Project 8 – Email Newsletter

The focus of this assignment was to create an email newsletter “based on the subject of medicine or veterinary medicine for retina devices.” After some research, I decided to interpret that as veterinary ophthalmology, which is a specialty surgical field of vet medicine, and so I created my newsletter along those lines.

I made this at a set width of 600px, since, according to my research, that is a standard width for email marketing templates. Length is somewhat less of a concern, as email users are used to scrolling down to see more content.

After looking at other email newsletters for products and services (rather than information-driven newsletters like the ones I’m familiar with), I decided that mine should be pretty short (both in terms of content and pixels), with a focus on images, and grabby headlines with brief copy introducing each article before a “Read more” link.

Here’s what it looks like mocked up in an email like you might actually see in your inbox.

mockup

Images were grabbed from Pexels and have a CC0 license and were edited in Photoshop. The spring floral pattern used came from Freepik. The fake-company OCULR logo was done quickly in Illustrator.

 

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Project 7 – App, pt 2

Just wrapping up from the last post about this app project now.

After the second round of feedback, I made sure to make some serious adjustments to font size throughout the app. I’d clumsily gotten used to looking at everything zoomed in where I was making small tweaks, and forgotten to check for readability at roughly the size of a real smartphone.

Other things that were added between stages: a fourth main menu item and its attendant pages, a contact info screen, a login screen, and a small user area.

This page from the PDF presentation shows the splash screen as well as the app icon, both standalone and in position on the phone’s main screen. Clicking this image opens up the entire PDF.

neaswalls_app-presentation

Project 7 – App, pt 1

This assignment is another doozy! For this, we were to design a mobile app that doesn’t but should exist. Every screen of the app would need to be created, as well as an icon for the app, and then the app would need to be mocked up in a PDF presentation.

My bookish and nerdy tendencies led me to a “baby name” generator that initially would pull from literature, but on suggestion of my husband, quickly expanded to include history and fandoms as well. There are tons of great names given to figures both fictional and larger-than-life, and if you mash them up, voilà, an even better name. With this app, there’s never a need to reach for the nearest object to hand when naming your baby (I’m looking at you, Blanket Jackson), or your pet, or your own character if you’re a writer. Hermione Havisham! That’s rad. Cersei Roosevelt! Or maybe don’t name your baby Cersei. But here I am, getting ahead of myself…

The first stage of the project was to come up with a few preliminary screens, to give an idea of what direction we were taking. Then we had another round of feedback a few days later, when we presented our progress thus far.

Here are the screen images of 1) the main progression from loading screen > about page > main menu (which at the time only included three items); 2) generating a name from the selections page > results; 3) searching for a name using the search form > results list; 4) submitting a name to the app’s database via the add form. I know these look tiny, but clicking any of them should embiggen the image for better viewing.

This project’s conclusion in the next post!

Project 5 – WordPress Website

https://maycellostudio.wordpress.com/

This short project was to design a small business website using WordPress. We were to base it off a subject we know well. I chose my old cello teacher’s private studio, because that’s pretty small-businessy, and since I studied for 10+ years and play semi-professionally, I feel that qualifies as “something I know well.”

This actually came together pretty easily. I chose a template that was designed specifically with small-business promotion in mind (“Lodestar”), which helped in deciding what kind of pages to include and where to place information and how to incorporate the blog component. And as it was designed to showcase big, full images, I grabbed several beautiful images from Pexels and Flickr (all under CC0 license, of course) of cellos and cellists to flesh out the site.

Some of the text came from my old teacher’s Facebook page, and the rest I came up with based on my knowledge of private string teaching.

My only frustration was with the main page header image. I had wanted to give this site a header image with more Photoshop magic. But the template has a black overlay effect on the header image that I can’t remove, which totally destroyed my original design. Ah well.

Project 4 – GSM, pt 2

The culmination of the standards manual prep mentioned in the last post, here is my take on the Crucible identity guidelines. This is the front cover image only, but clicking on it should open the whole PDF document.

gsm-cover

Document assembled in InDesign; some of the more image-heavy layouts created in Illustrator; mockups done in Photoshop.

Now, honesty time. This project was a bit overwhelming, due to the large scope of it and just how many moving pieces there were to manage. But we were given just the regular two-week timeframe for it, with a round of feedback at about the mid-point. And I know, the real world. But as this is a classroom assignment, and something probably none of us has ever done before, it would be much better spread over three weeks. Not just because of how big the project is, but also because then there could be a second round of review. Speaking for myself, I really wish we’d had another peer review session. The first round of review came at such an early stage in the development of this project, that I don’t think it allowed for really useful constructive feedback.

Generally, I’m happy with the overall output, but I’m also conscious of the weak spots. For instance, I could never quite land on a cover design that was really it; this one here is just what I decided was “finished enough.” If I decide to include this in my portfolio later, I’ll definitely come back to this and retool those spots.

For now, here’s a mockup of the cover and some of the interior pages in a magazine-like form, which is roughly how I envision this would be printed.

crucible-mockup

Project 4 – GSM, pt 1

This project involves creating something I didn’t even know existed until I started on it: a graphic standards manual. Sometimes also called an identity manual or identity guidelines. I started by looking around for some that I really liked and that I might draw inspiration from in creating this one for a client called Crucible–a design competition organization that closed up shop a few years ago but is reopening. We were given the organization’s logo treatments, and that’s it! They have no web presence at the moment, so there’s no checking them out to get a better read on them.

So after much looking around and absorbing ideas, I came up with the below 40-odd thumbnails. Most are iterations of the same spread, but toward the back end I tried to get at least one idea down per spread, so far as I’d worked out what the spreads would be. The last section of the booklet I’m planning to be a kind of gallery of examples of the logo and colors in use, probably image-heavy with mockups, but I didn’t end up doing any thumbnails for those pages yet.

Based on the logo provided, and especially its colors, my sense at this stage of the organization’s ethos involves the words competitive, bold, creative. Going off my thumbnails, I created a couple of roughs for the cover and for a section head kind of spread.

It’s immediately clear I’m not just using red, black, and white in my color scheme, (although those are the primary colors). I chose to add two secondary colors, a royal violet blue (shown above) and a gold. If the names don’t recommend them clearly enough, the royal violet blue suggests, well, royalty, an upper tier. And gold suggests victory and quality. Both, I think, bolster the organization’s ethos and purpose.

Both secondary colors will be used, with the red from the logo, around the booklet in full spreads like this one, and in smaller applications to highlight information or just add visual interest to a page. The black and white will also be prominent, as white will be the most common background, and black the most common text color.

Finally, I want to mention the two manuals I used as inspiration: the identity guidelines for the Barbican, and the manual for Fogg, a “borderless internet” company. I really love the big, bold typography and negative space use in the Barbican’s, and the creative use of color in both is inspiring. Plus, they both have a minimalist focus I like and want to aim for in mine.

Project 3 – Empty Book, pt 2

For the empty book project, I chose to develop one of the cat book concepts: Cats Who Approve of You. I have several cats (I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before), all of whom are snide and snooty and very disapproving of me and my husband, or any human. So the idea of an empty book purporting to be about cats who do approve of you struck me as quite funny, since really, there are none to be found anywhere.

I wanted the design to communicate the snobbery of cats. The idea of a cat in a pose of walking away from you was there from the first. And the cat’s rear had to be on the front cover, because that is the ultimate in cat flippancy. Continuing with that, I landed on the idea of an antique, florid background pattern complete with (dancing?) crowns to really make the point that cats know they are better than you.

The book was recently printed by Lulu, so I’m going to share the pictures of the cover from the real thing. There’s even a picture of the spine (and a bit of my fingers holding the book)! If you want to see that sort of thing.

To find out about the process and whatnot, read on.

Here’s how things looked at a point in the process where I’d created the pattern, mostly, and the cat, also mostly. I’d also spent quite a while fiddling with the title text, getting every letter placed, but no other text had been done yet.

wip

And here’s the final(ish) version–the version to turn in for the assignment, anyway. All the text is in, some of the text colors have changed, AND there are now cheeky little crowns in the pattern.

final

That space on the back is set aside for the barcode and the Lulu identification number. According to the Lulu’s FAQ database, you’re not expected to upload your cover art with a barcode already there–or it won’t print–which makes sense. But looking at it, it looks a little empty as is.

There are still tweaks to be made to the design before getting it printed, but overall I’m happy with the character of this. I hope I’m not just incredibly biased toward my own awesome self. But book cover design is something I really want to get into professionally. So I know I’m going to be poring over the teensiest details of this before printing.

UPDATE: The tweaks were made, as you can see in the actual book cover images above. Also, you might notice that this book printed without a barcode. Why? I don’t know, but since I followed Lulu’s directions about the cover, I would like to find out. But that’s going to take some emailing back and forth, most likely, so for now it stands as is.