Renaissance App Design

Currently in one of my design classes I have created an app to help people navigate through the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. I am in the process of re-branding the festival and will more than likely be posting the fully flushed out brand design in the next month. On the down side the re-brand is for class and portfolio purposes for now, but maybe after refinement the design could be something more. I was not planning of designing an app for the festival, but then I thought about how helpful one could be. The screens below hopefully can speak for themselves because that is the sign of well developed UX/UI design.

Welcome Screen

app 1

In many applications on the market the home or welcome screen is seen as a cover page or a log in page. The information involved would be what the app is for, the color palette, and visual elements to let the viewer know they have downloaded the correct app. I have been debating about creating a logo for the festival, but the font I chose to replace their current font creates a nice balance for the app. I wanted to keep this screen simple because the viewer will see it for probably all of 5 to 7 seconds while the app loads up.

The Events Schedule

app 2

The events are not yet listed, but the idea is to be able to scroll through all the events at the festival and select the ones you would like to attend. At the top of the page the user is able to select the certain day they will be attending the festival to see the specific events for that day. Each listing will have the name of the event, the time it is held, and where it can be found on the fair grounds. To the right of each event, the plus sign allows you to add events that you would like quick access to in a different page on the app. Then on the bottom of the page, the user is able to toggle between all of the events and the events that interest them.

Purchasing Tickets

app 4

This page of the app is for all the people who are on the go and do not have time to sit down at a computer and order their tickets. This page starts with the same form of day selection at the top like the previous page has. Then after selecting a day, drop down menus are presented to condense what the user is shopping for and help them make a clear decision on the ticket they want. Once a ticket is selected, all that is left is to pick a quantity of tickets then check out. After the payment process the user will be emailed their ticket to print at home or get scanned on the phone at the gate.

Places to Eat

app 3

In this portion of the app allows the user to view all the food options the festival has to offer. Every item on the list will show the name one the food stop and the general area where it can be found. If the general area is not going to work for the user then there is an option to view the location on the map also found in this app. Then if the viewer is curious, they can check out the menu before walking all the way to the food location and find out they do or do not actually like the kind of food served.

Festival Map

app 5

Lastly, there is also a map to help users in a multitude of ways during this festival. To name a few, the top slider allows you to select and deselect icons depending on what you are trying to view. The icons I have currently are shops, water, taverns, medical tents, and food. Then once icons are selected the user can touch specific arrows on the map to give them more information on what is actually in that spot. Another way the map helps out is by allowing you to view your location so that you always know what you are around and do not become lost in the overwhelming fun of the festival.

Like I said previous, this app is not finalized but hopefully you are able to get a strong understanding of how this app can be used throughout the park. Also, because this app is still under construction, please let me know if there is any area that can be improved. whether the suggestion is for hierarchy or rearranging an item on a page, nothing is to small of a change when it comes to user experience.

“It is far better to adapt the technology to the user than to force the user to adapt to the technology” – Larry Marine

Designing a Book

There are many paths today that will lead consumers to the purchase of a new book. One path would be to drive to a library, but if time is limited, online has even more of a variety to select from. Now whether the selection is for an educational book or classic non-fiction novel, there is always one factor that weighs in on the final purchase decision. This factor is appearance. Sure, the purchase can be based on a recommendation from a friend, or based on the next book in a series. When looking back to the beginning, the friend selected the book because of ratings and appearance. The consumer purchased the first book of the series for these same reasons. During this post I will share my adventure of designing a book to hopefully be the next off the shelf.

To start there is always the research phase. No matter how well someone believes they know everything about a topic, there is still knowledge to be gained. The task was to design a book about an exhibition in a museum. The route my design took involved fairy tales, but not just any bundle of fairy tales. I designed based off of the Grimm brothers fairy tales. Below are some quick thumbnail designs to get the feel of what I really wanted to accomplish with my book. There are ten sets, and each set has a chapter spread, a text heavy spread, a image only spread, and then a spread with a combination of images.

The idea was to create a book that contained three chapters and different artists per chapter illustrating variations of the Grimm tales. Each chapter of the book would also contain a story from the brothers telling the reader what truly happened before the stories were written to have happy endings. Below are some of the rough sketches I decided upon with the help of my fellow designers. The first spread is the beginning of a chapter while the second is how I envision to layout multiple images.

While designing this book I wanted to create a whimsical fairy tale feel that also has a dark twisted side just like the stories. To accomplish this I incorporated a majority of hand drawn elements. Each chapter of the book has black scribbles around the number, and parts of that same scribble can be found throughout the book on all the caption info regarding the images. Then when a fitting font could not be discovered I took it upon myself to create my own. I used this handwriting as the headers for each artist, story, and chapter.

During the process of creating thumbnail and rough sketches a grid had to be developed. Grids in book spreads are just as important, if not more important in my opinion, than grids found in web design. Grids help keep images, text blocks, headers, and any other item found in a book organized and clean for easy viewing and understanding. Below are samples of how I placed my grid lines.

After designing the layouts, placing the content in designated areas, and the endless arrangements of type, the layouts are complete and ready for print!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now back to the beginning of this post when I mentioned appearance sells books. The last step in designing this book would be to create a book cover that gives a feeling of how the book is to be represented. For example, this book is about dark fairy tales therefore it would not be appropriate to design a cover with bright colors and joyful imagery. I decided to take more of an abstract approach to the cover while still keeping the idea of a lot of the book being hand rendered.

I wanted the cover to be mysterious and creepy. The color palette is different shades of red bleeding to black through the use of cut paper. Once again I challenged myself because using a small blade did not make this task an easy one. Then I wanted the paper to have an old weathered rough feel sort of like handmade paper. Also, to add to the feel of the book the paper I selected was also a slight tan instead of bright white. The final touch I added after tearing the edges of my pages, was a small red ribbon to act as a book mark.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Designing a book takes dedication, as most things in design, but I would not turn down the offer to do this all again. Til this day, the layout and overall design of this book is one of my favorite projects I have created.

“Design is about enabling ideas, processes and products: making them approachable, usable, desirable and memorable.” – Jay Dutta

My First Web Design

Picture this a world of flip phones and CD’s for music. The only way to access the internet was through a desktop computer at home or school. This world only existed about eight years ago. Now think about the time you got the first IPhone or Android, and then proceeded to download your first app. We as a society are growing not by the year anymore but by the day. Everyday something new is created, whether that be technology, websites, or even apps. Which brings me to the ever changing world of web design. In the design program they give us two courses in interactive design. During these courses we learn how to properly layout a website using a grid, resize images to fit proportionally in the site, make a website responsive and code using html and css. The rise of website becoming responsive only really come about two or three years ago. The world is moving fast, therefore, designers must always be on their toes learning the next big thing.

It is wonderful to see how all my previous design classes come together to make a remarkable web design. Typography was to help us realize how to properly pick and pair type with the mood of a site and logo. Art direction put our brains in motion to really market our brand and collect imagery to work cohesively. Branding reached every touch point from color palette to brand extensions beyond the website. Every extension of design filters easily into creating a web design. The web design I will be talking about today is not breathtaking, but everyone has to start somewhere.

If you have read my previous post about the design process then this might begin to look slightly familiar to you. Everything in design comes with a process, and this is the rough process of how I created a site for the company Wooden Republic. Sadly, I do not have documentation of the research for this project, but that does not change the fact that research is always vital to creation. I do, however, have some sketches of the route I decided to take for this website.

Sketching

thumb sketches

This is almost like visual brainstorming. I chose three main pages I wanted to focus on and tried to get the pages to have a theme connecting them together. This can also be considered the website’s branding, but at the time I did not know this just yet. Once I was able to get a feel of unity throughout the pages that best represented the company, I got feedback from my fellow designers. Then, after a few tweaks, I began the next step which I have placed into a video for you to make it easier to understand.

Prototyping

After prototyping, the next step is wireframing! During this step a grid is created using math allowing you to put in filler text and imagery in a format that does not leave your website looking unorganized. On a phone the grid may have about 8 columns compared to a desktop which could have 15. The grid system helps with more than just organization. Grids help with percentages while coding and placement when making a site responsive. Below are a few of my wireframes.

Wireframes

When the wireframes are all flushed out, the following step is replacing all place holder text and imagery with the actual content you will end up using. Then, you will want to make sure you are inserting the correct color palette and typeface because normally your site will not change much after this step.

Branding

the reason why I changed my site layout and color palette was because of the feedback I received from my fellow designers. I know I am not perfect, therefore, I am always questioning others how the view my design and how I can improve. After the final branding took place we began to code our websites. To code I enjoy using Brackets, not only because its free but because the program has so much to offer while coding.

Final Product

I hope to post some of my more recent web designs soon, because I have come a long way since I created this site in March 2016. Also if you have any advice, or would like to see how I did something please feel free to ask!

“In the design process my gut instinct is my best critic. I just wish I would always listen to it!” – Bryan Tamayo

A Little Collaboration

16789923_1213315782098534_8747439628383944704_n(1)

Every year there is a competition in the spring, and sometimes fall, called the Hackathon. This competition is for students who are majoring in design, and students on the track to become developers. In all my time here at Texas State there have been three of these Hackathons, but until now I never had the skill set to sign up and design something that would be strong enough to implement. The purpose of the Hackathon is to bring together designers and developers to walk a few days and each other shoes. Each team is given a problem to solve. This year the problem was creating smart cities. This is a link to possibly help with understanding the potential of a smart city. Personally, I was unaware of this term until this competition. In order to create a smart city, you must first identify some of the problems the target city has. For example, some of the key points we were given about the city of Austin involved transportation, low can come housing, and parking.

The goal is to have both career paths collaborate on one of these problems and create a website and/or application to help make the Austin area a smarter city. The designers were to take the problem and with their skill set design a simple experience for the user. Then, once the design was finished it was up to the developers to code the program and integrate data where needed to create a functioning app or website. Now this seems like an achievable goal, correct, well what I have yet to mention is the competition is held over two days with each day ending at 7 p.m. With that note, I will now let you know about the crazy experience that was this year’s Hackathon.

IMG_7506
Team: Green Eggs & RAM. From the left: Diego, Sarah, Kevin, me, and Paula

Day One

On the first day, we were gathered into the art building’s lecture hall and met with our teams, judges and representatives from Austin. My team consisted of three developers named Kevin, Sarah. and Diego, and one designer named Paula. Ideally each team should have three developers and three designers, but one of our team mates were not able to join us for reasons I do not know. Regardless, I had faith in my team and knew we would still create an amazing final product. As for the judges, I was truly speechless. I figured professors would be judging the competition but instead representatives from design firms and Texas State alumni, who are in the field of UX/ UI design, were to be our judges. This selection of judges made me even more motivated because they were the real deal and could give actual world experience advice. Then finally the representatives from Austin were city planners who knew the true issues Austin is currently faced with, and proceeded to present to us our task at hand and current efforts in place.

Once the presentation was over my group and I went into a classroom, opened our computers and began brainstorming concepts. Our first concept was to find a way to get people to start using public transportation or a bike instead of their cars, because the fewer cars that are on the road produce less pollution and less traffic. The second concept we produced was to create an app that kept track of how many people were getting on and off buses. This would let people become better prepared when leaving their homes. The data collected from the app would then also help city planners know which routes need more buses, and the peak hours of transport. My team members came up with a handful more of ideas, but after some long hours of discussion back and forth we settled on the bus app concept.

application
This is the logo and application that we designed for users to track the buses that are full.

applications

Day Two

When we begin day two, we got off to a slow start but at least we knew which direction we were finally headed. First, we did a lot more research on the bus city routes, the current maps in use, all the data that the buses were currently collecting and started to formulate a solution. Then, before we knew it, lunch hour had passed and my fellow designer and I begin working on a logo and an app design. Time began to fly by and when it became 3 o’clock we had to start formulating a presentation.  When 4:30 came around we gathered all our files and headed down to the same lecture hall as the morning of day one. Group by group everyone started presenting to the panel of judges. Most groups decided to create apps for low income families finding homes, while other groups decided to create an app to help people find parking. I thought we were doing well because nobody had the idea of improving the bus system. Finally, when all the presentations were done and judges had given each team feedback it was about 7:30. The panel of judges left the room to talk among themselves and figure out which team would get one of the three awards. The awards were most innovative, best and show, and best design.

My team did not win any awards, but that is alright because this experience was enough for me. I learned an enormous amount from my new computer science friends and would not trade that knowledge for anything. Not only was it satisfying to hear other perspectives besides the perspective of a designer, it was also pleasing too teach the developers the value of design. This whole competition was not an extreme eye opener but it helped me see a different side of things and I am thankful for that experience.

“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution isn’t beautiful, I know it it wrong” – Richard Buckminster Fuller

Box it up, send it out!

One of my favorite areas of design is packaging. Every time someone asked me what I wanted to do with a graphic design degree I would tell them I wanted to make packaging. When I had this thought in my mind I was only thinking about making intricately designed packaging with handmade decorative elements and type that would take your socks off. People were not sure what to think about when I said I wanted to design packaging, though. I would then show them the nearest form of packaging I could find which was normally a box out of there pantry or something from the internet I could pull up. I would explain why each element on the package was important and sometimes inform them of how I would go about re-designing it.

//storify.com/cpwdesign/jones-knowles-ritchie-designs/embed?header=false&border=false[<a href=”//storify.com/cpwdesign/jones-knowles-ritchie-designs” target=”_blank”>View the story “Jones Knowles Ritchie Designs” on Storify</a>]

As I got more into package design, I stumbled upon a few companies who designed for some of the everyday products we possibly purchase. Well not everyday but in a roundabout way. One of the design firms I enjoy is Jones Knowles Ritchie. They are based out of New York so sadly I will never be able to even get a simple internship with them. Some of the companies in their portfolio are Domino’s Pizza, Budweiser, and Wheaties. Above is a Storify of a few of JKR’s instagram posts.

What first got me into package design was a project assignment I received in one of my entry level design classes. The purpose was to design a packaging for a tea brand that we would create ourselves. Of course, to begin the journey we started or research and word listing to see all the possibilities we had to pick from. Now, keep in mind this was entry level so it’s not my best work but the concept still holds true. I ended up creating a tea called Lights Out. The purpose of my company was to help people fall asleep at night after a long day. I created a logo out of a cup pouring tea in the shape of a moon with stars coming off as steam. The flavors were based off of chamomile tea, and the three extensions I came up with where honey, lemon and vanilla. While making the packaging for this tea brand I thought of possibilities for the packaging to have a second use. I came across the idea to turn the used package into a night light for the user. To accomplish this I cut out stars from the outer layer of the packaging. Eventually, I would like to change the shape of the package I ended up with but for now it does the job.

I am currently in a class specifically for package design. Through this class I have now come to understand what it means to be a package designer in today’s world. Looking back on the project I created for my tea brand, I’m glad I created a double use for the package. With as much trash as we accumulate on a daily basis, we cannot afford to have designers keep creating non recyclable single use products. It is simple to take the easy way when trying to create user friendly products, but the effort is required if we want to live a healthier life. In my mind at this point, it is easy for a designer to create the beautiful packaging I originally wanted to design. It truly takes a set of skills to design something that will be recyclable or have a better use than taking up space in a landfill.

The Color Prism

Painters are not the only ones who have mastered the art of a cohesive color palette. Designers have learned how to take it to another level and use their palette on multiple platforms. There can be color palettes associated with the branding of a logo, product or company websites, product packaging, and so on and so forth. Color can change someones perspective on a topic in a blink of an eye.

Colors and their purpose

Here are some of the most basic colors and when to use them in a color palette.
watercolor
This image was snagged from a Pinterest board of mine. I enjoy using watercolors when representing color because they show multiple values of the color in a unique way.

Orange:

Positives of using orange show courage, confidence, friendliness, success. Negatives would be representing ignorance and sluggishness.

Red:

Positives of using red are to represent love, passion, energy, power, strength, and heat. Negatives would be showing anger, danger, and warning.

Yellow:

Positives of using yellow are to present bright, sunny, warm, energetic, happy, perky, joy, and intellect. Negatives would be representing irresponsible and unstable.

Purple:

Positives of using purple is to display royalty, nobility, spirituality, luxury, ambition, and wealth. Negatives would be representing mystery and moodiness.

Green:

Positives of using green are freshness, environment, new, money, healing, and earth elements. Negatives would appear as envy, jealousy, and guild.

Blue:

Positives of using blue are to show security, tranquility, peace, integrity, loyalty, intelligence, and truth. Negatives would be seen as cold-hearted, fear, and masculinity.

Black:

Positives of using black display protection, elegance, formal, classy, and dramatic. Negatives are mystery, evil, and death.

White:

Positives of using white appear as innocence, goodness, purity, fresh, clean, and simple. Negatives would be isolation and emptiness.

Sometimes the negatives can be represented as a positive attributes, but the angle the color takes all relies on the type of product or service it is designed for.

Wait there’s more!

Color palettes can be hard to put together at first, but thankfully there are a multitude of technologies to help out. I personally find new apps and widgets almost every day. Some of my favorite color generators would have to be Adobe capture, Palette, and Pantonera. Adobe capture can be downloaded for you’re app store if you have the adobe creative suite. Capture allows you to take pictures or look around the surrounding area and the app will generate a five hue color palette for you to save for later. Another Adobe feature that creates color palettes is Adobe Kuler. I am not sure if you can save a palette without an Adobe account but the source is definitely able to generate some palettes for you to use. Next, Palette is a chrome bar extension that generates a color palette for you by the use of a slider bar. Finally, Pantonera is also an app in the app store that shows you all the possibilities there are with pantone colors. Currently for a web design I am using a palette with multiples of one color to create a monochromatic layout. I felt the color I chose was too overpowering, therefore, I added a splash of another color. The two colors I chose were purple and yellow. I chose these colors because I wanted the feeling from the site to be ambitious and energetic.

Which leads me to the topic of pantone colors. Since I am using the palette for web, I can stick to using the hex decimal code that corresponds to my color choices. Let’s say I was using this palette for printing purposes. For example, the company will be in need of some stationery pretty soon. If I want all the colors to come out the way I have planned I will need to change the colors to pantones. Using pantones insures that no matter which type of printer the document gets sent off to, the color will remain the same. If a pantone is not used there is a possibility that the color once printed could have more of one value than another. Just to be on the safe side it never hurts to pick out some pantones just in case you need them later.

“Colour does not add a pleasant quality to design – it reinforces it.” – Pierre Bonnard

What’s Trending??

In every area of life there are trends. Some trends you may take part in, while other subjects you may not even notice are taking place. For example, in the past year new fashion and home decor trends have sprung up, and everyone and their dog got involved.What you may not have seen were the design trends happening all around you. Though some were subtle, they created some of the biggest impacts. In this post I will cover a handful of new design trends to be on the lookout for in the upcoming months.

New Type

The first trend of this year is bold typography! Like I said, whether if you noticed or not ( which I’m sure you have if you use the internet) bold is the new way to use text in design. Bold is loud and demands your attention. I see this trend the most in the headers of websites. A nice clean design is represented by something that creates visual interest for the viewer but does not overwhelm them. A style I’m drawn to is when the logo is front and center with a possible call to action, if the topic requires one, and satisfying imagery behind it all. Using a bold typeface gives you the excuse to insert breath taking photography. Another style I find simply gorgeous is when photography becomes effortlessly merged with the bold type.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That’s Handy

Another trend is one of my favorites by far. Honestly I have enjoyed this style of design before it was even a trend. Quite hipster, I’m aware, but I could not be more serious because it is the sole reason I appreciate design.This next trend is integrating hand rendered icons, text, and graphics. We’ve all seen the uprising of the brush pen script lettering. Some of the styles of lettering can be found in certain locations of the internet. If you have the Adobe Creative Suite, you get Typekit which has some nice hand drawn fonts. Another route would be using Google Fonts. Google has a bountiful amount of crafty fonts and these are all for free without subscription. Then the alternate way to have hand rendered type is to create it for yourself. The brush lettering is one of the billions of ways to create your own type. The pens I like to use to create lettering and icons are micron pens. I will say these pens do not last long but they do come in a variety of tip sizes. The brush pens I have had the most success with are Tombow brand, and the pigment of these brush pens are so pure. Overall the main reason I have such a deep passion for hand crafted design is, because unless the illustration is put into a computer application it will never be perfectly replicated. That is what makes this style so unique and my favorite.

Quite Simple

Finally the last trend I will be covering is the increase in minimalism in design works. When looking at a re-brand of a long standing company, you will see everything has become simplified. I would like to say this style could be traced back to how Apple designs their app icons. A good majority of people prefer the icons this way, because they are flat simple colors and shapes that get the point across. When you are looking at your phone, you’ll have to figure out which icon will take you to the messages. Until you associate the shape and color of the icon to the location the button is trying to take you, the navigation can become quite difficult when on the go. My point of view about the simplicity is that our minds get bombarded with so many brands, information, and marketing these days it is overwhelming. Comparing the MGM logo with the Amazon logo, it is easy to see which logo you will remember two days from now minus the previous developed attachments. Having a minimalist design also becomes easier to describe. For example, if you were describing a design to a friend that has never come into contact with the brand before, color and shape is all you have to rely on. We are smart enough to not need the assistance of detail. While these logos may look easier to design, more in depth research is required to capture the essence of a company’s brand in one simple form.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The sudden hunch, the creative leap of mind that “sees” in a flash how to solve a problem in a simple way, is something quite different from general intelligence.” – Martin Gardner

/tīˈpägrəfē/

“Noun:
the art or procedure of arranging type or processing data and printing from it.”

Why it matters??

Typography is like a secret weapon to a design. Certain fonts could make or break a logo, especially if said logo is a word or letter form. Then, you have to be able to pair a complimentary typeface for further branding. It is one thing to be able to tell the difference between a serif and a sans serif , but to be able to know the difference between ten or so sans serif fonts is another story. Great typography will speak  volumes for a logo and its brand. There is so much personality and differentiation between each typeface. Typefaces have the ability to trigger a range of emotions varying from person to person. For example, Comic Sans is used if you want someone to think a kindergartner designed for them. Meanwhile, Didot is used for a clean sophisticated modern feel for a design. Sans serif is normally used to add a more modern feel to a brand, while a serif adds a bit of class and refinement. There are also other options for type like hand rendered fonts, decorative fonts and script fonts. Normally the more decorative a typeface becomes, the more likely it will be used for a header or headline in a brand. My rule of thumb is if the typeface cannot be read printed out at 10 pts, then it should not be used for body copy. Also a body copy, believe it or not, can be read at a minimum of 6 pts, but should not exceed 12 pts.

Terminology

typography infographic
This infographic was created by Janie Kliever

Alright so maybe you can walk the walk with typography, but talking about type will bring another level of understanding. Let’s say you are talking with a client and you tell them you chose a particular font because it was pretty and the thingamajigs really complimented the whatchamacallits. They will possibly glare at you with a “who did I just hire” look, or they just may not value your opinion anymore on the subject matter. With that said here are just a few other terms, in addition to the ones pictured above, used when talking about typography. The terms will help give you support to back your selections, and to bring attention to the subtleties of each typeface.

Kerning – adding or subtracting the horizontal space between two letters.

Tracking – adding or subtracting space among a block of text or group of characters.

Leading – adding or subtracting vertical space between two or more lines of text.

X-height – the height of the lowercase letters excluding the ascender of the letter.

A more extensive list can be found here!

My collection of letters

My bundle of letters

You may or may not have noticed in my previous post, but in my logo the typeface is altered from a normal sans serif typeface. I took sections of the letters out and tilted a few of the arms. I found this to not only be complimentary to my logo, but also inspiring to potentially have my own unique font. Therefore, I am currently in the process of transforming all the letters and characters in order to possibly be able to create headers later down the road.

There is much more to learn about typography than the content of this blog. I have only scratched the surface. For example, you will later find that every typeface has its own set of rules in order for the letters, glyphs and numbers to become cohesive. Below are a few links I have found helpful so far in my education on typography.

These first two sites are used to help figure out typefaces.
https://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/

http://www.identifont.com

This site helps determine which fonts are used on the web.
http://www.fontreach.com

“Geometry can produce legible letters, but art alone makes them beautiful. Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character transcending mere measurement.” – Paul Standard

The Creative Process

Everything begins with a process. When you wake up in the morning it is a process and I’m not just talking about getting out of bed. By now hopefully getting ready is routine, but the things you do in order to leave the house are still following a process. The same idea goes for design. In order to really get an unique outcome for yourself or your client, it is a good idea to follow and immerse yourself in a creative process no matter how it varies from the process I will mention in this post. The average steps are research, then sketches, brainstorming, development, comping, typography, revision, color, and finally feedback. Currently I have not made many logos, so I will take you through the process of my most recent logo. This logo was made at the end of last semester, fall 2016, and is my personal logo.

Step One: Research

To me this is the most valuable step of all. If you do not fully understand every aspect of your product or topic after this step then you did not do your job. The research phase will vary from person to person because everyone thinks differently. On average I normally spend about 7 or 8 hours when it is all said and done. To start out, get a sheet of paper and begin making a word list of every noun, adjective, and verb that comes too mind regarding the topic. Pictured above are some word lists I made trying to figure out who I was as a person and what I enjoyed. Then, when the word list is complete go to google and research images and related topics. Next, let’s say the topic is a restaurant. Go to the website and begin creating a sort of design brief for yourself. Look for who they are, what they do, why they do it, how long have they done it, what is their company goal or motto, and what are the key attributes of the company. The questions are endless honestly, but it all depends on how deep you are willing to dig to find that one unique element that makes the topic stand out among the rest.

Step Two: Development

This is where the fun begins. Sketches! Step two in the process is an absolute brain dump. The goal here is to not stop until your hand falls off. No, I’m just kidding, but you do want to draw until you feel confident enough in what has been produced. Do not limit yourself to the amount of ideas you come up with, because you are only selling yourself short. Though, to prevent creative block I sometimes set up blocks of time in between brainstorming and sketching dedicated to going outside or talking to a friend just to keep my thoughts flowing. In the above images, I started out in my sketchbook then went to random pieces of paper over a period of time.

Step Three: Clarify

During this stage you should begin to organize and refine all the sketches that have been made. I like to think of this as an in between step, because you get to throw out all the random ideas that do not fit your concept before transferring the strongest ones to the computer. One tip that I have learned is to draw these in marker or a fine tipped sharpie for two reasons. The first reason is so that you can’t change your ideas, and second is so that you get multiple variations if you mess up. Another thing to begin looking into is pairing fonts with some of your sketches.

roughs-for-logo-1

Step Four: Comping

This step, also known as the rough stage, is when you gather all your most conceptual thumbnail sketches and convert them into pixels. Unless you just want to jump right in and begin drawing what you think the logo would roughly look like, I suggest scanning in your drawings. Once the images are scanned it becomes much easier to keep proportions and not leave anything out. Now you can really get going with how you wanted each image to actually be visualized and know what is working versus what isn’t. During these stages don’t be afraid to ask your friends the imagery or emotions they envision when certain comps are shown to them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Step Five: Revision

At this point, you have probably gone through some emotions of your own during this process, whether they are frustration or relief. Finally reaching this step not only means you are almost done, it also means you’ve completed all the hard work. All there is left to do is find the right color palette, select some typography, and adjust accordingly. This step is actually a lot more easily said than done. Your color selection should go all the way back to your research. For example, the color palette I have chosen is a combination of 3 pastel colors found in the stone opal, which is also my birthstone. Then selecting typography is always quite the adventure. I kid you not, I probably went through about 15 different typefaces and about half of them “looked the same”. The thing with type is that it truly needs to mimic the feel of your logo. Take your time so the outcome is not something you just settled on.

antlers-final-image-for-show

Step Six: Final Outcome

Alright this is the time for a little happy dance. All the hours of research, sketching, vectoring, and typesetting have finally paid off. So why have a creative process? Showing your process gives you more confidence with your design when presenting to a client. The process also allows you to clearly imagine what you are trying to accomplish with less creative block along the way. Then finally, a process shows other people how you reached that amazing product you are proud to claim as yours. This link is from HOW design, and it gives you a quick read about how they see the creative process. The above image is my final logo I just recently tweaked over the winter break. If you would like to know more about my logo or about the process I used to create it, write me a comment and I’ll give you all the beautiful details!

 

“Graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies, and humors.” -George Santayana

Welcome to my design blog!

Let’s get started!

Hello, my name is Courtney Whitehouse. I am a communication designer at the beautiful campus of Texas State. What is communication design you ask? Well I’ll let you in on a little secret, design is the bread and butter to the society we live in. Terrible metaphor, I know, but when explaining design to anyone who is not a colleague I usually pick up anything around me. Design encompasses topics like typography, color palette, branding, packaging, code, logos, web pages and book covers just to name a few. I am beyond excited to finally be out in the world this time next year immersing myself with everything design. Though, I am sad to admit that this will be my first digital blog ever created. I normally keep a journal with me to write down my day to day projects and adventures, but not everyone can experience my journey through a book in my backpack. Also, I am glad to finally set aside time to show people my process and not just the final outcome.

First,  let me start by telling you a little bit about what my blog will entail. I am at the stage in my major to where I no longer consider myself a design student, but rather an actual designer. Like a said earlier, though, I don’t have any online documentation of my process and all the hard work I have put into each design I have created over these past few years. I plan to use this space to share my daily interesting fun facts about design, because design is always changing and everyday is full of new tips and trends. I will  possibly put this as a fun fact section. I also plan to include a handful of my past works as references and all the future works I have yet to create. Then finally, I will post about my creative process, designers who influence me and links to short articles/videos. I truly hope this blog helps you begin to enjoy design the way I do!

“Design is a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy.” -Erik Adigard