MDM530 3.4.3 SWOT Analysis

My strengths come from my strong design skills and my extensive technical knowledge. I have been working in the graphic design field for a long time, but these projects have helped refine my skills. It has helped me create a better concept stage to make better products. It also has forced me to experiment even more with the Adobe Suite which has only strengthened my skills. My technical knowledge comes from my studies for my bachelor’s in digital art and classes I have taken about related subjects since sixth grade. A weakness that I discovered in this course is that my understanding of brands could use some work. All of my related experience up till this point has been with smaller projects that I have done as a freelancer. I do not have experience in a design firm. This course has helped me understand the concept better. The paper in particular forced me to research ways of developing brands and how to maintain one. I did not have the foggiest clue about how to approach these before I started but I am changing that now. The main threats that I foresee come from time management and lack of formal training. Between my day job (teacher) and my freelancing, it does not leave me much free time. An opportunity I have is I am getting assistance with my living arrangements, so I can cut back on freelancing hours, to provide more time for school work. In regards, to making up for my formal training, by completing this course I will fill in gaps I have about the industry. The resources that the instructors and Full Sail have provided so far have been a big help.

A threat I faced was contrast and finding keywords that expressed more than just the visual aspects. An opportunity for fixing the contrast issue was finding lighter colors that could still work with the color palette and layering them better. An opportunity I found for finding better keywords was to focus on the feelings I wanted to create and digging through a thesaurus until I found the appropriate terms. My strengths for this board came from the fact that I had a strong idea for visuals. I was able to find a fractal image to layer the background, and had an easy time finding good textures and images. A weakness I had to deal with was my tendency to use color blocking. I enjoy using this method but it can lead to grid look. I just had to be mindful of staying away from the style sheet look and use peer reviews to help.
The main threat I faced was to keep the design from being too chaotic. The peer reviews created an opportunity to use an outside eye to help keep the design effective. The strength I had in this board was I knew the basic shapes I wanted to use. From there, it was just about arranging the frames in the right places. The weakness that I faced was trying to identity who would be attracted to this type of brand.
Finding a good layout that did not contradict the keywords was the threat for this piece. Because of how the assets sit, it was easy to fall into a grid like set up. Once again, the peer reviews created an opportunity to bounce ideas off others and find a solution that worked. My knowledge of Viking culture and mythology was my biggest strength. Because I had extensive knowledge in this subject prior to the project I knew the type of style I wanted to take the project in. Creating good contrast became a weakness because it led to me using color blocking. In order to make the text readable I threw a fabric texture under it which made a grid like layout. I had to be more creative with my color choices to create the contrast I needed.

Overall Vision Board SWOT

Strengths Weaknesses
Having a strong understanding of the region helped with the development of these boards. Due to previous stories I have worked on, I have done research into Iceland and Viking culture and mythology. This created a strong starting point for me to work from when designing the imagery, color palettes, etc. Another strength I had was that I know the Adobe Suite very well so I could focus entirely on the board designs and did not have to worry about learning a new program. When I was originally designing my logos, I had collected a small folder of inspiration/research images. Some of these became my images I used in the board. This meant I had most of my assets beforehand and it was mostly a case of working with the layout. My main weaknesses came from understanding the brands I wanted to achieve and my use of color blocking. I do not have much experience in creating a brand so that was one strike against me. On top of this, I mostly think in visual terms so forcing my thinking to expand into deeper aspects was a struggle. Something that helped though was trying to focus on other sensory inputs. For example, the keyword warm in the geography board does not speak to the color palette. I was trying to incapsulate the feeling from the lava, the steam, the general energy that pulses through the land, and the clothes. My go to design technique is color blocking but that can sometimes lead to a grid like look. Trying to free up my layouts was something I had to fight and modify with each iteration.
Threats Opportunities
Working with the layouts turned out to be my biggest threat. Due to my color palette or the theme I was trying to convey I had to fight to make the boards readable and digestible. With the geography board and the modern culture board I did not have to worry about the palettes too much because they had bright colors to help contrast with the darker ones. With the tradition board a lot of the colors use similar tones, so it was difficult to find the right combination that created enough contrast. With the modern culture board, I wanted to convey movement and directionality. To do this I found I was walking a fine line between movement and confusing chaos. An opportunity I had to help with my contrast threat was to add different colors to the palette. Some themes allowed me to add bright colors. For instance, with the geography board I could add a bright yellow to play on the warmth aspect. With the traditions board, I used colors with similar tones, but I tried to add some that were further apart on the color wheel, so they had different makeups. The biggest opportunity I had to combat the layout issue, and the rest of my issues, where the peer reviews. They allowed for fresh eyes to spot any problems and present possible solutions I had not considered.



After pencil sketches upon pencil sketches I finally moved onto vectorizing the logos. Even then though, the logos needed some revisions. The top row is the finalized logo with a colored version and below is an abbreviated evolution of each logo.

Week 4 in MDM525

​Task 01 of 2.4.3


​Figure A: ​A design process that involves going back to the research stage at multiple iterations from J. O’Grady and K. O’Grady.​

The above chart is what best shows my process for designing these logos. I started off with a general research session where I learned everything I could about the subjects and created mind maps. These mind maps became a starting point for my initial sketches. Once I had exhausted my initial impressions of the subjects, I went back to do more in depth research. If there was a type of design, I liked I would research more into the subject and what it means to Reykjavik or how it affects the lives of citizens. Once I had a large range of logos I looked to see if any of the subjects overlapped or had any interaction. ​



​Figure B: Geographic Logos​

For these sets of logos, I did a batch where I experimented with the lighthouses’ forms and shapes. In another batch I played with the Bay of Smokes moniker ​and with waves and mists. In many of the photos of the lighthouses there was either large amounts of mist or smoke from the water. I decided to combine the swirl logos with the lighthouse logos to create a new design that used the strength of both.


​Figure C: Modern Culture Logos​

For these I started with creating geometric design​s of famous buildings from the area. In this case I started with the art museum. As I continued designing, I realized that maybe I shouldn’t tie the city down to one building, but I wanted to still play with an abstract logo. I continued to play with the shapes I got from the museum until I got something that resembled an abstract R.


​Figure D: Tradition Logos​

During my research sessions I found that Reykjavik is a fishing village. I started to play around with some motifs centered around that. I created some plain fish logos. Then I created some fish logos that combined the trident figure from the sun voyager. I combined the two but found the logo still needed some work. I went onto fish hook motifs and found a way to combine the three sets of designs.



O’Grady, J. V., & O’Grady, K. (2009, February 01). [Design process that has multiple iterations]. Retrieved January 30, 2019.​​


Moving Forward

In regard to the critiques from my classmates I have learned to be clearer about my ideas and use more notes. Communication is key and one can always improve. The main feedbacks I received from assignments involved paying attention to the smaller details. Usually when I got hit for points it was from small things like grammar. In the future I am going to pay attention to the smaller details. It is like painting. You can get the point across well enough with getting the overall shapes right, but it is the small things that make the piece pop. By paying closer attention to all the details I can elevate my work to the next level and get closer to mastery.

Logo Designs for Reykjavik

One of the assignments we had was creating 300 logos for a city. I picked Reykjavik, Iceland and built logos based on their geography, traditions, and modern culture. These were my initial options.

MDM525: Mind Maps

Mind Maps for Reykjavík, Iceland


Mind Maps for Kyoto, Japan


Mind Maps for Marrakech, Morocco

*Boxed ideas are possible design footholds.

Connect and Synthesize

I started with researching a broad range of information about the area. I then picked the common phrases I found in that research or general ideas that came up often and broke those words down into more specific aspects.


I employed multiple problem-solving techniques by looking through a combination of text and picture sources. I used the text sources to learn about the area and I used the image based sources to help come up with word associations appropriate for the area.

Unique and Innovative

First I looked at existing logos for the places and their neighboring cities. Then I tried to find common ideas and phrases that the cities used on various tourist sites.

Research Competencies

Research Competencies I used for the project included gathering mass amounts of information and filtering it down. Another competency I used was finding reliable articles that covered the cities themselves and were not talking about the region as a whole.