Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Assignment - Axioms of Web Design - Polygon

The site I chose was Polygon. They are a video game/culture reporting site and I think has a stellar design. I am personally not a fan of the majority of their writing and articles, but their site's style always makes me come back.

  • The most relevant bit of understanding we must possess in order to design an effective website solution for our client is their business objective(s).
  • From Polygon's about page "Its mission is to cover not only games but the artists who make them, the fans that love them and the culture surrounding them. It's built to deliver fast, comprehensive news, in-depth feature stories and reviews that bridge the gap between criticism and buying advice."

  • The most efficient way to clearly communicate a page’s visual structure is by using a strong grid.
  • Polygon follows a pretty strong grid, but it becomes a negative trait when they try to show so many articles in a unique way, I feel like it becomes cluttered.

  • Generally speaking, the lower right is the most effective position for a large image on a text-filled page.

  • This rule is not followed as most images are centered in their presentation. Which I feel works on the site, despite breaking the rule. I think it's safe to assume the designers on the page felt like centering all images showed a better presentation over the lower right alignment.

  • The most natural and effective direction for leading a viewer’s eye through a web page design or a landscape painting is along an angle
  • The site's direction follows an angle which makes it easy to follow through the articles and easily catch up on the day's news.

  • For first-time visitors who have never seen the layout or used the interface of a website, the most important non-brand related issue the designer must take into account for an effective design is a high degree of affordance or intuitiveness.
  • I feel like the site is very intuitive and supplies the visitor with visually pleasing article images and fonts that makes the journey through the website an easy one.

  • The main point of interest is at the area of greatest contrast.
  • The area of greatest contrast in these design is the typography places among a gradient in front of the images.

  • Aesthetically pleasing designs are widely perceived as being easier to use than less-aesthetic designs.
  • This site bleeds aesthetic. They did something that no other major video game reporting site did and valued the overall look and easy of use of the website instead of providing a site that adds an abundance of unneeded widgets like polls and recent comments. Here are some examples of the designs of rival sites.

  • Since most web surfing is done on devices other than standard aspect ratio displays, the page converts to third and fourth screen devices.
  • I feel like the site functions better on a mobile device. The purely vertical design makes for a very pleasant reading experience.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    Design Collaboration - Rosstein Clothing (Website)

    Style Guide


    Download HTML/CSS files

    Design Principles/Analysis

    Gestalt Theory:

    Continuation: Because of the one column based design, the eye one has to follow one major structure.
    Proximity: The site is based around one column, although it is cut at places, the law of proximity allows the viewer to see the column as a single object.

    Contrast:  is showcased through the colors and typefaces. The Pacifico typeface is retro, curvy and flowy, which the Oswalt typeface is modern and angular.
    Composition: The composition is very sleek and modern which is easy to use and showcases the necessary information well.
    Figure/Ground: The transparency allows the logo to look 3d when scrolling which separates it from the background, establishing a figure/ground relationship. The boxes on the site have a very small shadow which again brings it before the background, establishing the relationship.


    Business Objectives: The business objective was to showcase that the brand is modern and knows design. It has to be an extension on their design philosophies and truly embody the Rosstein lifestyle.
    Strong Grid: The site is built on a very strict grid that is as minimal as it can be with still showcasing a brand effectively.
    Angle taking viewer’s eye: The strong grid easily leads viewers through the site experience.
    Intuitiveness: The site is incredibly easy to use and does not introduce any new website concepts to the user.
    Main point of interest is the greatest contrast: The two greatest contrasts are the logo and the newsletter signup. These are the two most important parts of the site, so this is utilized correctly.
    Aesthetically pleasing designs: I am very proud about how aesthetically pleasing the site itself is. The single column design, combined with the color scheme and typefaces creates a design that is very easy on the eyes and fun to look at.
    Usability on other devices: The site is HTML5 based and has responsive design, so the same design should be showcased no matter the device.

    I'm very proud of what I achieved with this project. I created an efficient site that looks great and maintains simple usability. I felt like the original bigcartel page was not helping the brand and a bad looking site really hurts a company based around clothing designs. I feel like this site embodies the Rosstein philosophy and lifestyle well.

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    Mise-en-scene: American Sniper DP

    I took the role of DP (Director of Photography). The role of cinematographer was placed on Tom Stern, who had previously worked as DP on "Gran Torino", "The Hunger Games", and "J. Edgar".

    The scene we chose was the bar scene that occurs at the end of the film once Chris comes home. There is tension between Chris and his wife at this point and this scene is very important at conveying the character dynamics through shots and lighting. The darkness shown through the lighting and color grading.

    Some key factors of the scene

    • The rule of thirds is followed relatively strictly during this scene.

    • Dynamics change halfway through the scene, changing the direction of only Taya. Adding a level of confusion to this scene, which the character Taya is going through.

    • Dingy bar lighting is achieved very well, and the lighting of the Kyle's house changes to reflected the darkness that the scene evokes through saturation. The colors in the house from earlier are lost and soon mirror the darkness of the bar.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Compose Your Frame

    This is a photo I took at Quail Creek State Park that I feel like is an interesting frame to dissect. 

    Rule of Thirds

    With this photo, I was not enjoying the frame that strictly followed the RoT so I decided to slightly adjust it to showcase both the negative space the sky provided and the reflection showed in the water. I typically follow the RoT pretty strictly, but felt like the photo would look much more interesting otherwise.

    Motion Vectors

    The motion vectors in this image showcase the movement of the clouds and the direction they are going towards. 

    Diagonal Rule

    The diagonal rule proves true in this image as the linear element of the water looks very dynamic due to it's direction. 

    Monday, March 23, 2015

    Favorite Director : Paul Thomas Anderson

    Paul Thomas Anderson is easily my favorite director. I love how he has branches so many different genres which still maintaining his own style. I feel like Anderson casts some of the greatest actors out there and has the ability to get some of what I consider some of the best acting around. From his scores, to his camera movement/cinematography, to his stories; Anderson is a total inspiration to me.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    Design Presentation - The Records of Phil Evlerum

    I decided to choose two records that were designed and released by Phil Evlerum (frontman for the bands The Microphones and Mt. Eerie). These both are designed for the same audience and show vastly different design philosophies. 

    Good Design - Clear Moon

     I find Clear Moon to be my favorite record design that Phil has created. This design helps visually showcase the sound of the record very well. The album has a warm and comfortable atmosphere to it, which combined with the lo-fi sound and Phil's minimalist take on things creates an image that I feel is reflected through the record design.

    • Simplicity is key in this packaging, there are no unneeded additions. The album name, track list, and artist name and the label information along with a background photo. The bare necessities for competent record packing.

    • The background image is a low resolution film photograph, the fuzziness of the photo reflects the lo-fi nature of the album.

    • Foil stamping is used to make the lettering of both the album title and the track list look beautiful. The background has a purple-ish tint already and the purple foil lettering blends into the overall image very well adding continuity and similarity in the design. 

    • Another aspect of continuity is with the record's color itself. It is clear, which is a visual reflection of the album's title. It's a bit on the nose, but it's beautiful enough to ignore obvious choice.
    Phil reflects the album's sound philosophy visually though simplicity, continuity and similarity, which come together to creates a record I am proud to showcase.

    Bad Design - Sauna

    Oh boy. Sauna. One of my least favorite designed records in my collection and what I find to be my least favorite of Phil's designs. Sauna is one of the best sounding records Phil has released but the packaging do not give the album any form of justice. This album looks like a folk record from it's packaging. Despite the heavy Americana influence in the design (photo choice, D.I.Y look, hastily looking packaging) It's not folk at all. It's an atmospheric and experimental album which is drastically different from a folk album. An album's packaging should help showcase the atmosphere of the album, not throw a curveball.

    • Similarity is missing as the album feels like a badly created zine. Cut out photos/lettering, pencil drawn artwork, and clashing of styles rules out all form of similarity. It's like a child's hand-drawn comic book, a zine about Americana, and a ransom note came together to form an unflattering record package.

    • Odd visual placements takes away continuity which makes it difficult to find what to look at next. It's overwhelming and chaotic.

    • Proximity-wise, due to odd image placement, grouped objects end up feeling separate evoking an uncomfortable atmosphere within the design.

    Phil really missed the mark with this design, which is a bust and what I consider to be his first disappointing design, after many years of inspiring design, Sauna's artwork feels like a step back from Phil's typically fantastic design work.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    Contrast, Balance and Harmony

    It has a much higher resolution if you open the image in a new tab.

    This is a photo that I took during the summer on my trip to LA. If I remember correctly this was around the end of Nevada. I like this photo because of the spacious feel that is evoked. The sky and the ground provides a nice contrast and it helps make the ground pop out more. The towers themselves are symmetrical but the hills shown are asymmetrical, which provides an interesting feeling. Harmony is where I think this photo shines, I went for the de-saturated filmic look because I feel like that fully captures the feeling of driving through this area. I feel like the colors captured are incredibly realistic and can hopefully take the viewers to this location through the photo. 

    When it comes to context, I feel like culturally and psychology, this photo hinges on the association of deserts with desolation and solitude. This photo showcases an incredibly open and sparse area of desert and that fact that it is a desert helps drive the feeling of desolation home. The feeling would not be as strong with different scenery.