Pentagon Remains the Largest US Government Building

Pentagon remains largest US government building
Click this image to view my diagram

The Pentagon is one of the most recognizable buildings in the United States. Its massive size and unique shape has always fascinated me, as well as its function as the headquarters for the US Department of Defense. The Pentagon is known as the “city within a city” because of the amount of employees that walk through its corridors each day (about 23,000 people).

For this project, I chose to diagram the Pentagon as though it were being seen from directly above. It’s made of five levels of five rings with ten corridors connecting each ring. Despite its size, it’s said that it only takes about seven minutes to walk between any two points. For this graphic, I wanted to keep it simple and clean. I chose to add a timeline as a supplement to give more background information on the building and age of the Pentagon.

Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out, and it gave me the opportunity to do more background research on something I have great interest in.


Affordable Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

For this diagram project, I decided to do a process diagram visualizing ways college students could reduce their carbon footprint in an affordable manner! This project was inspired by a media and the environment course I have taken this semester; in the course, we have watched many videos and clips highlighting the vast amount of issues our environment faces today. The issue that dominated the majority of the course was the topic of global warming and climate change. While learning about the issues has been an eye-opening experience, many of the movies and clips we have watched do a lot of “scaring” the audience without much focus on what we can actually DO to help these issues. My increased awareness left me with much concern for our environment, without much knowledge on how I can help on a day to day basis; so, that is why I wanted to conduct my own research on this topic and create a graphic that could inspire people to implement these positive changes into their everyday lives.

Initially, I wanted to explain where electricity come from and show more graphics about how greenhouse gases are released into the air – but in the interest of space and the true purpose of my diagram, I decided to leave it out. I concluded that diagrams showcasing the inter workings of energy plants could have been an entirely different project all on its own. My primary purpose for this project was to inform readers of ways they can personally take action, so I tried to  give a quick informational summary of the link between energy plants and climate change instead.

Also, I chose to do a slightly different style with this project. Some of the things that inspired my to take this class were the stylish infographics seen in magazines and especially on Pinterest, so I wanted to design a compelling visual headline that would capture the attention of readers both in a newspaper or floating around on the web. I also wanted the diagram to look friendly, because it is a positive infographic of ways to help an unfortunate reality.

This project definitely gave me the most practice with drawing in Illustrator than any other project I’ve done for a design class. I wanted to include two to three visuals for each mini “step” to align with the three column layout (as part of a larger 6 column grid). I tried to make each graphic adhere to the overall visual style, with partial shading and a coherent color scheme. I really like how the overall look of the piece turned out. As usual, I underestimated how long these drawings would take me – some of the drawings (like the bus, the bike, the car, the air conditioner) were fairly time consuming, but I think the end result was worth it.

In the future, I hope I get to create different kinds of diagrams in my design career because this was definitely my favorite project yet. I loved getting to draw many visuals for the design and apply the proper color scheme to unite the whole page.

If I were to do this again, maybe if it were not for a print publication, I think I would include a very simple mini-diagram of where electricity comes from. I didn’t want to take space away from my true purpose of the design for this project, but on a longer art board I think it could be a nice touch.

Continue reading “Affordable Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint”

Face ID Faces Backlash

Infographic about Face ID, the iPhone X, and previous iterations of the iPhone.
Click here to see the full-sized PDF.

In less than a week after being released, the iPhone X’s Face ID was cracked by Vietnamese security firm Bkav after Apple continuously reassured users that the facial recognition system was more secure than Face ID. Using only plastic, silicone, paper, and makeup, the firm was able to crack Apple’s $1,000 flagship phone with a $150 mask. Security experts are now questioning Apple’s new security system citing the company’s claim that Face ID was trained against hyper-realistic masks used in Hollywood productions.

The focus of my graphic is how Face ID works in the iPhone X as I’ve noticed that many have some misconceived ideas about how it operates. It seems that many people are wondering how it’s supposed to work in the dark and if it can be unlocked with just a picture, so I thought it would be nice to create something informative that I’m also interested in.

I spend my free time watching product reviews, reading about new tech trends, and learning about innovative technology so I decided to translate my interests into a graphic. I’ve been wanting to do a graphic with a dark color scheme and technology and dark themes tend to go very well together. I also decided to introduce a new font called “Exo” for this graphic because I think it worked better than Benton Sans for the tech theme I was envisioning. While making it, I imagined tech websites, advertisements, and full-page graphics in magazines to gain some perspective on how to pull off a diagram explaining technical features and specifications.

While I created most of my drawings in Illustrator, I also used 3D modeling to create a wireframe of a person’s face and depict the process of how Face ID breaks down the user’s face into a mathematical model. Because I’m currently taking a course in virtual reality design, I already knew how to use Blender to create 3D objects. Of course, I still had to consult Google to figure out how to export just the wireframe of the mesh without any textures. After my image was finished rendering, I wanted to make it look futuristic by giving it a bright blue glow. While I like how the wireframe turned out, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the glow and ended up wanting more than Photoshop would give me.

I had a very clear idea in my head about how I wanted the graphic to look and I’d say that most of it translated well into illustrator. However, I do think that the graphic ended up a little text heavy in the section where it discusses how Face ID works. Trying to decide what’s important for the reader to know and what isn’t was probably one of the most difficult parts in creating this graphic, but when viewing the graphic in its entirety I think the section still works.

Lastly, after the graphic was completed I was kind of surprised to realize that my favorite section actually turned out to be the accompanying graphic at the bottom of the page where it depicts the major features and innovations found in previous iPhones. That wasn’t originally part of my vision, but I’m glad that I added it because I think it helps to complete the graphic by adding another layer to the exploration of flagship features in Apple’s smartphone line-up.

Diagram: How to learn freestyle swimming

Click to see the full version fo my work

It was a great experience to work on the diagram. My topic is to use this diagram to teach beginner swimmers that how they can freestyle swim step by step.

I break up the steps into 8 steps and order it by numbers through 1 to 8. I also add descriptions of the movement to each step. I think in this way, people can follow and understand the diagram easily and clearly.

In this diagram, I chose the main theme color as blue, not only because the water is water, but I also want to give my audiences and relax feeling of looking at this diagram.  For the text of headline, explainer, and label, I chose to use the greyish blue because people can clearly see this color of text on the light blue background, but it still matches perfectly with the main color theme. For the text of the main graph, I use very light blue and white color on the bottom of the grapy because I can these two texts stand out, but not too sharp. For the text of the graph text, I chose to use the dark grey because it is not sharp like black, but we can also see it clearly on the graph.

Graphing the swimmer is not easy because everybody has many different parts, and some parts are overlapping on others. However, I really enjoy the process of drawing the swimmer and I feel my drawing skill has been improved by doing this assignment.

I love the design concept of the simplicity, I want my audience can understand what content I want to express easily.  I really enjoy this assignment, and I hope I can improve more after this class.

What are dumplings made out from?

Click the image to view my full diagram!
Do this project encountered many difficulties, drawing the three-dimensional of food is the hardest part.
I choose to draw dumplings because the new year is approaching, dumplings are one of the indispensable food for the year, representing the good luck and auspicious. About dumplings I tried to draw a variety of dumplings but in the picture of the plane they don’t looks like real dumplings. Finally I abandoned to copy dumplings in photo and painted it by myself. The recipe font uses Noteworthy font that looks like the handwriting, allowing the font and recipe to be unified, while also adding some fun.
About the composition, my favorite part  is to put dumplings on the steamer and hang the lid at top. 
Using AI to paint is really difficult, which needs more experience and practice, but I learned a lot in this semester. 

How Websites are Made

Click to expand

For my explanatory diagram, I chose a topic near and dear to me — web development. Recently I’ve had a number of friends ask me to explain how websites are made, so I decided to use this project as a way to explore how I might explain websites—and how they can be accessed on the Internet—are created.

My explanatory diagram walks through an extremely simplified and non-technical explanation of a website’s basic structure: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. As well as, what the typical web surfer sees and how those coded files get uploaded so that they’re accessible.

Overall, I found the diagram portion of our class to be the most challenging since it often required the most creativity and free-handed drawing. Although, I now have much deeper appreciation for the illustrated explanatory graphics I see in publications.


Dylan Lowe's Diagram Graphic
Click this image to see a PDF of my work.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in those who have dealt with repetitive head trauma. This includes those in the military, wrestlers, hockey, boxing, and many others. In my graphic I focused on CTE cases in football players. The only way to diagnose CTE is through an autopsy, when it’s far too late. Symptoms include problems with speech, memory and motor function, along with depression, anxiety, and impulsivity.

This is a major issue because many higher-ups in the NFL believe helmets can be made to prevent CTE, when they can’t. 27% of those diagnosed with mild CTE took their own life. Are these sports worth the debilitating conditions and death?

This graphic was a difficult one for me to start, and didn’t come out exactly as I hoped. However, I do think it is successful in getting across its point. I tried to emphasize color where the collision occurred, and used corresponding colors for the facts on the right side. I then took the viewer step by step through the anatomy of a concussion, which is the basis of how CTE starts. I went through a few iterations, but ultimately chose this option because it led the viewers eye from left to right; allowing them to read the background information, analyze the graphic, and then finish off their experience with the statistics.

Overall I’m happy with how the graphic turned out, and how it tells the story.

Walk Though the Red: Experience a traditional Chinese Wedding as a bride







I really enjoy working on the diagram project since this project indicates drawing and creativity a lot. At the beginning, I have an intention of making a graphic related to Chinese culture. I believe cultural communication is essential in the society today. cultural communication can help ppl understand each other and reduce conflict.

The main focus of this diagram is presenting the basic process of a Chinese traditional wedding ceremony. I choose to use red because it is a symbol color of Chinese culture and Chinese wedding culture. In the graphic, I also including elements of traditional style Chinese furniture to represent the atmosphere of history and tradition. I choose future because the round angle gives me feeling of delightful and also round have a metaphor meaning in China as the achievement.

I was pretty familiar with this subject since I watched lots of video and have conduct culture events for more than 3 years. When I first start, I determine what step of the marriage I want to show, which I choose an essential part. I went google image and find the related subject and draw the essential element in the photo. Later, I try to organize the drawing and think about the labeling.

The drawing part is a challenge since I only have experience once in the Design 1 class. Learning how to reduce the element in the photos but still represent the item accurately is a challenging task.

The shortcoming of this graphic is its layout. There are lots of information to share with the audience and I think the text information is necessary. Thus, the page seems a bit crowded.

The strong point of this graphic is the color using which not only united the content together while presenting the metaphor of red.

I am really existed for making more culture related graphic.


Shake This Up Graphic

Milkshake graphic
Click image to view full graphic

For my diagram project, I wanted to change subjects. I have been focusing on Tom Petty but I wanted to do something little bit more fun. I just got my wisdom teeth out and have been eating milkshakes left and right so I decided to make that the focus of my last project.

I have to say, I am really proud of the finished piece. Out of all our projects in this class, this one is by far my favorite. I really enjoyed doing the entire process for this project, from researching, to using the pen tool, and creating a layout. A fun topic definitely helped.

I had a difficult time with the layout and how I wanted to visualize this. I knew I wanted to include basic steps with ingredients but also, some finished milkshake flavors. My solution was to split the page and use a divider. I think this was the best way to make it readable and understandable. I think next time I would like to play more with the treatment of the headline and copy. I think this can be done in a more creative way but I didn’t want to overpower the focus of the graphic with a busy headline.

I think this will make a great portfolio piece that I genuinely enjoyed doing.

Breaking down a fine-tuned classic

My diagram
Click on the image to see my full illustration.

I’m pretty proud of this final project. I started by finding many reference images and other diagrams to see what the inside of a piano looks like, and I combined aspects of several different references to create my own.

The overall style of this piece is more magazine-oriented than my previous projects, which I personally prefer, with the more decorative callouts and flat-colored illustration.

I considered adding more highlights to the outside casing of the piano, and I played around with flat shapes or the gradient mesh tool, but I preferred a more simplistic style. I think one of the hardest things about diagramming complex objects is simplifying it enough to be easily understood and so readers can apply it to many different versions of what you’re portraying. Pianos vary by make and model, so I wanted to focus on the basics of what every piano will have.

I could have done a more decorative type treatment, but wanted to stick to my established typography style for this class.