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Academic Portfolio: Graphic Design

Gestalt Principles

Instructions: Choose three words and illustrate them under four different conditions:

  1. 1) Using only squares/rectangles.
  2. 2) Using only circles and lines.
  3. 3) Using circles, lines, text, and color.
  4. 4) Anything goes.

Words: Disaster, Grow, and Independence.

Biggest Challenge(s): I had never used Adobe Illustrator prior to this assignment. Needless to say, the biggest challenge was to learn the program(s) and create adequate deliverables at the same time, with a tight deadline to follow.

How I Overcame the Challenge(s): To overcome this challenge, I simply dove in and played around with various tools within Adobe Illustrator. The course instructor, Mark Smith, also gave brief tutorials during class, which helped me learn simple techniques little by little. Finally, in weeks before the assignment due date, students were to bring in their progress and receive feedback during peer review. I absorbed the constructive criticism as best I could to learn how to improve the images both graphically and conceptually. To overcome the time constraint, I stayed up rather late on many occasions to reach an acceptable stopping point, along with working through lunch breaks at work.

Click on any photo to view larger image.

Battling Quotes

Instructions: Choose a topic and find two quotes referencing that topic that appear to oppose each other. Illustrate the "battle" in various ways.

Topic: Same-Sex Marriage, George W. Bush vs. Barack Obama

Biggest Challenge(s): Students were free to use either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop to complete this assignment, and I wanted to use both in order to become more familiar with Adobe Photoshop. At this point, I was still a beginner with both of these programs, and wanted to develop my skills for the final project and future projects that may arise in my career. With yet another time constraint, I had to decide how to produce a final product that met both my standards and those of the course.

How I Overcame the Challenge(s): I overcame this obstacle in a similar manner as the "Gestalt Principles" assignment - I played around with various tools, followed Mark Smith's tutorials, absorbed feedback from fellow students during peer review, and stayed up late on many nights (and even pulled an all-nighter) to get the job done.

Click on any photo to view larger image.

Narrative Transformation

Instructions: Choose a topic, generate opposite terms relating to this topic, and develop a digital story that illustrates a transformation between the two terms.

Topic: Adult Illiteracy in the U.S., Illiteracy/Obscurity vs. Awareness/Clarity

Biggest Challenge(s): At this point in the course, I had become more confident with using graphic design programs. The challenge now was to develop a coherent and comprehensive story that connects two opposing concepts. I had never been assigned a project like this before, so I had to step out of my comfort zone to produce a final product with which I was confident, with again what seemed like very little time.

How I Overcame the Challenge(s): The first part of the project required us to develop three sets of thumbnails (30 in each set) to generate ideas for the sequence. When I presented my thumbnail sets to Mark Smith, he ensured that I was on the right track and encouraged me to combine elements of each idea. During peer reviews I absorbed the constructive criticism and took one step at a time. When the due date approached, I completed this abstract project to my satisfaction, and am proud to showcase it in my portfolio.

Click on any photo to view larger image.

Information Architecture

During my time in the New Media Studies program, I took a few human-interaction courses, including Information Architecture & Interaction Design.

To showcase graphic design samples created for concrete purposes, I've included examples below.

Biggest Challenge(s): At the beginning of this course, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I felt overwhelmed and out of my league. While I had always been interested in Information Architecture, I had definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone.

How I Overcame the Challenge(s): I sought help from fellow NMS students who had previously taken the course, along with work-in-progress feedback from the instructors. By taking each assignment one step at a time, and reviewing applicable course readings, I was able to successfully create process flowcharts and infographics that met course requirements and standards.