Hunting for the perfect design

The fundamental elements of design are the building blocks that help determine how successful the design is.  They can provide a starting point to the creative process of the designer, who can in turn influence a product that may become appealing to the consumer.

Whether or not a person may realize, design concepts can be found in everyday items, advertisements, or even in buildings.  Listed below are a few examples of the basic design principles that one may encounter on a daily basis:


Alignment is the adjustment or the connection between the components of a design.  This advertisement was taken outside of a Food Lion grocery store.  The way the wording is arranged in the top-half creates an appealing look due to its symmetrical and organized nature.  The initial message of “Earn Rewards” flows down to the next statement of “On Top Of Your MVP Savings,” in a cohesive and structured manner.


Repetition is the action of repeating a word, phrase or even imagery.  This advertisement displays a repeating pattern of the word “Two” to establish consistency and a straight-forward message.  It is also creating a rhythm geared towards consumers who may be driving by and do not have much time to absorb the message.


Hierarchy is visually emphasizing the principle message in the design. This advertisement is showing emphasis on the word “FREE” by using larger font than the secondary message.  By doing so, the communication and the goal of the ad is clear.


The same ad is also displaying the concept of contrast – which is the juxtaposition of opposing elements.  The usage of yellow and black helps to guide the viewer’s eyes to a key aspect of the design – the notion of a free wiper blade installation (with the purchase of wiper blades.)


Color is light reflected off objects.  This packaging is exhibiting very strong and vibrant hues such as pink and red to create emotion and visual interest.  It is used to emphasize the description of the beverage, which is a “lip smackingly tropical pale ale.”


Space is the area around or between elements in design.  This is a church simply called “The House.”  The designer has chosen to keep the signage minimal and simplistic much like the overall building.

These are just a few examples of some of the design concepts.  Other concepts include proximity, which is the relationship between elements, and balance, which is the weight distributed throughout the design by the placement of elements.

Graphic designers who play around

This week, the class was asked to interpret, compare, and contrast the styles of two different graphic designers, Paula Scher and David Carson.

Paula Scher’s style is one of uncomplicated creativeness, where her claim to designing is simply just “to play” which she defines as “engaging in a childlike activity.”   She compared a great deal between being “solemn” and being “serious,” and as a refresher, I looked up the definition of both words to make sure I was understanding her interpretation.  Being solemn is defined as being more formal and dignified, while being serious is a state demanding careful consideration or application.  One of her key points that resonated was to utilize any passion you may have for a particular subject and to run with it.  The focus and desire which can stem from that passion may be the basis for creating serious play.  There is no hiding the fact that I care deeply about my dachshund Lenny, who my husband refers to as being completely and utterly useless.  Nontheless, Lenny is who I have decided to include periodically as a creative aspect into my blog, even though tying him in to a reflective post might be a little far fetched.


David Carson, on the other hand, has a very comprehensive style that I often found a little difficult to interpret because some of his examples were hard to read.  This is where I see a contradiction between Scher and Carson.  Carson made a statement where he said “not to mistake legibility for communication.”  His designs often felt chaotic, jumbled and illegible, while Scher displayed large font in the floors and walls of buildings.  However, both advocated for the audience to look past the obvious and to discover the message and emotion behind the material.

Graphic design by David Carson
Pave Environmental Graphics Paula Scher Inspiration Grid Paula Scher Environmental Graphics
Graphic design by Paula Scher


Both designers seemed to have a love for an experimental use of typography and pushed the envelop in creating innovative design.  One of the tutorials in that I throughly enjoyed was to “chose the right font” because it helped with the design principle of proximity, in which I needed clarification.  Proximity is where design elements can be visually connected in some way, either by font size or placement.

Even though I visually enjoyed the designs created by Paula Scher, I resonated the most with David Carson.  I liked how he encouraged the use of putting yourself into the work.  Carson discussed the importance of people – he felt that design work needed to be personal and subjective to be of any interest and value.  I wholeheartedly agree with his statement that a person’s unique background, upbringing, culture, and life experiences are what diversify design and create greatness.


Week 1 – Photography Reflection

This week proved to be extremely challenging.  While still trying to get a handle of how to maneuver through WordPress, I feel that I accomplished a minor goal in becoming more organized online.  Categories were added to the blog to help separate the different assignments and reflection posts, as well as the daily creates.  However, I do feel that I am still not utilizing the various options and tools available to create the most optimum blog.  So in other words, my blog is continuing to be a work in progress.

work simpsons GIF

Daily Creates

A minimum of two daily creates were required this week.  The activities were found to be enjoyable, and I ended up completing three:

May 23 – Design your own coloring book page

May 24 – Create your Bitmoji scene

May 25 – What’s your app idea

Thinking about Photos –  click the headline to be directed to the assignment blog.

Reviewing the different tips on better photography forced me to take a closer look that the types of pictures that I take.  I realized that I rush through taking photos and do not spend enough time trying to set up my shot.  A key point that resonated with me is to be more selective, and to think carefully about the shot that I am trying to achieve.

I specifically chose the “Religious and Residential” gallery in Abandoned America because I actually like visiting old historic churches and victorian homes.  I find that churches seem to be built differently depending on the geographical area.  For example, this is a picture of San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey, California.  It is the oldest functioning church and the first sandstone building in the state of California.

It was interesting to sift through photos of old abandoned churches from the gallery.  When asked if it felt the photos were a good representation of my version of a post-apolcalyptic aesthetic, I agreed because I did feel abandonment from a long time ago.


These are the photos I took for the Photoblitz assignment.  I actually really enjoyed completing this assignment, and enlisted the help of my husband.  He read to me the different prompts as both of us ran around the parking lot of the Lesner Inn working through the list.  It helped having another person available to point out different suggestions to capture.

Storytelling with Photos

My favorite type of story narrative is romance, due to the fact that I still consider myself to be a newlywed.  My husband is truly my best friend and life feels complete with him.  In this assignment, I placed these Instagram photos in this particular order to indicate the various stages relationships – courtship, engagement, and marriage.

This photo reminds me of a courtship between two people early in their relationship.  Every little gesture is appreciated and highlighted.  I choose this photo for the visual assignment “My favorite photo.”

This photo represents the newly engaged couple planning their wedding.  I tied it into the visual assignment “Places of Peace” and offered alternative venues that may also provide a sense of solace.

This gallery was probably my most favorite one.  This is my version of the “Five frame story” visual assignment.  I tried to provide a sense of compromise between Lenny and his buddy Neiko.  No doubt is compromise a necessity to a successful marriage.  However, these photos needed to be set up in order to obtain the desired message.  Dogs are not necessarily the best actors – they may or may not take to direction very well.  I ended up manually moving a dog out of the way in order to take the picture I wanted.

All in all, I felt that I learned a lot about photography in a short amount of time.  By being forced to discover different angles, depths, and to be more selective, I feel that photography can be a great way to express a feeling that you are trying to achieve.


Let’s go back in time

This post is for the Daily Create that was posted on 25 May.  Who wouldn’t want a time machine to revisit old haunts or go into the future?



Romance in the Making

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines romance as a “love story especially in the form of a novel.”  This ties into the story genre selected for the class assignment.  The picture below was taken in the car while waiting at a traffic light.  It is considered to be a favorite photo because of its simplicity.  There was no need for a gigantic backdrop, and the message behind the photo was meant to be an effortless gesture of love and appreciation.

Love stories can often lead to happy endings which may be celebrated in front of close friends and family, or perhaps between the two partners themselves.  In any case, the chosen location where a couple decides to profess their love to one another, may be a central role in defining the atmosphere of their wedding.

Not all couples choose to say their vows in front of a large crowd in an extravagant venue.  Others may decide to skip the expensive options and opt for a more intimate and secluded location.  The pictures shown below are examples of alternative peaceful settings where a couple may decide to exchange their wedding vows.


“Compromise is a virtue to be cultivated, not a weakness to be despised.”

From Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 1 Episode 21: “Liberty on Ryloth”

Although wedding ceremonies are important, it is the marriage that counts the most. However, a marriage may require compromise between the couple in order to resolve conflict.  The pictures below portray a situation where compromise was necessary.

Thinking about Photography

This week was challenging and educational, with lessons focused on enhancing critically thinking as it pertains to photography. The class was asked to review various suggestions on improving photography skills, with the goal of telling a story in a visual form.

After reviewing “tips for better photography,” a few points that resonated were:

  • Pay attention to the moment:  Exercise patience, be observant, and study any patterns that may emerge, which may culminate in achieving the desired photo.
  • Change your perspective and create depth:  By varying distances to the subject, this may create contrasting views and dimensions, which can alter the mood of the photo.
  • Consider being more selective:  Think carefully about the shot, and the preferred outcome.

As part of this assignment, the class was asked to observe a gallery of choice in Abandoned America.  The gallery chosen is titled “Religious and Residential.”

This photo was taken from “The Ascension of Our Lord Church (2014)”

This photo utilizes the idea of framing a shot from a different perspective.  In this shot, the ceiling and the floor of the church are displayed, both of which are fractured and damaged.  By highlighting the mangled areas in a wide frame, the photographer is able to capture a sense of abandonment and despair.

This photo was taken from “Yellow Dog Village (Matthew Christopher 2004-2015)”

The photographer has chosen to depict depth, which gives the viewer a sense of desertion.  By photographing the wall in this close proximity, the separation of the drywall is highly visible, and the structure appears to be crumbling.  The photograph feels post-apolcalyptic, as it presents the idea that the building has been abandoned for numerous years, due to a catastrophic event.


An additional requirement was to participate in a fifteen minute photographic scavenger hunt. These photos were taken near the Lesner Inn, a waterfront event venue and catering facility located in Virginia Beach.

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This location was chosen for its ample parking and proximity to the Lynnhaven Inlet.  The initial location was originally the Virginia Beach boardwalk, however due to parking restrictions, the Lesner Inn became the sensible choice.

This experience was extremely enjoyable.  The photo illustrating abstract was one in which the goal was achieved.  The camera was held close to the object, which was a gold anchor located in front of a building.  Also the picture of the scaffolding on the side of the Lesner Bridge was a fun way to portray complexity.  The expansion project of the Lesner Bridge began in June 2014 and by the looks of it, construction is still underway.  In addition, the picture of the bush blowing in the wind gave the appearance of an animated object.

The picture thought to be the most inventive was the photo of the interesting shadow.  The photograph appears to be the shadow of a palm tree. In actuality, it is a shadow of a light post merged with the shadow of a tree branch.


So tired

This post is to fulfill the Daily Create that was posted on May 24.  We were asked to edit an image in snapchat and to place bitmoji characters to create a scene.  Here I decided to illustrate my extremely tired husband who often comes home late in the evening due to his busy work schedule.  As you can see, euphoric sleep is on the horizon.


Daily Walk

This post is to fulfill the Daily Create that was posted on May 23.  The prompt is to design your own coloring page.  As you can see, I hand-drew a picture of Lenny taking a blissful walk on a sunny day.  Although I’m afraid I drew him a bit on the heavier side..

First mid-week post – “No Bueno”

I’m not gonna lie – these first few days were rough.  Trying to get acclimated to using WordPress for the first time and creating a domain with no prior experience was not an easy feat.  Even trying to decide on the name of my domain was difficult.  Thankfully I didn’t need to look very far for inspiration:)

          By the way, Lenny likes to burrow in his blanket and this image is one that I see multiple times a day.

But I managed to get up and running.  This week I went through the checkpoints listed on the week 1 midweek assignment which included working my way through the DS106 bootcamp activities.  I already had most of the required accounts already set up – for example, my twitter account is here.  However, I had to also familiarize myself with outlets I had never used before such as Slack.  To me it’s a little confusing to use at first, especially trying to figure out how to  “respond” to a direct question and which “channel” to post to.  But apparently Slack has a ton of useful features to help with collaboration and since it will be our primary way of communicating with each other, I’m hopeful that it’ll be way better than using the traditional “discussions” feature on canvas.

Question of the week: What is your favorite type of story? Why?

For me personally, my favorite type of story is a romantic one.  I’m a sucker for happy endings and happily ever afters:)  This past weekend, I was one who set my alarm so that I could get up early on a Saturday to watch the Royal Wedding.  But my preference is probably coming from my own experience – I married the love of my life and we’re going strong on 4 years of marital bliss.

excited royal wedding GIF by BBC