Rough Draft: The Thompson Scholarship

rough-draft-cut

I realized after submitting my sketch design to the class that I don’t think I can make a logo based on my original concept because it may or may not go against Copyright. As such, I took the general shape of the design and reworked it into something that in the end came out more relevant than my original topic anyways. The subject for my assignment is the Thompson Education Abroad scholarship available here at WSU. This scholarship is available to students studying abroad, which is important because many people find study abroad appealing but feel it’d be too expensive, and immersing yourself in the culture is easily one of the best ways to pick up a language.
The scholarship is all about foreign travel, which is why I decided to focus on travel for my design. Using a plane flying across the world, I was able to keep the design’s geometry down to mostly circles, while invoking the message of global travel. Additionally, since I was using such a familiar image of a planet, the graphic can be scaled down, and even with the little room, the idea of the earth is recognizable.
While I wound up using globe imagery for two projects now, I feel like it was an appropriate image for what this scholarship is. I did all the elements of the design, so I didn’t have to invest any time into looking for materials. I wanted the design to remain focused on a few major circles, so I started my design process by making a few circles of varying sizes. For the earth’s landmasses, I used the pencil tools to make some general shapes and used the divide function to make them line up with the smallest circle. For the plane, I hand designed it via the pen tool, but I’m unhappy with that result and may go and create another one geometrically later. Finally, I used the Text along a Path tool to get the circular Thompson text. The text was then copied and turned into an outline, which I used the Offset Path effect to turn into a white outline to prevent the planet from making the text hard to read. Finally, using one more circle I creating the ring around which shows the plane’s path, and used the scissor tool to cut off the bottom near the beginning of the text.
Easily the most convoluted issue encountered was involving the curved text. Because the path was along a circle, the text kept coming upside down due to its position on the path. For anyone else encountering this problem, use the select tool and pay attention to the three lines coming from your circle’s path. Dragging those to the inside of the circle and altering it’s position slightly should fix the issue.

Logo Sketch: JLPT

My sketch design is based on the JLPT or Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It is the official Japanese proficiency exam both in Japan and internationally, and is a big topic when discussing my history with languages. The design is based on Sun Imagery while designing with the Pathfinder mechanics we’ve learned thus far.

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A world of Languages – Unit 1 Final Draft

final

When I started brainstorming ideas for this project, I wanted to ask myself why I had chosen foreign language as a topic. I knew that it was a topic I was interested in but wondered what goal I had in mind. What I hoped to achieve with the goal was creating some space where perhaps I could get more people interested in learning a second language. Once I had settled on that, the idea of a poster encouraging foreign language studies came rather naturally.

I wanted to create something eye-catching that would if nothing else get the thought running in their mind. I thought about what might encourage me if I was on the fence about learning a language. One of the things I hadn’t realized until I started studying them was that there are so many languages that each work differently and having different uses. Many friends I know took Spanish during their middle or high school years and believed that they didn’t like studying foreign languages. One, in particular, decided to pick up German, and wound up loving the language and studied it out of fun beyond his classes.

When I began the design, I searched for images that seemed like they might make a good base. Eventually, I found a picture of a world map and the idea for the countries with texts over them came into my head. With that in mind, my other two images were a classroom which ultimately didn’t make it into the final image and a picture of a dictionary page. Later on, in my final draft, I would collect a picture of a door, as well as a word cloud of words from various languages. The images collected during the original process were found on FreeImages.com while the pictures collected later were found on Pixabay.com

Starting from the creation of the image, I first had to find a way to get the picture of the countries one color so that overlaying the image would be easier. For that, I used a selection around the white background to remove the background, and then applied a color overlay from the blending options menu. Afterward, I selected the now pure-colored image and placed the dictionary image in a new layer above it. I inverted the selection of the countries and used the selection to delete everything on the dictionary page that was not covering the image below it. Inverting a selection is a useful tip when you have a complicated image that has a relatively simple background.

I had originally planned on using a pure blue background. However, I felt it made the image look flat. I used a gradient tool and took two similar colors and used that as the background instead. This proved to be a lot more effort down the road, as due to some technical difficulties I wound up losing the original .psd and had to work using my rough draft as a single layer. Not having the blue as a solid color made removing elements from the design laborious without just covering them up which is what I wound up doing for the original classroom image.

Knowing how critical the typography would be to the image, I made sure to incorporate several rules of unity in the typography. Using a circular design via the text tool’s arc setting in the largest text, it made my headline for the image the most eye-catching of the texts, giving it hierarchy in both shape and size. Additionally, the design is also appealing as it appears to form a complete shape. Then, using a smaller text with a similar layout, I managed to make the image flow downwards while making the smaller text still look like it belonged with the larger.

As I moved forward with my final draft, I tried to pay attention to as many details from my feedback as possible. When I talked to my TA, the biggest point of criticism was that the image I had used on the bottom half of the image seemed unrelated. With that in mind, I thought about various ways I could improve that area of my poster before deciding to scrap it entirely. Instead, I discussed with them for a while and decided to use an open door as a symbol while using words from various languages inside.

The door was another free image found that luckily already came with transparencies set. Unfortunately, the fact that I was revising my draft without the original .psd file meant that I had to go and fill some of those transparencies using a mixture of the shape and brush tool. I wound up looking for an image of the various languages that was colorful. Lack of eye-popping color was a recurring piece of negative feedback from my peer review, but colors have always been an incredibly difficult element for me to grasp. I most likely had I had my original .psd file changed the stroke around the main texts to add color, but instead I wound up using this as a way to introduce some colors.
The final design process for the image was the smaller text to the right of the door. In my rough draft, I used underlines to break the lines apart, but I was told this looked awkward, so I switched to bullet points. There isn’t a bullet point option in Photoshop, so I used a code on my keyboard which due to past experiences I have memorized. Holding down ALT on a Windows keyboard, I inputting 0149, which yielded me the • character. There are thousands of codes like this, which make using odd characters in Photoshop a lot easier.

The image creation process had a lot more obstacles than I had anticipated. A few tips I would recommend for avoiding the struggles I had can be applied to most projects. For one, always save a copy of your base layers before you change them. Second, always back up your project via email or the cloud or some other method. Three would be to use objects like drop shadows and stroke borders when an object has trouble fitting into your image. Finally, always play on the side of caution when dealing with white backgrounds. If you are selecting the white background to try and remove them, always select a couple of pixels more than you think you might need so that you don’t have a thin white outline on your image. Many images also have pixels that transition from the color to white, for example, a pink between a red and white background, which might not fit with your design.

Images Used:

World Map:
http://www.freeimages.com/photo/world-map-1451584

Dictionary Page:
http://images.freeimages.com/images/previews/df2/dictionary-words-2-1512107.jpg

Wooden Door:
https://pixabay.com/en/door-open-door-wooden-door-1202905

Language Cloud:
https://pixabay.com/en/welcome-words-greeting-language-905562

 

Rough Draft Poster!

It’s just a rough draft, but this is my idea for a poster. I wanted to create something encouraging people to engage in foreign languages because if I could accomplish one thing with this blog, I would hope that perhaps I could help someone get into this huge part of my life. I remember years ago, how on the fence I was about taking up a second language, and so I know I wanted to give a supportive message about starting.

Design-wise, it’s a lot simpler than I had initially planned, but decided against because things began to feel too cluttered. Keeping the principles of art, I decided to give the text throughout a hierarchy through scale, leading people downwards using continuation throughout the project. Keeping this in mind, I put the most eye-popping text near the top and made it the largest. This text was mostly just to grab someone’s attention, followed by explaining the purpose of the poster and then providing information. Using the property of similarity, I used strokes around the central text to make it feel like they belonged together, and did a similar border around the final image, and made that stroke use the texture from the dictionary to make that also feel more natural in the picture.

For the imagery of the world landmasses, I had to find a way to remove an opaque white background from the original image. The magic wand tool wouldn’t work because of the small gaps, so eventually I used the Color Range select tool, and selected the pure white background, before applying a color layer to make it all one color. Afterward, I had originally planned on using a mask to overlay the second image over just the landmasses shapes. However, this also proved troublesome, so instead, I selected the landmasses, inverted the selection, and hit delete on the layer with the dictionary.

For collecting the raw resources, it was primarily by following the websites listed on the Com210 websites as good starting places for creative commons licenses. I had originally hoped to create some resources while using photos as a base. However, this was changed because I couldn’t find any useful resources which I had the legal permission to use.

rough-draft.jpg

 

Used Images:
http://www.freeimages.com/photo/my-class-1440533

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/world-map-1451584

 

Learning a language and what else it taught me.

You ever have a moment where something truly clicks for you, and the wave of excitement goes through your body? Or when you finally do something with confidence, and you feel even more excited to get better at whatever skill it was? These are the feelings I learned when I picked up Japanese in high school. For four years of school I characterize as overwhelmingly uninteresting, foreign languages was something I discovered that completely changed how I looked at studying, learning, and putting effort into my education.

When I began to think about topics for my blog, it was hard for me to think about something which I say I’ve had a personal experience with. Something unique in some way to share my stories about. But my time learning languages has not only included some of my most memorable moments but also taught me a lot more than just language skills. It’s something I had enough passion for and something I felt I could give an original dialogue on.

I look forward to seeing all the possible ways I can show what I’ve learned throughout this semester. Gathering materials will be enjoyable, be it visual representation with photos, or audio be it spoken dialogue or perhaps even an interview with one of the many language professors at WSU. Videos will also be a lot of fun to make and share.

The projects throughout the class are going to help me, not only by teaching me valuable skills with content creation but also by encouraging me to put all of these thoughts I have into words. Putting thoughts into words has always helped me compile them better, understand them a lot more than before. I might make a poster for some sort of language event in Photoshop, design visual guides in illustrator, and maybe even create some narrative about languages in Audition. All of these will help me put the experiences in my head into a more physical form.

 

Links:

https://www.erin.ne.jp/en/

This was a site that I first learned about when I was initially learning Japanese. It’s use of narrative to help with learning a language is really interesting, and while I can’t do something of such a big scale, I think it’s interesting to at least examine further.

https://www.youtube.com/user/MyHusbandisJapanese/featured

This YouTube channel works not only on language pointers and other small things, but they also talk a lot about the cultural impacts and differences which I also find very interesting.

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/blog/

Tae Kim is a fairly well-known writer whose online grammar guide is seen as being helpful due to its simplicity and how easy it is to follow. While this blog is not meant to be a grammar guide, I think his blog and other social media (as well as some posts in the grammar guide) really show a creative way to think about languages and how they function. I’d love to be able to touch on unique ways I’ve looked at the language in a similar way.