Inspiration: Wallet


I never paid attention with my small wallet. I just bought it a couple of months ago because I thought it looks very simple and pretty. As a decoration, there are some letters scattered and engraved on the outside of the wallet. I thought those letters indicate a brand and tried to find the name just for fun. But I couldn’t get any clue of how to make a word using the letters because the letters are not consistently arranged. I gave up finding the word and started looking at the name of the company or brand inside the wallet. If there were no name inside, I couldn’t find the brand of my wallet. I thought it might not be a good marketing strategy because it’s hard for people to find the brand on the product. However, people may remember the design, the way the letters are arranged, as a kind of logo or symbol. Probably people who know this brand recognize this wallet immediately, which is different from me – I just pick a pretty one if the design is attractive rather than trying to look at the logo.


Assignment: Adding Colors

catch phrase_color_v1
mission statement_color_v1

Since I learned colors last week, such as hue, saturation, brightness, as well as complimentary and analogous colors, I tried to apply what I learned to this week’s assignment. However, I found myself to select colors whatever I like or I think it might be good even though I don’t have a good instinct of colors.  I tried to use blue to the catch phrases, thinking that blue might represent the globe.  Also I tried to use orange for some words in order to emphasize them with a dark background. I thought gold color stands out for the text, but due to the background color that I chose, the yellowish orange looked better. Another problem I had was colors look different from the printer and on the screen.

Assignment: Creative Typography (V2)

Version 1 with comments
catch phrase_ver1_w comments
mission statement_ver1_w comments

Version 2
ASC_ver2_catch phrase
ASC_ver2_mission statement

I put a little more space between two words so that people can easily read. I also changed the letter font using Hobo Std Medium in order to make it look more active. For the other illustration, I arranged the words in three lines and used a shell shape in the envelope distort function to make the illustration more circle. Now it looks something explore from the circle due to the shape of the letters in “exploring” and “together.”

Still I’m not satisfied with my second version of mission statements. However, it looks better after applying the comments, such as using different fonts to emphasize the words or changing the order of the words so that people can easily read the statement. I didn’t get any critique about the border, but I removed it in order to remove a shape of certificate looking.

Required Readings

When I was an elementary school student, I used to read a book at night with a dim light. Whenever my mom saw me, she always complained, asking how I could read the letters and saying I’m going to lose my eye sight if I kept doing that. I didn’t have any problem in reading a book with that brightness. Probably the light was too dim for her to recognize small letters, even though she was not much old at that time.

This week’s readings provide some design tips for older people. I think dark background with bright imprint color is easy for both young and old people to read, and bright background makes difficult to read for everyone. But I’m not sure about the white background is difficult for the older to read even though I understand the fact that the white reflects light.

One of the articles mentions that read and blue is good for the young, but I think red is also good for the older. We see very often that seniors like red, especially in Asia. It’s interesting to know that blue is not good for older people, which I never thought about. Another interesting tip to find out which has good tonal contrast is converting an image into black and white, even though I’m not sure how much time the designers can spend in checking tonal contrast.

It’s a kind of scary to see examples of human vision in low light environments at age 20, 60, and 75 shown on the article. I think losing ability to focus vision can be a matter of everyone, not only for the older. But it’s sad to know about vision difficulties with a certain field loss that the older may have. The designers also have to think about the appropriate height and width of typefaces. I received lasik eye surgery around 8 years ago. Since then, it’s a little bit difficult to read signs using narrow typefaces, such as Arial narrow font, from a far distance even though there is no problem in reading other letters. This article also emphasizes clear contrast between text and the background as well as the appropriate size of typeface.

Except for serious vision problems that the older have, I think many people are getting problems with their weak eye condition no matter how old they are. More considerations need for design!

Optional: A color matching game


Getting over score 9 is not easy. I may not have a sense of matching colors within a short time limit. I enjoyed this game by trying to select correct or the closest colors at the beginning. But after trying several times, I developed a skill of finding similar hue first and adjusting the colors with relevant saturation. Good exercise to improve my color skills! Hopefully I can keep this skill 😉

Readings: Optional

When I go to a funeral, I try to wear black clothes. Or when I am invited to a wedding, I wear bright color but not white because the white color is for a bride. We knew the colors have some meanings and try to follow what the color represents in order to adjust to a society. This week’s readings introduce the factors of the perception of colors, color guide references, and principles of the colors.

People react differently depending on some factors, such as personal preference, cultural background, gender, age, etc. For example, purple is considered as the color of mourning for widows in Thailand; however, purple is used for traditional clothes for royal families in Japan. In Korea, the doctor doesn’t tell if a pregnant woman will give birth to a boy or a girl. So, it’s a little bit hard to prepare a baby’s clothes because people cannot decide which color needs to be bought. A novice mom has to rely on a hint from a nice doctor so that she can prepare. However, as her friends we don’t know what kind of clothes we can give it to her. So, I usually buy bright yellow clothes, which is a gender-neutral color, and sometimes bright green. The article doesn’t say bright green is gender-neutral but it mentions, “greens take on some of he attributes of yellow.” I guess that explains why I could find a bright green color for a baby.

Many examples of the meaning of colors are presented, which is very good resources that I can explain why I select a certain color or why I get a certain feeling or mood. According to the article, dark blue, gray, and black can be used in a corporate design. It reminds me of a company homepage designed for my previous work. It was very nicely designed with black background, and gold yellow was used for the texts. We thought it looked very nice and simple, but somehow it didn’t fit well our company due to its heaviness. Even though we spent a lot of money for that homepage development, we had to give up and request a new design to other developer. The developer used a very basic theme of the structure using white background, banner on the top, two navigation bars on the left and under the banner. It looked less professional than the previous one; however, it was easier for people to use. I think using the black background was too strong to convey the image of our company. Even though a designer tries to follow the principles of the colors, this can be a dilemma that a designer may have to think which one he/she has to focus on: fancy or boring (looks very nice using concepts of the color but somehow it doesn’t fit) or boring (very simple following a basic principle).

A quick reference guide for the common meanings of the colors
(Retrieved from Color theory for designers – smashing magazine)

  • Red: Passion, Love, Anger
  • Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality
  • Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Deceit
  • Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature
  • Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness
  • Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth
  • Black: Mystery, Elegance, Evil
  • Gray: Moody, Conservative, Formality
  • White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue
  • Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability
  • Tan or Beige: Conservative, Piety, Dull
  • Cream or Ivory: Calm, Elegant, Purity

Weekly Inspiration: Typography (cover page)

Cover page of the UMBC magazine for Winter 2013

Cover page of the UMBC magazine for Winter 2013

When I saw this cover, the letter “O” with an image of film caught my eyes. I immediately thought it must say something about movie. And then I read the word “PLUTOPIA.” Since we are currently working on letter forms, the graphic design of letters drew my attention. Using a symbol can be very attractive if the shape of the symbol is close to the letter and is related to what the content wants to talk about. Also the word is designed using 3-D and a shape, which looks one of the “envelope wrap” options in Illustrator. That make the title stands out and it looks more active.

On the other hand, it’s nice to have cursive words for “greeting from” and “Richland USA, Orersk USSR,” but I just ignored this, considering it as decoration. I was thinking if target population of this magazine is non-Americans and if the school wants to send this magazine to other countries, probably many people whose native language is not English may have the same idea with me. So, choosing between print and cursive forms may also need to be taken into consideration when we design letters.