The Sound of Silence

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.

Target Audience

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.


Design Analysis

I created 3 different kinds of slides for this assignment: Title slide, Ad introduction slides, and Idea explanation slides.

Title Slide
Ad Introduction Slide
Idea Explanation Slide

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

Used with permission of sarvakarthi
CC0 found on
Used with permission of Natalie White
CC0 found on
Bose Logo used under fair use


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.

Alliance Rubber Band Ad

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.


Target Audience

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.


Design Analysis

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.


Rubber Band Ball used with permission from Donna O’Donoghue
CC0 found on
Earth used with permission from WikiImages
CC0 found at
Abstract Galaxy used with permission from Lumina Obscura
CC0 found on
Alliance Rubber Company logo used under fair use for educational purposes
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.

Icons of an Icon

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.

Target Audience

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

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.


Peter Pan

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 Roosevelt

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

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.

Loving Others with Different Values

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 or, 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.

Target Audience

The article I found on 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.


Design Analysis

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.

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.

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