Zebra character sketch

This is also an assignment, in a different class, but I’m posting it just because I want to. (Hey, maybe I’m starting to like doing this sketchblog thing! But I better not consider that too much, or it’ll run away.)

This is part of an ongoing project that will ultimately result in making a custom die-cut hangtag for a plushy, sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund. (NB: I’m unclear if the WWF is actually part of this assignment in any real way. I don’t imagine so. But it’d be pretty cool if they are.) I chose Grevy’s zebra as my animal to base a character on, mostly because zebras have been my favorite animal forever.

In a previous life (read: high school), I drew TONS of characters with my friends. We were into really nerdy things and loved to draw, so it happened. But for some reason, I was anxious about doing this. I felt like I suddenly knew nothing about creating an anthropomorphic character (which is patently untrue) and have second-guessed myself every step of the way. Maybe that’s because this one is for a grade. Or maybe my brain just hates me that much. Who knows.

Anyway, here is the process so far: the original sketch, the first WIP, and the second WIP. The differences between the two WIPs are mostly shading and making the smile and eyes bigger for a cuter effect.

She’s cute. I now have this idea to build a story around her and do some spreads that would be fit for a children’s book. I’m sure I can get that done in my copious spare time.

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.

Insert for Apartment Info Folder

The past couple of weeks, we worked on a project designing a half-page, double-sided insert that would go in a standard pocket folder and be accompanied by information sheets on the apartment complex. The insert is supposed to showcase the available floorplans and show a property map on the back.

I started by doing rough versions of the property map and the floorplans in Illustrator, which you can see here. The floorplans PDF also includes some typeface ideas. I’ve put up the PDFs of these instead of inline images since they are, in fact, rough.

neaswalls_map01

neaswalls_3floorplanstype

Next stage was getting a preliminary design of the front and back of the insert, which you can see below. This part was done in InDesign. I always feel like my in-progress pieces are very much in-progress-looking. I tried out some “designy” things in this stage that didn’t work really (the dotted lines and circles) and was trying to pull the colors from the company logo, because I had a really hard time coming up with something else good at first.

And finally, the final stage for this project. Lots of things are readily different. I still had a hard time finding a satisfying layout for the back page with the map, but settled on what’s here because it fits the front side and isn’t the worst ever.

The colors this time are much closer to what I had in mind from the beginning: bright, springy greens and blues inspired by lush gardens. And this way, the pink of the hummingbird in the logo stands out more. I am still not 100% on the map, but after trying out some texturing in Illustrator and being thoroughly convinced that just didn’t look very good, I left it clean.

Project 1 – Real Problems, Real Solutions, pt 2

Here are some of the campaign materials in progress, in the first stages of designing. At this point, I had only gotten the button and pillow box/seed packet done with color in Illustrator, and the brochure, info card, and plant card into preliminary layout in InDesign. I didn’t even have a layout for the print ad yet!

But that changed pretty soon. I started developing the brochure first, figuring that would set the tone and theme for all the remaining items, and I could adjust the button and pillow box as needed after that. The illustrations were done in Illustrator and the layout finished in InDesign. Same for the print ad, which followed the brochure.

I narrowed the fonts down from the comps stage, to 3, which I’m way more comfortable with than 4, especially if they’re all different. And it’s pretty clear I’m reusing whole chunks of the floral pattern. For some reason, this felt like cheating at first, but saved SO MUCH TIME over generating different patterns for each doc, which was my original dumb idea.

Using the patterns and the other motifs, I filled in the layouts of the two cards, and I ended up doing them in Illustrator completely, no InDesign finalizing. The pillow box and the button were last. The pillow box had a re-color and font update, and the button didn’t really change beyond having the side print font updated.

Overall, this was a really fun project, and the first time I’ve done most of these items. Hoping at least a few of them will end up in my portfolio.

Finally, here they all are mocked up for extra viewing fun!

Project 1 – Real Problems, Real Solutions, pt 1

This project is about creating a campaign for an issue we feel strongly about that needs to get out there on folks’ radar. Out of three of my top issues, I chose planting native plants/trees. At the risk of getting soapboxy (I’m always at risk of getting soapboxy), I’ll just mention that I feel it is super-duper important to kick the exotic plant habit and plant your garden/lawn/5+ acres with wildflowers and trees that support the wildlife and the ecosystems native to your area.

When I found out that NCSU has a program just to encourage this, called “Go Native,” I thought, “Gee, I know a lot of people who have the same understanding about this, but none of them have ever heard of this program. Why the heck not?!”

Here is a page of thumbnails for potential campaign pieces. At this point, I’m pretty solid on going with a print ad, a brochure, and a mailer packet with a few neat things in, and the sketches reflect attempts at capturing all of those pieces.

thumbs

Then I took one idea for each piece that I was at least 80% good with, and roughed it out.

roughs2roughs1

As I said in my last post, I often to throw in lots of little detaily things that probably will have no place in the final layout, since my tendency there is to streamline and simplify–as much as I love detail in my illustrations, I tend equally to pull toward minimalism in design.