The Effort



For our final project, we were paired up with another student from a different department in a class where they were responsible for promoting a short move they had produced. We were in charge of making the poster and EPK (electronic press kit) for the movie.The movie I was responsible for, The Effort, is about a young man who is learning guitar in order to continue and honor his late father’s memory. But as he is learning, however, an internal conflict arises as he realizes that maybe he’s only doing this out of guilt and not because he actually wants to. So the movie is a drama and the colors present in it are dark and muddy. I tried my best to reflect those colors in both the poster and EPK.

The producer was definitely in favor of a simple design, which I agreed with, so I kept it as simple as possible without going generic. So I started finding images with extreme shadows in order to reflect the dramatic tones within the story. I then, of course, needed to incorporate the guitar because it is the focal point of the story, literally and symbolically. I then muted all the colors, again to reflect those that are seen within the movie itself.

The hardest part for this project was finding the right fonts for both pieces. I am quite happy with the font used in the poster. I feel it reflect the grittiness and personal touch of the story. My partner was quite helpful and collaboration was an enjoyable experience.

What Goes Where



This was a practice, in class assignment on layout. The subject of the story was highlighting the special speakers that were invited to come to Columbia College Chicago’s graduation ceremonies. After hearing some feedback and looking back at it after some time, I definitely would have added more space at the bottom between the text and end of the page. And I also would have brought the last column of text a little more up. A short explanation under the headline probably would have been an ideal addition too. Other than those changes, I am happy with how this layout turned out. I limited the number of different type faces to two and kept colors to a minimum. I usually don’t include circles in professional layouts, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try it this time.

After learning everything I have so far in regards to composition and layout, this assignment was relatively easy and enjoyable. It definitely gave me even more experience with making choices for a reason, instead of simply just making it look “cool.” I hope to continue working on pieces like this to really hone my skills in creating a pleasing composition that also complements the story inside.

Never Cross A Lady



For this assignment, we had to produce an infographic a specific topic. My teacher suggested we do serial killers, since that has been a successful topic over the years. So I decided to do some research on female serial killers that were active during the 1900s. I had to find a current theme among them and I noticed many were linked by children. That is where I started picking specific people I wanted to include in this graphic. The aspects that we needed were: a headline, blurb, body, source line, and credit line.

Again, figuring out what graphics I wanted was the most challenging part. I looked at other infographics about serial killers to see if any sparked some inspiration. I pulled bits and pieces of several ideas from different ones and tried to form a coherent look that didn’t seem like I was just putting random murder-related objects together. Since they were all female, I decided to use the female silhouette we commonly see on women’s restroom doors. I then divided the bodies up into sections (subtly hinting at what some target practices look like), and the finishing touch was the bloody knife I couldn’t help but add in.

After some feedback, I realized including Juana Barraza was somewhat of a stretch compared to the other serial killers’ relation to children. That would be the most significant thing I would change.

It was an enjoyable assignment because I got to do all the research I needed and saw how it all came together in a graphic form. This was a much more interesting way to not only present information, but also collect it. Instead of just retyping whatever I researched, I was able to put a creative twist on and keep the interest going.

Direct Me



For our midterm, the goal was to design a homepage for a website about any topic of our choosing. The only mandatory details we needed were: a minimum of three pictures, a headline, categories, advertisements, and a logo. This assignment proved to be more difficult than I originally planned. This was my first time ever designing anything layout-wise for the web. Thinking of the subject was probably the easiest part of the process. The layout of the subjects and the color scheme were the most challenging experiences.

Looking back at it, I can admit it is a relatively generic looking website, but I am content with it being my first attempt. After choosing Chicago neighborhood entertainment as the topic, the color scheme was my next concern. Blue, red, and white were the first ones to come to mind since those are the colors on the Chicago flag, so I decided to keep that theme. The largest struggle I had was trying to find a balance between white space and additional content. I did not want it to seem cluttered, but there was also the risk of seeming empty. In retrospect, I could have added other social media outlets or other pictures to fill up some more space. It was definitely a learning experience and helped me become more aware of the choices I make in relation to scaling and color schemes.

Documenting Humanity


For another assignment, we were to create a photo sideshow of a specific event, process, activity, etc. I chose to document the annual CHIditarod. This is an event that takes place in the Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village areas. It’s a neighborhood food fundraising event that involves groups of volunteers dressing up in whatever theme they want and racing other groups. This event is supposed to somewhat mock the sled dog races in Alaska (the Iditarod), hence the name. Instead of racing with sleds and dogs, however, racers come up with a fun theme for their group and race with their decorated shopping cart. It’s a highly energetic event with an enormous amount of different costumes and personalities. And to top it all off, it is for a great cause.

This was quite an enjoyable assignment because not only was I able to do what I love (photojournalism), but I was able to be even more creative and mix that passion with other media such as sound and text. I realized I desperately need to work on my captioning skills and I definitely could have changed the movement of a few images, but I was pretty happy with the final product.

This is a link to the video itself, enjoy!

Preserving Memories

graphic design, Uncategorized

This assignment was my most enjoyable so far. We were given a choice of four different photographs, each needing some form of restoration, whether with color or markings. I chose this one because I enjoyed the content of the image the most. We had to use only Photoshop to fix the image. Luckily, being a Photography major, I am quite familiar with Photoshop and also enjoy fixing photos in order to accurately preserve the memory it represents. The first step was to clean up the background of the photo; so I cropped in to the black lines and extended the plain, sepia toned background on top to make an even end. The most helpful and important tool for this assignment was the clone stamp tool in Photoshop. The background and the woman’s face were the easiest parts, while the man’s face posed somewhat of a challenge. In the shadow area of his face, I had to be especially careful near the ear area and make sure the differentiating shadows did not get messed up by cloning. In the end, I was quite happy with the outcome and how close to natural and clean I managed to get the shadows to look.

After getting rid of all the unwept spots, I just did some contrast adjustments to add a little more to the image. But I definitely made sure to keep the sepia tone to the photograph because it seems to add character and depth to the image.

The Right Tone

graphic design, Uncategorized

For this assignment, we were given a choice of four different images and told to choose one to tone and crop, in order to create a stronger image. I chose this image because the composition of the old man in the patches of light in the shadows really caught my eye. I decided I wanted to make the older man the main focus of the image and get rid of all the other distracting elements within the environment. There were many ways I could have chosen to crop this image, but I really wanted to highlight the individuality of the man. Of course I honored the rule of thirds and decided to keep him out of the center of the photo. The texture of the bench and the interacting shadows were the other interesting part of the image, which is why I chose to crop it in a way that closely looked at the bench and the emptiness next to the man. Reflecting on this now, however, I feel I should have incorporated more of the shadows on the pavement in the lower half of the picture. This would likely create a more pleasing composition.

Toning for this image was relatively easy. Being a Photography major, I am very familiar with the best ways to color correct and tone photographs. There was not much of a color caste of any sort, so the main aspects I focused on was the contrast. I tried making the shadows slightly more dramatic so the bits of light would pop more, but I also had to pay special attention to the man’s face and make sure the changes in highlights and shadows were not distorting his face or skin tone. Overall, however, it was an enjoyable assignment that helped me critique my cropping skills and why I chose the way I did.

Copy Cat

graphic design, Uncategorized

The third assignment we were given was to replicate a page of a magazine as closely as possible. We were only able to use Times New Roman and Helvetica fonts, Times for Serif  and Helvetica for Sans-Serif type. This definitely helped me learn much more about InDesign and made me pay more attention to specific details. The one on the left is the original and the right is my replication. The most difficult part of this assignment was to pay special attention to the spacing in between each letter (kerning) and the space between each line (leading). Another challenge was getting the graphics and colors to look the same also. There are some details in the green header I would change/add to get it closer to the original, but other than that I was pretty happy with the red graphic near the headline of the page. This assignment really opened my eyes to how much special attention to detail goes into creating a layout for a page and how the smallest change can affect the whole tone or flow of the piece.

Color My Soul

graphic design, Uncategorized

This is the second assignment from Visual Communication. It resembles the first assignment except we were supposed to use colors and shapes to reflect a certain mood or personality trait about ourselves. My goal was to create a subtle energy about the piece. Again, I wanted to incorporate contrasting shapes without making it seem cluttered or out of place. Cool colors have always been more interesting to me than warm ones, so it was an easy choice in which theme of colors I wanted to use. The use of cool colors I hoped would reflect a calmness about my personality, but the use of yellow and white was to add a simple energy too it without being too obnoxious. The circles I felt also added a simple calming or easy-going feel to the design. Overall, I am very happy with the outcome. At first the background was black, but i am so glad I made the last minute decision to change it to the dark blue because it made the design much more cohesive.This assignment definitely helped my comfortability with InDesign grow. Color_Kurek.jpg

My World Without Color

graphic design, Uncategorized

This was the first assignment of my Visual Communication class. Overall, I am quite happy with how it turned out, especially since this was my first time using InDesign at all. I have always been drawn to jagged and repeating lines. I also enjoy contrasting shapes paired together, such as circles and squares, as I show here. In the beginning, it was somewhat difficult to determine exactly how I wanted this design to look, especially since I sometimes struggle with making the composition asymmetrical. But I fought against my temptation to make a central focal point and am much happier with how it looks. If there was one thing I would change it would be the fact that there isn’t an obvious focal point; your eye tends to jump around without knowing exactly which part to mainly focus on. Project1_BW_Kurek