MDM565 Reflection

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.

Problem Solving

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.

Innovative Thinking

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.


Acquiring Competencies

  • Visual Hierarchy

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.


  • Using Grids

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.


  • Pacing

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

Glaser, J. (2015, June 3). Type Makes A Difference: An Exploration Of Type-Focused Websites. Typography: Practical Considerations And Design Patterns. Retrieved from

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

Saltz, I. (2014, September, 22). Typography: Working with Grids. Lecture. Retrieved from





Layout 01

Layout 01

This layout uses the crossroads theme to section everything out. A brick or pavement overlay will be added to the center cross where a general overview of the theme will sit. The colors section will have an explanation of how to use the colors and how to play them off each other. Each color will have a floating mosaic featuring the main colors and their appropriate shades and tints. The shapes and graphics will be in a section that features crossroads and roundabouts. The product look will sit in a spiraling crossroad. This will go over general elements to use to create products that are part of a cohesive set. Imagery will show a modern skyscraper versus a gothic spire. This section will go over how to use images that work with the cultural crossroads theme.


Layout 02

Layout 02

This layout uses the concept of ideas meeting and merging together like a crossroads. The general overview will sit on the skyline with the railway bridge underneath it. The pillars for the bridge will melt into a pathway that leads to the next section. The pillars also separate the different graphics with explanations on how to use them. The next section is set up as a roundabout. This will feature images and frames and how to use them and design them. The roads will then melt into DNA strands. The top loops will feature an explanation on how to use frames and imagery. They will also explain design elements that will help create products that look cohesive. The bottom will talk about how to use the colors and what tints and shades are appropriate. The DNA will melt into peacock feathers that will feature the colors.


Layout 03

Layout 03

The top part of the infographic will feature the railway bridge versus Vanšu Bridge. An example of old meeting new. On the left, circular stylized clouds and angular sunshine on the right. This is another example of differing ideas meeting. The Daugava will sit under it and will flow down. This will melt into the flower pattern which melts into the DNA pattern. Around this split will feature the crossroad roundabouts in various forms.

Vision Board

Final Draft:




“Often, the focal point is implied by the text, but you can pronounce it with a graphic. You can also use simple shapes and rules to draw attention to the text or balance the page.” (Czarnecki, 2018)

I chose the center as the focal point to help enforce the idea of crossroads coming together. The lines, shapes, and hierarchy all lead to this focal point. I use lines to spiral towards the center. All the shapes and text are laid out to be pulled towards this point. Everything leads the eye to the center.



“Combining images and text can be used as a method to control the pace of a publication. Publications often have clear and natural break points such as new chapters.” (Ambrose & Harris, 2011, p. 90)

I tried to create breaks in the shapes, titles, and lines. Adding headers to sections helped to separate them from other parts. This is shown in the colors versus shapes. I also used line breaks to separate sections. This is more important in separating the text objects. I used shapes for the textures and images and shaped them to radiate from their titles.



“Modular grids are essentially compounds grids consisting of both columns and rows. This combination 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)

I broke down the page into sections. I then broke those sections down further to lay out the information. Images has a section but then I broke it down for the title and each picture. The upper left-hand section was broken down between, Narrative, Words, and Fonts.



“Opera’s Shiny Demos home page isn’t circular, but the text links all seem to emanate from a common or near common center. It’s easy to imagine the whole shape spinning around one of the squares in the middle or maybe one of the corners where four squares meet.” (Bradley, 2015)

I incorporated the radial design into how I handled the text. I created custom text frames that led to the center. This made the text flow towards the focal point and helped build the hierarchy.



“Experiment with outlining your groups or text; you can also try giving them background colors or images. This is yes another way to link text and create hierarchy.” (Czarnecki, 2017)

I used lines and shapes to help group subjects and build a hierarchy. I used lines to separate elements like the narrative, vocabulary, fonts and the colors from the shapes. I also used shapes to group the textures and images but also separate the images from each other.


Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 11.09.35 PM

“Sections with different levels of importance require different levels of prominence to guide the user through the website and hold their attention. A consistent measure in sections of relatively equal importance is a helpful and reassuring guide. Inconsistency is confusing.” (Glaser, 2015)

When labeling everything, I made sure to keep similar types of information around the same size. Narrative and Shapes are the same font, so they use the same size. Cultural Crossroads and the appropriate words are also around the same size.


First Draft:




Ambrose, G., & Harris, P. (2011). Basics design. Lausanne: Ava.

Bradley, S. (2015, June 29). Shiny Demo [Digital image]. Retrieved from

Czarnecki, L. (2017, February 21). [Using non-objective elements]. Retrieved from,635

Czarnecki, L. (2018, November 26). 7 Essential Typographic Layout Systems – Type365 Lucas Czarnecki. Retrieved from

Firmware Security [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Flores, J. (2010, May 3). 25 years replicating the success [Use of bilateral system]. Retrieved from

Gilbey, S. (2018, December 21). An Illustrated Guide to Doctor Who [Doctor Who radial infographic]. Retrieved from

Glaser, J. (2015, June 3). Type Makes A Difference: An Exploration Of Type-Focused Websites. Typography: Practical Considerations And Design Patterns. Retrieved from

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.

Martinez, J. (2018, December 21). History of Life [Digital image]. Retrieved from

Riga Style Sheet

Style Sheet Final Draft:




“Dynamic movement is characterized by 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.” (Jirousek, 1995)

The theme for the campaign is Cultural Crossroads. It’s the ideas of different ideas and concepts coming together to meet in the same place. This is why for the layout and shapes I tried to stay with mostly radial designs or designs that bring the eye towards a center. Re-enforcing the idea of moving from one point to the center. Radial designs and curves are also prominent on much of the architecture of Riga, so it helps tie the cities visual identity into the design.




“Value tells the eye where one thing ends, and another begins…Clear value differences between a layout’s components are what allows them to stand apart from each other.” (Krause, 2016)

In playing with the idea of converging ideas, I picked colors that were close compliments and had bright, bold values. In picking colors, I picked hues that could play as near complements. The blue-green can act as an opposite to the red-orange and the yellow-orange creating a good contrast. It also incorporates the idea that Riga can take opposing cultures or ideas and blend it into a new, cohesive idea or tradition. The red-orange and yellow-orange while similar enough to create harmony, also have differing values which keeps them unique and distinct but cohesive. I changed my color choices because the original combination was too similar to the Microsoft logo colors. This change allows for the colors to still use the near compliments but still be just Riga.




“Texture is the quality of an object which we sense through touch. It exists as a literal surface we can feel, but also as a surface we can see, and imagine the sensation might have if we felt it. Texture can also be portrayed in an image, suggested to the eye which can refer to our memories of surfaces we have touched. So, a texture can be imaginary.” (Jirousek, 1995)

Much of the beauty of Riga is seen through the carvings featured on their buildings. Many of the crafts they are known for (wood working, metal working, ship building, etc.)  have textures that are popularly associated with them. And since the art nouveau movement hit so hard here, many places have similar aesthetics. So, finding common icons or stone textures will help tie the visual identity of the city into the designs. In order to bring in the idea of convergence or a crossroad it was also important to find images that blended multiple concepts together. For instance, a picture with a bridge connecting old town to the more modern part of the city. It also shows how even in the newer buildings they still use curves and arches, just in new ways.




“Try to create a relationship-tight, almost molecular-between words and pictures. The word synergy has been applied to the desired effect between what you say and what you show. (When two or more elements combine to achieve a total effect greater than the sum of their individual effects, they are synergistic; so too are great headline/visual combinations.)” (Felton, 2013, p. 81)

Most of the city utilizes the Jugendstil style design. Even places built before the movement still use similar elements. In the newer additions of the city, soft arches and curves are used. Making them cohesive to the rest of the city but more modern. Using terminology or shapes that evoke the same curves, spirals, regal adornments helps the viewer associate the design with the city. It also helps create a free-flowing identity that allows for creativity. And the spirals and circles can be used to create designs that radiate in and bring elements together. Similar to that of a crossroad.


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“We associate certain type styles with historical eras. So, if you want to match your time span specific content with a font that evokes that period, choose a typeface or several typefaces that will do the job…It can add an extra dimension to your viewer’s appreciation of your project.” (Saltz, 2014)

Riga should be depicted as a metropolis with a heritage. Part of doing that is acknowledging that traditions have survived from the past and are being utilized today. This also allows for the old road to meet the new road at the crossroads. When picking fonts, I chose fonts that called back to older eras. This meant finding fonts that were similar to scripts but much more legible. Text with personality. Amarante Regular helps tie in the era when Jugendstil was popular. Litos Script calls on a similar era while providing a more uniform and less decorative heavy style. Casablanca URW Light was picked for legibility and it still holds some design elements of Amarante and Litos. This makes it look like a modern take on the other two.


Previous Drafts:



Felton, G. (2013). Advertising: Concept and copy. New York: Norton & Company.

Jirousek, C. (1995). Art, Design, and Visual Thinking. Retrieved from

Krause, J. (2016, February 10.). Color for Design and Art. Lecture. Retrieved from

Saltz, I. (2014, October 17). Typography: Choosing and Combining Typefaces. Lecture. Retrieved from