Application & Interactions – Week 2: Ideas, Craft and Context

Week 2 Lecture & Resources

Design Talk

Notes from watching the Walker Art Centre opening day design talk for their 2011 Graphic Design: Now in Production exhibition.


I researched a wide range of different nature journals, botanical illustrations, visual diaries, artist/designer sketchbooks and creative mixed media collage as a starting point for ideas.

Some books I looked at this week for inspiration.
A page from Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower with a traditional botanical illustration.
Pages from Mixed-media Nature Journals.

The journals shown above (a page from Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists’ Books and the Natural World), along with traditional botanical illustrations, inspired me to go outside and gather real organic matter as something that could inform my creative ideas.

Collecting leaves from walks in the local landscape.
Initial thoughts on this week’s task.

Workshop Challenge


Click on any of the images below to view larger.

1. Bold Graphics: inspired by visual effects with strong contrasts such as blackout poetry, graffiti/street art and the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Bold Graphics

2. Creative Collage: inspired by layered, textural effects, experimenting with a mixture of surfaces and mark making. DIY aesthetic.

Creative Collage

3. Seasonal Shifts: a visual representation of the shifting of the seasons seen in the natural world throughout the year.

Seasonal Shifts

4. Drawn from Nature: inspired by traditional botanical drawings, drawing from life, plantlife forms and natural textures.

Drawn from Nature

5. Nature up Close: taking a closer look at the details of the natural world around me – colours, textures and patterns.

Nature up Close

Visual Development – Rough Visuals

I decided to pursue the “Creative Collage” direction for my approach to the visual journal. My thinking is that this will actually take the form of 4 separate but related mini journals, each representing one of the seasons. The collage style will allow for a lot of flexibility and creativity in how they are put together, as well as introducing different visual textures. I intend to make them as physical objects because I feel this is an effective way to emulate the idea of a tangible visual diary or reflective sketchbook, which would be much more challenging to represent using digital media.

Sketch detailing ideas for the design of the journal format.
Inspired by a Zinetober tutorial on how to make a DIY zine,
I started stitching different papers together.
Trying out some ideas for binding, using a decorative Japanese cloth tape.
Exploring different types of paper, including cartridge paper, photocopies,
tracing paper and Japanese origami papers.
Playing around with some digital collage ideas based on my photography.

Reflection on the week

With so many potential directions for the creative approach to my visual journals, it was challenging to narrow it down and choose just one. In the end, I opted to take the “creative collage” route. The main reason for this decision is that I felt it would allow a lot of room for ideas to develop, using a range of different materials and creative exploration.


BOYD, Drick and CHANG, Heewon. 2016. Spirituality in Higher Education: Autoethnographies. London: Routledge.

CHANG, Heewon. 2008. Autoethnography as Method. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast.

FAIRMAN, Elisabeth. 2014. Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists’ Books and the Natural World. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

HELLER, Steven AND TALARICO, Lita. 2011. Typography Sketchbooks. London: Thames & Hudson

Instagram. 2021. “How to DIY a Zine.” Available at [accessed 11/10/2021]

LUDWIG, L.K. 2007. Mixed-media Nature Journals: New Techniques for Exploring Nature, Life and Memories. Massachusetts: Quarry Books.

MUNRO, Allan J. 2011. ‘Autoethnography as a research method in design research at Universities.’ Available at [accessed 28/09/2021]

NEW, Jennifer. 2005. Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

PERRELLA, Lynne. 2006. Alphabetica: An A-Z Creativity Guide for Book and Collage Artists. Massachusetts: Quarry Books.

Walker Art Center. 2011. Graphic Design: Now in Production. Available at [accessed 24/10/2021]