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Process Book by David Gorelik

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Degree Project Spring 2018

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BFA Graphic Design Degree Project

by David Gorelik Massachusetts College of Art and Design Spring 2018

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Contents 6

Introduction

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Idea 1

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Idea 2

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Idea 3

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Finalized Concept

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Final Deliverables

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Moving Forward

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Final Thoughts

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Introduction

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To be completely honest, I struggled a lot throughout this whole process. From the beginning of my conceptual thinking, I had struggled to find what I wanted to do. I was unsure of everything, from a topic that interested me, to a researchable idea, to a deliverable concept. The “idea-generating” exercises that I participated in during Design Research were not helpful at all. By the end of the semester, I was still unsure of what to focus on. One day, however, I came across the concept of “Third Culture Kids,” which sparked my interest. As a child of immigrants, and as an immigrant myself, I began thinking about the idea of immigration and culture. A “Third Culture” kid is defined as an individual raised in a culture other than their parents’ (or native country’s) for a significant part of their early development years. From there, I began to research more into culture and identity. In comparison to most of my other design projects, I had never really done anything that was very personal to my own life. The degree project could be a good opportunity to explore something different than that I normally choose to create. I quickly learned, however, that these topics were very difficult to work with. I eventually had to shift my focus on several occasions, and actually changed my degree project’s concept about three times. The following pages will explore my process and decisions as my ideas evolved throughout the semester.

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Idea 1: Biculturalism

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My initial topic for my degree project was biculturalism. This idea stemmed from my own experiences as an immigrant and as a child of immigrants. I came across the idea of “Third Culture Kids” online, which inspired me to think about a personal topic. My projects usually never include personal themes or issues revolving around identity, so I thought that this would be a good opportunity to explore something like that. I wanted to explore the topic of biculturalism by analyzing the reality, expectations, and challenges of growing up in two different cultures. Early in my research, I found the following statement that helped define what being bicultural meant: “Biculturalism represents comfort and proficiency with both one’s heritage culture and the culture of the country or region in which one has settled. It is applicable not |only to immigrants who have come from other countries, but also to children of immigrants who — although they are born and raised in the receiving society — are likely deeply embedded in the heritage culture at home with their families.” — Portes & Rumbaut, 2001, 2006 PROCESS BOOK

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My interest in biculturalism stemmed from my own experiences as a child growing up in a Russian-Jewish family of immigrants. The expectations that my family had of me were very different from my American peers, and I thought it might be interesting to analyze and explain the experience of being multicultural. I also thought it could be insightful to demonstrate the challenges of being bicultural as well, such as feeling “other� in both cultures. The notion of a cultural divide was something that I wanted to address, and somehow design a solution for.

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I was originally inspired by ARQ, a lifestyle brand designed to help anyone connect with Judaism in a modern, inclusive way. I like how the service addressed social needs while also being visually well-designed.

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During my research, I began to realize that this topic may not be the right choice. I was having trouble coming up with a problem that I could design a solution for. I also felt that this topic may be too specific of an experience for most people to relate to. Even though I knew plenty of multicultural people, I did not want to work on a project that was too specific to my own experiences and beliefs. I wanted to create something that a larger audience could use and benefit from, and I felt that biculturalism may be too much of a foreign concept for many people. More importantly, however, I noticed that this topic overlapped too much with other issues relating to race and ethnic identity, which I felt that I did not have enough time to properly research and discuss in the way that was needed.

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David Gorelik Degree Project Proposal Spring 2018

Concept “Biculturalism represents comfort and proficiency with both one’s heritage culture and the culture of the country or region in which one has settled. It is applicable not only to immigrants who have come from other countries, but also to children of immigrants who — although they are born and raised in the receiving society — are likely deeply embedded in the heritage culture at home with their families.” Portes & Rumbaut, 2001, 2006

My topic of interest is biculturalism. I want to focus on the experiences of people who have grown up in a bicultural household, in a different country than that of their parents. By growing up in a culture different from that of their family, this group of people have experienced both cultures and the dynamics of navigating between them. What is it like to grow up in a bicultural household? How have these experiences shaped their personalities, their sense of self, and how they perceive the world? I am interested in this topic because I am bicultural myself. My entire family is originally from Belarus, but my sister and I were born in Israel. We moved to the U.S. at the age of one and a half, so I have grown up as an American. However, at home I experience the Russian-Jewish culture of my parents and grandparents. While growing up, I’ve noticed the difference between my life at home and my relationship with my parents with the way my American friends live and interact with their families. There are certain expectations and beliefs that my family has of me that many of my friends’ families did not have of them. Likewise, other children of immigrants have a similar experiences to mine, and these stories are shared across races, ethnicities, and locations. This cultural divide is something that I find interesting and worth exploring. While bicultural people are blessed with a greater range of heritages and traditions to explore, it can be difficult to grow up as a product of two cultures. Since both play a role in the formation of the individual’s identity, it can be difficult for bicultural people to feel like they fit in with either side of their heritage. In addition, people from either culture may not fully accept them as one of their own. When do they stop feeling like the “other”, and when do they begin to feel accepted in either culture?

Resources Biculturalism and Context: What Is Biculturalism, and When Is It Adaptive? Commentary on Mistry and Wu Seth J. Schwartza, and Jennifer B. Ungerb, 2010 Ethnic Identity, Immigration, and Well-Being: An Interactional Perspective Jean S. Phinney, Gabriel Horenczyk, Karmela Liebkind, Paul Vedder, 2001

Lifestyle brand and platform inspired by Jewish culture and open to all

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ARQ (thisisarq.com)

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Idea 2: Personal Identity

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This topic was more of an evolution of my previous idea. I felt that the concept of biculturalism might be too narrow for non-multicultural people to understand, and I didn’t want to speak on behalf of other people from different cultures that may have vastly different experiences than my own. I began thinking about personal identities instead, and how much our individuality is composed of social labels and terms. I wanted to focus on out identities that existed outside of social labels, and how they can be used to build relationships across cultures. I was still interested in bridging some kind of cultural divide, but this time I wanted to explore it on a broader level.

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I began by focusing on my own personal identity, and tried to see if there was something I could further develop into a universal concept. Almost immediately, however, I realized that this topic was too broad. It was difficult for me to find anything about myself that I could expand into a designed deliverable, and I also realized that I didn’t want to make a project that was too personal either.

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Ultimately, there were just too many issues with the topic of personal identity. I quickly realized that it was too vague and broad for a degree project topic, and that I needed to find a more specific audience. While the topic was interesting, it was too philosophical for my own taste, and for the purposes of a degree project, it needed to have a concrete deliverable as well. After class critiques, it was suggested that I look at patterns and models behind the topics I was interested in, such as assimilation and identity. I began thinking about how one’s identity is formed, and the conditions that aid in that process. This led me to my next topic idea.

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Proposal 2

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Idea 3: Migration

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The third topic idea was migration. After realizing that my first idea was too narrow, and that my second idea was too broad, I knew that I needed to find something with a specific audience that I could design for. I struggled a lot to come up with a new topic, but after many discussions with classmates, I found that I was interested in how an individual’s personality and identity are shaped by the location they reside in. This made me think back to my previous idea of biculturalism, and how immigration can impact a person’s personal and cultural identity. I decided to move forward with the loose concept of “migration,” which I defined as the movement of people from one place to another.

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Through my research, I soon discovered that there were many different reasons for migration. These reasons where called “push” and “pull” factors, which repelled people away from certain places and drew them towards other places. I then realized that I had to decide specifically how I was going to address this topic, and that I would need to focus in a specific cause of migration. I could not compare international refugees to immigrants to young Americans moving across the country for jobs. After further class discussions, I ultimately decided to focus on the migration of millennials. I chose this group because the U.S. millennial generation (people ages 18-34) makes up 24% of the total population, but accounts for 43% of all movers. As a whole, millennials migrate the most around the country, and as a member of this generation, I knew that I could create a product that would benefit both myself and many of my peers. I began to further research millennials, including their living habits, needs, and unique challenges that their generation faces. In addition to these factors, I also found that millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S. history, which I knew I had to clearly reflect across my interface and visuals. I wanted to create a digital, interactive product that my target audience would feel comfortable using. PROCESS BOOK

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After researching millennials, I came up with a potential solution: a tool that could help young people travel or work in a new environment, to better understand themselves and other cultures. This concept stemmed from my own experience of being a college senior about to graduate. I knew many people around my age that would soon be finding jobs, moving to new cities, and taking on new life experiences. I wanted to create a tool that catered to this audience and helped guide them through those often overwhelming processes. For inspiration, I looked at existing programs such as Data U.S.A., an online database of U.S. cities, and Erasmus, a European student exchange program that allows students to study and work abroad across EU nations. Another important idea that I found through research was the concept that our personality doesn’t change when we move to a new place. In an article from The Cut, by Natalie Jacewicz, psychological research found that “once a place gains a certain reputation, others with similar inclinations move there themselves, thereby helping to cement that place’s character.” Where you move, in other words, may be a better reflection of who you already are than of who you will become. This concept was influential in guiding my conceptual thinking for the rest of the project.


Migration Can changing our location change us?

David Gorelik Degree Project Proposal V3 Spring 2018

Overview

Solution

The places we live in can influence who we are. Our cultures, our personalities, and our identities can all be tied to the geographical location in which we exist. We can learn a lot about ourselves and each other by examining the places we come from. But can a change in our location change who we are? Can we become more open-minded and accepting of other people and cultures simply by visiting or living in a new place? Migration is the movement of people from one place to another. There are a variety of factors that cause people to migrate, which include economic, social, political, and environmental causes. These factors may “push” people away from their current residence and “pull” them towards another place. The process of migrating to a new region or country creates many challenges and opportunities, and migrants are left to decide how they will adapt to their new surroundings. People may abandon their old selves and inherit local attitudes, or try to combine both old and new customs. Conversely, there is evidence that people are drawn to places with pre-established characteristics. Where we migrate to may be a better reflection of who we already are, rather than who we will become.

A potential deliverable could be tool that would help young people travel or work in a new environment, in which they can gain experiences to better understand themselves and other cultures. This interactive tool would include an onboarding portion that asks the user to explain their values, needs, and desires, before recommending a list of locations for the user to explore and potentially visit. The list would include summaries of each location, with information such as demographics, finances, and the local culture and lifestyle. Additionally, this tool could help young people connect to international humanitarian organizations that they could participate in, such as health care, education, or art and cultural programs. The overall goal of this tool is to help young people gain a better understanding of themselves, and hopefully instill a sense of openness to the world.

Resources Identity and Culture

Contextual Information The U.S. millennial generation (people ages 18-34) makes up 24% of the total population, but accounts for 43% of all movers. As a whole, millennials migrate the most around the country. They are typically educated, socially conscious, and are the most racially and ethnically diverse demographic. As a diverse group of people entering an increasingly globalized society, it’s vital for upcoming generations to be well versed in crosscultural communication. By living and working in a multicultural environment, people become more accepting, more understanding, and even more creative. Young people often struggle with planning their future, including what they should do with their lives, which careers to pursue, and where to live. All of these questions can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to find an environment where one can explore their interests or begin building their careers. There is a need for a resource that helps guide young adults to figure out where they belong.

Biculturalism and Context: What Is Biculturalism, and When Is It Adaptive? Seth J. Schwartza, and Jennifer B. Ungerb, 2010

Multicultural Experience, Idea Receptiveness, and Creativity Angela K. Y. LEUNG, Chi-Yue CHIU, 2010

Diversity Defines the Millennial Generation brookings.edu

Migration •

Desire to Move and Residential Mobility: 2010–2011 census.gov

The Young And The Restless: Millennials On The Move Forbes.com

Millennials Prefer Cities To Suburbs, Subways To Driveways nielsen.com

Your Personality Changes When You Move to a New Place thecut.com

Related Design Projects ARQ, Jewish lifestyle education brand Afropunk Festival event branding Roam, Global Co-Living service

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Finalized Concept

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After changing my topic three times, I was beginning to see a central idea appear. All three of my previous topics were related, and I knew that wherever they all intersected was the actual focus I was trying to reach. I then realized that all of my ideas share the same themes of geography and identity. Biculturalism, personal identity, and migration all relate in the sense that they are processes or experiences that influence an individual’s identity depending on where they are located. The question of “how does our location impact our identity?” emerged, and I began to think about a designed solution to that question. Because these concepts were all experience-based, I knew that my deliverable had to be an interface that could reflect a user’s individual experiences. This would be achieved through customization.

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After further researching the needs and challenges of my target audience, I decided to readjust the purpose of my interface. Instead of simply helping millennials find new work and living abroad experiences, the service would be completely customized to provide the user with career or living recommendations. This would be tool for recent college graduates and young adults who are unsure of what to do next or where to go. By being completely customized, it would responding to each individual user based on their specific career goals, lifestyle, and financial needs. This would also better address the secondary issues facing my target audience, which included economic and career challenges such as earning less than previous generations and massive amounts of student debt. In order to create a customized interface, I would need to develop some sort of onboarding experience that would learn from the user and respond to their unique set of characteristics and needs. I began to visualize this onboarding process and further develop the rest of my final product.

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Branding Concepts

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GT Eesti Pro Display Bold GT Eesti Pro Text Light

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Interface Wireframes

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Interface Drafts

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After designing drafts of my interface homepage and questionnaire, I was not feeling satisfied with its general look and feel. Everything felt very template-like and lacked a sense of personality and voice. My vision for the brand was to make it feel inviting, beautiful, and exciting. I needed to develop a better way express these feelings, which would also help relate to my brand messaging. Since VOY was a completely customized experience, I began thinking about ways to express that visually, through the use of specific imagery and copy. I also began to work on redesigning the UI, since it needed to feel more original and expressive, rather than simply “clean� and trendy.

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Postcard Drafts

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It took several drafts and rounds of refinement before finding a visual language for the postcards. I wanted the postcards to still feel like advertisements, but be more visually unique. Since both the service itself and the brand’s messaging were personal, I wanted to reflect that in the postcard designs. I was greatly inspired by For Good Measure’s redesign of Spare Change News, as well as risograph and silkscreen printed images. I wanted to use a small, well-defined color palette throughout the entire project, so everything could feel cohesive and branded. The handwritten elements helped add a sense of humanness and individuality to the project as well.


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While working on the designs of my postcards, I found their visuals to be more compelling than the ones I had created for the interface. The website now felt completely detached from my postcards, and did not feel like a unified brand. This meant that I now had to apply the newer, better visuals from the postcards onto the interface. Additionally, I also realized that I would benefit from having multiple user personas to demonstrate the functionality of my interface. I decided to create three distinct users that came from different backgrounds, which would help reflect the diversity of millennials, my target audience. They would each be used to explain one aspect of my designs through user walkthroughs.

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Final Deliverables

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The final deliverables I planned to create included a digital interface, a printed ad campaign, and a promotional video. Due to time constraints, however, I decided not to create a promotional video and instead focus my efforts on designing a robust user experience and a series of postcard advertisements. I focused on creating a visually unified aesthetic through the use of shared typography, images, and brand voice.

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Branding Assets

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Here is the final logo design of VOY. Its logomark includes a compass icon, which symbolizes the service that VOY provides. Like a compass, VOY is meant to guide its user in the right direction when choosing which life path to take. The name VOY is derived from the word “voyage”, which reflects the idea of the user taking the next step in their own personal life journey. In addition, it also means “I go” in Spanish, which is fitting as it again references the notion of users moving forward into their futures.

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Poster Draft


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Final Poster

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Final Postcards

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User Personas

Vincent Chan 21 College Student First-time user

Steven Smith 22 Recent Grad Looking for a job after college

Camila Morales 24

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Professional

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Wants to travel, loves working with people


I finalized the three user personas that I had developed earlier. At this point, I had a better understanding of my final deliverables, and more specifically, my interface features. I decided to use each of my user personas to introduce a new section of the interface, starting with the onboarding experience, then location search, and finally career search. I made sure to establish unique but relatable identities, to help demonstrate the different kinds of users that could benefit from using VOY.

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VOY Homepage

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VOY Onboarding

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User Profile Creation

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Location Search

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Location Search Expanded & Comparison

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Location Comparison

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Career Search

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Moving Forward

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My degree project presentation was successful! My audience had a positive response and seemed to really enjoy the postcards I had made for them. During my presentation, I also received some feedback for my project moving forward. One student asked me about including a search function in the interface, in order for users to look up any city they wanted, even if it was not recommended to them. I explained that, initially, I did imagine having a search feature as well, but I later removed it because I felt that it might undermine the main objective of VOY, which is to offer guidance and recommendations that are already suited to the user’s needs. Now looking back, I realize that a search function might still be useful in addition to the pre-loaded recommendations. If I choose to keep working on this project, I will consider adding a search feature into the interface. In addition, Martha Rettig also suggested that I consider creating a mobile version of the VOY interface as well. She explained that my target audience, millennials, mostly use mobile devices compared to tablets and desktop computers. In order to reach more of my audience, I should consider offering a mobile version of my service as well. I completely agreed with her feedback, and will be expanding the interface into a mobile version. PROCESS BOOK

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Final Thoughts

I think it’s safe to say that this degree project was one of the most challenging projects I have ever worked on. It was truly daunting to research, plan, and execute a project of this scale within just one semester. But even though I faced a lot of difficulties, I feel that my project was successful. I’m satisfied with the deliverables that I developed, and I’m glad that others were able to understand my intentions and appreciate the concept of VOY. I’m also glad that I was able to create a product that I find interesting and valuable. This whole experience has taught me that I am capable of more than I expect, and that sometimes you need to “fail” several times before you finally find the right idea. Thank you to my friends and family for your guidance, support, and patience throughout this entire process.

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VOY Degree Project Process Book  

MassArt GD Senior Degree Project

VOY Degree Project Process Book  

MassArt GD Senior Degree Project

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