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Design in Context: A journey of Manchester

Design in Context: Introduction

For this brief, we were given the task to create content for The Creative Hive networking event which is due to take place on the 23rd May 2012 down at MediaCityUK.

The event theme given is very broad with the message supplied:

“We face many global challenges in the modern world and this exhibition explores how we got to this point and examines how we may improve our situation using creative and cross disciplinary collaborations”.

This content will be displayed on HD touch tables inside the Egg Suite.



After receiving the brief and exploring a few possible ideas, I have decided I would like to create a motion piece.

This motion piece would be explaining the story how Manchester has been designed. Although in early stages, I have come up with the idea to have a timeline based motion piece with infographics.


For the motion piece, it is important I provide myself with a strong story to visualise. I had an idea about naming iconic periods of what has happened in Manchester and how it has formed the city of what it is today.

Here is a provisional list of what the motion piece may contain:

  • Where the name Manchester comes from
  • Cotton Mills
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Manchester Ship Canal
  • Manchester Metrolink
  • IRA Bombing
  • Commonwealth Games
  • Media City and Broadcasting


Researching infographic motion pieces


Here’s more research into how an infographic motion piece could be presented.




After a discussion, I have decided to choose the following topics for the final video.

Manchester Metrolink, IRA Bombing, Commenwealth Games, Media CityUK.

The motion piece will show how Manchester has transformed from the early 1990’s and should last approximately 50 seconds in duration.

From this stage, I will carry out a thorough investigation into what each topic is about and how I can put the message across.



To make the narrative as strong as possible and to help the flow of ideas, I have undertaken some research about the facts and events of the topics I’ve been allocated.

This will allow me to illustrate some interesting facts when producing the video.





I then took my camera and went outside on a visit (on a typical manchester day). I tried to capture any small details which would hopefully feed me some fresh ideas.








Researching visual styles - Here are a few interesting styles I have looked at. I personally like the comedy store posters with a heavily based typographic style and think it could be used to make a very effective motion piece.





First initial storyboards showing the transition from the Metrolink all the way to Media City






After drawing up some storyboards, I thought it would be better if I created a digital output of them. I feel this gives a better impression of what the final piece would look like.



When it came to experimenting with visual styles, I wanted to keep it easy to the eye but with enough detail to look interesting. I also think it has a retro feel to them which is a way to show Manchester over a period of time.

The above shows 4 different styles which I have currently tested.




Test Video 1 - Experimenting with visual styles and how the motion piece may work

To make this visual style, I have vectorised some photographs I have taken around Metrolink stations. Once they were vectorised I have printed and cut them out, ready to be scanned back onto the computer to give it that effect.

Although there is alot more detail and tweaking to be added to this scene such as zooming in, other sounds and type; it gives me a better idea whether it is going to work for the rest of the motion piece. I shall now fine tune this experiment and move onto the second topic.







Test Video 2

2nd experiment with doors opening, cameras and other additonal tweakings.



A Journey of Manchester - Below is the final output for the motion piece. It contains 4 key moments of Manchester from the 1990’s and explains how the city has gone through a transition to the current day.

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May 16, 2012 : alexfenton Says:

Brilliant stuff Scott, look forward to seeing your work at Creative Hive Live. Loads of great ideas and work here, just double check your spelling of commonwealth

May 16, 2012 : scottp7 Says:

Thanks! :-)

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