The assignment for this class was to start building a campaign of a city with the narrative as the starting point. The narrative acts as a snapshot of how the campaign will feel. It paints a picture of what imagery it will invoke; what kinds of concepts and graphics may be used. This helps set up the theme and gives an idea of how to create the visuals. My city was Riga. I played with the theme of “Cultural Crossroads”. My narrative worked with the concept of balancing opposing ideas and bringing them together. Heritage meets high-tech. Fortress walls become paths for railways. Old barracks become the home of business. Diversity meets harmony. For my vision board and style sheet I pulled in the concept of the crossroads by using a radial design. For the infographic I used a balanced vertical design. This used the concept that the crossroads balanced opposing thoughts and designs while still merging them into one.
Creating movement in the projects was important to guide viewers to the information in the correct order. I had to do this by using line and layout. A Jirousek (1995) describes, “movement of the eye that flows smoothly from one area of the composition to another, guided by continuations of line or form, and by gradations of color or form”. I applied this in the style sheet and vision board by using radiating lines. The lines help lead the eye towards the center. In the case of the vision board, I used spiraling lines which help lead the viewer around the page. In the infographic I used a morphing divider to help lead the viewer downwards. The water shine in the graphic merges in the flowers which then merges into the DNA. Every so often, I have shapes that flare off to help guide the viewer to the different sections.
Another concept I learned was how to grid out a piece. Compound grids became the most useful because they were dynamic. Gridding allowed me to create layouts that were organized and helped construct a hierarchy. Compound grids or modular grids combines rows and columns that “creates a series of small content areas called modules that may be combined both vertically and horizontally, allowing the designer to create a myriad of different size and shape spatial zones” (Graver & Jura, 2012, p. 32). The concept was used in my vision board. Large sections break the piece up into quadrants. Those quadrants are then broken up into smaller zones to display the information.
One design problem I came across was the style sheet organization. I had a layout I liked but was having trouble on how to use the layout to effectively display information. In my first draft, my eye had trouble following the narrative and the piece looked cluttered and unbalanced. So, I removed any design aspects that did not add to the overall look. That meant removing underlining and superfluous fluff elements. I then moved the narrative to the top left corner. This helped with the reading because the left edge was straight and did not jump around. Also, since English readers read left to right, it gave the narrative a higher place in the hierarchy. Instead of having my content fight the layout, I used Czarnecki’s suggestion. He suggests the using “simple shapes and rules to draw attention to the text or balance the page” (Czarnecki, 2018). I followed the lines and shapes and kept in mind how it would change how the information sat. Like in the case of the narrative.
My innovation came from the radial design in my vision board. Most radial designs pick one point and build out from there. I combined the radial design with a modular layout. I had one grand point that everything radiated out from. And then in individual sections I broke it down further into another radial design. The main radial brought the eye to the city and theme. The mini radials brought attention to the section titles.
My understanding and use of a visual hierarchy have improved due to the research done for this project. I have learned how to use consistency and weight to emphasize important. A Glaser (2015) wrote, “consistent measure in sections of relatively equal importance is a helpful and reassuring guide”. When I approached a project, I created rule for levels of importance and stuck with them. In my infographic I used the largest, most decorative fonts for my most important information, my city. Then the sub information was given a certain font and was made bigger than the body.
Learning how to effectively use grids has helped with creating hierarchies, organization, and cleanliness. It has also helped me learn how to create more varied designs. By sectioning out a canvas and then breaking it down further I am able to emphasize the information I need to, I can organize it in a logical manner, and it helps keep down clutter. The grid helps keep everything spaced and gives it a place. Content is no longer fighting for attention and space. Modular designs are most effective because they allow for flexible layouts and “organizing them in a grid makes it manageable for the viewer to take it in without feeling overwhelmed” (Saltz, 2014). This was useful in the vision board. I had a lot of ground to cover and using a modular grid helped give everything room to breathe and attention.
Learning how to pace a project without throwing a wall of information at the reader was something I struggled with. Creating pacing was important for my infographic. In Basics Design, it is suggested to use natural breaks and to combine images and text (Ambrose & Harris, 2011, p. 90). For the infographic I relied on the imagery to give as much information as the text. That way I was not relying solely on the text to get the concepts across. I also used the layout itself and the graphics to prove my points of creating balance between opposing ideas.
Ambrose, G., & Harris, P. (2011). Basics Design. Lausanne: Ava.
Czarnecki, L. (2018, November 26). 7 Essential Typographic Layout Systems – Type365 Lucas Czarnecki. Retrieved from http://type365.com/blog/2017/02/21/7-typographic-layout-systems/#radial
Glaser, J. (2015, June 3). Type Makes A Difference: An Exploration Of Type-Focused Websites. Typography: Practical Considerations And Design Patterns. Retrieved from http://ce.safaribooksonline.com/book/design/9783944540771/type-makes-a-difference-an-exploration-of-type-focused-websites/chapter_10_xhtml?uicode=fullsail
Graver, A., & Jura, B. (2012). Best practices for graphic designers: Grids and page layouts: An essential guide for understanding & applying page design principles. Beverly, MA: Rockport.
Jirousek, C. (1995). Art, Design, and Visual Thinking. Retrieved from http://char.txa.cornell.edu/
Saltz, I. (2014, September, 22). Typography: Working with Grids. Lecture. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Design-Typography-tutorials/Welcome/162443/192697-4.html?autoplay=true