Category Archives: Development & Realisation

Development and Realisation: The FINAL Design

Life Expectancy Poster A2
Click to enlarge

This is the final produced design of my A2 poster that I have created within Adobe Illustrator. It is straight forward to understand which is ideal because of the demographic I am targeting with this poster. The areas I could improve on are my basic tool skills within the program to create better graphics and shapes for myself, and also perhaps making the poster 3D in some way. But I believe this type of poster will suit really well being stuck up in a primary school classroom. For this particular poster I reckon it will be difficult to design and produce it in 3D, whilst keeping it visually interesting and following the common conventions of posters like these.

The background being skulls represent death and symbols were one of my main focuses throughout this project along with the use of colour. The icon I used for the skulls is this, which I found on, which is a site that allows you to browse various icons and icon sets. Some you have to pay for and some you don’t. This is a perfect means to get hold of such icons or simple graphics without going through the pain of creating one yourself:

Icon used to represent death, click to enlarge
Icon used to represent death, click to enlarge

Another symbol I have incorporated in to the final design is that life is merely just a ticking time bomb, the idea that life counts down the days until you die. I represented this as a match stick which is utilised as part of the graph.

The last use of symbolism that I decided to use was the ‘tree of life’, of which I have discussed previously. Again, trees and especially the symbol ‘the tree of life’, symbolises nature, life, hope and prosperity. The fact that a plant just knows hot to grow and prosper where there is light, the same way we just know hot to breathe and regulate our body temperatures without ever having done this before. I wanted to present the message that no matter where you are in the world there is always room for prosperity, you’ve just got aim high like a plant or a flower does and find the light.

A summary of the uses of symbolism that is presented within my poster are as follows:

  1.   Death – Through the use of a skull Icon I found on the web legitimately.
  2. ‘Life is merely just a ticking time bomb’ – Via a graphic I created and produced myself in Illustrator.
  3. Life – By drawing and creating a tree within Illustrator using the Pen tool.

Through making this poster I have developed a vast range of skills within Illustrator. For example my use of the Pen tool has improved considerably as well as my general work flow. That has become faster as well through the help of shortcuts that I kept on tediously using the majority of the time. I thoroughly believe I have produced a strong wholesome poster that answered the theme I picked; ‘Who Lives The Longest’. It is a clear visualisation of it and original if I can say so myself. I haven’t seen any thing quite like it anywhere, within my research and throughout my life of being alive. The symbols I have used and the theories I have put behind them are all relative to the topic. Again, what I need to improve on however, are my general tool skills within the program Illustrator.


Development and Realisation: The NEW Design

Click to enlarge

After going back to square one again, brainstorming potential designs, I figured it will be essential to include symbols that symbolises Life and Death. Included in the brainstorm there are some other jotted down designs, but nothing too significant to discuss. One thought I had for the design was to try to represent one of the symbols of life and infinity, the never ending spiral, through a spiralling graph. Yet, I thought this will be far too difficult for me to produce at my current level of expertise in Illustrator.

To aid my inspiration I browsed the Internet for symbols of life and death and this is what I found:

Click to enlarge:

Through the research I undertook and lots of thought, I’ve finally decided that within in my design I will include a tree to symbolise a family tree, life just in general and prosperity, next to a graph that represents the life expectancy within a continent. I know that I will use the same colour theme for the different continents that I was going to use in  my previous pyramid idea. At this point I know that I would represent each continent as a branch, but how exactly was a problem for me. I thought of many ideas:

  1. At the end of each branch have different flowers to represent the different continents and to symbolise hope/life. I will include a Key also.
  2. The branches of the tree gets thicker as the life expectancy gets higher.
  3. The branches start to look more dotted as life expectancy gets lower to symbolise decay.
  4. The leaf at the end of each branch will have different colours depending on which leaf is representing which continent.

I want to keep the design simple and easy to learn as there is quite a lot of information/data to process with just a few seconds of looking. There are 6 different life expectancies to represent so I want to keep the design fairly straight forward for the audience to understand, which is why I think the fourth design is the final design.

Development And Realisation: The Design

At this stage I’m having some real difficulty deciding whether I should carry on with the idea of the pyramid or not. This is what I have done so far:

Click to enlarge

After showing this rough design and discussing the idea with numerous students at the University for feedback the majority said it looked plain and very simple. Eventhough this design is not complete they still said they couldn’t imagine it stuck up in a school classroom. To make this design work better for its purpose there are a few things that can be improved:

  • Changing the background colour
  • Making it a 3D representation

The colour black indicates something sinister, evil and dark which is not very inviting. And yet, reflecting on my notes I have made in my notebook, regarding the hierarchy concept, this will be a very difficult notion for me to convey as my skills at this present time within Adobe Illustrator are only at beginner level. At the moment the message I’m trying to portray isn’t quite being executed well enough, so I am deciding to completely scrap this idea, go back to square one again and come up with a completely new design.


Development And Realisation: Planning and Preperation

After thinking long and hard about the design of the poster, I decided I really liked the second idea from my brainstorm where I would show a ‘hierarchy system’ through a pyramid.

I got my idea after looking at this example through my research:

I came up with some basic sketches and jotting downs as to how I would perhaps want the design to look like. I made some notes on the side to elaborate more on the technicalities of the design. This is what I came up with whilst exploring into this:

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

In this design each individual square/block will represent a continent and, based on the data collected, these squares/blocks will be proportionally scaled within the pyramid. So for example Europe’s square/block, having a life expectancy of 81, will be proportionally bigger than the rest of them. I also thought it would be smart to assign a colour to each continent and to maybe include a Key within the poster to minimise the amount of text and to keep it as visual as possible.

Asia = Red
Africa = Orange
Europe = Green
N. America = Blue
Oceania = Pink
S. America = Yellow

Another idea is that each square/block will consist of numerous country’s flags so Europe’s square will consist of the flags from England, Norway, France and so on. The objective of this design is to show a ‘hierarchy system’, whereby the closer you are to the top the longer you’re likely to live. The pyramid structure will suggest that it’s very difficult for countries within the continents that have low life expectancy rates to raise them due to the actions collectively taken by the nations above them. The reasons can vary, it can be due to: weapons and warfare, technology, science, arts etc. Where on the other hand, jointly, they could spend more on over coming poverty and world hunger from their budgets.

Another idea I came up with was this:

Click to enlarge

Each line will represent a continent and will have their own separate assigned colours to distinguish between them all. It will be plotted on a graph which will visually show the various life expectancies. I got the inspiration of this design from my research I did at the beginning of this project, yet I think it is far too similar. This was just one of the many ideas that I thought up of.

Inspiration for this idea



Development And Realisation: Planning and Preperation

Brain Storm of Ideas
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This was a brainstorm I did during the first stages of planning. After acquiring all the data and learning it and researching lots of other data representation posters online, I gained plenty of inspiration. At this stage I figure the best demographic to target / the demographic that will benefit the most from this poster will be Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 pupils:

  • School Years: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
  • Male and Female pupils aged between: 7 and 14 years old.


Development And Realisation: Data Collection

After changing my mind during planning and preparation, before starting any design work, I had to research and collect data that will be represented in the poster. I went on the CIA’s (Central Intelligence Agency) website,, where they have plenty of information and statistics of each and every country. This was where I sourced and gathered all of my data. I didn’t just want to represent the life expectancies of a number of countries, so I thought it will be a great challenge for me to try and create a poster that creatively visually shows life expectancies through out the whole world and not just a region of it.

To achieve this I calculated the life expectancies’ of 13 countries from each continent: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania/Australiaboth male and female statistics. With these figures I was then able to work out the mean/average number of years that is expected of someone to live in each continent.

Click to enlarge: