs. The pictograms have become an important part of the Olympics 'brand', and the unveiling of each Games' designs is eagerly anticipated by the design industry worldwide.
Some design considerations
Your designs must qualify as pictograms; they must demonstrate consistency, follow a rigid specification and not stray into the scope of iconograms or sketches.
The pictograms must be able to stand alone; they must convey sufficient meaning for all to follow them; no common languages can be assumed.
Some common cultural similarities can be assumed but these must be referred to in the critique if not obvious. For example, it can be assumed that all would recognise a figure representing a person, but an assumption that a figure in a skirt is female would have to be justified (and clearly this would not be possible for our purposes).
How many signs or pictograms?
There are usually around 35 pictograms for each games, however you only need to design enough so that another designer could pick up your work and create the remainder. This means you need to show how you deal with events with and without apparatus, and with special cases (such as the pentathalon). Ten examples should be enough; it is up to you if you want to design more pictograms than this; if your system is a good one then adding to the set should be straightforward.
The number of signs is your choice, but around five different signs would be adequate.
Applying your signs
When your generic international pictogram system is complete you must demonstrate how it would be adapted for use in the real world. Examples might be an on-screen graphic, a direction sign at a stadium, identifying signs within a building, etc.
Presenting the Pictograms
- A set of generic international pictograms with no alphanumeric or other characters must be provided. These should be suitable for printing onto large plastic signs and fixed around any building at suitable locations.
- Another set of pictograms with an English language label must be provided. These should be suitable for presentation on an interactive information screen, (ie following the selection of 'English' from a menu of languages by the user).
A critique of your signing design must be included. The critique can be of any length, but a guide length is about 2,000 - 2,500 words. You can certainly write more if you wish, however there are no extra marks just for writing extra words!
Wherever text is used, give thought to the style and size of typeface for the text on the signs. State the name of the typeface within your critique. Give reasons behind your choice of typeface in your critique.
Do include illustrations in the critique if you wish. Illustrations can be particularly useful for presenting more meaningful analytical discussion of existing signing systems and of any visual material you may have used. You can also take photographs of a location and use these in the critique, superimposing your signs onto them, to show more clearly how they would appear in their intended location.
Use the critique to state the source of any textual or visual material, not your own, which has been used in your design or which has influenced your design.
In brief, the critique should include (though not necessarily discussed in this order):
- An analysis of your designs
- Your rationale and justification for them - how do they convey their meaning? How much do they rely on cultural norms? Will any groups find them difficult to interpret? What compromises have been made in order to include certain groups?
- An anaylsis of areas that cannot be covered by your generic pictograms. Why can't they be signed with pictograms? How have you made signs for these areas consistent with your other graphics?
- An analysis of any existing or past sign system that you've drawn on for your design.
- Its market stance - what sort of 'quality feel' do the signs need - what about existing branding materials, for example the 2012 logo?
- Justify what you have done, bringing out the good and bad points of the designs as compared to your generic system, and any existing system.
- A bibliography of material you have read in connection with developing the design
The sign design process
Consider where the signs are to go, how visible and informative they must be and hence their substrate, colour, size, shape, typography, use of direction indicators etc.
How you approach this problem is very much up to you - you are the designer. You will need to analyse what the location requires, from a users and a potential visitor's point of view. Work out how you would produce a package to sell to the client - what do they need to see to give you the contract.
Do not design emergencey exit signs, fire points etc, as these signs are covered by EU legislation specifications.
What to submit
The critique is to be submitted in typeset form on paper. Any program can be used to produce this.
The signs are to be printed out on paper. They can be printed smaller than real size, and several can be placed on one sheet of paper.
All files for the task are to be submitted on disc, along with any other files you would like to be included in your assessment.
If you have problems getting correct colours printed, but they are fine 'on screen', do not worry - just state in the critique that the files should be referred to for correct colours.
All images must be in vector graphcis format - no bitmap (eg Photoshop) images are to be used. However, you may use bitmaps as part of the preparation of your designs, eg to create a picture for tracing. And of course if you include photographs these will be bitmaps...
No clipart can be used. The task will receive a fail mark if it is.