Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The following 8 designs are my selections for my final portfolio. I believe I've come a long way this semester. I really had absolutely no idea what I was doing the first month of class. But it was cool cause I made a lot of progress exponentially after those first few weeks. I've still got a lot of things I need to improve in, such as checking files for missing fonts and links, photo resolution issues, checking to make sure printing file settings are accurate, making sure all specs are followed and getting more familiar with the software to develop more designing skills within my repertoire. But considering I have not taken Viscom I and was thrown into the Viscom II print media fire, I'm proud I was able to keep up. I think the more I practice, the more these things will fall into place.

Joe 6 Pack was definitely my favorite project. It took me until the last week before it was due to come up with the concept and it was a mad dash to the deadline, but it was definitely a really fun process. Having a good concept and a plan always helps the situation, and before I came up with the concept, things were looking grim. It was during the process of putting this project together that I found out I actually work better under pressure. This is a great discovery, not only for class work, but for my future in this industry. I've always done my best school work (papers, studying, etc.) at the last minute and it's cool to find out I can be the same way with my design work.
There are a couple things I tried to change in this project, but had no luck. The wood backgr
ound that's supposed to be a wood desk is a bit too grainy for my liking, but was the only image I could find that had the best resolution. I do think the extra grain brings some fun visual texture to the design, though. And the logo I created for the What The Sam Hill Brewery was also really fun to make. It is in fact a picture of my crumb-crunching sister when she was five. I guess I'll be fun and attach the pic I took her face from in this post. It wouldn't be fair of me to embarrass my sister without embarrassing myself also. Ahh, good ol' times.
Anyway, the concept was what the entire visual theme was based upon. It came to me when I was looking for fonts online. There was a font referencing a draft and it just clicked in my head. As an aspiring designer, the concept is near and dear to my heart also. You can't have a great draft without a good rough draft. Oh poo. I should have made that the tag line. I should really start blogging about my stuff before I make it cause I always think of cool things after the fact. But I really took the time to make the images have good resolution, to make sure the typography was effective and appealing, and that all my files and the resolution was perfect. It took me about seven hours to put this together, which is significantly more time than the rest of my work. I really enjoyed putting together 3D stuff more than the 2D for some reason. Maybe it's exciting cause it's new, and cause I could relate to the topic well. Whatever it was, I think I was successful and I had fun in the process, which is what I'm working towards in the future.

My SofI mailer is one of my favorite projects we've done in class. It is also one of my best final products. I had the least amount of file and printing issues on this project compared to any other. Maybe I just learned my lesson throughout the beginning of the semester and finally did it right. I also really like how this project turned out because I finally ordered some good paper, which made the final printout like butter. I was also proud of myself for going over the production files with a fine tipped comb and nailed all of the specs. The one mailing side had to have two colors, one black and one a spot color. I learned a lot about swatches and spot colors in this project, specifically how to mix spot colors, which increased my confidence in production overall.
I also liked this project for the artist I chose. Bennacker's work is really visually interesting. The poster image I worked with made the production of the opposite side both more challenging, but also more fun. I played with different concepts relating to the ocean and used some cool vector waves to make the connection. This design took me a whopping five hours to put together. Overall, I believe this project reflects my progress with print media over the course of the semester, though I still learned a great deal from it. And the best part about it is that it was fun to make!

I chose to include this magazine layout in my portfolio because it shows my proficiency with both shooting my own photos, and improvement in my typesetting skills. There was enough text to make a two column grid, but my focus in this layout was definitely the photos. I chose to fit the text in one column, which increased the air in the layout. I also did a better job eliminating widows and orphans (especially orphans). Taking the photos was a really fun process. I actually got a chance to submerge myself in the topic of the article and take a walk in Thousand Hills for an afternoon. It was a really gorgeous afternoon, too. I wanted to capture both the color and the sun to make the photos more majestic and sublime. Really exaggerating nature made the photos way more interesting rather than if I had just trudged around the woods all afternoon to strictly photograph trees and leaves. The article is almost secondary in this spread, which is what I intended to do. To get people interested in going outside to see this for themselves is the whole point of the article, and without the photos, I believe it wouldn't work at all. This layout took about four hours, not including my photo shoot, which was about an hour of hiking in the woods. This project was fun because I really enjoy the outdoors and I believe this layout captures my interest.
Though this is not the greatest magazine layout in the world, I chose to include this one because it is a good example of my ability to typeset. Again, it's not my greatest example of that either, but I really like the way the elements work together in this piece. This is the first layout that I used the color sample tool to create a color scheme among the image and the other elements throughout the piece. The reason I used that particular image besides the fact that it's hilarious, is because the color of his shirt is typically associated as a calming color. I could have gone completely nuts with colors that relate to stress and tension, like bright, obnoxious reds and yellows, but the whole point of good design is to lure the viewer, in this case, the reader in to get the information the writer intended to put forth in the article. My thought system dealt with drawing the viewer in with simple, eye pleasing design, a comical image that they could possibly relate to and efficient typesetting so the reader obtains the entire message from the article. I believe, from personal experience, that if a reader's eyes hurt while reading a magazine spread, then they're more likely to stop reading and flip to the next page.
As far as design elements go, I used some tools in the software that I never have before, which made the layout more interesting. The drop shadow that the header sports is something I was just messing around with and thought it added some visual depth to the composition. And the white squiggly lines add a bit of Indie style that an older reader could actually appreciate. This layout took four hours total to put together. The grid I used was a four column on each page. Even though I call this layout simple, it is still pretty busy and there is little air. This is something I definitely worked on while designing future magazine spreads. This layout was the one that made the lightbulb go on and after, I was better at keeping tabs on all of the details to make a successful magazine spread.
I really enjoyed working on this particular project. I think it's because I could relate to the topic better than some of the other projects we had previously. The movement and the angles that are created with this image were very fun to work with and play off of. The header font works well in relation to the image and is large enough for someone from far away to see. I organized the basic information in a simple flush-left orientation, which makes it easy for the viewer to get the info from. I again used the splatters, only this time I was able to make them in color, which was fun. Working with more than just black and white was actually really refreshing in this project. I was getting bored of one color layouts. I only made very minor and very few changes to this piece over the semester, which included changing the font and orientation of the informational text, making the color a spot color, and working with the placement and size of the "Dance Fusion 2008" under the image. This design took me two hours initially to make and then around an extra half hour on the other smaller changes.
This layout has always been a favorite of mine. I think mostly because I had no idea I could come up with simple, yet elegant layouts that are still visually interesting. I know I'm kind of putting myself down, but I have come a long way from this point. During the time I was making this, I was pretty much using a "wing-it" sort of attitude, just messing around with the tools and hoping something nice would come of it. Low and behold, I actually learned a lot about the software while increasing my designing skills. But I digress. This piece started off pretty nice, but I did make a few changes over the semester to spice it up a bit more. During the critique, I was told that the Pablo Picasso quote was placed really weirdly, so I reworked that so it fits the balance of the layout more efficiently. I also added my signature splatters in the background to make the dancers look like they're moving their feet and kicking up dust and mud in the process, so to emphasize and exaggerate the movement. Otherwise, I left the piece alone because I like the simple typography I used initially, and the image is very simple yet interesting as well. Maybe I could have pulled more call-out info from the text so people would know the main information form farther away. Either way, I believe the use of typography along with the image is strong enough to draw people in to read the text. This design took me about three hours to make, including Photoshop effects, which was also exciting because I think this was my first design using a COB, and then adding in the details, such as text body placement, splatters, etc.
I am really happy with how this layout turned out. It was definitely nowhere near this when I turned it in. But I reworked it and I believe that it is a great example of an assortment of media put together into one design. I scanned in the little rock climbing dude in the initial layout, which was a good experience working with the scanner, then working with a scanned image in Illustrator. I cleaned it up there and attached it to the text. In the rework, I changed the font from a fancier serif font to a more rugged distressed font to give it more appeal to the sport of rock climbing. I then added the mountain, which I fancied up in Photoshop. Something was still a bit off, so I utilized the old diagonal text/header trick. I had never used this trick before this layout, and I won't use it as a crutch in the future, but I believe it really works for this particular layout. I could have had more fun with it if it wasn't only a one color layout, but I think I did it some justice as-is. This layout took me four hours of work time to assemble. It was definitely not too fun when I started working on it, but I made it fun and actually witnessed myself taking on new designing skills, both within the software, and even adding new elements and principals into my design vocabulary/repertoire.
The main reason I chose this poster rework to be included in my portfolio is because it used a hand-drawn graphic really well. It is different from the initial layout I presented in class. I reworked it to meet the critiques given by both you and the class. I believe this version is a lot more successful because people who are standing far away from the poster are able to see the main image/text and are drawn in to read more about the class. I again use my signature splatter spots in this design to drive home the clay-like idea as best I can with only one color. I think it gives the design more visual interest and adds to the logo. I also believe the balance is much better in this design that in the initial one. Because the text looks so heavy from farther away, the large image now balances it out asymmetrically. I believe this adds to the playfulness of the poster without subtracting from its formal mood. This design took me around three hours of solid work time to put together. It was a good learning experience working with the scanner to make a work come together. This was also a good example of me toning down the clutter within a composition, which I was having trouble with around the time it was initially made.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Final Red Barn (Warning: The Contents of this Post are Very Negative)

I really can't say I'm too happy with how the final turned out. I should have stopped adding to some pieces a while ago, and focused on adding to other pieces. The tractor theme is more coherent throughout the project, but I'm not satisfied with the structure as it relates to the images of the tractors throughout the four pieces. I should have used the same tractor, or used a logo to connect the four pieces better. I also had difficulty fixing the resolution problems with the poster tractor pic. I think it turned out ok, but maybe it could have been better. And I should have kept it simple and not added the same tractor pic from the poster to the background of the inside of the brochure. It made it way too busy and it clashes with the pictures. I also had printing difficulties. The lab monitors printed on the wrong side of the paper, which looked ok to me at first, but then I got into different lighting and saw that it made the image grainy and dull.
All in all, I had many issues with this project. I think I haven't said anything positive about it because I had the most trouble relating to it. I really tried, maybe a bit too hard. But whatever didn't click made this one really difficult for me to put together. But I did learn plenty about designing something I can't relate to. And this project also confirmed the fact that everything always looks better on the computer than on paper, even if the print monitor doesn't print on the wrong side.

Rev 2 Joe Six Pack

This rev I got a lot of good feedback from the class. I'm still working with some ideas so I was really open to any suggestions. The current design I have is still really bland and there's a lot of space I have to fill. I don't think I'm set on the color scheme yet either. The overall concept is also clashing with the imagery. I'm trying to go for elegant humor for irony, but it's not quite coming off as so. My COB also needs some work. Hopefully I can pull this together before too long seeing as I still haven't printed and assembled a full sized case yet. Slowly but surly.