Visual Literacy- Fall 2012
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.