Friday, 30 November 2012

PRIMARY RESEARCH - ADVANCE RAIL FARE PRICES.

Following my previous post, I wanted to follow up on this by carrying out my own primary research to see if I book in advance for my own daily tickets, will they be cheaper?

First of all, I decided to check the prices shown online at The Train Line, a price comparison website specifically for train fares. They claim that they can save you up to 43% by booking in advance, and claim that their search engines cover every train line in the country. The following explains my strategy and reasoning, whilst analysing my initial research outcome.

Selected Rail Fares:

The train journey's I am going to compare are my daily commute to college from Doncaster to Leeds. And a journey from Doncaster to Bristol Temple Meads. I buy this ticket 4 or 5 times a year when visiting family for a week, and the prices are usually quite high due to the change at either Birmingham or Sheffield. 

To maintain continuity and for fair results, I have decided to compare prices for the same, day and time for both journey's. The journey used will be the one I travel on a daily basis, for Leeds the 8.12am London King's Cross train departing from Doncaster, and the 4.14pm return train. I will use times as close as possible for the Doncaster to Bristol fare. 

The days set will be:

3 Days in advance for Monday 3rd December, returning on the 7th
1 Week in advance for Monday 10th December, returning on the 14th
1 Month in advance for Monday 31st December, returning on the 4th January 2013

Rail Cards; Any benefit?

I also want to use a rail card promotion online, to see how that could possibly effect the price of my ticket. I have chosen the 16-25 rail card, delivered by national rail, promoting a 1/3 off rail fares with a valid card. Perfect for students such as myself, but how much does it benefit me?

What do I want to find out from this research?

- Which is the cheapest fare possible when booking in advance to Leeds/Bristol from Doncaster at the set days and times?
- Does having a rail card reduce the price by a considerable amount, matching the 1/3 off rail fares claim.
- Is it cheaper to book in advance?
- Does time of day matter in regards to obtaining a cheaper ticket travelling at off-peak times?

Initial Research:




- Doncaster to Leeds:

Here you can see the search engines used on the Train Line website. I filled in the details as necessary for the dates shown above, at the same time as said, with and without rail cards. Above you can see how I have filled out the specific details. The screen shot on the left shows details for Mon 3rd, 3 days in advance and for Mon 10th, 7 days in advance. The same was then carried out for a month in advance also, however not seen here.


The price shown for Monday 3rd, 10th and 31st of October showed no variation with results for a return ticket than the price I would pay at the station on a daily basis. This doesn't save me booking in advance for this particular journey.

- Doncaster to Leeds with Rail Card:


I then added the additional option of a rail card into the search engine for all the dates and repeated the process. Above are the results for a 16-25 rail card, which is the one I currently have, as do the majority of students nationally. By using the card online to check for cheaper tickets would save me £1.80 per day. This however is not the 1/3 off as mentioned by National Rail, and I cannot purchase a ticket with a rail card on the train, it has to be bought at the station itself, beforehand, which I very rarely do due to time. However this would save me £9 per week, or £36 per month. So as a commuter I would save money long-term, but if I was buying a ticket in advance for a one-off journey I wouldn't benefit further as the standard fare appears to remain the same, regardless of the day off the week.

However; I wanted to see if the time of day effects the costs of a return ticket to Leeds, with and without the rail card. I tried to find the cheapest ticket possible for the 10th of December, booking in advance also.



The results can be seen above. If you have a rail card and want to travel after the peak time, you can buy your ticket for £9.10 saving £4.70 off a fare at 8.12am without a rail card, and £2.70 if you buy your ticket beforehand in the morning at peak times. But we can pay up to nearly £5 more than the cheapest fare, for exactly the same journey, the same service and running times. There are no additional perks for paying more money at 'peak times' when masses of commuters are using train services on a daily basis, such as myself,  aren't benefiting at all. In essence we are the ones spending more money on tickets because it varies the price for the time of day, than if you're booking a one off journey in advance with a rail card.  

- Doncaster to Bristol Templemeads:

I repeated the process for Doncaster to Bristol Templemeads, a journey I often take. It's a much longer journey, involving a change at either Birmingham or Sheffield. The long commute and a change normally makes my ticket quite expensive, however I am hoping I can benefit from a rail card, and find a cheaper fare as prices can go up to £90 for a return ticket. 

Below you can see the prices and times for a return ticket from Doncaster to Bristol Templemeads. The time I have chosen to focus on is 8am, so I am directing the research for the Bristol fares based on the 7:55am train. A single for this journey without a rail card is £88 and an off-peak return ticket is £87.70. It's hard to determine why a return ticket is cheaper than a single, and with this particular search being 3 days in advance. 



The screen shot below show the prices for the same journey at the same time a month in advance. The cost of a return ticket is the same as 3 days in advance. The single fare however from Doncaster to Bristol is £26.50, saving £61.50. 


- Doncaster to Bristol Temple Meads with Rail Card:


I wanted to see if a rail card affects the cost of a ticket. A return ticket will cost you £57.90 opposed to £87.70 saving you  £29.80 travelling the same journey on the 31st Dec. A single ticket however is £17.50, saving you £70.50 booking a month in advance with a rail card, opposed to 3 days or a week in advance with or without one. 

Conclusion:

                                                        NO RAIL CARD                 WITH RAIL CARD
                                                            FARE (£)                                 FARE (£)
                                                      PEAK/OFF PEAK                  PEAK/OFF PEAK

DON > LEEDS                               13.80 / 13.80                           12.00 / 9.10
DON > BRISTOL                          87.70 / 87.70                         57.90 / 57.90
VARIANCE                                NO VARIANCE                      1.80 (LEEDS)


Above is a summary of results. Days and advance times have not been added. 

This table is to show how much a standard ticket is on average at peak/off peak times, with and without a rail card, and the variance if any. 

- The only price variation according to time is the Doncaster to Leeds journey, where the commuter would save £1.80 travelling at off-peak times. 

- The rail card makes a difference of  up to £4.70 for the DON>LEEDS journey, and £28.90 for the DON>BRISTOL journey. It appears that saving roughly 1/3 of the fare has been met for the train journey to Bristol. However if buying a peak Leeds return this isn't necessarily the case.

- Time, day and booking in advance does not appear to make a difference to fare if you do not have a rail card.

- Time of day can make a difference to your fares if you buy singles opposed to return tickets, or if you have a rail card.

It appears that there are many loop holes and terms and conditions with train tickets, which allow so many different ticket combinations are available. It is possible to pay for a return ticket which is more expensive than paying for two singles, and occasionally a return can be cheaper than a single, saving the buyer money even if you don't need both tickets. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

PRE-CRIT DESIGN BOARDS

Prior to Friday's crit, we were asked to make 3 design boards each within our group, so we can assess the direction we would like to head in further. Mine were based around travel costs, primarily car, train and bus. I also included primary and secondary research. The boards sum up the initial costs on the expenses of travelling, whether commuting or for leisure. 


Information based on petrol prices since the economic prices kick started inflation mirroring the 1980s as can be seen on this board, as well as facts on taxes, price variations nationally, energy source information and average prices.


This board focuses on my primary research, and the questionnaire's average outcome of £12 per week spent by students on LCA's Graphic Design degree on travelling. I have also included a brief summary of initial findings, and information on primary research based on my own transport costs to and from university on a weekly basis.


This design board features heavily on the yet again rising rail affairs, affecting myself, other students and people likewise nationwide. There's also a breakdown showing what our extra money covers and average prices for some of the most expensive season tickets in the UK.

I think for initial research this shows a wide range of facts, figures and information. Details on buses were much harder to come by and it was hard to find visual information also, as the leaflets I had picked up locally were more information based on timings and offers, opposed to a price list as station to station offers different prices depending on age, time of day, the day of the week and whether you have a rail card such as the 16-25 rail card. This is something I would like to look further into also, and to also find out why.

PHOTOSHOP WORKSHOP 1

During this session Simon showed us how to manipulate a photo with a constructive approach, opposed to a deconstructive transformation, which ruins photos and settings adjusted can not be saved.

Set-Up:

It's important to always select the right size for new document, as well as the correct colour settings. This will depend of the output of your work. Photoshop works with bitmap images/graphics (pixels) not vectors like illustrator, so the image being worked with can not be distorted. Therefore the output must be set in place before hand, with correct dimensions and colour settings applied, as the image will distort when scaled. Never increase the size of a bitmap image.


To create a new file in Photoshop, you simply click on the File button in the top left hand corner of the programme. Then click on New.. and the following options will appear. 


There are many options such as choosing either Print based media and Screen based media, as shown above on the drop down box "presets". The tick next to "Clipboard" in this case that this is the default option for a blank canvas. 


From here you can chose the size. Depending on whether you're designing for web or print, different settings are automatically put in place. Sizes for web or screen based media have a set resolution of 72 (pixels/inch). The higher the quality of the image, the more pixels will be shown. 

48 Sheet: Billboard
12 Sheet: Advertisement on a bus
(large sizes are at s larger resolution to maintain print quality)

Screen work is based on RGB, as the colours seen are made of light.
Print work is based on CMYK, as the image is made of ink and inked plates, opposed to light.

Printers Profile: How printer translates from screen. What we see on screen is RGB, it isn't possible to see CMYK. 

However, when working on something, initially work in RGB so they can be used multi purposely. 

Image Editing:

Digital Cameras capture images in RGB (light based). When we print an image in RGB the image will look duller and not as vivid and crisp.

To see what a RGB image looks like when printed at CMYK -

Image > Mode > CMYK Mode

However this can be destructive as can be seen below: 





You can go back to your previous image as seen at the top by going backwards on your history. Which is next to the colour chart on the top right hand side, as can be seen in the above image. 


To test CMYK colours of an image, and to see which can be seen/printed:

View > Proof Set Up (Working CMYK)
Proof colours CMD+Y when proof set up is complete.


Sometimes, you may have a "gamut warning" which is when a complete colour set isn't all together, and the colour needs to be adjusted to match and print. It shows a visual representation of the colours which will not be printed.



Adding an adjustment layer of hue/saturation at this point means the image can be manipulated and then deleted or hidden if necessary, not destroying the original.

The hue/saturation colour options are next, creating  which have appeared now on the right, due to the gamut warning allow you to alter the colours in the image. Vibrant blues and greens are hard to match as shown below, but by reducing the saturation to -40 have replaced the colours. The hue option allows the colours to be changed of the entire image. Here I changed the hue to -50.


Saturation: -40
Hue: -50


Saturation: -25
Hue: +112

 Bringing back detail to dull images:
Original image below:


To add detail to an existing photograph which has high white levels due to the white sky. By using an adjustment layer, changing the levels of the shadows, mid-tones and highlights can enhance the image increasing vibrancy.


By using the 'quick selection tool' I can select an area of the image I would like to create a layer mask out of. The foreground filler must be back, and the paint brush tool should be sized accordingly and set to 0% hardness. Using this tool I can mask around areas which need to be masked. 

Once masked the lightness (white triangle) has been pushed towards the mid-tones and shadows to create a lighter, vibrant image as seen above.

The masked area is dynamic and applies adjustments to specific areas to allow other effects to be added also, without adding disruption.




By repeating the mark process also for the white gaps between the statue, the sky comes through fitting opposed to being blocked out.


Here the hue and saturation of the sky only has been changed to show a range of adjustments which can be altered if needed can be applied at the same time.

This was the same for the image below also, increasing the vibrancy and detailing of the mosaic work, and reducing the brightness of the light.

Original

Manipulated Version
Panoramas:

Creating Panoramas are really simple now thanks to Photoshop. Using their automated service I am now able to create seamless images.

File > Automate > Photomerge

You can then browse and add as many photos as you like. Here I used 3 skyline images to create a panorama view. 

Vignette - Dark, shadowed edges; to look vintage or similar to Instagram/Hipstamatic

Geometric Distortion Correction - Fixes any distortions, etc.




Completed Panorama.


I found this workshop very useful and I learnt many skills which I didn't know before, which I can use in my work to my advantage.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

STUDY TASK 2: THE BIRTH OF A FONT

At the start of this session, we re capped our knowledge on readability and legibility, through looking at a series of sentences that were placed on the wall on the wall at the opposite end of the studio. The sentence read "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" in various typefaces and point sizes. There were some debate as to which sentences were legible and readable at certain distances and why. 

Many points were raised which we had and hadn't previously mentioned in other sessions.

'Regular' fonts are always designed first for readability and then for legibility. Distance has an impact on the legibility, but not necessarily readability. 

'Bold' and 'Roman' can be harder to read at a distance, but not up close. 'Block' fonts were originally designed for headlines, so they're meant to be readable at a larger point size, they are designed for headlines and statements to be high impact, attract attention, and be readable and legible at a distance, to fit the purpose. They are not designed to be readable at a smaller point size, with a larger body copy. 

'Script' fonts are designed for a particular point size and use. If enlarged or decreased in size, letterforms can merge, counters can fall apart and anatomy can breakdown, meaning they can be illegible and unreadable. 

Line length is important - If the ascenders or descenders are on more than one line, it has the same principal as 'block' type. It can be hard to differentiate individual letterforms. 

Italics can create a sense of dynamic movement, with gothic fonts and some roman fonts. They can 'take an eye across the page'. Italics are easier to read when printed in lowercase than in uppercase.

The most readable way to write out a sentence is with lowercase glyphs, as it reads as a 'block'. You read the shapes made by the cap height, baselines, descenders, counters etc, allowing you to 'read around the text'. This is a more legible way to write out a sentence than in uppercase, and this is for all type families.

In editorial design, gothic fonts are used for body copy, opposed to block, script and roman. Smaller text means more lines, and multiple line lengths opposed to a book (columns vs whole page).

Gothic and Roman fonts can be made bold, increasing weight, decreasing kerning and more tracking allowing better readability and legibility at a larger scale.

Modifying the anatomy of a typeface to fit in different categories for body copy, branding and type design. 

The Birth of a Font:

We were asked to bring in the A, B, C letterforms, in both upper and lower case for this session. We were asked to initially use A, and B to create our own letterforms by manipulating and moving round their anatomies. 

I took each individual glyph and separate the counter, stem and cross-bar from each, and re-assembled them in as many ways as possible to create a new typeface.  I am aiming to experiment further and have at least 240 variations of letterforms based on this session today. 



Separated stems, counters and cross-bars.