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.
Compared to my last project the data for this one was more straightforward to collect. I didn’t have to do any kind of calculations in Excel to find my numbers. They were all listed on my source websites. However, this project was much more technically challenging when it came to creating my maps. The map of Yellowstone, for example, was incredibly detailed and I tried to replicate that as best I could. This meant I spent the majority of my time working on this project creating my locator of the park. Overall, I’m extremely happy with how it turned out, but I didn’t need to invest ass much time as I did.
I feel like my biggest mistake on this project was not effectively planning out the series of maps on the right of my graphic. The US maps were much larger than I anticipated and forced me to cramp the entire feature. I was originally planning another map showing publicly held bison herds, but I didn’t have room for it. It is also the reason for the hard to read text on the bottom map as well.
The charts project proved to be a challenging having never experimented with Illustrator’s chart tool before this class. The thought of also working with numbers made me anxious at first, but I am glad I have expanded my skills in Excel with this exercise. For this project, I decided to use the sports team, the Chicago Blackhawks. I’ve grown up watching the Hawks and already knew a little about their history so I figured I would dive deeper into the true history of the team over the year. For my first graph, I did an area graph of the wins, losses and ties from since the ’90s. This particular graph showed the progression of the team’s records through the years. Because of the high population of international players in the NHL, my second graph was a pie graph of the home countries from the players. I decided to take advantage of other design skills and put a 3D effect on the graph to make it a hockey puck. The third graph was a horizontal stacked bar chart of the number of goals and assists from the top 15 players of the 2016-2017 season. For other style choices, I decided to use the five colors from the Blackhawks logo, green, yellow, red, orange and brown. I also used my favorite san serif typeface, Avenir Next Condensed. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this project and loved learning more about Adobe Illustrator and Excel along the way.
For our first project I decided to look at the economics of beer. I charted market share, the number of people employed and the average salary by state, and the liquor sales by month. I gave myself a lot of time to complete the project because I started thinking about my idea and gathering research early, but that didn’t help me to avoid all stress. I found so much data it was confusing and overwhelming. I had a hard time picking a theme for the project and examining the data. I got frustrated at times because analyzing the data and deciding what to chart is the hardest part of the process for me. Sometimes numbers don’t click in my head and I just end up confused and frustrated. Once I decided what to chart, I struggles a little with the layout. This chart was too big, that one didn’t fit, and this one’s alignment was off. After tweaking it quite a few times, I settled on a layout I liked and added colors, call outs, and style. Over all I enjoyed this project because we had so much control over the content, and working through the struggles I had throughout the process forced me to learn and figure it out.
My goal is that you will leave this class with a solid understanding of what constitutes an effective informational graphic as well as the ability to render a variety of different types of graphics, from serious news stories to light-hearted features, from the clear and direct to the complex and engrossing.
You will learn the history of graphics, their prominence in today’s media and their promise for the future. You will develop and refine your visual skills, enhancing your ability to illustrate and design so that your graphics have maximum impact and help readers/users better comprehend important events, draw in the curious with essential and arresting visual information and lead them skillfully through complex data in a logical and appealing way.
We will focus on building skills to report and write for graphics, create valuable data sets that we can turn into charts, isolate key information and focus on how best to convey that information in a visual way. We will concentrate on developing your fundamental knowledge of reporting and producing infographics. This class is a design class, a drawing class AND a reporting class, and as such, there is a focus on building skills in a variety of programs. As you are undertaking new tools in this class, please remember: everything can be learned, and in a class like this, learning new skills will open up worlds of possibilities.
While we will spend a good deal of our time learning how to use software, it is learning the principles of graphic journalism — the ability to identify and represent information in a compelling visual way — that will prove more valuable. This is a “hands-on” course, but the computers are only a part of the equation. This class will stress the importance of responsible and intelligent journalism along with the importance of developing your ability to produce high-quality visuals.