DIY Business Card

When I set out to complete this assignment my approach had a few callbacks to the first few weeks of the semester. The first day of class, I had mentioned that my favorite color was red and also that I think, when executed correctly, there’s nothing that looks better than the simple color scheme of black, red, and white.

Inspired by the geometric ease of Piet Mondrian and motivated by his reverence for primary colors, I decided the design side of my card would incorporate riffs off geometric elements, most likely squares.

 

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Experimentation:

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I also wanted to utilize my initials as a sort of hybrid letter logo/design:

 

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In the end, I reduced the total number of elements in my design to have a clean, clear look that made much use of negative space.

 

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ITP Show Postcard

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Assignment

Create a postcard design for the ITP Winter Show; showcase a more human side of the program.

Vision

This week was a series of non-starters. Initially, I wanted to stage an elaborate shoot at the Standard Hotel but at the last minute was unable to secure the space. I was back to square one. This is a familiar feeling at ITP. Lots of missteps, restarts, failures. I realized that it might be fun to capture this sentiment in the show poster. I decided

Process

First, there was light testing and stage setting.

Contact Sheet 1

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Then, framing:

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Lighting fix & color correction

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Final staging:

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On to edits:

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Framing/no framing/ font options:

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Final choice:

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Takeaways

I wholly underestimated the amount of time it would take to stage the photograph, correct lighting, and shoot for the winning shot. Given the time allotment of ~5 hours, I probably spent too much time on staging and not enough on post. If I had more time, I would have flattened the table curves and toyed with perspective a bit more. I would have also used professional two-point lighting (LEDs) on stands, and spent more time toying with font, etc.

 

Everyday Color

Assignment:

  1. Take the color hue test. Post the image of your score to your blog.

I'm not colorblind! Yayz.

2. Over a period of 3 days document your life by taking photographs of various scenes and experiences. Focus on any aspect of your environment: your personal space or personal possessions or public spaces that you engage in. Track the recurring colors in your photos, and the anomalies? Think about how they resonate with your interests, ideals, emotions, and creative instincts?

Everyday Color

I chose to focus on my personal space and observe the variations in tone and hue depending on the time of day. I specifically captured patterns on my carpet, curtains, pillows, and bedsheets, to more easily compare variations.

background_foreground_with_tones

What colors do you consider the ‘foreground’ colors of your life? What are the persistent ‘background’ colors? How does the palette change based on context or time?

I was surprised by how much warmer my evening tones were; thought I knew direct sunlight would diffuse my daytime color scheme I thought there would also be enhanced, brighter hues to compare.

I also examined the tonality of my environment:

sunsrise-sunset

 

itp-life

 

and finally, examined the recurring shapes in my life; circles for saucers, large and small blocks for buildings, etc. A good representation of this recurrence would be via instagram:

Circles

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Rectangles;

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Good Sign / Bad Sign

Assignment: Go outside and photograph 3 examples of unsuccessful signage and 1 example of a sign you like and post all 4 images to your blog. Choose one of your unsuccessful signs and redesign it. Come to class prepared to present and discuss your examples.

A. UNSUCCESSFUL SIGNAGE

Awkward Sign #1

Lane shift where?
Lane shift where?

The Problem Though the sign itself isn’t necessarily confusing, its location most certainly is. You may not necessarily be able to see its orientation from the photo, but it’s actually situated parallel to the road, indicating that the lane shift will occur somewhere inside Scotch & Soda. To make things worse, there was an identical sign across the street indicating the lane shift would happen somewhere inside G Star Raw. Lastly, upon investigation, there appeared to be no lane shift at all. Huh?

Awkward Sign #2

The Problem I take this one rather personally as it’s the diner I go to regularly and it’s on my block. Along with a completely gratuitous renovation, “The Kitchen Sink”, formerly known as Moonstruck Diner, decided to rename and rebrand. The results are tragic.

Gross
Gross
Iconic
Iconic -source, EVGrieve.

We went from an iconic name (maybe to got a cease and desist?) with a lovely, classic logo, to a sign that makes it look like you’re dining at a hardware store. Free delivery for what? Nuts and bolts?

Awkward Sign #3

Uni-K Wax Center?

The Problem

1. I *think* this waxing place is trying to let us know that you will have a “unique” waxing experience. (Whether or not that’s desirable is for another conversation, though personally I prefer my waxing experience to be as boring and uneventful as possible). Unfortunately, the use of both

  • A different font
  • A different color

for the ‘K’ in Unik makes it utterly distracting and incomprehensible that it reads as

2. Uni-K Wax , which shouldn’t be what they’re going for.

3. If we were to ignore the strange emphasis mentioned above and accepted that it were to read as one word, the sign reads phonetically as ‘Eunuch’. It’s a strange thing to conjure for a waxing salon.

4. Finally -where is ‘center’? It’s completely obscured.

B. SIGN REDESIGN

My design suggestions are as follows:

1. *At minimum*, get rid of the different font/different color double whammy with the ‘K’.

2.  If a serif is absolutely necessary as a differentiation tool, use it for the entire word, and use color more holistically. 

3. If serif is no longer necessary, instead use the same font and a different iteration (in this case bold) to emphazise Unik, like so:

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4. I would argue that it’s not the word ‘Unik’ that should be emphasized, but the word ‘Wax’. This is the most important piece of information that needs to be delivered.

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5. Lastly, I’d lock up ‘CENTER’ in the same font family as the sign and space the letter components differently to maximize clarity.

Conclusion Though I still have a ton of problems with color choice (the combination of purple and green feels cold and uninviting to me in the context of waxing -it’d be better suited for a pharmaceutical or tech company), and take strong issue with the K in UNIK, I think this final iteration is still a significant improvement on the original.

C. I <3 THESE SIGNS

1.  La Colombe

La Colombe 4th St
La Colombe 4th St
The Logo
The Logo

Why It Succeeds I love this signage. They do a beautiful job of incorporating their logo with the city skyline, and have stylized their brand name just enough to make it recognizable without being convoluted. The use of the city skyline as texture and shape for the wings is an extra touch that I think is lovely.

Other examples of great signage:

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Crunch Gyms
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TheStandard Hotel
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Astor Wines
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Chiquita Smile

Deconstructing La Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque

SLIDES

The Subject

My best friend is getting married this October in New Orleans, and as official Design Researcher (I helped her with her invites) I’ve been doing my duty pouring over belle époque style posters and the like. I’m not that great a friend, it’s just that this is a particular style of expression I’ve always been fond of, and when I came across this ad for corsets I tucked it away with the idea that I’d print it at a later time.

The wedding invite -inspired by posters such as these.
The wedding invite -inspired by la belle époque.

The Analysis

What is it about this poster in particular that is so lovely and pleasing to the eye? Well, to begin with, it’s actually quite organized, balanced, and surprisingly symmetrical.

The subjects are arranged in a grid-like fashion, with text flanking the upper left and lower right quadrants for a sense of equilibrium.
The subjects are arranged in a grid-like fashion, with text flanking the upper left and lower right quadrants for a sense of equilibrium.

There’s also a clear path that the eye travels without confusion. This is what makes it a good ad as well.

Notice the direction of the women's gaze.
Notice how women are positioned in a triangle shape with the smallest angle originating at the upper right hand corner.

The designer has also identified a clear color palate that dutifully highlights the most important features of the ad:

  1. The tag line. In this case it roughly translates to Unbreakable whalebone corsets, flexibility, elegance, strength; and there is no question which words hold the most weight as they are emphasized in a bold, beautiful rouge.  
  2. The product. The gaze travels across each women’s form in a flourish of lovely colors, and the need for the product’s flexibility, elegance and strength (one could posit) is demonstrated in reverse order.

color-palate

Though there isn’t a ton of negative space on the poster. There is a cohesive background and a purposeful framing of the product with words and color bleed.

Finally, our designer has decided not to overdo it with a system of fonts and instead sticks with one headline font and one sub-header font (origins unknown), that appear to be in the same font family.

A valiant effort yielded these not-quite matches.
A valiant effort yielded these not-quite matches.

Still Crazy About It

Perhaps the truest testament to this poster’s strengths (at least for me) is the fact that I’m still completely in love with it, even after relentless analysis. In most instances this would deprive me of any further joy in future viewings, but in this case the clever nuances to which I’m now privy have in fact enhanced my overall appreciation for the form.