Visual Campaign for Orlando Harpist Christine MacPhail

Table of Contents

A. Company Analysis
B. Banner Ad Designs
C. Social Media
D. Email Design
E. Wireframe
F. Web Page
G. Misc Graphics
H. Summary

A. Company Analysis

Christine MacPhail is a well-established, professional harpist in the Orlando, Florida area. As a small business, she mainly provides harp music for corporate and other specialty events and weddings, ranging from ceremonial music to reception. Besides viewing her current website and Facebook page, I found Christine MacPhail very easily on theknot.com, with an impressive 5-star rating out of a whopping 83 votes. It’s clear from the voters that she is very talented and has a tremendous relationship with her clients. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to redesign the campaign.

For the past four months, the importance of an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) has been absolutely drilled into me. In summary, having a brand with an IMC means that your messages along all communication channels will be consistent and clear. Doing this will help your brand appear unified, and will help potential clients remember your brand. I have learned that it is especially important to achieve ubiquity in a campaign because it takes “7 different touches” for someone to notice or respond to a brand; being consistent in the ways that a client may come in contact with your campaign (through different sources of media) will create that recognition and trust you need to drive traffic. To learn more about the importance of IMC campaigns, feel free to click here.

Christine’s main clientele are 20-something women planning their weddings. Even though I have never been married and have no personal experience in wedding-planning, these women were my main inspiration for the way I designed her campaign. Because Christine’s business resides in Central Florida, a hotspot for destination weddings and just a beautiful, scenic area in general, I definitely wanted to take advantage of color to attract soon-to-be brides. Elegance, beauty, and romantic: three words every woman wants to exude on her wedding day; three words that could easily apply to the sound of a harp. It was my mission to create imagery that gave off that vibe.

B. Banner Ad Designs

I designed four banner ads for this campaign. I chose to do the same large image throughout of a bouquet with a bridge in groom blurred in the background. I think this imagery would easily catch the eye of a young woman surfing around for wedding inspiration and ideas. I chose the same slogan, “You found your prince, now find your song,” throughout every ad. I purposely used this slogan to market the company for what it is. More than a wedding advertisement, it has to advertise music. You also get a preview of my logo design as well. You can view them below.

Leaderboard
Leaderboard design.
enhancedleaderboard
Enhanced leaderboard design.
Cube
Cube design.
Button
Button design.
bannergif
Animated leaderboard.

Finally, I also designed an animated version of one of the banner ads. I chose to use the leaderboard, because I thought it most visually interesting.

C. Social Media

Social media is such an integral part of a campaign. You can never underestimate the value of reaching out to potential clients through all different channels and giving your clientele the option of how to connect with you. Below you will see that I developed three Facebook cover options, one Facebook timeline image, one Twitter cover option, and one overlay for Instagram. You can view them below.

fboption1
Facebook Cover Option #1
fboption2
Facebook Cover Option #2
fboption3
Facebook Cover Option #3
timeline
Timeline cover photo.
twitteroption
Twitter cover photo.
instagramexample
An example of how the instagram overlay would look on an actual image.

 

As you can see, I decided to continue with the blurred, mostly green, outdoor theme. Because the business is centralized in beautiful sunny Florida, I thought what better way to showcase what a typical wedding could actually look like. I also mimicked the same overlay banner in white with a lowered opacity, with the same font as in the banner ads, Raleway, in a variety of weights. You can clearly see the similarities between the social media and designs and the banner ads, this goes back to the “integrated” part of the campaign. 🙂

D. Email Design

Next, I created a “Dedicated Email” style e-mail. This means that the email was styled toward someone with a specific purpose: to get them to respond to a call to action. As you can see from this email design, I continued to use wedding-inspired imagery. However, I also wanted to integrate the colors of your new logo design into the email. You can see that I included a promotion to contact you for an event the new person may be interested in. I also added a small tidbit on the bottom for people who may be interested, but have no experience in classical instruments. The result is below.

email.jpg
Potential email design for a new subscriber.

E. Wireframe

From the e-mail design, I dove into the wireframe. This is simply a mock-up of how I envisioned your website to look. It gives you a basic foundation of the concept.

wireframe.jpg
Wireframe for the homepage of the website.

F. Web Page

Following the wireframe, I constructed the actual home page. As you can see more easily, I decided to have a rolling image gallery of photos of you in action, Christine. Your current website has many images of you, and I think it helps to connect potential clientele to a real person instead of a business title. For that reason, I decided to showcase you playing the harp at various venues.

As for everything else, I thought a simplistic, clean design in the logo colors would work best. Of course, I also wanted a music player on the homepage to give clients a taste of your work. (Side note: I love Jason Mraz, so I had to put him first!)

webpage
Web page design.

G. Logo Design

Finally, we get to my favorite part: your new logo! I designed this image as a vector, which means it can be transformed to any size without pixelation. I know that you requested a “flowy harp” image, and so I designed a harp in one of Pantone’s new Color of the Years, Serenity, a tranquil blue-purple. I thought it was such a beautiful color and would work perfectly in the music and wedding industry. As I mentioned in my company overview, when I think of a harp, I think of elegance, beauty, and romance. I chose Serenity because it embraces all of that and more.

The secondary color I chose is a beautiful orange-yellow. On the color wheel, orange mirrors blue and purple mirrors yellow, so to offset Serenity I chose this color. Because it is an inviting, warm color, they pair nicely together. They are both vibrant and eye-catching, and I know that any bride-to-be will be drawn to them.

I decided to make your name in a script font called Daydreamer. I was drawn to it for many reasons, but I think it works well again because it looks like an actual signature. I wanted your webpage to feel like an extension of you and your work, and to feel cozy and intimate to invite young women to contact you for your services. “Orlando Harpist” is in the same font used throughout the entire campaign: Raleway, in a variety of weights.

An optional slogan can also be included: “Fairytale music for your happily ever after!”

logo1
Original logo without slogan.
logooriginal
Original logo, with slogan.
logoreverse
Inverse logo option.
logograyscale
Greyscale logo option.

 

H. Summary

For additional ideas to promote your integrated marketing campaign, I would highly suggest continuing to utilize your social media on a weekly basis (at the bare minimum). Utilize your channels like Instagram and Youtube with new music.

Many believe that print is a dying media, but I advise you to consider mail and flyers. People like to see things in person, and there are many ways to capture a person’s attention. You could attend bridal shows with goodies, like magnets, pens, or stickers.

This about wraps it up on my end. I hope you enjoyed this potential new design for your business. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to create this campaign for you.

 

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Ecard for the University of Florida

Hello everyone!

For my final showcase, I was assigned to create a holiday e-card that the University of Florida could send.

I chose to do a general holiday e-mail for campus closures from December 24th-January 4th (since both Christmas and New Year’s fall on Fridays). This closure is entirely made-up, and otherwise I am not affiliated with the offices of University of Florida, so don’t take this card seriously!

My thought process was to, of course, go forth and find a cartoonish alligator. I found an image that I liked and used the magic wand tool to delete the background. I googled for free santa hat vectors and arranged it on top of the gator’s head. Finally I added a small red ellipse to the alligator’s nose so he could look like Rudolph.

After I designed the alligator, I drew a speech bubble with the pen tool and filled it with plain white. I added a bevel and emboss effect to the speech bubble (and the red nose). From here I added “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” in UF orange with, again, a simple bevel and emboss effect. I then Googled around and found this free snow layer style, which I added to the top of the type with the brush tool. I decided to go with the snow theme and found the blue background with snowflakes. Since it wasn’t very big, I added a UF blue rectangle on the bottom and used it as my “main body” box and added the text. I mimicked this step for the “header.” I then found the transparent Christmas lights online and added it as a bottom border.

For my lighting effect (a mandatory feature), I chose to copy the entire image and paste it into a new document to not disturb the entire image. I merged the layers together on this new document and added individual point lights to each Christmas light on the bottom of the card. This effect really brightened the card as a whole and tied it all together.

Here is my final e-card image:

ecard

Creating an iOS app for Old Navy

Hello, faithful viewers. We have already reached week 13, can you believe it?

This past week in class, we learned about mobile design and the guidelines specifically associated with iOS design. We were tasked with creating an iOS app for the iPad, for any shopping app we wished. With Thanksgiving and–ahemBlack Friday approaching, it seemed natural to get in the spirit of shopping so I was happy to oblige. 🙂 I chose Old Navy, a company that I enjoy and more importantly think needs an app redesign.

ipadwithapp

So, the first thing I did was decide that I wanted to make my app vertical, because I personally dislike having to turn my app sideways to use an app. I created a document at the standard 768×1024 for iPad. Next, I turned the grids on for this document. I copy and pasted a status bar that I found online, and tweaked it to look more like the iPad interface that I use, instead of just a standard iPhone. (I have the outdated second generation iPad that only has wifi capabilities, which is why I designed mine without a carrier.)

I quickly realized that Old Navy has a versatile logo. The colors are a very clean: blocked white text on a navy blue background. I liked this because it meant that I could easily translate simplicity to my app design! I love simple, effective designs. I chose to use Helvetica and Arial because both are featured on Old Navy’s website, and because they have a variety of weights.

I pulled the main promotion and the main promotion image right from Old Navy’s website, which you can see below. I also pulled four images of their different new arrivals for the second promotional section.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 6.21.18 PM

Something interesting I noticed on their website is that every image with text is just that, an image. In my web design I had been told so many times to not do this, and to set the text in the HTML, that I thought this worth pointing out. 🙂

Anyway, I found this free shopping-themed UI icon set on Dribbble.com. I used the magnifying glass icon for a search button, a heart icon to be used for favorites, a shopping cart icon for products added to the shopping cart, and a speech bubble icon for a contact option. I changed the color by adding a stroke and setting the stroke to my desired color and setting the stroke to “inside.”

Something you may not know is that iOS apps have strict guidelines! I found it helpful to review the guidelines for inspiration, especially for things such as spacing and alignment. I can’t tell you how many times throughout this assignment I used Layer>Alignment and Layer>Distribute to make my shapes and text even. I also turned on my grid and made multiple guidelines. It’s pretty much impossible to try to line up elements by eye alone, so I was glad to have a helping hand!

Below you can view my final home page screen for my Old Navy mobile app design:

showcase13-regular.jpg

And again, below, you can see what my mobile app for Old Navy looks like when something in the side navigation is selected:

showcase13-selected

As you can see, I overlaid a dark grey color and changed the opacity so you can still see through it to the design beneath. I repeated that step with the new white display box, just in white.

Something I really wanted was to give enough space for fingers! Nothing annoys me more than when you’re trying to click one thing on an app, and keep clicking on another because they didn’t put enough space around the link. The iOS guidelines recommend an 88px square for touch points, so I tried to do that whenever possible, especially in the main navigation, the header, the footer, and the additional selections in the navigation.

I did not wireframe for this project, but again, I could see how it would be useful for a more intricate mobile app design. I just had a vision for a simple design, so I went with it and I’m pleased with the way it came out. Overall I believe I successfully utilized many of the recommended iOS guidelines, including (but of course not limited to) spacing, grids, layers, alignment, touch points/targets, and typography.

I hope you enjoy my mobile app design! 🙂

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Old Navy, I am simply a student who used the company for educational purposes for this design showcase.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pizza – An Infographic

Happy Sunday, all!

This week I designed an infographic for an article called “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pizza.” Pizza is hands-down my favorite food (Burrito, if you’re reading this, you hold a special place in my heart, too), so this was a pretty fun assignment for me!

If you’re unaware, infographics are the images you may have come across as you surf Pinterest or other “hip” websites. They display information in a quick, concise, visual manner. I love them, and have always wanted to make my own, so this was an exciting moment for me! I had a lot of fun doing “research” online to get ideas for designs. I noticed that the ones I loved most were very simple, often using just a few different colors, and didn’t have much text besides bare facts. I tried to echo that in my design.

The first thing I did was come up with a color scheme. I went on Adobe Color CC and picked a red color out of the color picker, and clicked “Monochromatic” to see similar shades of the red I picked. Side note: This was my first time utilizing Adobe Color CC, and I have to say that it was a very smooth and easy process to find different colors. If you’ve never used it before, I highly recommend taking the time to check it out. Anyway, selecting “monochromatic” ended up being a crucial step for me, because–as you’ll see at the end of my post–I ended up sticking with different shades of red for my entire infographic. I love red, and I picked it because when I think of pizza I recall that deep, red sauce color.

After selecting the color, the next thing I did was try to pick fonts. This was also an important step for me, because there is so little text on the graphic, it had to make sense with the overall theme of the project. In the end I chose fonts called Myriad Pro for 95% of the main copy and Iowan Old Style for random words I wanted to stress and the numbers. I went with Iowan Old Style specifically because I liked the serif/feet on the numbers; they felt very Roman.

From there I surfed Pinterest for free icons. I expected to find just simple kitchen/restaurant themed icons, but I found what I feel are the perfect icons: a freebie pizza icon set from Freepik.com, which I downloaded and separated using the magic wand tool. I was so excited when I found these because they were already the perfect shade of red! After finding the icons, I tried to imagine how I wanted the overall picture to look. I decided to just wing it, which in hindsight I would never do again (will I ever learn?). Creating a wireframe would have been much easier, especially because I dealt with spacing and sizes issues almost immediately. Note to safe: planning is your friend!

I was required to use the pen tool on this project, so I decided to create a small banner for Facts #7-9, “In Italy.” To make the banner, I created one long rectangle shape, and another much smaller rectangle on its right side. The two shapes were connected. Working with the smaller rectangle, I simply added a point in the middle of the shape’s outside edge using the pen tool, then clicked on the same point with the “convert point tool” to rid the point of bezier curves. Finally, I moved the point I created into the shape, creating a backwards “K” look to resemble the edges of a banner. Then, I simply copy and pasted the shape and rotated it 180 degrees to align it with the other side of the banner. And, voila: a simple banner shape.

Below is my final design! I was especially excited to find out that the nation’s oldest pizzeria is located in Trenton, NJ, since I live so close. Someday I will have to track it down!

design12

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with the author of the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pizza article I reference throughout this post. This was entirely for educational purposes.

Winter Campaign for EF College Break

Hi everyone! This week in class we talked about all the options for utilizing social media. There’s  so much to take in with all the various networks, and from what I have learned it is a simple, effective way to draw attention to your brand without much cost.

My showcase this week was to design winter-inspired social media campaign for a brand in the travel industry. I immediately chose EF College Break, a company that offers overseas trips at discounted prices for people between the ages of 18-28. As the name suggests, EF College Break is a company geared toward adventurous college students. I have been following them for a little over two years now, and although I’ve never participated in a trip personally, I think it would be a great opportunity for students to travel the world without committing to an expensive travel abroad program. They offer all different kinds of trips for a variety of lengths (7 days to 30–what an opportunity) and  excursions. They even give you a specific travel itinerary so you can be sure to see it all.

Since it was a winter-inspired campaign, I wanted to do the opposite and play up the idea of being warm over New Year’s. I came up with a variety of slogans, which I featured in all three cover photos you can see below. “Get a tan this winter break,” “Have a warmer New Year,” and “Take your break in paradise.” You guessed it, I went for a tropical, anti-winter-blues campaign. 🙂 I used the font Tornac Regular from TypeKit and added an outer glow and a drop shadow on the text for all three designs, since the the various colors in the backgrounds made it difficult to see. For the top version I created a rectangle in black, changed the layer style to Overlay, and changed the opacity to about 50% to make the type stand out more on the various sky colors.

We also learned about Layer Comps this week, which are really amazing if you’ve never experienced them. I did not know that something like this existed before, but I can already see its value. The easiest way to understand Layer Comps is to think of them as a snapshot of a current layer panel. It allows you to change different aspects of a document, like toggling on and off specific layers and changing the text, and create a new Layer Comp or “snapshotting” a way the layers panel looks. You can then change things in the image, but you’re still able to go back to that original Layer Comp if necessary. This technique made displaying my different cover photo options SO much easier than creating different documents for all the options! I can see how useful this will be for future clients.

Below you can see my Facebook cover options (all backgrounds were pulled from EFCollegebreak.com):

option1
Facebook Cover, Example #1

option2

Facebook Cover, Example #2

 

option3

Facebook Cover, Example #3

 

Next I created a Twitter cover photo option. I kept the text exactly the same, but used a larger, more high-resolution photograph I found. Even though it does not use any of the cover photos from my Facebook options, I think you can easily tell it’s from the same campaign because of the font styling and paradise feel.

 

twitteroption
Twitter Cover Option

 

Finally, I had to create an Instagram overlay for my winter campaign. Since the name of the company is EF College Break, I decided to create an overlay called “EF Winter Break,” in the same font, Tornac, and put a small airplane shape in front of it. Again, I applied the Layer Style from the other images. Here is an actual Instagram photo with the overlay used:

instagramex2
Instagram Photo with Overlay

For this campaign so far, to further integrate the theme of a “warm winter break,” I would suggest promoting tropical-themed vacations in EF College Break’s Facebook timeline posts through November, December, and January. Perhaps suggesting that it’s not too late to book a vacation, or posting fun traditions that other countries do for New Year’s in banner ads would further attract attention from potential consumers. Honestly, I think this a very easy campaign to run away with! Everyone wants to escape for those few weeks they’re not in school… I speak from experience! 😉

As far as other social channels, Snapchat/Youtube would be obvious choices. While I am a personal fan of Snapchat and the different SnapStories, I know that not everyone carries around their phones when they go to the beach or are around water, so that might not be the best platform for this reason… However, GoPros are very “in” right now, so I think those personal videos of students zip-lining or snorkeling in the excursions would be a great way to promote all the fun people are having on these vacations. Using personal videos would also inspire students to post and tag EF College Break, so I think it’s a win-win all around. I also think that Pinterest could easily showcase the beautiful locations of these trips. EF College Break could easily create all different boards for their locations and make suggestions for the destinations by using pins (like packing lists, places to eat, must-sees, etc) within each board.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with EF College Break. I have never participated in one of their programs, either, though I think it looks like a ton of fun!

Email Design for Dunkin’ Donuts

Phew, this week sure was a doozy! In class we learned about company e-mails and how important they are for marketing. Did you know that 91% of people check their e-mail at least once per day, and that the average person receives 416 e-mails in a single month? I know that I receive at least that many from all the companies I have subscribed to. Emails are a very popular and useful way to market a brand, when done correctly. This week my class learned tips and tricks to create the most effective design for e-mails, and how the slice tool in Photoshop makes it that much easier to translate graphics to HTML and CSS.

This week, my class was given the task to create a promotional e-mail based on the company we chose last week for the banner ad assignment. I had chosen Dunkin’ Donuts and did a holiday inspired theme based on their holiday coffee flavors, so some work was already done for me! The logo and coffee bag image was easily accessible, and I had already downloaded a variation of the Dunkin font, so that made my assignment easier already.. but don’t let it fool you, this was probably one of my most time-consuming projects yet.

We had various criteria to meet, including displaying at least three photos, the company logo, a navigation bar, a footer, three social media icons, a clear promotion, a call-to-action, contact information, a way to unsubscribe, a way to share with a friend, and a way to view in a browser. Basically we needed to include all the tiny background elements you often forget are even in an e-mail!

My banner ads had an orange background, but I decided not to translate to the e-mail literally. So, I simply gave the white e-mail a thick orange border. Next, I placed the logo image and created the navigation bar. You can see from my final that I set the navigation behind the logo to make it stand out, and added various links to different pages of their website. I copied the navigation bar and pasted it as my footer at the bottom, but of course altered the content. The social media icons on the footer took a long time to perfect; I could see what I wanted in my mind’s eye but couldn’t figure out a simple way to reproduce it!

Next I placed the coffee bag images (with drop shadows) and set them all side-by-side. I decided to create a banner image by using different rectangular shapes, altering them using the direct selection tool and free transform, turning the whole into a smart object, and warping it (specifically with arc at 15%) through free transform again. This took me about 30 minutes to really perfect because it had many layers, but ultimately I think it makes my design that much more interesting. I did this banner in a magenta color drawn from the Dunkin’ Donuts logo, and set white promotional text on it. The rest of the text of that promotion was done on a magenta button, which had a bevel and emboss effect to give it more dimension. I decided on a 40% off coupon for “our loyal subscribers” because it promotes e-mail and brand loyalty, in the form of a coupon. 🙂 I basically copied this process for my second promotion, the gift card. However, instead of all the text being on the button, I set the text in Dunkin’ orange and made a smaller button with “Click here.” Who doesn’t love gift cards, right?

Even though my design isn’t totally the same as my banner ads, the ideas are still identical. For example, in both I used the magenta color to draw your eye to the most important elements: the header and the call to action.

Below you can see my final image. I emphasize final because I cannot stress how many times I uploaded my image here, noticed something I didn’t like, changed it in Photoshop, and had to re-upload it again. (Hint: the answer is an embarrassingly high number.) Anyway, from here I could easily slice pieces of the image to then translate to the e-mail. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

design10

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with Dunkin’ Donuts. This was an educational exercise, and I’m simply a long-time patron.

Dunkin’ Donuts Holiday Banner Ads

Happy Sunday, everyone! This past week in Digital Imagery, we discussed banner ads as a form of advertisement. Banner ads are pretty interesting way to market to consumers without them being able to just toss it aside (like the ads you find in your mailbox… does anyone look at those?). They are those sneaky little boxes you find as you browse random websites (CNN, Facebook, etc); they can be stagnate or animated, but most offer some kind of reward for clicking the ad and going to the advertiser’s page. They normally are pretty straightforward, too, containing the company logo, a simple promotion, and a button to link you to their page. They don’t always even need a picture! Most come in a standard size, such as “leaderboard,” “skyscraper,” or “button,” but there are others, as well.

This week I was assigned to make a banner ad series for a company in its fourth quarter (October, November, December). This is definitely my favorite quarter of the year, so it was hard for me to decide exactly which company to pick! 🙂 As an avid coffee drinker, I decided to go with a company that celebrates the seasons as much as me: Dunkin’ Donuts. We needed to make banner ads in the following sizes:

  1. Leaderboard: 728 x 90
  2. Rectangle: 300 x 250
  3. Skyscraper: 160 x 600
  4. Button: 320 x 75

So, the first thing I did was look for some photos I could easily edit. I found a nice large image with three differently flavored coffee bags and a nice large Dunkin’ Donuts logo. Using the magic wand tool, I deleted the white backgrounds around the coffee bags. Since Dunkin’ Donuts uses bright orange and pink as their colors, I decided to make the background of all of my banner ads a gradient of a bright orange to a slightly lighter orange. I started in the rectangle (it seemed like it would be easiest because of its nearly-square shape) and placed the Gingerbread coffee bag and the logo inside. I managed to find a similar-looking “Dunkin” font on dafont.com, so next I added the type “Introducing… All new HOLIDDAY flavors!” in white with the double “d” in “holiday.” As an avid consumer, I know that Dunkin’ Donuts likes to add the second letter, since it’s their alternate logo. I then created a pink button using the rounded rectangle tool, and added a 3pt stroke. Beneath the button I added a “Limited time only” caption because holiday flavors only last through the end of January (if I remember correctly). Finally, I added a drop shadow to all of the main promotional type and the coffee bag to give the image some depth, and a 1pt black stroke around the entire image.

For the other three banner ads, I did a variation of this advertisement. The size was quite constrictive of how many coffee bags I could use in each advertisement, how detailed I could get with the promotion, and of course placement for the logos, images, and type.

Here is my final ad series:

rectangle
Rectangle ad.
leaderboard
Leaderboard ad.
skyscraper
Skyscraper ad.
button
Button ad.

Last but not least, I was challenged to turn one of my banner ads into an animation. I chose to do the skyscraper because I thought it was the most interesting. I opened the timeline panel from Window tab, and set up five frames at 2 seconds with .2 second tweening between each. Finally, I set up a 3x loop. You can see my final product below.

ddanimation2
Skyscraper ad animation.

Thanks for stopping by, see you next week!

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Dunkin Donuts, I’m simply a consumer who enjoys their products and this was an educational exercise. 🙂

Wireframing for Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House

Hello everyone! This week I chose to redesign a local eatery’s website, Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House in Atlantic City, NJ.

Image found on company’s Twitter page.

I have been eating at Vagabond (or as almost everyone calls it: “Vagabond’s”) since the location was rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy hit the shore back in 2012. Besides their extensive craft beer list (although a huge selling point), Vagabond’s retake on classic bar food is what makes me come back for more. They have something for everyone: classic food like a burger or nachos, but also foods with a little sophistication, such as seared ahi tuna. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve had at least ten different meals there and they’re all delicious and inexpensive. My personal favorite, the Turkey Apple Brie sandwich served on walnut-raisin bread and pepper jam. Mmm.

They present most of their meals on a butcher block, and their menus are not the classic laminated 8.5×11 paper, they again smaller, more sophisticated menus in a cork binding (see first picture, above). They pay attention to detail, which sets them apart from you’re typical restaurant or bar. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night, there’s usually a band playing and the atmosphere is just very relaxed and fun.

When this guy rolls up, you know you’re eating good.

Overall, it’s one of my favorite places to eat and hang out with friends in the summer, especially when I don’t feel like paying big bucks in the casinos of Atlantic City. 🙂 And get this, this past Monday (10/12/2015) Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives announced that Guy Fieri was coming to Atlantic City to do a show that included  Vagabond’s, airing February 2016!

Now that you are more familiar with Vagabond’s Kitchen & Tap House, I can tell you more about my assignment. You might be wondering, “How do you even begin designing a website?” Never fear, I was wondering the same thing until this past week. I learned that most designers use a process called wireframing, which acts as a blueprint for websites. The wireframe lacks all the bells and whistles of fonts, images, and color; it focuses instead on functionality and user experience. Wireframing also helps you build a hierarchy of information so that what is most important to a user is easy to find. Let’s face it, a website can look like a work of art, but if you can’t navigate the site quickly and find what you’re looking for in seconds, it’s pretty much worthless.

Like any other project, I started cruising around the Internet to give myself inspiration. What I found interesting, if a little strange, is that most restaurants follow the same exact style of website. I looked up major chains such as Panera Bread, Red Robin, Chili’s, Starbucks, and Carrabba’s–every single one looked like they had the same designer who simply swapped colors/logos/images around.

Getting back on topic, I needed to have various criteria included on the homepage of the website. This included:

  • Logo
  • Navigation bar
  • Social media icons
  • Rotating slideshow images
  • Upcoming Events/Specials
  • Three feature areas (pictures or copy)
  • Contact Us area
  • Another feature of my choice
  • Color swatches

Our image had a required size of 1280 x 972 pixels, or about 18 x 13.5 inches. The first thing I did was set up guidelines two inches in on both sides and create a big container rectangle on my image. Vagabond’s current website does a similar practice, and they have a background image outside that container box. I also set up guidelines at 9 inches (width) and ~6.75 inches (height), the halfway points of my document.

Something that I learned in lecture was that researchers find that most users
a) scan the page quickly for information they want, and
b) look at websites in an “F”-shaped pattern.

So, it makes the most sense for your most important information in the uppermost left corner of the website.  I began to add my navigation and logo image on the top left corner, because it would be instantly recognizable when logging onto the web page, and then proceeded to the “rotating images” box. From there I added the various other criteria. I wish I could describe exactly what I did in a more interesting way, but I simply created many rectangles and free transformed them until I had some semblance of a layout I was pleased with. Oh, and I added about twenty guidelines to help me align the boxes/text/images/random-things-you-have-probably-never-even-thought-about! Phew!! After the boxes were all aligned, I brainstormed on the specific information I wanted to include in the layout, and ordered the headlines from most to least important. This last step helped me decide what should be on the left side, because as I mentioned, it should house the most important information. I decided to add the “rotating images” right below the logo because Vagabond’s should be advertising their food first and foremost. Next I added an events section, a beers on tap section (they are a tap house, after all), and a section about delivery all the way to the right. I found the social media icons for free at iconfinder.com, which I highly recommend and will bookmark for future use. layersscreenshot I put a small “social media feed” containing their activity on different social platforms directly below the icons because they flow well together.

Something of invaluable importance was my use of the layers panel and folders. For a project like this where it felt like I had insurmountable layers, being organized and keeping everything flowing helped keep my sanity. To the right you can see what my layers panel looked like after some time. If it seems overwhelming here, you should have seen it before I began to organize it! 🙂

vagabond-inside
Image courtesy of Google.

Finally, all that was left was possible color swatches. Vagabond’s logo is white text on a black background, so the possibilities are endless. Recalling the blocks of wood they serve their food on, I thought that wood colors could work, as well as the green of the paint inside the tap house itself. I went with hexcodes #330000 (not quite black), #ffffff (white), #7d3300 (brown), and #b9bf8e (green). My idea was that the nav bar and footer would be the brown wood color, with the container box containing the green. I would have the individual content boxes containing white with the off-black text. I would also consider changing the opacity on the white container boxes just slightly, but that’s something I would need to see first-hand.

Below is a final image of my wireframe for Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House.

wireframe

I would like to think it’s an improvement of their current website. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

NOTE: This is strictly for educational purposes, I am in no way affiliated with Vagabond. Just a local patron who has been enjoying their food/beer for years.

Moodboards and Imagery

This week in Digital Imagery we discussed ways to get inspired for imagery projects. Specifically we talked about moodboards and how you can use them to visually illustrate a certain style. They help flesh out ideas that may be bouncing around in your head so that other people don’t need to be psychics to know exactly what you’re thinking! 🙂

Our showcase assignment was to create a moodboard for a brand. I chose to do my own personal brand, because although in infancy, it’s growing every day. In another class I’m currently taking, Web Design Principles (a class which teaches the foundation of HTML and CSS), my semester-long project is to create my own portfolio website. I hope that this moodboard helps get, well, the mood of my website across and keeps me on track for the theme of my website.

It would be hard for me to dive into my moodboard without explaining my website idea first. It is a portfolio-based website, but because I like websites with a theme, I decided to make my website based around the idea of walking down a trail. I want the user to feel immersed in outdoor imagery: lots of trees, animals, dirt, etc. I want you to be “walking” and then end up at a “fork in the trail,” where you click the trail you want to follow to get to the various pages of my website.

With my theme for my project in mind, I went on various stock imagery websites such as pixabay.com and pexels.com and downloaded (way too many) images. I also wanted fonts that were very light and airy and reminded me of the woods. At first I went on dafont.com, but when I read the agreement that came with a font I had chosen, I realized it was not permitted for use on personal branding websites. For this project that would have been fine, but because I eventually want to use certain fonts for my branding website, I decided to switch to fonts offered on TypeKit to be on the safe side. I downloaded about five fonts to choose from.

After I collected my images and fonts, I opened Photoshop and began to construct my moodboard on a 10×8 inch document. We were not allowed to use templates, so I began by adding many different colored rectangles, and threw in a few ellipses just to spice things up a bit. moodboardlayoutTo the right you can see what it looked like when I was finished constructing the layout. I know it looks a little wild right now, but the colors help differentiate the shapes in my layers panel. From here I began to embed the stock images into the document by importance. I started with my favorite image, which I put in the very center, navy blue box. I situated the image’s layer behind the navy blue box, and changed the opacity of the box to ~60% so I could see the image behind it as I adjusted it’s size. The image was much larger than my square, so I had to free transform it (Command + T) to resize it to properly fit. Once I was happy with it, I moved the image’s layer above the box, changed the box’s opacity back to 100%, right clicked my image’s layer and clicked on “Create Clipping Mask.” This feature allows you to clip the top image to fit the bottom image, which I think is just too cool! The best part is, if it doesn’t fit perfectly after you click it, you can still adjust that mask and nudge it around until you get something you like. My description might seem complicated, but it was actually very easy.

pantones
Pantone’s Mimosa, Emerald, and Marsala.

After this first image, I repeated the process over and over until my moodboard came to life. I left a few boxes purposely free of images to leave room for some text and font use, and because we were assigned to use three of Patone’s “Color of the Year” colors, and I hadn’t quite figured out how I wanted to incorporate them. So, at this point I went over to Pantone’s website and found the “Plus” hexcode for 2015’s color: Marsala. At first when I saw the color I thought it was kind of ugly, but when I saved the swatch in my library I realized it actually worked well with my trail theme; it was actually a very pretty, earthy tone. I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Pantone! I also decided to use their 2013 color, Emerald, and their 2009 color, Mimosa. I thought the three would pair well together.

Marsala (R: 173 G: 101 B: 95 | C: 10 M: 67 Y: 49 K:23)
Emerald (R: 0 G: 155 B: 119 | C: 99 M: 0 Y: 69 K: 0 )
Mimosa (R: 239 G: 192 B: 80 | C: 0 M: 15 Y: 75 K: 5 )

So, the first thing I did was set an empty ellipse’s background as Marsala, and put white text over it. (Side note: fonts used were Metallophile Sp8 in one and Myriad Std Tilt in another; I did have to change the leading in one to make it fill the box more.) That left me to place Emerald and Mimosa. Because Mimosa is so vivid and powerful, I knew I wanted to leave that for something very minimal. I decided to create a custom shape, an arrow, and filled it with Mimosa. Emerald felt more subtle, so I decided to use the paint bucket tool to paint my background in this color and I loved it, however this made my images blend in since they’re quite close to emerald as it is. I decided to put a 10px white stroke effect on my images, and put a drop shadow on both ellipses to make them pop.

Finally, our last requirement for the moodboard was to use a Photoshop action anywhere on the board. In our discussion post I had linked to this site, which displays 45 free Photoshop actions. I went back on that article and scrolled around and thought it would be pretty cool if I made one of my pictures “Bold Black and White,” so I downloaded that action. After I applied the action I realized I didn’t really want black and white, because I thought it took away from the overall feel. So I deleted the actual black and white adjustment and just kept the other parts of the action and applied it to the entire moodboard. After adjusting specific parts, I felt that it made the picture brighter and more vibrant.

Here is the final image:

design7

Because I’m a little indecisive, I also have another option of my moodboard (below) without my Emerald background. Even though this means that it would not technically meet all of the requirements of my showcase, I still like it enough to add here. You can never have too many options, right?

design7white

Thank you for stopping by!

Green Initiative Logo Design: Water Warriors

Above: Hershey Kiss logo.

Happy Sunday, everyone! In this week’s classes we discussed logos. I’m currently enrolled in another class that is very design and logo-heavy, so it was nice to refresh the basics in this class. We reviewed many company logos and learned why some are better than others, and that many companies utilize their negative space to hide imagery.  You probably have heard about the forward arrow hidden in the FedEx logo, but did you know that Hershey’s Kisses’ has a hidden “kiss” between the K and the I? Neither did I, until this class! (Can we say mind-blowing?) Logos are a lot more than just a symbol; through research, time, and effort, what appears to be as simple image actually takes on the responsibility of defining the entire company. It’s a big job, and it’s harder than you realize to try and convey a message in one image.

For this design showcase, we were given two company scenarios to choose between and needed to design a logo for our chosen company. I picked the one described as “dealing with green initiatives in Los Angeles; non-profit; target audience: acquiring local business partners and overall awareness of green initiatives.”

There were 50 designs for us to manipulate to our heart’s desire. At first I was checking them out, trying to narrow the image down right away, but I quickly realized that I felt a little out-of-touch with my company. I was born and raised in New Jersey, so you can probably understand why. 😉 I took to Google and searched for Los Angeles, Los Angeles stereotypes, and things to do in Los Angeles to give myself a better idea of the overall mood in L.A. After reading a few articles (some written in jest, others not so much) I began to jot down some common themes people have with Los Angeles, like a sense of community, New-Age hippies, a love for sun and sea, sustainability, being healthy, etc. I realize that these are stereotypes, but you have to admit that it sounds like the perfect place for a start-up green company.

A short GIF of California’s drought progression in 2014. Source: MotherJones.com

As I sat there, reading and brainstorming, it hit me: what’s something that we are constantly hearing on the news about California? That’s right: they are currently experiencing their worst drought in over a century. Bingo, I thought, perhaps if the drought was a state-wide problem, it would be an easy way to attract local attention of my company!

plainlogo
The logo I chose from about 50.

So, I went back to the list of 50 logos and scrutinized them. I finally settled on a logo that, to me, looked like a sun’s rays, changing color. I brought it over to my new document, which I had created quite large for flexibility, and saved it at 300 ppi since it will most definitely be printed. I really enjoyed this picture, because it reminded me of sunbeams fanning out on water. Since I had decided that water would be a major theme in my company, I wanted to incorporate water into my logo. To accomplish this I created a new, blue circle using the ellipse tool, nestled it into the negative circular space already in this image, and added about eight anchor points to the bottom of the ellipse. I then pulled all of them a little less than halfway up the circle to create a new shape, and pulled three anchor points using the direct selection tool even higher than halfway to mimic waves. I then played with the anchor points and their bezier curves until I had a shape whose negative space somewhat resembled waves of the ocean. I really loved the original image’s colors and felt that the blues and greens were a good marriage of earth and water, and didn’t feel the need to change it. I made my wave shape a brighter shade of blue, just to make it a little more distinguished and to separate it from the overall shape.

I settled on the name of “Water Warriors” with a tagline of “Dawn On A Greener L.A.” I chose a sans-serif font called Kannada MN Regular with no weight. I wanted to stick with a sans-serif font because to me they appear simple and raw–just like Earth. Since the name of the company was “Water Warriors,” I wanted each letter to stand strong, capable of standing on its own without leaning too closely to neighboring letters. After opening the characters panel, I set the name in small caps, and set the tracking to 25pts. I made the tagline’s colors a slightly lighter shade of grey so that the name stood out more clearly, and set the tracking a tad larger at 75.

Overall, I’m pleased with the final design of this logo for Water Warriors. Keeping the seven principles of logo design in mind, I wanted to make sure the logo was versatile yet simple enough to be used in a variety of mediums. Should Water Warriors take off and become a force for good in Los Angeles, I wanted their logo to be flexible enough to be used a variety of media for volunteers and promotions: pens, pins, T-shirts, embroidered on hats, stamped on mugs, and so on. I definitely believe this design could be easily manipulated for future rebranding, if necessary, as the type can easily be changed and altered as necessary.

logo-final
Final image of my logo for the fictitious Water Warriors.

Below you’ll see a few options I created for Water Warriors, their design in Grayscale and inverted in black and white.

logo-grayscale
Grayscale version of the logo.
logo-reverse
Inverted version of the logo.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next weekend.