Dyslexia – Development of Ideas

With a strong start to the new project and doing brief research on the topic of Dyslexia, we came together as a group and started to gather ideas. We all came up with ideas concerning storyboards for the 60 second animation as part of the brief, and experimentation with typography and how we could make text illegible to give the audience the sense of what it might be like to have dyslexia. By focusing on typography we wouldn’t have the bother of adding images. Since dyslexia and similar learning disabilities are focused on reading and writing, we wanted to focus clearly on letters, words, and numbers. This would take across a clear message to viewers, no matter whether they suffer with dyslexia severely, minorly, or at all.

My original ideas to keep the tone light for viewers of all ages, was to encourage and incorporate a few images into the ensemble, which would include small silhouette portraits of famous people who have suffered with dyslexia, for example Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs, images of the brain, and possibly a vision tester you would commonly find in your opticians office. I thought this would keep viewers interested. To keep the tone even lighter and make dyslexia seem less of a disadvantage to people who suffer from it, I also had the idea of using funky and poppy colours, such as combinations of sunburnt orange and magenta, and lemon yellow and cyan. I have taken inspiration for the idea of this colour scheme from the NowTV posters and promotional material (below). I think, considering the target audience of this animation, which would ideally be students, they are in the generation where they need to be inspired by older and wiser people (relating to the famous dyslexics I mentioned). By relating those who suffer with dyslexia to those that have been made famous by their own theories and inventions, this would give them the motivation they would need to get through school, university, and persevering with numerous tasks. Although black and white would stand out, I have my doubts as to whether it would enlighten the topic to make dyslexia seem like less of a disadvantage. The colours would make dyslexia seem like an advantage. I also think we should consider adding some facts about the advantages dyslexics have compared to those who have not.

After a tutorial with the tutor, we had decided to change the storyboard slightly. With just using words, the tone of the narrative felt quite dark. In order to make it seem like a lighter topic, especially considering we wanted the animation to attract students, we decided to make the storyboard quite comical and include a stickman. The stickman would be doing various actions to express the different types of learning disabilities and boundaries we wanted to cover. These included dyslexia (writing, reading and spelling), dysgraphia (written expression), dyscalculia (reading and writing numbers), and dyspraxia (difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement). We plan on ending the animation with letting the audience know that they can get help and support if they struggle from any of the symptoms of these learning disabilities.

We had another tutorial with the tutor later in the afternoon. After telling us he wasn’t keen on the idea involving the stickman, he also said that the animation based on typography would relate more to the main disability we wanted to cover, which was dyslexia. We reverted back to our original idea yet we would include more facts, figures and statistics in the storyboard. They all had the idea of keeping to creating the video for the NHS, when in fact I thought it would make more sense to focus on dyslexia in the UK in general. Therefore it would give viewers the choice of seeking support elsewhere other than the NHS. This video was about spreading awareness and not promoting the services of the NHS. Because the group wanted to stick with supporting the NHS, they wanted to keep the colour scheme very simple, sticking to black, white, and the colours used in the NHS identity. I had the idea of incorporating more colours into the animation and style of the ensemble to stick to a lighter tone than before. If the colour scheme weren’t the answer then I would suggest we add a minimal amount of illustrations into the final animation or piece of ephemera to keep the audience interested in images other than just words. To further validate my point of including more images, many dyslexics or people who find it hard to read words find that looking at images expresses words more easily, rather than having to put up with the exhausting and distressing process of having to digest words quickly. Dyslexics often find they want to try and avoid activities and tasks that involve reading and writing. After all, this animation would be guidance to those who would genuinely be suffering with dyslexia, and reading and writing, therefore we would need to very carefully consider the size, style and colour of the type.

Moving forward we will be testing with ideas in AfterEffects to see which ideas work best and what ideas are most achievable and progressive in the three weeks we have for this project. We will also have to consider a what would be in the voice-over to go with the animation.

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Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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