Friday, March 27, 2009

Jeep Poster Thumbnails

This is the thumbnail comp that my "client" has chosen. She liked this comp the best for its simplicity, the balance the image and the text create, and its overall effectiveness at sending the message to the viewer. She said this comp stands out the most for her because she can recognize that the car being shown is a Jeep and it connects to the headline and the purpose of the poster well compared to the other comps, which sometimes don't show enough of the Jeep for it to be completely recognizable (ie the distinctive hub caps, grill and lights that most Jeeps sport), but also because it is asymmetrical so is more interesting than the comps with the full Jeep centered on the layout. The text is also successful because it is a flush left, so reading and comprehending the text will be easier for the viewers. 
Overall, this process took a lot more steps than I first thought necessary. Creating the thumbnails and their various layout styles was what took the longest and was most draining. I wanted to create 10 good layouts so there would be less work later on. My main goal for this layout was to orient the car and the textual information in a simple, straight forward manner so the basic details of the event can be easily understood. During the "meeting" with my "client", I was critiqued on various elements on her top three layout choices. She gave good insight to her personal taste and made me understand why the comp she chose fit her specific "needs." It gave me a good idea of what a meeting in the real world could be like. I think it wouldn't be as laid back and a bit more unforgiving and cutthroat, but that is understandable because things are much more fast paced and competitive in the real world of design.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chili Poster Marker Comp

This marker comp was a challenge to organize, but once I was able to visualize the way in which I was to go about designing the layout, it was much easier. Once started, I realized it was going to take a lot longer than I thought it would. Rendering the header font was difficult, as was drawing the graphic. It took a really steady hand to make sure the marker had a straight edge. The text block was the biggest challenge. I had no idea how the text would turn out once typed in InDesign, so to get a better idea, I used Microsoft Word to get a feel for the spacing in justified text format. The spacing I portrayed as a result from observing that in Microsoft was not successful because of the many large, unsightly spaces that create those "rivers" through the text block. Once I'm able to work with InDesign, I'm positive this will not be an issue in the final layout of the poster. I'd also like to point out that the image that I scanned into PS, to the upper left of this paragraph is crooked, especially the graphic. I had to scan the image in four parts and assemble them in PS because the original is too big for the scanner. The end.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Copyfitting is definitely a lot more difficult that I first expected. I was ready to dive right in and draw the fonts without doing any sort of copyfitting before hand. I proceeded to stare at my marker comp for a while before I figured out that copyfitting is very necessary to make the poster compatible for designing on the computer programs. The largest issue I had was due to the fact I was working with Microsoft Word. I was not able to visualize the many different spacing options I have available to me on InDesign. Because of this, I'm almost positive the text block in my marker comp will be different from that of my final layout. There are still many spacing issues with my marker comp because I typed out the text in Word to get a better idea of what the text block would look like on a computer. The text block has large spaces in some areas, which are not very visually appealing. I hope I will be able to address these issues when translating this design into the final on InDesign. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chili Cook Off Poster Critique

My favorite design is the one labeled "Vladimir Script" with the big chili pot. This design is the most eye catching to me personally because of its large header and simple, large image. When I think of food, I like to keep it simple and focus on the particular food being described, which is why I believe this is the most successful design. 
The balance of the image and text uses asymmetry successfully. The informational text does seem a bit crammed in the corner so consider rearranging it to fit a bit better. The image you chose looks like it requires a bleed so you may need to rethink its orientation on the page. Since the image must be an original graphic, are you going to make it look more realistic or more cartoon-like? Just another thing to consider. Otherwise, this poster is has very clean lines, simple but appealing imagery and conveys the message really well. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The movie we watched today was really interesting because I never really noticed how much Helvetica is used in advertisement. It made me appreciate the font more because of its straight-forward simplicity and ability to catch my eye. As a consumer, this movie made me realize how successful this font is at selling me various products and ideas. As a designer, I will try to simplify my designs incorporating text from now on. I will most likely use Helvetica more as a result, but the basic idea of simplification this movie portrayed inspired me to clean up my design work and be as straight-forward as possible when trying to communicate an idea. 
As far as the relationship this particular font has with our current generation, I believe it speaks a lot about how modern humans respond to various stimuli. People are very simple minded, even though we personally do not like to admit it. I believe we can all appreciate an intricate design, but will almost always have a stronger response to something simple and easy to understand. With all the distractions and busy imagery we are forced to deal with on a daily basis, I believe we seek something more calm and easy on the eyes. Even in social interaction. There is so much confusion in communication that it is no wonder we respond better to the simple, clean cut, straight-forward message of a good design, more often using the font, Helvetica. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Midterm Portfolio Write-Up

DSP Midterm Portfolio Write-Up (To Pro. Nelson):
All of the projects featured on my blog currently are projects I chose to include in my portfolio. I believe they exhibit my best work with each program and also show the most growth. I'll write a brief paragraph (or as brief as I can make it) on each of the projects I chose to inform you of the areas of strength, areas that still need improvement and the process of their creation. 
I chose my Photoshop "Mood" because I was thrilled when I found that I was able to make COB's easily without bombarding you with questions. This was a really helpful project because I tend to use a lot of COB's in the projects that I like to do on the computer. Before I learned how to make proper COB's, I was using the lasso tool and using copy/paste (bad). I used that technique in the first PS project, the daily map. It obviously didn't turn out too well. With my Mood project, I wanted to create a "wild" mood. I think it still lacks in the design department, but I think I accomplished a decent composition. One of my main goals was to instigate movement throughout this composition with the lines between the shapes of the animals. I think this was also one of the successes of this work. Aesthetically speaking, I feel it is a bit busy and the colors are a bit extreme. I touched up each photo individually to give the final piece a higher quality image. 

The second PS project I chose was the retouched photo. I think I utilized the basic tools that PS has to offer well in this work. I mostly used the stamping tool, but I also used the burning, dodge and paint tools. I also went in and altered the color saturation and exposure to try and make the blur a bit less apparent. I feel it is a successful photo retouch overall, but I do believe there are still many things I could have done differently and even better to retouch this photo.

My InDesign project I chose to include in my portfolio was the two page magazine spread. I liked this project because unlike previous ID projects I've done in the past, I had more tools to work with so I wasn't completely lost. It also helped to not have to worry about the design. But I still learned a lot about proper layout design by copying the one I chose from Cosmo Magazine. It helped me to visualize what I need to do in the future to be successful at creating efficient layouts. This project also helped me to become more familiar with the different text tools. I finally figured out how to utilize the tabs properly. And because I set up the columns correctly the first time, it was a lot easier to organize the layout. one issue that I had the first time I turned in this project was the swatches. I don't know why I thought I needed a spot color, so I went back in and changed everything into CMYK like I was supposed to have in the first place. I was glad I figured out how to alter the swatch on my own. I also had a stroke set to all the vector shapes I created, which was very unsightly and wasn't true to the original design. I went back in and changed all those and now I feel like the mag is a lot better than it was when I first turned it in.

I chose to put my Jeep in my portfolio because I think it shows how I was able to come up with something presentable in a short amount of time. I think I used the AI tools I needed properly, though I did have a lot of trouble with the paint tool. I had to use the eraser for the windows, which made them a bit funky looking, but I think they still work ok. My pen tool skills greatly improved with this project and I now know what it takes to make a good traced shape. I also fully understand the importance of layering from this project, though I still need to get better at envisioning what specific objects I'm going to place in the specific layers before I begin future projects. I also learned how to effectively use the gradient tool, which I believe is an important tool for particular works. For my final portfolio, I went in and fixed messy lines and cleaned up some of the small things I looked over when I turned this in the first time.

And my last AI project I chose is the sunglasses rendering. I think I really had a lightbulb moment with this project. I started using the pen tool more efficiently and used the basic black and white gradient tool, which really helped make this project pretty successful. It is a bit graphic and not too realistic, but I think that's definitely something I need to work on. The first time I turned this project in, the sunglasses didn't have lenses. I figured out how to change the opacity on the painted objects which gave the lenses their transparent effect. I also used layers effectively in this project. 

I learned a lot about the programs with each of these projects. I think I still have a long way to go, but I think these five projects show that I am at least decently proficient in the basics of AI, ID and PS. 
Photoshop Mood

Photoshop Retouch

Monday, March 2, 2009

My InDesign mag redo

Original spread, Cosmopolitan Magizine