MDM620: Week 4 Reflection

The Andover Strip Project

Connecting/Synthesizing/Transforming

For design research I focused on research that explained how to make a series of projects cohesive and how to make connections between a brand and the subject. In Emotional Typography: The Effectiveness of Current Typographic Design Categories in Eliciting Emotion, I used the information on how the shapes of the typography can elicit emotions (Ho, 2017). This led to finding a header that implied motion and was similar to a road. For the sub header and body fonts I focused on a typography with simple shapes since the voice and tone was going to be relaxed. I also found a piece written by Müller (1996) where he explained how graphic design can work as a short hand for communication. When applying this to my work, I focused on trying to get the message or the feeling across in the least number of strokes. It was important to learn to get the message or the brand across without overloading the viewer with a ton of information.

 

Problem Solving

The biggest design problem for this project was coming up with a brand identity that did not override the identities of the businesses. The businesses are the heart of this district so it important not to take away what makes them so successful. I addressed this problem by asking in interviews what made the businesses appealing and I looked at what services they offered outside of products. The common factors were the events that allowed customers to socialize with the owners/employees and their proximity to each other. I shaped the brand of the Andover Strip around their common strengths. This allows for the businesses to identify with the district’s brand but still be able to promote their own.

 

Innovative Thinking

When looking at other works, I focused on districts that would be in competition with the Andover Strip. I found areas that promoted shopping and dining. I looked at what kind of people they pulled in and what atmospheres they projected. The commonality they had was that they had more of the big city feel. They had upscale shopping boutiques, clubs, high end restaurants, etc. Andover Road’s biggest asset was that the customers knew who most of the owners were and they had developed some sort of relationship with them. So, I focused on a brand that promoted that relationship and focused on the people in the area.

 

Acquiring Competencies

The two competencies that I learned was how to develop a voice and how to keep products consistent. I knew how to develop the visual identity for a brand, but I had to learn how it would sound. I learned to think of the brand as a person and then envision how that person sounds or how they react in different situations. Then I had to learn to keep every decision consistent. I learned to reference my base projects more, for instance my tone and voice chart and my vision boards. Every project I made I then checked to make sure if this person (the brand) would talk this way or if they would decorate the piece this way. It was also important that it was recognizable to the area. After finishing a project, I would have someone form the district or familiar with it to see if they could make a connection between the project and the area.

 

Moving forward I want to focus more on how to translate the voice and tone into visuals. I still have a disconnect between connecting the language with the visuals. I also want to nail down the design elements for my district. I’m getting close to nailing down the rule for the brand but I still need to experiment more with assets.

References

Müller, P. (1996). Communication through Graphic Design. Cross-cultural Communications. Retrieved from http://www.prmueller.de/downloads/GraphicCommunication.pdf

Ho, A. G. (2017). Emotional Typography: The Effectiveness of Current Typographic Design Categories in Eliciting Emotion. International Journal of Visual Design11(2), 37–44. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.oclc.fullsail.edu:81/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asu&AN=123948873&site=ehost-live

 

Advertisement

Andover Strip Dynamic Vision Board

 

Rationale

The main trait that was important to get across was that the area was dynamic. Yes, the area is small and not part of a big city, but it is a thriving community. There is a lot going on and it is not a sleepy little business district in the middle of nowhere. So, this is why music with an upbeat tempo and fast animation is used. As Krasner (2013) writes “[f]ast movements typically produce snappy, energetic effects”. Using short, quick cuts and fast movement helps to create the feeling that there is a lot to do in the area. This is also why scenes depict people doing things rather than just sitting. There are people dancing, going for a run, working, kids having fun, etc. Even with scenes that use still images, there is still some form of movement. With the animation, there is a parallax effect. With the photos, there are either quick cuts or quick zooms that move through the pictures. The only scene that this quick editing is not used is in the opening. This is to portray some of the area’s history before the tornado where it was a sleepy business district. This scene paints the buildings in more desaturated colors, and it is silent aside from some gusts of wind. The destruction that the tornado left allowed the area to recreate its identity and to “wake up”. This is why the music starts up when the tornado enters. The tempo and beat also plays a part into the brand. On top of being dynamic, the area needs to be portrayed as warm and familiar. The music uses an upbeat, happy sound and it incorporates claps. These claps add an element that makes the viewer feel like they can join in. Case and Day (2018) explain how using a beat that the audience can recreate helps with engagement and memorability. Authenticity was shown in how people were interacting with each other or how business owners are involved in their products. One scene shows someone making a dress, another shows a business offering a craft workshop, there is a brother and sister having snow cones together, etc. All these scenes help emphasize how the people are authentic, the atmosphere is warm, everyone is very familiar and try to get to know each other, and the area is dynamic in what it offers and how it moves. Poulin (2018) explains that texture in a 2D space can be created through design elements and techniques such as repetition, line, shape, typography, etc. This piece uses texture outside of the presentation scene by using images and video that feature more raw and soft textures. For instance, the grass, the pavement, the market. All these help to create the feeling that the area is more natural or authentic. In the illustrations, simple lines and colors are used to keep scenes from being over complicated. The colors are used as a color palette for the other scenes. The images all used elements from the palette with only hints of outside colors.

 

References

Case, A., & Day, A. (2018). Designing products with sound: Fundamentals for products and services. Beijing: OReilly.

Krasner, J. (2013). Motion Graphic Design, Applied History and Aesthetics(3rd ed.). Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Focal Press.

Poulin, R. (2018). The language of graphic design: An illustrated handbook for understanding fundamental design principles. Beverly, MA, USA: Rockport.

 

Andover Strip Static Vision Board

SilviaH_StaticVisionboard-01

 

Rationale

The Andover Strip is a business district that offers big city amenities with the small-town flare. This small-town flare is the main asset for the area. It projects an atmosphere of familiarity, authenticity, warmth, and being dynamic or flexible. One of the design choices that helps promote this is finding a font that utilizes curves and stays away from sharp angles and stiff lettering. Saltz (2014) explains how using a font that is soft and puffy can help create a floating or dream like feeling. By using soft curves this helps play on the familiarity and the dynamic feeling. Using sharper lettering would bring a more stiff and uncompromising feeling. The color palette is derived from colors found in the environment. This will help people connect the brand to this part of Andover. Color associations can often change from person to person because their own experiences affect how they relate to colors. Sherin (2012) writes how “the more people have in common the easier it will be to forecast their reactions” (p. 79). By using colors that are in the architecture and the geography it helps build associations and bring Andover Road to people’s mind. Due to Andover Road’s location, many people drive through it. So even people outside the community will still have some recognition. The textures that were chosen for this, were chosen because while they are not cluttered, they do have a bit of imperfection about them. The shingles use faded colors that are not over saturated, and the squares have worn rounded edges. The table is not set up in a tight grid, but it is still organized and has a natural flare. The shop sign, again, while clean, is a bit off in its placement. The Strip is very professional but because most of the businesses are owned by people that live in the area, they are willing to bend procedure to help customers. The area stays away from a corporate rigid structure. The pictures are meant to showcase the businesses and the community and how they coexist. These pictures also feature the color palette and help tie any graphics created for the brand to the Andover Strip.

 

References

Saltz, I. (2014, October 17). Typography: Choosing and Combing Typefaces. Lecture. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Design-Typography-tutorials/Using-typographic-personality-emphasize-meaning/162445/197916-4.html

Sherin, A. (2012). Design elements, color fundamentals a graphic style manual for understanding how color impacts design. Beverly, MA: Rockport.

 

Voice and Tone

Brand Voice Chart

Characteristic Description Do Don’t
Familiar We aren’t a high society area. We are just people making a living and building on to our community. Be friendly and personable.

Actively listen.

Be relaxed.

Be crude or lazy.

Be presumptuous.

Be too “hip”.

Authentic We know a bigger city can offer what we offer but we appreciate when people come to us, so we won’t betray that trust. We’ll help where we can and point you in the right direction if we can’t. Be straight and honest.

Be helpful where we can.

Know our limits.

Get to the heart of the matter.

Give empty promises or over promise.

Use superfluous language.

Give a runaround or double negatives.

Warm Everyone that comes here is part of the community even if they don’t live in town. The success of the Andover Strip is built on its community. Be open and welcoming.

Make people feel like they are part of the community.

Be overly happy.

Sound fake.

Cross boundaries.

Dynamic We don’t have everything, but we make it work in as many ways as we can. Be flexible.

Be mobile and energetic.

 

Be wish washy.

Be untrustworthy.

Be two faced.

Tagline

The Heart of Business

Mission Statement

We are a small community that offers big help. A personal touch is our biggest commodity and we do our best to be what you need. We focus on business that helps our community thrive.

Introductory Paragraph (tone sample)

The Andover Strip is the booming center for Andover. But we also open our doors to anyone willing to come our way. We know there are bigger cities that can offer what we can, so we offer our big city amenities with small town charm. Owners are involved in their businesses and make a point of getting to know customers. We’re here to help, even if that just means pointing you in the right direction. Businesses are also willing to support individual entrepreneurs by opening their parking lots to tent sales. We know how important community is to keep an area thriving because when everything disappears all you have left are the people.

 

Rationale

The Andover Strip is a small area of a small town. With Wichita being in such close proximity, the main commodity for the area are the people. During interviews one the aspects that kept coming up was that people either knew the business owners personally, or the owners made an effort to get to know the customers and try and go that extra mile for them. A lot of what they come to the area for is found in Wichita, but they come to the strip for the personal touch and the convenience. On the website for the city of Andover it even states that one of the draws for the area is that it “brings together the best of big city proximity and small-town safety” (Andover, KS – Official Website: Official Website, n.d.). This voice and tone bring that into its identity by using familiar, warm, and authentic. By playing up the small-town feelings that makes a more personal connection with the viewer. Sounding like a friendly business owner that at the end of the day, just wants a happy customer will help give outsiders an idea of how businesses are run. Leibtag (2014) points out that it is important to create a human voice because people “want transparency, reality, and solid interaction”. The strip does not need to be another big city business center. Wichita already fills that role. But by creating an identity that is warm and welcoming it creates a stronger connection which will bring people in. While the Andover Strip has to acknowledge that it is part of a small town, it does not need the negative connotations that come with a small-town title. It is important to imply that the area is alive and moving or dynamic not dull and lifeless. In Finger’s (2011) article, he writes that the 1991 tornado allowed the area to change its identity from a sleepy town to a booming metropolis. Using dynamic language and imagery, the voice and tone can reflect this liveliness. Butler (2011) writes how adding “flair and clarity with interesting and surprising words…can make your expression more precise and engaging, add nuance and help highlight points”. The main goal of this personality is to make the brand sound like a citizen that lives and is active in the area. As Busche (2017) points out, “people will relate to people, and if your brand sounds like people, they will relate to you, too”. The strip needs to create that personal connection in order to compete with Wichita. And since one of the main draws for the area is this personal touch, this personality will help bring that touch into the marketing.

 

References

Andover, KS – Official Website: Official Website. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.andoverks.com/

Butler, G. (2011). Think write grow: Build your business by writing thought leadership material. Richmond, Vic.: John Wiley & Sons.

Busche, L. (2017). Powering content: Building a nonstop content marketing machine. Sebastopol, CA: OReilly Media.

Finger, S. (2011, April 25). 1991 twister reshaped Andover, McConnell. Wichita Eagle. Retrieved from https://www.kansas.com/news/local/article1062349.html

Leibtag, A. (2014). The digital crown: Winning at content on the web. Amsterdam: Morgan Kauffmann is an imprint of Elsevier.