Thursday, June 12, 2014

Independent Study: Magazine Design

• To learn about the process of creating a magazine through designing numerous spreads and constructing a fictitious, mini issue.
• To further use and expand my knowledge of Photoshop and conceptual design.

       This past semester, I pursued an independent study in magazine design as a way to continue my study of graphic design and further fulfill my passion for the field. In doing this, I underwent much experimentation and greatly utilized my organization and planning skills. Because I went into this independent study with only a loose plan of action set (due to the fact that the process of designing a magazine was very unfamiliar to me), the task of initiating the project was the most difficult part. However, it was though the flipping through of infinite magazines for inspiration and much trial-and-error that I came to learn what worked and what didn't. For example, this involved a balanced ratio of text to images, appropriate sizing of dominant images and titles, an overall "flow" in composition, and more. Also, Casey and I chose to focus our magazine's matter mainly on fashion and beauty, as these are two of our greatest passions. Thus, aside from the primary graphic design aspect of this project, I also got to utilize my writing skills for the text pieces of the magazine. Overall, as a final product, I created a 12-page, miniature magazine encompassing a cover, a table of contents, and two full stories (with a few spreads in each). I'm very happy with the way the final product came out and, also, am very satisfied regarding the learnings I've gained throughout the past semester. All in all, this was a very valuable and worthwhile experience that I'm very glad I partook in!

Friday, January 24, 2014

“Memorable Experiences”

        Looking back on this past semester, there are many memorable experiences. To begin, the one(s) that comes to me first are our trips to VIA. Although I didn’t know what to expect going into an advertising agency for the first time, I way very pleasantly surprised. Not only was the atmosphere incredibly creative, collaborative, and artsy, but also the people were so kind, supportive, and genuine. During out first trip, we were lucky enough to get a brief tour around the building, meet various employees, and work on a fun and unique “challenge” presented to us by Teddy. Come our second visit, we were given the opportunity to present our logo designs (for the initial scenario they provided us to and our personal logos). They were so encouraging in our ideas, as well as extremely helpful in their feedback. In addition, they even bought us OTTO’s Pizza! Thus, I hope that it’s evident how amazing both of our trips to VIA were!
        Another memorable experience from this semester was pumpkin carving. This was such a fun activity, as it incorporated many elements of design as well as a fun way to celebrate Halloween as a class! Although somewhat challenging (much more that expected!) I had a blast doing this!
        Lastly, the most memorable experience of the semester for me was, in general, being part of such a tight-night, small, and collaborative class. Due to having only six people in this class, we had a unique opportunity to get to know each other better, bond, and develop great “teamwork.” Although all of us, including myself, came into this class unsure of what to expect, I feel we all gained so much more than we anticipated, including both knowledge and friendship. Overall, due to how much fun we had in this class, I will forever remember this positive experience and have “planted the seed” in my love for Graphic Design. 

“Work I am Most Proud Of”

        The piece I am most proud of is my Magazine Cover. This assignment incorporated all of my favorite and (in my opinion), some of the most important aspects of Graphic Design in one. These include: use of typography, page layout techniques, and many additional basic design principles. To begin, in reference to typography, I absolutely love the process of communicating not only directly through a given word but also through the style of the font used (in addition to size, shape, serif vs. sans serif, and many more). In terms of magazine design, this is very significant in communicating the general essence of the given magazine (ex. chic, classic, modern, etc.). It’s also important to vary use of fonts as long as the fonts flow well together and are compatible. Thus, I used three different fonts in my cover design that I think look well together and are in keeping with the “high-fashion” vibe I was trying to convey. Next, this assignment incorporated layout techniques. This is obviously a very basic element in all aspects of design. However, I find that the littlest movement of a word or image can truly make a huge difference. Come full circle, although very underrated, the composition and layout design were crucial in this assignment. Lastly, other design elements incorporated into this project include contrast, proximity, and repetition. These three design elements are key to design, as contrast creates emphasis and variation, proximity contributes to strong-composition and attention to detail, and repetition creates consistency and overall “flow.” 
        As you can see, I truly enjoyed this assignment because I gained a large amount of knowledge, and I was very happy with my final product. I am also very proud of this assignment because, due to my meticulous nature, I put much effort into creating a product that meets my personal standards and I feel as though that was able to come through! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

BBM Tennis Tournament T-Shirt

• To use creative problem-solving skills to design a t-shirt for an annual tennis tournament that raises money for the Cancer Community Center of Maine;
• To understand the importance of being involved in a real-life, authentic learning experience.

         There are many things I learned as a result of doing this project. In particular, three significant things I was able to grasp from the process of working on this assignment are: the importance of simplicity, how challenging yet essential it is to meet the client’s needs/wants/requirements, and the significance of incorporating colors tastefully and appropriately. To begin, use of simplicity was incredibly important in this assignment, as there was much information that was needed to be incorporated. Thus, in order for the design to communicate its purpose clearly and effectively, simplicity was absolutely crucial. Additionally, simplicity helps to make the design more appealing and eye-catching as a whole. Secondly, as this was my first experience actually designing for a “real world” project, I had the opportunity to work with a real client with real requisites. As a result, the importance of listening to the client and designing to their personal taste and wants (even though it may not match your taste) became clear to me. Lastly, I learned of the importance of incorporating the required colors in a tasteful, appropriate, and compatible way. This, evidently, is crucial in creating a readable and overall eye-pleasing design.

VIA Special Assignment

• To visit a local advertising agency in order to gain an understanding of the many possible career opportunities
• To engage in a fictitious design problem with authentic graphic designers
• To present and receive feedback about your artwork from authentic graphic designers

Visit 1:
        I found our field-trip to VIA to be exceptionally worthwhile. Taking this trip taught me much new information involving the way VIA operates, the types of advertisements they produce, the tasks carried out by each of the various staff members, and much more. One thing that surprised me was the broad range of advertising they take on. The word advertising covers a lot of ground, much more than this eleven letter word suggests. Advertising ranges from posters, to flyers, to commercials, to bumper stickers, and countless more. Before this trip, I was aware that there were many different kinds of advertising. However, I was not aware that it was possible to have an agency specializing in all of these (i.e. graphic posters, television commercials, etc). This was proven evident to me when we were shown a video including six of their ads for their most acclaimed clients. The advertisements created each of these companies included a commercial for a tequila brand, a new package design for a chicken company, posters for a headphone brand, and more. Thus, as you can see, VIA embraces the entire scope of advertising.
        Furthermore, our trip to VIA helped me become more confident, optimistic, and excited to enter the workforce in my future. Knowing that I’ve wanted to pursue a creative career for a while now, this trip only further settled this. The creative, unique, and collaborative environment of VIA is something that I know I want to experience in my life. Overall, our field-trip to VIA taught me an incredible amount. It was an experience involving the learning of much new knowledge, the meeting of incredibly creative, kind, and inspirational people, and the participation in an unique and imaginative team-task.

Visit 2:

        I had a wonderful time on our second visit to VIA. The creative atmosphere, friendly people, and extremely unique decor is unlike any other “office” building I have ever stepped foot in. There’s something about the vibe at VIA that I find extremely welcoming, energizing, and refreshing. Knowing that I speak for myself and, based on the bus ride there, everyone else, we were very nervous to present our logos. Although we knew from the previous visit that the staff is extremely kind and supportive, we were still a bit timid knowing we were going to present to professionals who do this for a living. Nevertheless, when we got there, we were immediately brought to the upstairs “loft,” offered OTTO’s pizza, drinks, and seats on the comfy, leather sofas. Thus, this forced us to loosen up a bit. As we ate our pizza and hung out, various employees began making their way up to the loft to listen to our presentations. After a brief introduction from Teddy, it was time to present. We started by presenting our logos for the “green burial” scenario. I found this a bit easier to present, as it was with a larger group and a pre-created situation. When it was Casey, Abby, and my turn, we made our way to the front of the room and began talking about “Corpse-2-Compost.” Once we started sharing our work, my nerves went down substantially. Due to periodic questions, laughs, and constructive comments, I felt as if I was talking to a group of fellow peers instead of a group of professional designers. I also found the feedback extremely helpful and applicable, noticing that they all made an effort to deeply understand the process we went through in designing our logo’s as well as why we did what we did. In other words, what was the meaning we were trying to convey? In addition to noticing their attentiveness, they were very positive in their feedback; they all looked for at least one good thing they liked and that worked well in our logo, name, tagline ideas, and marketing concepts.
        When the time came to present our personal logo, I felt a bit more pressure, as it is for mine and Casey’s actual business. However, we were both very pleased with the feedback. They liked our logo very much and made some very interesting suggestions as to how to improve various aspects of our business. For example, one suggestion involved using an actual feather as a tag attached to each shirt as opposed to a printed feather on paper. I thought this was a really unique, creative, and memorable idea! Overall, our trip to VIA was a great experience. I found that it was a great learning experience, as public speaking isn’t my strong-suit. I also learned a lot from everyone’s feedback, both positive and constructive. All and all, I am very thankful to all of the VIA employees who took the time out of their day to come and listen to us present and am very glad and appreciative that we were given this opportunity!

Magazine Cover Designs

• To use knowledge and tools of Photoshop, along with conceptual design to create a magazine cover for a fictitious magazine.

        First and foremost, one important concept I have learned is the importance of "Placing the text: dark on light, light on dark." Finding a suitable spot for text is extremely significant, as this is important in allowing the viewer to read the text on the cover. Next, I learned of the interest and usefulness of including "Text in the 3rd dimension: behind and in front of the image." This enhances a magazine cover is so many ways, as it creates depth, evidence of attention to detail, and overall appeal and “pop.” Lastly, another important concept I found to be particularly significant is that of "Placing emphasis: backgrounds, bolds, italics, etc." I found this to be important because the whole point of a magazine cover is to "sell" the stories inside the issue. Thus, with the use of bold and italic fonts, one is able to capture the attention of the viewer and emphasize certain words that are important. In terms of how these three concepts are important to my future work, these are all notions that can be applied not only to magazine design, but also to many different fields amongst the “design” realm. In particular, the first concept I mentioned largely has to do with contrast, which is one of the most important and central things to all design. In terms of the second concept mentioned, this represents creating the illusion of depth within a 2-dimensional piece of work. Again, this is another key design element. Finally, the third concept I mentioned is important to any assignment in design involving words, as there are always words that are meant to be emphasized and thus, more prominent to the viewer.

        All in all, I would rate my Magazine Cover a 3.5-4 out of 4. Based on the necessary requirements, I feel as though I met all them and did my best to go above and beyond. First, my cover is a 16” by 16” cover with a resolution of 72. Next, I also created a cover story (“Top Winter Trends”) that is in keeping with the theme of my magazine (fashion/beauty). Also, the picture I chose came from Morgue File, a free stock photo website. In addition, my cover includes a date, five other storyline titles, and a barcode. Overall, I feel as though I deserve a 3.5-4 on this assignment because I met all the needed requirements and strived to create a professional-looking cover that incorporates many important elements of design.

Logo Designs

• To understand the process of logo design;
• To design a clear and effective logo for the chosen company scenario

        The name of our company is “Written in Black.” Our company sells/manufactures fashion graphic-tees. All of our shirts are white with designs in black ink, hence the name “Written in Black.” We believe that the chic, sophisticated simplicity of our designs is what makes our tees unique. Hopefully evident in our logo design, we tried to convey this concept. Lastly, the target audience for our product is teenage girls to young women (i.e. females in their teens and twenties).

        In designing our logo, we used all of the above process to create an effective design. First and foremost, when first brainstorming ideas, it's hard to avoid trying to convey what a given company does, such as just drawing a tee-shirt. However, after thinking more thoughtfully and creatively, we were able to come up with a versatile, clever logo that is unique but doesn't necessarily communicate what our company actually does. In beginning the design process, we primarily focused on what a logo need to embody to be effective. In doing this, we went over the ‘5 Principles of Effective Logo Design.’ We feel that our logo successfully incorporate all five of these characteristics. These five principles are that, to be effective, a logo must be: simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate. In terms of 'simple,' our design is black and white and understated yet unique. In regards to 'memorable,' the clever design of the pen writing out the name creates the ability for our logo to be impactful and distinctive. Regarding 'timeless,' our logo incorporates classiness through its simplicity. In terms of 'versatile,' our logo is in vector format, so it’s able to be scaled to any size. Lastly, in regard to 'appropriate,' because our target audience is females, the sophisticated and feminine design of our logo is very suitable for its intended purpose.
        In addition, as stated above, we focused on emphasizing the concept of simplicity in our logo through use of only black and white. This neutral color-scheme conveys balance and calmness. Finally, we strived to create a sophisticated, understated design. Through this, we believe that our logo largely conveys the essence and theme of our company, highlighting elegant and contemporary simplicity.

        I have learned many important concepts about logo design through the process of this assignment. In particular, three important concepts I have learned are: the power of simplicity in logo design, the importance of uniqueness and originality, and the significance of size and color in conveying the essence of a given company. To begin, simplicity can be extremely powerful in logo design. An overworked logo is an ineffective logo. This is because an overly complex logo is unable to be scaled to different sizes, to be easily remembered, to be easily understood, to be impactful, and many more. However, simplicity allows for timelessness, versatility, clarity, and countless more. Thus, simplicity is extremely important. This is not only the case in logo design but in any form of design that I will use in my future. For example, this could the include the design of a flyer, an invitation, a t-shirt, and many more.
        In addition, uniqueness and originality are incredibly significant in logo design. Obviously, creativeness is key in logo design. Art is a way of communicating. In regard to logos, this form of art communicates the essence and or theme of a given business. Thus, although maybe similar, no business is the same: all businesses have a special flair that is unique to them. Thus, individuality is extremely significant in a logo, as it should convey the character and personality of a business. This is the case not only in logo design but in life in general, as expressing oneself and uniqueness is extremely important. Overall, as you can see, ingenuity and originality are crucial in designing an effective logo.
        Lastly, size and color are two very important factors to consider when designing a logo. In terms of size, a logo should be effective in numerous different situations. For example, a single logo should be both readable and impactful on a business card, on a t-shirt, and even on a billboard. Thus, it should have the ability to be scaled to many different sizes. Finally, regarding color, the colors incorporated in a logo are important in conveying different emotions. For example, whether it’s red conveying excitement or green communicating growth, color plays a crucial role in a logo’s ability to convey a given message and should be carefully considered in logo design. This is true not only in logos, but also in other forms of art I will use in my future, such as the color in a bedroom or the colors incorporated in a painting, and many more.

        I think that our logo design deserves a 3.5-4 because we met all the needed criteria and strived to go beyond what was required. To begin, we began our process by brainstorming ideas on paper and sketching drawings of potential logos. We then reviewed our ideas and came up with our name, “Written in Black.” After getting feedback from our peers and teacher, we went back to our tablet and began to design our logo. This comprised of trying out our top ideas and seeing which we could best execute. After deciding what route we felt we wanted to go down, we created our logo on an 8” x 10” Photoshop document. In doing this, we utilized many different tools in order to create what we feel is a ‘professional-looking’ logo. In addition, in designing our logo, we strived to make a design that is unique and original to our company and conveys the overall essence of our business. To do this, we created our own feather pen and downloaded and used a font we feel is very compatible with our hand-drawn image. We also used only two colors, black and white, to convey simplicity and balance. Next, we also incorporated the name of our company as a part of our logo. Lastly, through transferring our Photoshop document into Illustrator then back to Photoshop, we turned our logo into a vector so it has the ability to be scaled to any size without getting pixely. Overall, because I feel that we have met and strived to exceed the requirements, I believe we deserve a rating of 3.5-4 on this assignment.