VL6: Color Composition

Take the color hue test!

I did and apparently received a perfect score, which was surprising since I have taken this once in the pass and I’m sure it wasn’t perfect.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 11.51.47 AM

Maybe these are the results of a 7-week course in Visual Language?

I decided to combine my color composition homework with my ICM assignment this week. I found the color constraint to be quite helpful.

In creating sketches using P5.js, I’ve wanted to have a compendium of the RGB color spectrum like those that exist in Illustrator and Photoshop. As a result, I decided to make a series of concentric circles with a monochromatic color value. From there, I wanted to alter the other 2 values. In this way, I could see a full spectrum of shades available using RGB values.

While each drawing relies on one static color (R, G, or B), that value can also be precisely toggled with the bottom slider that also changes the background color on a greyscale. In this way, you see how black and white affects the brightness of the colors in the wheel, particularly the outer ring.

I was surprised by how much I love the hue of the colors with a soft grey background — value 153 is my favorite.

I also added some common associated emotions with the static colors.

BLUE  *this sketch is a little different. Has some added motion.

VL5: Business Cards

bus cards_2


What is a Mind Maven?  What isn’t a Mind Maven?!

The short answer is a Mind Maven is someone who can guide you through complex webs to find innovative solutions.

The long/honest answer is a Mind Maven is an abstract placeholder for a profession since that is still TBD in my mind. Or maybe I’ve just made up a title. Google apparently has a Product Philosopher, so really anything is possible.

I have designed business cards before (for my acrobatic persona), but I have always used online platforms. Creating them myself was an adventure.

The design, while still time consuming, was the easy part. I did play with some different logos:DesignPlay

However, I settled on my original design, but with thicker lines and outlined type. I also changed the type to Futura since I liked the look of it on the cards better.

The formatting and printing was really a challenge. I knew printing front-to-back isn’t easy, so I attempted to make my own grid that was perfectly centered in the page. From there, I copied and pasted by designs into the grid and then printed some test copies. Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 5.10.08 PM

I did have the printing working, but the paper needed to be fed in a very specific manner.

When I went to the print shop, I had problems, but the staff was sweet enough to help me out.

The main thing I learned from this assignment was about bleed lines and cut lines. I used a solid line around the card, which made cutting the cards tedious. I was able to use a paper cutter, but I ended up trying to amend the edges on every card, by hand, with scissors. Never again.

Right now, I’d consider these cards a prototype and I think I would use professional services in the future, but I feel much more confident about using Illustrator to actually design my cards.

VL-4: Logos

Logo Success


This is a logo for the Committee of Organ Donation in Lebanon. I know, it seems like I’m shooting for a theme, but I promise this was a serendipitous find on adsoftheworld.com.

It was designed by a team at Dubai office of the large advertising agency, DDB:
Executive Creative Director: Shehzad Yunus
Creative Directors: Makarand Patil, Kartik Aiyar
Art Director: Makarand Patil
Copywriter: Kartik Aiyar
Account Director: Hala Saif

The company describes the thought behind their process.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.27.29 PM

I wanted to find a logo that I was not familiar with simply for variety and to explore advertisement outside of the United States.
When I first came across this logo, I laughed. It is an absurd image and it also strikes you as playful.
However, the more I examined the image, the more I came to appreciate the emotional power of it. The person is holding this gift from their own body, but the most powerful part for me is the head of the person. He has this downcast gaze that projects a vulnerability. The image that continually pops into my head is that moment when a child is staring at some object that she might share and you can physically see her running through the debate in her head and then she finally agrees to offer whatever she has. It literally is the most pure form of generosity.
It is shocking to me that such a simple image is able to convey such a strong emotion. They definitely succeeded in “striking an emotional chord,” as they sought.

In contrast, have a gander at other logos advertising the same concept (via Google image search):Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 4.51.52 PM

This is just a snapshot, but trust me when I say that many of them are incredibly cheesy. There are far too many hearts to be taken seriously. They all seem to try and avoid the actual concept or they sugar coat it with colors and flying hearts. This logo confronts the issue point blank, but in a very tasteful and heartfelt way.

Aside from the emotional message, the color is also effective. Red is symbolic of blood and is also a national color of Lebanon.

The text, I don’t love, but I don’t hate. I think the logo is this instance is so powerful that it overshadows the text and forgives any missteps with the text. I understand that they were trying to pronounce “donation” as opposed to “organ,” but it feels very separated from the actual image.

The team has done a wonderful job of using negative space to create something that is very simple, clean, and very effective.

My Logo

Creating my own logo was not a trivial effort.

Most of my subway rides this week were dedicated to staring off into the distance trying to visualize how I would be embodied visually.

During the process, I was forced to ask a lot of questions of myself: my likes, dislikes, what I will do for a living, what colors resonate with me, what colors actually represent me? It was definitely an introspective process.

I was also sketching a lot during subway rides.IMG_4529

What I found out about myself was that I like lines. I like geometric ones, curving lines, chaotic lines, all the lines.  However, I feel like the most effective logos for me confined themselves to a circular shape, so I really tried to shoot for this.

My initial attempts to in illustrator were to try and emulate the beautiful multitude of lines found in data visualizations:

Philipp Steinweber and Andreas Koller
Philipp Steinweber and Andreas Koller
Chris Harrison, Christoph Romhild
Chris Harrison, Christoph Romhild

I was admittedly having a lot of trouble with illustrator and then I decided that all of the lines in that small of a space just ended up looking cluttered and not particularly interesting.

When I looked back at many of my sketches, I saw a lot of thought bubbles and strokes that looked like scribbles. This got me thinking more about scribbles.

Scribbles represent the buds of an idea. They are a necessary step in the direction of any progress. They are rather chaotic and not refined as drawings, but I think what they represent is rather beautiful.

I decided to run with this.MyLogo

I had many struggles with font and whether or not to use caps or lowercase. After some feedback, I decided to go with all caps to give the logo a little more authority as the actual image is very haphazard and playful. Likewise, I chose DIN Alternate Bold as the font for the same reason – it’s ordered and symmetrical.


Final Logo


Above, I played with the idea of a scribble as a thought. My initials are formed by negative space in the scribble, as though providing a moment of clarity in otherwise chaos.

I like this as a representation of myself for several reasons. First, I do enjoy working in chaos. I like to solve problems and even though some problems are daunting, I like sifting through the parts to find some clarity. If this were a logo for a business, I would envision it as a statement of making clear the complex.

Much of my life, I have straddled many worlds and found myself as a sort of translator for all of them, literally and metaphorically. And as a result of existing in so many different places, I also like to find connections between seemingly unrelated things and finding ways to integrate the best of all these worlds.

I feel as though this logo helps to convey the idea of making sense of the nonsensical, bringing clarity in thought.

The absence of color keeps the logo clean and serves to not clutter the space more than it is.

While the logo is very simple and in the end, didn’t take to long to actually create, I don’t think it accurately reflects the amount of time and thought put into this project.

And I am sure the same could be said for many simple logos currently in use.




VSL-3: Type


Telugu MN is an overall favorite. The interesting variations in the thickness of her lines and the relative equality between the x-height and the capital letters. She is by no means a traditional serif and is playful — oval bowls on the ‘a’s—, but there is still an elegance — the ascender on the ’t’.

DIN Alternate Bold appeals to my logic, to the scientist in me. The shoulders are slight, giving a relative sense of uniformity. Despite her no nonsense tone, she still displays a certain lightheartedness in the roundness of the lowercase letters.

Didot is a classy French lady. She unapologetically enjoys her wine, sex, and cheese, responsibly. She enters a room and exudes a quiet confidence with just a touch of smug satisfaction. Her lines are elegant and with light serifs and a barely perceptible aperture, conveying a sense of floating. She has perfect ‘s’ curve spines.

Starkly contrasted to Didot is Phosphate. This bitch takes no prisoners in the most joyful and exuberant way possible. Phosphate loves to be the center of attention and enjoys putting herself on display on stage. With non-traditional, all caps, uniform absurdity, she can’t take herself too seriously. She’s loud, she’s proud and she wants you to take notice, but still harboring a gothic nuance.

Avenir Next Condensed is soft. She’s thoughtful and inquisitive, not displeasing to the eye, but also not the center of attention. Sans serif, sans frills in general, Avenir is muted, but not dull.

Animated Smooch is —–> HERE!

VSL-2: Signs

Clean up your dog

Living in New York, constant bombardment of stimuli is the status quo. I see so many signs in a day that I really don’t notice any of them.

So when asked to actually pay attention and qualify signs, it was a tad overwhelming.

As a result of this assignment, I did start to pay attention to phone booths, antiquated objects that seem to serve more as sign posts than actual, functional communication devices. They’re also great to actually use should you want to appear totally and utterly insane. On these devices of lore, I found many signs that displeased me, such as this delivery.com ad. There are way too many haphazard colors and images happening and the central image is a boring door. Also, quite frankly, too many words. I get it. Booze. Now.


The “too much” theme tends to be pervasive amongst the choices of signs that I find offensive to my eyeballs. In attempt to convey everything, they convey nothing because I simply lose interest or I physically cannot read the fine print. Subway ads I’ll forgive on the TMI offense a bit more than street ads, because the odds of staring at them for a long period of time are much higher, but they are still very visually unpleasant. I also think these type of signs put very little faith in the reader — a lot of information can be implied from subtle images or single key words.

Thoroughly confused.
Thoroughly confused.
Where should I look?
Where should I look?

My single exception to the overload of information is for signs in bodegas and on street cars. Those signs are a beautiful mess, if only because they are so undying and consistent. You immediately know where you are when you see this barrage of images.


Finally, I really love the following sign. It’s simple, chic, and quite clever. It also really only uses a single color, but the central image is very strong and your eye immediately knows where to go. The actual information conveyed isn’t immediately clear, but it’s an intriguing enough image that it would make me want to pursue more information about it. In fact, the whole point of the sign seems to be to try and make a passerby do just that.


Finally, I chose to redesign the delivery.com ad. The conveyed idea was simple enough and I see this ad everywhere on campus and I think it’s rather unsightly. I wanted to simplify it and reduce the number of words. The actual company delivers everything, but this sign is specifically for alcohol delivery, so I kept with the theme. I chose a simple color palette: blue, lime green, grey/white. I changed the font to something hopefully less cheesy, but still playful, using Avenir Next Condensed. I played with the thickness and spacing of the font on the whole sign to make it a bit more dynamic. I also wanted to make the images a little less literal. There is already the word “liquor” on the sign, so I wanted to make the images a bit more abstract.

I started with PS, but then moved to Illustrator because I’m determined to become more familiar with this program. However, I really like the logo on PS.Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 4.21.17 PM

I definitely had some issues manipulating the software as this was my first go in Adobe Illustrator. Particularly, I need to figure out how to collectively move a grouping of images that together make up a single image in a more efficient way. Obviously, I also need to learn how to make a triangle.


VL-1: Principles of Design & Analysis

The Image
Grundy Body

This design, by Peter Grundy, is an infographic depicting the cost of your body in pounds as valued by human tissue recovery agencies that use life and limb for research (If you’re interested, here is similar, but less effective infographic). I generally love infographics, but I think this one is particularly clever with the cut out body parts and the abstract figure. And it’s very fascinating, particularly to those of us paying NYU tuition.
The most expensive part is the pituitary gland at £2,085 and if you can’t grow your own pair of testicles at the behest of a taunting foe, you can buy a pair for £1,526.


The Grid:
The underlying grid for this image was a little daunting and I admittedly realigned it several times. However, the most striking part of the image is the body, so I worked from this outline. There are only two grid lines that do not fall along the edge of the body: one that bisects the spine and one just above the eyes the provides the top edge border. Despite many parts, the graphic never seems overwhelming because of the dominant single figure.


Using type analyzers, the font most closely matched Slate Std Black, but my version of Photoshop did not have such a font (see odd ‘My Grandfather’ snapshot). In PS, Avenir Next Heavy was quite similar. Interestingly, I found the ‘e’, ‘t’, and ‘a’ to be most telling.
There is another typeface used in the list of brain organs and it reminds me of medieval textbook font used in historical medical texts.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 5.34.24 PM

The colors of this graphic are fairly obvious: black, white, tan, and pink. Black screams at you and your eye is immediately drawn to the central figure, again, to distract from the detail surrounding the body. The next color I see is the white, which provides the price detail, which in turn, draws my eyes to the organs. I like the subtlety of the body parts, despite being the central idea of the image.
The background is very neutral and not too contrasting from the black. It keeps the design from being overwhelming.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 5.38.05 PM

Negative Space
As aforementioned, the background, though not white, is incredibly neutral and it’s not coincidental that the majority of information is set on this background and not on the man himself. It’s very clear where the eye was intended to go — on a man with outlines of missing organs. It provides a gentle introduction to the barrage of information.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 5.52.45 PM