Self Directed Brief 1 – Information Design

Today I wanted to do a load of things, however procrastination took the better of me so I didn’t get as much done as I hoped. I avoided designing the actual recipes (AGAIN) and focused on the how the recipes would sit in relation to jam – Labels, Tags, Booklets etc. I thought that knowing the size I was restricted too would help me design, as I would have constraints.

I decided on creating packaging that would also house the recipe. Killing two birds with one stone. I made some paper mock ups just to find a scale, but I still need to get some jam jars, as these will determine the size of the sleeve.

I want the front of the sleeve to signify which jam would be easy, medium and hard to make, but at the same time I feel that it looks a bit under designed with just using colour… perhaps its because this is food packaging, which is usually full of illustrations and over the top. I also tried explaining what/who the jam recipe was for. I am quite drawn to the typographic sleeve, so I will push this further. I think this one connects well with what I am trying to say about the recipe and how hard it is to make, rather than the jam its self.




Found it really hard to concentrate today, but maybe its due to me avoiding doing this project… However I did get somewhere. I’ve been mainly focusing on where the designed pieces of text will go. I’ve decided that I will make all 3 jams again and design them as a product which comes with a recipe sheet/booklet etc. I plan to “sell” them as a set. Each will be labelled relating to the difficulty of making.

Novice Strawberry Jam
Competent Raspberry Jam
Expert Blueberry Jam

I wanted to go down the line of it being more fun, like ‘Easy-Peasy’ Strawberry Jam… but after than there is not really a similar tone of description for things that are a bit hard, or really complicated. So i’ve stuck with just the names. The line “For the (insert difficulty) Jam Maker” might be used as a tagline or maybe go with the recipe text… and the jams are just simple.

Tomorrow I will defiantly have to start designing!



Using typography and layout to communicate the difficulty of a recipe.


Use of images, lots of space, large text for easy reading


Fewer images, medium to standard size text, even leading


No images – just text, smaller type and leading, maybe uneven spacing?

Children’s books are a perfect example, they have to be designed to reflect the child’s reading ability. There are more images than text to aid the child in visualising the story, therefore gaining a better understanding of the narrative.

My next plan of action is to decide;

– Text/Content
– Typeface
– Imagery
– Colour

The Project

Brief: To prove that information design is about using content to create meaningful design. This self-directed project will look at using recipes for making jam as a platform to prove my theory.


• Recipes have a conventional layout

• Is not reflective of the cooking process

• Does not visually connect with the complexity of cooking

Intention: To design three different recipe layouts to communicate the differing complexities of each of the cooking processes.

Visual Research
I’m interested in how packing for a product can remain consistent as well as notifying the consumer that the contents may actually be different. e.g Different strengths of spice

Colour is a key element that suggests difference. They layout and typography is typically the same but the use of colour suggests that even though the products in the same range it is somehow different.

During yesterdays crit Nick Felton was mentioned. He is an information designer by profession as well as in his personal life. Felton has done some really interesting work such as these wine labels below. There is also another set. This label shows the temperatures as well as rain full for the wines. This is a really beautiful label as it conveys information as well as serving a informational purpose.

From this piece of I have been trying to come up with my own informative system, perhaps it maybe a label but I am unsure at the moment, I am just trying to creative a design in response to the process of making jam.

After doing a few sketches, I felt that there is quite a flow and a linear process to making the jam, you don’t generally repeat or go backwards in the recipe. However I did find that step two, was next but it did not follow quite so linearly. Therefore I felt that this step needed to be slightly diverted from the process but still included… it was a step that also ran parallel to step one. Also with step 5, this step is only necessary if the test in step four does not work. For me, step four went fine so I did not need to continue to step five, however there maybe some people who will need to go to step five, therefore I can not remove it, but it does not need to be as predominate as the other steps.



Gradually I have reached a stage where I believe that a system similar to a flow chart would be suitable for what I am trying to communicate. There wouldn’t be yes or no questions as I said before it is pretty much a linear process, apart from two steps that divert slightly. I started looking at time as well as distance and tried to incorporate some the experiments that I have done previously into this layout and design; such as the distance between the circle steps, the smaller circles sitting outside the main circle to give focus on time too. I chose a circle to represent the steps as when cooking you are using saucepans, therefore I thought this worked well to mimic the shapes. There things like times are circular due to a clock face, and the tips are in a square/rectangle as this is normally where you would refer back to an instruction page. Plus I would need a different shape so that it was clear what was a step and what was just some additional information.


20130124-205933.jpgI still need to experiment more with the layout and how it looks but I feel that I need to mock it up more detailed to be then to see what real changes I need to implement. Also while doing research I found a great site called seeds – where you can select colour palettes, previous to this I already knew that I wanted something, warm, bright and friendly, exactly how jam should be. So I will try to use these colours generated from this image and will see where it goes.


This project has been a personal nightmare, mainly because I let it become like that. I was absolutely dreading the crit as I felt like I have nothing to show so I knocked up some layouts just to show I had been doing something. I weren’t happy with the pieces I produced, and I think that was pretty evident in the design itself.


After making my plea for help in the crit I got some great feedback on my sketchbook as I had so much experimentation but I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Literally I think I was drowning in experimentation therefore I become totally indecisive. I really needed someone to set me on the right path. So from the crit I found some main points I need to work on.20130124-113910.jpg1. Stop trying to do too many things e.g using type to illustrate & looking at information design.
2. Needs more expression, it needs more of me within the out come, how I felt about the process.
3. My sketchbook is lively but this needs to translate into my final piece.
4. STOP BEING SCARED! I have everything there I just need to use it correctly.
5. Think practically.

After thinking for a while and chatting with everyone one I have now refined my project/come up with something new.

Aim: To create meaningful design that responds to the content.

Intention: To create a piece that responds to the process of cooking a single jar of jam.

Solution: To use this content to inform the user (cook) on making their single jar of jam. This will also work for people who receive the jam so that they can create it themselves.

Curation: Info graphic, visualisation, illustration, typographic, Packaging, label, box, bag, cloth top, recipe book, booklet.

I think the main issue I had with this project was that I was trying to ignore information graphics, but perhaps it is better for me to confront the issue of information graphics. I feel that many info-graphics are meaningless, they are created because they look good. Therefore I was trying to avoid them as I did not want to be a contributor to that area. However maybe it is best for me to push myself, and show how I can make a meaningful and good example of information design. This would link well with the colleges marking criteria, as it asks what does this project contribute to design, and I think setting a good example is a good enough reason.

First things first : Find recipe and must make more jam!