Independent Project

For my independent project I am working on promotional and event materials for Janet Wentworth’s upcoming exhibition, Unsung Heroes.  The exhibition celebrates the achievement of real local heroes, some of whom are not well known.  There are a great variety of heroes represented–not just military heroes.

After seeing a few of the pieces of work and getting a vibe for what the various designs should reflect I started bouncing some ideas off to her.  I immediately thought of creating a spoof off of old newspapers or WWII propaganda posters.  Here is the mood board I created to help me do some research and organize my ideas.  I chose various posters based on various colors, fonts, and artistic style.

My mood board for

My mood board for “Unsung Heroes”

After showing Janet my mood board we weeded through and further developed some of the better ideas.  She was really taken with the idea of emulating a design based off The Saturday Evening Post.  She also wanted to have a four-color design, she was particularly fond of the yellow and blue combination.  She also requested that the colors scheme and design look good in black and white due to the fact that the collateral could/would be published in a newspaper or photocopied.

For collateral I am making save-the-dates, a Facebook cover photo, invitations, posters, postcards, and program covers.  Here are the completed save-the-dates (black and white and colors Fenimore Art Museum and Delaware County Historical Association cards, and the Graphics Standards Manual for the cards).

“Unsung Heroes” save-the-dates in color and black and white for the Fenimore Art Museum and Delaware County Historical Association, and the Graphics Standards Manual.


“How to Get a Job at Google”

How to Get a Job at Google, by syndicated writer, Thomas L. Friedman is basically a written out interview with Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google.  Basically, the head honcho for hiring at Google.  I had read this article last year when it was published and got some good information out of it, but now that I am nearing the completion of my final semester, and re-reading the article, I am paying closer attention to the advice given by Bock.

Bock discusses the five general qualifications that potential candidates should possess: cognitive ability, leadership, humility, ownership, and expertise.  Google also doesn’t only look for the valedictorian at the Ivy League schools, but looks for qualified candidates including those with a non-traditional educational background.  While reading about the various qualifications I noticed that they were also looking for other character traits such as flexibility and adaptability.  The ability to quickly and efficiently shift gears is an important skill, and crosses over into demonstrating one’s ability to lead and be lead as well.

What we’ve seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position. They’ll argue like hell. They’ll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, ‘here’s a new fact,’ and they’ll go, ‘Oh, well, that changes things; you’re right.’ ” You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time.

They also seem to really believe in making certain that you are not only qualified, but that your personality will suit your job.

“If you take somebody who has high cognitive ability, is innately curious, willing to learn and has emergent leadership skills, and you hire them as an H.R. person or finance person, and they have no content knowledge, and you compare them with someone who’s been doing just one thing and is a world expert, the expert will go: ‘I’ve seen this 100 times before; here’s what you do.’ ” Most of the time the nonexpert will come up with the same answer, added Bock, “because most of the time it’s not that hard.” Sure, once in a while they will mess it up, he said, but once in a while they’ll also come up with an answer that is totally new. And there is huge value in that.”

This article was an interesting read (and re-read) and will make myself think differently when trying to “sell” myself when looking for jobs and interviewing.

AIGA’s “How to Find Your First Job” by Juliette Cezzar

As I am about to become an alum in a few short weeks I decided to read the article, How to Find Your First Job, from the AIGA website to help me decide whether I want to look for a job or apply to graduate school after I graduate.  Graduating is something that has become utterly terrifying to me because, let’s face it, who really wants college to end?

Once I started reading the article I realized that part of this process was familiar to me already because last spring I applied to internships, which basically is very similar up until the “accepting a job” section.  Yes, I did accept my internship position, but I did not have to think about things like the amount of vacation/sick time, work-related travel, etc.  Until the article had mentioned it I hadn’t given much thought to that aspect of accepting a position.  I was even surprised to read that the author suggested negotiating your offer.  I’m not exactly sure I would be comfortable doing that for my first job.

I think this article was pretty good about the specific steps involved in relatively general way for searching for jobs. I didn’t feel as though it offered any ground-breaking new way for applying for jobs that I haven’t already read about before.  The exception being that the manner of organization and concise information made the reading smooth and digestible for someone like myself who doesn’t love to read.

“Helvetica” [the film]

In class today we watched the film, Helvetica, a documentary that explores the history, use of the typeface, and various stand points of its use from different graphic designers.  The film not only discusses Helvetica, but also opens the discussion about Modernism and Post-Modernism.

Essentially, we were asked to answer two questions: What void did Helvetica fulfill?   And, what are the various stand points of the different graphic designers.

Since I tend to write too much for each of these blog posts (to the point of loosing my poor reader’s interest) I will keep it short, sweet, and simple.

What void did Helvetica fulfill?

  • “Born” in 1957 in Switzerland
    • Post-WWII in war destroyed Europe
  • Need for order, functionality, efficiency, honesty, etc.
    • Designers felt a social responsibility to provide appropriate type and designs
  • Helvetica is successful and embraces negative space and figure ground relationships in a way that had not been explored before
    • Mood: neutral, bold, modern
    • Corporations embrace the neutrality of the typeface and make it a part of the visual identity
  • Now, Helvetica has become a default font
    • therefore, a diminishing return in impact of font

Various Stand Points of Graphic Designers:

  • Massimo Vignelli
    • Modernist
    • Helvetica is good for everything, “spells out Modern”
    • “Type should not be expressive”
  • Erik Spiekermann
    • Post-Modernist
    • Was a good typeface, but has become a default à default for Mac and PC for a while
    • Letters all look too alike, needs more individuality between each letter
  • Paula Scher
    • Post-Modernist
    • Corporate culture of design
    • Helvetica, clean, fascist
    • “Morally opposed to Helvetica” because of corporations support of Vietnam war
    • In her generation, Pushpin Studios was the ideal design firm to work for because the designs were fresh, alive, content-heavy
    • Illustrates type for personality, expressio
  •  1970s
    • Produce vitality (despite Vietnam War), get away from slickness, lack of emotion of Helvetica

While watching the film I was alarmed at how many places Helvetica is used.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that the letters on this very keyboard are Helvetica.  And, I am pretty sure that I can’t un-see Helvetica in my surroundings anymore.  I had never even thought about the impact and over-use of a typeface until it was pointed out to me.

Another part of the film that suck with me was a segment with David Carson where he explains why Helvetica is not always a good font using the example of typography as to how it conveys meaning to nouns, verbs, etc.  My favorite was the word caffeinated to which Carson says, “look at this! There’s nothing caffeinated about it!” I couldn’t agree more with Carson on the point that in an isolated situation, Helvetica is not the best font to demonstrate the meaning or mood associated with the word decaffeinated.

Overall, the film was informative about the history of Helevtica, and made good cases for both pro and con Helvetica.  Yet the film still seemed to be a little more in favor of the positives of Helvetica.

Modernism / Post-Modernism

In terms of guidelines, this project is by far the least strict of any class project to date: create a poster using a quote to represent Modernism, and a poster using a quote to represent Post-Modernism.

After some research both in and out of class I am understand Modernism, but don’t really understand Post-Modernism.  I am also beginning to understand there is a modern-day schism on the subject because people are either a fan of one or the other, but rarely both.  I am of the Modernist camp.  I find it easier to understand of the two and appeals to my OCD much more easily than Post-Modernism.  After a lot of frustration from trying to understand Post-Modernism, someone described it to me in the best way possible: “it is like someone started a project and halfway through decided to start another project but forgot to switch canvases.”  This may be a little insensitive to the art movement, but I think there is a lot of truth to the statement because when I look at Post-Modernism artwork sometimes I have a hard time understanding how all of the pieces fit together and the only explanation is that the artist meant to use another canvas but to start the new project but forgot.

After understanding the art movements, I was better able to look up quotes to describe them.  For Modernism I chose a quote by David Winer: “the easier you make it for people to go, the more likely they are to stay.”  This directly speaks about the minimalism of Modernism.

For Post-Modernism I am going to create a poster with a quote by Albert Camus: : “every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.”

The rebellion part of the quote is how I make sense of Post-Modernism, so I am going to run with that for now.

Brochure – Finished Product

For the second-to-last project we were asked to create three different brochures that looked like a series for the Library of Congress (our client in a way) using images from the Library of Congress‘s website.

To create the unifying component of the project we had to think about color/color scheme, type, underlying grid, topic for each brochure, etc.  Initially, I had decided to use a common topic to unite all of my brochures, but this later proved to be a little more difficult than I had anticipated.  I also decided to use a sort of “formula” for my brochures as well: same type and shapes in particular places of the brochure, same size textboxes, and type.

Brochure 1: Gate Fold

For my first brochure, I chose to research within the Maps collections of the Library of Congress’s website, and was drawn to “Discovery and Exploration“.  When I saw “A map of Lewis and Clark’s track…” I was excited because it is one of my favorite time periods in American history.  Disclaimer:  I found the Library of Congress to be a bit confusing because I had initially researched Maps, but now wanted to find images of Sacagawea, Louis, and Clark, and ended up using Wiki Commons for some free use images.

“Lewis and Clark” brochure outside for the Library of Congress

“Lewis and Clark” brochure inside for the Library of Congress

Allow me to quickly break down this brochure in the easiest way possible:

  • Layout:
    • Tile “Lewis and Clark” is supposed to loosely resemble an important navigational tool: the compass
    • The archway on the cover panel and the flipped archway on the second panel are supposed to add a flowing feature to the brochure once completely flat.  On the inside, I wrapped the text around Sacagawea and her baby for a similar flowing effect.  The reason being that Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea traveled by river for an extent of their journey to the Pacific Coast.  And it looked somewhat interesting.
  • Color scheme: came from the image on the gate fold, but worked really well with the colors of the statue image, and the map.
  • Text:
    • body text is a simple serif text
    • captions are sans-serif
    • title of brochure is a script font (intended to emulate the time period)

Brochure 2: Barrel Fold

For my second brochure I chose another Expansionist theme involving maps.  The map came from the “Railroad Maps, 1828-1900” collection.

“Railroads” brochure outside for the Library of Congress

“Railroads” brochure inside for the Library of Congress

  • Layout:
    • Stretched the image of the locomotive to the front and back of the brochure to help move the viewer around the front and back of the brochure.
    • Unifying elements between the brochures begin to emerge à banner on the front cover with the theme of the brochure, and the footer banner.
  • Color scheme: Dark, rich red and blue to create an antique and patriotic feel to the brochure. Instead of using only plain white, I also used light grey.
  • Text:
    • Title of brochure in a time period appropriate font.
    • Same text for body, caption, and brochure theme

Brochure 3: Double Parallel Fold

For the last brochure I was a little tired of the maps, so I decided to have a different personal connection to the brochure, so I picked a dance related brochure.  The images are from various collections under the subject of Ballet.

“Ballet” brochure outside for the Library of Congress

“Ballet” brochure inside for the Library of Congress

  •  Layout:
    • Going back to the first brochure I liked the different geometry as a framing effect, so I created a slope for the entire back of the brochure to help create some movement and break up the solid color without completely relying on images.
    • I also found it more interesting to wrap the text around silhouetted images rather than a rectangle. Overall, I used more images in this brochure than the other two.
  •  Color scheme:
    • Rich purple in contrast with a sand/gold-like color. The gold color came from a few of the images, but mainly from the cover image.
    • I also used some of the same light grey for the brochure theme type, and captions to help incorporate the black and white images.
  •  Text:
    • Title of brochure in an appropriate font connoting grace and elegance.
    • Same text for body, caption, and brochure theme.

What I learned:

In hind sight, after looking at the rest of the brochures in class I think mine are too text heavy.

And I also made the mistake of always using square images with text wrap because the overall layout is lackluster.  My better brochures are the ones that embrace and follow the curvature of masked images.

Packaging Re-Design – Finished Product

MY DESIGN IS COMPLETE and I couldn’t be happier with my updated look for Pastene Arborio Rice.

After some constructive criticism with my group we talked about the shape of my template (a “milk” carton) and how it resembled a house.  I decided to make am authentic Italian-style building.  After looking at many photos online of tradition Italian street scenes and architecture I was able to take elements from them and incorporate them into my design.  I drew all of my own graphics (except the social media icons).

I was a little worried that my design wasn’t reminiscent enough of Italian architecture and could be mistaken for a Southwestern pueblo or stucco architecture.  I tried to combat that by adding an arched doorway and vines over it, as well as an Italian flag.

After realizing that my design could look Southwestern, I tried to stay away from the burnt siena colors and try some olive greens and burnt umber tones.  I think that doing this fixed my potentially confusing cultural identity issue.

For the logo I looked up many retro old-Italian styled fonts and settled on Atlantic Coast.  I think it is bold and beautiful, as well as a good blend of modern and traditional.  For “Arborio Rice” I decided to contrast the “Pastene” logo by choosing a traditional looking Italian script.  After a lot of tweaking, I think I got the right balance and hierarchy of elements for the two phrases.  The most important being the brand name, then the type of product (Arborio rice).

My design is unique because I added a “window” along the small, right edge of the box for the consumer to see how much rice is left.  The the window is a die cut in which I will cut the rectangle out and adhere a piece of plastic on the inside of the box.

CART 308 Johnson_Packaging

Pastene Arborio Rice packaging re-design by Lindsey L. Johnson