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Degree Project

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  • Degree Project

    Hey guys,

    I'm currently 2 weeks from completing my degree in Graphic Design here at Waikato Uni in NZ.

    For the past 13 weeks we've been working on our final projects - a self-written brief which allows us freedom to pursue whatever avenue of GD we choose.

    So, my project has been a web project I've called 'WordPlay'. It's intention is to be a tool for graphic designers to use as way of inspiring the creative process by means of image based synonyms...basically it's a visual thesaurus using abstract imagery rather than words.

    Early plans have allowed room for a basic tagging system, amongst other categorisation capabilities, but at this stage it's very much a working prototype, and Im working frantically at the moment to get it all sorted, well, as much as I can anyway.

    On top of that, I've tried to implement a sharing system - somewhat of a wiki style site which means everyone can contribute their own ideas in real-time, without too much restriction [and PHP errors...].

    I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions, hell if you have something you want to throw up there for the world, by all means, be my guest!

    Currently online at:

    This will change once the domain name springs to life, next few days hopefully.

    I've started adding words & images, though more words than images. And a lot of the words are a little vague, but I'll clean this up once I get to the final stage[s] of development. Im also going crazy trying to generate as much content before presentation week next week, so forgive the lack of ideas at present. Also what imagery I have put together has been done so pretty hasty like, but you should get the idea. I've tried to restrict imagery to anything but photographs to maintain my point of difference, for now anyway.

    Thanks for reading, have a good one. And please, dont hesitate to share your own ideas if you can, the more the merrier!


  • #2
    Hi Gonzo and a warm welcome from kiwi to kiwi to GDF!

    The first thing that springs to mind when reading about your project is Thinkmap's version of the visual thesaurus.

    As your version will have images it is different and images may give it a powerful advantage.

    One thing to be wary of, is who owns the copyright to the images on your visual thesaurus? Will it be like Google Image where all the images are linked? Or will it be like an encyclopedia where the images will all need permission from their owners? Or do only designers submit original artwork?
    It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


    • #3
      Hey Budafist, appreciate the feedback! And cheers, glad to be here...

      Yeah you're right - did a lot of research before I started on this, seems to be a lot of the ThinkMap' style of visual thesuarii [?!] out there, which is awesome, have even used a few myself. There's similar concepts out there of course, but nothing I could find that was web based and allowed for open contribution - that's where I was hoping to make my biggest point of diff.

      As for the content, I am trying to steer away from the indexed images thing, to avoid the whole copyright issue. Ideally, I was hoping to challenge people a little and get anyone interested [not just designers] involved to come up with something themselves to contribute. For me it's going to be an ongoing thing, and the artwork I intend on producing for this will come from either allowed sources or my own hands.

      Of course, I've allowed for anyone submitting to retain (c) ownership if they chose [system yet to be implemented], whatever goes really so long as it's not in breach of anything...have enough headaches already.

      I guess as time goes by maybe it'll actually become a worthwhile tool - I'm hoping anyway. See what happens!

      Cheers mate,



      • #4
        Sounds good then! The original artwork is a great point of difference - something that designers on here may happily contribute to if you make it user friendly enough. Good luck and keep us posted
        It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


        • #5
          Absolutely, what'd you think of the interface/usability so far? I've tried to make it as easy to use and as minimalist as possible, was hoping I had got somewhere in the vicinity, but of course I been staring at it for the last 10 weeks or thereabouts, so it's not new to me...first impressions I'd be keen to hear!



          • #6
            I don't find the use of indexed images after the fashion of google to be that much of a problem IF like Google (or is better IMO) there is a link back to the original site and context. And like Google or Mamma or even Yahoo, you put a disclaimer up ON EACH PAGE that the image may be subject to copyright.

            You are asking designers to contribute work to a site paid for by ___?
            Ads? Sponsors? The kindness of your heart? What is the return to the contributor? A portfolio or website link to their work?

            The interface is clean. It needs to be. No other visual clutter. But it is a little sparse information-wise. If this project is meant to be a true working site, you should look into what it would take to protect you and the contributors. Right now you are half way there...

            Do you have an idea in mind regarding the rights issue? Without that fine print in place, it's hard to gauge intent. You also need to impress on contributors that they hold you indemnified if they post already copyrighted work.

            Yada yada yada.


            • #7
              Just bouncing on PD's post...

              There should be a system of identifying the user (registration). If a user registers they can put their personal website link in their profile, then they get instant glory! Having mandatory registration also helps filter out people that post useless or spam images. The terms and conditions (including copyright rules) can be included as part of the registration process. This will help make the user accountable for any breach of copyright.

              The rules for posting images must be very clear - size, dpi, file formats accepted etc. There should also be an upload panel on every page. At least until this project gets fuller. That way it encourages people to add because they are confronted with an upload image panel at every page.

              How are you going to host this? Will each user need to host the images themselves or on free image host sites? Or can people upload to your server?

              The website must be very fast loading or people will get turned off by having to wait a long time for a page of images to load. Google has it worked out well - how there are thumbnails that load very fast and to view you just click on them. Perhaps you could use this system also?
              It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


              • #8
                You raise some good points,

                Image indexing - I'm wanting this project to be slightly more specialised in the sense that the images on the site are done so in a way that evokes thought on a more sub-conscious level. Abstraction seems to be the key - take 'literal' away to allow more of the person's own head to do some creating. The whole idea is to evolve more lateral thinking in an approach to any given design [or whatever] problem.

                As for return on investment - it's intention is to become an open book, with a million pages there for anyone to scribble their mark. As you know it's a uni assignment at present, but if there's potential to carry on with it as a side project, then that's what I'll do - so yeah, from my end - the goodness of my heart, for the foreseeble future anyway....who knows, it may end up as a dudd and I'll bin it, but I'm trying it on anway =)
                As for artist[s] recognition and copyrights, I'm putting in place measures to allow a submitter to leave his/her name against their post, and of course to retain ownership etc etc.

                I figure if it's a serious tool that people can use, that people contribute to out of the kindess of their own hearts then I'm happy as to carry hosting/development costs for as long as I need to. If I were to be Captain Ambitious here, it'd be packed with all kinds of ideas, hundreds of em, next week, and people would be consulting it on a daily basis all over the world, just like they might their latest design mag/book/ whatever.

                You have definately raised a good point with regards to the fineprint. Legalities, as nasti as they are, are a necessity - I'm going to have to put something in place asap, even if this doesn't take off...thanks for the heads up.

                Appreciate your feedback!!



                • #9

                  I hear what you're saying, and agree - the idea of a registration page would definately help keep the bullsht out. I've managed to filter a lot of obscene words should anyone try submitting new words, but of course without a set of human eyes, picking out dirt image posts isn't exactly easy. I've been thinking from PD's post that maybe a disclaimer saves me hine from the any litigation should anyone go stealing images and chucking them on the site? I'm no lawyer, so I better look into this.

                  I'm putting together a tab system which shows further information related to an image. That is, the submitter name, other thoughts/ideas, a link to report an offensive post etc. This way at least there's some control - if a post is flagged as offensive it dissapears until I get a chance to check it myself, not only for dirt but (c) breaches also.

                  As for image hosting, it's intended that all the images will be hosted here with me, this may change but that's how it's setup at the moment. Telecom's in charge of the bits toob, so how reliable and fast that is, seems to be okay, so far so good anyway.

                  So far, the only words with any content are ones at the top mostly....action, aggressive, athletic....I think the thumbnail system works well like you say, hopefully this will also [considering the project carries on ;]

                  Thanks, the feedback is awesome,



                  • #10
                    I think its a very good idea.

                    If the database was alot larger I would definatly consider using this to help in the development of my concepts.

                    With that said, the current server request isn't working well. Everytime I click on an item the entire page reloads. This would really deturre me.

                    Instead perhaps look into using a request with ajax. This way you could have users retrive info in the database without the need to reload the page. Currently though its just frustrating having it reload everytime I click.

                    its a great idea though.


                    • #11
                      Cheers tZ, you're right, I think it has the potential to become a useful tool when it actually has some useful content, which I'm working on but it'll be a process, few things I need to get sorted to make it more user friendly, and I think using ajax to avoid the page re-load is an awesome idea....I've just got starf-all XML/JS skills but I'm working on that at the moment, actually my JavaScript isn't so bad, so if it's easy enought to implement then I'll do so asap, otherwise might be an upgrade I make after the degree show.

                      Thanks for the support tho, I'll keep you posted.







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