Bean Bag: Week 3 (and a half) + Final reflections

We took the glued parts (eyes) to Abdul Kader (tailor in Fashion Design) so that he could stitch the black parts of the eye on it and stitch them together. He told us to cut and  glue the black bits of eyes where we wanted to on the fabric, so that he could just stitch over it:

 We left the cutouts on his table when he wasn’t available at the same time as us and left a thank you note. We should have also written a note reminding him what was needed because he’d forgotten and unfortunately had to reopen the stitches and restitch the cuts.

We went and got the eyes stuffed as soon as we got the chance (at the upholsterers place). They weren’t as round as we’d imagined, but we didn’t get it stuffed extra because then it could get heavy and lose it’s softness.

Next came attaching magnets onto the bean bag. We had to drop that step because the eyeballs had become too heavy, and the magnets didn’t hold. We also found that most people that walked into the room were more interested in tossing the eyes around, instead of placing them on the bag.

The final step was to get the cover over the lining part and fill it some more. And we were done.

Final Result!
interactiveblobbeanbag interactiveblobbeanbaguser

The blob turned out to be far larger than we imagined. It was also a much larger success with the people than we’d anticipated. Because of it’s huge size, sitting on it felt like sitting on a cloud, and then getting hugged by the cloud, because it would fluff up on the sides. The critique made me see the ‘product’ potential of the bean bag. We’d made it for a very personal purpose, to fulfil our own wants, but then a lot of people said they were interested in buying it.  It now is a multi-people, interactive, playful beanbag/bed. Something very 3jeeb!

I entered this project thinking that I’d be learning a lot about sewing. Instead I learnt a lot about driving in rush hour in here.
I also learnt a lot about keeping tailors/people–you’re–relying–on on their toes to get the job done in time.
No matter how much planning and testing we’d done with the magnets, at the end of the project they didn’t hold. Some things just can’t be 100% tested.
I also learned that answers can come from the most unexpected of places (knowing where to buy eps beads from the upholsterer and not anyone in university).
I learned useful skills like breaking magnets and cutting fabric…and making a mess effectively filling eps beads into something.

Most of my struggles were to do with the amount of time that was spent in getting materials and navigating around the country to get those. Making decisions wasn’t very difficult since the physicality of our object guided a lot of the decisions, even the concept.

Making decisions was also simple because of the collaboration. Luckily for my indecisive self, Amreen is a quick-thinker and was able to make a lot of on the spot decisions. Other than that, working on a decision/solution together got us to a good answer, quickly (two brains deciding). The collaboration went smoothly. The only times things got a bit tense was when one of us simply wouldn’t understand what on earth the other was explaining. But somehow we were able to get our ideas across to each other (repeating the same thing again and again in kind of different ways). It works.

The only thing I’d like to ‘fix’/improve about the bean bag is how the eyes have a potential to get lost and don’t really have a secure ‘resting place’ when the bag isn’t in use (on top of the bag isn’t secure). Perhaps we could’ve designed a zip system where the eyes could be stored inside the bag or in a pouch on the outside? Although, opening the zip and storing inside could still work. But then that’s not as cool as the magnets would’ve looked (if they’d worked). I really wish I could find and try stronger magnets


Bean Bag: Week 3

Went back to the tailor (day after giving it to him) to check on process. He said he hadn’t started yet. We went back the day after (during class time):

upholsterybeanbagliningblackout copy
^ wow progress!

Went back the next day and he had the cover done as well, ready to be collected:
next came the messy/fun step of filling it in. And only then did we discover that we had WAY less filling than we needed. Filling that came from Dubai…The two huge cardboard boxes full of filling filled less than half of the bag. I hurriedly called the ‘upholsterer’ to arrange something (since earlier he’d said he knew where to get the fillings), he said he’d try to get them ASAP but it takes minimum of 4 days.

We moved on to thinking about the eyes. When we took our cloth (white and black) to the fashion design tailor he made a sample (using the softball sample we took to him):

Make a Baseball template


He suggested that for this to have a good finish, we should by a faux leather kind of fabric called ‘rexine‘. He told us where we’d find it. After a while of driving and walking around in a seemingly shady area, we finally found it. And then of course (like all the other times we left during class time) there was the 2-8 traffic to deal with.


Atleast now that we had our rexine, we worked on cutting it out, so that all the tailor had to do was stitch it together. Our initial plan was to do the stitching ourselves, but after seeing him stitch the sample, we realised we wouldn’t be able to do a very good job by ourselves (especially the stitching part).
 We planned how we would attach the magnet in the eyes. We considered gluing them on directly to the inside of the rexine, but then decided that using a patch to create a supporting pocket for the magnet would be the best solution. The problem came when we had to attach the pocket fabric to the leather fabric. Super glue didn’t work. Fabric glue didn’t work. We didn’t want to stitch it because the thread would show on the outside of the eyeball. In the end it was a liberal amount of super glue that did it.

That weekend our second batch of filling had arrived at the upholsterers:epsbeads
 This batch was twice the total of what we had earlier, 4 times one of the full cardboard boxes. Filled the entire back and middle passenger seat of a land cruiser. Entire.

Bean Bag: Week 2

Beginning of this week I picked up Amreen (plus bean bag filling) from the airport…Because we couldn’t find it here (despite even asking online) and she had to buy it from Dubai. We’re dedicated people:

EPSbeads5-10kgs worth of EPS beads…

next came the step of buying the fabric (and magnets). We couldn’t find magnet strips, so had to buy regular, round magnets.

^ settled on complementing red and purple velvet (good that I didn’t make the decision alone!). Bought a zip as well, in anticipation that the tailor may need it.


 got back and clarified our design. How we would explain it to the tailor. We’d take images as reference (to explain the type of bean bag = flat = two layers of fabric with a thickness) and our design of the cross-section. We even planned where we’d have the handle (in an area where the blob is ‘convex’) so that the stitching and seams aren’t stressed. Finalised our idea for the eyes. Initially the plan was to have them patched on, or stitched on flat. We even considered painting them on with fabric.

The final idea was to have the eyes as round plushies, that would connect to the bean bag via magnets. Other things we considered was that they could connect with velcro or buttons.

  • Velcro – ruins fabric/hair/velvet.
  • Buttons – feel hard and don’t look very aesthetic.
  • Magnets – don’t see them, barely feel them (flat), more fun, cooler…

So to carry out this plan, we had to break some magnets

(used the fabrication labs wooden vices)

took our designs to a sofa upholstery tailor – upholsterer? Explained it to him using images we’d printed out beforehand. We’re prepared people:
 such nice materials. We could’ve bought rainbow materials from here! Except, we can’t afford rainbow colours of such a high quality

Before we even mentioned, he suggested himself that he should make a lining for the velvet from ‘blackout’/curtain material, to give it shape and hold. He also told us that the zip that we’d bought wasn’t long enough and that he’d use a zip that was sufficient.

We tried to make it very clear to him that we needed it by the coming Wednesday (to give ourselves a week of final touches and preparing the magnets + eyes before the final. He said he’d try…


Poster: Final reflections

Typographyposterkhalilgibrantheprophet00021 copy

PRINTOUT IMAGE (natural sunny lighting [yellow tinge]) (artificial white light coming soon…):
IMG_7176 copy.JPG

Once it had printed I immediately saw things that I would change to make improvements.  I could have made my paragraph size slightly larger. And the colour of the blue text on the white scarf should have been darker, mostly because the blue was fading and getting illegible on the shadows of the folds. And I realised that if I did this then I would probably also increase the size of my sentence (doing that would be less simple since I was fitting my sentence in such a restricted space – it’s entire placement might need changing).

Other than that I feel like despite this project being super short I did learn something. Mostly it was how I shouldn’t do overkill by hooking the hook. And then how different posters require different solutions (I got this by looking at my work and my peers’ works). Some looked better with a box behind text, some didn’t need any box, mine needed an organic kind of background. I also need to remember that text needs breathing space. I noticed that I often restrict the framing box too much. Another thing I should remember is that I should test more than once. If I had tested just once more, before doing the final, then I would’ve noticed all the things that needed improving. I later (during the critique) also learned that the type in the image didn’t need to match the type of the sentences as paragraphs.

Things I struggled with…making the fabric photographed weeks later, look like it was integrated with the image. And then showing up text on a textured background. I never realised that it would be so difficult to make text look legible. I found composing and placements difficult too. throughout the process I switched between using intervals in the image to the rule of 3rds and by the end of it, still wasn’t sure of myself. It was only at the end where I created a grid (like what I did for sentences and paragraphs) that I felt that the quadrants worked better. And remembered that I had the liberty to break my own rule slightly if necessary. Colour choices weren’t easy for two reasons; the colour needed to look good/complement the image and overall composition AS WELL as being legible.

Poster: Final phase

Based on the feedback, first thing I did was the simplest thing (to avoid the complicated part). I altered my name so that it flowed better with the logo. I positioned it differently, but the bottom left looked the best at the end (other positions looked off and weird). I even thought that arabic would look good since the flow of the logo is from right to left, but the font type didn’t match (too thin). Typographyposterkhalilgibrantheprophet00013

First I tried again to make the ‘box’ work (because I felt like I didn’t have time to do the fabric idea). I thought making the box ‘burn’ would blend it better, but it was still clearly a box. I even tried rotating the type. Nope. Not good.

 I accepted that I should photograph the fabric. I had to go through a tedious process of editing on photoshop, then placing in Indesign, then going back if it was in the wrong position. Anyway, the first fabric style was too flat. Like a scroll. It was clearer to see the type on this, but it looked unnatural. I used another photograph where the fabric looked more spontaneous. I tried the idea of putting type on the suitcase but that was even more illegible than the carpet (no matter which colour I tried).

 adjusted the placement of the text to match intervals (of the paragraph above, which i aligned to the . Once I’d done that I had to adjust the positioning of the fabric.

There were issues with the colour of the text on the white fabric, the initial blue was too light, I had to use different blues from the image.

 adjusting the sentence structure. I couldn’t get the type to look nice, legible, have the proper size AND follow an interval. In the end I ended up changing the font from ITC Garamond bold to just Garamond. It fit the area better without losing size.

I chose to have the positioning like this because I wanted the viewers eyes to go from the word, to the sentence, to the paragraph and back up (in a circular motion).

I was still struggling with the other paragraph. I had nowhere to place it well and make it look legible. Another fabric would look too intentional. On the current fabric wasn’t legible. I tried something where I took that area of the carpet and took it into photoshop, applied gaussian blur and used curve adjustments to darken the carpet slightly. It looked tacky.

My friends helped me by suggesting to make the type slightly bigger. The problem with this was that I had to sacrifice my perfectly broken lines and shorten the character length. I also had to make my type for english slightly larger (I made both arabic and latin bolder too).

 Final adjustments of the sentences and paragraphs. My solution for the sentence when it touched the suitcase (but was on the grid) was to shift it away from the grid every so slightly. And to make the paragraph legible I experimented with lighter font colours, in the end a bluish white worked.


Poster: First phase and feedback before final

So I began some of my experimenting earlier (when we were given a brief introduction):Typographyposterkhalilgibrantheprophet00001
This was only to start off. Then I stopped because I was falling behind on the paragraph.

When I got around to focusing on the poster I made these:

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 1.16.39 AM

^Problems? My idea was heavily inspired by the kind of work we were doing in Imaging. I used overlays, shapes and bands of blending modes to make the image look ‘interesting’.
The idea was also heavily flawed as I found out from the discussion.

I’m quite ‘over-exuberant’ with my experimentation. Also, the logo was designed ‘black and white’ and we can’t mess with the logo. I had to keep it black and white, and not mess with the scale. Another thing was that I was ‘smothering’ my hook. Instead of showcasing my word I tried creating a hook of it (a hook of my hook). I shouldn’t double my hook.
Another thing that I had sensed was a problem (but was hoping that it wouldn’t be) was that the text on the carpet texture was illegible. 
The professor pointed out that I had already created landmarks for intervals for myself. I did? I didn’t realise until he pointed out the suitcase and stuff in my image. I could either use them or use the 3rds rule.

This was also the lesson where we properly learned the ‘technicalities’ of making a poster:

  • posters are always about message delivery
  • GRAB ATTENTION – number one thing. Hook
  • posters – industrial revolution – newspapers
  • walking -designed for pedestrian society. people had time to stop and read. these days there are not many pedestrians so not many posters (in some areas)
  • We’re post poster!
  • ^ helps understand how to communicate a message. How to create a Hook. > helps with design in general.
  • Distance in space – hook is bait from distance. depends on context
  • 1st level – hook – on  average 15-10m hook should catch audience’s eye.
  • Hierarchy for hook:
  • Image (photographic or type as image) – catch and grab.
  • then reel it in.
  • 2nd level – on average halfway distance – information is revealed (via text at a certain scale, image at a scale)
  • 3rd level – all the info (poster will now reveal itself).
  • Consider: Placement – composition – SCALE – contrast
  • LOGO – name next to it can be black and a color – complementary or the same.
  • ^ can go in a corner, depends. centre on bottom, and top or edges
  • you can frame things in boxes, layered on top of each other. It has DEPTH.
  • Hook is further back in the picture plane (image).

So after the first discussion, I started doing some research to know where to place my logo. I didn’t want to integrate it too much, that it look forced or took away from the composition but I didn’t want it to seem like it was there to just be there.

I experimented with a bunch of fonts to get something that would match the logo style (Avenir, Fedra serif, baskerville is too thin? Bauhaus, matches logo…but looked ugly ugly. Abadi. future)


 This looked best

 The type for the sentences also had to be adjusted from caecilia to garamond (to match the rounded finials in the type for euphoric). Initially I thought that the type didn’t have to match the type in the image (since it was now more of an image than type). But my friend suggested that it needs to match, otherwise it would look odd.

 deciding between whether to wrap the box around the type strictly (making a smaller area for the outdented sentence) or whether to make it like a rectangle all the way around.

wrapping the box looked better, the struggle was getting aesthetic colours, I used the eyedropper tool to pick colours from the image, but most of them looked gross.

 using the suitcase and letters as a landmark

still deciding between colours

 I used the interval between the h and the suitcase to distance my paragraphs. This way the left paragraph didn’t line up with the stem of the p, it looks odd but the space between the paragraphs (around the h’s stem) looks balanced. I tried to get the outdent to have a relationship with the serif of the h.

 Making final choices in the colour of the paragraphs. black and blue looked the best.

 experimenting with different placements for the sentences

 I decided to use the suitcase and the letter r as intervals to place my sentences.

 what I had tiled for the critique.

Pre-final CRITIQUE:

Here I thought i was close to being done.
Even though my choices of colour of blue type (with black) works. the box around it is too restricted, I need to give space to the type (around 2 ms). I could also vary the blues.

And interesting suggestion I got was to instead of a box, I could use fabric. The box looks unnatural for the image in my case.

The thing is, I knew something was wrong with the box since I questioned my choice of it’s colour during the critique (when they asked what I needed to discuss). I didn’t realise that it was the box itself that looked out of place and not the colour.

The size of the sentence type was also too small, in comparison to the word. It was also too spaced out, it could be clumped together or in a line. 

This part I didn’t get:
The paragraphs need to be related to more significant landmarks, my current intervals weren’t clear enough. I was suggested that I could put text in the frame of fabric of the suitcase, to look more natural and connect more to the image and take the eye around in a circle. 

When it came to the others some were too symmetrical in their compositions.

I understood that could break the idea of the grid at some point, to create more emphasis. So, align and have a grid or break the grid? align strictly and then break on thing?

Since I wasn’t sure about what they said during the critique I discussed it again. What I understood this time was that I shouldn’t force alignments of intervals and compositions. I could use the rule of 3rds and intervals as guides but I shouldn’t be too hesitant to break the rules.

MeYouUsThem: Final (pre-critique), printing and Final reflections

So before printing our finals, we had to bring in 2 of our close to final works. I did that. But then it RAINED. So instead I got feedback on Google+.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.14.11 AM copy
^ The first problem that I found immediately was the weird printing of the blacks. We figured out the problem. The hexadecimal for RGB didn’t matter. The C M Y K mattered. At some places I only had the K as 100%. The solution was to change all the colours percentages to 100. This ensured a really rich black.
Other than that, I really felt like the the ‘tetris’/puzzle shaped black areas (2 on the left) were working really well. I thought that the colours were organised better and that the viewers eye was guided through the composition well. But both the professors agreed that the other composition was stronger somehow. I didn’t see it initially, but after discussing it with my friends, they showed how there was some sort of a cohesion happening. It was underlying, but it was there (in terms of the forms and the colours).

I got suggestions from them to consider changing the way my type was (the colours) and inverting some images. I tried that, but the colour (yellow) they suggested didn’t work very well. Greyish colours or colours that linked to the image next to it worked better.

After we came back from the ‘rain break’, we had a proper, class critique.
Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.08.38 AM
A lot of my class mates preferred the composition that had white in the centre. I thought I was close to bein done, because a lot of people felt like their eyes were being drawn around in a circular motion through the composition.

Then I got feedback. The professors both agreed (and a friend had said this earlier), the white chunk of white in the middle had become overpowering. Some images and areas worked really well individually, so the white area would have looked good if it had been on it’s own. Especially since I created a ‘moment’ there where the word ‘curious’ was interacting with the maze next to it.

Either way, A good solution I got suggested was to flip the composition. This changed the way my colours flowed to a much more cohesive way. I altered my composition to make it go from blacks, to blues to a slightly brighter row of colours at the bottom. The main difference between my images now was that there was a majority of black in blank spaces, not white. We also discussed how the lego and eye image may not work. I always felt unsure of the eye image, so I finally decided to take it out.

I still had problems though (of course).
Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.44.29 AM copy
^ Getting my last row to be cohesive was the most difficult. In the poster, Bottom row, second from left was an image that stuck out like anything because of how white it was, in comparison to the rest of the poster. In the end I came up with the solution of using a mainly red tinged image, covering it half with a green layer (multiply) and half with a blue one. This way it linked the the green on it’s left to the blue on it’s right.

In the end it was minor changes like picking the colour for the word curious and shifting it slightly. I tried green, mainly because we’d been told it created a vibration when green type was on red.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.08.49 AM
^ Last minute problems. We thought we’d have to print by ourselves, but our professor must have given up on our abilities by this time of the semester/didn’t want us to mess up the printer. But seriously, he helped us out. DESPITE this, there were so many problems. Some students had the completely wrong colour printing out. For me, there was no colour issue. No. For me the printer had something special. It decided to print out a completely different image altogether. Somehow the professor worked around the problem. He didn’t tell us how…

I’m guessing it must be to do with rasterizing the layers that we put in InDesign, before exporting as a PDF. Although, I assumed that exporting as a PDFn would be rasterizing everything anyway. Weird.


Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.52.10 AM copy


The final critique was different from all the ones that we had so far. Everyone was tired. We simply discussed what we’d done so far, going over vocabulary (semantics/syntactics) and talking about how we’d felt throughout the experience from the beginning to the end (images to deconstructing).

To wrap up we went and looked at everyones to get an understanding of the firstness/secondness/thirdness.

What struck me was how everyone seemed to have a distinct style. I don’t know how but it was visible, more in some than others. Apparently I had one too, but I don’t know what it is. The only thing I see about my style is how it looks like an intense hallucination (so trippy). So is my style complexity and really vivid colours? That was the general meaning of what some people were saying.

Anyway, the struggles I faced. So many. I had a lot of technical issues (camera not focusing/capturing correct lighting, photoshop glitching up, printer printing the wrong image) and then there were the conceptual difficulties. I faced these mostly in the 3rd week, where we had to go REALLY abstract. But I’m proud because most of my best images are from this week.

Through the struggles I learnt quite a few things. Never trust the colour on screen, always do test prints. InDesign is magical. Honestly. I’d never touched InDesign before this project but dare I say it, I think it has surpassed Illustrator as my go-to for organising pictures and pages/documents. Save, always. Exporting pdfs (because printing directly from InDesign will take HOURS). Setting up strong compositions (especially in terms of lighting). Setting up the white light, ISO in a camera and printing from the big printer < such a professional name [plotter?].

Those were just the technical things I learnt. Conceptually, I learnt how to deconstruct and recreate an object in hundreds of different ways. I hate to say it, but now, I really don’t think I have an excuse if someone tells me to make a table [something else uninteresting] look cool. I really don’t. The hardest part was deconstructing for a narrative. Telling the narrative of the robot. I got to doing that successfully much later than I was supposed to (while composing) since it was only after composing everything together did some of the narrative come out.