a media exploration

Business Card and Logo

This post is dedicated to the business card and personal logo design project for 155A. This was a very interesting project to work on because though I probably won’t end up using these cards for at least a few months, it made me consider what my personal brand and feel would be if I went into graphic design. I went through many iterations of a possible logo, from the sketching phase to the final product.

Logo design 2 [Recovered]logo design 3

I finally settled on my current design.

business card 1 - with designs (2)

business card bacl with designs (2)

And something I just realized I forgot to incorporate: opacity in the white circle!:

business card 1 - with opacity


When you look at it, the fact that it is my initials is not immediately apparent – I considered switching designs because of this, but I decided to stick with it because I don’t think knowing what it says right away is my top priority. My reasoning is that once the person looking at the card reads my name (which is placed right above the logo), they’ll realize what it signifies and be more likely to remember my name (the goal here).

I made the background design in Krita, which was fun.

I was deciding between the thin geometric lines on the business card above and something more organic:

business card 1 - with design 2

In the end, I like the implied order that the geometric design gives. This may be subtle, but if I were ever to try and make it as a freelance designer, I would definitely want potential clients to think that I’m professional and orderly enough to get projects in by their deadlines and interact in a professional environment. While even just having a design like these on a business card takes away some of the cookie-cutter professionalism that most business cards have, I think for a graphic design that would be a good thing.

Altogether, I like my final product. I think if I were to be on the search for a job/try to make it as a freelancer, I would print these up and keep them on hand!

Writing Minor Flyer Re-Design

This week I’ll try to implement some of the concepts discussed in chapter 6 of WSINYE that I went over last week, as well as thinking about chapter 7 (type). For WRIT 155A, one of the projects is a document redesign. Since I’ll be working on this later as well for an honors contract fulfillment, I thought I would look at some of the Writing Minor’s designs!

For the previous couple of years, I really like the designs of the info session posters. The poster for this winter quarter had a couple of areas for improvement, however. The formal script type font mixed in with the slab serif font is a combination that doesn’t flow together in the best way – if anything, a clean neoclassical serif may have complimented the cursive of the script font better. The ink splatter in the middle is an effective focal point of the poster, but when comparing it to previous posters, I think that one from last year with an illustration of a hand writing something is both more visually appealing and makes more sense in the context (a hand writing implies writing minor more than a messy ink splash). The written content is conveyed easily on the page, but perhaps to the detriment of the overall visual appeal: there isn’t very much negative space in this poster. Consequently, the text appears a little cramped or bloated.

Flyer in question: minor_flyer

Flyer from last year: minor_flyer

An idea that I have for a redesign would center around the concept of a hand writing (or hands in this case). At the top of the poster, a hand is almost done writing the words Professional Writing Minor. In the center is information about the info session, arranged into three columns (keeping to the modular layout example in WSINYE). At the bottom is another hand (fashioned to look like the other hand of the one writing), where each finger represents one of the tracks of the minor.

The hands I want to illustrate myself, but for now I have a couple of clip art images pulled from the web.

Document redesign.png

I’m still not sure about my font choice here. I think that perhaps a more classical Didone serif would pull the vintage hand illustration and the writing minor font together better than the more modern looking geometric sans serif I have now. Perhaps I’ll update this page to show my final version.

Update: This is the design I settled on. In the end I prefer a more sunset-toned color scheme than the blue that I have above. I also sketched the hands out myself (much more quickly than I would have liked, but I was a little crunched for time and couldn’t make them as beautiful as I would have liked). Having the hand bottom hand centered at the center of the page draws the eye better than on the side, and made a little more sense with trying to match the tracks up to specific fingers.

Other considerations I took into account were coloring and font hierarchies. I like the look of a gradient color in thick text, so I decided to create a clipping mask of the text with an picture I took of an Isla Vista sunset. You can see the gradient in the main text (“The Professional Writing Minor”) and in the bolded lettering. Bold text was used as header material and to create emphasis, like where I used it to emphasize the distinguishing terms in the different tracks. Additionally, to create something of a newspaper-y, 20th century look, I aligned the main header text to the left instead of the center

Document redesign v 2

Hope you enjoyed reading about and seeing some of my process!


New Year and WSINYE

Hello all! It’s a new year and I’m in a new writing class, the writing seminar for the Multimedia Communication track of the Professional Writing Minor at UCSB. For now, I’ll be writing a blog post each week about reading done for this class, corresponding to chapters from WSINYE (White Space is Not Your Enemy), a guide to visual communication.

This week I read Chapter 6 of WSINYE, which covers layout. The first topic touched upon in this chapter is where to put stuff – covering the use of grids and aspect ratios. Format, margins, live area/safe area, trim and bleed, and column, alley, and gutter were some of the terms commonly used in print design that were defined in this section. Focal points, where to add text, where to put visuals (near the top of the layout) are all covered, as well as creating visual hierarchies with the most relevant information being conveyed the fastest.

Some of the things I found especially helpful in this chapter were the examples given for modular layouts, as well as examples of effectively communicative layout designs for different outlets like web pages, posters, and informational booklets. I’ll definitely incorporate the idea of modular design more in any more graphics I create in the future.

Here is an infographic I made based on the examples of modular page design in WSINYE:

modular design examples

And this is an example of it in action:

Virtual Dreams - WRIT 107M.png

Anyhow, I’m excited to be writing in here again and getting more of the theory behind why I make the design decisions I do.

Until next time,


Promotional Postcard

Initially I wasn’t sure what to include in my promotional postcard, or who my target audience would be. At first I  was thinking of making it a postcard aimed at students encouraging them to volunteer at Pesacadero Lofts, based on a quote from Father Jon about the influence of student volunteers. However, I decided to focus more on the content of the interviews we gathered and created a promotional postcard for the oral archive exhibit called Housing the Houseless: Pescadero Lofts. My reasoning is that whereas a call to action is good, educating about the presence of Pescadero Lofts and the homeless of IV is a necessary step before simply telling people to get involved. The contents of the exhibit would be informing the public about this often-overlooked community: all the work that these case workers have put into making the lives of the Isla Vista houseless better, as well as a bit of the history and current events surrounding Pescadero lofts and the dynamic individuals who live there. This way, instead of simply an empty call to action – ‘Volunteer!’ – receivers of this postcard will be encouraged to first educate themselves and understand more about the community, and later decide if they want to get involved.postcard project final postcard project final2

The creation of this postcard has also been quite a learning experience for me. Compared to the rest of the Adobe suite, I have a very rudimentary understanding of how InDesign works. It was fun and challenging figuring out how to create white-to-transparent gradients for the text boxes and how to decrease the transparency of the text. Even just finding the layers window was a journey!

The front of the postcard, created in Photoshop, was also a fun combination of different techniques learned throughout the quarter. I used the text cloud concept to create the hands (using text from two articles on the Isla Vista houseless). I created two versions of it: blue toned and red toned, to go with the colors of the sunset and sky. I also used text-on-a-path and some of the principals used to create the visual concept project (ie placement of different elements and text-visuals combos) – however, I decided not to include a masked text element, as I didn’t want the image to get to cluttered and distract from the message being conveyed.

Altogether, putting this postcard together was innovative and challenging. Except for one or two things, I’m happy with how this postcard came out, and I hope that it effectively conveys everything that I was trying to express.

Isla Vista and Place

After reading Transportation of Place by Andrea Robbins and Max Becher and listening to Father John’s interview (an Isla Vista resident and affiliate of Pescadero Lofts, a houseless community), I started to see a connection between them. Just as the Germans who identify with Karl May’s depictions fo Native Americans and dress up in intricate outfits two days a year to celebrate May’s death, UCSB students move into Isla Vista and see it as theirs to own for the three years that they live here. We’re trying this place on – but instead of for two days, its for two or three years. But what does that mean to the people who have been living in Isla Vista for years – and are often the shunned part of their community, over those who stay with no thought to the long-term consequences of their affect on the community? After a few years, we shed Isla Vista like those German shed their “painstakingly researched” (pg 11) outfits and Native personas, and we all go back to the ‘real world.” But what about those who are left behind?

I get the feeling that many people see Isla Vista as a life phase – their crazy, dirty college days. But Isla Vista is a place, where other people  live – people who have to deal with the consequences of a transient group of people living with them. The fact that mostly students live in Isla Vista means that property owners are constantly increasing housing prices, which non-student community members cannot afford, sometimes leading to evictions.  The Isla Vista homeless (the subject of our Oral Archive exhibit) are also often marginalized…(though this is true everywhere).

Anyways, it seems like since students have permeated Isla Vista, perhaps they should start treating their own community – especially the non-students who live here – with a little more thought instead of seeing it simply as a stepping stone to their future.

The Photoshop Experience

I’ve had some great experiences with Photoshop in the past 4 weeks. I feel like I’ve really solidified an important skill-set that could come in handy in any number of situations. Therefore, I thought I would make a post on all of the projects  we’ve done so far (along with accompanying photos!)

For the masked text project, I used a photo I took at SF pride (I went home for the weekend) to create a masked text for the subject. This was fun because I could use a photo that I had taken recently to create a project.


I can’t seem to find the exact photo I used for the project, but more fun photos of pride from yours truly:

P1050333 P1050376

I also made a masked text for a photo I took backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, which had a simple white background because I didn’t want to detract from the image in the text.

Ansel adams

Original image:


This is also the photo I used for the Rihanna image in week one (now you know what I was holding: a water pump!)


And yes, my dad and I do have matching rasta pj’s.

P1040688     P1040594

The next two projects were text around an object images – one with a sloth and one with my dad (I opted to upload the sloth image to the class flickr group). The sloth picture was one I took quite a while back on a trip to Costa Rica with my family, where we really saw a sloth attempting to cross the road on our walk to lunch. Worried for its safety due to its slothenly pace, we waited to make sure no cars ran over it. It took around 20 minutes, which really is a bit excessive if you consider that a human could cross that road in around 5 seconds.Costa Rica 2011 303 sloth

Also from the trip: Monkeys! My sister connecting with the rainforest!

Costa Rica 2011 422 Costa Rica 2011 490

The following picture with my dad was taken in 1993, around the time my parents got married. He was on a hike with my half brother and my mom at Point Reyes. I was looking through old photos recently and had already sent snapchats to all of my siblings of the photo with the caption “Dad: the original hipster,” so I couldn’t help make the project. Included in here are another couple of photos of the hike.

Top-20 the-original-hipster_19271622879_o

Top-100 Top-74

For the visual concept project, I went on a walk around Isla Vista with my roommates and took photos. I had on my fish-eye lens to make the feel a bit more “chill” but there were many aspects that I couldn’t fit into my visual concept project in a cohesive way that also encompassed the “chill” of IV.

finished product:


Little known fact: the border of the text is a blue and yellow gradient (for UC). The wave painting on Caje is behind the girl on the right and a colorful grenade sticker found on a car in IV is behind the girl on the left.

CHILL P1050536

The two girls on the sides of the text and the background for the image that the masked text shows:

P1050529 P1050523

For the word cloud project, I drew some concepts from another class. I’m also enrolled in Writing 107J, and for that course we choose a topic to follow throughout the quarter with different types of news articles. I chose water conservation in the UC system/at UCSB as my topic. executive order Science article umbrellatear water conservation

For the cloud, I used the introduction to the executive order for a state-wide 25% cutback (issued in May) as the text. For the umbrella, I used the abstract to a review published in Science in 2012 by Grant et al called Taking the “Waste” Out of “Wastewater” for Human Water Security and Ecosystem Sustainability, which outlined the best practices for water conservation (consequently, UCSB is a forerunner in implementing these techniques). For the water drops, I simply typed “water conservation” (also, as you can see, I used the pear shape and simply cropped out the stem for the final product).

To get the background image to show though, I just copied and pasted the separate elements and set each of those layers to multiply so that their white background wouldn’t show.

water conservation text cloud project

And that about wraps it up!

I’ve had a really great time working on Photoshop for these projects (as is probably evident by the fact that I’ve completely more of them than was assigned for fun).

The word cloud was especially interesting because I could connect it to something else I’m working on right now, and I think that it turned out pretty well. I’m considering turning in two copies of my final in-depth news article for that class: one with plain text and another with graphics like those above and set up in InDesign to look like a real magazine article!

Geography, race, crime, and culture

This week’s readings I actually found to be very cohesive with last week’s: following embodiment, we have  sense of how place and what one hears also forms and is formed by culture and the individual experience. I already discussed aurality in my last post, but I thought I could address Thompson’s In Two Directions: Geography As Art, Art As Geography here. I found the connection to place very compelling, as it brought to mind a class I took last quarter called Crime and Delinquency.

In this course, we talked about the “broken windows” phenomenon, which is summarized (along with analysis) in the paragraph I wrote for my final for the class, below (bold added):

Broken windows policing is a model of policing that centers on the importance of disorder in propagating more serious crime, which Wilson and Kelling first proposed in 1985. The idea is that disorder leads to more withdrawal from residents, which decreases informal social control, then allowing more serious crime to move into the area. Wilson and Kelling noted the experiments by Philip Zimbardo, which showed that if a car was left on the street with a broken window, within  a few hours (apparently regardless of  the neighborhood), the rest of the windows will be broken, the tires slashed, and the car stripped and ransacked. Harcourt (2002) noted that, at that time, broken windows was at once endorsed by conservatives and liberals (alternative to massive incarceration). Despite the apparently overwhelming data in favor of the effectiveness of broken windows policing, Harcourt noted all of the inconsistencies in the data of those studies: Kelling failed to establish any causal link between misdemeanor arrests and violent crimes (simply correlational: opening the data up for any number of covariates), as well as Skogan (1990) failing to find any significant correlations between residents perceptions of disorder and anything but robbery victimization. A comprehensive study done by Sampson and Raudenbush (1999) failed to find a connection between disorder and crime in 4 out of 5 tests (including homicide, the best measure of violence). Altogether, Harcourt concluded that the idea that public disorder sends a crime-encouraging message is probably wrong, considering places like Amsterdam and San Francisco that have lots of visible street activity linked to drug use and prostitution but have low crime rates. Even if that premise were true, it might then be a better idea to invest into community-improving programs like homeless shelters. Harcourt’s final conclusion is that broken windows policing is in fact flawed at the theoretical level: it assumes ingrained propensities to commit crime (ie the habitual offender and the disorderly who must be “arrested, controlled, and relocated”). However, people are much less inflexible than this assumption would lead you to believe.

Despite the conclusion of my paragraph, I do still believe that if your geography doesn’t necessarily contribute to how much crime occurs, it still greatly affects the mood (as we can see from the drastic popularity of these programs: people FELT safer with beat cops, despite the fact that they didn’t have an impact on crime levels). A pleasant stroll through the neighborhood becomes hard when one feels unsafe, disgusted, or harassed on the streets. That leads to a disconnect between people in the neighborhood – it leads to a loss of community.

Another issue that we covered in that class was place and perception of victimization. In Convictability and discordant locales: Reproducing race, class, and gender ideologies in prosecutorial decisionmaking, Frohman chronicled the impact of place on how jurors, prosecutors, and judges perceive rape cases that occur in the “wrong side of town.”

Frohman makes the argument that the construction of “discordant locales” is a discourse practice used by prosecutors to justify case rejection. She stresses that prosecutors 1) “anticipate defense arguments to assess whether they can construct a credible account of the incident for the jury” and 2) “invoke anticipated jurors’ interpretations of case ‘facts’ as the standard for convictability” (536): altogether they try to ensure, before investing in the case, that the jurors will decide to convict the offending party. It follows that if the prosecutor anticipates discordant locales between the jurors, victims, and defendants, they expect that jurors will misconstrue the case facts and lower the probability of a guilty verdict at trial, thus they reject the case. This is anticipated because they ascribe stereotypical characteristics of a neighborhood to victims, defendants, and jurors – creating groups with different cultures and spaces, who see the world differently. Frohman brings up the example of the DDA (deputy district attorney) categorizing the neighborhood in terms of prostitution, and that the majority of women who make accusations in Center Heights (where Frohman did her field study) weren’t credible (as Frohman puts it, their remarks “assume that the women on the street at night typically are prostitutes or are playing games with police power for their own gains” [538]). This applies generally to all women who grew up in the area: even if they aren’t prostitutes, they still have no credibility if they’re from the neighborhood. The jurors are almost always white and wealthy, and not from the poorer areas that the defendants and victims are from. Overall, Frohman makes the argues that “place” is an incredibly salient cue that prosecutors often assume will set the tone for whether or not a jury will decide to vote a defendant as guilty or not (on the premise that if the victim was in a certain place at a certain time, the jury would think that she was up to no good in the first place and the case will not lead to a conviction).

This resonated with the example Thompson gave of and Israeli averaging an hour through a checkpoint and a Palestinian averaging 4.5 hours. Whether it is rape victims or Palestinians, there will always be discrimination based on locale. Of course, it is often hard to distinguish between race and locale. Neighborhoods often become synonymous with race, but I think that the fact that certain neighborhoods always become home to the looked down up minority – whether it be Italian, Irish, Black, or Latino – is very telling. The lines between these two facets of life start to blur.

In terms of culture and how locale forms a person (and in turn each individual’s impact on their environment), I think that environment is really the most important to an individual’s development of identity. If you love the place where you grew up, if you hated it, both of these experiences will leave a lasting impact on how you interact with your surroundings thereafter and will contribute to your sense of identity, whether you like it or not. This Daily Kos post is a good take on identity formation in America.

Geographic culture develops when a place begins to represent the people who live there for example, I love my crazy liberal hometown of Berkeley, and I think the person I am is both a reflection of the ideals of my parents and neighbors and my reflection back on them and the community. The wider SF Bay Area also has an incredibly distinctive culture that represents the diversity of the people who live there (ie the rap legacy of Oakland, tech in Silicon Valley [and SF], the gay community and the Castro… the list goes on).

As Thompson concluded, “Ultimately, all phenomenon resolve themselves in time and space.” Whatever our opinions on race and crime in relation to locale, we must accept that those opinions are often bounded by locale, no matter the cause.

See below for scarily accurate representation of the SF Bay Area (update: sent this to my whole family and they loved it).

Pedegogy of aurality and the role of audio in multimedia

I think that audio is a valuable way to learn, up to an extent. I think that recorded audio in an educational setting can be a valuable resource for people who are more auditory learners. However, I think that the written word can be more valuable for fast readers, as it presents a way for people to imbibe the information at different rates, at their own pace and leisure. For instance, I’ve taken an online class that had no aural elements – it consisted solely of writing and reading. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I don’t know how this would go over for someone who finds reading a chore – maybe listening to pre-recorded lectures would be a better learning mechanism.

What I love about the written word is the reader’s control over it – you can read at your own pace, go back to re-read, create your own accompanying visualizations. I understand the point that Selfe is making in The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing – that writing educators – and larger society – have “come to equate writing with intelligence” (644) and that “our contemporary adherence to alphabetic only composition constrains the semiotic efforts of individuals and groups who value multiple modalities of expression” (616). I agree that this is largely true, though I’m not necessarily convinced of the value of audio accompaniment outside of either film or completely immersive multimedia experiences. Perhaps when audio can become more of an interactive experience I’ll put more value into it, but at the current time the technology (or perhaps willingness for innovators to reexamine audio as a an interactive experience) isn’t quite there.

Form and function: pictures and words and their role in media

McCloud’s “Show and tell” and Wysocki’s introduction to “Into Between — On Composition in Mediation” presented complimentary pieces on the nature of the written word and it’s interplay with image. As Wysocki pointed out, modern phonetic-based alphabets are not much to look at on the page – in fact they are very dull, perhaps not to distract from the meaning of the text therein (however, she also points out that part of the uniformity of our written language is, with the advent of the printing press, it’s ease to print). McCloud points out that image and word were at one point the same thing, and as each became more solidified they also grew apart to establish different modalities. Only recently have  they come together again – not as the same thing, but as complimentary forms of expression – but these combinations are often either looked down upon as childish (comics) or overly commercialized (advertisements). Despite the great works in each of these arenas, the combination of them is not respected.

Additionally, everything that we create is influenced by how we perceive the world: for instance, color doesn’t exist in the outside world: how we perceive color is simply the reflection of light waves onto our light-sensitive sensors on our retina and how that is processed in our occipital cortex. In fact, we could be “seeing” the color green in completely different ways, but since we both have grown up processing what we consider to be green in a consistent way, and that consistency is always labeled by others arbitrarily as “green,” then even if how you mentally process green is how I mentally process blue, we will both label it as green and agree on it as such. However, this is a little deeper than the more superficial concept of embodiment, or how our context shapes our experiences and perceptions.

Being updated!

Blog at

Up ↑