Photoshop – My Nemesis

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever had as much trouble working with a program than I did these last couple of weeks! Photoshop and I don’t really get along. Thankfully, I have a coworker that is amazing with it and he helped me out a lot. I think if I had a lot of time to work with it and play around, I might end up liking Photoshop. For right now, it remains my evil nemesis. 

My work this week has been with a creative ad for a blog post and/or Facebook. I am really grateful the project had some parameters so I could focus my ideas and ad content. I was assigned a target audience and product to create an ad for. My audience is male, age 55-64, income of $60,000 – $89,000, in a relationship, and has an associate’s degree. My product was salt and pepper shakers. 

My Audience and Product

Picture of Man
My Audience

Looks about right, huh? This audience may or may not look just like this guy, but it is one that I have a little experience with. I have plenty of friends and coworkers right in that range. I usually associate salt and pepper shakers with my mother and women who cook a lot though, so there was a challenge to find the right product. I decided to go a little higher tech than your standard shakers:

Salt and Pepper Shakers
Salt and Pepper Shakers by Mira DeShazer

I figured my audience would rather have something more modern, sophisticated, and have some kind of “techy” feature. The set I chose automatically start grinding when they are tilted – pretty cool and only one hand needed to operate. They are perfect for grilling when turning and seasoning at the same time. I also liked the clean, stainless steel finish. They don’t look like your grandma’s salt and pepper shakers with chickens or fat little chefs painted on the side. 

Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
Salt and Pepper Grinder Set

The Photography

As I was going over ideas, I tried to put some kind of action or adventure into the ad itself. Grilling, pirates, and hiking/mountain climbing came to mind. I settled on hiking mountains and the split mountain image was born. I used an image of a volcano for the pepper and a snowy peak for the salt. I love the contrast between the light and dark and the clouds that run across the top of both mountains. I thought it would be prefect to help make the two mountains blend together. Both original images are here:

Snowy Mountain
Snowy Mountain by vitaliymateha
Volcanic Eruption
Volcanic Eruption by Wead

I also wanted to use a person in the ad to emphasize the tagline I used. “Choose Your Own Adventure” needs a person there to make that choice. That person came from this photo:

Hiker in the Fog
Hiker in the Fog by Pexels

Typography

I chose an all caps strong font for my main tagline. Bebas Neue is a sans serif font and I feel it is strong and solid because of the lack of serifs. I also made the color of the font opposite for each half of the ad so that the opposition would create a greater contrast and attract the eye. The other font I chose was American Typewriter. It is a serif font that looks very much like newsprint. I felt this font would appeal to the practical side of consumers and it also reminds me of the type of font used in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Those books were popular in the 80’s, so I felt my audience would be familiar with the reference.

The Final Ad

Creative Ad - Salt & Pepper Set
Creative Ad – Salt & Pepper Set

The final product turned out pretty awesome! I learned how to use a special brush to help create the salt and pepper falling from the shakers. I thought about trying to blend the center line between the two halves of the mountain, but I decided against it. Salt and pepper stay in separate containers for a reason – you have to be able to choose how much of each spice you use on your food. The two must remain separate for this ad as well. I do love how the mountains seem to blend together well on their own. There are ridges that connect across the midline that make it seem like the two mountains are one.

Conclusion

It may be that I will learn to love Photoshop one day. I don’t hate it as much as I did in the beginning, but I’m certain it was trying to defeat my best intentions for project. Maybe I’ll try some pictures of a warmer climate next time. That may help….

 

Here is a Little of What I Learned About Magazine Spreads

Learning is Hard

Oh, I have struggled with learning these past couple of weeks! There is so much material and so little time in my life to fit everything in. Isn’t that the story of everyone’s life? I would have liked to have more time to sit with someone who knows what they are doing on this project to get ideas and education. As it is, I figured out a lot on my own, asked a few key questions, and got great feedback from others. I think my first full spread is ok and not a complete disaster, so goal accomplished!

Magazine Spread Page 1
Page 1
Magazine Spread pages 2 & 3
Pages 2 & 3

Audience – Why This Article?

In my church, I am the president of a young women’s group. They were on my mind as I was designing this piece. As I try to teach these teenage girls about the Savior and His mission on this earth, I find they need to really work on their own testimony of Him. I love this article and challenge to take time to learn more about Him in a concentrated effort.

When I found the article online, there was no color to it, no separation of ideas, and the pictures looked more like homework assignments! It was probably not that appealing to my girls. I tried to use colors they would love and make the text more appealing to read. I love the script font, Zapfino, because it is so elegant yet not too messy of a script font. The last picture is of my own daughter and she is the same age as the girls in my group. I wanted the design to look beautiful and calming – not at all the idea I got when I read the article and it seemed like a lot of work. The reality is that the work of this challenge brings beauty, calm, and peace to our lives because we are learning about Jesus Christ. I hope this design helps carry that feeling to the reader.

Design Choices

My first big decision for this design was the colors. I wanted modern, fresh, young colors because that matches my audience. I used the sunset picture as a reference and found a color palette that coordinates with the colors in the picture. It just so happens that they are awesome colors for the modern, fresh, young look I wanted!

Sunset in Salem
Sunset in Salem – Jenny Anderson

The typography choice was next. I chose two contrasting typefaces that would complement each other and really help the headings stand out from the body of the article. I wanted something easy to read for the main body of the piece. I find the serif fonts look a little more formal and I wanted this to be an elegant and formal piece. The font I chose for the body is Baskerville.

As I mentioned earlier, the Zapfino font is a great script font because I don’t feel like it is too confusing. Some script fonts get too flowery and curly and you can’t hardly read them. I like this one for its lack of curls! I also love the long extensions on some of the letters. It breaks up the very horizontal look of columns of text. I did have to work with this font a little more on the alignment aspect. It doesn’t line up nicely with the flat edges of the page. The title of the article was a little challenging in that aspect. I pulled everything to the right to group that long title a little tighter. It was too long and spread out and I think mixing the fonts and grouping it to the right really helped the message not get lost.

The color and pictures work together in this piece to bring that feeling of calm and juxtapose it over an article that is challenging the reader to work hard on a time-consuming project. I didn’t want to have a blank white page full of text, so the grey background was a softer base for the article. The navy and coral are nice anchors of bright and dark color to ground the pages.

I only used one photo with color because it was the photo that inspired the color palette. The other two are actually nicer in grey tones. I feel like this emphasizes the content rather than the way the colors clash with the rest of the design. I also like how the two black and whites both have word elements in them – the table and the floor. That texture makes these two pictures more consistent with each other and not completely disconnected, random images.

Scriptures Image
Scriptures – Jenny Anderson
Kaiah Image
Kaiah – Jenny Anderson

Continue Learning

I know I have only scratched the surface of what InDesign can do for my projects. This program is full of hidden treasures and tools to help me with design. I hope to continue learning so my design can be more appealing and maybe a little closer to the things I dream up in my head! It’s hard to get that image out when I don’t know the tools that are available to me. Just like the article used in this design challenges the reader to accept a huge challenge, design is a huge challenge to me. Both opportunities take time, effort, and a lot of study. Now if only I had that first element…..time.

Photography Basics at Work

Photography has not been a strong suit of mine, so I’m happy to be learning more about it. The basics I have studied this week have made me more aware of how I take pictures, but I still need to work on putting it into practice! All the professional photos in this post were found on Pixabay  – a public domain site that is free for public use and download with no attribution required. I have linked all the photos though, so you can find the designer if you wish.

Rule of Thirds

Stonehenge - Rule of Thirds
Stonehenge – Rule of Thirds
Stonehenge Rule of Thirds

I once got to see this landmark and wonder of the world in England on a dance company tour with Ricks College. It was not up close like this, but still amazing. I love the use of the horizon and the sky/clouds in this photo to demonstrate the rule of thirds. Stonehenge is balanced right in the center of the intersecting lines with the horizon as an anchor at the bottom and the cloud formation as an anchor at the top. I also like the rock in the ground in the left lower corner. It adds a bit of a break in the symmetry for the whole photo.

Running - Rule of Thirds
Running – Rule of Thirds
Running - Rule of Thirds
Running – Rule of Thirds

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time! My son made it to state as a freshman in high school in the 3200 meter run (2 miles). It was pouring rain and there were puddles on the track for his race. He loves to run in the rain though, so it was fun for him! The puddles came in handy in this photo because it caught his reflection as he ran past me. This photo is actually a great example of the rule of thirds because of where he falls in the picture. Rather than being in the center where I normally frame things, I caught him off to the left. I also love that the hurdles happen to be stacked on that side of the picture also. The track on the lower end of the photo and on the other side of the field lie right in line where the horizontal divisions are in the picture lie. This strengthens the shot according  to the rule of thirds.

Leading Lines

Train - Leading Lines
Train – Leading Lines
Train - Leading Lines
Train – Leading Lines

I can’t say I’ve ever been on a train, sadly, but I sure hope to someday. My kids have been really into Harry Potter lately and this train reminds me of the Hogwarts Express. The lines in this photo are a great example of how leading lines can show movement through a picture. The front of the train is in the foreground and the angle the shot is taken at leads you to the tail of the train that appears far off in the distance. I have no idea how long this train is, but the image gives the idea that it continues beyond what I can see. I also like the lines from the bridge that are almost parallel to the main tracks. They lend support to the image and also draw your eye up the to powerful locomotive and its journey along the tracks.

Temple - Leading Lines
Temple – Leading Lines
Temple - Leading Lines
Temple – Leading Lines

I love this photo from our vacation to Arizona. This is the new Phoenix, AZ temple and we got to visit the grounds for just a little bit while there with family. I like how the use of leading lines gives the image almost an unwritten caption of “All lines lead to the temple.” The lines of the pool lead straight to the front of the temple. I also notice the horizontal lines of the upper part of the temple. They help emphasize the symmetry in the picture and I think add to the focus of the temple as the central focus of the photo. (Even though the photo is a little off center! ha ha!)

Depth of Field

Lake - Depth of Field
Lake – Depth of Field
Lake - Depth of Field
Lake – Depth of Field

I see so many people take pictures like this while on vacation and I think we don’t realize what a good shot this type of shot really is! The shoes of the otherwise obscured person are the foreground and give an anchor to where the image begins. The trees leading down the hill to the lake give an idea of the space between the person in the shot and the lake itself. I love how you can see the steepness of the hill because of those trees. Way off on the other side of the lake are more trees that are also reflected in the lake. These trees appear much smaller and again give the idea of the space and size of the lake itself.

Pool - Depth of Field
Pool – Depth of Field
Pool - Depth of Field
Pool – Depth of Field

So, I tried the “feet on vacation” picture myself! This is in Arizona when I was steadfastly refusing to go work out with my husband and brother-in-law because I was on vacation! Sitting by the pool is so much nicer. My feet get to be the foreground of this picture, while the men and the bushes by the pool are the middle ground. The space in this photo is not as vast as the lake shot, but the pool is there in the background with the palm trees behind it. I am also the partially obscured person in the picture, so you see the scope of the backyard where I remained to lounge because of the viewpoint this photo was taken from.

Summary

All of my photos that are used for this post honestly happened to turn out to be good photos by a happy accident. Without even trying, sometimes I come up with good pictures! Now that I have learned more about the rules of good photography, I hope to create more good pictures on purpose. We have state track coming up and another vacation planned for the summer. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice!