These last few weeks in Visual Design class at BYU-Idaho have been devoted to the creation of a slide presentation using Adobe InDesign.
There were quite a few guidelines and instructions, but it ended up being pretty easy to follow. We were to seek out an existing ad that was well-designed and included the company logo and at least one line of text. We were to create a new ad using Adobe Photoshop– an ad that seems to be from the same ad campaign as the existing one. To do that, we had to match the original ad’s dimensions and find some sort of element like colors, typography, layout, message, etc. to repeat. We had to use legally obtained images, of course, and type in our own text. Finally, We had to design a slide presentation on InDesign to analyze the original ad and explain how our recreated ad fits within the themes of the original ad campaign. The slides were to be 10 inches by 7.5 inches. We were required to create at least 6 slides, with at least one to introduce the company and campaign and at least one explaining how our recreated ad fits the campaign. We were to “reverse engineer” the original ad, focusing on how the ad utilizes the principles of design, with focus on only one idea per slide and without the use of bullet points.
Following are a few of the slides I designed for my presentation project.
Our target audience was provided for us in the instructions of the assignment.
“You are asked by your employer to analyze one of their existing ads, use these findings to create an additional ad that would fit the same campaign, and make a slide presentation that would assist you in explaining your findings.”
My audience is my employer. I feel this design appeals to my employer because of its simplicity. The background is a calming and friendly shade of blue-green with a slightly lighter oval in the corner of each slide drawing attention to the idea to be presented. The pictures are each aligned with the bottom-right corners, leaving a nice border in between so they’re not pushed right up against the sides, and the text is right-aligned against the pictures. Overall, I feel this design is simple and easily accessible, and avoids unnecessary flash or extravagance.
I created 3 different kinds of slides for this assignment: Title slide, Ad introduction slides, and Idea explanation slides.
The title slide stands out among the rest. It introduces the background and typography used throughout the presentation, as well as the oval to be used as a repetitive element in the rest of the slides. The oval is exactly the same throughout the presentation, with only its position changed. It is slightly lower in the Ad introduction slides than in the Idea explanation slides to accommodate the second line of text. The color choices and many other design choices were explained above under “Target Audience.” The Idea explanation slides have one additional element in the form of the green circles highlighting an example of the focus ideas.
The font used is called Tekton Pro. It’s subtle in some letters, but the text has small serifs. I chose this font because I thought it was pleasing to the eye without being too boring or too gaudy.
The original ad was found on Google images and used under fair use. All photography for the recreated ad was legally obtained from Pixabay.com.
There we have it! My slide presentation for visual design class using Photoshop and Indesign. This was a good exercise in the cooperation and coordination of the various Adobe products we’ve been learning this semester. It was a good way to flex and showcase the skills we’ve been building. Sure hope my employer likes this presentation.
These past couple of weeks in Visual Design class at Brigham Young University-Idaho have been devoted to the creation of two advertisements for a randomly generated product and a randomly generated target audience. We were to select a brand that produces the product we are advertising, and design an ad using Adobe Photoshop. The requirements for the ad included the use of at least 2 legally obtained photographs blended together in some way, the company logo, a creative headline, a 1-2 sentence body copy, and a call to action. Furthermore, the ads were to be symbolic representation as opposed to literal. in other words, we were to create something that would be impossible to photograph.
The product/audience generator determined I would advertise rubber bands to single females, aged 45-54, with PHD’s or Master’s Degrees, who make 60-89K, and enjoy magazines and social media. The randomly generated media preferences determined the size of the advertisements we had to create.
For the Magazine preference, I created a half-page ad, sized 8.5″ x 5.5” with 250 ppi.
For the Social Media preference, I created a Facebook static ad, sized 400px by 209px with 72 ppi.
These ads would appeal to my target audience, I feel, because the bright purple color of the background would capture their attention and draw their curiosity. The main picture is accessible, easily understood within seconds. I think they would appreciate how the headline matches the message of the picture. Furthermore, I think they would be able to relate, in a way, because a single, middle-aged woman’s life in the workforce can be quite hectic, and they may sometimes feel like their world is held together by only a few strings.
I began by searching for photographs of the product to see if it might spark any ideas. I found a picture of a rubber band ball, and wondered how I could use it in a design. Two thoughts occurred to me: that rubber bands are everywhere and that they hold things together. I thought about how to make this idea symbolic and non-literal. Rubber bands hold everything together. What if they held EVERYTHING together?
I found a picture of the Earth and set to work. I tried a few things to make it look like the rubber bands were surrounding the Earth. I tried laying the rubber band ball over the picture of the Earth and deleting the bits I didn’t want with the auto-select and the magic wand tools. It was very time-consuming and didn’t work very well anyway, so after about 15 minutes, I decided to try something else. I finally found success when I placed the Earth over the rubber band ball, placed a mask on the Earth, and blanked out the parts of it that were covering some of the stronger, more prominent rubber bands.
After this, I had to find a background. I didn’t want to go with plain old boring space, so i found a very nice photo of a deep purple space with the perfect splotch of white light over which to place my Earth. I added my text bit by bit and aligned them all to the right. I made the conscious decision to keep the wording in the headline and the call to action lowercase. It seemed a bit more uniform and streamlined, I thought.
I’d had the idea for the current headline, and thought it was alright, but reconsidered and changed it to something like “Without us, your world would fall apart.” Then, when I saw on the Alliance Rubber Company’s website the exact words I’d originally considered, “Holding your world together,” I knew I had to change it back.
All of this was for the larger ad– the half-page magazine ad. Transferring it to the Facebook ad was a simple copy-and-paste job. I merely resized the pictures and text and realigned them to fit on the smaller space. For a little bit of contrast, I moved the Earth to the right side and aligned the text to the left. There was not room in the smaller ad to include the body copy.
There we have it! An advertisement for rubber bands. There’s something you don’t see every day!
There were some spots of difficulty, but overall, I enjoyed learning to use Photoshop. Personally, I still find Illustrator easier and more accessible, but I was glad for the opportunity to develop skills in Photoshop. It’ll be a useful skill to have out in the working world.
These past two weeks in Visual Design class at BYU-Idaho have been devoted to the creation of a set of icons using Adobe Illustrator. The instructions and requirements were relatively simple– We were to design 4 to 6 original icons, each communicating a single message. The icons were to be designed consistently and without the use of text, gradients, drop shadows, or pixels/raster effects. I chose to highlight a variety of Robin Williams’ characters. Following are the icons I designed for this project.
I began this icon set with the mindset that I wanted to pay tribute to a favorite actor- an icon in and of himself. I believe many movie lovers like me probably enjoy seeing him immortalized in different varieties of media. This set was designed for cinephiles and fans of Robin Williams– likely aged between 20 and 45, likely a male majority. This set would appeal to this audience because they would instantly recognize some of his most famous roles, which in turn brings forth fond memories of the times he entertained them– made them laugh, made them cry.
I began with a basic outline, which I knew I could copy and add to for each successive icon. I drew inspiration for the general shapes of his face and nose from depictions of Robin Williams in episodes of “Family Guy.” His eye color was a bit difficult to discern, but a few close up pictures found on google show he has bright, blue-green irises. I did my best to match the color, but I’ll admit it’s still not spot-on. I chose the shirt color based on what he wore to a stand-up comedy show he performed not long before he passed. For my first draft, each icon had the same expression- The same one on the Patch Adams icon. Several classmates who gave feedback and constructive critique commented that they all looked sad. “He wasn’t sad all the time,” they said. I implemented their advice and made the expressions unique for each by repositioning the eyes and changing the curvature of the mouth– interestingly enough: only on the left side (Robin’s right side from his perspective). Each curve to the right of the where his lip dips in the middle is identical. For Robin himself, I attempted to give him a somewhat expressionless face– He is a blank canvas, ready to perform any role.
Patch Adams was the second icon I created, and the easiest of the “roles” to create. He was a simple copy and paste with different colored shirt and hair. Beyond that, I created a simple red circle for the rubber nose, and added a small shine to it. As mentioned before, his was the original expression all of them shared in the draft, so it was actually Robin’s expression I changed for the final draft, not Patch’s. The only change I made for Patch between the draft and the final was his hair color. Patch and Pan originally shared Robin’s hair color, but I decided to make them each darker to reflect the movies a bit more. Apart from that small change, Patch is exactly how I made him in the draft. I was actually quite proud of Patch even from the beginning. Comparing it to the movie poster, it was pretty spot-on with the expression, the colors– even the shape of the hair, which I designed first for Robin, matches the poster really well.
Pan was a little bit more difficult, but not much. Again, he was a simple copy and paste with different color palette. I dragged the top of his ear just a bit up to make them a bit elf-like. I deleted the collar and buttons. creating leaves instead. Each of the leaves is the same. just one leaf, copied, pasted, and rotated, placed around the collar. I began the leaf collar with the idea that I might use the shape tool to delete the unnecessary bits I didn’t want, but that wasn’t going too well. Ultimately, it occurred to me I could simply bring forward the flesh-colored triangle layer that makes up his chest in front of the leaf layers. Again, I darkened the hair and changed the expression between the draft and final. Voila! Peter Pan.
Genie began as a copy/paste, not of Robin, but of Pan. I’d found that nice ear shape and I wanted to maintain it for him. Beyond that, I changed his colors, deleted all the details on his torso, and deleted his hair. I created the little ponytail with the pen tool- not difficult at all, created a general beard shape with the pen tool as well, and used the spiral tool to give him that nice squiggly at the end of of his chin. In the draft, the spiral was a bit blocky, but I used the width tool to change the thickness of the line for the final, giving it that nice point. The eye color wasn’t working for me on this design, for some reason, so I changed the fill to a uniform black. also for the final, I rearranged the eyes, the mouth, and actually removed his eyelids to give him that excited look. It’s fair to say he’s probably the most different from the rest, but I couldn’t create a set of Robin Williams’ greatest roles and not include the genie! That’s sacrilege!
Teddy is, interestingly enough, a new addition between the draft and the final. I’d considered creating him for the draft as well, but I’d just finished Mrs. Doubtfire and was satisfied with my work and ready to call it a day. Good thing, too, because the hat was particularly difficult. Looking at pictures of the character Robin plays in the “Night at the Museum” series, I noticed the brim of his hat is not uniform, but is pinned up on the right side (the left, from Teddy’s perspective). This took some creative use of the pen tool to recreate, and a lot of minor adjustment to anchors and paths to achieve just the right shape. The brim doesn’t actually go all the way around his head. This may have been possible to do with some clever layer arrangement, but I couldn’t figure it out. Instead, the brim is that very shape you see front and center. the glasses were pretty simple to create, but also hide a subtle little technique. The frames are just circles and arcs– outlines with a dark brownish gold stroke. the lenses are actually shapes of their own, placed under the frames– circles the same shape as the frames , with no outlines, a bluish white fill, and the opacity at 16 percent. This way, you can see that lenses are there, and you can also see through them. The colors were relatively simple. I started with the hat and mimicked the colors in the shots from the movie. I colored the coat he wears the same as the ribbon on the hat, and the shirt underneath is the color of the shadow where the brim lifts.
Mrs. Doubtfire was perhaps the most difficult to create. I just couldn’t figure out how to do the hair and get it just right. I tried first to build it from circles, using the shape builder tool to delete the unnecessary bits. That didn’t turn out too well. I referenced pictures again and again, considered using just arcs or spirals, I couldn’t figure it out. Finally, I just used the pen tool to make a general shape and tweaked the anchors and paths to arrange it just so. I added the streaks and coloring to attempt to give it some texture. Creating the glasses, I figured out the same shape-over-shape technique I used later to create Teddy’s glasses. The flowers on Doubtfire’s blouse are similar to the leaves on Pan, in that they are the same flower, copied, pasted, and rotated.
And there we have it! My set of icons paying homage to an icon. I quite enjoyed using Adobe Illustrator. Drawing pictures on a page, I’m a terrible artist. on Microsoft paint, I’m even worse. Somehow, I understand Adobe Illustrator in a way I haven’t understood any other kind of visual or graphic media creator before. It allows me to create icons like you see above, that I could never hope to create with my hands. I am excited to be able to use this program, and very happy with the results. I hope you enjoy them too.
These past two weeks in Visual Design class at BYU-Idaho have been devoted to the creation of a three-page magazine spread using Adobe In-Design. The instructions and requirements were relatively simple– We were to find a 600+ word article on either LDS.org or BYUIScroll.org, and design a magazine spread surrounding this article. Some specific requirements for the spread include a two or more column layout, a pull quote (where a sentence or quote is copied from the article and placed the page elsewhere to draw extra attention to it), two or more relevant photographs we shot ourselves, three or more subheadings, and a text-wrap (Where the text in the article wraps around a picture or shape). Following are the three pages I designed for this project.
The article I found on lds.org was about the author and their struggle to accept a family member who had made some life choices contrary to the ideals of the LDS church. The article is entitled “Loving Others with Different Values,” and the author’s name was withheld. After reading the article, I decided I would design the spread with BYU-Idaho college students in mind– specifically, college-aged church members who are struggling with similar concerns like how to consolidate their own belief system with that of the rest of the world, and questions like how to forgive someone you perceive has done you wrong. Essentially, the target audience boils down to 18-30 year-old LDS members with questions or issues regarding their faith.
I believe this design appeals to this target audience because the photograph and relevant scripture quote on the first page grab their attention and get them interested to read it. After that, they notice how the article is broken up– the paragraphs are short, and each section (at least until the final page) is relatively small, so the task of reading is not daunting. The color schemes appeal to this age group and relate to the message being expressed (more on that later) and the dove is an easily recognized symbol of the topic at hand.
One of the predominant themes in this story is that of forgiveness and acceptance. I tried to keep that in mind while designing this spread. I began with the background color. the first page is all black, because at this point in the story, the author has only just recognized a problem and hasn’t learned anything yet. Over the next two pages, the background gradually fades to white, symbolizing the author’s and the reader’s increased understanding and path toward forgiveness and a Christ-like life.
The dove is also a symbol for forgiveness, acceptance, and purity. I thought that might be a nice reminder of the themes as the reader continues. The picture and scripture quote on the first page remind the reader that we are not to judge others when we are not perfect ourselves. All of this hearkens back to the predominant theme.
As mentioned previously, another theme in this story is how to maintain a belief system such as the LDS faith in a world that is constantly trying to pull us away from it. For this theme, I used the photograph on the third page to symbolize the connection between our world and our Heavenly Father’s. The building symbolized our world, while the sky is our God’s world. The green of the grass in the stone picture seemed like a natural sort of blend between the two ideals, so I used a dark green as a recurring theme for the title and subheadings.
So far as the Design Principles go, I did my best to align each element on the page with other elements. this is most easily seen in the text, where there are clear lines of alignment along the left sides, as well as the top and bottom for the most part. I contrasted the white and green writing over the black background so that it stands out. I also contrasted the size and color of the subheadings with the size and color of the text to ensure they were seen separately. I contrasted the fonts as well. the majority of the text is written in a sans-serif font to make it easy for the reader to follow, while the subheadings and pull quote are written in a serif font to draw attention. there are a couple of repeated elements– as stated before, the color scheme is repeated throughout. Also, the shapes containing the photographs are both softly curved ovals– with the theme, again, being forgiveness, I tried to avoid any angled shapes with hard, sharp edges.
These photographs were taken by me at Brigham Young University- Idaho. The building featured is the Eliza R. Snow building. The hand is mine, holding a BYU-Idaho rock in the quad in front of the Jacob Spori building. The dove is a stencil found on Google from Donna Dewberry Free Stencils.
So, as you can see, this magazine spread was designed to capture the attention of an LDS youth and reinforce the ideals of acceptance, forgiveness, and maintaining faith in a carnal world. Each element of the design complements and contrasts each other, with the most important ones repeating throughout. Overall, I am satisfied that this design effectively promotes the desired message, and I’m proud to present it.
Photography is a keystone in visual design. Few things can capture a reader’s interest quite like an engaging photograph. Pictures draw a reader’s eye and, if done effectively, can direct attention to any point on a page the designer desires. Professional photographers have developed several techniques and standards to help beginners like me master the art.
The Rule of Thirds
It has been scientifically proven that pictures adhering to “the Rule of Thirds” are naturally more interesting to viewers. The rule of thirds is simple. We divide a photograph horizontally and vertically into thirds. The lines that divide these sections are effective focal points for viewers. The points where these lines intersect are the most attractive focal points of the photos.
Above is a photo that I took of the North Quad at Brigham Young University Idaho. Now take a quick look at the division of the photograph into the rule of thirds.
As you can see, I did my best to position the objects in the photo onto the division lines. The tree in the original photo is placed directly on the left vertical line, while the center of the table was placed as best I could on the intersection of the right vertical and the lower horizontal lines. This draws a viewer’s attention to those objects.
Below is a photograph taken by Simon Powell, a professional photographer. See how he positions his model along the right vertical division to draw your attention to her.
Leading lines are imaginary guides within our photographs directing us toward a focal object. Above is a picture I took in the Spori Art Museum. There are certainly better and more effective demonstrations of leading lines, but I am only learning, so forgive my incompetence.
See how the corners of the podium and the left edge of the informational poster direct your attention toward the guest book, and the corner of the floor guides you leftward toward the red exhibit.
Below is another photograph by professional, Simon Powell. Notice how the edges of the fields, the grass, the shore, and even some of the ripples on the sand all guide your eyes from the center of the photograph to the gazebo on the right. Mr. Powell is better at photography than I.
Range of Focus
Have you ever taken a photograph and the darn camera just makes everything blurry? It’s a common occurrence, and it can be very frustrating. Cameras use various mechanisms to focus in on subjects– sometimes the intended subject and sometimes, frustratingly, anything but the subject. However, the focus can be manipulated to great effect, creating some very very interesting pictures. This occurs more often than one might believe, even in movies. An effective use of this in film can be found in the recent release, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. During the opening credits, the Guardians fight an epic battle against an interdimensional space beast– entirely in the background. The camera chooses instead to focus on baby Groot, merrily dancing to a fun, bouncy 70’s hit. Groot remains in focus through the scene, while the intense fight rages behind him, blurry and out of focus.
Above is the photograph that, of the three posted, I’m most proud of (or perhaps least ashamed of). Taken, again, in the Spori Art Gallery at BYU-Idaho, the subject of the photograph is bold and in focus, while the background, including another exhibit further back, is blurred.
Following is yet another photograph by Simon Powell, utilizing the range of focus to maximum effect. Notice first that the cliffs in the background are completely out of focus. Then try to find the subject of the photo. Oddly enough, it’s not the model, but the shoes he is wearing. The shoes are crystal clear, while the model is a bit blurry- not overly so, but subtly.
So you see, these techniques can be used in every photograph you take to capture and direct your viewer’s attention. Even more astounding is that these techniques do not have to be used alone. Take a look back at the photo of the woman in the white dress. I used that picture to demonstrate the rule of thirds, but now that we’ve discussed range of focus, you can easily see that photograph utilizes this technique as well. Master these tools to help maximize your pictures’ effectiveness and interest, and you’re well on your way to becoming a professional designer!
Above is a poster for a book festival in 2014. I’m not exactly sure what happens at a book festival. I’ve never been invited. Anyway, today, I’ll be analyzing the typography in the poster above. It features a couple of different categories of typefaces to draw attention first to the title and then to the information below.
The title on the poster– “The Book Festival”– is written in, I believe, a Slab Serif font. The letters are large and thick, with no transition from thin to thick like one might find in a Modern or an OldStyle font. Now the Serifs do have a bit of diagonal slant, pointing toward an Oldstyle font, but the fact that the serifs are generally the same size and thickness as the letters, paired with the aforementioned lack of thickness transition, I am inclined to believe this is, for the most part, a Slab Serif.
Now that the audience’s attention has been grabbed by the title, the designers need to draw the attention further to find out when and where. The information is in relatively close proximity to the title, but is inherently very different. changing the color of the text alone provides some contrast, changing the text size provides even more– one further way to differentiate this text from the text above is to change the font type. The typeface used for the information appears to be a simple Sans Serif font. Sans means “without,” and serifs are the tiny little decorative bits you see on the ends of the letters in the title. As you can see, the information text is without the tiny decorative bits. This doesn’t draw as much attention as the Serif text does, but it is easier for the audience to read. This is particularly effective for this passage, as there are quite a lot of small words to read.
And so we see this poster is a great example of effective typography. The information below is clearly different from the title above, while the couple of small passages to the right of the information use a repetition of the Slab Serif category of typeface to differentiate it further from the dates and places. Overall, this poster uses principles of good design to direct our attention where the designers determine we should look and what information to absorb in what order.
Released in May of 2014, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” was an entertaining return not only to the rebooted X-Men universe– established in 2011 with “X-Men: First class,” but also to the original X-Men universe– established in 2000 with “X-Men.” Reviews of the film were mixed, but at the very least, the advertising campaign gave us these two brilliantly designed movie posters featuring four of the film’s stars– Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy.
One of the most prevalent aspects of the original poster is the use of color. As such, color is a wonderful place to begin our analysis of the design. Color is used in this design for a few important reasons. First is the fact that in movies and much of pop-culture, red typically signifies a villain or antagonist or otherwise unsavory character, while blue typically signifies a hero or protagonist (For another example, compare the colors of lightsabers in the “Star Wars” series). From a single glance, it is clear to us through the use of color that Michael Fassbender’s and Ian McKellen’s character(s) are generally antagonistic, while James McAvoy’s and Patrick Stewart’s are generally heroic. Another way the color contributes to these posters’ designs is the fact that it helps our eyes transition to the different actors’ faces and consolidate them into one character. Take a look at the posters below. When the red is removed from Fassbender’s face, it becomes much clearer than in the posters above that we are looking at two different actors. It even becomes clearer that some of the alignment of their facial features is off (see the transition from the bridge of McKellen’s nose to Fassbender’s? Or their cheekbones toward the bottom left of the poster?). Finally, the use of color helps us recognize that the way the faces are overlaid forms the letter “X.” It’s much simpler to see the “X” in the poster on the right than in the one on the left.
Another aspect the color adds to the posters, not mentioned above, is its contribution to contrast in the design. In each poster, we are looking at the same character, played by two different actors, living in two different time periods. This plot point is demonstrated in this poster by the use of contrast. Sirs McKellen and Stewart are featured in black-and-white. They originated the roles and feature in this film to provide context for the rest of the film. The new actors, Fassbender and McAvoy, are featured in vibrant color, as they are the “new guard” and the focus for the majority of the film. We can tell easily which set of actors the film will focus on. Take a look below. Without any contrast, the meaning behind the overlay of Fassbender’s face is completely lost, and we, as the viewers, are confused and unsure where to turn our attention. With too much contrast, McAvoy’s face is lost, along with any intention the poster had.
Any repetition in a single one of these posters would be rather difficult to discern, but the repetition becomes quite clear when the other poster is involved. This is a simple case of repetition across multiple pages. The colored “X” overlays are in the same position in each poster, as are the release dates in the bottom right corners. Additionally, these posters feature a bit of conceptual repetition. Notice that Sirs McKellen and Stewart are clean shaven, while Fassbender is sporting a bit of scruff around his upper lip, and McAvoy has a full-grown beard. This connects the older and younger actors with each other in our minds in a subtle, unspoken way.
There is a subtle alignment in and between these posters. The intersection of the “X” creates some interesting alignment lines for our eyes to follow. See the picture below. The horizontal line created by the intersection follows just above each actor’s eye-line, drawing our attention to the eyes that are staring intensely at us from the page. The vertical lines created by the intersection draw our attention downward to see who made the film and when we can expect to see it in theaters.
As has been mentioned several times thus far, Sir Mckellen and Fassbender portray the same character in this film, as do Sir Stewart and McAvoy. This is demonstrated in the poster by the actors’ proximity to each other– ie. directly on top of one another. Because the faces are overlaid, we can tell quickly and simply that each set of actors is a single character. In the picture below, I’ve marked some places where the picture overlay is remarkably aligned, making the proximity all the more clear. (Note: It was easier to find these spots on the red poster, as Stewart’s clean-shaven face and bald head made it difficult to match up with McAvoy’s full head of hair and beard.)