Conceptual Design


Starting out with this project I found it difficult to decide which story I wanted to illustrate, and started to think of designs for each option. I settled on the DIY home story because I really liked the idea of designing a house made up of electrical wire, (or some kind of wire message service that would connect different aspects of a smart house) better than anything else I had conceptualized.

After I settled on the house component of the design I needed to find a way to tie in the story’s message of a failed DIY home system. I also needed to portray that the house was specifically a smart home, that can be remotely controlled, and not just a random house with a lot of electrical wires. This lead me to decide I somehow needed to integrate a cellphone or tablet into the design. After deciding on all of the components it was fairly simple to come up with a design that wold fit both a house and a phone in a way that made sense. I made a portion of the house the right size to insert a mobile phone in it. The phone is larger proportionally to the house to signify to the viewer that this is  a home controlled by remote technology. An error message appears on the phone screen to show the dysfunction of the DIY home, and the red color of the wires was chosen to heighten the idea of error or malfunction.

I really like how the whole design came together, and I think the illustration matches the picture like quality of the cellphone. I also decided to continue the design of the house onto the rest of the article with the red “wires” wrapping around the text. To keep up with the dominate red theme I made the headline text the same red color used in the home and the cellphone background.

Conceptual Illustration

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When we were first presented with this conceptual illustration project, I will admit that I was a little nervous. It can be difficult to come up with a clever illustration that is not so subtle that readers will not understand, but that is also not too literal. However, once I started brainstorming, this was one of my favorite projects yet. When I read the story options, I immediately connected with the story about old technology making a comeback with younger generations, because I am one of those millennials who enjoys old technology. All in all, I liked the story and knew the illustrations that would go along with it would feel natural.

I came up with my idea to have a polaroid camera printing out a picture that is half old (from the 60’s) and half new (present day) to represent the idea that the same technology, possibly with a few upgrades, is operational today, just as it used to be. I had a difficult time finding a photo that was timeless enough to span such a time frame. I settled on the one that I did because it fit the theme – the older cars in the image were popular decades ago and are still a popular thing to own today. The woman is even wearing an outfit that could have been from any time period. I decided to use one whole camera because although there are new polaroid cameras that look very different, some people still collect or even use older ones like this. I also had a hard time finding comparable images for the right side of the spread – I wanted to find images that showed as many types of technology as possible from the past and current day. I finally did but had to edit the one on the left to make it look older.

I chose to use James Fajardo typeface for the headline because it looks like the handwriting that one might write on polaroid pictures to remember what is happening in the photo. I used American Typewriter for the subhead, because typewriters are a type of technology that young people are beginning to enjoy again. Then, I decided to make the layout look like a wall or a photo album on which I taped the images and the paper that I “typed” on my typewriter. I made the tape rainbow, just like the polaroid stripe. The yellow in the background is the same color as the yellow in the polaroid stripe, and the paler yellow just has more white.

Overall, I enjoyed coming up with and creating my conceptual design. As the semester goes on, I am feeling much more confident using Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop to do what I want to do.

Conceptual Project

The conceptual project was undoubtedly challenging however ultimately rewarding as well. I initially contemplated which idea I wanted to use of the ones given for this project. I finally went with the article about the old technology that has persisted or came back overtime. I went with this one because I could visualize elements to this story more than any another so I felt like it was something I would be able to quickly conceptualize. While I eventually did conceptualize something, quickly is not a word I would use to describe the process. I went back and forth on many different ideas however none were complete. Some felt too simple while others felt too intricate and I was left feeling very stuck. After some more deliberation and sketching I decided to go with a minimalistic design, as I tend to do, with some quirky animation elements. However even when I started to form an understanding of what I wanted on the spread, I still didn’t know exactly how I was going to put it all together to tell a story. And then I finally thought of it – Timeless Tech. I felt like this title and concept really represented the story in exhibiting how there are certain technologies that are timeless and no matter how much time has passed, they find there way to resist being inapt or inevitably come full circle. So it was this idea that catalyzed my thought process for how I would tell the story through my design.

I started with the flip phone animation by finding flip phones and working on recreating that shape and look. Out of the three animated objects, this one was the most difficult due to the amount of detail it had compared to the others. I then moved on to the vinyl record, which had the least detail of the three. And finally I illustrated the book. To add a layer of difficulty and more dimensions I decided to give create the elements as if they were slightly at an angle. I didn’t want to simply make everything two dimensional because I felt that lacked creativity, so I did want to challenge myself to do a little bit more. Trying to maneuver how to illustrate these objects with more dimensions and making sure they were all equal (meaning, I did not want them to align in a way that wouldn’t make sense realistically) was one of the more difficult aspects of this design. After I was happy with each figure I decided to have some fun with the animated characters and give them each some personality through their facial expressions and body language. And to complete this story I even had the flip phone speaking. So I started with the phone telling the other items to smile for the selfie. I thought this element was cute and quirky but also exhibited the old technology working in tandem with the new, which is something we also often see. Then with the vinyl if you look closely you can see that it is actually holding up the classic peace sign that many millennials like to pose with. And lastly the book has its hands in the air. Finally, to give each item a little more dimension I added a subtle inner shadow as well.

I then exported my illustrations on to InDesign and decided to incorporate the illustration and concept with the title itself. Because it was titled Timeless Tech, I designed a line extending from the T to create a timeline from it. I thought a timeline was a good way of demonstrating time passing. I researched when vinyl records were invented and it was around the 1950s, so I started the timeline in the 1950s and went up from there. I sequentially placed the technologies in the order they were invented but put them past the year they were invented to display that these technologies are far past conception, however still enduring. I downloaded this typeface named Trench from and thought it was perfect for the techy nature of this article. I added the line coming down from the H to work in union with the other line in my design. And finally I adjusted the background color of my design at the end. I wanted something subtle so it wouldn’t take away from the small details of my illustrations so initially just went with a beige tint. However, I felt like it was too plain. So I decided to add a gradient to add a little more to the background without adding too much. The gradient was initially going up and down but I adjusted it to go side to side because I really liked the directional force it had on the title and the story. Overall, I was really happy with my finish product. I believe I stayed true to myself as a designer and it came together how I wanted it to. It definitely took me some time for it to all come together during the planning stage, but at the end of the day I created something I am proud of and that is what matters most.


Conceptual – Futuristic Flaws

This project was challenging – conceptualizing a complex topic with the least amount design elements necessary was not an easy task. After reading through the various stories we could choose from, I was most drawn to the wearable tech topic. The author argues that wearable tech, like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, etc., is not ready for primetime. He suggests that its futuristic flaws, like low battery life, represent nothing more than a smaller, less efficient smartphone. Therefore, wearable tech can be found in people’s junk drawers until it’s ready to fulfill our tech needs and desires.

My initial idea for this project was illustrating a dark stage with a spotlight shining down on it. There would be nothing in the spotlight but rather an Apple Watch next to it in the shadows. This, I thought, would creatively convey the statement “not ready for primetime” or “not in the limelight”. However when I began creating this idea, I was stuck. I also received peer feedback that the idea was good but a little too complex. After more brainstorming and sketching I thought of a new idea, which is what I went with. Looking at conceptual magazine and newspaper designs in class inspired me. What I noticed that grabbed my attention most were spreads that utilized strong imagery along with strong graphics. Having photos as the center of visual interest is dramatic and eye-catching. Because I wanted to show an Apple Watch in the dark, as if it were forgotten, I looked for images that conveyed this. I found one on Unsplash and began designing from there.

The first asset I created was the list on the Apple Watch. I wanted to use Apple’s design style to make it look realistic. Instead of a typical grocery list, for example, the one on my spread is a list of negative adjectives about wearable tech. Some of the words I pulled directly from the story, some I thought of on my own based on the story’s main points. Regardless, this list demonstrates the “futuristic flaws” of wearable tech. The headline came next – I got the phrase for obvious reasons. I wanted to depict an alarming notification symbol (also going with the Apple Watch theme) on the headline, which is why I created the red “!” circle.

Designing the rest of the spread was fairly simple. Using a two-column grid was simple yet enough to contain the first few paragraphs of the story. The blue lines above the page numbers are a design element to reflect the blue in the watch. I chose the typography and colors based on Apple’s design style, again, to keep everything consistent. The best adjustment I made in the whole process was increasing the size of the background image to fill more of the spread. At first, I had too much negative space. I needed to emphasize the watch more to eliminate this problem. The biggest criticism I have of my design is that I do not include more wearable tech other than the Apple Watch. Although the story is about the general topic, I felt that the Apple Watch is the most recognizable wearable tech device. I do not know exactly how I would change this, but it’s something I would contemplate in the future.



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For this project, I chose the story about old technology because I am the person obsessed with vintage stuff. To represent “old tech”, the visual selection can be Polaroid camera, Vinyl records, flip phones and vintage cars. My first selection is vinyl, however, we’ve already done a class exercise about it. To substitute the “vinyl” idea, I chose to use cassette. Cassette is kind of old technologies booming at certain period, and now there still have some people using that. And then, using the cassette tape curves and twists to form my headline so that it can be the part of visual illustration.

In order to build the connection between old technologies and the current trend, I named the headline as “old fashion is turning back” so that it tells old technologies are still fashionable in current age. Additionally, this headline is consistent with my visual illustration. That is, the cassette tape goes far away and then comes back to the cassette case, that just likes the old technologies leaving away and then coming back.

In terms of the color choice, I got the inspiration from Cuban buildings. In the picture of Cuba, it has many colorful buildings, and a lot of vintage cars. And the whole style enables me to feel vintage but fashionable. Therefore, I applied this style to my design. Using warm yellow as the main tone and decorating with dark green and dark brown as the color of tapes, which allows the visual illustrate to be more pop up and more balance.

For the typography, I drew the headline and byline based on “dancing script” and applied three-dimensional effects so that it is consistent with the position of cassette. Because the headline and byline are more complex, I tried to make deck and story start to be simple. Therefore, I chose basic san serif and serif typographies. Additionally, applying dark green to deck so that it is stand out and be consistent with the whole visual illustration.

Overall, I feel good with this project. The biggest challenge for me is to draw headline. I chose “dancing script” as a base, and then tried to connect all point. It’s difficult for me to connect all and keep readability. Bur, finally I did a good job!

Conceptual Project

For this project we were given magazine stories that needed illustrations for the layout. The stories were all tech-themed and to be honest I had a little trouble being inspired by the stories. It took me a while to pick a story (I started designing and sketching for a completely different one) before my idea for this one popped in to my head.
What I really wanted to get across for this layout was the phone that controls every aspect of the house. You have security features, lights turning on and off and changing colors, smoke alarms, the thermostat, everything being controlled by the phone (most of those were mentioned in the article, I added a few extra to have more apps on the illustration so it didn’t look empty.) And then you have the cracked iphone screen to show that maybe controlling everything with your phone isn’t the best way to do it – yet. It gets complicated, as mentioned in the article, and things can go very wrong. I also indicated this with the message popping up from the house asking if this guy actually knows what he’s doing.
As for design decisions, I went with the font Antonio because it has a modern, slightly futuristic vibe to it but without being too cliche. I matched the blue color of the DIY to the phone background. I was torn between doing the blue, using the green from the message app, the red from the alert, or grey to indicate a techy feel. I ended up choosing blue because I felt it still indicated a techy feel to it and it looked the most balanced. I also added that tiny red alert 1) to bring in a little more color from the other page 2) to indicate again that something was going wrong.
I chose a serif font for the body copy because it is easier to read, I went with garamond because it was simple and clean, like the rest of my design (I hope that came across). I tried to keep the body copy simple and inside a grid to make it look clean and not cluttered, it lines up with the title of the article. The deck is the same Antonio font to keep those tied together. And I kept the background white because the phone had a decent amount of detail and I wanted to keep everything else as simple as possible.

Conceptual – Time After Time


Conceptual - Time after Time

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In beginning my conceptual design, my work sort of came full circle. I really wanted to push myself to not do something that first came to my mind. These ideas included polaroid cameras, polaroid film, basic vinyl record images, typewriter typefaces, rustic/grunge textures, using photography as the main design element, and much more. Even as I write these ideas I almost want to go back to the drawing board. Conceptual designs, to me, are almost more difficult due to the large amount of space while needing a striking design. So this is what I did…

I spent a lot of time in coming up with the headline and deck head as I felt it was a crucial component to capture readers. I came up with ‘Time after Time’ as it is a legendary song and insinuates a musical reference. For the deck head I thought it would be clever to reference the saying ‘out with the old, in with the new’ but reverse it. This whole circle concept was used in everything I chose when making my design decisions. For color, I went back to the basics and used a magenta, yellow and blue as my main colors on top of a black background. The body text, deck head and authors name is also in white to balance all of the color as well. As far as typefaces, other than the headline I simply used Times New Roman to be safe as I felt I was taking enough risk with the rest of the design. Since the story opens up talking about vinyls and a vinyl store, I wanted to grab the attention of the readers with this same idea. I played around in designing and shaping some sort of vinyl looking shape for hours. What I ended up doing was adding the same three colors in the headline to the vinyl shapes and using them as a gradient to put a more retro, spinning and roundabout effect in the design. I was inspired by this idea of time so circles and a psychedelic feel was a must but I didn’t want to take it too far so it looked like a specific era. The three ‘vinyls’ tie into the three words ‘Time after Time’ and the circle that the technology world has taken. The typeface for the headline I thought was perfectly bold and a tad retro, without looking too retro, or taking away from the illustration element. Although the illustration looks simple, the rings are made up of smaller rings as I wanted to make it look like faint lines like a vinyl has, however, the ‘vinyls’ could also represent simple CD disks. Either way I felt the reader would get the notion that this article was referencing some sort of musical technology. This illustration would also be easy to continue through to the following page of the article. Easy to size up, down, rotate, etc. This was always in the back of mind of how my design could transfer to the continuing spread and what I wanted that to look like as well. Infographics, words, quotes could be easily highlighted with the pops of color from the headline and the vinyl, as seen with the ‘F’ in the opening spread. The colors also somewhat allude to other forms of technology, which I didn’t realize until after the fact. Like the rainbow on the Polaroid camera and even Apple’s colors on their first logo design.

I’m a very minimalistic type of designer and have been really trying to push myself out of my comfort zone in designing a bit more complex of a illustration as mentioned from the logo project, so I felt this project was good to see more of what I could do illustration wise based off of a story and not just what I wanted to do. I feel I have the perfect amount of body text for the beginning of the story and utilized the grid along with white space as well. Finally I added my folio, which officially made it look like a magazine spread. I’m overall very pleased with my final design as I feel it’s an extremely unique approach, taking a lot of thought from the story and what it’s all about along with some effects and skills I’ve taken from class. I was working on two other designs along with the one I’ve submitted, however, they were solely photography based without an illustration and much more up my comfort zone. I am happy with the end result of my conceptual project and hope you enjoy.

Conceptual Illustration Project

Conceptual Illustration Project

2001: A Space Odyssey inspired conceptual illustration for a magazine story on the internet-connected home.

I read through each of the story prompts for this project, but wasn’t moved by any of them aside from the DIY home. The first thing that came to mind after finishing it was HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I quickly devised a scene in which the idyllic automated kitchen experience of the future takes a sudden turn. I thought through a few more ideas, including one where a baby or toddler is accidentally throwing the connected house into chaos by playing with a phone, and another that was sort of a Beauty and the Beast theme, with a Belle-like character being formed from the logos of Apple, Amazon, and the Wi-Fi symbol. I ended up sticking with my initial reaction because as I was searching for visual inspiration for HAL, I found that the movie had actually just celebrated its 50th anniversary the day before. I figured this perfect timing was indicating that it was meant to be, so I decided to go for it.

I recognize my limitations as an illustrator, and so I knew that I was not going to be able to come up with any kind of detailed or realistic kind of illustration. What I wanted to focus on was cleanliness, to match with the visual style of the movie. I avoided outlines, and made everything in a kind of modern cut out style. To add detail without making things feel cluttered, I added highlights across a few of the appliances.

I had never really worked with the 3D effects in Illustrator, but I thought that it could add to the futuristic identity of the illustration. I think it added a lot, and was not too difficult to achieve after playing around with the perspective and depth to make sure things matched. My original layout was more bright and colorful, because I wanted to get across the idea that the house is normally an average happy place, and that perhaps the moment of the illustration is a turning point. But I do think that it is much better with a color scheme closer to that of the movie.

I looked up the typefaces used for the film cover (Futura) and titlescreen (Gill Sans), and used these as my main display types, tightening the kerning some to help it match more. The headline came pretty easily when I had decided on using the movie as my inspiration. The movie’s title lent itself well to the wordplay, and I thought it worked well to tie the story to the illustration. One of my final touches was to add one last HAL monitor as the dot over the “I” in oddity, which served as one more tie in, and a good way to bring in a touch of the red to the left hand side of the page.

I had envisioned the illustration being an oval shape, for no real reason at first, but later thought that maybe this could help give the impression that we are viewing the scene from another one of HAL’s eyes from the other side of the room. To strengthen this effect, I drew a circle over the illustration and filled it with a black-red-clear gradient and lowered the transparency. I also resized the illustration to be less of an oval shape so that it would look more like one of the monitors, and by doing so I also solved my text spacing issue, because it filled the page better and pushed the text closer together.

Ivy Bridges’ Conceptual Magazine Design

Click here to check out my full magazine design!

For my conceptual magazine design, I chose the old technologies that won’t go away story. This story was the most interesting to me and I chose the headline “Retro Renewal” because I felt it reflected the contents of the article well, without being too wordy.

With my illustration I wanted to juxtapose the difference between the retro camera that has been resurfacing with new technology that’s on the market. This is why I decided to add the old and new cameras together. I placed them on the fold line of the page, that way when the reader is viewing the page they are able to see the new and old as separate entities, but can also choose to look at them as they converge with one another. This plays on the concept of old coming back, and merging or even replacing new tech.

To create my camera illustration, I completed a process of taking images in Photoshop, cutting them from  their background, then dividing them into two. I chose both Nikon cameras and made sure to cut distinctly where the letters met so that the two halves were still readable as Nikon, and played more with the convergence of two. Then I used image trace and 16 colors to add an illustrative quality to the pictures, so they look more like a drawing than photographs.

I also chose to add a polaroid picture to the design to further reflect the story. I felt the addition of the picture added more to the nostalgic feel and also served as a great place to add the deck of the story as well as the byline. I wanted to place the author’s name in the spot where in the past people would write or sign polaroids.

For my display type I had to create, I used the pen tool to create a series of lines and shapes that formed letters. I based my typeface off fours. Four shapes/lines created each design in a one point line. For letters with a single bar, I chose to amplify the thickness to two points. This created a more exaggerated look. I then used the green from the camera with the eyedropper tool to create green lines in the R’s. For my other display type, I chose to use American Typewriter as I thought it tied everything together with its retro feel, reminiscent of the camera I used in the illustration. For my publication, I went with Orator as this is the font I used in my logo design. For my body text I went with Georgia because it’s a classic serif font. I also chose to use wide open tracking for the body text. I felt the spaced out look worked well with the style of the story and layout.

To further unite my design and add more interest, I created lines with multi-sized dots, to play more off the technology aspect of the story. To add color to my design, I took the green from the letters and added this to the side circles.

If I could do anything differently, I would make the “Nik” and the “On” line up better with one another. However I had to sacrifice this to make the lens and the size of the body of the camera to line up together. I also think playing with the texture in the back could be interesting. I started to do this but I felt there was too much going on after adding in a background. I tried to add some color in, but I feel more could be added to make the design pop more. Finally, I wish I had been more successful with creating my own display type. I like the way it ended up looking and its retro quality, however I feel I could have challenged myself more and created something with the brush tool, rather than creating a series of shapes with the pen tool.