Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Can't Miss: Cool Infographics

This week I decided to stray from because all their content is dated. So I went to one of their featured blogs instead. Cool Infographics is a blog that obviously is about cool infographics. I found this fun one called The Tweet Topic Explorer. You type in your twitter name and it comes up with a bunch of colored circles in varying sizes that will show you what words you use them most in your tweets. This was created by Jeff Clark of Neoformix.

On stumbleupon I found this funny picture. It's just a little creative inspiration made from snow.

Response: iPad

Designing for the iPad has been running fairly smooth so far. Theresa made a template for our group to follow, so it literally takes minutes for us to put our department pages on the iPad. The part that really trips all of us up is where and how pinning works. When we were taught how to do this it seemed so easy, but when we actually started working on our own pages it started to get kind of complex.

I'm working on the webbie team to try and add multimedia content to our existing content, and it has been a challenge trying to figure out how to make each page work in both orientations. Even though it's a struggle trying to make everything work and flow together, I'm happy we are learning Mag+. Without this software we probably would just be doing mock-ups in inDesign still. We wouldn't be able to actually display our work on the iPad like we can with Mag+.

Critique: Logo for web and mini portfolio

This week I tried to spend some time working on my logo/branding. I decided that I wanted to keep the logo clean. For now, I think I like how it's not too over powering or crazy.  I struggled with the typeface for the word designs. I didn't want my logo to appear to wedding invitation-y or to fancy. I think the way this one looks is less formal, but is still elegant. I really like the way the two colors look together. They complement each other well. I might mess with the logo a little bit more later in the week. I'm hoping to get a proof to the printer by Monday. This weekend I plan on dedicating myself to this portfolio.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Critique: Nosh web wireframe

This week I've been working on designing the wireframe for Nosh's website. The website has been coming along. We have taken huge steps to get our wireframe up to speed with everyone else. There still needs to be some copy written for the website and ads need to be placed, but overall, it's starting to come together.

We decided it would be best to keep most of our website online only information. Nosh is set to be a quarterly magazine so our website will need to be updated with fresh topics frequently. We want readers to keep coming back to our site throughout the year for new information and ideas for snacks.

We decided it would be best to incorporate elements from the magazine into the website. We wanted to keep everything consistent so it could look as well-branded as possible. Once we've finished creating the wireframes we will move on to working on the iPad.

You Can't Miss: Ampersands and EmDash

Today on designing magazines I found a post that showcases the magazine EmDash, a design publication that is created by George Mason University students. Inside, there is an article about not judging a book by its cover. It's interesting because it says in elementary school that many of us told not to do this. We are told to read the back cover of a book and a few pages of the inside to decide whether we want to read it or not. However, book design is such a huge part of the book itself. We should judge books by their covers because a beautifully designed book cover means that the publisher and author spent a lot of time and money perfecting the visual that is going to represent their book on the shelves.

In EmDash, the book that they use for an example are the Twilight book covers. The covers all have a black background with a blood red colored object. This color represents the main theme of the book. I'm not sure if there is evidence to support that these book covers helped with the success of Twilight, but the covers are striking visuals that any Twi-heart will recognize.

I also stumbled upon a page about the beautiful curves of the ampersands. I'm not sure how often people use ampersands in their designs, but I always think it's a fun design element that can be incorporated.  I mostly see them used in wedding invitations played up pretty big. Anyway, this is a good site to go to to download some free fonts that you might not already have also.

Response: Blogs and Nosh printing

So I'm glad we went over all of our blogs in class. I know my blog is in need of a makeover, but it just keeps getting pushed to the end of my list of things to do. I think I'm going to try and set aside some time to work on branding my blog the way I choose to brand my mini-portfolio and website. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but after browsing around for some inspiration I'm sure I'll find something that I like.

So, Nosh is just about ready to be sent to the printer! I'm so excited to see how everything turns out. Our entire group has worked really hard to get our magazine ready to print, and it's nice to know that we can finally breathe a sign of relief this week (at least until the weekend when we start doing iPad stuff). At the beginning of the semester, when we looked through the books that past students had produced I thought that it would be near impossible to do all that work in one semester, but I stand corrected. I can't wait to get our first proofs back.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Can't Miss: Web Portfolio Designs

Since we are going to have to start putting together an online portfolio for ourselves I decided to start looking around for different ideas to get my website started. I found this website that has screenshots of some of the best web portfolio designs. They're a little too complex for what most of us are able to do ourselves, but it's a good place to look for inspiration.

The above post from Designing Magazines is rather funny. It's short and it gets to the point. I thought it was worth sharing though because the blog hasn't been updated in almost a year, so it's hard to find stuff that is still new and relevant.

Response: Mini-Portfolios

I'm excited to get started on my mini-portfolio. I think it will be a lot of work deciding exactly how I want to layout my portfolio, but I once it's finished it will be nice to finally have everything bound together in such a professional looking book.

I think I want to have the larger square portfolio that is dimensioned at 7.5 x 8 inches. It's a good size and it displays the work in a pocket-sized proportion that isn't too small, but still doesn't make the work look larger-than-life or awkward.

The way I plan to organize my book is by all Vox stuff, then all Meredith stuff then other stuff. Within each category I'll break everything down by cover, feature and department. This will help me keep everything organized. I know for sure that I want the left side to be a blank page with words that describe the work. I also know I only want one design on each page.

As far as a resume is concerned I'm not sure if I want to include it in the portfolio because it might look too cluttered. I know I will include my contact information for sure though.

Critique: Nosh designs

Now that the final weeks of school are quickly approaching that means putting our finals prototypes to bed. This week my group has been working hard to get our book finalized. We laid out the entire magazine in order to finalize a page and ad count. Our book will be 48 pages not including the cover. I can't wait to finally have a hard copy in my hands.

The recent struggles that have risen lately have to do with word count on stories, cutting text to fit and writing small blurbs of display copy. These next few days will present a challenge while we finally work out all the nit-picky details of each page. Right now I'm working on a cover for the prospectus, perfecting my feature and redesigning one of my department pages. The peach department page doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of book when they were all finally side-by-side. I'll post the stuff I have right now and show the final pages later in the week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Response: Photo Journal

Last week I was on spring break in Cancun, Mexico and it was AMAZING! Seriously, every second of it was wonderful. We were gone for 6 days and 7 nights. I had the trip planned since last semester and it was so weird when all five of my friends and I were finally standing in the airport waiting to go through security. Now I'm back and peeling. Awesome. Despite my snake skin, I did manage to take some inspiring photos while on vacation. Here they are:
 Day 1.  My first day in Cancun. We got in around 11 a.m., but couldn't check into our room until 3 p.m. Once we got in our rooms though we hit the beach.
Day 2. There were chairs with shade lined up on the beach for those who didn't want to feel the burn. After the first day when everyone was nice and crisp we would lie out here. I got outside early enough to get this photo before all the chairs filled. 
 Day 4. Three of us had a beachfront walk-out room. It was awesome. These palm trees were right outside our room. This is around 6 p.m. before we went to dinner that night. It was so windy at night that all the tree leaves would stick straight up.
 Day 5: This is the last day we were on the beach before we left the next morning. It's a pretty cliche image, but I really like how the color of the ocean and everything turned out.
 Day 5: I stood on the roof of one of the hotel restaurants to get this picture. There were steps to get to the roof, so it's not like I broke any laws either. 

I like the idea of the assignment, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up and do this everyday for an entire year. I need to post my typography assignment later. I don't have the flashdrive that is on with me right now. So stay tuned!

Critique: 30 Under 30

I am currently in the works for 30 under 30. I'm kind of going for this retro vibe. At first I wanted it to be old-school movie poster like, but now I think I'm going to try out a few things and see where it take me.

I like the idea of the big arrow to lead readers into the story. It just points them in the right direction and gets their eyes moving with the story. I decided to organize my story by individual. I didn't want to break them up into categories because I thought that might pose problems in the long run when it comes to diversity.

I'm going to finish up the design tonight and I'll post finished pictures when I'm done working on the project.

Here's the basically finished product: