Independent Project

DesignBrief

image page #2 Image page #1 image page #3

Padlet: https://padlet.com/garyxu/p6c86yysblsojtfu

 

SWOT Analysis for the three design brief ideas:

1. Original design for Wizards of the Coast cards

Strengths: I think this project is really versatile because Magic cards could be anything and in any style of drawing. I love doing it so this project would also have a lot of motivation for me. I think graphic card design is also one of the most expressive styles of graphic design because the flavor of the card can be changed accordingly, and there are less strict limitations like a logo, where it has to be simple and outlined. This project is also a true problem that I’ve noticed, and want to work towards to make an impact. Another strength is that this project wouldn’t have a strict deadline, therefore I can develop my graphic until the end of the unit.

Weakness: The weakness of this project is that I actually can’t get into the company, so I can’t work towards a realistic goal. I tried to contact the WOTC design team but didn’t get a reply. That means my project would have to work towards a hypothetical client, and I think that takes a lot of purposes off my project.

Opportunities: I think the impact my project would have on the world would be close to 0.

Threats: The potential external factors at risk is that I haven’t made an entire graphic design and export it to Illustrator, and I feel like, with my current skill, it would be really hard for me to edit a complicated design, as it was already challenging altering a simple logo.

2. Graphic design for store

Strengths: I think this is another project where I can use my imagination to its full potential because my aim is to make a design that could attract my target audience of card players. I would probably be successful in this because I understand the characters and scenes in the Magic universe so it would be easier for me to design something related to it. Another strength would be that I will be making my design for myself, and for an actual commercial cause. This means that I am my own client, and I have a thorough understanding of what I need.

Weakness: A weakness of my project would be that it’s very challenging to create something original. Of all the themes and styles of art related to the MTG universe, I would have to carefully make something that differs from previous designs

Opportunities: A interesting graphic design on the front page of a store would make a huge impact. A blank webpage selling cards would seem extremely unprofessional and unattractive, and a good design the audiences, card players, can relate to will draw people into my store, hopefully, increase the sales and views.

Threats: I think a potential threat is copyright problems. I might have to avoid copy-righted images, and I’m not sure if I could directly use characters from the game for commercial purposes, meaning that I might have to develop my own characters that can fit into the theme.

3. Logo design for Electronics Engineering Project

Strengths: This is a project where I have direct ways to communicate both with my client and with my target audience. I feel like this is important because various feedback sessions throughout the project would help me create a final product that fits the client’s requirements, and give me the opportunity to change my banner and logo according to their preferences. Another strength is that I am a part of my target audience as an engineering student, and I already have a good understanding of this electronics project, so I already have a rough idea about what elements to include

Weakness: I think this project has a very restrictive nature, and I wouldn’t have room to decide what things I like to incorporate, so it’s only based on the preference of the audience.

Opportunities: This project probably has the most opportunity for impact, because it’s for a real need and cause. I think that a proper banner would increase the authenticity of the project display and having a logo for the exhibition would make the projects more professional.

Threats: Possible threats of this project would be time constraints. I decided to make two final products, one for the unit planning banner and one for the final logo, meaning that this project would have a heavier workload compared to previous ones, and I’m planning to only do one of the two if time really runs out at the end.

Eliminating project #1

After completing the swot analysis, I decided to eliminate the first project, which was making an original graphic card design for Wizards of the Coast. Firstly, I thought that this project has the least potential to have an impact on the world, because when I don’t have a real client and issue (it could have been, but I couldn’t get in contact with the company). I sent an email to the company explaining who I am and my passion for mtg art but didn’t get a response. This meant that if I chose this project, I would have to work with an imaginary client and imaginary goal. Another reason why I eliminated this project is that it’s also the most challenging out of the three. As shown in image page #1, creating original card art is a very complex process that requires character design as well as landscape design to match the lore of the card, and this time-consuming task seems a bit less ideal compared to a relatively simpler logo and banner designs.

Eliminating project #2

Design brief 2

  • “This looks great as I’ve personally seen people doing store designing”
  • “Really good choice for the position of design and unique idea, but designing for yourself might be challenging.”
  • “I like how detailed your plan is! If this is successful, would you still consider the store to be a temporary idea?”
  • “I like the idea of a card shop since it’s something new at ISB. But you said how posters can have an impact on small businesses, so you might want to consider more on the design of your poster and how it would attract potential customers.”
  • “Very unique idea, but really challenging, not only website but also designing would be hard.”

Design brief 3

  • I think designing this logo and banner is a good idea because it would appeal to the project to other students. I  think it would be easier to communicate if you know Mr. Michie or took his classes.”
  • I think it’s a good idea, but I also think that it somewhat needs to be connected to what people are doing in the class.”
  • “I like the idea, but how would this help the exhibition?”

From the comments, I eliminated the second project, considering its limitations. From the comment, people suggested how it could be challenging designing the store page while also creating graphic designs as decorations, and also challenging if I’m designing for myself, which makes me the target audience. After talking with Ms. Gietz, I eventually decided to do project 3, and have a realistic goal and client with who I could talk, for both requirements and feedback that can lead to a better product. Also, choosing project 2 would mean that I miss the great opportunity to survey and interview my target audience.

Progress and Future plans

Currently, I’ve decided on the project I’m going to work on, project 3, as well as identified the rough requirements with my target audience. I first talked to Mr. Michie about his requirements for the project, and he mentioned how the unit exhibition outline is using a pixelated banner taken from google, and we’re missing a logo for the project, so he hopes that I could make those in order to make the unit more professional and visually appealing. He mentioned using icons in the logo such as a wrench to signify the broader topic of engineering, while also being clear that this current unit is about electric circuits. From the surveys, I realized that most people felt that circuit building was the most significant part of their project, and blue was the color they believed to be most correlated with this unit (probably because Arduino and LEDs are blue). Therefore, from this information collected from clients, my next step is to design a logo that incorporates both concepts of engineering and electronics, then also design a banner that uses blue as its primary color and circuit as its main subject.

Develop and Plan

https://padlet.com/garyxu/p6c86yysblsojtfu

I started to sketch down possible objects and very basic designs that I can incorporate into my logo, and I drew out simple objects such as a wrench for a representative object for engineering, or a 5-volt resistor to represent circuits. This step helped me further develop my ideas such as with the scamper techniques. The second picture shows some techniques I applied to simple objects. The one with arrows is a brainstorming technique of random regeneration learned in the video; I looked at my glasses, I thought of glass, glass was reflective, I thought of the light that reflects, and then I thought of LEDs. The brainstormed word, LED, then helped me sketch a few logo ideas. For the logo ideas, for example, the LED ones again, uses techniques of magnifying and combine. The wrench in the light bulb is obviously unscaled, and I combined two different brainstormed objects to create something that demonstrated both engineering and circuiting.

Here are another nine different logo ideas I came up with using the scamper technique; magnify, combine, eliminate, and rearrange. I combined, resized, and rotated these simple objects to create something more complex. I received feedback on these five designs on sticky notes: Ryan gave me really good feedback on being more concise for the need of the audience, then I have a more focused goal. What I currently have (batteries, LEDs, circuit lines, resistors, etc.) is all over the place. If I could get a specific thing I work towards it will make improving much easier. Michael gave me almost the same feedback, that I should pick a theme and expand on it with more delicacy. David’s feedback was that the first logo I made with circuit lines is a bit too complicated and not focused and that the one in the middle is less detailed (a good thing), but not really representative of electronics.

Besides the logo, idea sketches are the ideas I got from reading the two graphic design books, Upper & Lowercase Ideas and Exploring Graphic Designs. I learned a few very unusual ways to create balance, as well as ways to create balance with text. I sketched a few examples of how to apply these techniques to a design.

This was the client feedback I received from Mr. Michie for the design sketches, and he commented on the features he liked and improvements I could make. One of the most valuable pieces of feedback was that since my target audience is the engineering community, most engineers would prefer to see things that are realistic and recognizable. For example, if I were to incorporate a LED in my design, engineers (at least Mr. Michie) would be drawn to a more detailed and accurate representation of that specific electric circuit piece. He told me to sketch out more clearly the negative and positive terminals, and make sure that every flat part is drawn out, so that when an engineer sees it, he/she will go, “Oh, I recognize that, this designer has some professionalism on this topic.” Another feedback I received was that Mr. Michie thought that an engineering-specific element isn’t that necessary, as long as I could show clearly that this unit is about electronics.

I created more than 50 different design ideas, and the three designs on top are the selected designs based off of peer feedback and client feedback, and they’re both sketched with more detail. Ms. Gietz commented on how I could change the fonts and text a bit to make it fit my content more. For example, the text taking up two rows in the first design is a bit too clunky, maybe some text with different emphasis on letters would be better. I asked Mr.Michie for feedback again on my selected designs. He said that the fonts look a bit rigid and stiff when connected with the hyphen, but the square-y font is pretty good for the topic I’m working on. He also likes the first and third designs as they followed his feedback from last time — I tried to include as much necessary detail as possible. However, he didn’t like the light bulb in the middle because it’s not representative of this current unit.

On the bottom, I sketched out, again, different ideas for the font, some giving focus to specific letters, and some leans towards circuiting. The middle sticky note is a rough sketch of how the font would look like when placed in different positions of the LED design. Finally, the rightmost sticky note is where I tried on a few colors on both the graphic and font, to see their effect on the logo. I have already decided and identified after brainstorm, idea sketching, and selecting favorite designs, that my final logo would have a graphic of an LED sketched with delicate details, use one of the fonts drawn down, and apply blue as the main color scheme as sampled from the survey. This logo would serve to connect strongly with engineers and people who do electric circuiting, as well as bring aesthetic improvements to the current unit outline and exhibition. This is the broad idea of what my final logo will look like (and as briefly discussed in previous paragraphs), and that the specific colors, textures, and format are pretty much decided, and the options would only be on the sticky notes shown above. My logo would first be created using procreate, sketching out the outline and securing the color scheme, then put into illustrator to turn into a vector file, add further adjustments, and add details with a cleaner style. The specific techniques and skills I would use will be seen in the Padlet above.

The most obvious success criteria are to have a product that is appealing and satisfies the target audience, which is the surveyed population and Mr. Michie. This can be done easily by having frequent feedback sessions with my audience and improving upon my design constantly to fit their needs. Another success criteria are that either my banner or logo would have to use the main color scheme of blue because that is believed to be the more correlated to their projects, as shown in the survey. Additionally, according to the survey, the vast majority believed that their project focuses on building the circuit more than soldering and programming, so I would have to put elements from building circuits into my banner or logo. Another success criteria would be that as a vector file exported as the end, the logo should show very clean cuts and lines without messy, rigid, angles, while the final banner exported as a png/jpeg would exhibit professionalism in showing its main subject of zoomed in-circuit lines. My next step would be to select the version of the final design I will be creating from the candidates already passing the first round of selection. I would have to decide the colors, shape, and angle of the LED, as well as the position and style of the texts. I would start my designing process on procreate immediately after these parameters have been identified.

Create & Improve

Logo:

Following my planning and drafts, my logo started out following the shape of a LED, made with two strokes of pen tools, and by adding two additional anchor points on both sides so I could adjust the width and length accordingly to make the sides symmetrical. The bottom is simply made by a straight line tool with the same width so it fits best with the arc. This was actually one of the most challenging parts of designing my logo as a symmetrical arc made with no reference is hard to get right with the pen tool.

 

Then I moved on to making the centerpiece of the LED, and this was done, as shown in the picture, by making a path tangent to another, so that they can fit perfectly. This is a screenshot of me adjusting the paths of the piece on the right. If I were to manually shift these lines, it would be difficult to get them to a perfect fit.

The next step I did was draw out the positive and negative terminals of the led symmetrical to the center of the flare line and applied texture very simply with two touches showing the glass material of the light. From what I learned in one of the design books, I applied asymmetrical balance in here by restoring the unbalance in one side with the unbalance of another. Outside of the LED, the left positive terminal is longer than the right. However, on the inside, the right flare is on top of the left, visually enlarging it, and taking out the imbalance caused by the different lengths of lines.

 

Reflecting on the previous client feedback, I decided to extend a side of the LED base so that it is more realistic compared to an engineering LED, with the flat face being the negative terminal and the round face being positive. After this change, I feel like the asymmetricity actually made the picture a bit more balanced, caused by the other imbalance in the center of the LED, and I was really happy with the result. The text I added was Trebuchet MS because according to Mr. Michie’s previous feedback, he thinks the simpler and straight the characters are, the cleaner and ‘engineering-like the logo will seem. The logo design still seemed a bit empty to me at this point, and I made several different versions to get feedback from Mr. Michie.

These are the eight different designs I made to show Mr. Michie. He liked the third the most because it seems to be the more balanced, clean, while still had a detailed design. The first and last design, he commented, is “a bit too busy with the details, and is taking attention off the important centerpiece and text”. He also said he really liked my idea of asymmetrical balance with one edge of the LED coming out, and that was one of the design choices I made according to his feedback. He thinks that the first text is the type he likes because it’s pretty simple and fits with the simplicity of the logo. The fourth text, for example, is a bit too stretched out. The fifth text (the weird font), seems forced into its rigidity, and the fifth text is just a bit too thin and hard to see. I then created three designs (like my plan said), with different colors on my logo. I thought that bright colors would be very unfitting with the professional engineering theme so I chose to use shades of black and gray. I showed some of these trials to Mr. Michie, and he told me how much he liked the original one compared to those. After that, I stopped trying out different colors and decided on a final logo together with Mr. Michie.

This is my final logo design; Mr. Michie and I were both pretty happy with it. It doesn’t have a huge amount of blank space like some previous designs, and also doesn’t look too busy. The different length of lines contributes both to the realism of the LED and also to the asymmetrical balance of the entire logo. I think not adding color was also a good choice. My final logo fits the success criteria of representing the majority of the engineering class with a circuit component, and also fitting to most of the feedback I received from Mr. Michie. At the same time, I’m really thankful to Mr. Michie for being my client, because he’s always available to talk to me in every single class, and he carefully gives feedback. The one above all, I realized that my client, the engineering classes, have a clear idea of what they want, demonstrate in their clear divide in the surveys. Mr. Michie also knows very clearly what he wants out of my logo and banner, so every time he’s able to provide me very constructive and easy-to-work-with feedback.

Banner:

This was the beginning of my sketch for the banner, where I started to stack a bit of detail on the current white background. I decided to use the main colors of light blue and red as two juxtaposing colors showing the technological feel of this banner. I chose green-blue as a supporting color as it lies between my two main colors and stands out from my background color (dark blue). Ms. Gietz gave me feedback to use a more monotonous color scheme and use blue and green instead of adding red because it makes the banner look a bit too busy. However, since blue and red were both the more popular choices in colors in the survey, I think it is important that I use the information I collected from my clients previously (while I also had some plans for the red color I used).

From this point, I started to add layers. A layer for the middle block of the chip, a layer for all the orange dots, a layer for the three blue rectangular boxes, and a layer for the circuit lines. This really helped me organize my work, and was essential for me during the final step for the banner. My plan at this point was to complete half of the circuit lines and circuit components, merge all the layers except for the center block, and paste it onto the other half of this banner.

After adding a few more layers for color blocks and different colored lines, I got to this point where I was ready to start the final step. It took me more than six hours to get to this stage, and the lines and details of circuit components had many tiny details and the parallel and organized circuit lines took a lot of effort to get right.

 

(Screenshot of the details, different colored lines are separate segments drawn by hand)

image of final banner

This is a pdf view of the final banner, where I copied the merged layers on the bottom half to the top, applied motion blur to the dots, and perspective blur to the entire image.

banner

logo

Attached are the two illustrator files for both the banner and the logo, both have been able to be converted into vector files; even the banner appears very high resolution when zoomed in on a large scale. As a mock-up, I placed the logo onto the banner, and this is the effect:

Just to clarify, this logo and banner are two separate designs as my client, Mr. Michie requires two for two different areas, this picture of the two designs combined is just an example showing how the center of the banner can be utilized to customize.

logo and banner presentation

This presentation shows the logo and banner applied in a real-life scenario and talks about the main design choices and success I had with these two products. Both of my products, based on client feedback, have successfully addressed their needs, and also fit very closely with the subject of circuiting in the electronics unit of the Engineering class. The banner utilizes mainly the color blue, as chosen to be the most fitting color in the survey of my clients, and has the main subject of the circuit board, filling the success criteria. I think I managed to keep the logo clean, but also successfully displaying professionalism in the engineering field by making sure that the details of the LED are present and correct, but just in a more simple way. By putting the banner on a mockup (DX webpage as shown in the presentation), I think made the website a lot more aesthetic compared to the previous design. Both the logo and the banner, after being turned into a PDF and illustrator file, are of great quality and can be printed in any size, so the client can customize both according to Mr. Michie’s needs.

I think a limitation of the banner is that my design is a bit too limited. I had this center object, the chip, taking up the majority of the place. The main subject is supposed to be this way, but I haven’t considered what shape of images my client wanted to use. For example, if they wanted a rectangle strip, then my main subject, this big square chip in the center, wouldn’t be able to make the full picture (I never adjusted the size of the banner, I just used to normal A4 paper). Therefore, if I had a chance to do this again, I will make my subject much smaller so it can adapt to any shape without losing focus on the important area. The limitation of my logo copy would also be its shape. I think a rectangular logo makes it very limited to use compared to something round and square-shaped. Maybe changing it into something more compact, would make it seem less blank and more eye-catching. Currently, this logo design could only probably be used on rectangular-shaped products and maybe good for a banner. But when printed, for example, as a sticker, its long rectangular nature makes it look more like an image than a simple logo. From this, I learned that shape of the entire product is no less important than its design. I should always start with finding the shape, making sure it is ok with my client, and then proceed on designing.

Overall, I think I’m successful in this project. Firstly, because as mentioned before, my products met all my success criteria and considered most of the feedback provided by Mr. Michie. I changed the idea from the very basic sketches to the product multiple times and got more than five rounds of feedback from my client, and I think it was the correct decision. Additionally, after I was completed with the banner and logo, Mr. Michie enthusiastically asked me to send them to him, and he said he loved both of them. And finally, I’m happy with how the two products turn out, which I managed to complete on the last day. Throughout the project, I enjoyed the feedback sessions with Mr. Michie. It allowed me to take a break from my work session in the design classroom, and have a chat about what I’ve just done. It always brings me new ideas and lays out a way that I can work towards. Making different variations of my logo on illustrator was also pretty enjoyable since it wasn’t a lot of work, and I got to copy-paste the previous ones one by one, make changes on each to create something different than the previous design. What I found difficult was the banner design, because it had way too many details. I spent hours of it working in class, and even when I’m doing that, I had to spend a lot of time on it at home. Even though it made the final product look better to some extent, I don’t think it’s worth that much of an effort because such small details aren’t that visible on such a huge banner anyways. If I had the opportunity to do this project next time, I would spend time evenly on the two products instead of focusing mainly on the banner, and also create more mock up templates to better demonstrate the effect of the two products.

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