Design: My Personal Logo

March 28, 2012

For an assignment for class, we were asked to create our own logo that we would use for personal business cards. This is what I managed to come up with. It’s not perfect, but I still like the way it came out. The dragonfly is a symbol of creativity, which is what I always strive towards. What I wish I could figure out is how to make the logo save at a larger scale. When I saved it as a gif, it showed up as tiny, compared to what I worked on. Any thoughts?

personal-logo

Logos Logos Logos!

February 29, 2012

They’re everywhere, but do you notice them? Do they have an impact to you? Here are some that have just caught my eye:

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For this week, one of the assignments that I need to work on is to design a flag for an unrepresented people using Adobe Illustrator. As it took me two years to just become somewhat proficient in Photoshop, which I still maintain I learned through sheer force of will, you can imagine my chagrin and frustration. But, overall, the project wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be once I got the hang of it. The next step in that case was to choose my unrepresented people. Well, as you’ll see below, I decided to choose a people that are just crying out for help, that lash out at the world because no one will help their plight. Whether that plight is that no one agrees with their un-researched opinions or that no girl will ever touch them willingly, they will forever fight to be heard.

Yes, the people I chose for this flag project is the Internet Flame Troll.

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I chose a relatively simple design for this project. A lit match as an obvious reference to their flaming tactics, plus the famous (or infamous) Forever Alone Troll Face adorning the top. It is my hope that this once nameless, faceless group can now have a symbol of solidarity to cling to.

For the latest design assignment, we were tasked to come up with a diptych and/or a triptych. For those who don’t know, it’s just a series of two or three images put together that are related either directly or tangentially. Below is my first attempt at making a diptych:

Diptych 1

Triptych 1

Both to me speak of things left behind. Either a memorial to someone, or a message to the Universe. I love the idea of things once loved lost, so ordinary except for the beauty they offer others.

Media Design: Typography

February 17, 2012

For a project that we needed for my design class, we had to do typography. It’s actually kind of amazing how something as simple as the typeface, size, and placement of words can add or detract from the overall effect of a message. I mean, they’re just words, right? But it seems like the brain just doesn’t absorb the meaning behind the words proper, but also the little details the designer brings to the table. We had to choose a subject with which to work on our typography projects, I chose “Lido Beach.”

Lido Beach 1
The image above already radiates calm, so I felt that it was my job to make that sense of serenity carry through the words. Lilting arches in the lettering, not unlike those of a gentle wave, and colors borrowed from the beautiful sunset, I think I was able to ensure that my words don’t disturb the environment depicted. (Font used was Coventry Garden; source: dafont.com)

Lido Beach 2
This shot that I found is much more dynamic, the nightlife portrayed with subtlety at the bottom. In order to go with that theme, I chose a more futuristic typeface and hollowed it out, showing the sky underneath. The halo around the text connotes neon lights, which can make you think of discos or wherever kids go these days. The overall effect is one of vibrancy that fits in well with the image. (Font used was Neuropolitical; source: dafont.com)

Lido Beach 3
This one is my favorite image and the inspiration for the project. The band is called, you guessed it, Lido Beach. I chose a font that I felt would jump off the page and vibrate with music. I also wanted to stay within the earthtones of the shot, so I actually picked out shades from one of the band-member’s jeans and played around in that color family. I think the effect I created was that of calm on the surface, but ready to rock at any moment!

Like I said, it’s amazing how much a couple of words can change with just a few adjustments.

So, for last week, we had to composite two images together using a little of what we learned in class. Having never done anything exactly like this, I was a little stumped as to how to move forward. But then I got some inspiration, so I decided to try my hand at it. It’s still VERY rough and needs a lot of work, but I’m pretty proud of it so far.

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This image was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend about the insanity that is the race for the Republican ticket. At one point, I likened all the candidates to escapees from Arkham Asylum. The most obvious being Mitt Romney as Two-Face. What I love about this concept (which I’m sure has been done before) is the fact that depending on who looks at it, the “bad side” of his face could be his liberal or his conservative nature.

I hope to do more of these in the future if I can master the technique a bit more.

So, when it comes to graphic design of any kind, no two layouts are ever alike. Everything falls to taste, preference, budget, time constraints and other myriad issues. But sometimes a design is just amazing, or it just sucks and you need to call a spade a spade. Here are some examples of what I think are some great layouts and some terrible ones.

5 Terrible Layouts:

instylebadlayout
Gah, this one is hideous. First of all, it doesn’t play up how pretty Drew Barrymore is. In fact, I actually think it makes her look severe and unattractive. Also, the way they designer cropped her took a chunk off her head and her hair looked like a helmet. And the fact that she is wearing something light and is against a light background makes her torso disappear. Obviously the people working on this particular cover did not take their subject into account at all.

aboutsitebadlayout
I feel a little bad about this one because last semester a speaker from About.com came to my Media Sales class to tell us about how they work. He was so passionate about his work and so proud of the expert information they provide to their audience that I just didn’t have the heart to voice my opinion about their godawful layouts. I’d love to take in the full effect of their information, but with the ads breaking up the article every two sentences, it just make the site look cheap and is distracting from the content itself.

wordpressbadlayout
Yes, even my beloved WordPress is not exempt from being a Bad Layout. I didn’t used to consider this a bad layout until they decided to update everything. I will be able to get used to it eventually, but I feel that in order to create more user-friendliness through the magic of Flash, they lost the concept of simple navigation.

cafepressbadlayout
thaicraftbadlayout
These last two I chose because they just look so generic and not inviting to the average consumer. If you don’t claim a look that is unique to your business, you run the risk of looking like a domain marker that is trying to trick people into buying fake inventory to steal their credit card information. Fool me once, shame on you.

5 Good Layouts:
aboutsitegoodlayout
Just as I dislike the layouts of the articles for About.com, I love love LOVE the layout for the front page. Simple, easy to navigate, and focused on the content.

openculturegoodlayout
Another site that I love is that of Open Culture.
Besides the fact that it’s awesome, the site is very clean and easy to navigate.

crimereportinggoodlayout
This is just a really cool cover (if badly scanned–my fault!). It’s dynamic and bright while still conveying the seriousness of the subject matter.

hammerofwitches
Here’s another really neat book cover. It’s so dark and dangerous looking. I just wish it were for something cooler than a dry translation of legislation that was used against people standing accused of being a witch.

thebeautynerdgoodlayout
One of my favorite blogs to look at, Chronicles of a Beauty Nerd feels like an oasis, cool and comforting. I’m not sure if it’s the content, the design, or both.

I don’t know if I managed to help anyone differentiate between a good or bad layout, or if I just made it more confusing, but this is what I believe can make or break a product/site/etc. You be the judge in whatever you see in daily life.

So, for my first Media Practices: Design photoshoot, I was told to choose any theme I wanted and for this week, I chose to photograph what I saw as I walked to work in the morning. I did this using my Droid 2 cellphone with an app called Vignette. I did this simply because it was in my pocket on my way to work when I had the idea. I also decided to not use any text to describe the shots I took. So, this is what I have, for better or worse.

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I hope you enjoyed our morning stroll.

The assignment this week is to start putting together designs and framing for a website that we are going to create. As I said in my last, rather confused post, I have made websites in the past. Poorly, but still. A for effort? Anyway, the fact is, I have made them before and while I’ve always enjoyed creating them, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never planned one through. Let’s not break that pattern now! No, just kidding, I’ve been giving some thought as to what my website would be if I were to go back into my HTML ways. In the end, I decided that a jewelry business is a vague ambition for the future would be a good way to jump back into site designing. The problem is: I never gave much thought to what a jewelry business would entail. I need supplies to make inventory to sell. This is not as easy as it may sound as silver, gold, beads, findings, and tools all cost quite a bit of money. Money, which thanks to the Company-That-Must-Not-Be-Named’s meager salary, I don’t have. But even so, it’s kind of fun to come up with a place where I may one day showcase my pieces in the hopes to sell them. This business venture I was originally going to call “Myriad Designs.” Why? Because “myriad” is my favorite word and my tastes are many and varied, which is what the word denotes. Unfortunately, that seems to be a bit to on-the-nose, so I had to go back to thinking of something else. The title I ended up with was “Arsenic and Blue Lace” because blue lace agate is one of my favorite stones and because I’ve never met a pun I didn’t like. This is always subject to change as I am indecisive and not much in love with the name. But for now it works!

Anyway, when trying to come up with the color scheme for the site, I came up with three moodboards from the adobe theme site. These are:

calm&cute
I thought this one was sweet and very calming. Very girly. God, what was I thinking when I chose these?

orchid
This one works with the graphic I later made as a header graphic.

paleSuperman
…these are faded Superman colors. ‘Nuff said.

Along with those, I also made my header graphic, which looks something like this:
arsenicbluelace

I actually like the way this turned out. It’s from a photo that I took a few weeks ago of some flowers I saw at Bryant Park:
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Finally, I actually sketched out the vague format of my website. Shocking, I know, but it had to be done! I want a very clean layout with only the navbar at the top w/ the header image, and a couple of picture links in the body. And the rest of the site would be fairly consistent in that I don’t want to clutter my page too much. Here is an image of what, more or less I was going for:
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And this is pretty much how I want A&BL to look like if the site ever gets done. Considering I still have a ton of stuff to do BEFORE I ever get that far, we shall have to see what happens next in that regard. Until then!

Creating websites is not a foreign concept to me. My first one, I think, was when I was 15 years old. It was a geocities site (remember those? Nah, didn’t think so) and it featured random snippets of my writing and lots of pictures of the Backstreet Boys. Don’t judge me, I was a teenager in love. Anyway, I promptly lost interest in the site and it sort of went the way of the dinosaur. Even more so now, considering that Yahoo decided to destroy all of the nostalgia by getting rid of geocities completely. A few years later I started up another one, on a hosting site that I can’t recall. Again, it had more snippets of writing, but no signs of boybands anywhere. Finally, I helped design a website for a class project in college to show off Little Italy in the Bronx. The site never went live, but it was well-received by those who saw it. Since then, I have only put up blogs here and there, writing when I can and letting them drift away when I got bored or busy.

I think, if I were to start up another website, I’d want it to primarily showcase the jewelry that I’ve made, hopefully turning it into a shop where I can sell new pieces. Granted, I haven’t had much time to work on my admittedly novice jewelry making, but when the time comes that is something I would like to do. In terms of perhaps making an app to go with this, if I had the ability to do something like that, I would probably like to create something to help novice jewelers know what supplies they’re getting when they are out shopping. It’s simple to say that a London Blue Topaz is Grade AA and will cost $X.00. But, unless you know what the terminology means, you could end up getting gouged on the price and not even realize it. This can become most handy if you live anywhere that has bead stores or metal supplies. My app, which has no name right now, would be a handy reference guide that can give the user a quick tutorial on how to spot different grades of stone and how much those are worth on the market. I would also include something to give the user an idea on how much copper, silver, gold, etc. is worth to dollars. This can prove useful not only when picking up wholesale supplies, but later on when someone wants to sell their work, they know how much the piece is worth in terms of the stones and metal used.

Perhaps there are already apps like this elsewhere, but if there aren’t, I think this could be of great use to someone who doesn’t know a lot about how jewelry supplies are priced. Maybe this isn’t world-changing stuff, but I would certainly find it useful and perhaps someone else would, too!