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mardi 4 décembre 2012


Definition and objectives:

As a final major project, I am producing a "survival guide for erasmus students", an illustrated book which contain a collection of tips and personnal anecdotes to promote the erasmus experience and help the students in their personal experience.
It has to be funny and friendly, to make the information attractive and also to be a reassuring object. To obtain that, my pillars are:

-       •  funny illustrations
-       • friendly tone in the text
-       • communicative layouts

Also, it seems to me that talk about my personal experience was really important to make it human, so I included little comics telling my stories.

Some inspiration: an advertising from 1kilo3, an advertising company that favor humanity, quality and fun.

1kilo3, advertising for Lirio, Philips


I started with layout researches, because I wanted to involve them since the beginning and it helped me to visualise my content.

I was influenced by the way artists like Delphine Mach or Noemie Marsily make their layouts; and also by “Studio Pomp”, which had publications similar to what I wanted my book to look like.

Studio Pomp, "Graduation Guide for design students", 2012

© Delphine Mach

In term of images, I wanted something sketchy looking, but with strong masses of color, like Mela Koehler.

Mela Khoeler, "Fashion", 1907-1914

Then the layout became more precise and I started to write the text and produce the illustrations.

At first, I worked on the administrative part, wich seems to be daunting. It was difficult to visualise and  similar to a classic brochure.

So I tried to work on the entertainment part. I started to include crazy layouts, closer to my first sketches.

At this point, I had the idea to include comics telling my personnal experience. It was a good way to involve the reader and humanise the content. 

Now I had found a system that worked, with informative content (typed), tips (handwritten) and personnal anecdotes (comics). I got most of my pages done quickly, the style becoming gradually more precise.

Eventually, I came back to the first part (administration) and found way to make it personnal and fun. I replaced the first illustrations, that were very standard by little allegorical monsters.

Back in St Luc, I will have to adapt my work considerating the feedbacks of my teachers, but my objectives are to finish the chapters I could’nt do here (by running out of time), the cover, and more importantly write the part “after the erasmus”, which will be based of my experience there. Finally I will have to concentrate on the production part (printing, diffusion,...)

While I was working, I had the luck to be constantly with my audience : international students. It is a very specific audience with specific needs. It is important to precise that I am my own audience too.
It have to be small and transportable. Also, I don’t want something too precious, because (clumsy) students must feel comfortable to manipulate it.
To print it, I will use the selfpublishing website “Inky little finger”.

An accurate alternative to the book would have been to make a website. Indeed, the content would be easily adaptable in a very interactive interce: the chapters could be “tags”, and the little mascots could be clickable and movable buttons. It would also be more accessible to my audience and more time-related. 
However, the book support is important because of his materiality. It communicate more humanity and makes it a reassuring object. It also makes it something unique: there is plenty of websites about the ersasmus experience, but almost no books.

So, if I work on a web version, it could be derived from the book, but not be the main product. Here is a ruff example:


Researches: References’s analyse

Here I will list and analyse the direct and indirect influences I used in my work.
This will help me to define the objectives and the tools of my communication.

My central message is very simple: "the erasmus experience is funny, let’s do it."
I use a friendly tone, different from the brochures, and talk about my personnal experience to make it human, and then, attractive.
I also want to make it very fresh, especially because it is adressed to young poeple (students).

11)   Studio Pomp

The publications of Studio Pomp, a dutch collective, is probably what is the most close to my work. It was one of my first references and I came back to it many times.

- It is a collection of tips, so it is the same type of content than my book.

- The tone is friendly and humoristic.

- The layout and the typography occupes a major place in the communication and really works efficiently with the content.

–> I use this type of organised layout often. It is also comparable to Delphine Mach's work. (See below)

My first layouts and my concept were strongly influenced by these.

–> This page gave me the idea for this, by example:

22)   Delphine Mach

Delphine Mach is an french illustrator. Her work influenced me since the beginning.

-       Her naive style is very efficient to communicate simple messages with sensibility and freshness.

-       She have a interesting sense of layout and composition. She have a very methodic way to organise space and place narrative elements in it. It makes pleasant to read.

-       It is full of humor.

Here are some of my sketches wich were influenced by her work:

34)   Lewis Trondheim

Lewis Trondheim is a french cartoonist. I’m especially interested in his autobiographic travel comic books.

-       He draw in a very minimalist and efficient style, especially in the attitude and the expression of his characters; and often doesn’t use pannels.

-       He got a very personnal humor when he tells stories. He point absurd things without comment them, and tells about the little details.

–> It inspired me the way I draw my personal experience in my sketchbooks

55)   The japanese mascots

There is one other thing that appear often through my work: little mascots.

They are one of the pillars of my communication: cute characters, a bit unpersonnal, that makes the text friendly.
It is not something concious, I do it naturally.
I think this habit cames to me after my trip in Japan, where they are omnipresent, in front of shops, on universities brochures… and always in a specific naive manga style, wich had an influence on me.

56)   The importance of layout in the relation text-image

One important thing is the layout: I have to compromise between rich, attractive illustrations on the one side; and make them communicative and clear on the other side.
Here are some examples I consulted:


Mogu Boo

David Shrigley

77)   The fun in the communication

My communication strategy is to design a funny object to communicate informative content. The humor is then primordial. It is a very basic principle wich is very often used, especially in advertising.
By exemple, the advertising creatifs 1kilo3 decided to favour humanity, humor and quality in their campaigns.

On the internet also, a lot of website attract poeple to the information and the content by a funny, friendly tone.
Here are some website I visited get some inspiration:

- give surprising tips in comics.

-Moneysupermarket, a website of banking and insurance, calculated "how much it cost to be ironman "
 They use a funny communication for a content that may be daunting, as I did with the little monsters to talk about the administration.

-  explain philosophy, but in the "bro" language. It makes the information accessible by making it funny and original. The tone is the important thing. It is like if a friend was talking. That is the tone I try to obtain in my book, by example when I say "have a cupcake" or "burn convinient food".