My first week actually starts on week four of the course! I hope to learn just as much as I would have by having attended the first week, but I have a lot of catching up to do. Today, I went through all of week one's assignments and readings. I also watched the live recording of the first class.
Based on the assignment video, I didn't expect to learn much. I've been using InDesign for years in both personal and work-related projects. However, I did learn a few things. I signed up for this course not because I thought it would be easy, but because I recognized an opportunity to expand on my current knowledge and I hoped to gain some insight as to how we learn using technology and distance learning methods. One of the two key things I learned from this week's video is they short key for pulling up text-frame options in InDesign; Ctrl/cmd +B.
Additionally, I learned that you could drag a box while you are placing an image to indicate the size you'd like it to be placed as. This alone is a massive find! Goes to show you that no matter how long you've been using software, there is always something you can learn by watching the workflow of others.
Week One Assignment
For my week one assignment, I created a business card for Odd Moon Media. It is the name I had given my personal company when I decided to actually name my freelancing business. Fortunately for me I found an opportunity that didn't force me to try and make freelancing work, so I never had to use any of the assets I created for the company.
The story behind the name is kind of strange, but fitting. Since the age of 12 I've had an Iris Cyst in my right eye. It's basically a fluid filled sac on the colored part of my eye. It effects my vision and I've had a few surgeries to attempt to address it (no dice yet, unfortunately). Because of it's shape, specifically during the time that I was creating this, it resembled a half moon on my eye. I used this to spark the name behind the company because it was personal and there was something oddly satisfying about the way the phrase "odd moon" is shaped. Very circular. I used this in creating the logo and in my choice of type faces.
Here is my assignment from Week ONE. This is the 7nth iteration of the design using an old logo from my archives and the Comfortaa regular and bold fonts. I also used Adobe Caslon Pro Semibold and regular font.
This week was a well welcomed refresher. It was lovely seeing the gestalt principles of design covered as I didn't think they would be. It was nice to see and know that design DID factor into learning how to effectively use InDesign. When I took Desktop Publishing in college, most of the class was focused on how to use InDesign and there was no real substantiative effort to communicate how important it was to think about contrast, repetition and visual heirarchy.
I loved listening to and watching Meredith Thompson and James Fields talk about their work and how they got to where they are. I think its important, again, to see what other designers are doing and how they think about their work to really understand the ways that we communicate and how one can improve their own work. Or, at the very least, what methods or ideas can be incorporated into my next project!
Week Two assignment
For this week's assignment, I created a Facebook age banner and avatar. I continued using Oddmoon Media as the branding for this imagery.
In my feedback from the business card, I got a good suggestion for a alternative to Adobe Caslon Pro used in my business card. Typography is something I continue to try and work on as it is not my strongest suite, but it was nice to know that others recognized i at least TRIED. lol.
So for this, I used Comfortaa again and subsistuted Adobe Caslon Pro with Futura bold and Futura medium. I really liked the sharp lines and distinct colors of another person's business card from Week One, and so I tried to implement what I liked about that image into this one.
The swatch sample image is taken from Pixabay.com, a royalty free resource for high quality images. It was taken by user vixrealitum and can be found here.
This week was particularly interesting to me. I love print design and like to see how others use the grid to communicate. I like watching the videos and reading the articles about designing on the grid ( and not being afraid to break it), However, what I found most fascinating was the video about Gutters, bleeds and margins.
I know what these words mean and I know why they are there but I never had it explained to me exactly what happens to the printing process and how gutters and bleeds are used to offset a natural shift during printing. Little things like that really help solidify an idea in my head. Knowing a general importance of bleeds and gutters is fine but now I know exactly why. If someone asks me I can explain to them exactly what happens and why they are important past just the whole "that's just how it is done."
By far the BEST tip to come out of this week is courtesy of Sjaani, as narrated by Dan. This is the trick for turning off hyphenation in the paragraphs panel. I cannot tell you how annoying it has been to have to turn it off on EVERY. SINGLE. PROJECT. Now I can live a life that is hyphenation free!
I did learn something completely new this week as week. The tabs panel is one that I have 100% not seen or used before. I actually did not know it even existed! Learning about it was cool and I definitely can see how it would be useful in creating menus or programs. It's got me thinking about ways I can use it already! I will definitly have to find more ways to explore and learn its use, but it is nice knowing it is there.
I've also bookmarked the gridsystems.net website as It will be very useful in constructing course assignments for next semester. I already see some titles of projects I had in mind on the website that will help me both solidify what I want out of the project and explain and anchor the project in design principles.
Week Three Assignment
For this assignment, I thought about what event Oddmoon Media would sponsor or create. Then I thought about design and what is important to me and came up with the idea of sponsoring a community arts festival. I went to community arts center when I was younger to learn about pottery, screen printing, painting and just the general arts. I really valued that time when I was younger because it allowed me to explore my creativity and probably led to the "maker" personality I have now.
For this flyer, Art in the Park is an event where the community can come and experience all of these things while being surrounded by representatives of small community centers and businesses that cater to artists or art lovers. There is that element of captalism, combined with the element of learning and art appreciation.
Using the standard Letter size, I started to work on a three column grid because that's what I usually start out with on one sheet flyers, but the more I thought about the event and the things I could include, a four column grid made more sense for the amount of information. In one of the videos I watched for this week about creating using the grid, a four column layout was shown and I really liked the way it looked and how it sectioned off information. I used that idea, of sectioning off information, to inform how i constructed this flyer. I went from an idea advertising the event to one that both advertised and was informative.
I really enjoy the way it turned out, but there is so much information that it became a task to put it all together and not look clogged or busy. I think the four column approach helped with that a lot as it greatly increased the real estate I could use to communicate. The image I used I got from wikimedia commons. I chose it because if gave that community feel I was looking for, but was still at the heart of the city which I think would be great for a type of festival like this.
I don't quite know if I did this assignment correctly based off the other entries. I also feel like I have the tendency to structure too heavily on the grid, but that's a personality thing as I like structure and organization. I thought about how I could work on the grid while making it appear to work off the grid, but I also felt like this flyer did exactly what I needed it to do. No use in breaking something that works. Still it's something I should consider. I like how other entries were playful with how they aligned and use their text.
Version 2 of Week 3's layout based on some excellent feedback.
This week is a bit of a struggle I will admit. I joined the course a few days ago and so have had the benefit of having all the content at my disposal while going through assignments. I think the live lessons really helped solidify what was expected from the assignment and is where most of the tips and tricks that i've found useful so far are demonstrated.
The other problem is that this week's assignment is to create a product brochure. So far, Oddmoon itself is the product and doesn't actually sell physical things. I spent most of the time on this week's assignment actually re-envisioning what Oddmoon media is and I think i've come to a pretty good consensus. This week's video was about creating a multi-page document in InDesign, which I am familiar with. So most of my time was spent looking at bi-fold brochures online and seeing what works and doesn't.
Week Four Assignment
For this week's assignment, I created bi-fold brochure for Oddmoon Media's Artist Management service. I figured it made sense , tying into last week's assignment, to have Oddmoon help develop and manage some of the talent that played during the ART in the PARK event. So for this, I went back to my favorite royalty free image site, pixabay and pulled a bunch of images having to do with music, concerts and instruments and picked ones that fit what I was going for.
In this document the main idea is that Oddmoon will help artists develop their talent as if they were apart of that artists publicity team. Independent musicians pften have to scrape by for themselves and figure out what works before a major label will sign them. This service offers some of the benefits of a label at a fraction of the cost. Might not be the same, but the point is you don't have to do it alone.
So when thinking of this, I knew I wanted to include a few things. First is testimonials of musicians who have used the service, two is a small introduction to the leads of the teams that will help artists and of course, last is how much the service cost and what exactly it offers.
The hardest part of this whole thing was the price table. I've gone through five iterations of it, both vertically and horizontal and this is the best one I could do in two days. I like it, but you know it could always be better! I decided to try and mimic the colors on the front with the price table, so I used the other brand color for OddMoon here as well. I like the colors, it feels almost vintage.
Speaking of brand colors, this is the first document I am instituting one of the other colors (besides orange) from the brand guide I did for this company. Overall I like how it turned out. There is room for improvement and tweaking but, I think i'm done looking at this spread for now. I feel like my eyes are going to start bleeding soon. I LOVE how the stripes flow from front to back.
For this week, I've had a lot of personal things that have kept me from completing this assignment sooner. I lost the flash drive with all my work on it for a full week (thankfully I found it), work suddenly kicked up and I was up from sun up to sun down, then I got sick from exhaustion and had a cold this pas weekend. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do was this.
Additionally, once I actually sad down and went through the process of completing the assignment... it was hard! I was actually very interested in this week's topic as I am familiar with the interactive elements of inDesign, but to my knowledge that only extended into hyperlinks and table of contents. I had NO. IDEA. you could incorporate animation into projects. I have a little experience with animation from working with the OLD flash. Back when it was still Macromedia Flash. So some principles of timing and object states were familiar to me.
I understood how to do things, but it was difficult coming up with a plan of action - how I would incorporate animation into the document. I thought of so many grand ideas from incorporating cinemagraphs, video gifs..etc. In the end, I was too tired to do any of that so I did something simple. As much as I kick myself over what could have been, I think it turned out really well and honestly, maybe all the stuff I wanted might have been too overwhelming for the document.
Week five assignment
For this week, I continued the theme of artist management services. I decided to select just ONE of the three plans the previous document offered, and expand on that. This week's document is more about the next step. You've purchased this package, now what? Let's introduce you to your team, let's get personal with them so you know who they are, what their background is and what they can offer you. I spread the information across more pages as I had a little more room to play with and I thought that including animation into the design as it stood would feel too cluttered and jumbled. While that works for the topic of music - as concerts dont offer a lot of personal space - I wanted the document to feel like a breathe of fresh air in an otherwise overwhelming time.
I used some of the pages from last week and added an animation to them, but i also added a few new pages. One of the pieces of feedback from last week was about the pluto quote on the last pages, so I made the text smaller and added a transparent black background behind it so that it wouldnt meld too much into the image behind it.
The hardest thing this weekend was the getting the gallery exacatly how I wanted. I tried doing it with animations, but I felt it didnt give me control over which image I wanted to see. Instead I chose to use the thumbnails at buttons to control the state of the larger images which were multistate objects.
I don't know if I would incorporate animation into any future documents. I'm much more of a print person than a web person, BUT it definitely has me considering how I can incorporate animation into future course material to emphasis certain points or make documents more palatable via the web.
Think about your own learning. Walking into this course, I didn't know quite what to expect. I guess I figured it would be more about learning the in's and outs of digital publishing, which is kind of a blind spot to me, and less about learning how to use InDesign. Now that I've completed it, I'm actually glad it was about using InDesign. There are certain things that I did not know about InDesign that I can not only utilize in my own work, but now I know to incorporate them into lesson plans. The biggest one would be animation and the "Publish Online" option which will be very useful for assignments that need to be critiqued by the class at large. The smaller things would be how to set options like hyphenation as default for InDesign instead of an on document preference. There is quite a bit of information I'm taking away from this course and I am very happy with that.
Consider methods of learning and teaching that might be new to you. One of the major reasons I decided to take this course was that it would give me insight into how people learn. It is a bonus that the course was about learning InDesign as it gave me a real front seat knowledge to how people learn and the best way to teach, particularly in an online setting. One of the things I really appreciated about this course was that each assignment was demonstrated, the learning objectives per assignment were clearly laid out, and all the courses were available to go back and watch. Online learning is new to me, Ive only ever learned and mentored in a face to face way. I think this course was excellent in that it showed me how online learning could really be effective with video and ways to supplement the in-class discussion one would get in a face to face setting.
Think about how your students might learn. I think this course mimicked the foundation of the kind of classroom I would like to create. Utilizing a live class setting coupled with recorded sessions I think is an excellent way of bridging the gap between face to face and online. The online discussions and critiques help students critique and get important feedback from their peers.
Consider next steps to engaging students in learning. I think the next steps for me would be incorporating some of the things i've learned from the course and some of the learning methodologies into my own classroom for next semester. Especially considering how it will be my first predominantly online course, I think this was a an excellent model for learning and engaging students online. Now i need to incorporate and improve some of these methods for my own use. I think what this course did really well about motivating students to learn was allowing us to choose what story we wanted and working the course around that. We could have used Mayhem Drinks - as some did and really well I might add - but a lot of us decided to use our own brand. I think this gave us greater autonomy and made us want to really make it great instead of just running through the motions. The assignments were also exciting and weren't just "use type" it was ..create something and make sure you use type. So all of these things I think really helped and I am excited about incorporating them into future classrooms.
Ultimately, even though this course wasn't what I expect - though honestly I don think I truly knew what even to expect - i am immensely happy that I took this course. I think it was rather well constructed, my peers were excellent and provided great feedback, and I was able to see first hand how people learn and a few tricks to to teaching in an online setting. I learned a few things I didn't know before about InDesign such as the tabs panel, how in-depth the animation options are, and little tricks here and there to make my life a bit easier.