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“Visual communication making a statement.� Kaitlin Benscoter GRPH 221: Graphic Design 01 Fall 2013

Fall 2013 I am a sophomore at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, studying to get my BFA in Graphic Design. This is my first year in the Fine and Perfoming Arts College, and this portfolio shows my beginning work in the field of Graphic Design.

Helvetica was designed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann. It is a sans-serif typeface and aims to be neutral with no meaning in its form. Helvetica is used throughout this portfolio for these reasons. The versions of this typeface used is light, regular, and bold. The point sizes used are 8, 11, 13, 15, 21, 23, 30, 45, and 89 in order to create visual hierarchy. There is a 20 or 30 point kerning in all text to achieve a visually pleasing and easy to read portfolio.


Contents Exercise 01

Page 03

Project 01

Page 05

Exercise 02

Page 09

Project 02

Page 11

Project 03

Page 15

Exercise 03

Page 19

Project 04

Page 21

Exercise 04

Page 25


Exercise 01

Billboard as a Messaging Center

Chosen billboard


Blank Billboard created in Photoshop

Billboard with Typographic Solution

Color versus Black and White


Project 01

What is graphic design? I focused on the area around 12th and Q Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. I chose this area because I wanted the theme of my project to tell the story of businesses in the area through typography and imagery. There are many businesses around this area that are involved in different aspects, such as the arts, restaurants, and services. All businesses in the area use a variety of typographical words and have various logos that define what the business is and what the business is trying to communicate. I chose the theme of business typographies and logos for typology 01. Because there were many businesses in the area, typology 01 has three pages, showing the various businesses with reference to their typography and logos. I grouped the typographies and the logos together for each business in order to show how different they are to tell the story of each business. Typology 02 is meant to show the history of the businesses in the typographies seen in typology 01. There are six type forms that are shown chronologically from column to column. These type forms are as follows:


Oldstyle, Italic, Script, Transitional, Modern, Square Serif. The typographies are a form of visual communication that makes a statement about the businesses’ histories, which is how I define graphic design. For my matrices, I looked through typology 01 and found similar characteristics that appeared in the photographs. The three characteristics I chose were art, brand and business because they all went with my theme of telling the stories of the businesses in my area. My project is successful because I feel that each business in my area is represented in a way that tells the story of the business through photographs of typographies and logos, each different for each business. The typographies and logos shown provide a history of the business in subtle ways such as the type forms used for the business and the designs of the logos. The matrices show the common characteristics that the businesses have in the area. Project 01 accomplishes my goal of telling viewers what graphic design is to me: a form of communication that is visual and makes a statement.


12th and Q Street




Project 01


Graphic design history through typography

What is graphic design?

Graphic design through business identity 08

Exercise 02 Written Exercise


Semotic Theories of Charles Saunders Pierce – 3 categories of signs Icon – resembles the sign with symbolism Index – durect link between sign and object Symbol – signs that have no logical connection between the sign and what it means Pierce’s Elements of the Sign Quality Firstness – sense of something Qualisign Secondness – physical relation Icon Thirdness – mental level Rheme

Brute Facts Simsign Index Dicent

Law Legisign Symbol Argument

Sign Categorizations of Ferdinand de Saussure Iconic – resemble thing they represent Arbitrary – no logical connection between signified and signified Terms that relate to semiosis representamen – sign itself paradigm – set of units that have something in common code – fixed number of units in paradigm metaphor – substituting one thing for another metanym – represents a totality materiality – physical properties of an object syntagm – collection of signs organized in linear sequence Visual Literacy (Design Literacy) The understanding of the relationships between formal considerations (shape, color, compostion, etc.). It relates to graphic design because ideas, theories, and principles of graphic design are based on the formal aspects and considerations of design.


Project 02

Form as Language To start the project, I did six line study drawings for twelve words that were given. I decided to choose a variety of words that had different meanings and could be represented in many ways through visual forms. The twelve words that I chose were ugly, tension, manic, frenetic, chaotic, harmonious, playful, ecstatic, dynamic, floating, calm, and structured. When I was given dissonance as my word, I though the best way to develop my project was simply defining what dissonance means. The definitions that I chose to focus on were a lack of harmony or agreement (among musical notes) and contrasting or conflicting ideas. I also thought it would be helpful to find some antonyms of dissonance, which are harmony, agreement, and cooperation, in order to understand what I needed to stay away from when doing my line drawings and when finding my representational photographs. To find my photographs that best represented dissonance, I looked through magazines and took my own photographs to see where dissonance occurs in the world. I put my focus on matching my line drawings with these photographs in the end. In order for my line drawings to go with my found photographs, I decided to take the prominent forms in each 11

photograph and abstracted them even more to get to the focus of the project, visual form as a language going with verbal meaning. A poster created from my ten photographs and line drawings was also part of Project 02. This part was a bit difficult for me because I had some issues with creating a composition that wasn’t structured even though there was supposed to be some sort of grid system within the poster. It was also difficult for me to incorporate the word dissonance into my poster design, but I found it relieving to know that this is a very difficult concept and that I just had to keep going through ideas in order to come up with my final poster design. Finding examples of successful poster designs also helped me with focusing on form and with combining text and imagery. My final product is successful for project 02 because I think that I was able to use visual language through form in my photographs, line drawings, and poster. I think that my poster is the best part of the project because I was able to create forms that aren’t harmonious, which is very difficult to do since viewers want to see something balanced that has elements working together to form one idea being communicated visually.

Mark Making and Images


Abstracted form images

Line shape studies







Poster Iterations


Project 02

Dissonance Poster

Form as Language


Project 03

Form as Identity To prepare for this project, I traced a logo that I found on order to become more knowledgeable about the pen tool in Illustrator since it was the main tool used to create my new icon. I found this very helpful because I became more confident in tracing and creating shapes in the program. Because the icon had to go through the seven evolutions of retracing in Illustrator, disturbance, disintegration, diffusion, re-collection, re-organization, and a new symbol, I thought that the best way to begin the creation of my new icon was to simply look up the definitions of the evolutionary stages in order to fully understand how my given icon could be changed through them. I decided to break my icon into squares because the original shape of the icon would still be included in the new icon. When I finally put each stage in the icon process, I did have to tweak a few aspects just so the flow between each stage made sense. After this, I went into Illustrator


and started drawing each part of the icon evolution. This turned out to be somewhat difficult because the anchor points and lines wouldn’t line up correctly, so, I had to retrace and redo the shapes of the icon several times. To solve this issue, I decided to just create one copy of the shapes that was repeated throughout the stages, which I then copied onto the other stage boards. In the end, I created five different evolutions for the project. I decided that my third evolution was the best out of the five. I thought this project was very successful because I was able to create a new icon while still using the same aspects from the original icon. I made sure that each stage had the same line weight and use of positive/ negative space to make the final composition feel unified. I also continued the angular shape of the original icon, so I felt that this made my project very effective. I was also able to build my skills in Illustrator, which I consider a success from the project.

Practice and Inspiration

The Fine Line by Linda Voll of Murrie Lienhart Rysner

Khunu by Kurt Niedermeier

Levene Neale Bender & Rankin LLP

Trace Practice Logo - Smarter Foods by Tracy Meiners of Miriello Grafico

Fact to Face by Sherrie and Tracy Holdeman of Insight Design Communications

Windquest by Y. Kim, J. Best, and N. Hubert of People Design

G13 Art Gallery Logo by David Barath

Stebbings Partners

Stiftung Deutsch – Russischer Jugendaustausch by Nicola Janssen of EIGA

Husband & Associates by Barbara Chan

Gateway Medical

Nine Inch Nails


Sketches and Iterations


Project 03

Icon Evolution



Form as Identity





Evolved Icon


Exercise 03

Color + System = Visual Language


Monochromatic — Orange

Traid — Orange/Green/Violet

Complementary — Orange/Blue

Contrasting Pairs of Conditions — Bitter (Orange/Yellow — Green)/Sweet (Pink/Violet)

Analogous — Red/Red—Orange/Orange

Wildcard — Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue


Project 04

Page Layout and the Grid To start this project, I gathered many examples of typography. I did look in magazines and book, and I found some great typographic examples, but because magazines and books tend to use the same typography throughout, I decided to look through music albums. With my found typographies, I began to look at the grid systems for the project. I chose to do studies with the 16 square modules, the 12 rectangle modules, and the 9 square modules. When it was time to choose one grid for the final project, I decided to use the 16-square module grid because I felt that I could create more typography variation and placement with more modules. To test each typography with the others on the grid, I printed out many of my typographies to physically cut up and experiment with placements on the grid. I found working away from the computer to be helpful because I could get a sense of what the typographies would look like when printed. When I chose the five final plates for the project, I picked the plates that had the most variety in typographies,


and also the ones that had similar placements on the grid. Because the 5 plates create one composition, I thought the similar placements of the text would help with the unity for the project. I ended up creating two extra plates in order to make sure that I tried as many possibilities that I could make for the final product. For the first draft of the plates, I focused mainly on typography variation and sticking with the grid. I also played with layering and forcing some of the typographies together in order to create values with the text. For the final drafts, I focused more on balancing positive/negative space and creating more depth on the picture plane to create interest in my boards. My project is successful because I was able to experiment with text organization on a grid structure. I felt that my final plates helped improve my ideas about organizing content on a plane by considering the balance between positive/negative space because I have trouble with this, but I think I’m closer to fully understanding the importance of have both positive and negative space present in a composition.

Grid Sketches

16 – square grid

12 – rectangle grid

9 – square grid 22

Typographic Form Experiment Plates


Project 04

Typography Plates

Page Layout and the Grid


Exercise 04

Authorship and Graphic Design History Alexander Rodchenko and the Constructivist Movement

“The words themselves have no power unless the user is ‘authorised’ to use them.” “Visble Signs”, David Crow, Page 95


Info–graphic Alexander Rodchenko is known as one of the founders of the Constructivist movement and influenced Russian design. He worked in many artistic fields including furniture design, poster book and typographic design, sculpting, painting, and photography. “His concern for analytical documenting in his photographic work was intended to shock the viewer and postpone recognition, showing his ideals of eliminating unnecessary detail, emphasizing dynamic diagonal composition, and the concern for the placement and movement of objects in space.” These ideals were key in the works of Constructivist artists.

“Constructivism was an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia in 1919. It rejected the idea of autonomous art, and favored art as a practice for social purposes. During this time, World War I had ended, and in Russia, the Russian Revolution had ended in 1917, ending the Tsarist autocracy.”


Kaitlin Benscoter GRPH 221: Graphic Design 01 Fall 2013

Kaitlin Benscoter/GRPH 221/Section 101/Portfolio