Designing Icons

Introduction

Have you ever wanted to know how they make those little icons you click on everyday? Or how about those emojis you add to your text messages? I was wondering the same thing. As I set out to make my icons, I learned that there is a lot more to it than you’d think! Although it may be a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun. So let’s take a look into the design process behind making Icons.

I decided to make cowboy themed Icons. I living in a small town in Idaho, there are plenty of farmers and ranchers so I thought they’d be a great audience. I picked a few shapes and forms that people generally associate with cowboys and then got to work.

icon set 1-01

Making Icons really comes down to knowing your shapes. Each of these images is made with lots of circles and squares and other little lines and shapes! Using Adobe Color Wheel, I chose a Triad color scheme with greens, purples and browns. I thought these colors were visually appealing and still relatable to the target audience.

Cactus

bigiconcactus

icon set 1-02The first Icon I set out to make was the cactus. I tried to tie in all three colors with this first shape. I used a serious of rectangles and circles to create it and then using the star tool, I was able to add on the flowers.

Boot

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icon set 1-03Next came the cowboy boot. This was by far the hardest one to make and I had to use some more complex shape combinations.

Lasso

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icon set 1-04The lasso came next and wasn’t too bad. I used brown again on the lasso since rope tends to be brown!

Hat

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icon set 1-05Next came the cowboy hat. Typically cowboy hats aren’t purple but I have seen a few. I chose this color scheme anyway because the Icons already had quite a bit of brown and this added a little bit of color to the design.

Barn

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icon set 1-06Last but not least came the barn. With some help from my peers I was able to add this last icon and complete my cowboy icon set.

 

Conclusion

I had a lot of fun doing this project. In fact I think it has been one of my favorites so far. Creating icons can be a little tricky in the beginning but with some practice and creativity, it is so much fun. The world is the limit and you can create whatever comes to your mind. The key with creating icons though, is keeping it simple. They’re small so if there is too much detail, it can distract from the overall message you are trying to convey. So have fun and get busy!

Magazines in the Making

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You may have wanted to be in a magazine, but have you ever thought about making one? It turns out, it’s not as hard as you’d think and it’s a whole lot of fun. I set out on this project to create a few magazine pages and I ended up learning so much. I used a program called InDesign which is completely user friendly and easy to manage. You definitely don’t have to be graphic design expert to use it. After all, I did it so it can be too hard!

Audience

I started out by picking a topic, article and audience. I picked one of my favorite talks by President Russell M. Nelson. I found it on lds.org. The article talks about how important women are and how much God needs women to help build His kingdom. It talks about our divine nature and individual worth. With that being said I figured that my audience would probably be women ages 8 and on, especially Latter-Day saint women.

I wanted to communicate to the audience that being a woman is a simple, beautiful and divine role to have. I hoped to do this through innocent, sweet pictures and feminine colors. I wanted to keep it simple. Too often we overcomplicate things and forget the beauty of simplicity. I wanted to remind the good women of the world that we should keep things simple and just remember who we are.

Design Choices

A few of the design choices I went with include the font, the photographs, the color scheme, the text wraps and shapes and the subheadings.

For the font I tried to use typfaces that I thought contrasted instead of conflicted. The ones I went with were Athelas (serif) and Noteworthy (creative). I hoped to add interest by using these two very distinct typefaces.

The photography I chose, I took myself. The first picture I tried to capture the beauty and innocence of a girl and the second picture I tried to capture the power that our divine nature gives us, even the very power to create.

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Photo 1: Taken by author, Jenneca Allred (Redline Photography)

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Photo 2: Taken by Author Jenneca Allred (with help from friends)

Next I had to decide on the color scheme. I tried to choose feminine colors which is why I went with lilac. Purple also is associated to royalty, reminding us that we are daughters of God and heirs to His kingdom. I used the adobe color wheel to create my color scheme.

I used two text wraps on the second and third pages. The first text wrap was around a quote that I liked from the article and the second text wrap was around the last image. I made sure to put at least 1 inch radius around the shapes so that the words would not be too close.

As far as shapes go I used mostly squares and rectangles. However, on the last page I placed the image as a circle. I thought it was cohesive with the shape of the sun which is in the center of the photograph.

Last I placed a few subheadings throughout the text to break it up a little more and make it easier for the reader to find their place.

Start Creating

Well there you have it. Just get creative, have fun and remember there are no limits. We were made to create so enjoy it. Also, it helps to get advice and have peer reviews. This helped me a lot in the design and creative process. Don’t worry about messing up.

Just get to it!

Fine Photographs

RULE OF THIRDS

rule of thirds photographyToday we’re going to dive into photography and learn some principles that make for successful picture taking. Let’s start by learning a little more about the rule of thirds. We’ll first take a look at this picture by National Geographic.

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The Rule of Thirds states that as we break an image into three segments vertically and horizontally, focus points should be placed along the lines to get the most appealing affect and create emphasis. That is exactly what this photographer did. You can see that the cliff and rock climber stand out more than anything else which is largely because they were placed along the lines.

Example #2

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Picture by National Geographic.

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The photographer in this picture placed the camera and the Alligator’s teeth along the lines creating emphasis on those two objects. Because thee teeth and the camera are the focus, it creates greater suspense as you wonder what the alligator might to do the photographer.

 

LEADING LINES

leading lines photography

Next we’ll take a look at leading lines. As we look at the next few pictures, take not of how the lines draw you to the focus of the picture. The first photograph is by National Geographic

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Another way to put emphasis on an object is to draw the eye there with leading lines. In this example the rays of sunlight draw your eye down toward the elephant which is the focus of the photograph. It is a natural way for the photographer to get you to look where he/she wants you to.

Example #2

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Photograph by National Geographic.

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The photographer in this picture used leading lines as well, to draw your eye towards the man walking across the log. This time, the lines were made by the slanting trees. Not only does it put greater emphasis on the man, it creates a sort of umbrella over him adding great visual interest.

DEPTH OF FIELD

depth of field photography

This picture by National Geographic teaches us a lot about depth of field, which basically makes it so the background is not the focus and there is something obvious to fix your eyes on.  With the depth of field, the camera does what our eyes do for us in real life, they focus on what we’re actually trying to look at!

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One way to put focus on the objects you want to, is to blur out or take the background out of the focus. Because the photographer would have had to zoom in a lot, to get a picture of these insects, the background was almost blurred out completely. This is helpful to the viewer because there are a lot of details on these two insects. Instead of having to process the background and the distinguish it from the main focus, our eyes can focus entirely on the beauty of these insects.

Example #2

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Picture by National Geographic.

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Rather than just focusing on the main object, the photographer of this picture, focused on an entire scene and created a depth of field from the rest of the background. Because the monkeys, the plants they are eating and the cement are focused and the rest is not, we are able to distinguish them from the rest of the forest.

Three in One

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I took this last picture to demonstrate how all three principle can be applied in one picture.

 

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First of all, the pitcher and the tallest flower were placed upon the lines created by the rule of thirds. This makes the placement of the flower pot visually appealing to the viewer. Next I used leading lines in the sidewalk and brick wall to lead the eye back to the pot once again. This creates visual interest while keeping the flowers as the main focus. Lastly, the background is slightly blurred creating depth of field and making it not too overwhelming for the viewer.

CONCLUSION

The most important rule in photography is that you can always break the rules. It’s important to know them, to know what you’re doing and then to find the best way to apply them or break them, that works best for you. These three rules will allow you to take the next step in your photography! So enjoy and be bold!

Launching typefaces

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Let’s take a look at typefaces and the role they play in design. We’ll use this NASA advertisement as an example.

NASA used two different fonts to add contrast and interest to their design.

TYPEFACE #1

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The first typeface would probably fall under the San Serif category. It is characterized by it’s tall, narrow and very straight letters as you can see where it says “Launch America”. The tall vertical letters are what make it look modern. The font does not have any serfis or brackets and there is no stress because there is no thick to thin transition.

 

TYPEFACE #2

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The second typeface is oldstyle which is seen in almost all of the other words. It is easy to see that there is a Diagonal stress from thick to thin, and that it contains pronounced diagonal serifs. The words seem to be at a slant and are very different from the first typeface.

 

CONTRAST

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Now it’s easy to see that these two typefaces are very different. The words “Launch America” are straight without thick to thin stresses and have no serifs or brackets. The other words however have an old style and are slanted with a diagonal sress from thick to thin. Unlike the san serif letters, they are full of diagonal serifs. There is a huge difference between the two typefaces.

 

CONCLUSION

If you’re going to use more than one typeface, it is so important to use contrasting ones. Because these two typefaces are SO different they don’t conflict. Actually, their differences are complementary and add interest. Hey, I guess they always say that opposites attract right? So moral of the story is, when it comes to contrast, go big or go home! Be brave and do something different!

Mizuno Ads

MIZUNO3_670This excellent ad was created by Mizuno to market a pair of volleyball shoes. They’ve done a great job with their advertising so today we´re going to analyze how they did it.

ALIGNMENTmizuno alignment

They created organization within the ad itself with a flush right alignment. Alignment is very important as it creates a visual connection between the things you see on the page.

PROXIMITY

mizuno proximity

The second aspect of this advertisement that make it so appealing is the proximity and grouping of words. They grouped similar words together giving it a more organized appeal.

COLOR

mizuno colors

The next step was the color choice. They went with Accented Analogous color scheme. Blue was the accenting color and this color scheme created a bold daring fell to the advertisement.

CONTRAST

mizuno contrast

They were definitely NOT WIMPS in creating a bold contrast within the ad. They have a nice volleyball court floor but in the center where the shoe is pushing down, the floor boards are coming up, creating great contrast and showing the “power and strength” of the shoe. The contrast is what really makes the advertisement catch your eye and it gets most of its appeal from that part.

REPETITION

mizuno repetition

The repetition within the ad was also a very important aspect. They used the repetition of lines on a volleyball court to create union and connect all of the words.

THE TAKE AWAY

It turns out there’s a lot we can learn from a simple shoe advertisement. We just learned that there are 5 key elements to any design. ALIGNMENT, which we saw with the words flush left. PROXIMITY, which we saw with the way they grouped the words. COLOR, which was evident by the black, white, and blue scheme that was used. CONTRAST, noticeable in the floorboards that are coming up. REPETITION, where they used the repeating lines to connect it all. Design is simple but it also requires creativity and being bold. There’s definitely no room for wimps when it comes to design!