Thursday, June 13, 2013

Graphic Design Final Project

I began searching for examples of bad designs online. This image came up after I searched "Billboards" in Google and browsed through the images that came up. I found multiple examples of bad design under this search, but this one was exceptionally weak due to its cluttered, busy appeal. The imagery used was unappealing and it's readability was difficult, thus I immediately knew it was a prime example of poor design. The biggest flaw I noticed in this advertisement was the poor use of proximity and the unorganized placement of the elements in the design. Next was the text, and how too much was used with too many fonts and colors. The last major flaw I detected was the distracting, kind of gross-looking picture of a burger off to the right that took attention away from the more important information.
First sketches for redesign

Once I started to evaluate the BurgerFresh billboard using the Design rubric, I realized that a lot of the basic principles of design needed to be worked on in this piece. The categories that needed the most improvements were proximity, typography, and craftsmanship. With the location of important details, the use of typography, and precision in mind, I began brainstorming a new design. I first new I wanted to clean up the advertisement by removing unnecessary information and illustrations, including the image of the burger and the red bursts around the "Best Burgers in Texas" and "$1 Breakfast Menu." After simplifying the overall presentation and unifying the fonts of the text, I planned to align the information so that the logo would be at the center and the left over information would be lining the top and bottom of the design.

My first redesign
After completing my first redesign, I reviewed it based on the evaluating rubric. Although it was already much higher than the original ad, my first design scored the lowest in the contrast, proximity, color, and craftsmanship categories. I planned to fix these first by adding a few more points of interest to break up the uniform simplicity of the design and fix up any minor precision errors. With these goals in mind I began sketching. Then I took my new ideas into Adobe Illustrator and began applying them to my design.

First I used up some of the empty space and added contrast and repetition by placing two cartoon cheese burgers to the left and right of the BurgerFresh logo. Then I began playing around with color combinations to improve that aspect of the design. I realized that as it was, my ad looked too much like a flag for a country with the two red stripes. I then decided to remove the top stripe for some asymmetry and allow the baseline of the text to guide the reader as well as put the text in the same red as the stripe had been to maintain balance. There were still other ways I could have fixed any of the evaluation issues. One could have been to add another color to the entire theme, such as the blue in the BurgerFresh logo. I also could have enlarged either the center logo or the top and bottom banners to increase the proximity. Last, I might have included a text blurb advertising the "$1 Breakfast Menu" for additional contrast.

Overall the hardest improvement for me to make for this Graphic Design project was the placement of the logo and the removal of the large burger. The burger took up most of the space in the original design so I had difficulty trying to figure out how I would fill up the empty space. As for the logo, I had to trim around the white space to fit it onto a yellow background which took a lot of time and precision. 
The strongest part of my design is the logo and the symmetry. I edited the logo and removed the background coloring to ensure its unity with the yellow background. Also, it's position on the centerline of the design makes it the most noticeable aspect of the design. The ad is overall more effective by emphasizing the main idea and selling point. The other strong part of my design is the balance and symmetry. The bold alignment of the text along the top and bottom of the poster directs the viewer through what is important. Additional color is splashed in beside the logo with the burger cartoons, they are small, however, provide pleasant contrast and symmetry.

Less noticeable than the main elements of my redesign, but still has value, is the font I chose to use for the text. In the original design the fonts of the additional information were not uniformed and clashed with the calligraphic font of the logo, adding to the overall cluttered feel. I ultimately took note of the glyphs used in the BurgerFresh logo, which are actually ligatures, and reviewed a wide selection of fonts before landing on one that just about exactly matched that of the "BurgerFresh" in the logo. I then wrote out the other information in this font to correlate with the logo.
If I did go back and revise my design one more time, there is at least one thing I would change. I would enlarge the top quote by a few font sizes, as well as increase the measure of the bottom phone number and address to give those aspects of the design greater emphasis. This way all of the text would be legible no one would have a problem reading my advertisement along the side of the highway.

In general I am very proud of my work for this project. I am specifically proud of my innovative thoughts and planning and creative redesign of the original ad. I am very happy with the way I was able to totally clean up the original design and raise its placement on the evaluation rubric from below basic to borderline advanced. It is much more clean and appealing now. I learned a lot from this project and next time I plan on using what I learned to my advantage. In the future, I will master my use of the pen tool and cropping so that there are no errors and take into account the size of every element of my design. I can use the patience, precision, and care for detail I have acquired in this class and transfer them to my other classes. Now I can more effectively evaluate all of my work and focus in on what needs the most improvement. This project has made me learn not to be content with the first product, that it is ok sit back and look over my work. Nothing will be perfect the first round, that's why we need to try again and work that much harder each time.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Name Collage

Above is an image of my name collage. This project came from our class trip to the MHS Art show, where we viewed the artwork and took pictures of letters in the work that would later spell out our first and last names. Upon selecting which photos to use, we then were instructed to assemble the letters in photoshop using layer mask on most of the images while cropping others.

For my name, I chose to use some actual letters while for others I used shapes and designs that resembled letter sin my name and oriented them so that they would appear as letters. Such an example is the seagull portraying the "V" in my last name, or even the swirls of light that look like the "M" and "e" in "Maggie." On letters that required context clues to identify the shape, I cropped the original image and zoom in on the specific letter I wanted, such as the encircled 1 acting as an "i" or the seagull. For the stand alone letters that did not require background support, I used the layer mask in photoshop to outline only the letter itself, such as the "S" and "R" in "Servais."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Google Doodle

This is the final product of my Google Doodle for Audrey Hepburn.
This was our Google Doodle project for which we were supposed to create an original Google Doodle for a certain day of the year. The design was required to be completely original starting with sketches in our notebooks that were then converted into illustrations using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop on our computers.

I planned my doodle in a series of ideas. At first I thought to do a doodle for "Runners Day," however I did not know how to go about presenting this idea. Then I decided to focus my doodle on a specific person I like and admire. I chose to do Audrey Hepburn because she is one of my favorite actresses. I also thought I could use her iconic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" sunglasses as the "o's" in Google. With that I began sketching ideas. First I intended to find a picture of her wearing the sunglasses front on and I sketched out a basic outline of where and how large she would be according to the rest of the Google logo. Then I started to look up pictures of her wearing sunglasses to fit this sketch and found multiple that I liked. I finally decided on the below image, because I liked how both her real eyes and the sunglasses are shown.
Above is the image I chose to use of Audrey Hepburn as the center of my Google Doodle.

I wanted the design to portray the playful, girly innocence I associate with Audrey Hepburn. I most certainly wanted to include the color pink in the logo for a feminine flare but maintain sophistication with basic black and white. Overall the logo is supposed to be pretty, youthful, sincere, and classy. 

My google doodle is dedicated to the actress Audrey Hepburn for the day of May 4th, her birthday.
This Google Doodle is supposed to capture the classic finesse of the actress and portray her girly innocence and beauty. I think my ultimate product was successful in displaying most of the qualities I wanted it too. It may not demonstrate her importance to the film industry and how iconic she is, however it is simple and sophisticated, girly and fun. The final product may not contain all that I wanted it to only because I was pressed for time and did not manage to alter the coloration as I might have hoped or master the layout. It is a very basic logo as a result of the time pinch, however I think this turned in my favor as it outlines the purity of the image.

The hardest part of the entire project, I think, was choosing the day or event to base the design on. I am a very indecisive person, thus it was difficult for me to settle on a person or event to honor in the Doodle. Additionally, outlining and creating my own "Google" letters was some what difficult and required a lot of patience and precision. Despite these obstacles and slight defects, I am still proud of the outcome of my Doodle, and there are certain parts of it I like in particular. My favorite part, I must say, is the image of Audrey and it's placement in the logo. It is a timeless picture that defines her as an actress, in my opinion. As I have stated, it is classy however playful and feminine. I also love the use of color. The black and white picture of Audrey is the center of attention as it is the largest part of the logo, but I turned up the opacity to around 65%, allowing the pink letters of "Google" to stand out around it. The grayscale of the image compliments the vibrant purity of the text.

Overall this project really made me appreciate the time and precision it takes to redesign text and images in photoshop. I had to use the pen tool to trace my own G, g, l, and e for the google logo. However, sometimes the pen tool would not respond as I wanted it to so I had to be resourceful in finding other means to create the letters. I also had to manage multiple layers for coloring and positioning the image and logo. At first the paint tool was not working as I thought it would either, so then I had to learn about how to create new layers to colorize what I wanted.   

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Poster Critique Post

This poster is truly inspirational. The intent of this poster is to invoke motivation and determination in the viewer and  inspire them to "seize the day." Any individual ought to be inspired by this poster, be them male, female, old, or young. Although the visuals of the poster may appeal more to women and girls, the message is directed at everyone who reads it. Imagine this image along the side of the highway, on a broad billboard in an open field, motivating each person who drives by. The message is simple enough to read even when zooming by at sixty to eighty miles per hour. This poster also goes well in the working world. Would it not be a pleasant sight as you enter school or work in the morning, to be hung at the door or on a noticeable wall? This poster is best seen at the beginning of each day, to get one off to a great start. This poster is also designed to relax the viewer, to get to take a deep breath and start their day with a positive outlook. This poster directs ones mood in a brighter direction, ready to embrace challenges and strive to succeed.

This poster makes the viewer feel:

  • happy
  • inspired
  • optimistic
  • relaxed
  • determined
  • adventurous
  • elevated
  • imaginative
  • creative
  • focused
  • motivated

Friday, April 26, 2013

Photoshop Practice Tutorials

Tutorial #1

(tutorial image)
(my image)
I chose to do this tutorial because it seemed basic enough to begin practicing texts in photoshop. I liked the use of a multi-colored gradient on the text, which I had never done before. The tutorial itself was also very well formatted and easy to follow. I could clearly see how the lettering should look after each step and clearly see where to go and what to click to accomplish the task. In the end my image turned out somewhat similar to the example, but also a little different. The colors in mine are not as vibrant, as a result of some confusion and poor directions in the tutorial. Additionally I began with a different font, lending to the varying shapes and sizes of the letters. But overall I think I still learned a lot and took away more of the color and shading techniques than the ascetics. Link to tutorial

Tutorial #2
(tutorial image)
(my image)
I chose this tutorial because I liked the idea of giving the text a 3D appeal. The shading and rounding of the letters was very interesting, and I was amazed to see how much is truly available for photo and text editing in photoshop. This tutorial used a lot of screen shot photos to demonstrate what I needed to do, which was very helpful. I liked the visual aid that was provided as well as the freedom. I could set my own color and choose my own initial font to work with which allowed me to be not too reliant on the tutorial and be more intuitive and creative. I think my image turned out fairly similar to the example, although I choose a different texture color to use. The texture of my text is slightly off, however this was becuase the photoshop on my computer did not have the option that was required in the tutorial. Other than that, I managed to create a 3D look for the text which I had not known how to do before.

Tutorial #3
(tutorial image)
(my image)
I chose this tutorial because I really liked the finished product, I liked how the font really changes. This tutorial was generally easy to follow but did require more concentration then some of the later tutorials that I did due to the slightly greater level of complexity. This tutorial taught me how to alter the colors, add outlines and inside sections with different colors. I also learned how to copy and paste the text behind the original and move the copy downward to give a shadow, reflection appeal. Images were provided for each step which was very helpful. I liked this tutorial because it required less of simply selecting different settings from a drop down menu and more using the different tools to shape and modify the text. I think I did a good job at following this tutorial and my version of the text was very close to how it was supposed to turn out. The directions were very precise and detailed so that I was able to closely follow each step and correctly apply each technique to the text.  Link to tutorial

Tutorial #4

(tutorial image)
(my image)
I chose this tutorial because I liked the use of multiple colors and the formation of a completely re-textured font. This tutorial focused on how to customize the paint brush tool and experiment with colors, it also provided me with a background image and gave multiple suggestions for a starting font, which I then had to download. The tutorial was generally well written but a little vague and hard to follow in a few spots. Sometimes my text wouldn't turn out how the example images showed it would but I was able to figure out most difficulties and move on. Overall I think I followed the tutorial well, however there were a few places where the directions were rather unclear and as a result my image did not turn out quite as vibrant as the sample image. Despite this, I still learned how to customize and apply the paint brush tool and properly add color to each letter.  Link to tutorial

Tutorial #5
(tutorial image)
(my image)
I chose this tutorial because it was very well written, simple, and easy to follow. I was provided with a background picture then given suggestions but not limitations on what font I should use. It was a very basic tutorial but it allowed me to see how many changes you can make to a picture or text in so little time, in only a few simple steps. This tutorial focused on learning how to customize the blending options a little to completely alter the appearence of the text and use the gradient tool to give the flat text more of a 3D edge. I think my image turned out very similar to what the tutorial described. My image is not blue like the sample image because the tutorial did not explain how to play around with the color and lighting to get hat blue spotlight feel. By following only the steps that were provided however, my image is exactly how it should turn out and I think I affectively followed each step of the tutorial. Link to tutorial 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Motivational Poster Planning

Introduction to this project: This unit we have been learning about how to use photoshop. This project focuses on using photoshop to edit text and possibly images to convey a motivational message and learn how to utilize photoshop to accomplish what we want along the way.

The beginning of this project requires a lot of learning and planning before starting the final product. I have done many photoshop tutorials to practice editing text in photoshop and viewed over other motivational posters to inspire my own. Below are the many images and quotes I have chosen to analyze and consider using in my final poster, as well as the sketchbook thumbnails I have created to structure my own designs.

Poster Planning/Inspiration:

Idea #1: "Carpe Diem"
I like this poster and quote because it truly is inspirational. I love the Latin quote "Carpe Diem" that translates to "seize the day," I think it sends a very positive, opportunist message that everyone should heed. Additionally I like the concept of having the text be imbedded in the poster as part of the background image, in this instant it is carved into the sand. It also gives the poster a simple, natural feel that, to me, makes it even more motivational because it is relatable. To the right of the image are my thumbnails for this quote displaying how I would set up the poster. In this case I would either use an image of a sunrise on a lake or  a sunrise in a field and have the text be in the sky in a cursive font or shaped like the clouds themselves. Link to the Website 

Idea #2: "Not all (those) who wander are lost."
I love this poster because of how artistic and creative it is. It is bright, colorful, and cheery; every bit inspirational. I also love quote "Not all who wander are lost" by J. R. R. Tolkien. It may not be directly motivational but it is open to personal interpretation, an individual could read this quote and respond to it how they like, which I appreciate. It is a very free quote representing independence and determination, and I think the way it is displayed in this poster illustrates that freedom and conviction.   Link to Website

I like this poster because it takes a different perspective on how to present the quote. Although the text is small, the background image is blurred and unclear which directs your attention to what is clear and straight forward, the text. It also characterizes the saying itself, "Not all who wander are lost," by providing an indistinct picture that make you think, almost wander, but then it becomes clear and you understand what the image is of, which directs you on a straight path again. The selective use of bright colors in this poster also brightens it and adds some nice flare to something that is rather simple.       Link to Website

I clearly love this quote and message, so I played around with different ways to present it. I love this version of having a map by the background and the scrabble tiles as the text. Since this quote reminds me of traveling, wandering but seeing the world clearly, a map is the perfect background. I like how in this the map is faded, almost vintage, so that it is light and not distracting but very clear and has a purpose. Additionally, the scrabble tiles are a clever way to send the message. I think this is a very smart quote, and the scrabble text suggests that intellectual level as well as supplying the free and playful feeling that the message also inhabits. Link to Website
Above is an image of the sketchbook thumbnails I have drawn on how I would organize this poster. One idea is to have the background image be a faded, vintage map of the world with the text laying on top in a basic but bold font (this is inspired by the second image below). Another idea of mine is to have the background image be of a road in a forest, fading into the distance, with the text on the deep green tree tops in a white, cursive font. Lastly, an idea is to display the text in a white, flowing, and bubbly text (almost cursive, but not quite) on a light blue background with a sea green or light pink beach cruiser placed beneath it.

Idea #3: "The best is yet to come."
I love this quote. It is straight and to the point, as well as optimistic and reassuring. Because it is so blunt, simple and positive, I think the best way to present it is in a simple, profound way as done in this poster. The use of two colors, with the text in the bolder one, makes the message pop, along with having it in a large, basic font. The decorative curls and vine-like pattern beneath and above the words adds some character and flavor to the over all simple poster. Overall this poster is uncomplicated, pleasant and attractive. Link to Website

Above is an image of the thumbnails I have drawn for this poster idea. The first idea is that the background image would be a field of spring flowers beneath a clear blue sky, on which the text would be displayed in a basic, all lower-case font while the "best" would be cursive and in all caps. The second would have a background image of a road in a forest, fading into the distance with the text, in the same font and layout as the first idea, written in the strip of sky on top of the trees. Lastly I might like to have the background image be a sunrise on water "the best is yet to come" written in the sky, arching around the rising sun in a half circle or simply written straight across. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Invitation Sketches


This assignment required me to sketch thumbnails for party invitations. I first would layout the frame of the thumbnail then move on to the design. I would choose an object or theme to base three or four thumbnails on and move along from there, alternating themes until I had completed all twenty thumbnails.

For all of my thumbnails I like how I varied each sketch and design and I also alternated from drawing them in a portrait layout to landscape (although most of the five I chose above happen to be in portrait format). I also liked how I would find a theme and use that theme to create new thumbnails. I would draw one then expand from those ideas to create a new but complimentary thumbnail (such as the cupcake theme). I also enjoyed the phrases II used on the front of the invitation which really gave them some character, such as "Light the candles, eat some cake...It's time to celebrate" or "You are invited to something sweet." I also provided details so that the images were clear but I did not make them overly complex or distractingly intricate. I kept them simple but pleasing and entertaining, they catch your eye but do not distract you.

On the other hand I probably could have drawn the frames for the thumbnails with a little more precision. This would have organized my ideas a little better. Additionally I maybe should have shaded some parts of the sketch to suggest the use of different colors and shade variety. Next time I will take more time to lay out the thumbnails and I will also work to shading more. Additionally I could have played around with using more fonts for the words to add some variety to the text.