Samantha Maxwell April 19, 2012 7th Period Senior Project SpeechEvery day we are faced with thousands of different products and services to choose from. Sowhy do we choose the ones we do? When we see two different products on a shelf, what makesus choose this over this? When we choose these products, the majority of the time it’s becausewe subconsciously like the way it looks. If it looks like a product that matches our specific needsor wants, we buy it. It makes sense, then, that these packages were not designed arbitrarily.Graphic language has the most effect on people in the modern world because it transmitsinformation in a split second and we can relate to images more easily than we can to words.Whenever you see this symbol, or this one, or this one, you are looking at a design thatsomebody has spent hours and hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars on. Every facet of thisdesign was chosen with you, the consumer, in mind. This is the reason I chose graphic design as the topic of my senior project. I love theidea of creating images and corporate personas that go largely unnoticed but subconsciouslyaffect not only the consumers of that given product, but ultimately affect our entire society andhow it responds to what it sees. My facilitator also played a big part in inspiring me to choose graphic design for thisproject. His name is John Cutsinger and he is a creative accounts manager for Josten’syearbooks. I met him through my experience as editor in chief of the yearbook and he has beena huge part of my development as a designer. I started this project with my research paper on the history of graphic design, and it waswriting that paper that I really learned how new an idea true graphic design is. Countless visualartists have contributed to this new kind of art, but graphic design did not become prevalent until
the Victorian era when normal people started having enough money to buy luxury items. Thatbeing said, graphic design is such a fast-paced industry that at times it can seem like everythinghas already been done. Good design then becomes a matter of taking old, worn out ideas andmaking them work in a new way for a different product. This is where my facilitator stepped inand suggested to me that I use the font Helvetica for my first project. Since 1957, Helvetica hasbeen the default sans-serif font (meaning it doesn’t have feet). Upon its creation, it was anovelty and was very widely used. Around the rise of the postmodern era, its popularity startedto wane. Recently, it has come back in style as a sort of novelty. It’s still widely used, by myfacilitator challenged me to use it in a different way. I decided to use Helvetica in a coffee shop poster advertisement. I geared the producttoward young, busy people that didn’t have the time or the money for a company like Starbucks.Unlike most coffee shops, I opted for a very modern, clean design with plenty of white space.On the other hand, I alternated between different point sizes and different typefaces from theHelvetica family while introducing three signature colors to keep the identity light and fun. I raninto a roadblock when it came to designing the company logo because a logotype (a logoconsisting only of letters) seemed too boring. After playing around with a few differentpossibilities, I finally decided to opt for coffee beans in the counter (which is the closed space ofa letter) of the u. This provided the poster with a fun graphic that wasn’t overwhelming enoughto distract from the main purpose of the poster. After completing the poster I moved on to designing the business card. This was difficultat first because the program I was using for this project, InDesign, doesn’t have templates forbusiness cards. I realized that I had to look up the standard size of a business card, which isthree and a half inches by two inches. Since InDesign doesn’t work in inches, I had to convertthis sizing to picas and points which are the standard measurements used in design. When Istarted designing, I kept true to the theme that I had already established in the poster, whichwould reinforce product recognition. I used the logo I developed for the poster and implemented
the same three colors to create a large, attention-grabbing headline with a short phrase to helpemphasize speedy service. I then added the owner’s contact information is simple blackHelvetica Bold, all lowercase, to insinuate to the consumer that she was reliable andpersonable. I concluded the coffee shop project with a sign that would traditionally be placed outsidethe shop. The sign is a modified version of the logo which can be easily placed in a window or ina lighted sign on the building itself. Large, readable type and, once again, product recognitionwere the key factors in designing this sign. For my next project, both my facilitator and I agreed that I should go a completelydifferent direction. I chose to create advertisements for an upcoming film festival entitled“Roots.” I chose High Tower Text as my font and played around with the type to make it appearas if trees were growing out of the straight parts of the letters. After that, I got stuck for a while,because I hated all the white space and lack of color. I decided that a word as earthy as “roots”needed an earthier background. I then tea stained a sheet of paper and scanned it into mycomputer, where I edited the picture in Photoshop to look darker and placed it behind the text.For a splash of color, I added red leaves that get progressively smaller and more transparent,with a drip coming from the smallest. My facilitator and I argued about the drip for a while, butfinally decided that it anchored the text to the graphics on the page. The business card looks very similar but with a slightly lighter background to display thecontact information more clearly at a small size. The graphics and text all take up the right halfof the card while the left purposely has a large amount of white space. The ticket features the same “roots” logotype on the left, but the main focus is on thewords “All Access Pass.” Once again, the signature leaf pattern and the drip provide framingaround the left side of the ticket. For my final project, I wanted to feature what would be, if it existed, an atypical company.The idea for this project was a restaurant that provided healthier fast food options. For the
poster, I focused on the typical pairing of fast food items—normally a burger and fries butpictured instead an apple and banana. The signature green color is pulled from the apple butprovides enough of a contrast to make the photos of the fruit pop. All the text is in whiteTrebuchet MS in either italic or bold. This piece, like the coffee shop project, is very clean andclutter-free, but the bright green in the background provides the necessary pop of color. The business card is also simple, with the same white typeface presenting theinformation as clearly as possible at such a small size. The background features the samebright green but also a transparency of the signature apple. I created several versions of thisbusiness card, first with a grape background and then with a banana, but since the apple is theiconic healthy food, I finally opted for this version. Since fast food restaurants use so much packaging, there were a lot more options forpackage design with this project. I finally decided on a cup since I felt it would be the biggestchallenge. When designing posters and business cards, it’s fairly easy to tell what your productis going to look like on the screen. However, since the art on a fast food cup is more 3D, it takesmore skill visualizing the final product. Also, the fact that it’s rounded and tapered offers graphicdesigners a difficult canvas to work with. My major problem with the cup was there was no wayto make a template for it. I finally found a picture of a flattened cup online and learned to makemy own template by outlining and then deleting the picture. From that point, I carried throughthe transparent apple theme with the same green background (though I lightened it slightly). Iknew I wanted to feature text on the cup but was confused how to make it rounded at the top.When I learned how to do it, I wrote a small blurb about the kinds of drinks offered at therestaurant. A longer explanation, perhaps a listing of all the drinks, could appear visuallyoverwhelming to the consumer and they would be unlikely to read it. I concluded with a simple“the fruit basket.” in all lowercase at the bottom of the cup. The final result was a simple yetvisually stimulating product that would appeal to consumers interested in healthier mealchoices.
Though I, like most of my peers, dreaded the senior project, I’m truly glad I have had thisopportunity to explore design. After completing this project, I am one hundred percent sure thatthis is what I want to do with my life. While the senior project taught me a great deal aboutgraphic design, it also helped me develop a stronger work ethic and I learned that it’s alwaysbetter to get things done in advance. I feel that these skills will benefit me in college, where I amplanning on majoring in art with a concentration in graphic design, and also in the work worldwhere deadlines are taken much more seriously than they are taken at the scholastic level inhigh school. Because of this project I feel I am prepared for what lies ahead and I am extremelyexcited about what lies in the future for me.