Reflections Production of Instructional Resources II 1/25/2014
Introduction: Design Matters
Presentation is important and the more pleasing that something is to look at, the more people are going to keep looking. Garr explains that we should think of presentation for graphics the same way that food is presented in Japan. The essence is, “Balance, harmony, restraint, simplicity, and naturalness.” As an educator, it is key to understand not only how to present information, but also how to teach your students to understand and present information to the class. This will ensure that students can convey their thoughts graphically without getting caught in too many images or picking colors that do not match their theme. In addition, students need to be literate when it comes to the meaning of graphics and having a basic conceptual framework is key. In the first chapter, Gar highlights Neumeier, who states the PowerPoints should be banned. At least the PowerPoint that many students know so well, which are mind-numbing and poorly convey information to the public. Design is about the creation is interpreted by people viewing the image. It is important to think about the audience when designing and try to figure out how the design will be interpreted by viewers. In order to design, Garr outlines 14 ways to think like a designers. First, Garr examples that you must think about constraints and limitations. Garr talks about the importance of the concept less is great through the idea of practicing restraint. It is important to figure out what you need to include. This is hard for me because I am struggling with the elements that I need to include in the image that I am creating. It is important to figure out how to work within the constraints and be willing to edit and adjust accordingly to ensure that you do not have too much in your piece. I think that sometimes I like adding more because I am worried that the message is not coming across. As a result, I need to ensure that I am able to cut down on the image so that it is not overly cluttered. While I know less is more, it doesn’t mean that I always practice it. Another important element is using the empty space. That is part of the constraints and sometimes I struggle with how to use space correctly. I have seen some really cool graphics that use space really well. I loved the outer space image, which was really amazing because half of the graphic did not have anything in it.
Chapter 1: Components Presenting with Type
I love picking out fonts and think that they can be used so strategically. I am generally really picky when it comes to font. I really liked the line, “we are ultimately interested in using type in the most effective and harmonious way possible to create powerful, memorable visuals and clear communication.” The component that stuck out here is that text is supposed to help make the visual memorable and enhance the communication. In my presentation, I started with a font that was harder to read and then adjusted and used that font for accent words The different examples of how to use text where really helpful. Seeing the contrast between using all caps or alternating between caps and lowercase and how the text popped out at the reader. In looking at the different ways that changing font allows the reader to understand the slide was shocking. Another important element with type is ensuring that you are not covering the entire page in text. There were times when I felt that I used too much text in my presentation so I just took out some of the images to help ensure that it was less cluttered.
One area that I found difficult was how to incorporate the text into the image without there being too much clutter. I had to change a lot of my own designs in order for the images to work together and look like they are part of one element. I spent some time playing around with the images to get rid of the clutter.
Communicating with Color
One thing that I see a lot is overusing color. This is definitely something that I did a lot when I first started using PowerPoint and doing any graphic design. I tried to put together colors that didn’t work. In my design for Drabble, I really focused on pulling colors from the Tagxedo and using those to drive the rest of the colors that I chose. This is something I was not thinking when I first started and I needed to go back through and revise accordingly. One of the key lessons that stuck out to me when designing was, “You can express more with less,” and “never use more (color) when less will do.” I think this really changed how I picked colors for my PowerPoint. I learned some basics around picking colors and when you use CMYK and RGB. Williams explains that color impacts all the objects around the color. Changing the color can make certain items pop or stand out. The first group of colors are primary colors. They consist of red, blue and yellow. They are primary colors because no other color can create a primary color. The next type of colors are secondary colors. They are green, purple and orange. These are the colors that are created when you blend primary colors together. The last group of colors are the tertiary colors. These are the colors that are created when you mix primary colors and secondary characters. These create colors like yellow-orange or aqua. These 12 colors on the wheel can be used to complement one another and there are certain colors that go together the best. By knowing how to put these colors together, you can ensure that your colors work well together. I really enjoyed reading about what each color invokes in the viewer. Red can invoke positive or negative feelings and is an assertive color. Pink is soft and romantic. Orange shows warmth and energy. Green evokes feelings of nature and earth. Blue is dignified and both peaceful and authoritative. Yellow is cheerful and upbeat. Purple makes people think of royalty and creativity. Brown is also earthy and rustic (however it’s pretty boring). Black is classy and formal, but can also be negative if associated with death or funerals. White is clean and pure. Gray is a very neutral color and can be depressing. In my Drabble presentation, I used grey, blue and yellow as my color base. The blue and grey were meant to bring out the depressing sentiments at the start of the book and highlight the boredom that the main character feels about life. The yellow was meant to show the change and highlight his change in opinion and perspective in the text.
Using Images to Tell Stories
Garr highlights the way that the image can give meaning to the text and the importance of picking the image that brings the text to life. Since people are so visual it is really important to pick a an image that helps to make meaning and helps people to make connections to what they are looking at. Using a large image draws immediate attention to the picture and then people will remember the text that is associated with the picture. Picking simple pictures that are also not cluttered is key. One element that I was not using until I read the chapter was that you need to bleed the image to the frame instead of placing it randomly on the page or creating a border to the edge with the picture. This is something that I was doing and I adjusted my PowerPoint so that each image bled to the edge. This made a
big difference in the way that the presentation looked. Looking at each of the ways that the pages were adjusted so the image took up most of the page was also really interesting. Then the text became part of the image and the text needed to be shortened so the most important parts were highlighted. Another important part of using images is using images to draw attention to parts of the text. The Gestalt principals help to direct your eyes to important elements of the text. You need to use the image itself to help direct your eyes to particular parts of the text. Having images face towards to text ensures that the viewer’s eyes are immediate drawn to the text. Having the image bleed off the edge is also key because it does not crop or cut off part of the images.
Making an Impact with Video
I have never made videos before so it was interesting to read on how to make impactful videos. Videos allow the creator to highlight problems in ways that might not be truly conveyed through a set of still images. One key part of a video is that it needs to evoke an emotion from the person who is viewing the text. Garr states that you need to add video when applicable to presentations to make them more interesting. This is something that I plan on doing more when creating lesson plans and having students draw connections between the two. One thing that I thought was important is picking the right part of the video to show and also ensuring that the clip is short. I have had a lot of classes where the videos dragged on and did not get to the point quickly enough and I think that being really precise in the part that it is being picked is key.
Chapter 2: Principles
“Negative space is magical – create it, don’t fill it up!” The notion that business means that you did more work seems to be pretty constant when you look at PowerPoints and presentations created by teachers. They fill the slide with images and all of the information gets lost in the images. The shift away from text heavy slides is the start to the space conversation. Garr explains that, “white space allows for real difference to be created.” It ensure that the viewer can see what you want to be highlighted and can help your eyes hone in on certain elements. In addition, Garr states that you must be able to see space and use space in your work. Empty space can amplify an image and simplicity does not indicate that you did not do significant work. White space can help ensure that the viewers eyes are directed to certain elements of the page. This can also be done through the placement of images and text. Ensuring that the image is facing the text draws the viewers eyes to the image. In sum, “Every good visual has a clearly dominant element that attracts attention and lets the view know where to begin.”
Chapter 3: The Journey
Garr says that the most important thing for graphic designers to do in their journey is to look for images that they find visually appealing and are good examples of graphic design. In looking at the images, the elements of space and simplicity stuck out. The images conveyed more than the words and the words provided the context that the image could not. The designer was not afraid of space and used space effectively. In addition, there were minimal words on the page and in each example the most important words popped out. In designs that were meant to be together, there was color and design element that ran through despite the changes in the context.