“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
- Albert Einstein
Scrolling the vast pages of Pinterest boards, I have always loved seeing the how designers have distilled an entire movie into a minimalist poster. Using color, shapes, and simple designs they have told representative visual stories of the films and TV shows they are about. To try out a new genre I decided to take a few of the most recent shows and movies I had watched and create a poster to go with them.
Visual Strategy & Ideation
Brainstorming each movie/TV show, I began writing down key props or scenes that embodied the theme and plots. Then I began mixing the items and meanings to try and create a multifaceted design.
After creating preliminary sketched I used my handy Wacom tablet and Adobe Illustrator to flesh out the designs and play with color usage.
One of the most iconic props used in New Girl is the “Douchebag Jar.” In the TV show, every time the character Schmidt, played by Max Greenfield, says or does something that could be considered “douchebaggery” he has to put money in the jar. Since the shows introduction of the prop you can find it gracing t-shirts, stickers, and numerous blogs making it a perfect symbol to include on my minimalist poster.
This 2011 movie highlighted much of the ugliness of racial polarization in the 1960s but it also portrayed the good that still existed in the poisonous environment. One prop that was brought up many times in the film was one of the character’s famous pies that she made for her employer. After being extremely mistreated by said employer instead of verbally lashing out the maid fixed her a pie, with a healthy serving something extra, effectively making the prejudice debutant housewife eat her sh*t. As one of the most popular and hilarious scenes in the movie, I used the symbol of the pie not only to refer back to that moment but to also capture the essence of racial tension that the film’s theme presents.
How I Met Your Mother
For this TV show there was a plethora of icons I could have used to represent the show like the ever-mysterious future mother’s yellow umbrella or blue French horn, but for this poster I decided on the ducky tie. The tie is referenced during many places in season seven and it also fit with one of the show’s themes of “family” so it was a great object to depict multiple elements of the show.
Instead of directly replicating the design of the tie which is completely filled with ducks I decided to instead only create four ducks which represent the family unit that the show is based on: the father, mysterious mother, and two kids to whom the story is being told.
While studying in Europe and taking an animation course I decided to create a project that would be reminiscent of my time abroad.
In 2012, I went to study at the American University of Rome. While there I took an animation course that introduced me to animating in Adobe Flash. Fascinated with the program, I decided to create my first hand-drawn animation.
As I was studying abroad I already took my camera everywhere and as I wanted to include many things Italian in my animation I found myself taking pictures of cars, canals, streets, coffee cups and other items as inspiration for my sketches. Many scenes like the opening image of a canal, originated as images I saw through the viewfinder.
Pen & Paper
From creating a character or sketching out objects I carried around a notebook everywhere to draw preliminary sketches of items I saw around Rome.
I drew the visual elements and animated them in Flash.
Creating the narrative
For the narrative I wanted to create something that was simple and relatable. After brainstorming funny situations and characters, I landed on a story about a character that can never quite have a good day, where the audience could relate and simultaneously find humor in his failings. After looking at my surroundings and finding things that could go wrong day-to-day (and a few personal experiences) “A Bad Day from Gaston” was created.
As a first time animator, especially for a silent animation, storyboarding was paramount and I filled notebooks, café napkins, and margins of books with sketches of possible scenes before I constructed a formal storyboard. I envisioned the story being told from clip to clip. I pulled from my experience as a film student to construct a “shot list” of angles I wanted to cover and at one point used pieces of paper to order and reorder the “clips” to tell the best narrative.
One Character, Two Episodes
“A Bad Day for Gaston” turned into a two-episode animation. The first being Gaston’s stint as a gondolier and the next his visit to a café. Learning and creating the story drove me to learn more about the nuances of animation. From one episode to another the learning curve is blatant as in episode two the characters are better developed and the scenery more detailed.
Best of New Media Award
After submitting it to the Visions Festival at American University in 2013, A Bad Day for Gaston: Episode Two won the Best of New Media award.
News releases from REI have stated that 2015 has been one of the best years for the co-op in regards to active membership and sales. To further enhance the store experience the Store Design and Visual Merchandising team launched the campaign, Softgoods Refresh. This summer they selected several departments in over twenty stores to overhaul and design a new innovative visual customer experience.
To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. The information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of REI, Inc.
In mid 2015 I was a graphic design and user experience contractor for REI, Inc. at their headquarters in Kent, WA. While there, I was the lead designer on several special projects within the Store Design and Visual Merchandising department.
Visual Strategy & Ideation
I pitched an alternate strategy to better relate the information to the store employees and visual merchandisers.
I created wireframes, sitemaps and prototypes for the application keeping in mind the spatial relationships between new design areas and departments and how one many have to jump from one section of the app into another.
I designed the format and created the interactivity for all twenty apps that were launched for the 2015 Softgoods Refresh campaign based. I collaborated with a visual merchandiser who provided the artwork images of what was going into the stores. From there I created a visual strategy which would put the images in context be it on a wall or a fixture.
Show not tell
For this project we looked at twenty individual stores and created twenty specific visual merchandising plans, which meant we needed twenty apps that would show exactly what should be replicated in store.
A real world replica
Our goal was to create an app that would show the store employees how to set up the new designs but also inspire them by showing them exactly how their store could look. We wanted a portion of the app to be interactive so that they could enter into their own store’s departments and see the artwork in relation to their floor plan and fixture set up.
A new strategy
After being assigned this project I pitched an alternate visual design strategy that harnessed 3D capabilities and put it into an interactive app, which had not been done in the department’s history. After building a prototype it was elevated to upper management and later approved.
Adobe Digital Publishing Solution (DPS)
When designing the iOS app, I used Adobe DPS to create the framework, design and interactivity. After being approved it was launched using the same program.
While working with the Fixture and Store Evolution team I created 3D prototypes of potential fixtures to send to vendors that I later used for the Softgoods Refresh campaign. I then combined existing 3D fixtures with the finalized prototypes I had created in SketchUp into 3D replicas of all twenty stores and added the artwork provided by the visual merchandiser.
User-experience & Structure
The app structure was based off of a map of each store from which the user could enter any area to see it on a departmental scale and then select individual sections to enlarge the artwork and see item numbers and exact sizes. When an fixture was split between two departments the item could be selected from either to create a fluid user experience.
Out with the old
This product was launched on a rolling basis in time for each campaign at the various stores. They were the instruction manual for each store and created a smoother transition from the old merchandising strategy to the new.