Research into Recipes, Magazines, & Apps

Instructional Illustration Research Examples


Magazine Spread Illustration Research Examples



App icon Illustration Research Examples



Photos for my project

The six images below show the process of making a pavlova. I intend to base my recipe illustration around making a pavlova, and therefore feel that these pictures of the process are something which will help me understand the recipe further. The cooker image is additionally something I feel will help me greatly, as it could be used when making my app icon.


Unit 49 – Specialist Illustration using computer applications.

A famous chef, ‘Dan Lovell-Bray’ has decided to release a new cookbook called ‘Crazy in the Kitchen’. He is also launching a cooking app, range of ready meals and is giving an interview to BBC Good Food magazine. The celebrity chef is looking for a graphic designer/illustrator to design aspects of these projects. For this brief I will need to design:

  • An instructional illustration, illustrating the steps of one of his recipes from the cookbook.
  • A double page spread for BBC Good Food magazine that uses illustration to suggest his experimental ‘crazy’ style of cooking.
  • Either an illustrated app icon for his app ‘Crazy Cooking’ or a piece of illustrated packaging for his ready meal line entitled ‘Dan Lovell-Bray’s Crazy at Home’

The chef has said he wants the designer to use a range of media from scanned textures, illustrator shapes and pen tool, traditional drawings (perhaps in pencil or fine-liner) and Photoshop (Wacom Drawings). Through my designs, I must show the chef’s crazy style of cooking, and my design must be suitable for what it is used for.

I am looking forward to working on this brief as I feel I would enjoy illustrating things. However, I believe that this brief will challenge me, as I am quite unfamiliar in using illustrator, so feel this brief will test me.


Valentines Card


New Baby card:


Birthday Card:


Sympathy Card:


I chose to make my sympathy card quite simplistic, and use a set colour scheme, which I feel has worked quite well. I additionally included a pearl on each of the butterflies, which adds an element of elegance to the card, giving it quite a professional look.

Final Evaluation:

When I first got the brief for this project I was not that pleased as I immediately felt that this project would be quite challenging, which it was. I found producing the cards very time consuming, and if rushed, the result appeared very unprofessional. The part I enjoyed most about this project was making the final cards, as not only do I think these are the most successful cards I have made, but they allowed me to bring all my ideas from my previous cards and research together to produce my final outcomes. Doing my research into different card types, I got the chance to develop an understating into how different materials can convey different emotions, followed by things such as negative space and colour. Particularly focusing on materials, I gained an insight into why softer materials are used for new baby cards, and things such as bright shapes and colours are used on birthday cards. It also gave me an understanding if how stereotypical symbols are used to represent each different event on each type of card such as balloons for birthday, hearts for valentines day and flowers or butterflies for sympathy.

With each card I produced I always made sure to follow the health and safety instructions I had set myself, and follow precautions when handling things like wire, craft knives or scissors.

I completed research looking into the use of media and materials by different artists and designers and I found this to be very beneficial to me throughout my project. It allowed me to explore how different materials can be used in ways which convey different messages and emotions through the quality of the material. This informed me further when it came to making my final pieces, as based on my research and experimental cards, I was able to explore materials that would show relevant emotions to the card. I feel I enjoyed using coloured card the most, as I found it the easiest to work with, and I felt this material had a lot of possibilities, as I was able to cut, fold and manipulate it. I also enjoyed working with watercolor paint, as I found this to be quite an unpredictable medium, as the paint flows in a variety of different directions, and dries darker in some places than others, creating quite interesting effects. The materials I found hardest to use would be cotton wool and wire. I found it hard to use cotton wool in a different sense to how I found it hard to use wire, as I found the wire incredibly tricky to stick down on my cards, yet the cotton wool was easier. I am unfavorable of the use of cotton wool as I am not fond of the feel it has to it, and therefore found hard to pull and assemble how I wanted it, as I really do not like the feel of it. This is why I did not use too much of it. Using the wire to make a paint roller on one of my cards is a way I feel that I used the material in a creative way, as it involved sticking the wire flat to the card, something which was not easy at all. Another creative way I used materials I feel is through using photography for the grass element of my final birthday card. I feel using a photograph allowed my design to have an element of realism to it, and it is something that I had not thought of doing in my previous card designs.

I feel that overall my cards clearly represent the feelings and emotions I wanted them to, and my use of materials was effective based upon the choices I made. My favorite card out of the four I have made is the Valentines card, as I feel that this is the best card at conveying the intended emotions, and is effective due to this. I additionally feel that using a wide range of materials helped this design to convey these emotions greatly, as each element of material shows a different emotions, making the card seem exciting. For example the flowers show a traditional sense of love, whilst the small gems included perhaps show more of a elegant love, giving the card a sense of deep worth.

My least favorite card I made is the birthday card, because I feel  it is the least effective in conveying emotions of a birthday, and believe that some of my birthday experimental cards convey these emotions better. If I were to improve this card, I would add further birthday imagery, and use rainbow colours to evoke a further sense of excitement, like I have done in my refined cards.

From this project I have learnt the different ways in which different materials can convey emotions, and how when different materials are together, they can convey an entirely different emotion or feeling. I feel I have benefited from this project as I have a wider understanding of how hard it is to convey emotions in certain card types, and feel if I were to do a project like this again I would have a lot more knowledge of how to go about completing it.

Personal Research 1


In this congratulations card, not a vast range of materials have been used which is something I feel gives the design a few negative qualities. However, I am particularly inspired by the simplistic form that this design has, and despite its basic use of materials, I feel that the designer has used the materials with sophistication to suit the purpose. From looking at this card, I feel it mainly uses plain, and coloured card, along with pens, and perhaps water colour paints, to brighten up the design. I believe that watercolour paints have been used to create the background of the design, which has been done well, as the use of these paints would allow the designer to create an equal gradient effect for the sky. Additionally, the light colours of the paint evoke a light-hearted, calm effect, giving the sky of the design a soothing and still atmosphere. The colours of the plane are suited to match the background, yet are slightly brighter colours, which make the plane the main focal point of the design as the colours overpower the background. The typography in the right-hand lower corner of the card suggest the design is celebratory, as the typography reads ‘congratulations’, suggesting celebratory emotions should follow. However, from the colour scheme used within the design I feel that this celebratory sense is not clear within the design, as the mixture of blues, oranges and yellows alludes to imagery of a sunset, or calm sky on a sunny day. This calming feeling is something I feel is not very congratulatory, and I believe if a wider colour scheme of brighter colours were to be used, the card would demonstrate this celebratory emotion in a better way. Despite this, as the general message of the card is ‘congratulations’, and I am unsure as to what the occasion to be to be celebrated is. The imagery of the plane in the sky suggests the card is for someone who has passed a pilots flying test, and along with the message ‘the sky is the limit’ (on the pull out tab of the card), makes it seem as though this card would be suited to a new pilot. However, the phrase ‘the sky is the limit’ may be used in a metaphorical way, implying that the receiver of the card has endless possibilities due to the success they are being congratulated for.

A clever use of composition is used in this card as the main focal point (the plane), moves across the center of the card and does not stay in one set position. This allows the whole proximity of the card to be important, as each element of background will be looked at when the plane travels across it. As the plane travels across the middle of the card, it draws your eyes in an upwards motion, across to reveal the message on the pull out tab. This additionally shows a way in which the most successful materials have been used, as the line in which the plane travels through is neat and small, allowing it to glide across the card smoothly, and further implying a sense of success. The plane itself is something that works well from this card material, as it is strong and sturdy, making it well suited to be a moving part of the card.

Another thing I feel that does not work that well on this card when portraying celebratory emotions is the typography, its small format gives it less of a bold impact, and the de-capitalisation of letters makes the message appear quite boring, and unimportant. In order to create a wider sense of celebration, I feel the letters would need to be enlarged and perhaps putting them in capitals may make the message seem more important to the card.

I have chosen to look at this card as part of my research as I believe the pull out aspect it has to it is something which works incredibly well, as makes the card more exciting. I feel that allowing the plane to move gives the card a sense of excitement, and a joyous emotion, yet the lack of bright colours and exciting materials particularly limits the design. I am hoping to make a card inspired by this design, yet adapting the materials to suit the purpose of my chosen card type.


Personal Research 2


This is the second card I looked at as part of my personal research. It features a panda holding a balloon with the message ‘celebrate your special day’ alongside it. I feel that this card used quite a few different materials within it, and from looking at the card I can infer that these are; sequins, card (coloured and plain), string, pen, and plastic. Using such a wide range of materials is something I feel really emphasises a celebratory feel, as it brings the card a sense of excitement, as there are so many different elements to this. The materials appear to have been used in a sophisticated way, as they do not over complicate the card, but they have been designed and put together with a neat sophisticated sense, paying particular sense to focal point, colour and scale.

Despite a wide range of material use the card itself is something which appears quite simple. The focal point is centred on the panda and balloon, with the use of the string drawing your eyes down from the top of the balloon to the little panda grasping the lower end of the string. This placement of the balloon and panda is something which works well within the design, as it is placed on one side of the card, allowing a large space for the typography as it dominates the other half. The typography uses two different typefaces, which I feel is incredibly successful on the design. The first element of type is showing the word ‘celebrate’ which is in a fairly large and noticeable font size, with the typography itself being a curled font, giving it quite a classy appearance. This curled font allows a joyful emotion as it appears fun, yet sophisticated to suit the rest of the card. Following this type is the words ‘YOUR SPECIAL DAY’; this is shown in a bold, capitalised, block font which fits neatly under the word ‘celebrate’. The bold font and capitalisation of these few words makes them appear quite direct to the audience as they emphasize the idea that it is ‘YOUR’ ‘SPECIAL DAY’.

I am particularly inspired by the use of sequins in this card design, as I feel it adds a fun sense to the card, overall making the design more exciting. Based on this idea of using sequins, I am hoping to create a card with a similar sense, as I am particularly fond of this design.




Personal Research 3

The use of materials in this card particularly inspired me for my cards, and the overall card design is something I felt would be incredibly effective in my project. Despite having a simplistic appearance, this card uses four different materials giving the design interesting and unique qualities. From looking at this card, I believe that the main materials that are used are coloured card (which appears to have a surface texture to it), plain card, wire, and some kind of fluffy, feather like material (perhaps part of a pipe cleaner). Using this range of materials allows the card to portray a range of emotions. For example, the soft texture of the pipe cleaner evokes soft and caring emotions, and along with the pink colour of it, almost examples a sense of love. In contrast to this, the wire has more of a harsh appearance, as it is stiff unlike the pipe cleaner, and almost shows a study and secure sense. Mixing these contrasting emotions together represent the moving house situation to have more than one emotion. The pipe cleaner may demonstrate the love felt towards the new home, as the person falls in love with their new property. Along with this, the sturdy sense of the wire perhaps gives the person reassurance that their new home is secure, and safe for living in. These particular materials take a lot of inference and depiction into, to get an idea of the emotions portrayed through them as they are laid out very simplistically on the front of the card. I feel using contrasting materials (in this case hard and soft), to be something which works incredibly well on the card, as it gives it an interesting appearance, yet due to the simplicity of the card I believe that the materials do not deliver the message well, or do the card much justice. In the process of moving house, I feel that a wide range of emotions would be felt, from feeling anxious about the move, to extreme excitement of getting a new house. This exciting sense is something that is not shown well within the card, as the simplistic sense almost gives the idea of moving more boring connotations. The card is not bursting with colour, evoking excitement, but is instead fairly plain with the use of only white pink and black.

Despite the previous points I have made, seeing the card to be quite simple and boring, I feel having another look at the card has allowed me to view it from a different perspective. The majority of the card is made from white card, which is seen for the background of the card and design itself. Over the top of this, slightly textured, pink card has been cut and stuck down, as though it is paint which has been painted over the white walls of the property. The use of white card, seen as negative space, is something I feel could be done deliberately; alluding to the fresh, clean walls of a new house. Therefore, when taking this second look at the card, I believe the main idea of it was to show the new beginnings that can come with a new property, as the walls are painted with a pink colour, as if the person is decorating the house metaphorically with love, or perhaps items of theirs that they love. In this case, I feel the composition, and placement of materials on the card is something which works incredibly well in demonstrating this.

This card has made me think very carefully about designing my cards, as although it does not fit under the four themes of the cards I am planning to make, it has allowed me to look further into materials types and how they are used to demonstrate particular emotions on the card. It has additionally allowed me to understand the use of negative space further, and how it works in effect on some particular card types. If adapted, I feel that this design is something which would work well for a birthday card, as combined with bright; dramatic colours may work well to explore a celebratory emotion.




Personal Research 4

This Valentine’s card explores a geometric design which is what drew my eyes to this particular card. As well as this, the card only uses three material types, which both contradict the types of materials I would expect to be used to represent the loving emotions that come with Valentine’s Day. I feel that three of the main emotions that come with Valentine’s Day are love, care, and joy. To convey these emotions, I feel materials such as soft pink fabrics, and bright colours would be used, demonstrating this soft loving and joyous feel of Valentine’s Day. However, neither bright colours, nor soft fabrics are used within this design, but in fact, the opposite. The three main material types that are used within this card is card itself, wood, and string. Both card and wood are incredibly sturdy materials, usually both with hard or harsh edges. Unlike these, the brown string is something which is able of manipulating, but the rough surface texture to it is something which fits in nicely with the use of wood. The designer of this card has used the strong materials as a theme throughout the card, as the patterned background of the card shows geometric heart shapes, which equally appear as stiff as the materials used. Using this as the main theme throughout the design shows an alternate take on the regular light-hearted imagery of Valentine’s Day