Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 in Graphic Design

2015 was full of graphic and art adventures as I wrapped up my last year of college, and here are the highlights.

Adventures in Printmaking
Spring 2015 was my last semester of printing and the focus was intaglio and photo-intaglio.


B.F.A. Senior Thesis
My love for nature, graphic design and printmaking collided in my thesis project inspired by biomimicry and an idea I call "organic synthesis," a process of making computerized graphic design look more natural by replicating qualities found in nature.

The idea of nature influencing art was so infectious that biomimircy in design was the topic of my term essay in my contemporary art history theory course.

Primary research of nature, from rubbings to photographs, influenced both my thesis project experiments (such as the letterforms below) and my photo-intaglio experiments in the printmaking studio.

Adventures in Colored Pencil
I had the opportunity to take a workshop at my university to finally tackle colored pencils head-on. The workshop ended in an exhibition of our final pieces.

Client Work - Marketing Communications
My two majors collided for this strategic communications plan written for the CSU-Pueblo Art and Music departments to help rebrand themselves and better reach their target audiences.  Aside from detailed strategies and tactics, the plan heavily illustrated the proposed graphic branding system across a range of posters, social media graphics, advertisements, brochures and logos.

Summer and Fall Internship - Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo
The Riverwalk internship was fabulous not only because of summer and fall semester's worth of graphic design, photography and communications projects, but also because of the great people, gorgeous venues and sweet music line-ups.




2nd Fall Internship - Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
This is a perfect example of how life works out--I didn't set out to obtain two internships at the same time. I was looking for a paid summer internship and the Riverwalk called first.  A couple days later, the Art Center offered me an internship and it was too good to pass up, so I scheduled them for the fall semester.  When my summer internship ended, my employer was so happy with my work that my Riverwalk internship was extended into the fall semester, hence two internships at the same time. While I never set out to obtain that, I'm so glad I did it because the experiences I gained and the people I met at both internships made it worth all the while.

Personal Work - Observational Drawing Field Trips
Anyone reading this blog for an extended time knows I've got a thing for old things, so the chance to draw fossils is just too much fun for me! These were from the Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.


Blog Feature
Krista Bradshaw, designer and lifestyle writer, featured my work and process on her blog.

More Client Work - Logo Design
I contributed the visual identity of a rebrand for the annual student, academic and business leader conference hosted by CSU-Pueblo's College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

And Finally, the Best Highlight
The sweetest highlight of the year was finally getting my two diplomas for my B.F.A. and my B.S. mass communications.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Goodbye 2015! Highlights From My Last Semester of College

The fall 2015 semester was a fitting end to my college adventure, and as a result I have some visual goodies to share today as I wrap up 2015. 

Adventures in Markup - Web Design 232
I repeated web design to brush up on my CSS and html markup skills.  The results from this class verses the time I took it a few years ago are quite staggering, largely because now you can see the impact of my graphic design courses on my final website layout. My first website was nice, but this is the one that will go into the portfolio!

Adventures in the Field - CSFAC and HARP Internships
The internships are always the highlight of my academic adventures largely because I get to roll up my sleeves and really dig into the projects that we had studied in class.  Internships take you from theory to application and this semester I was blessed to have two, one at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the other at the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (where I had interned at the summer). Between the two, I had a ton of projects spanning various graphic design projects, photography, videography, communications writing and social media marketing. I also got to try my hands at new things like digital signage.

Adventures in Audience Research
Audience research is a senior level course required in the CSU-Pueblo Mass Communications department for anyone who is an integrated communication major (like me) or electronic communications major. It is very stringent, based in scientific practice and supported with literature reviews, statistics and a formal presentation of primary research findings.  It is the class most of my peers fear, but for me, this one ended up being really cool because my two majors collided for our final group project. Writing literature reviews, drafting survey questions, recruiting respondents and running correlation tests are much easier when your passions are involved. 

Our group studied the effects of graphic design elements on the professionalism of news websites.  We had two screen grabs of a real CNN story and an Onion story, plus a few samples of fake news websites we created to look attractive and unattractive to see if the sites people scored as attractive would also score high on professionalism and vice versa. We found a +0.96 correlation--pretty powerful and only goes to show that design is not something you want to skimp on, no matter what your industry.

And the Best for Last - My Favorite Client Work Thus Far
My peers love hearing a client say "Do whatever you want, just be creative!" but my dream client is one that shares similar interests and, for me that, dream client finally came in the shape of the CSU-Pueblo College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) for their rebranded conference, the SOCO Conference. Embracing Pueblo's culture, bright colors, South American lines and patterns as well as modern sophistication--yep, that scores pretty high on my favorite projects list. You can read about the process in this earlier post, and here is the finished logo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Visualizing a Modern Museum with Web Design

Passions collided for my final project in my introductory web design course this fall semester.  I was working at a fine art center in Colorado Springs and I have always wanted to see a modern art museum south of Denver, so I jumped at the opportunity to create a fictitious branding project and imagine what a website for a CSMOMA would look like.

I wanted the brand to stand apart from the CS Fine Arts Center, for whom I was interning, and decided to focus on a younger demographic with a taste for hip culture.  I drew color and graphics inspiration from contemporary graphic design in South America and France.

The images and video came from my internship at the CS Fine Arts Center.  The final design for the fictional CSMOMA uses html, CSS, mouse-overs and a little JavaScript for the homepage slideshow. The halftones were created in Adobe Photoshop.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Drawing for Graphic Design in a Computerized World

Like anything, people with more resources are more successful and so, is it any surprise that the graphic designer with more visual resources is more successful than those who can only offer one technique or graphic style? One way to give yourself great visual resources is to learn to draw. Yes, even when computers dominate, drawing is still a powerful skill-set, especially when you combine it with the computer.


The word "draw" probably makes you think of a very classical style drawn from observed, still objects like the drawings above. But you want to know a little secrete? You don't have to create drawings like the ones I did above to have helpful skills for your graphic design.  In fact, sometimes a style so far removed from classical is actually ideal (think Picasso or, better yet, Saul Bass).  The only rule: pick up a pencil or pen and just start drawing.

Case in point, my drawings below for the Elephant and Piggie poster.  The classical style I used for my museum skeletons wouldn't have been appropriate for this poster.


And in case you're not a believer, check out these other times that drawing either inspired my graphic design or was used directly in my graphic design projects. So if you aren't sketching already, challenge yourself to pick up a pencil because it will pay off in the long run. Best of luck!