Rights of Use:

All images in this blog are the personal work of Megan McFall. Use them by permission only and give credit to their creator.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My final Project

Add caption
My final project for this class was a challenge.  I created a deck of cards that would use the remainder of my check list and work as gifts for my family.  After I was unable to get a price quote for producing mass quantities of my magnetic book, I had to fall back on something else.  So, I chose something that was useful and I thought I could use variable data. 
I started this project with 28 cards and the box.  That was 2 suits of 13 cards, plus two jokers.  I was originally going to have the symbols for the cards be done by variable data, however, I realized this would have taken a lot more work for the printer.  Instead, I created the shapes and substituted them in myself.  This brought my “pages” total up to 55.  (52 cards, +2 business cards + 2 Jokers).
One of the most fun parts of this project was also the most challenging.  I hand drew the face cards to use as my bitmap images.  I had to start by sectioning off a rectangle for my image area, then drew the face of the character, then copied the image and taped it on the opposite side.  This gave me two identical “shoulders”.  I filled one in, then copied and taped again to create the final product.  Then the whole image was scanned in and corrected in Adobe CS5 Photoshop.  Here I manipulated the color and direction they were facing (so that I could make then 4 suits) as well as shrunk the size so that they would fit on my cards.   I did this process with all three cards.   
The logo was based off a logo I made my sophomore year.
I really enjoyed working on this project, however when it was printed I found some problems.  First, I had not set up an individual document for the back cover of my cards.  I talked to my printer about this and he pulled it out into a new document.  The printing process wasn’t difficult after that.  However, when I got my cards I was severely disappointed.  I had asked for my cards to be cut to their 2”x3” measurements.  When I got them back they were almost 1/4” shorter than I’d asked for on both sides.  I had also had to make a guess on the width of the box because I didn’t know how thick the cards would stack.  The box is just a little bit too thin. 
I do not have the money at this time to re-print my cards, but I will probably adjust it for future use.

Direct mail

For my variable data project I decided to look up fun activities and deals Disney World in Florida, USA is holding for guests.  My two demographics were boys or girls around the age of seven.  Each category got a customized postcard with a Disney Princesses cover or a Pirates of the Caribbean cover.  As I only received permission to use the images in class, and not to publish them publicly the images are not on my web page. 
The inside of the card was to be made out to “Her majesty” or “Deck Hand” respectively and in the “quip” section the child was invited to be turned into a princess or pirate by participating in programs offered in the theme parks.
I chose a scrawling script to make the letter look a bit more hand written, yet in print so that early readers could pick out wards in their very own letter to themselves. By putting a picture on the back that may appeal to the audience, and by encouraging the children to get their parents help online, I made them an important part of getting the advertising to work.  Children, even more than mounds of direct mail, can be very convincing. 

Newspaper Adds

The final small add
The final large add
The critiqued small add
The critiqued large add

With the newspaper project I was just trying to put together an add campaign. I didn’t feel like I needed to make it about a real group or display what sorts of games they actually played, however my peers saw differently.  They wanted me to stress the sorts of games actually played by my friends; not chess or poker, but Fantasy games.  I took their advice, and you can see the difference it’s made in my adds. 
The characters in the final adds were drawn in Illustrator, the text done in InDesign.  I hadn’t really considered stylizing text so that was also very different after the critique. 
The small add is 1x3 inches, the second is 2x3 inches both to be run once a week for two weeks to fit into my “budget” of $100.  I chose to run long adds because most adds are vertical and I wanted to do something that would theoretically catch the reader’s eye.  The add was never published in the newspaper.
I didn’t really understand what I was doing before the critique, so I am very glad to have been able to have the comments of my peers.  I felt like this add improved a lot after our in-class discussion.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

FSRTC Session

At the FSRTC conference, the session I went to was about photography. Dr. Robert C Wiseman from Eastern Illinois gave the lecture. In it he gave the audience the definitions of the terms F/stop, ISO, and Shutter speed.  Knowing these terms was important in understanding photography and the rest of his lecture. 
I am in my first photography class right now, and one of the things I wish I had been able to work with was film.  Dr. Wiseman told us about Black and White Processes for film development, and walked through the history of the camera up until the digital age.  Although film would be fun, I can really appreciate being able to save multiple copies of work in Photoshop, as well as the history log if I make a simple mistake!   At the end of the presentation we got to see some of the film photos that Dr. Wiseman took. 
One of the things I really learned was the focal length divided by diameter will create my F/stop.  I also learned that F 1.4 is the highest F/stop, but I did not find out what the lowest F/stop was.  F 22 is the lowest I’ve heard of in class.  We were given the most common F/stops and shutter speeds, although these will have to be adjusted depending on the allowances of your personal camera to get the best shot.
Towards the end we saw Dr. Wiseman’s homemade pin-hole camera.  I was pretty surprised that it didn’t require a lens, but he took a picture of a student, and it actually worked. He also made a comment about Polaroid, saying that they weren’t worried about their cameras, only about selling film.  Currently 10 pictures would cost $9.99.  When you can do so much digitally it’s brand name that’s keeping the film industry going.
I was glad to have taken the time to attend this session, and wish there were more graphics sessions available time wise so that it would be easier to fit them into my schedule.

Gap Logo

There was a new Gap logo, and it lasted 12 days.  I can’t help but wonder if people wouldn’t have gotten used to it if it had lasted longer.  After all, people hate change, especially drastic ones, until they’re used to it. Comments on the blog.learnvest.com webpage said two important things about the re-branding.  First, “Hello! New Coke!” Obviously some companies have made a logo switch that worked for its consumer base and it has stuck.  The other comment was, “that new logo is beyond ugly and feels very techy.” 
  As far as brand meaning, the original Gap logo felt a little country (with the connotations friendly and hardworking). It was the serif letters that gave it that feel.  The logo was only two colors but they were stylized and because the background was not black, it did not feel foreboding or standoffish.  It was also cheaper to print.
The new logo was a stark contrast, using a new color (Black), a completely different font (Helvetica) that was thick and round, with block shaped corners, and an inverted color scheme with enough white space to feel cold and distant.  The little square in the corner seems like a tacky add on, and tacky is not a word that any company wants added to their merchandise, especially if they’re trying to gain a wider customer base.
Obviously there was a huge hit and miss with the target audience, supposedly 20-30 year olds.  By looking at the new logo we see that it is actually very techy with its black and white, san-serif font.  It feels much more computerized, and we are the upcoming technological generation.  That part was dead on, but black and white can be cold, and the sharp edges made the signage uncomfortable.  While growing up with cell phones and social web networks does label the target audience as ‘techy’ this generation also has the mindset of doing what you love for a living over what makes the most money.  The new logo impressed every feeling other than Fun, which when shopping, is a key motivator.
The cost to Gap could have been amazing.  At a seasonal change clothing sales usually rise, but Gap instead took a 4% decline in sales.  As far as my research as shown me, the logo was only released on the web. If the logo was only released on web then the chain of expense wasn’t nearly as high as it could have been if they also had it printed on shopping bags, posters, signs, clothing tags, billboards, or in advertisements.  The new ‘old design’ is still changed, with all the mid lines on the G, A, and P meeting up on the same line.  This was by far the better way to revamp their old logo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brendan Murphy

Brendan Murphy was an inspirational speaker in that he had seen surprises in his field, had made positive contributions to society, and still enjoyed what he did, despite working with people that had such tight deadlines.  He had several good quotes, and stressed working with strengths rather than to improve weaknesses.  Someone else can help fill in where you aren’t as strong.
Although Murphy’s job was perhaps not what he expected, he learned it and excelled. He viewed himself as more of a story teller.  He also noted that after the first year or so the college degree earned isn’t as essential, but knowing what your career is is important.  Murphy said a lot of what he did was writing, and that can be disappointing if you’re not expecting it, but he obviously made the most of it, which just goes to show how flexible he is. 
One of Murphy’s best attributes is his ability to handle change.  He said technology changes.  Over the last fifty years, we’ve seen leaps and bounds of change, from records to audiocasts on mp3’s. He personally has had to make several changes.  He moved to Pittsburg for college.  That was a big change.  He moved back to New York, also a big change.  He went from design classes to writing 75% of the time, and he was able to move right into the heart and bloodstream of the city.  In the middle of all of that Murphy has found some constants, such as honing in on design skills and ideas, being able to work with people, and good communication.
I find one of the most inspiring things about Murphy was that even when he was in college he was looking down the road, knowing he may need a fallback career, choosing to go to college at all.  At the same time he’s not afraid to look back and give credit to the people that supported him as he made his way through college.  This is a very admirable trait, one that tends to disappear with success. 
It isn’t much of a mystery why Brendan Murphy has been so successful.  He’s got talent, gratitude, an eye on the future, and strong perseverance. 

Color Essay

Johannas Brahms

Color is an incredible tool to the artists.  I chose an illustration from designarchives.aiga.org/#/home byRichard Mantel called Johannas Brahms, painted in 1984.  I noticed it first for the way the elements did not fit, particularly the odd angle of the beard, and was impressed by how color did in fact pull the disjointed elements together.
First we’ll discuss color choice, then composition, mood, and overall success.
The main color pallet for this painting was analogous.  Violet was the main color used, but in several different tones.  The violet on the pocket flower is not the same as the side bar.  The side bar has much more blue in it, although that is not the same blue we find in Brahms’ beard.  The face does not have many yellows but there are several shades and tints of red that would technically disqualify this work as analogous.  The greys used in the hair, clothing, and shadows are permissible in any color scheme as they create tints, and show depth.  Black and white and their tints are not considered part of the color wheel.
Composition of this piece focuses strongly on the stern face of the man because of the dramatic color difference. This is usually the case when you interrupt a color scheme. Most particularly the highlight on Brahms’ forehead catches the attention first, which leads the viewer to the stark whiteness of the text, then back down to the off-white, light violet of the eyes and down into the light colored beard.  Similar colors in the background then pull the eye back upwards along the hair lines, and the very dark colored suit is left almost invisible because of its almost lack of color.  This is good as Brahms himself was the main focus of the artwork, and the color contrast made him stand out dramatically.
Mood of this piece is primarily determined by color.  The shade of violet used for the majority of the image is a blue violet, which makes it at once calming and droll.  The very dark colors of the suit and hair intensify this feeling, making the violet seem almost eerie.  This piece remains stern and almost reproachful despite the stark color contrast of the face.  Though the reds should warm up the picture, the expression on Brahms’ face is severe enough that the emotion is not changed.  Even the bright white of the text is so stark it is not comforting.  I have not listened to Johannes Brahms’ music but I have a very good idea what sort of record it would be.
The overall success for this image was fairly high.  The beard still throws me, but as far as use of color it has done everything it means to.  There is a defined subject, a stern mood, cohesive color scheme.