Monday, March 30, 2009

his is the final production of my Chili Cook-off poster assembled in InDesign. The graphic was hand drawn and scanned onto the computer. The only thing that was changed from the full size marker comp was the bowl. I added texture to the bowl to match complement the texture of the tree. Originally, it was a solid black with a single white line for a highlight; it looked very flat. Now, I feel like this graphic has stopping power because it's not everyday that you see a tree growing out of a bowl of chili... right? I also think the tree sets the mood for this event because it is outside on the quad, but it also allows me to incorporate the bowl of chili.
I am very happy with the way this turned out. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Favorite Ride Promotion Thumbnails

These are the ten full color thumbnails that I did for the "My Favorite Ride" promotion poster.  Albert helped me decide which one would be the best to take to the next level - the full marker comp. He chose the MAFCA "A" of the Day poster. This poster is promoting a feature that is found on the home page of the MAFCA (Model A Ford Club of America) website. They are asking viewers to send in their photos of their model A. A new photo is posted each day. 
It was nice to be able to talk to someone else one-on-one about my designs. He chose this particular thumbnail because he felt that it was the most unique in concept and layout. He said the message was clear and the polaroid picture of the car was well done; the shadow helps add depth to the layout. I agreed with him; this was one of my favorite layouts that I had done for most of the same reasons.
It was also nice to be able to look at Albert's layouts and see what his ideas were. The one that I ended up choosing was the one that he liked the best. I chose it because of the large, bold headline. In the other layouts the headline was too small and got lost in the bold colors and starburst designs. We did discuss a few minor changes together to improve the layout that I chose though. The most important change that I suggested was that a lot more of the bike was shown. The background is very simple to allow all the attention to be on bike, but by making the bike so small and in the corner the blue background is almost as powerful if not more than the bike. He also mentioned that he wanted to reverse the type of the headline. If he does choose to do this, I think it would be beneficial to make the bike even bigger and possibly overlap the top block of copy as well as bleed off the page.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Liz's Chili Cook-off Flyer

This is the layout that I chose for the Chili Cook-off flyer. I felt like it was the best of the 15, mostly because of its simplicity. All the other layouts were busy and unbalanced; I didn't know where to look first or even what I was looking for.
The concept seems to be a chili pepper cooking a pot of chili outdoors (because he is wearing sunglasses). This, in my opinion, communicates the event easily and accurately.
This layout is symmetrical - everything is centered. The headline is bold and the focal point of the layout. The illustration in the center is good, but could be improved if the chili pepper was tilted the opposite direction of the chili pot or if both the chili pepper and the chili pot were set vertically. Because right now, everything within the layout is balanced and centered, except the graphic.
The rectangle outline at the bottom is not necessary. I would just center all the type under the circle - including the event date and location. Then the circle can be moved up slightly so it is not dead center. Also, watch bleeds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Helvetica Video

This video was all about typography, but focused mainly on Helvetica and its impact on society and visual culture. I never knew there was so much information and things to think about and consider when thinking about type. I've never really even thought about the people who actually design type faces!
As I said, the video focused on Helvetica, which has been around for about 52 years now. Helvetica is a  Sans Serif typeface that is used for headlines, signs and areas where large blocks of type are necessary. The video showed SO many examples where Helvetica is used. It it literally everywhere! I don't think you could get through a day without seeing it at least once. But why is this particular font so popular? Well, they asked many different graphic designers who gave their opinion on Helvetica and why it was so popular whether they liked it personally or not. 
Those who were in favor of the use of Helvetica were for several reasons. First and for most, it is very legible and somewhat simple so the reader can focus on what it literally spells out instead of what the typeface is "trying" to say. Some referred to it as being "neutral". Others mentioned how it was a very stable and concrete typeface because of the negative space around the letters. They said the negative space was more important than the type itself and in the case of Helvetica, all the negative space was shaped in such a way that it created stability which they thought was a good quality in a typeface.
Those who didn't like it had their reasons too. One designer said that he didn't like it because it was a default. Everyone uses it, and why would you want to be like everyone else? Another said that it represented the Vietnam War and now represents the war in Iraq. So how could you like something that represented something so horrible?
I think one of the biggest reasons there are so many contrasting opinions is because of the generational difference. There are still so many designers out there who have had experience with hand techniques as well as computer skills and now, newer designers are entering the field with primarily computer experience.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This is a website I found on the internet about copyfitting. Copyfitting is a process that allows you determine how much space is needed for the copy within a layout. The copy itself can also be adjusted by font size, letter spacing, word spacing and/or line spacing to make to make the copy fit the designated amount of space. This is the only website I have found so far that explains how to copyfit text by hand. It gives two methods: the character count method and the line measurement method. This website gives step-by-step instructions on how to do these two processes - but I'm not so sure I understand!
This is another website I found about copyfitting that just shows a simple diagram of a block of copy that is sectioned off into 5 columns. This was done in order to calculate the character count. Number of lines X characters per line + extra characters = character count. Spaces and punctuation are included as characters.
But what do you do with this information once you calculate it???

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Midterm Portfolio - Newsletter

This is the Family Health Newsletter that I constructed in InDesign.  The requirements were to make an 11 x 17 inch document that would fold into four 8.5 x 11 inch pages, using only two colors - black and a spot color. For this assignment, we had to use PMS 340, which is the green color that you see above.  This document had a lot of text, but there was plenty of room for photos or graphics.  I chose to stick with a leaf graphic that I drew in InDesign, and created a theme by repeating it throughout the layout in either white or different tints of the Pantone spot color.  
This was the first project that made me realize how much work goes into working with lots of type within a document and how to make it look good. In my first attempt I set up a simple 3 column grid and basically packed in as much text in as little space as possible so that each page was just a huge block of text. But then I ended up with two blank pages because I ran out of text!  I tried spacing it out and added in more graphics but it still felt so crowded. I went back again and changed the front page to a seven column grid to create a small column of negative space on the left and let the extra text flow to the next page. I think this helped open up the layout a lot.
I didn't change a whole lot on the inside.  I tried create a symmetrical, yet opposite layout by having the side panel on the left take up one column and the text take up two columns and do the exact opposite on the right page.  I think this helped add variety, but kept the layout unified at the same time.
On the back page, I originally hadn't used any grid structure at all.  But I changed it to a seven column grid to give myself some rough outlines to line up the large text box and the four large graphics.  
The only other thing I had to change was the spacing of some of the text. I had quite a few orphans and widows hangin' out by themselves that I hadn't noticed before.
This project gave me a sharper eye and helped me pay more attention to the technical parts of a layout. And just by following simple typesetting rules, I think I was able to come up with a fairly decent design.

Midterm Portfolio - Mood

 This is a photo montage assembled in Photoshop using three to five photos that are supposed to create a MOOD. To create this image, we were to utilize the masks in PS to make selections.  I used three photographs that I had taken myself, all about six months apart - the sky, a leaf (repeated three times) and my roommate (ERIN MCKEE!). I wanted to create a relaxing mood.  I love being outside - the sun, the sky, the clouds, the trees, the leaves, the wind... all of it!  And I find if very calming or relaxing, I should say, to just be outside and look at nature and feel the wind on your skin.  Sounds kind of goofy, but it's true! (I don't know why this is all UNDERLINED)
So I tried to illustrate all of those things in this project.  The hardest part was figuring out how to use the masks. At first I just used the masks on the original photo of Erin and the leaf to select them and cut them from their background in order to place them on the sky background.  I also altered the color of Erin slightly by using the original mask.
Then, once all the photos were combined, but on different layers, I figured out how to apply a different gradient mask to each layer so that the objects would fade from solid to slightly transparent almost as if part of the image were being "blown away".  
Then, later, I added the smaller leaves using the masks and the leaf-shaped paint brush tool. I was then able to make that selection much brighter so that is would stand out against the background.  The leaves look as though they are blowing away in wind off into the distance behind Erin, which I thought helped communicate the mood a little bit more and helped give the overall image a little bit of depth.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Midterm Portfolio - Repaired Photo

This was the photoshop project in which we took a damaged photograph and repaired it using various tools. I mainly used the clone stamp. It's harder than it looks!
I acually redid this entire project because my original picture was of my dad and I. It was really blurry and didn't scan in very well. Besides, the only damage was a small fold and 2 holes from a push pin at the very top - not very exciting or challenging. I just wish that I had had time to redo this project before it was due...
I was pretty sure I could handle all the spots in the upper right hand corner, but the folds and creases on the car and the paneled wall were a little worrisome. I wasn't sure how easy it would be to use the clone stamp to keep the panels on the wall lined up, but it was surprisingly easy. It all depends on where you put the reference point using the alt command - this took a little getting used. I was also concerned at times whether or not I was over-correcting centain areas, so I kept zooming out to make sure the photo still looked realistic.
Overall I think it turned out really well.

Midterm Portfolio - My Favorite Ride

Wow. What a project. I'm not going to lie - when I saw the example for this project I was so amazed and so baffled at how much it look like an actual photograph. I could only hope that mine would look half as good as that one.
But now that it's done (after about 30 hours of work I'd say) I think it looks pretty darn good. The wheels were definatley the most difficult. I didn't notice it til after I printed it (oh man!) but several of the tire spokes were not lined up correctly, so I had to fix those of course.
The only other thing I encounted that didn't cause problems this time, but could next time, was that my file size was ginormous! It was like 13MB. Pretty sure it was because of the opacitys that I used as well as the insane amount of gaussian blur that I used. I wasn't really aware of it at the time. oops.
So basically I learned not to change the opacity of an object unless you need to be able to see an object behind it. Otherwise just change the color to a different tint - easy enough.
Oh, and I chose this project for my portfolio because it was the coolest, of course!!!

Midterm Portfolio - US Symbol

I chose this project for my portfolio because I feel like this was the first project in Illustrator where I really began to use the pen tool accurately as well as take advantage of using layers effectively. I used a colored image from the internet as a reference because I wanted it to be accurate and I didn't want it to look like everyone elses.
I only had to do a few touch ups before turning this project into the portfolio - mainly because I didn't know how to do it the first time around or I just didn't want to take the time to do it as more projects were consistantly coming in. I re-drew the entire leaf. It was really sloppy before and I had drawn white lines for the veins. This time I followed the outline more accurately and utilized the compound path feature for several of the viens. I also altered the strok on the head feathers. I changed the ends so that they were rounded instead of rectangular and blunt.
As far as using the layers, this was the first project where I really payed attention to naming and organizing what went on each layer. This was very helpful in the other Illustrator projects such as the car.