evaluation: question 2
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How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
IntroductionThis section of my evaluation will focus of the effectiveness of my ancillary texts and how well they link to my main product, which is my music video. I will discuss not only the process of creation from choosing the genre, but also how they show a strong sense of continuity to my products. Furthermore, I will explain how the audience feedback and research I’ve collected over the process has helped me develop them. At the end, I will give a value judgement on how effective the combination of my main product and ancillary texts are.
Research - DigiPakAfter I had chosen both my genre and target audience back in October and I was beginning to plan for my main product, I began researching various ancillary texts from my chosen genre of country. Firstly, I looked into the conventions that made up a digipak, by analysing Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album. I discussed the conventions used in the front and back cover and the disc itself. I felt this research would benefit me later on in the process when I began creating my ancillary texts. The conventions I picked up on included the use of the artist’s logo or distinctive presentation of their name, that are present on the front, back and on the disc. I stressed that its important that the artist has a unique way of presenting their name as this makes it easier for the audience to distinguish it, it also validates it as official merchandise from the artist. For example, Taylor Swift’s signature is present on almost all of her memorabilia.
The next convention I picked up on is the use of images that reflect the album's genre. In this case, Taylor Swift is of the country genre, so it was important that the images showed this. They have in the sense that it is heavily associated with nature and Swift is wearing a white dress, these conventions are stereotypical of a country album which presents it as a country album to the audience.
Another convention I picked up on is the consistency, so both covers and the disc have to be in sync with each other. This way, if the target audience saw one of the covers or the disc, they’d immediately recognise it. Taylor Swift has maintained consistency through the colours (light blue), the fonts and the logos, which include the artist's and the record label's. One final convention I picked up on which is small but important is the bar code on the back cover. This is used for scanning when someone buys the album, each bar code is different for every product, and it is used as another way to distinguish albums. Today, there are programmes and applications that can scan the barcodes to help you recognise the product.
I took all of these conventions into advance later on while creating my ancillary texts, I will talk about this later in a separate slide.
Research - PosterNext, I looked into the conventions that made up a poster advertisement for an artist’s album. I did this by analysing posters advertising various country artists. I found that the country genre as a whole uses a wide variety of designs and the only similarity is that the poster design is often based around the design of the album cover. Often the designs are extremely bright and focal which is done to attract the attention of their target audience, this is effective. They also featured the common conventions for adverts/posters which is the artist's logo/name, a picture (or two) of them, the album (or tour) name and a small picture of the album cover in the corner. Looking at this existing work gave me inspiration for my own ancillary texts, displaying the ideal style and design for the genre. I also discovered the conventional form of texts, i.e. the type of information that would appear on a poster and what is more likely to be eye catching, making a reader take interest in the artist. I think a still shot for the poster of the artist works effectively as well as placing the album artwork larger on a poster. I also think it's appropriate use the artist's signature colour scheme for that album, i.e. Taylor Swift's RED album emphasises the use of the colour red while the rest of the poster contains minimal colour (sepia or black and white), this shows recognition to the fans and audience. Referencing the store that the album is available at is also key convention.
I took all of these conventions into advance later on while creating my ancillary texts, I will talk about this later in a separate slide.
Research – Album Covers As I deem the front cover of an album the most important aspect of digipak, especially due to the
influence it has on the rest of the album’s promotion, I decided to delve further into the album covers of my music genre, country. I embarked on some research into existing album covers for country music, in order to learn the conventions and to give me some ideas for when I will be creating my own in the future. In a Prezi, I analysed five country album covers in detail, discussing inspiration, conventions, stereotypes and theories that relate to them. Some of thee album covers really influenced some of my decisions while creating my digipak, I will discuss this on a later slide.
Follow the link to the Prezi: http://prezi.com/8v6vm_l4imau/ancillary-text-ideas/
Design Process - DigipakTo create my digipak, I first took plenty of images of my main character that featured in my
music video (to ensure continuity) and uploaded them onto my computer to view them. I made sure I took images in all three of my filming sessions to ensure I had pictures of every location like the graveyard, the woods, the field etc so I had a lot to choose from. After sorting through the images, I began editing the images using Adobe Photoshop CS5 to ensure they looked vibrant. The first draft of the album cover for my digipak was the most time-consuming out of this process. I had a vision to create an album cover that featured an extreme close up of the artist with some flames surrounding her, relating to the title of the album. The first thing is was find a clear close up shot of my actress, the one I used was from the first filming session. I used the magic wand tool in Photoshop to cut out the background and then I saved this image for use later. Next, I found an image from the second filming session of my actress standing in the graveyard surrounded by trees and using the overlay tool, I overlaid an image of some flames on top of the image, which created the impression that the location in the image were on fire. I reopened the close up image and copied it on top of the edited image of the flame engulfed setting, making sure I covered up the part of the image that featured the body of my actress. Finally, I adjusted the brightness and contrast to make both layers blend in together. As for the text, I decided that I wanted to have the title of the album to be engulfed in flames also. I created the fiery text from following a tutorial on the internet, and I was very happy with the result. I used a simple yet unique font to display the artist’s name and I inserted the fiery album title right next to it.
Design Process - DigipakThe other images that made up the first draft of my digipak didn’t take up as much time as the front cover did. I decided that because the cover was very focal and bright, the rest of the digipak should be simple to balance it out perfectly. As for the back cover, I wanted to use a silouhette shot of my actress as this linked to some scenes in the music video and it was simple yet effective. I adjusted the brightness and saturation on Photoshop to make it brighter and stand out more. I also placed a barcode, some websites and my artist’s record label (Big Machine Records). These are key conventions for the back cover of an album so I deemed it important to be added. The last thing I did was add the song list in a simple black text that followed the continuity from the front cover but was also easy to read. The back and inside left parts of the digipak also didn’t need much editing. To enhance them to suit my genre of country and possess a dark and mysterious theme, I used the overlay tool on Photoshop to put a picture of some clouds on top. I decreased the opacity of the image to make it looklike it was fog. For the inside one in particular I darkened the overlay so it looked like dark smoke. For the inside left and right, I used a picture of a picturesque field and overlaid an image of some flames on top. I decreased the opacity and it gave the impression that the field was on fire which captured the essence of my theme, the destruction of nature.
Digipak 1st Draft
Digipak improvementsAfter receiving some feedback from my teachers and peers on the first draft of my
digipak, I decided to apply these suggestions in order to improve my product. The first suggestion was to completely change the concept of my front cover of the digipak. I picked up on this earlier when I completed the first draft. I noted that I felt it looked out of place and wasn't conventional to my genre of country music, it reminded me much more of a rock or heavy metal album cover. While looking at some more country album covers, I was unable to find one that I could take inspiration from and duplicate, so I decided to extend my research into the folk genre. One front cover I really felt was effective and conventional to the folk genre was Gabrielle Aplin's English Rain. I felt it was simple, yet complex in its attention to detail. I decided to take inspiration from this album cover and duplicate it the best I can. I used an image I took from my third filming session to do this, I alteredthe brightness making it very vintage and old fashioned looking and applied the text (album name and artist's name) in the same style as English Rain. I am very happy with this finished front cover as I feel it says a lot in a simple way.
As for the back cover, my feedback indicated that it didn't need much alteration at all. The only critique that I picked out is that the first couple of song titles in the track list are difficult to see. To improve this, I quickly increased the brightness and saturation, making the text more visible as well as making the cover more vibrant and colourful. My feedback indicated that the back left and inside left covers did not require any alteration as they're conventional to my genre and they compliment the digipak in its entirety. So I've left them as they were before. As for the inside centre of the digipak, my feedback concluded that along with the front cover, it looked very unconventional and was reminiscent of a rock or heavy metal album. After hearing this feedback I decided to replace the burning field with an image I took at the church in my third filming session. In my video, the church section in the bridge is the most vital component in my opinion. So I feel it important to include an image from this scene. I touched up the image a little to make it look more vibrant and supernatural, and I split it in half so it would fit in the two disc sections in my digipak. I also put the artist’s name, the album name, the record label name and a code on the spine of the digipak to finish it off
Digipak Final Draft
Is my digipak conventional?Relating back to my original research into digipak/album covers, I will now compare my completed digipak
to a real one in the music industry. This way I’ll be able to see what conventions I took into consideration while creating my digipak. By doing this, I will be able to make a final judgement regarding my digipak’s conventionality.
The first convention I carried over from my research was the use of the artist’s logo or distinctive presentation of their name. I deemed this important as it makes it easier for the audience to distinguish, and it also validates it as official merchandise from the artist. The next convention I carried over was the use of images that reflect the album's genre. I was inspired by Taylor Swift’s album as she wears a white dress and it reflects the genre of country perfectly, I did the same to ensure that my digipak fitted the stereotypes of the genre. Another convention I carried over was the use of consistency throughout theentire digipak. I did this by using a similar colour scheme throughout as well as similar fonts. This way the audience know immediately that they are all part of the same album. The final conventions I carried over from the back cover was the use of a barcode, the record label logo and some websites. From discussing the conventions I have used in my digipak, I have come to the conclusion that it is
conventional. I have followed the basic and complex conventions used in a digipak thoroughly, which make it fit into the music industry perfectly. It also matches the conventions of my music video and gives my entire campaign continuity.
Design Process - PosterTo create my poster, I first took plenty of images of my main character that featured in my music video (to
ensure continuity) and uploaded them onto my computer to view them. I made sure I took images in all three of my filming sessions to ensure I had pictures of every location like the graveyard, the woods, the field etc so I had a lot to choose from. After sorting through the images, I began editing the images using Adobe Photoshop CS5 to ensure they looked vibrant and adding text. For the main image, I decided to use a picture I took in my third filming session in the South Cave Graveyard, with the trees framing the image I felt it would look conventional to my genre. The first thing I did was add a 3D image of my current album cover for my digipak (first draft). I also used the same ‘Girl On Fire’ fiery text that I had used in my digipak, and I added that respectively. The last things I did was use the text tool to add a few bits of important text, such as ‘the new album’, the artist’s name and ‘available in stores and on Itunes now.’ I made this text white and then added a stroke tool which but a black border around the text to make it easier to read. Finally, I adjusted the lighting and saturation to make the image more vibrant. After completing this draft, I received feedback from my teachers on how I could improve it even more.
Poster – 1st Draft
Poster improvementsAfter receiving feedback for the first draft of my magazine poster, I realised that it looked too busy and the text was out of place. So I decided to start from scratch and create a very simplistic poster that used the same image as the front cover of my artist's album (2nd draft). I was inspired by a poster I found online of Gabrielle Aplin's English Rain. I also decided to add some reviews of the album (the five stars) from various music magazines as this demonstrates convergence and synergy within the industry. I did this by finding a picture of a five star rating, using the magic wand tool delete the background and inserting it into the poster. Another thing I did was add some images of the amazon.com and Itunes logos. This way my audience will be ableto recognise these logos and know instantly where to purchase the album. Finally, I added some text using the text tool to distinguish the album’s release date and what formats it will be available in (CD, vinyl etc). While I am pleased with this, I noticed later on that it more resembles a flyer than a poster. So while it is suitable as a flyer design, it does not match the conventions of a promotion poster. I will take these changes to heart and create another poster design.
Poster - 2nd Draft
Poster improvementsAfter receiving feedback from my teacher on the second draft of my poster, I was told it more resembled a flyer than a poster. So while it is suitable as a flyer design, it does not match the conventions of a promotion poster. I decided to start from scratch yet again and make a new poster. This time I used a similar image as the back cover of my digipak, with the silhouhette of my artist. This stage of my poster design took the better half of a day as I found it difficult to get the text to match the image. It went through three separate stages before I completed it. In order to make this poster as good as it could be, I combined ideas from both my first and second draft. I followed a similar design and layout as the first draft with the use of the same text and fonts. But I also took some ideas from my second draft with the use of the amazon and ITunes logo, and the album cover from my digipak. After completing this design (below), I showed it to my teacher and she felt that the image should be the focal point of the poster. So she suggested I put all of the text into a box at the bottom so the poster is less cluttered and easier to read. I followed her advice by using the box tool to add a box, I filled it in so it was completely black and then adjusted the opacity so it was more translucent. I also made the fonts much more simple and similar to those of my digipak, to ensure there was continuity. I completed it by placing all of the text in the box and adjusting the lighting so it was easier to read. After showing this to my peers and teachers they were very pleased with it and stated it would fit in perfectly to a music magazine.
Poster – Final Draft
Is my poster conventional?Relating back to my original research into album posters, I will now compare my completed poster to a real
one in the music industry. This way I’ll be able to see what conventions I took into consideration while creating my poster. By doing this, I will be able to make a final judgement regarding my poster’s conventionality.
The first convention I carried over from my research was continuity between the poster and digipak. To ensure this, I used one of the images that was featured in my digipak. I also featured the common conventions for album posters which is the artist's logo/name, the album name, the date the album is released and a small picture of the album cover in the corner. Another convention I carried over was the type of information that would appear on a poster and what is more likely to be eye catching, making a reader take interest in the artist. For example, using a still shot of the artist as well as placing the album artwork on the poster is conventional. Anotherconvention I carried over was the continuity in the colour scheme to the digipak (red, yellow and brown tones). I felt using the artist’s signature colour would show recognition to the fans and audience. The last convention I carried over was the reference of where the album is available i.e. ITunes and Amazon.From discussing the conventions I have used in my poster, I have come to the conclusion that it is conventional and will fit perfectly into the music industry.
Audience FeedbackAfter I had completed both my ancillary texts and music video, I received some feedback from my audience through a number of questionnaires. The general feedback towards my ancillary texts from the questionnaire was positive, with all of them agreeing that my digipak and poster fitted in well with my music video (see pie chart). Although I did receive some feedback for improvements in both my questionnaire and set of interviews. To improve my digipak, from the audience feedback I have learned that I could possibly improve my choice of images - particularly on my digipak - as one comment from the feedback was that I had two many medium close up images of the artist in my digipak and I should’ve taken a picture from a different angle. This could be something I could reconsider to improve my digipak so that it is able to connect with my target audience more effectively. I received only one short comment on my poster that regarded the font. My interviewee felt like the font didn’t reflect the genre of country well enough and it looked unconventional. This is something I am tempted to change as I deem correct conventions very important for my texts. Additionally, I feel I could have also included more web addresses or social network connections on my advert that my target audience are aware of (such as Facebook and Twitter) as this would have given my artist and new album more publicity by establishing connections with different forms of media. However, I was conscious of over-crowding my advert, as I thought it looking simple and clean was effective in making it stand out to the audience and easy to read. I thought if too many images or text were present, it may look cluttered and not fulfil its purpose in advertising the artist's new album effectively. Another general comment that was made in the questionnaires was that I should have incorporated fire into the ancillary texts more, especially as its such a big motif in the video.
See Question 3 of my evaluation for more information on the audience feedback I collected.
My ancillary texts in the media
In these images below I have inserted my main ancillary texts into various media products in order to demonstrate their appropriateness and appeal. These include the IPhone and IPad, Spotify, ITunes and the official charts company website. I have purposely inserted my artist into the country album charts instead of the main album chart, I have done this to demonstrate that country music isn't very mainstream in the UK and it usually doesn't make the top five in the main chart. But usually, singles from the album are very successful in the singles chart which then prompt the album to enter the main album chart. I have also inserted my promotion poster into Q magazine, to get a feel of how it would appear.
My ancillary texts in the media
ConclusionFrom my thorough and detailed research, design process and audience feedback. I can safely say that the combination of my main product and ancillary texts are effective. From doing research into texts of my genre, country, I have been able to recognise these conventions and apply them to my own work. I’ve also followed the same theme as my music video while doing this, and my audience feedback shows that my target audience consider the combination of my music video and ancillary texts effective. With this statement made, I don’t intend to make any more adjustments in order to improve them as they aren’t needed.