Graphic Design Portfolio


Coding an Advent Calendar: Day 1

This year, I decided to create an Advent Calendar website in HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. My hopes for the site are to showcase some of my frontend development abilities as well as make something fun, functional, and reusable (for the next year, and the next year, and the next year, etc). Day One The goal …

Trying to Brand a Country? Don’t depend on an Adjective to do it.

This is a post the official Korea Tourism Organization had on their Facebook wall recently.

If you could pick only ONE word to describe Korea, what would it be?^^
I had read at the beginning of the year that Korea is going to be rebranding its tourism campaign and logo, after the not-so-great “Korea, Sparkling” that InterBrand came up with. Additionally, I know that the government formed a whole organization just to deal with the rebrand.
But, I think there are a few things that are inherently wrong with trying to label a whole country with a SINGLE word.
  1. No country, city, person, object, or even color (how many “blues” are there?) can be adequately described with a single word – especially not an all-encompassing, generic word.
  2. Countries are naturally combinations of thousands of elements, traditions, characteristics, and experiences. To try and describe them all with ONE word is like trying to paint the Sistine Chapel with a single color of paint.
  3. Adjectives, even those that sound specific (“Incredible India” anyone?), are far too generic and can be applied to any number of other countries, or positive AND negative experiences (“Incredibly terrible service at that restaurant.” or “Is Japan really as incredible as people claim?”).
  4. Any single word (or country) may be misunderstood by a reader. Take “Korea, Sparkling” for example. Many tourists thought it meant “sparkling soda.” Take “Korea” for another example. Many Americans immediately think of North Korea whenever that word is mentioned. The connotations of both of these aren’t beneficial to a tourism campaign.
So, I have a suggestion:
If you’re thinking about a new Tourism brand, why not use a verb, rather than an adjective?

Superman Returns’ Box Office Mojo: Wimpy. Doesn’t The Man of Steel deserve better?

I think that most fans of Superman are in favor of elevating the Superman brand with a new movie, likely in 3-D and iMAX. The original Superman movies originally took off on the big screen to big reviews – Rotten Tomatoes reports a 94% approval rating for the original Superman (Rotten Tomatoes), an 88% approval for Superman II (Rotten Tomatoes), and an 83% rating for the Richard Donner cut of Superman II which was released in 2006 (Rotten Tomatoes). Compare that to the 76% rating they show for Superman Returns, also released in 2006, and the very low 23% rating for Superman III, and 10% rating for Superman IV (Rotten Tomatoes). I think it is very apparent that Superman is due for a big comeback on the silver screen. My own BHAG and BHIs reflect this sentiment.


Isn’t a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) with a numerically measurable goal better than a short, simple slogan?

I first posted about BHAGs and BHIs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals and Big, Hairy Ideas) regarding the Superman brand. Let me get a little more specific with the BHAGs portion by saying that I think it is a great idea to use a percentage to quantify BHAGs – i.e. Increase XX by YY%. It can really help make a goal visible, targetable, and reachable, and it gives everyone involved with the brand something to shoot for. One of my classmates posted a great article with great references for different types of BHAGs: Target, Common Foe, Role Model, and Internal Transformation. Numbers can held add depth and meaning to any of these kinds of BHAGs.

On the other hand, as I was also researching BHAGs, I also noticed that not every BHAG I’d seen was measurable – like Microsoft’s, “A computer on every desk and in every home” (Microsoft, 2002), or Twitter’s “To become the ‘Pulse of the Planet.'” (Schonfeld, 2009). It is definitely interesting to see the different ways BHAGs can be used. Often the shortest and simplest are the most focused and easiest to keep in mind.


One Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal and Three Big, Hairy Ideas to Make Superman a Truly Iconic GLOBAL Superhero

BHAG: Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal

BHAG: To make Superman the de-facto, number one, iconic superhero throughout the globe, particularly in the G20 and OECD countries, by increasing his presence and visibility overseas 100% (doubled) over the next 2 years in preparation for a worldwide release of The Man of Steel in 2012, in which he saves the WORLD and not just America. To increase international ticket sales of The Man of Steel by 100% (doubled to $382 million (Box Office Mojo)) over that of its predecessor Superman Returns in 2006.


A Brief Brand Analysis of the Superman Brand


The top three brand attributes of the Superman brand are: Invincible, Idealistic, and Inspirational. The term “invincible” adequately describes Superman’s strength, durability, indestructible nature, and god-like power. Superman is “idealistic” in that he conforms to an ultimate standard of morality and excellence, even at times to his own detriment. Superman is “inspirational” because his strength and power, and righteousness and character, can and do inspire others to live better lives.


The promises of the Superman brand can be summed up by his actions. He always fights for what’s right, does not stand to see injustice prevail, will not resort to evil to overcome evil, always takes the high road though it cost more, and is always consistent in character: a solid rock of morality.


Brand “You”: Find out about Me

For one assignment in my class, we were required to read a very interesting article called “The Brand Called You” that was published by Fast Company back in 1997. I find that the things Tom Peters writes about in there are no less pertinent today than they were then, and in fact they are more so. There is also a great follow-up article on Fast Company here called “Brand You Survival Kit.” Thinking about “Brand Me” was an interesting challenge, as it is difficult sometimes to look at yourself from an outside perspective and really analyze and consider who you are and where you’re going. Therefore, writing in the third-person was an integral part of this assignment. Below, you can read a little about “Brand Me.” (more…)

This is Korea: Mood Board Design for Tourism Promotion

I created this mood board with the specific purpose of thinking about tourism from the perspective of a Western traveler who wants to take a vacation, but has little understanding about Korea. I find that the biggest problem most Western people have with Korea is a misunderstanding of it. When I say “Korea,” most people look surprised and ask me “North Korea?” Or, if they understand that South Korea is the one I’m referring to, they ask me, “What is it like with North Korea?” Most people from the Western world are so concerned with and focused on North Korea, that they miss the beauty that is South Korea. Therefore, I chose the words (and potential logo) in the top right corner of the mood board, “This is Korea.” I think that most people don’t fully understand what Korea truly is.


Working for Friends and Family: Good Idea, or Terrible Idea?

I always have a tough time saying no to designing for friends and family. It’s really hard to explain these complications to your dear grandmother who simply wants a logo for her newsletter. You could easily be misunderstood, and come across as lazy or discourteous. –Classmate

I really agree with that statement about working for friends and family. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences like that. In my last post, I made “Mom and Dad” the difficult clients that were trying to negotiate a sweet deal on a website (and many other things). Although that exact situation has never happened to me, I’ve had friends who have experienced that (my uncle offered his son $20 for $500 worth of professional photography – and got it because his son still lives at home and he fell into the “family trap”).

Working for friends and family is always a difficult situation. Many people say, “never, EVER, do it” while others say that it’s OK. And sometimes, as the earlier quote mentions, “You could easily be misunderstood, and come across as lazy or discourteous” if you don’t help out your friends and family. (more…)

Stay Safe by Sending Clients Lo-Res Images Before they Finalize Payment for Your Design Work

One classmate wrote some great advice:

When working with some pesky clients, instead of a contract, I will simply hold on to all high res files/printed pieces until full payment is received…

I think those are excellent ideas there. I fully agree that it is always important to hold on to all high-resolution files, and completed materials until full payment is received. I’ve done this in my freelancing work as well, and have never run into a problem. Even though a client may complain about critiquing a low-resolution print design as they “can’t see the sharpness and quality of the images,” sending them lo-res images will prevent them from just printing them without paying you.


All About Design Contracts: From 99designs.com to Lawyers to Writing one out Yourself

I’ve never actually worked or freelanced under a true contract. The only clients I’ve worked with have been my church – on a volunteer basis – and a few individuals. Most of the individuals didn’t request a contract, and because I was quite new to freelancing at the time, I didn’t think to create one. Also, the website I won most of my work through then (99designs.com) had their own kind of informal “contracts.”


The Importance of Targeting Different Audience Demographics

In my previous post, I started talking a bit about understanding and targeting different demographics and considering various audiences a company may want to market to. This post is a little more on that topic, and uses TOMS shoes as an example.

By implementing shoes that represent musical artists, the teenage demographic would be sure to love them. — Classmate

I think this is a great point about TOMS shoes. I think it is important to consider our audiences when designing and take into account the different things that interest them or might attract them to the company or product.