Conceptual Design

Click here to see a PDF of my work.

Click here to see a PDF of my work.









For my conceptual design, I decided to go with the smart home story. For the illustration I first began trying to think about how I could incorporate a phone and house into the same illustration, as all the controls for a smart home are on a phone. I then though of the imagery of apps and how they could maybe look like little windows on a house, so I decided to sort of have the house be the outline of the phone screen and use iPhone imagery because it is pretty well-known. I also wanted to incorporate the title of the piece into the illustration so I made each letter be its own app icon. I think I succeeded in making my icons have that app look and in incorporating several aspects into the illustration without making it too busy.

I also wanted to include some sort of broken wireless symbol to indicate the fact that turning your house into a smart house isn’t really an easy task. I chose to do that with the half loaded Wi-Fi icon to the right of the page. I like the appearance of it, but looking back I’m not sure that this would easily convey to others what I’m trying to convey about the house being “broken.” I think I should’ve figured out a way to incorporate this better and I also think I could have used more color in my illustration. Then again, I kind of like the simple look of it because the app icons make it look a bit busy.

Conceptual Design

conceptual-webFor my conceptual design, I wanted to focus on technology’s frustrations. The author of this story was tired of breakable, complicated tech that had promised convenience, easy installation, and perfect operation. To conceptualize this, I thought of the frustration that faces nearly every user of Apple products: the turtleneck charger.

Without fail, for no reason at all, every iPhone charger seems to find a way to break itself. I used the frayed, peeled back wires of a broken charger to show the downfall of technology that promises to stay simple and last forever. I showed the various uses of DIY tech using the apps on the phone – lights, security, surveillance, and general home needs – as all of these aspects can now be controlled remotely by smartphone.

For the illustration, I did my best to make the phone and charger look as real as possible. I used gradients to show dimension, and I used drop shadow to make both objects look as though they were resting on the surface of the magazine. I chose a blocky, pixelated font for a digital feel, but a simple sans-serif for a clean and minimal look. I tried to leave white space and breathing room around both the text and the illustration, so it didn’t look too cluttered. I wanted the idea to be clear.

Although I liked the concept, I’m not sure if it is easily understood by others. The broken charger could communicate an electricity problem more than a WiFi connectivity problem, or a fly continually triggering the alarm on a DIY surveillance system. I tried hard to make it look realistic as a challenge to myself, but a simpler outline approach could have been cleaner. I had particular difficulty with the frayed wires, as they were thin lines to add a gradient to.

Overall, I enjoyed the project, but conceptual design is definitely something I could use more practice with.

Conceptual Illustration

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

For this assignment, I chose to design an illustration for the column by Nick Bilton about D.I.Y. tech homes. It took a lot of brainstorming to come up with an idea that I liked for it. I originally had planned to focus on more of the technological side of the column; my first illustration idea incorporated a welcome mat. However, after reading through the column for another time, I realized the angle was more geared toward the D.I.Y aspect when it comes to all of these fancy home gadgets.

With that in mind, I came up with the idea of playing off of an Ikea instruction manual. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to illustrate every gadget mentioned, but I started with the phone and decided that was really the only one needed.Overall, I’m happy with the illustration half of this assignment. (But I think with more time, I would’ve tried to get the perspective more accurate. That was something I was having a hard time with.)

As for the type, I’m not totally in love with the typeface I chose, but I think it works well with the illustration. I knew I wanted something with a construction feel, and that was the closest I could find. To tie the two together more I mimicked the box shape around the letters in the type by adding a box around my illustration, which I think added to the Ikea instruction manual effect.

Conceptual Spread

Pack it in a Jacket Conceptual Spread

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For my conceptual design, I chose to work with the travel jacket story by Nick Bilton.

My idea for this conceptual design was that the jacket would represent a suitcase, but still have certain characteristics of a jacket like a zipper and pockets. The story was all about a travel jacket that was designed to be able to comfortably hold anything you might need while traveling. There are 15 pockets, that are made for iphones, ipads, passports, headphones, and even a chest pocket with a drink holder. The jacket also has other features like gloves, a light blocking eye cover and a neck pillow that you can air up out of the hood.

My thinking behind making a jacket into a suitcase was basically that that’s what a slick travel jacket like this would replace – luggage, or at least the need for a carry-on for your personal belongings.

Tad Carpenter Influence

Tad Carpenter Influence Poster - Blue

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For the Influence project, the artist I chose to work with is Tad Carpenter. Carpenter is a designer, illustrator, writer and teacher currently living in Kansas City, Missouri. He teaches graphic design at the University of Kansas and runs his own studio with his wife based out of their home.

He has done work for major clients including Macy’s, Coca-Cola, Target, MTV, Adobe, Hallmark Cards, Nick Jr, Conan O’Brien, Rayban and Publix.

While working for Conan, he designed a 4 poster series featuring artists for a 2011 Summer Concert Series. His job was to design a poster featuring each of the 4 artists, but also include Conan himself and the city of Los Angeles in each one.

Pitbull Poster

Kesha PosterEdward Sharpe PosterKT Tunstall Poster





Back to School ProductsHe has also illustrated a series of Children’s books and even designed a line of customizable Back-To-School Products for a company called Chronicle Books in San Francisco. The line was called ‘You Rule’ and products included folders, lunch boxes, notebooks, stickers and papers.

I really enjoy Carpenter’s use of vector work combined with line work. This was something I attempted to work into my own design, and was also heavily influenced by the colors in his back to school line.

He often uses bold fonts that have an illustrative quality to them, and this was another aspect I tried to draw inspiration from. I decided to use a font called Londrina solid which is a free font licensed under Creative Commons Legal Code.

gillard_project-2-yellowI originally designed two versions of this poster that were very similar but used an alternate scheme. You can view the yellow version, but the version I decided to turn in for credit is the dark blue one. I felt the color was a little too light to keep a yellow background while still incorporating the white line work.

If you would like to look at more of Tad Carpenter’s work, click here to visit his website.

Conceptual Poster

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Click to see a big version!

This is my conceptual designed poster. My topic is D.I.Y Home. This is a news story about the high-tech pitfalls of connected home. I came up the idea of using lines to create a sense of mess-up and connection. I drew the lights, door bell and thermostat in illustrator. And then I used the lines to connect them with the house. The screen of the phone is drew here to show some information. It shows the light is turned off, but the light is still on in the house. The door bell should be opened, but nothing happened. I think these points are related to my topic. Since it linked to technology, I applied many blue colors in the design to represent. The typography of the headline is similar to the lines I drew. I think technology is neat and modern. So I just keep the overall things simple.

I think the most challenged part is to come up an idea of showing the concept. I was afraid that readers couldn’t understand the concept when they saw this at first. So I just wrote a headline “High-tech or Mess-up” to make more sense about my design. The least challenged part is to draw everything out with AI. I like the design of putting the thermostat on the position of “o” most. What I want to improve is the design of phone. I feel that there must be better solutions to present the concept. The phone here looks a little bit extra.

Conceptual design is the most challenging project for me until now. Because it’s hard to think about if the viewers could perceive the meaning of poster or not from your design.  I think that I need to do more practice on brainstorming. Do some exercises to enhance my creativity and get more better inspirations.

Conceptual Design

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Click to view the full version.

My idea is to have an image connect the concept of “jacket” and how it is functioned together. I want the function part be abstract because the function is complex, I don’t want to list them out in the design. I want the image look like a simple icon on mobile devices so the readers can easily connect it with some high-tech things.

I chose a clothes hanger to represent the jacket because it is a daily tool everyone uses. I like how the hook look like on the top , because I think I can do something to it to make it look more interesting but still have my readers be able to recognize it as a hanger.

What makes this jacket different from other jackets is that it is a multi-functional clothes travelers can put most of the things they have to keep reachable, like phones, tablets, passports, into the pockets, and reach them easily while they are on the trip. The jacket even has gloves and a small pillow fabricated on it. It is like a “Swiss Army Knife” type piece of clothes, like a jacket-shape tool box that travelers can carry on the way. I decided to use a tool box to represent the function.

The difficult part is how to make the the icon as simple as I can but still look like a tool box. On one hand, I want the box be recognizable, on the other hand, I don’t want the tool box to be too recognizable that the readers pay more attention on the tool box and ignore the hanger.

After I made the box shape, I connected it to the hanger with clips, changed the hook to a “?” in the headline, so that the design will look more unified. I used a hand-written font and colors yellow and blue for the headline, because most of the time travel is joyful, and this invention is creative, so I want it to look exciting rather than serious. I want the overall design be simple and clean, but the spread would look too simple without any other decorations, so I changed the folios into two yellow bars, added a smaller flight icon next to the deck, and made the first letter of the main text taller to keep the spread look energetic.

Conceptual Design


In terms of designing this poster, at the beginning, I thought that I had to use all the text given from the stories. So my first draft looked too wordy to readers.

Coming out an idea for this poster didn’t take me a long time. To find my inspiration, I typed “good magazine design” and tried to find some ideas that I could use for this project. So this is what I found online.aa65b6a9518b46c5455377f9ae372c94

I like the design of the negative space/ color used in this design. So I inherited the color scheme from the original design because the colors seemed reader friendly and moderate. But besides the color scheme, I didn’t want to simply just copy the idea.

The Quiet Cars story concludes information. So it would be cool if I could illustration them and make them the graphic part of my magazine.

I didn’t sketch for this design, but I did spend time on figuring out the logic lines of the story. I tried to keep the symbols as minimalized as possible. The idea of using the dash lines to guild direction was inspired by the sidewalk. And the use of green, yellow, red, was to vivid the color scheme. Even though the combination of light orange and greenish-blue was reader friendly, these three colors definitely added some personalities to it.

Shiyun’s Conceptual Project


Click here to see a full size!

Click here to see a full size!

The story I choose for this project is DIYHome because I think this story is very interesting. However, when I began to draw the sketch, I found it was hard to express the content of story. How to let audience understand is the most difficult problem for me. In the beginning, I draw the bulbs and the door ring in the house with strings, which represent wifi signal, but it looked messy. Audience cannot understand it well. I spent time thinking about the idea. At last, I design the spread what now looks like. So I am satisfied with my spreaad becasue I finished successfully and it is what I though.

For the illustration part, which is the left part of this spread, I try to express the content of story. In the house, there is a person who holds the phone, and turns on the Wifi, but the signal is very weak. I want to let readers see clearly the devices, like bulbs and door rings. So I draw them around the house. I try to explain that the wifi signal is weak and the connection to those divices are bad, so I only draw one bulb in color to show that only one works. What’s more, those devices are very expensive, so the money is burning from the chimney.

For the words part, I design the headline like that, whcih looks like it also fly from the chimney. Becasue I use the “glass” effect on the drawing part, so it looks cute. So I choose the “cute” font to match the style. For the main color, I just choose the color that is not dark because it is convenient for readers to see clearly the words. In general, I am satisfied with my DIYHome project.

Conceptual project

Click here to view the pdf version

Click here to view the pdf version

This is my conceptual project. For this project, I choose to do the topic of CO2 emissions. The article of in this spread is basically about letting people aware of the global warming by locating and identifying the emissions of each power plant around the world in a recent designed game.

In this spread, i choose to use the dark grey color as the tone of the whole page, in that the theme is about the excess emissions of CO2 that causes the environmental problem around the world. I drew the power plants at different locations around the world to correlate the content in the game introduced in the article; I also drew some smoke above each power plant and added some CO2 labels in the smoke. I borrow the world map from Infographic class and fill it with the black color to indicate that it is the emission of CO2 from power plant that causes the environmental problem. I used the gradient color of headline, and I tried to combine its color with the smoke as a whole. So for the words “fighting” and “global”, some letters in these words are “hidden” by the transparent smoke. In addition, some of the the CO2 label in the smoke also fallen down on the headline. I didn’t play much with the font of the headline in that i think global warming is a serious topic, so a formal and serif font would fit it best. I use only one paragraph in this spread so that it won’t seem too wordy.

Overall, I think I did a well job on illustrating the concepts of the article and apply it to the design. I’m aware of using both color and image to illustrate the tone and content of the theme of the article. The design isn’t complicated but perfectly reflect the concept. For my future design, I hope i would learn how to illustrate the concept in a more efficient, as well as how to balance the color usage of the overall design. Moreover, I think the concept would be better illustrated if I can apply the design into text in the page.