Thursday, December 5, 2013

Warmhouse Coffee Packaging

Jessica, Julia, Katelyn, Lauren and I created designs for Warmhouse Coffee, based on the Style Guide we created.

Lauren designed the logo, which is reminiscent of a cozy home without being too literal. From a contextual standpoint, the hand drawn look about it creates a friendly, casual, personal feeling. The logo is also on the feminine side. This does not mean that we are a "no boys allowed" coffee shop. However, we are interested in the crowd that will come and stay for long whiles to talk, socialize and create.

We picked three colors to use mainly in our designs. We chose black because we wanted to avoid the stereotypical coffee shop shades of brown. However, we did include one shade of brown; the brown paper bag color. We chose this color because from a psychological context, it looks recyclable, which is important on the East Coast (which is where our store is located). From a social/cultural context, the brown paper bag color reminds us of the days of sack lunches that our moms used to make for us. The burnt orange was included to create a pop of color. Psychologically, orange reminds us of warmth and makes us hungry.

We selected three different fonts to use in our design. Always in my Heart is in cursive and used for headings,  KG Skinny Latte in capitals is used for subheadings, and KG Skinny Latte in lowercase is used for the body. We chose these fonts because they are all handwritten, which is more personal, friendly, conversational and humanist. Also, we put the all caps against the soft cursive to create contrast. The powerful capital letters make it clear that we are a coffee shop, even if you had never heard of Warmhouse before.

I was in charge of the packaging design. I created two simple designs: one for our coffee bag, and one for our to-go coffee cups. I originally designed them using a template from, but the design options were very limited. Funnily enough, sketching the design turned out to be the most sophisticated of my options. 

Coffee Bag
I wanted to use simple and easily recyclable materials, because our store is on the East Coast. The material for the coffee bag is a thick paper sack, in the traditional brown color. From a contextual standpoint, I chose this material because of the homey feeling we want to create at Warmhouse. This bag is reminiscent of the sack lunch your mom used to make you in elementary school.

The logo and the flavor of coffee are located near the bottom of the bag. This was done to create a more interesting design than being placed statically in the middle of the bag. The closeness of the logo and the flavor use the law of proximity to appear grouped as one. The logo and flavor are both printed in black ink, so they stand out clearly against the brown of the bag. The flavor is in all lowercase letters to create a casual impression.

To incorporate a pop of color against the neutrals, the side panel of the bag as well as the seal sticker are burnt orange. On the orange seal sticker, the words "stay warm" are printed in white cursive letters. From a contextual standpoint, this is designed to create the feeling that we care, and to reinforce our brand. The sticker is also used to draw the eye up from the main focus at the bottom of the bag, and to create asymmetrical balance within the design. 

To-Go Coffee Cup
Again, I wanted to use materials with a small environmental footprint. So, I chose to use cups made from recycled paper that is unbleached. This will have the same color as the brown in the coffee bag. I wanted to keep this design really simple, and cohesive with the bag. I put the logo, printed with black ink, near the bottom of the cup. This, again, is more interesting than smack-dab in the center. The customer will have the option to top this cup with a recyclable black plastic lid, or an unbleached paper lid. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Scene

Begin at 2:06

I chose to research the director of photography, or the cinematographer, for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Roger Pratt is a member of the British Society of Cinematogrophers, and has been the DP for many films, which have influenced his style. Before he directed photography for Chamber of Secrets, he was nominated for 8 various awards for the following movies: Shadowlands, Frankenstein, Grey Owl, The End of the Affair, and Chocolat. 

The biggest challenge for the director of photography for this scene was making a normal-sized man look massive. Robbie Coltrane, who plays Hagrid, is only 6-foot-1. The job of making him appear well, giant, fell largely on the DP. This optical illusion was done through a technique called forced perspective. When using forced perspective, the DP used strategic vantage points and angles to trick human visual perception into believing Hagrid is huge.

Several of these tricks can be observed in this scene from The Chamber of Secrets.

  • Everyone is sitting down except Hagrid, so you can't compare their heights.
  • When Harry stands up to hug Hagrid, Harry's legs are blocked by the table so he could be bending his knees. 
  • When they speak, the shots go back and forth between close-up shots of the speaker's face. There is no context for size. 
  • When the frame is close-up on Hagrid, the camera is angled up to create the feeling that the others are looking up into the face above.
  • When the frame is close-up on the others, the camera is angled down to create the feeling that Hagrid is looking down into their faces.
The DP uses a number of design principles, other than forced-perspective, in his cinematography.
  • Continuity: When the frame is on a close-up, the DP uses continuity by cutting the frame off in places that suggest that there is still the rest of the body there.
  • Figure/ground relationship: The DP uses figure/ground relationships between Hagrid and the great hall to establish size in another way. Because Hagrid, the figure, rises higher than torches in the background, the relationship between the figure and the ground suggest his extreme height. 
  • Rule of thirds: The use of the rule of thirds can be seen in the still shot above, where Hagrid is in the top right area. This creates a more interesting shot than a static center shot would.
  • Contrast: The DP obviously uses a lot of contrast in size. Big Hagrid, small everyone else. 
Another thing I learned from this assignment is how much every member in the crew have to communicate with each other to create a cohesive film. The DP has to understand the director's vision to be able to create a usable product. Everyone has to be on the same page to be able to create their parts the right way, so when they are finally placed together the final product feels right. 

My Frame

I am not a photographer by any means. I'm talking, not even selfies. My Facebook picture hasn't changed in over a year. It's bad. I grew up in a family where we didn't take pictures unless there was a person in it. Otherwise, it was useless. I needed this assignment for a number of reasons, but I think one of the most important things I learned was to stop taking pictures with a person's face smack-dab in the middle. This image still isn't the most interesting thing I've ever seen, but it is much more interesting than the one I took where the child's face is static and in the center. It works because the face of the statue, the focal point, is at an intersection of the rule of thirds grid. 

Although it is not apparent here, I took about a thousand different pictures of a hundred different things trying to find a picture that would fulfill this assignment. Along the way I learned that another huge problem the pictures I take is that I cut off the movement with my choice of angle. I usually go against the movement, so by the time one's eye gets to the edge of the frame, it ends. It dies. It seems there is nothing outside of the frame. So, now I know to use the rule of thirds rather than always putting faces in the center of the frame, and to use the gestalt principle of continuity to allow the picture to continue even where the frame ends.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Airbnb & Axioms

I will analyze Airbnb's website by using the following axioms of web design:

Business Objectives
Airbnb's primary business objective is very obvious the instant you open the page. It is to help people find a place to stay. Their secondary business objective takes a scroll or two, but it isn't hard to find how to rent out your space to people.

Strong Grid
Airbnb has a strong underlying grid. You can see the grid in the middle section with the images of the different cities. There is equal white space between the rectangles, which keeps the background quiet and allows you to focus on the places. The grid continues to the lower section where the categories Travel, Host and Trust and safety follow the same spacing grid. The grid keeps the page easy to follow and the background unobtrusive.

Lower Right
Airbnb follows the lower right rule by placing a link to the rentable space currently being displayed. So you are not only seeing the beautiful and unique space being listed, but it also shows you the price and a link to more information on the space in the lower right corner.

When you hit the landing page of Airbnb, the spotlighted space for rent nearly fills up your entire screen. The pictures are wide, so it goes from upper left to upper right corner and gives you a sense of being in the space.

Airbnb is intuitive. As soon as you get to the page, the cursor is already in the box, ready for you to type in your destination. It makes it obvious that that's what you're supposed to do by asking "Where do you want to go", and is followed by more spaces for your check in and out dates, and number of guests. Everything you might need to know about Airbnb, you can find from the homepage. The links are very straightforward. If you don't know where to begin because you aren't sure where you want to go, they have prepared neighborhood guides for popular destinations. The use of pictures accompanied by simple text make it very easy to use.

Another great thing about Airbnb is that they take a stressful activity like travel-planning and turn it into something beautiful and fun. They have created neighborhood guides so you can explore areas you are interested in. It gets you excited for your trip because of the unique place you will stay and the sites that are nearby.

Greatest Contrast
The biggest contrast on the Airbnb landing page is the images of the different cities next to each other. You see the oriental design in Tokyo, the French architecture in Paris, and the skyline of New York. The contrast isn't in the colors or textures, but in the sense of contrasting and complimentary cultures.

Good Looking Means Easy
 Preach it, sister. If this page wasn't attractive, with quality images and a strong grid, I would easily become frustrated. Its good design makes it attractive, and its attractiveness makes it good design.

Converts to Aspect Ratios
The Airbnb app is just as effective as the website. Rather than just being a smaller version of the website, the app is designed specifically for smart phones and tablets. It is even simpler to use. As soon as you open the app, there are large images of the space with just enough information - what, where and how much. If you like it, just click on the heart in the lower right to easily find it later. If you want to see more, just swipe to see more pictures.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Less is More

Airbnb is a website for people to share their living spaces for travelers to rent.
I like Airbnb's website because of it's simplicity. All you have to do is go to the website and you're ready to start typing in your destination. Or, if you're not quite sure where you want to go, it gives you popular destination choices. Just click on the picture to learn more. All the information you need is on the homepage. There are no drop down menus and the page is short, so there is not a lot of clicking or scrolling to find what you're looking for.

The simplicity isn't just practical, but also beautiful. The only shapes are rectangles so it fits well together and looks cohesive. Airbnb does a good job of making the page intriguing without being overwhelming. They could overload users with information and images of all the beautiful destinations, but they keep it clean cut and user-friendly.

Monday, October 7, 2013

(Not) Lost in Translation

The director's cut version of Miley Cyrus's music video "Wrecking Ball" is translatable to any screen, because it is literally that same close up shot the entire time. Whether someone is watching it on a computer, tablet or smartphone, the same message is coming across. No details are lost.

You might think that the unchanging shot is boring (or as my boyfriend worded it, uncomfortable), but for me this video is successfully translatable because regardless of what device I watch it on, I am captivated.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Good vs. Bad Design

Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh


Betsey Johnson Too Too Pretty

Color        Light         Texture        Line        Shape        Balance        Simplicity

I chose to compare these two designs because they are so similar and so different. They are both targeting the same market (if you can believe it). They are both trying to reach adult women who can afford high end perfume. Not only that, but they are both very playful designs. It's a very specific type of woman they're targeting - one who enjoys childlike design.

I will compare and contrast these two designs using the following design principles:

Color: In the case of Daisy, the pastel colors create a sweet, almost innocent, look. While Too Too's hot pink comes off as immature.

Use of light: Daisy's bottle is designed to reflect light in a way that illuminates the bottle, creating a radiant affect. The way light hits the Too Too bottle make the plastic look cheap.

Texture: Daisy has a smooth glass bottle, smooth gold lid, and smooth plastic flowers. However, the flowers create contrast by the way they are lifted of the bottle. If you ran your hand over the lid, it's obvious there would be bumps. Too Too's bottle utilizes different textures by the different materials used. The fishnet, the tulle and the sequins all provide rough textures. The glass underneath the fishnet, and the plastic of the bodice are smooth. 

Line: The way the lines on Daisy's bottle curve create a softer, feminine look. This is achieved without literally having to duplicate the shape of the female body to look feminine like Too Too does. Daisy has curves along the line of the bottle, along the rounded lid, and along the outline of the flower petals.

Shape: Daisy has a pretty standard bottle shape, but it works because there is already enough going on. While the Too Too bottle has even more going on, and the bottle shape overdoes it. 

Balance: Daisy has asymmetrical balance because of the different size flowers on the lid. This creates a childlike, innocent feel. Too Too uses symmetrical balance.

Simplicity: Daisy's design is simple, yet playful. It is reminiscent of childhood. While Too Too doesn't just remind you of childhood, it is a duplication of a doll you had growing up. Having to copy something shows a lack of creativity,while Daisy creates a feeling of innocence and sweetness.