Sunday, 21 October 2012

Seminar 1.. Analysis of the LCA Prospectus

During our first contextual seminar with Richard we split into groups of 4 and were asked to critique the current Leeds College of Art prospectus. The key elements we payed attention to were:

Choice and organisation of fonts and overall aesthetic

Purpose and meaning of the publication
The target/potential audience of the publication
Any social or political contexts relevant to the production of the publication
Whether the design is effective and appropriate

  • The front cover uses a weak contrast of a bold blue background with shiny red lettering. The typeface itself is nice but would have been more effective if it had been used with a different colour and  without the emboss effect.
  • The first page uses an unnecessary layout. There's no need for the borders, they distract from the written information. The content is useful but the chosen typeface is slightly basic 
  • There is a contrast in tone between the front cover and content inside the prospectus. By using the heading 'WE ARE THE STATE OF THE ART' on the front cover the general first impression is very formal, serious and in some ways slightly boastful. However once reading through the first few pages you begin to realise the approach is the complete opposite and in some ways immature and patronising. 
  • Another few points about the design of the cover is that they have decided not to include the name of the uni anywhere apart from in what is supposedly the centre of the back of the cover, however it has been placed without consideration of lost space once the book was bounded. This is a standard design process and it appears to have been ignored. The fact they have made the heading more of a main focus than the name of the university suggests more interest in bragging status.
  • When continuing reading through the prospectus you begin to realise that none of the images are aligned in a specific way. They are consistently placed at random across the whole book. This causes the overall prospectus to seem clumsy, unorganised and slightly confusing.
  • The information doesn't actually help the target audience. There is very minimal amounts of useful information and its not always clear where the reader is meant to find their course-specific information. Maybe this could be solved by including some sort of contents page?
  • We also found it slightly ironic how on page 30 there are small headings such as 'let's learn', 'lets get creative' and 'lets go shopping' which already seems like a strange approach to use in a university prospectus. That aside, the paragraph titled 'lets get sporty' is longer than 'lets get creative'. This is odd seeing as it is an arts university.
Generally the design methods used in the current LCA prospectus seems to have not taken any of the main points outlined at the beginning of this post into consideration. The choice and organisation of fonts and overall aesthetic is clumsy, inconsistent and basic.
The purpose and meaning of the publication is to inform, advice and persuade, yet it does this in a very unhelpful, confusing way.
The target/potential audience of the publication is new students seeking advice on whether LCA is the right university for them, yet the tone is inappropriate either too formal or too immature.
The social and political information required is very unclear and hard to find if included at all.
Personally I don't agree that the design is either effective or appropriate. The inconsistency causes it to feel lazy, rushed and unorganised.

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