Untitled Project | may 2019

As summer has begun, it really set in that I was officially halfway done with my degree. Of course with that revelation, came the irrational panic that I hadn’t done enough for my portfolio, and that I needed something to display what I like to do, as well as the scope of what I could do with a longer time frame than a few weeks. While the panic was irrational, the idea wasn’t.

And the idea to do something like that was what brought me to a new idea for a product and system I could actually design.

Aquascaping is basically gardening underwater. This simple idea has become ever more popular over the years, and really gathered my interest, and turned into something I love the idea of doing myself once in a place where it would be more financially feasible. But, it isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart, as there is a lot of research required, and often times it’s a bit hard to get reliable information unless you’re willing to spend hours looking into it.

Another problem I found for people looking to begin in this, was that there wasn’t really one place to get all the items needed. Proprietary aquarium kits were often meant for non planted aquariums, and it became expense after expense too gather all the items needed to set something up, and that was before even considering the plants and fish that would go in the aquarium.

With these two separate ideas in mind, it really created a bridge for something I could do, that would really show more of my style with design, as well as my interest.

I’d create a prototype planted aquarium kit with accompanying information, packaging, and website. It’d be something that would be challenging, but fun to do, have different aspects of a system, and have to be cohesive across all fronts.

To me, it became the perfect portfolio project.

Starting with that in mind, I began to ring up the cost for the items to create a prototype kit excluding plants. I decided to go for a nano size, as it’d be more accessible to newcomers to the hobby, as well as easier on the wallet, as with this kit I wanted to make sure it had low iron ( extremely high clarity ) glass, as well as lighting that wouldn’t have to be replaced with something later down the line. The kit is also going to include several options for hardscape, with the initial one being dragonstone as it is inert, as well as an active substrate to help with fertilization, and fertilizers.

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Something else that I was forced to consdider with this supply list was the idea of working with CO2. Initially, it was something I was dead set on, but after looking into the pricing, it simply wasn’t feasible for a setup of this size. Not to mention, the cost would drive away anyone just looking into it, as a CO2 setup can run upwards of 150 USD.

However, the actual price of everything together gave me a starting point. The price range could influence how to design for the product, as well as what other products it would conceivably be competing against, as well as a way to gauge interest for the price point.

Now I just need a name.

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.