As I prepared for my senior project, I knew I wanted to share the best of what I had learned over the past 4 years, but also show future employers what I had to offer. I titled it ‘The Design Process’ but it was a lot more involved than that. My project had 2 purposes:
- Demonstrate my knowledge of the design process and my ability to follow it through from start to finish
- Demonstrate my ability to deliver a variety of different styles depending on the product or brand
After a lot of brainstorming, I decided the best way to accomplish these 2 objectives would be to come up with 3 different concepts and create a distinct brand for each.
“Demonstrate my knowledge of the design process and my ability to follow it through from start to finish”
Based on what I’ve learned, the design process consists of 3 parts: Concept, Creation, and Application. Depending on who you ask, some might say that I’m missing some steps. That’s very likely to be true, but I’ve found that less is more and simple can generally get the job done.
When creating any brand, product, or even a basic design, you always need to consider the concept. For this project, that meant taking my initial ideas (a band, a teen cosmetics company, and a designer watch brand) and getting a feel for what kind of colors and styles I might want to use. I did research on brands similar to what I wanted to create, I looked for inspiration on Pinterest and Behanced, and I brainstormed based on what I found.
The creation aspect of design is the one most people think about. You start with sketches (as well as word lists and anything else you used while working out the concept), create a draft, show it to your peers/instructors/clients/friends or whoever else is appropriate, and based on any feedback you get, you modify your drafts or start with completely new sketches. For some parts of this project, I only had to go through this cycle one or two times, but there were also a few parts that I went through more drafts than I’d like to admit. Eventually I was able to finalize each part of my project, and more on to the next step.
The application of a design is probably my favorite part of the design process. I love being able to take what I’ve created and see how it actually applies in the real world. For this project, I created mockups of each brand. Having an idea for a makeup brand is one thing, but seeing how a product might actually look can make the difference. Any type of design needs to work in real-world situations, and mockups really help with that. I didn’t really worry about this part for my senior project, but marketing is another final part in the design process. At this point you could make advertisements, packaging, social media posts, etc…
“Demonstrate my ability to deliver a variety of different styles depending on the product or brand”
Over the years I’ve found that most people have their own ‘signature style’ when it comes to design. They have their favorite fonts, colors, style, etc… I admit, I’m guilt of that. I know what I like, and for my own personal projects, I tend to stick with that. However, I am capable of much more and I wanted to use my senior project as an opportunity to prove that.
I wanted to use this project to show that I’m able to work outside my own personal design bubble and explore beyond my limits. I’m not trapped to one style because I’m able to work with what ever I’m given. I can take a concept, and create something unique.
At the same time, I also wanted to show that I can create a look that is consistent within it’s own brand. Whereas each of my 3 brands are very distinct from each other, the individual parts of each fit together within their own style guide.
One of my concepts was a teen (or pre-teen) oriented cosmetics company. It needed to be fun, bright, and inviting to people who might not have used makeup in the past. I also wanted to make sure it didn’t look cheap or tacky. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at other brands and I also collected some other images that fit the style I was going for. Some of those images are found in the inspiration portion of the style guide. I brainstormed words that fit the concept I had in mind. In the end I came up with ‘Blossom Cosmetics’. It’s simple and easy to remember.
I started to sketch ideas for logos, and around this time I also started to put together color schemes and collect textures that I felt fit with this brand. I created a bunch of different flower logos, but they didn’t really go with the concept. After some feedback and looking at more inspiration, I realized that ‘Blossom’ was the important part; ‘Cosmetics’ is what I needed to focus on. The logo I created is based on the various fashion and lifestyle bloggers you might find on Pinterest. The reason so many use this style of logo is because it’s simple, girly, and non-distracting.
While I was working on the logo, I put my colors, textures, font choices, and inspiration images on my style guide. As I created various drafts, I would place them on the style guide and I could instantly see whether or not it might work with the brand. I was open to changing those styling aspects, but it helped to see a logo surrounded by pieces that fit the mood I was aiming for.
Once I finalized my logo, colors, fonts, etc… it was time to apply my design to real world situations. I started by buying a set of cosmetic mockups (Hero Image Creator / Mock Up) and adjusting them to look like a product a teen or pre-teen might buy. Benefit is one of my favorite makeup brands so I think a lot of the packaging was inspired by that. I also created a mock magazine ad. It was important to me that it looked like something that might be found in ‘Girls Life’ or ‘Seventeen Magazine’.
This next concept was based on an assignment from a previous semester. We had to create gig posters and I ended up making one of my all time favorite designs. It was so popular (my professor still uses it as an example in all his design classes!!!) that I wanted to make something based on that.
I already had my main design created so I stepped away and put together colors, textures, and fonts. Without explaining my concept or showing the design, I showed one of my roommates my color scheme and she immediately identified it as being for an indie band or a music festival. I updated my design with the new colors and I put together the style guide.
This individual project was a lot easier than the others, because I already had so much of it done. Despite that, I still learned a lot through this process. I really came to appreciate the power of colors and textures. It still amazes me how just seeing 5 colors can instantly give you an idea what a brand or product might be.
I was so excited to work on this one, but I forced myself to wait until the end. I love clean, simple, minimalist designs, and I’m a big fan of using neutral colors. For the most part, this project was similar to my own personal style, but I still wanted o stretch myself. I’m familiar with a more feminine-modern aesthetic so I wanted to create something on the masculine side. That’s why I decided to create a high-end men’s watch company.
When I think of high-end/modern, I tend to think of french fashion. I was taking a french class at the time so I decided to incorporate that into the title. “L’homme” translates to “The Man”, which is perfect for this brand. It’s simple, but elegant. Speaking of simple and elegant, using black as the main color was the obvious choice for this project.
I created a vector watch for a class project not too long ago, and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to make another. Mostly, I wanted to show not only what the packaging might look like, but what I product might look like as well.
I saw an infographic recently that described the design process in a more humorous way. It basically explained that when you start a project, you’re excited and inspired. After a while, you start to get frustrated but by the end, for the most part you’re satisfied with what you created. That was definitely the case for this project.
There were a lot of pieces that made up my senior project, and I definitely experienced the frustration described in the infographic, but I also experienced the satisfaction in the end when everything finally came together. I’m extremely proud of this project, and it was great having that validated during the senior showcase. I had a lot of people talk to me about my project; I actually lost my voice from explaining it so much. Plus, it was nice to stand around for a few hours while people continuously complimented me. Who wouldn’t like that?