Storytelling from images

Retina_Day_320365_Photographer_Marius-Vieth

Retina | Day 320365. Photographer: Marius-Vieth

Image source

Images are a great way to promote creative thinking. Find a collection of interesting images relating to a theme and then ask your students to study them, choose one or more of them, and then write a short story about what they think might be happening to the characters in them.

If you have chosen interesting images to start with the students may surprise you in their interpretations. You can then use their stories to promote meaningful discussions relating to your specific subject or workplace situation.

If you are prepared to be adventurous, don’t choose images that are targeted to a specific learning outcome or skill. To get the best results choose a theme that has no evident connection with your subject. This may sound frivolous, but if you really want to engage your students in a creative way give it a go.

As an example, look at these images:  http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/street-photography

Resulting stories from these images may revolve around:

  • appearances can be deceiving
  • some things can be overlooked
  • what’s in the detail is important
  • big versus small

Your challenge would then be to direct any resulting discussion from the students’ stories/themes back to the workplace or current subject area you are dealing with.

POSTSCRIPT: the images on this url change regularly, so what you see today may not be there next week – but the new ones will be equally interesting.

Colour Moods

I love colour, most of all when a group of colours work together to create a certain mood or ambience. Sometimes I need a colour palette that jumps boldly out and says “Look at me … I am fabulous!” Other times I need a colour palette that is less demanding, but still appealing, interesting and mood setting. How do I go about creating colour palettes for different needs?

Colour palette inspiration is all around us; we just need to look at our environment – both natural and man-made to find beautiful colour combinations that we can utilise for different themes or purposes.  There are times for “look at me” colour palettes, and times for something less bravado.

Today I’m focusing on a subtle colour palette; one that can evoke a sense of sophistication and serenity. I don’t want “boring” but I do want “ethereal”, “calmness” and “cohesiveness”. I call this a “soft palette”. The images below display a broad range of hues, but a delicate range of tones.  They are drawn from a range of sources.

Artichoke palette

Artichoke palette

Beautiful geometry

Beautiful geometry

Eggs in nest

Eggs in nest

Eucalyptus leaves

Eucalyptus leaves

Faded colours

Faded colours

Fungi

Fungi

Glazed hues

Glazed hues

Ibaraki ceramics

Ibaraki ceramics

Tray of jasper trials, ca. 1773-76, from Josiah Wedgwood's manufacture.

Tray of jasper trials, ca. 1773-76, from Josiah Wedgwood’s manufacture.

Rusty stuff

Rusty stuff

Sea Glass

Sea Glass

Soft texture

Soft texture

Sunlit Poppies

Sunlit Poppies

Tea Rose sketch and palette

Tea Rose sketch and palette

Teabag bundles

Teabag bundles

Soft colours

Soft colours

Vintage gas cans

Vintage gas cans

All images via

Making an entrance – first impressions

Having just been to Morocco I’ve been reflecting on the many intricate and beautifully embellished doors and gateways I saw, and how these enticed me to enter with an expectation of grandeur beyond. And yet, I also entered astonishingly beautiful establishments via obscure, plain doors, often in non-descript walls that gave no hint of the architectural treasures inside.

As a graphic designer, I have always placed emphasis on the ‘visual gateway’. In relation to content, this may be the cover of a book, a wine label or the home page of a website. Yes, I know, you should “never judge a book by its cover”, and yet I am intrinsically drawn to a book by its cover, meaning that I have consciously made a selective decision before I read any content.

After my Moroccan experience I still feel that first impressions are really important, but I will try to be more aware of ‘hidden gems’ behind plain facades. I know I already do this with people – rather than make judgments based on exterior personas, I look for the true character within. Maybe I need to be more sympathetic to visually unappealing gateways, but when it comes to content, I know I will always promote the importance of a well designed and visually appealing entry image for a first impression.

Madressa-cell-window

Behind this beautifully adorned window is a small, simple room once used by students

Souk-alleyway

Old Medina alleyway, Marrakech

Bab-Ksour-laneway

A beautiful doorway in a nondescript lane, Marrakech

Madressa

Peace and tranquility pervade in the proportions of this courtyard, Marrakech

Casablanca-5

Courtyards provide quiet spaces filled with light, Casablanca

Casablanca-4

Entrance to a suburban home in Casablanca

Casablanca_2

Inner spaces open to the sky

Deux-Neuf

This beautiful Riad couryard with pool is behind a relatively unassuming door in the old Medina of Marrakech

Casablanca_1

Beautiful entrance, Casablanca