Puns are Great | august 2019

As the final summer term ended, and the fall semester grew closer, I found myself given the opportunity to work with Little Keyboards to create a sticker for them to ship out with orders. This wasn’t my first time doing freelance work like this, but it had been the first time that I had done it on this level since I had begun my BFA. With that, this project was a bit intimidating at the start, but soon became one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had working on the project.

As with any project however, it needed to begin with idea generation.

The idea generation for this project began in a weird spot, initial concepts heading towards the idea of using keycap profiles as the main concept.

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With the style I wanted to use for these stickers, keycap profiles could only go so far. DSA and XDA were easy to translate to a flat top view, but were the only ones that really did that. SA, Cherry, OEM, they required other keys or a side profile to really be distinctive, but also required other keys to really show what profile they were. Even then, in the case of Cherry and OEM, unless it was listed it would be hard at first glance to really tell what they were.

As I began talking more with the client, it became more clear that there were other options. Which resulted in this concept.

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What started off originally as a bad joke made to a few friends, had ended up the driving force behind the creation of this sticker. The shape of smaller ( 40% or less ) keyboards is usually similar to that of a chocolate bar. The low profile switches that are used in some of these are called Chocs. Of course, the choc bar was going to be born.

As far as converting everything digitally, rather than start by tracing a sketch I created shapes. If this was going to be consistent with the original switch stickers I had done, perfectly straight lines and soft curves were the attributes needed. The text on the bar even, was done using a rounded typeface ( quicksand ) as well as the Little Keyboards logo, to make it something distinctly theirs. The wrapper was done in a similar way, though I actually did use the pen tool to create the wrinkled shapes that would come from a bar being opened.

The final result is something I’m lucky to have been able to work on, and excited to share.

New Sticker Pack? | july 2019

As the summer starts to wind down, I find myself falling into a new rabbit hole. This new interest, being the world of mechanical keyboards. Though it’s something niche, I find myself falling more and more in love with the idea of becoming involved with the community, or even doing more with mechanical keyboards. I even dove head first into it, building my first ‘keeb’ as opposed to buying a pre-built factory one.

Part of the fun is the infinite combinations available regarding mechanical keyboards, and the process of building them. This of course begins with what I’d consider the heart of it, the mechanical switches themselves. Which brings it back to the title of this post. I think I’m going to be trying to create a 4 sticker pack of the mechanical switches, with one from each basic category.

As of now, I plan on doing Gateron Yellows, Kailh Box Jades, Chocs, and Orange Alps. Here’s a sample of the style below, with the colors for Gateron Green ( what I built my keyboard with ).

 
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Bears Aren't For Wrestling | april 2019

The beginning of this process began with research.

In this case? It meant researching various laws in place, and deciding what type of law would work well with the prompt given. The prompt of course, being to create a theoretical Ad Council campaign. I started with the law in Oklahoma prohibiting bear wrestling, as a nature based campaign was something that fell in line with the Ad Council’s values, and would work to create something semi-realistic.

initial sketching and ideas for the project, I established the typeface pairings as well as initial ideas for the catch phrase and feel for the billboards.

Of course, these were only my initial sketches, and as seen the tagline for the entire campaign wasn’t set in stone yet. After the sketching seen above, I really dove into researching the Ad Councils prior campaigns. Two of them came to the foreground with this research.

SmokeyBear.com and SaveTheFood.com

Their treatment of their subject matter is what appealed to me. Smokey the Bear as a means of how to treat the character, as well as it being representative of other nature based campaigns; and Save the Food as a means for how to display content and create a more responsive layout.

With those two in mind I moved forward into crafting the palette and iconography present in the final product. I chose a more paper cut style, to make it more eye catching towards children, and accessible to their parents, and I chose a new, simple tagline that explained the campaign.

Bears Aren’t For Wrestling.

Completing the billboards were what really streamlined the process of creating the website, as it created a visual language for the campaign. Hard edges. Awkward angles. Familiar typefaces. It set a precedent I wanted to be able to follow through with on the site.

The website format I chose was a single scrolling page, that would in practice have anchor tag based navigation with a sticky header and back to top available on the bottom. The advantages of this style site were easy navigation, hopefully less dropoff in user engagement, and it just made it easier to sew the content together in a more cohesive way. By using soft colors and trees as a means for transitions between sections, it was able to entice viewers into scrolling with a homey aesthetic.

Where the activity sheets came in with my process was an odd place. The idea for them occurred as I was working on the wireframes, or the sketch of the website. It was a section I felt needed to be added, to really show what kind of audience this campaign was going to reach. It was something I wasn’t sure I would have time for, given the time frame for this entire project, but something I was glad I was able to make time for. Every one of the activity sheets is based off of a real pose or activity a bear has been photographed doing, and I thought it would be more of a fun way to connect everything back to the idea of it being shown to children. Bears don’t wrestle, but they can do things that you might do, like reading, or looking at the stars.