Thursday, December 16, 2010

Digital File Prep: Final Project

Early on this semester I saw some old iMacs sitting in the corner of a class room. The old G4’s with the gooseneck screens that could swivel around. The more I looked at them the more I could see a potential in them to express emotion and really be the perfect subject for some kind of photography project. I decided to incorporate that photography project into my final project for Digital File Prep.

My first thought was to do some sort of take on the “motivational” posters that we all know so well, but eventually gave up on that idea as it didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. Instead, I came up with a campaign the old Macs would be perfect for, “Save a Mac”. This campaign urges people who have old Macs that sit in the closet to get them out and put them to a practical use. I decided to do a flyer of information, along with a set of 10 posters each with a different pose of the above mentioned iMac in black and white. While started as a fictional idea, “Save a Mac” is becoming more real every day.

For more information about “Save a Mac”, visit

Overall Dimensions
10 unique posters at 11”x17”
Flyer at 8.5”x11”

Posters and flyer both have 1/8” bleed.

Flat or folded
Posters are flat, flyer is folded once down the middle.

Purpose of the piece
The purpose of my posters and flyer is to promote the “Save a Mac” campaign. This campaign aims to get dusty old macs back in use by suggesting practical ways to use them.

Target Audience
My target audience is people who have recently upgraded to a new Macintosh computer, who are planning on upgrading soon, who have access to old Macintosh computers, or who are Apple fans in general.

Call to Action
The call to action of my posters is to promote the campaign. Each poster has a website URL if someone wants more information. The purpose of the flyer is to get people to use the information contained within to help them put their old Mac to use.

A full set of posters (10) with accompanying flyer runs about $5.00 (when you do 50 sets), likely much cheaper if done in larger quantity.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Publication Ad

The assignment here was to design a set of ads for a publication. The publication I chose to go with was the Aspen Music Festival program book because the ads that I wanted to produce were for the Bach Stradivarius trumpet. The product and event fit together very nicely.

My target audience for this ad is musicians (or more specifically trumpet players or teachers) who take music seriously and are willing to pay more for a high quality product. Most of the people at the festival where the program will be handed out already know where and how to obtain a musical interest, so my call to action is simply to generate interest and check out the website if you want more information.

Trim size for full page ad: 8.375” x 10.875” with 1/4” bleed

Size for 1/3 page ad: 2.31” x 9.75” with no bleed

Friday, December 3, 2010

Direct Mail Assignment

In this assignment the goal was to create a direct mail piece. In this case basically a post card that a company mails to people in it’s client database with information that changes depending on the client. At least two elements were to change depending on who the mailer went to, excluding the address of course. I chose to do mine for the Louisburg Animal Clinic. Special variable data software would be used to pull information from an excel spreadsheet (“database”) and create a unique print for each client.

My database of clients was divided by one major factor; dog or cat. If you were in the database as a dog owner, the picture on the front of your mailer would be a dog. If you were a cat owner, you would get a picture of a cat. On the back, dog information would be included for dog owners and cat information for cat owners. Another element that would change is a variable for the pet’s name on the back of the card.

My direct mail piece is sized at 8” by 5” with a 1/8” bleed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Presentation on Emerging Media

I attended the VML presentation by Joe Grigsby at the FSRTC. VML strives to deliver creative solutions at the intersection of marketing and technology. This presentation was about emerging media, primarily social and mobile. Emerging media can basically be defined as consumer behavior trends that transform how people connect to content, to each other, and to the broader society. There are basically two main categories: Social and Mobile.

Social media

In 2010 66% of all media is digital and 76% of people with broadband internet connections contribute to social media via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any other number of social media outlets. An interesting piece of information included in the presentation was that if Facebook were considered a country with number of active users as its population, it would be the third largest country in the world. Grigsby talked about how companies are getting involved in the social media scene with facebook identities, twitter accounts, blogs, etc. Southwest airlines has an entire team of full time employees who manage the company’s online presence. Some companies shy away from social media and would rather put all their focus on traditional marketing as if too avoid potential negative feedback. The truth is that consumers will talk about a company within social networking whether the company is directly involved or not, so why not get involved? Give thanks for positive comments and try to fix the problems of those who aren’t so satisfied with your goods or services. A company can use social media and social networking to help drive consumer behavior. People will always trust other people like themselves more than traditional advertising, so if you have real people posting positive things on your facebook page it can make a world of difference.


14% of teenagers can text blindfolded, this just goes to show you how important the mobile world and market is becoming. Faster network speeds, coupled with better devices and flat rate data plans, leads to mass market value adoption. By 2011 there will be more smart phones in use than regular feature phones and 32% of internet traffic will be mobile. With newer and better phones coming out every day and devices like the iPad taking the market by storm mobile media will only continue to grow.

Even though it may not seem like it, social and mobile media are still relatively new ideas. Many companies have not embraced them yet to their full potential. The companies who embrace this idea now, who have mobile friendly websites or phone apps and have a facebook page you can like, are the one’s who will likely be the most successful.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Newspaper Ad Design

Target Audience: With my newspaper ads I am attempting to go after two different demographics. My first ad, which is a bit smaller with all text and a discount offer, is aimed at a older and more traditional crowd as well as lower income. The purpose of this ad is not to show that we take great pictures, but to entice people to come to our website and see what they can get for the money. My second ad was larger with an illustration of CDs, a computer, and a photo album with the tagline “On Disk. Online. In Print.”. The reason I did this was to let people know that unlike an overwhelming majority of photography companies, we will give you a CD with digital files as well as an online gallery of your photos. The target audience here is younger and more tech savvy people who that would appeal to. The reason I didn’t want to use pictures in the ads is because they would not print nicely on newsprint.

Call to Action: My call to action is the same in both ads despite the different target audiences: go to our website. The website is the only means of communication or location listed and this is done intentionally. When people go to the site they will be able to see all kinds of examples of our work and get contact and pricing information whenever they want, night or day.

3 x 6 = 18 x $4 = $72 for a 5.75” by 6” ad
2 x 3 = 6 x $4 = $24 for a 3.79” by 3” ad

Totals $96 dollars, total budget was $100.

Production Schedule:
October 7, 2010: Start project, begin thinking about theme and budget.
October 12, 2010: Have theme for ad decided, ad amount and sizes as well.
October 14, 2010: Thumbnails and roughs of ad design completed.
October 19, 2010: Create digital files
October 21, 2010: Finish up digital files
October 26, 2010: On screen critique
October 28, 2010: Revise and turn in files

Monday, November 1, 2010

Brendan Murphy

In 1985 Brendan Murphy came to Pittsburg State University on a track scholarship. He then decided to become a Commercial Graphics major, in fear of getting hurt as an athlete. This decision ended up leading to a very successful career in the graphics industry. On October 15th Murphy came back to PSU to give a symposium, but unfortunately I was unable to attend due to a class conflict. I was able to get a few notes from people who did attend, but mostly just a few quotes and facts.

If there’s one thing about Murphy’s success that is inspiring to me more than anything it’s that a student from a relatively small university in south east Kansas can get so far in the industry. This says to me that employers care more about what you have to offer than where your diploma came from and I like that idea. Sure, I love Pitt State, but I don’t expect many people to recognize or know of it outside this area.

Murphy also seemed to have talked about writing a typography quite a bit. I never thought about the use of technical writing in the graphics field before, but it’s a cool thing to think about. I enjoy writing and even though it may not always be fun, I like the idea of getting to use writing as well as graphic design when working. Now, about typography, this seems to be something stressed in all our classes at Pitt State as well as by industry professionals like Murphy. I am confused why the department decided we didn’t need a typography class anymore. I would love to take a typography class, especially considering how important it seems to be. It seems to me like this should be a class everyone in GIT should have to take early on, like page layout and image comp.

I wish I would have been able to attend this symposium, from what I have seen of notes and other student blogs it seems like Murphy had some interesting things to say that might not be what most speakers talk about.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Project: "G4 Cube"

Last semester I was introduced to the Power Mac G4 Cube, or more affectionately known as, the “G4 Cube”. This computer was made for only one year between 2000 and 2001. This machine was, to put it simply, beautiful. In fact, the New York Museum of Modern Art holds a G4 Cube in its collection. The G4 Cube shipped, in its most basic form, with a 450mhz G4 processor, 64mb of RAM, and a 20 GB hard drive all in the 8" x 8" x 10" form factor. One of the more remarkable features of this computer is its convection-based cooling system, meaning it has no fans and can run completely silent.

I decided I wanted to find a Cube for myself and eventually was able to track one down on eBay. When I got it everything was stock, including the original ten year old 20 GB hard drive which by now was quite noisy. It was time to do a few modifications…

At first my only intention was to put a new hard drive in. I got a 500 GB IDE hard drive from my dad that wasn’t currently being used and swapped it out for the old 20 GB. I cloned the data from the old drive to the new one and to my astonishment it booted up just fine. Then I decided it needed more ram, so I went downstairs and found some old PC133 ram that wasn’t being used anymore and installed what I could find and what would fit, bringing my ram up to 768mb. Next I discovered there was a slot inside the computer for an Apple Airport card, which would give this old Cube wireless internet capabilities. I found one of those on eBay for $1 and put it in too.

At this point I was only using this computer for file storage and as a media server so I wished I had even more disk space available. I decided to remove the DVD drive from the Cube and replace it with a second hard drive. This got a little tricky because a hard drive is quite a bit different size than a DVD drive. After messing around for a while I found a solution holding the hard drive in place by using longer screws to suspend the drive from the metal frame of the computer.

Now this old computer can sit in my living room hooked up to my stereo and I can access it from my iPod, iPad, or macbook and tell it to start playing music. It also now has 750 GB of space instead of the original 20 and I store and back up my files on it. I can let it sit there and leave it on 24/7 and it is totally silent, not to mention it looks really cool. Pretty good for a 10 year old Mac.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Color: Evaluation of an Existing Design

Apple iMac “Five Flavors” Campaign

It’s almost hard to believe that a company like Apple, whose image today is sleek aluminum form factor machines or high grade finely shined white plastic casings, could be responsible for the computers pictured above. However, in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, these machines were all the rage. Apple, which in the early ninety’s was a near bankrupt and crumbling former empire, decided to make some drastic changes. Steve Jobs was brought back as CEO and he led the company back to doing what it did best in its earliest days of success: giving the people what they want, even if they don’t know they want it yet. The introduction of the iMac was one of the first things Jobs did to revitalize the company and as successful as that was it just wasn’t quite enough. The iMac would not only be an easy to use all-in-one computer, it would also come in five vibrant and very different colors.

This was a bold move at the time. If you check out other PC’s of the era, they aren’t much to look at. Sure, the computer is mainly used for doing work and making day-to-day tasks easier, but why can’t it be fun and good looking too? When you went to the store to buy an iMac, you didn’t just grab a computer and go. You had a choice, which color are you? There was something for everyone. A calm and cool “blueberry”, a sharp and eye catching “strawberry”, a refreshing and envious “lime”, a rich and regal “grape”, and a vital and bold “tangerine”. The color choices are really quite ingenious. Those colors form the same flower shape that is pictured above on the color wheel. The colors are well spaced and encompass all the main color hues. It’s quite obvious that the chosen colors were not picked at random. Somebody with knowledge of color and design carefully picked each color for a reason. Each hue has a different feel and potentially appeals to a different audience. The five colors work very well together, yet are very unique and distinctive on their own. They look great sitting together on a shelf at the store, but any one of them will also look great on your desk at home.

Apple is a master of product design and giving people what they want in the modern market. Their bold use of color in an era of drab off-white boxy computers just goes to show how well the company can read the market. A marketing team that knows what the customer wants before the customer does is a highly successful one. At the time, people just needed something different and unique to make the computer fun, and the “five flavors” campaign did just that.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Notepad Project

In this project we were to design a notepad that could be given away to high school students who might be interested in the Graphics and Imaging Technologies department here at PSU. The pad had to be black and white, perfect bound, 50 sheets, and have a chip board backing. The rest of the specifications, such as size and design, were up to us.

In deciding what I should do for my notepad design, I had to narrow down my potential audience. These pads would, theoretically, be given away at senior day GIT booths and displays or something of the sort. Now, this alone gives me a much smaller high school group. With the exception of a few people who are up in the air about what they want to do in college, the majority of people who would visit the GIT booth or display would be interested in graphics, art, and creativity in general. So I tried to think of what things appealed to me in that position, what would I want to pick up and take with me?

Ultimately, I decided to use a design that mimicked an iPad with the screen of the device being where you would write. Now, of course this is something I like and think is fun, but I tried to think outside that just a bit too. Apple products have always been known for being designed to help artists be creative in a digital world. Now with iPods, iPads, and the iPhone Apple products are in the hands of millions of loyal customers who love their iDevice. I figured using a design like this would not only appeal to potential graphics students, but might also reach out to other people as well. I ended up choosing 5 x 7 as my dimensions, because it is a very familiar size to most people and yields a good design to write space ratio. My overall goal in the design work was to keep everything clean and simple, I know I don’t like notepads I use to have too much going on that would distract from what I was trying to write or drawn on them.

In the end, I decided on my design because it was fun and I thought it would be appealing to a wide variety of people. I wanted my design to be relevant to graphics and imaging, but also be something clever that high school kids might appreciate or want to use. I wanted it to be clean and simple and since we could design whatever we wanted, I wanted my design to be something that I enjoyed as well. I think my design accomplishes all of these things.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Gap Logo Change


I think this whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. Gap decided it was time to change their logo and put the new one on their website. People started going crazy about it. This is a beautiful publicity stunt in action. All Gap had to do was change the logo on their site for a couple hours and all the sudden they’re all over the news. Every article I can find says they didn’t even print it anywhere, just uploaded it to their website. Now Gap’s facebook is asking for new logo ideas from the general public, generating even more publicity.

Personally I don’t see what the big deal is anyway. The new Gap logo looks way better than the old one. I’m not sure what font the old logo uses, but it’s way too narrow. The Helvetica of the new logo looks very clean and easy to read at a distance. I also like how the blue square has been preserved in a simple, yet elegant way. This kind of logo is my favorite, as simple as possible yet still can convey a brand. I’ve read many quotes about this new logo from people who think they’re just hilarious and say that it must have been made with Microsoft Word. They could come right out and say they did use Word and I don’t think it should matter. A good simple logo is a good simple logo. The problem with the change is that the old logo had been used and established for over 20 years. Major companies have learned over time that a big change in their identity can lead to drastic customer backlash. Gap’s marketing team isn’t stupid, they know this as well as I do, which is what leads me to believe this could all be a big publicity stunt.

If Gap learned any lesson here it’s that all they have to do to get in the spotlight is something as simple as changing the logo on their website. Bad press or not, media coverage is media coverage and free publicity. I hardly think that Gap shoppers will simply stop going because the company tried changing their logo, but people who hadn’t thought of Gap in a while might be reminded of it. I wasn’t sure if Gap even still existed a few days ago, but I certainly know now.

Gap Images obtained here:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Using an HTML Element

Testing an HTML element...
  • the first list item
  • the second list item
  • the third list item
I don't really have anywhere on my "gadgets" that I want to use html, so I'm going to test some here in a post.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break Coming to an End

The end is in sight for spring break. Oh well, I've had fun.

As far as design is concerned, I've learned quite a bit more about wordpress. I've even edited the admin login page to match the site theme. Am I pretty much the only one who will ever see that? Yeah, but it makes me happy, heh. I'm also going to be adding a new page to the site I made for my work, the Louisburg Animal Clinic, for our new groomer. Nothing too exciting, but a little work here and there.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learning Wordpress

Recently I've decided it would be a good idea to learn how to use and tweak wordpress. I went to and downloaded all the necessary files, uploaded them to my webserver, and had it installed and running within an hour. Although as a side note to anyone who might try it, make sure you have access to a mysql database on your server, otherwise it won't work. I figured out the basics and started adding plugins, downloading new free themes and then altering them to look the way I wanted.

Well, a few days ago my girlfriend and I decided to change our photography website over to wordpress so we could have a blog and it would be easier to log in and change things from any computer without the use of html editing. We found a cool template, edited it quite a bit, and uploaded examples of our work just like our last site. Now it's easy for both of us to work on it, you don't need dreamweaver or a knowledge of html and css.

Go check out our new site: Connection Photography

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Welcome to my new blog site!

Well, I've never done a blog site before. I thought it would be good to put an actual post on here to see what it would look like. As far as my current design is concerned, I intentionally left the background white and tried to stick to a simplistic, yet stylish (I think) look.