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!

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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.

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.

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

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!

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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.

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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.

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Grayscale version of the logo.
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Inverted version of the logo.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next weekend.