Independent Project


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



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

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


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.


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.



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.

Bookmark Design: Balance and Line

The is the bookmark I made for line, and as you can see, it’s made with a specific type of line, broken lines as linear marks. Linear marks are one of the most common types of lines seen in design, and I chose broken lines to add a bit of versatility. The prompt asked the design to be as simple as possible, so I made these lines point in the same direction, without mixing horizontal and diagonal lines. I chose to fill the page with these lines and also have equal spaces between them because that creates unity, and the effect is mosaic balance, the element of balance chaos. To put even more versatility while keeping the simplicity, I decided to add colors from green, one by one down the color wheel to blue.

I think a strength of this bookmark is that it somewhat looks like a legit design, and successfully demonstrated the design element of the line that it’s supposed to. I also think that the compact and large number of lines didn’t look that messy. A weakness of this design is that I think I didn’t control well the balance of the number of white lines to the color lines, as there is a very eye-catching piece of bland with three while lines in a row in the center. I think I could have done better on that by coloring in one more line so it looks complete. Another weakness of this design is that the people looking at it might not realize the specific design element by their first glance. Because this design could also be about colors as well as balance; so I could have done better on the emphasis of line.

This is the bookmark I made for balance, and whenever I hear the word balance, the first thing that comes to mind is Yin Yang, where this design took inspiration from. From the idea of Yin Yang, I first created two equally sized rectangle blocks, one black, and one white. After putting them together, I decided that this design was going to be created using asymmetrical balance, meaning that what I put on the black side will reflect its way across the middle line of the design. Then, I created three rectangular blocks on each side, and that makes the final product. The unequal spaces between the rectangles are being made intentional because when I tried with the gaps being equal, the design looked over-balanced. I didn’t like the look because it seemed to lack the design feel to it, because it looked duller. Another reason I chose this design is that it is able to show two different types of balance. First, the shapes of the two sides are able to show symmetrical balance, as the shapes, with disregard to the colors, reflect across the middle line. From the colors, asymmetrical balance because the colors are in fact not the same on both sides of the middle line, but the heavier visual weight with black on white is balanced with the white on black on the left.

I think a strength of this design is that it’s a good demonstration of contrast, with relatively balanced visual weight on both sides of the composition. It also presents two different types of balance as a design principle and achieves the requirement of being simple. A weakness of this is that it could be easily mistaken for contrast as the white and black pieces stand out from their background, maybe I could have done something more typical to show an obvious example of balance.


  • A balanced composition feels right. It feels stable and aesthetically pleasing. While some of its elements might be focal points and attract your eye, no one area of the composition draws your eye so much that you can’t see the other areas. A balanced composition arranges both positive elements and negative space in such a way that no one area of the design overpowers other areas. Everything works together and fits together in a seamless whole. The individual parts contribute to their sum but don’t try to become the sum.
  • Symmetrical balance occurs when equal weights are on equal sides of a composition, balanced around a fulcrum or axis in the center. Symmetrical balance evokes feelings of formality (it’s sometimes called formal balance) and elegance. A wedding invitation is a good example of a composition that you’d likely want to be symmetrically balanced.
  • Asymmetrical balance results from the unequal visual weight on each side of the composition. One side of the composition might contain a dominant element, which could be balanced by a couple or more lesser focal points on the other side. One visually heavy element on one side might be balanced by a handful of lighter elements on the other.
  • Radial balance occurs when elements radiate from a common center. Rays of sunlight and ripples in a pond after a stone is tossed in are examples of radial balance. Maintaining a focal point (fulcrum) is easy because it’s always the center.


  • Lines are often the starting point for all artistic expression, the line is also one of the most essential elements in the design. It always has more length than thickness, and can be broken, unbroken, or implied. A line could be vertical, diagonal, curved, or horizontal. A line in design could lead to other principles, such as stacking lines to form texture.
  • Linear marks are paths traced by the moment of a single point. Theoretically, it has no width as it then becomes a shape. In visual arts practice, we can consider the most basic example of a line the simple linear mark made by a pen, brush, or pencil.
  • A Boundary line is the meeting of two sharply defined shapes produces a boundary line. This differs from our first example in that it is implied by the contrast between the two shapes and relies on the shapes for their existence.

Implied Lines – Caravaggio (1571-1610), “The Inspiration of Saint Matthew” 1602

  • An implied line is shown in this painting by Caravaggio, a powerful line runs down the robe of the angel, into the figure below and down the curve of his back. This powerful unifying element doesn’t really exist but is implied by the thrust of smaller lines in the painting. These repeated curves add up to an implied line with more power and impact than any of the smaller individual curves.

This design task is about creating a simple design that emphasizes the specific principle and element that we were given, and to be more specific, this task is about creating two bookmarks each with each classmate in charge of different design elements & design principles, so when these bookmarks are printed out, we are able to have a collection of pieces for each design elements and principles. In the future, these simple examples of each would help guide us in applying them.


Lovett, John. “Design Element Line: John Lovett Design.” John,

Bradley, Steven. “Design Principles: Compositional, Symmetrical And Asymmetrical Balance.” Smashing Magazine, 29 June 2015,

Gary Design Persona Poster

About Design:

  • What is design?

I think it is the creative thinking process you go through in order to create an object. Design in different fields would have very different definitions, for example, design in terms of furniture would be the creative process considering the aesthetics while also considering its practicality and comfortableness. In terms of graphic design, I think it is the process of creating visual content by moving around elements, creating templates using images, symbols, and words.

  • What inspires me about design?

Design, like art, I think it’s also a way for people to express their ideas, maybe not as many emotions as art, but creative ideas. Designing allows us to put our imagination into play, and turn thoughts into reality. I personally love engineering, and I design different random objects in my free time, and that inspired me to take graphic design. It would be a different approach for me to express my ideas, and would also allow to me make art.

  • What are my favorite design examples?

My favorite design example is the apple system. The reason that this system is universally loved is because of the cleaners and unity of its design. There are clean icons that seem to belong together, every icon has the same round corners, and the desktop of the phone is divided into margins so that users can only move apps to certain places. The android system, however, has not considered unity at all. Every icon has its own style, the desktops of phones are messy because the design of spaces between APPs and the number of APPs on each page isn’t made clear. Therefore, I never liked using android and apple always gives me this more clean and professional feel. This is my favorite example because this shows how much impact design could have on a product, and I’m really impressed with the clean design iPhone has.

  • Who are my favorite designers?

I never looked into individual designers.

Me as a designer:

  • What’s my most memorable experience designing (or creating) something? Why?

My most memorable experience of designing is creating a recording box for my piano. I used to like recording what I play on the piano, and I couldn’t do it without my parents. I designed this recording box on paper and eventually made it out of cardboard. It was a successful design product and that I could record on my own without asking for help from then on.

  • What would I like to get better at doing as a designer? (Eg drawing, presenting, digital design, fabrication, photo-editing, sharing, collaborating, etc)

I have almost no knowledge of digital design and photo editing, and I’m interested in it but never got the chance to try it. I’ve done a bit of Procreate in engineering design, but I never looked at any tutorials or learned from anywhere, it was just me using the most basic pens to sketch, so I also hope to develop my skills further for it.

  • What do already do pretty well? (Eg drawing, presenting, digital design, fabrication, photo-editing, sharing, collaborating, etc)

I think I already do pretty well in drawing on paper because it’s something that I’ve practiced for a long period of time. Also, I think I am pretty good at collaborating with others because I value all the ideas of others, and I’m not very stubborn and fixated with ideas of my own, so I could be flexible in discussions.

My inspirations:

Inspiration #1:

DIY Digital Painting The Avengers Movie Superhero Black Widow By Numbers On Canvas For Unique Gift Home Decor 40X50CM|Painting & Calligraphy| - AliExpress

  • Who created the portrait and how (try to find examples that tell you this info, otherwise, take a guess)?

The artists and origin of this digital portrait aren’t specified on the second-handed website that I found this on, even when I followed the image link on google. My guess for who the artist is is that she might be a female, who might be the character in this digital portrait, combining her face with a superhero character.

  • How would you describe the portrait style? What does it tell you about the person?

I think this portrait is made with paint and the style, identified by the realistic lighting and shadows, is a realistic style. From my own interpretation of this portrait, it tells me that the woman in the portrait might think of herself as a very strong and independent female, or at least she wishes to be. This is because black widow has these characteristics, and the artist portrays herself as this character. Another assumption that could be made about the artist is that she might just purely be a big fan of Black Widow and wishes to include elements of her idol in her digital portrait.

  • What design elements can you identify (line, color, texture, shape, tone, form)?

I think the color choices are very interesting in the background, the artist uses the split complementary color scheme: red, blue, and green, and on top of that, uses dark shades of these colors instead of a brighter tone. This use of darker shades and this color scheme brings background unity and has a better artistic feel than brighter colors. Another element that brings unity to the background is the geometrical color blocks of darker shades of each color are used on every color. The three colors mixed together at the same intensities create white, and in this case, the center of a mixture of the three colors is the portrait of the artist, therefore the use of these three colors can make the character stand out. In terms of the character, the colors are just used as they were realistic, the color of skin, clothes, and hair all match the character black widow in movies. For lines, I think they’re used at a minimum level, and mostly the outlines are covered by the colors themselves, without bordering using lines. By doing this, I think this makes the painting overall look a bit rough if that’s the style the artist is going for.

  • What do you like about each example and how might it work for your self-portrait?

I like the idea of using a color scheme that brings unity and shows off my character more, I think I would definitely use that idea in my own portrait. Another idea that I thought was cool was combining a fictional character I like, or even background, with myself to show more of myself and my interests through the portrait, for example, drawing myself with Mickey Mouse ears. Finally, I really like the style of minimizing the borders used and use only pure blocks of colors, because I like the rough feel that this portrait brings me, and it matches the theme of the adventurous qualities in black widow.

Inspiration #2:

Digital Portrait Painting | CG Master Academy

  • Who created the portrait and how (try to find examples that tell you this info, otherwise, take a guess)?

This is created by one of the teachers at CG masters academy, using a digital medium.

  • How would you describe the portrait style? What does it tell you about the person?

The style of this portrait is very realistic, with a splash of fantasy. The facial structures, the hand, and the crow are all painted with realistic lighting, but the elf-like traits, the white eyes, and the fantasy costume adds a really interesting feel to the portrait. I think this portrait tells me that this person is very adventurous and maybe loves fantasy.

  • What design elements can you identify (line, color, texture, shape, tone, form)?

Formatting, the artist didn’t just use portrait format like almost all the others, instead, she used a landscape format and placed the main subject, which is the women in the portrait, on about the 1/3 line of the portrait to the right. The colors used are mainly black and white, with a small amount of gold and ivory. The entire portrait is mainly made with a dark color scheme and with a dark tone, but the character has a face colored with ivory, which brings the character to the audience as a focal point. The texture of this portrait is very smooth, unlike the last one which seemed intendedly rough.

  • What do you like about each example and how might it work for your self-portrait?

I really like the idea of using a landscape format to do a portrait, it’s because I could add more details into the background of the portrait. I think a weakness in using a landscape format is that the character itself might be hard to receive full attention, but that leads to the other thing I like about this portrait. It uses contrast in color to bring the character out of the background.

Digital Art: 40+ Inspiring Illustrations on Diverse Themes

  • Who created the portrait and how (try to find examples that tell you this info, otherwise, take a guess)?

The portrait was on a list website that didn’t provide the author or any citations. This is definitely a digital portrait since it came from a digital portrait inspiration website. I think two types of tools were used (from my very limited experiences with procreate), one of them is using the dry brush, and the smoother blocks are painted using a max-width studio pen.

  • How would you describe the portrait style? What does it tell you about the person?

My guess is that this is a woman who’s positive and open. These bright colors and very positive-seeming shapes show makes me think this way. Also, the first thought that came to me when I saw this digital portrait was that “This seemed very Italian”. I think the style of this portrait is leaning towards abstract. These irregular shapes in the background don’t seem to mean anything, and the bright colors’ combinations are not very realistic, therefore I think the background is a piece of abstract art, combining with the more realistic face in the front.

  • What design elements can you identify (line, color, texture, shape, tone, form)?

I can identify the design elements of shapes in the background. The artists used various geometrical shapes to create the background. I couldn’t identify a specific color scheme used to create this portrait, however, I could see that they are all bright colors, and the artist used a variety. This use of a variety of bright colors follows a positive and light tone. The person in the front is drawn with purely lines but not shapes, and I think that provides another type of contrast with the color blocks in the back.

  • What do you like about each example and how might it work for your self-portrait?

I like the artist’s free use of lines because it gives me a very unrestrained feel to the piece, such as the curly lines on the hair, and I also like her use of color. It makes this piece of art very unique and gives light feelings to the audience. The takeaway from this portrait is that my portrait doesn’t have to be realistic, it could also have abstract elements added to it if that is what I look for.


Create a low-poly portrait - Digital Arts

  • Who created the portrait and how (try to find examples that tell you this info, otherwise, take a guess)?

An adobe illustrator instructor created this image, obviously, using adobe illustrator. This was done by inserting a photo into adobe illustrator, apply triangular mesh, and finally fill in the colors for the shades.

  • How would you describe the portrait style? What does it tell you about the person?

This is a low-poly portrait. I feel like this portrait’s style is very futuristic, and gives a very professional feel. What I feel about this person when I look at this picture is that he’s techy, chill, and pretty upper-class. I feel like these feelings brought to me is actually by the use of this style, because applying this low-poly filter can smooth out the potentially messy background or features on the original photo and make the outcome look clean.

  • What design elements can you identify (line, color, texture, shape, tone, form)?

I can identify the element of texture. Unlike a smoother skin, this portrait has rough edges, like a box or a dungeons and dragons die, and each piece of the triangle only has one type of color, whereas in real like it might have had pimples or just different shading, this mono-colored triangle pieces that make up this portrait gives it a simple tone, simple and clean.

  • What do you like about each example and how might it work for your self-portrait?

I really like the outcome of this portrait, but I didn’t like the process of creating it from the tutorial. It’s basically just me dragging in a picture and using tools to trace rather than actually applying my own thinking to it. But I guess something I could take from this is that maybe I don’t have to make the background that filled, maybe just a shade of grey can give it a sense of luxury and professionalism.


Digital Oil Paintings - Photoshop Painting Brushes with Oil Texture Gallery

  • Who created the portrait and how (try to find examples that tell you this info, otherwise, take a guess)?

This is a portrait by Michael Adamidis, and this is a digital portrait with oil painting techniques.

  • How would you describe the portrait style? What does it tell you about the person?

I think the style is conceptual, with a close-up approach. The close-up technique used shows the audience greater detail of the facial expressions, and therefore better communicates feelings. From what I can see, his eye is closed, his eyebrows are clenched, and his mouth points to the bottom in a frown. This communicates a feeling of sadness to me, and therefore I think that this is a person who went through some tragedy or degression. Also, his nose is red indicating that he might have been crying for a while. The reason why I said the painting is conceptual is that I think the use of the background color and some covering up this person, can communicate the concept that maybe tragedy can slowly cover up a person and eventually take over.

  • What design elements can you identify (line, color, texture, shape, tone, form)?

A design element I can identify is the color of the background. It again brings great contrast to the light colors of the main subject in the piece, and the not-dark and not-light green bring a depressing feel to the piece. After imagining how other colors would look on this piece, I think nothing brings more sadness than this. For example, a black might just be cliché, and no even strong enough. Using brighter colors fails the purpose of the solemnness that this shade of green brings, so I think the color is very well chosen. The texture of this oil painting is also not very smooth, it has very obvious marks of brush strokes. However, I also think that this is a good thing because it shows that the person in the portrait is not-smoothened, and is going through a rough time that’s about to break him.

  • What do you like about each example and how might it work for your self-portrait?

I think the color choice is really important, so I would want to try out different colors for my background before I start it, instead of just going with the first thought. Also, I think some additional strokes like the lines that overlap with the person could be taken and put into my portrait, and I think these simple additions can add complexity if my portrait ends up looking blank.

Posters – Likes and Dislikes:

How illustrated movie posters making a comeback - Digital Arts

This is a poster I really like because its image is big and powerful. It avoids the use of extra words on the poster and only chose to print the essential ones, which makes the poster look clean and futuristic. Another thing I like about this and learn from this is that the central text, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is not actually in the middle of the poster; it would honestly look much worse if it was in the very middle. The artist deliberately put the text in the middle of the character rather than the poster and I think that it has brought the focal point to the main subject.

DesignLab | Persona Posters | Mailchimp design, Persona marketing, Persona

What I like about this type of poster is that it does have some texts, but it doesn’t seem at all messy or hard to focus on. I think it has a mono-colored background and a very clear portrait in the foreground. The texts are arranged in such a way that it fills the blank space perfectly, leaving even spaces between each. What I want to learn from this is that it has this way of adding text without being messy or boring, also using different fonts (as long as it’s the same color) doesn’t interfere with the unity.

Persona Posters by Victor E. on Dribbble

I don’t like this poster because it just looks a bit boring. The text is too small and doesn’t grab my attention, and they’re also aligned in such a way that it’s only a straight line. The poster also looks a bit hollow and serious, compared to the poster above that uses a similar style, but turns out to be way more attractive than this poster. I think it’s because of two components. One is that if the poster chose to use a mono-colored background, I think it shouldn’t leave blank space because it just looks too blank, and seems incomplete. Another component is that the placement of text is really weird and small.

Persona Posters by Margherita C on Dribbble

This is another poster that I don’t like, and it is for a similar reason as the last one. This poster has a person in the foreground and a blurred out background, however, I think it has the same problem that this design left too much blank space, as well as unequal space between the text. These unequal spaces caused the texts with different fonts to lose unity and just seemed like random words found in different places ut together.

I Am No Longer Poster by mcdomos | Society6

I like this poster A LOT. It has a beautiful visual that has the same style throughout the poster, has little details in the right bottom corner that tells us more, and at the same time doesn’t distract our focus on the main subject. The hair, being monotone, of this person is used as a place to put text, and I think that’s a really smart and good use of the only blank space left in the poster. The poster overall has a style that appears to be rough, as it’s easy to tell the brush strokes, and even the text on here uses the same style as a messy type of handwriting. Even with a lot of text, the layout of the poster and the font of the text made it look interesting, I assume that it wouldn’t be the case if the text were to be computer-generated.


This is, finally, a poster that I extremely dislike. Its color scheme is terribly picked (sorry), and this type of randomly bashed together colors used on this type of ‘children’ font makes the poster look very cheap. It changes color countless times and added elements that don’t relate to each other and the topic at all.

  • Explain how the style of your self-portrait reflects who you are

I did my self-portrait in a rather plain style, with two plain colors as the background, and my portrait with a chill expression and sunglasses in the foreground. I think this serious, realistic approach to draw my face and jacket shows that I’m a pretty serious person; I would even draw exactly what I look like when I could be creative in a poster. The serious expression and the sunglasses kind of shows that I’m a pretty down to earth person; I probably spend 90% of my day doing this expression, and I don’t often laugh, and I don’t talk that much.

  • Explain some of the design decisions you made with your presentation poster

This is the original image of myself that I based my poster on:

I first outlined the important features of the face and jacket on a blank background, so that I could get an approximate shape of what parts I have to fill in. During this process, I tried to trace my eyes many times, but the pixelated image didn’t really allow me to trace the eyes to a point where I’m satisfied. I thought of an idea and just covered the eyes with black, and turning my glasses into sunglasses. In this stage,  I also marked the parts that need additional shading.

Then, I colored in my jacket. Throughout the 4 hour-long processes, I switched three types of pen, and eventually rested at the technical pen, at a larger width. From the jacket, you could tell that the flipped out part, the zip lock part, and the rest of the jacket is painted in a different texture. After I finished the shading, the texture of it was actually really rough. I tried out the smudge tool at a very thin width, and it gave me this final jacket shading where the colors are better to blend in together. During the shading, I found that the lines I made on my outlining part were making the jacket look unrealistic because an object in real life isn’t bounded by lines, even in 2-D, but rather by values. So I covered up the lines with color.

At this point, I thought of my final product to leave the face uncolored (since shading takes so long), so I worked on the hair and the background. I shaded the hair with only black, and I found it to be very plain and empty. The background was composed of two parts, the sun, and the purple in the back; I used smudge on these two layers to blend three colors together to create that fade effect. Here is an example of before and after smudge.

After I was done with that, I asked Mrs.Gietz for some feedback, and she commented that I could have more detail on the darker values, and then leave the face blank so that it has a sense of completion and unity. Listening to that advice, I shaded in the hair to try to make it have some more value and shade using dark and light purple. Since my background already has that LOFI and hip-hop feel, I decided to add some elements to the sunglasses that don’t necessarily realistic. So I chose the cyberpunky-realistic colors of neo blue and neo pink to add value.

As you can see in the picture above, the result of my decision didn’t work so well. The overshading of the dark regions takes the focus off the face that has no color. The hair seemed to be a little out of shape, and the neo blue and pink seemed to have a pretty bad contrast with the yellow background. I erased the hair completely and redrew it with a better form. The contrast of the neo color with yellow was a bit better when I added yellow lighting so that the large contrasts don’t really stand out that much.

I thought the shape of the hair was, again, a bit off, so I redid it again with purple shading, as well as decided to shade in the face. The extra shading on darker parts made me feel like the face has to be filled in in order for the final product to look complete. The picture below is an almost complete version of the portrait with the face shaded. I turned off all extra layers and changed the background color to green (and later gray) so that it is very clear when my shading has some blanks between them I needed to fill. This process actually took longer than an hour.

Feeling pretty confident about the portrait part, I moved to the layout part, and I felt like my background wasn’t really well thought out to include text, so I changed into another one with a mono-colored background. I put in the words that describe me, my interests, as well as the goal of this course, but even when I tried different arrangements, I have to admit, it looks extremely messy and hard to catch focus. The little “cool not” joke I put in there doesn’t seem to work then rather distract the unity of the poster.  I asked my mom about how she felt about this poster, and she said that it lacks the art vibe because my visual looked too much like a photograph and that my poster is too messy that she can’t really decide what to look at.

Feeling terrible, I went back to my old idea and surprisingly found a way to put in text that doesn’t ruin the layout I had; which was to put words around the circle, and I felt like I’ve made a lot of improvements based on feedback, and changes based on observation, so I think that this final product is acceptable, but could be a lot better.

  • Reflect on the successes of your poster and explain what you would do differently next time

I think in terms of success, I think I’ve gained a lot of skills during this making process; blending, smudging, layers, lighting, lasso selection, and grouping pieces. In terms of the poster, I think success would be that I eventually did get a visual that I initially hoped for, something that looks very much like in reality, a photograph. I think another success would be that I found a way to incorporate text in the initial design of the background that I thought of. When it came to the text and composition part, I thought, “crap, I didn’t think of that”, but eventually the final product turned out to be okay.

In terms of improvements, I could write a big, long, list. First, the jacket has different textures because I used different pens, it would be nice if I tested out each one’s efficiency then decide to use only one kind of pen to finish my piece. Another improvement I could’ve made is: don’t slack. Slacking on my hair in the initial stage thinking that I could fix it later has caused me so much trouble erasing and shading it over and over. It’s important to have an accurate brought draft of things before I begin with the real work, so if I do that first next time, it would save me a lot of time. Another thing I would do differently is that I probably won’t pay that much attention to small details. The attention to detail makes the portrait I have to look like a photograph, without the art vibe, according to my mom, and I agree with her. Maybe less shading would take me way less time, and at the same time, increase the artistic feels of this piece rather than a drawn photograph. Another thing I would do differently if I restart this project is that my planning should be very thorough, and think of things in the far future such as adding text. I think that a very specific plan isn’t really possible because the piece could be constantly changing when you find things that I don’t like along the way. However, if I were to even think about adding text and leave designs that could finally help me put my text into, I could’ve avoided making extra designs I didn’t even end up using, and maybe even result in a better final product.