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

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):

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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.

 

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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:

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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!

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.

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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. 🙂

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.

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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.

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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.
logo-reverse
Inverted version of the logo.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next weekend.

Bow-Wow’s Beans

This week I was tasked with creating a chalkboard-styled web image for a new coffee company: Bow-Wow’s Beans. This pooch-themed cafe wanted their chalkboard styled with everything dog-related: paw prints, bones, the works! So, let’s get right into the nitty-gritty of what I did.

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Final product of my image for Bow-Wow’s Beans.

After finding a suitable background chalkboard image, I set out to find a  font that was naturally somewhat transparent and evoked the image of hand-writing. I downloaded four fonts from Typekit: Almaq Rough, HWT Catchwords, Lust Script Regular, and Sail Type. I also downloaded two fonts called Puppybellies and Austie Bost Kitten Klub from 1001fonts.com.

From here I began to actually designed the chalkboard. We were given many ornaments to use for our chalkboard image. I pasted the border ornament and stretched it past the image so that only the dotted dashes appeared on the board. I knew that I wanted the arced ribbon ornament, so I pasted that in as well and moved it to the top. I typed “Welcome to…” and arced the text using the warp text tool and fit it within the arced ribbon.

From there I added the different coffee specials, syrups, and other texts. I had a lot of fun changing the fonts and adding the different chalk text styles and changing colors. I added a final ornament on the bottom to draw attention to the new “Pumpkin Spice” flavor. I purposely kept a bit of white space between my “headers” to draw the eye down to the specific points in my chalkboard.

Puppybellies had a few of glyphs in their text that I utilized throughout my design. For example, the + sign was a solid dog bone, the { symbol was an outline of a dogbone, and the * was a paw print. I had a lot of fun figuring out how I wanted to place them all along the chalkboard and am pleased with the way it came out.

Note: Please be aware that this was an assignment for class and not an actual project I was paid or tasked to do. This was entirely for educational purposes. Thank you!