Production Journal (Final Project)

Valeria Quiros

Professor Williams

Visual Literacy- Fall 2012

American University

 

Production Journal (Final Project)

The main purpose of my project was to create a new look for Izilwane’s Facebook page, given that social media has become such an important source for advertising and informing. I wanted to create an aesthetically pleasing graphic promoting Izilwane’s slogan: “Connecting the human animal to the global ecosystem” as well as a graphic promoting eco-reporting.

I decided I was going to work specifically on Izilwane’s Facebook page after carefully scrutinizing its official website and Facebook page. I felt that the website was much more complete and elaborated than the Facebook page, which motivated me to work on something artistic and efficient for Izilwane. As a Facebook consumer, I recognize how young people come across several pages on Facebook and judge by the two most important visual factors: the cover page and the profile picture. When I visited Izilwane’s page, I felt both of these were not strong enough to cause an impact on the audience. Since I already knew about Izilwane before visiting their page, I was able to connect the logo and the pictures of the animals in the profile and cover photos almost immediately with the organization, but I drew myself into the position of a random consumer passing by the page and assumed that it might take them some time to realize what the organization is about.

The graphic designers of the World Wildlife Fund inspired me to work on this project. I had analyzed several of their PSA posters in a previous assignment for this class, and I was really driven by their artistic skills. For this project, I went back to look at their work and interpret how I could apply their methods or combination of colors and text to convey a powerful message. They use a lot of photo manipulation for their promo pieces and even if I wasn’t able to coordinate a professional photo shoot like theirs, I tried to follow their style.

It took me quality time to research and brainstorm ideas to begin sketching. I wrote my ideas down and began getting images and texts together on Photoshop, even if they looked absolutely absurd. All I wanted was to get every single idea written down because it might work for any of the attempts I would further work on. In this pre-production period, I discovered that “Izilwane” means “animals” in Zulu, and I found this very interesting and wanted to make something out of it. This is when the idea of using “animals” in many languages came across my head. However, I was still struggling on how I could use that to bring out the message of the organization. Some of the ideas that came into my head at first were phrases like “Wherever you come from, animals are part of your responsibility. Care for them,” or “They are in danger everywhere you go.” For eco-reporting, I came up with phrases like “Get involved,” “Help plant the seed of good knowledge,” and I even thought about aiming college students by saying “Four entire months of summer are better used helping”. As I discussed with Professor Williams, it was best to not limit the audience to college students and instead establish a more generalized message.

As I started playing with the myriad layers in Photoshop, I created the first drafts for the posters. I struggled a lot with the wording and text I was going to put on the graphics because I wanted to get my message across in a creative manner. However, this project showed me that words not necessarily have to be creative; you can work with the visual images for creativity and keep the text concise and informative. Moreover, I was using a solid-color background for the first posters, for instance, black. I realized this was not helping portray the concept of environment, and changed into a more organic style. I used the website http://www.brusheezy.com to download free Photoshop brushes of nature (leaves, for example) and created new background ideas.

The preparation for the production took around four hours of research (information and royalty-free photographs). The only difficulty I found was finding snow peaks that I had originally discussed with Professor Williams to integrate into the cover photo, the ones I found did not look good in the general picture. I did not require any talents but me, myself and I. Fortunately, I had Professor Williams available for feedback and that way I was able to work with her critiques. The only software I used was Photoshop, which I am very compatible with due to past experience in design courses. It took me around eight distributed hours to finalize my project.

For the profile picture, I used simple leaf brushes to create an organic background and added the following text: “Help spread awareness…Become an eco-reporter”. In order to add a touch of creativity, for the cover photo I created a graphic and I subtly followed the shape and colors of the logo to put images together that reflect the purpose of the organization.  Furthermore, I played with the organization’s name, “Izilwane”, that means “animals” in Zulu and put it in several different languages in order to get the message across that every nation is part of the ecosystem that we are aiming to conserve. My project ended differently in the concept that I had originally imagined, because I ended up working on a direct call to action.

I really enjoyed working in this project because graphic design is something that I am passionate about, and being able to work with Professor Williams helped me construct better criticism and improve my artistic skills. It was even more exciting to work on a project that is helping an organization with such an outstanding cause. There is not a better feeling than the satisfaction of seeing your work being used and serving a good intent. Without a doubt I would do this project again, and I am planning to continue working on it. Since media is constantly changing and Izilwane works with new information according to the environmental issues that arise, I would love to further work with the organization by updating their Facebook page in accordance to their current needs and goals.

I hope to attract as much volunteers possible for Izilwane. Since social networks are viral, expectantly advertising for Izilwane can spread even further. These promo-pieces will hopefully attract those people who are passionate for the environment and have not found a way to contribute to a cause. The profile picture promotes a direct way of helping and the cover picture is designed to attract people to get to know the organization Izilwane overall.

 

Izilwane’s Call to Action

Valeria Quiros, VL Fall 2012

 

“Izilwane’s Call to Action”

 

CONCEPT/THEME:

Since social media, specifically Facebook, attracts a younger audience, I wanted to work on the visual image for Izilwane’s page. The most important factors in a Facebook page are the profile picture and the cover photo. Right now, Izilwane has a picture of its logo in low-resolution dpi and a photo of an animal as cover. The graphics I will design will be visually effective to promote a call to action for a world-wide cause.

PURPOSE/INTENT:

This is basically a media campaign designed to attract volunteering through internships, specifically eco-reporters, which are what the organization is mostly seeking right now. By using visual tools, I hope to effectively attract enough volunteers to intern in Izilwane in order for the organization to grow even more. The idea is to get reporters from all over the world, even now that Izilwane is reporting in Spanish and French!

PRODUCTION PLAN:

The format of my project will consist on graphics created in Photoshop. I will use tools such as brushes of the environment, mask tool, clone stamp, as well as texts adequate for the message it is promoting and I will stay in the range of colors that Izilwane uses. I will play with layer style and opacity likewise. The graphics will be ads promoting volunteering in Izilwane. Right now, Izilwane is more concerned about getting volunteers to write articles about nature and the dangers that it is confronting. For instance, the third-world extinction is a hot topic today. Izilwane wants the articles to educate about the biodiversity crisis and our human role in creating it.

INSPIRATION:

I do not have a specific artist as an inspiration but I have been looking at many PSA posters and graphic ads in other NGOs in order to create something that is artistic but at the same time informative. I really like the way that the WWF uses manipulation of photographs to appeal to its audience’s emotions and I want to the same with graphics. Furthermore, I’ve looked closely at Izilwane’s page to get to know my client as well as its needs.

EXPECTED OUTCOME:

I hope to attract as much volunteers possible for Izilwane. Since social networks are viral, expectantly advertising for Izilwane can spread even further. This campaign will hopefully attract those people who are passionate for the environment and have not found a way to contribute to a cause. My audience is a young crowd; I estimate from the ages of 18-25. I do not want to limit the age yet I the organization requires excellent written communication skills and a basic understanding of anthropology, sociology and environmental sciences as some of their requirements, so there must be an estimated minimum age.

FINAL PROJECT IDEAS

1. Promo piece for Izilwane- I was planning to do a commercial on nature, taking royalty free footage and bringing together something aesthetically pleasing.

2. I was planning to do a photo essay on “natural mirrors”- reflections of things/people on water- I’m going to Chicago so I was planning to get most of my shots there.

3. I was planning to do a music video with a contemporary dancer dressed in natural colors, her face painted as well. I would work with her to get a choreography together for the song. 

Flow: For Love of Water (Critique)

 

Flow: For Love of Water (2008) is a documentary by Irene Salina targeting water consumers in developed countries. The subject of the documentary is “The World Water Crisis”, which is a very controversial issue today. It was filmed in Bolivia, Africa, California, India and Canada. The purpose of the documentary is to create awareness in the urban community about how poor people in the rural community struggle to access clean and potable water. Salina wants to foster awareness about the depletion of our water resources.

Before watching this documentary, I knew about the subject because I did a research paper on lack of water supply in the Las Vegas Valley. The main issue with them is that Lake Mead is less than half-full and many regions depend on it as their main water supply. However, the documentary had a focus on other issues regarding water because the study was in another region. For instance, I was oblivious about the influence of agriculture on water supply and the problem with the pesticides and chemicals that affect it, which is an issue discussed in the documentary.

The documentary talks mainly about the water issues concerning politics, pollution, and human rights. It films on different regions for different issues. For instance, the privatization of water and how toxics are affecting people that drink from certain water resources are some of the issues addressed in the documentary. Private companies offer clean water, but these people don’t live under the economic conditions to afford it. This leaves them no other choice but to continue their dangerous and unclean livelihood. But in the end, are these companies being fair? Can water be really owned by somebody? Salina leaves this to the audience to question.

The sound effects and sharp images definitely helped enhance the “tragedy” of the issue. They used a lot of close-ups in the shots of the environment. They also filmed from the sky and underwater. Some of the shots looked unfocused or shaky, but this looked like part of the adventure! The interviews were really good overall, the opinions of the experts were an essential contribution. It is really interesting how the people being interviewed don’t look directly at the camera.

I really liked the part where they film the issue of water accessibility in Bolivia, because in my country, El Salvador, we face the same issue. I felt identified with the situation since I’ve been to several places to help and bring water to the needed people. I was mostly shocked to see that if we don’t take care of our water, only those who pay for it might survive in the future. I was surprised to see that 70% of the water is used in agriculture. In some part of the documentary they lack poor quality in film shots, like with the reflection of the TV interview. I also didn’t like the way they organized the different fonts.

            I would fully recommend this documentary to my friends, but I also believe it is critical for people in developed countries to see it. Since they have no issues getting water, they might not know what these people are going through. By having this source of information, they might be able to change and help.