Four Years in a Book

Dear Readers,

My sincerest apologies in having been so neglectful in writing these last few months. I have been incredibly busy finishing my MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in Graphic Design, and sacrificed a lot of my favorite pastimes—including gardening, watching movies, and unfortunately, writing blog posts—in order to do so. But the deed is done, my diploma in hand, and I am back!

One of the final steps in graduating, as a designer, is to put together a portfolio of the work I did over these last four years. While the vast majority of people view design portfolios online, and when I go to interviews all I really ever show is my portfolio website on my iPad, we are still required to also create a beautifully designed portfolio book to showcase our work. And I have to say—despite it being less relevant than it used to be, I’m really glad to have my work collected in such a lovely, bound anthology. There is something about the heft of a book, the texture of a page, and going through all those projects one page after another, that gives a certain feeling of gravitas to my work. For all its versatility and accessibility, the online portfolio just doesn’t quite capture that same feeling.

Working Magic: TOCI had a lot of fun designing my portfolio book. I am interested in digital design and book design, and I love both cutting edge design developments as well as the history and tradition of design going back to the days before set type and the printing press, so I tried to bring that juxtaposition of modern design and design heritage into my portfolio. I chose an old-fashioned blackletter typeface and a modern sans serif, I found layout inspiration in the simplicity of pages from illuminated manuscripts, and tracked the project number in the upper right corner in a visual style that echoes the step by step indicator in software wizards. In general, I tried to exemplify my personal style, with clean and elegant layouts, lots of white space, bright colors and  little details that add fun and a bit of interest to the simplicity.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Capable of Working Magic, my portfolio design was inspired in part by a quote from Carl Sagan. In it, he talks about the power of books to communicate and bring together people from different epochs, which to him seems “proof that humans are capable of work magic.” I love that quote for many reasons, and in particular for how it seems to really express delight in design.  This idea of delightful design is something I value, and wanted to emphasize throughout my portfolio.

Working Magic-IntroductionWorking Magic-quoteOne of the challenges to creating a beautiful, professional book is figuring out how to present the rough stuff—the process, the sketches, the drafts—in a way that doesn’t look jarring next to the polished finished work. One technique I used was to put the wireframes or sketches on a navy background, sometimes with little notes scrawled on the edges to show thought process and development.

WorkingMagic-wireframesWorkingMagic-LogoSketchesAnother fun design challenge was designing my portfolio website. For all that I love my portfolio book, at the end of the day my website is more important. The challenge with the website was to create an interactive, responsive, screen-viewing experience that had the same aesthetic as the physical 8×10 printed book that I designed. This meant the same typography styles and color scheme, and a simple, clean layout that referenced the layouts I used in the book, but adapted for the web viewing experience, taking into account things like the ability to scroll and needing to look good on screen sizes changing from a large desktop to a potential employer’s small smartphone.

Working Magic-Chap1

PortfolioWebsiteIf you are interested in viewing more of my portfolio book, you can find it online on issuu, and my online portfolio is at www.rebecca-wright.com.

To Resolve

I just stumbled across the To Resolve Project by Chris Streger. A little late for 2014, but I decided to jump on the bandwagon anyway—it’s still the first week of the new year, after all! Here’s Streger’s description of his project: “You create a list, stuff it away in a drawer and it never sees the light of day till the year has passed. I decided to ask as many talented designers I knew (or didn’t know) to create a resolution for the new year as an iPhone background.” It’s so smart, because lets face it, putting it on my phone makes it a practically constant reminder of my resolution!

I decided my main resolution for this year was to focus on finishing my thesis project, and really power through so I can graduate in May. Rather ironically, I designed this iPhone background reminder for myself while was supposed to be working on my thesis project…

No Distractions | Chase Your Dreams, Rebecca Wright

Download this design for iPhone 5 (left) or iPhone 4 (right). All work copyright Rebecca Wright:

ToResolve_NoDistractions_iPhone5    ToResolve_NoDistractions_iPhone4iOS7

Here’s a collection of some of my favorite designs from 2014 and the design archives at toresolveproject.com. They seemed to group themselves into a few themes—using technology, changing actions, and being a better person.

Using Technology

Step Away, Riley Cran, 2012Step Away by Riley Cran, 2012 (iPhone 4)

Make Shit By Hand, Cory Roberts, 2012Make Shit by Hand by Cory Roberts, 2012 (iPhone 4)

Put Down Yer Friggin' Phone Already, Curtis Jinkins, 2011Put down yer friggin’ Phone already! by Curtis Jinkins, 2011 (iPhone 4)

Just Do It!

See New Sights, Justin Mezzell, 2014See New Sights by Justin Mezzell, 2014 (iPhone 5)

Continue reading To Resolve