Aaron Featherston's Portfolio Writing as Information Design 3305

I will be looking at Space and Proximity in my work through the semester.

Proximity: the combination and interaction of content spatially to relate items to one another for some kind of a comparison, generally either to equivocate or to differentiate.

Space: the absence of meaningful content, or of color, to create contrast with the content and allow information to stand out.

Resume Redesign Project

Description of project: This project required two resumes, one for a general audience, and one tailored to a specific job advertisement. The purpose was to help students understand and apply the design principles which we had learned thus far to help emphasize and convey important and meaningful information. It was required that they each be only a page.

One of the principles I made use of most was space in this document. While it can be helpful to have a substantial amount of information on a resume to display the most talent, this particular job opening was a dishwasher, and thus requires little advertising of skills. I had virtually no experience for this kind of work, so I focused on presenting my person, which I did via a short letter. However, since this is the case, there was little content to my resume, and so the content I did I have I tried to emphasize and make relevant. I did this by allowing for the content to stand on its own against a white background. Aside from the creative use of plates to provide useful information, the letter was the only thing on the page, bringing it the most attention. I then used a symmetry to keep the flow of the reading easy, and so I kept the more relevant information closer to the center, and the less relevant information more to the sides. This is the use of proximity.

While space was used in the resume, especially between bullet points to help group them, I think proximity was the more emphasized design element here. By having two categories which pertained to the same content, I was able to keep them lined up horizontally, and thus, through their horizontal proximity, they were able to be understood as grouped and relating to one another. This let me keep from repeating or having to directly reference what material the second category referred to, and helped me minimize on what information was needed to be on the page. To determine the categories' respective sizes, I used the rule of thirds to split the page. This is shown to be more aesthetically pleasing, and easier to understand for readers. Spacing here was rather even, as i used essentially the same size boxes and bullet point distances to separate information, yet I think this evenness was to my advantage, displaying uniformity and letting the information and sections which were different (such as headings) to stand out.

Logo Project

Description of this project: This project was intended to help students make use of design elements in a more condensed fashion, minimizing text usage. This forces students to get very visual with their design. The logo was intended for a specific audience, was was meant to be iconic and/or easily recognizable

My logo was designed for a group of gamers which I intend to play with during an upcoming mmo game. It is our unifying symbol, and so it was important to us that it not be complicated. Because of this, there is, yet again, a great deal of space. It makes the content that is present much easier and quicker to see and distinguish, and allows for simple replication, which we will likely do and need to do often in the game. Having centered the logo, and it being a perfect circle, I left the rest of the page empty, because the logo itself is the focus. Yet even internally I allowed a good deal of space, as it creates a contrast for the upside down "V", helping it to be distinguishable quickly. Proximity doesn't play into this image much, other than noting that the letters are directly below the image to show their association.

Infographic Project

Description of this project: This project was an attempt to get students to gather a large quantity of data, and condense it into something manageable which might be presented via graphics to an audience. The requirement was that it include 3 graphs of at least 2 kinds, and that it tell some sort of narrative or message/story to the audience.

My infographic was done on data concerning global usage of energy by countries. Because of this, my message was to inform readers about the trends and potential future trends of energy usage around the world, since energy/global warming is such a hot topic. I imagine that an understanding of the relevant nations in the world and their energy activity in different sectors would be helpful in this larger-scale discussion. Because of this, I decided several uniform graphs would represent the same scale of information to the reader quickest, and so I grouped these graphs together. Since the graphs were already grouped, I decided my latter graph should also be near them, so the paper would have a distinct flow and separate sections for readers, so I put the line graph just below the other graphs. I have once more decided to use the rule of thirds, and so this left 1/3rd of my page for information. I further separated this into thirds, as the majority of the information was still purely informative, yet a small section of this was dedicated to an encouragement to readers concerning their response to the information. This informative section used even spacing to show that each new data point was beginning.

How I applied what I learned this semester:

As with anything, practice makes perfect. I am certainly no perfect, but having worked on these projects and been in this class, I've noticed how even in my daily life I make note of different features or aspects to different products and designs. Throughout the semester this has increased, and I notice myself noticing elements of things we are currently working on, such as logos and their designs when we worked on the logo project. I have noticed too, that in many of my papers and even just personally used documents that I have starting making better use of bullet points and line breaks so as to make reading and sifting through my writing and information much easier for whomever uses it. Coming into the class, there are a few concepts I know I enjoyed even just in general life because I have learned to value them, such a contrast. Because of this I found myself drawn to design elements which create the most contrast, and this love for contrast has only grown. This applies to things like space and size differences most clearly and distinctly. Also, I generally love good color combinations, which I think has been cultivated through me most through the diversity and plethora of video games I have played my whole life. This has only been refined in this class, and I find myself being more particular about shades and their relation to other shades of colors. Yet, these things are most helpful not merely as flavors in my life, but also and particularly in how I am processing information around me. Living in the society we do today processing information is something we all must do, regardless of our particular concerns with it, or how attentive we are. Because of this, I appreciate the knowledge and sensitivity which has been added to me since beginning this class.

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