Week 3: Typography & Expression

This week I used the typography techniques and design concepts we learned in class to redesign an airplane ticket.  We were given a real boarding pass to reformat (Figure 1).

  Figure 1

Figure 1

This boarding pass is clearly lacking any consistency in its typographic elements and its element placement.  The information is hard to decipher from a user perspective and the elements that are important to the user are mixed with the elements that are unimportant for the user to understand.  All of these aspects make the design of the boarding pass unsuccessful.  The goal of a boarding pass should be to convey to the user all of the elements they need to get through the correct checkpoints within an airport.  In a way, the boarding pass should act as a primary way finding tool for the user to guide them through their travels.  All of the unnecessary information may be important for the airlines but should not interfere with the instructions that the user requires.  To begin my redesign process I made a list of the most important elements that the boarding pass conveys to the ticket holder.  I then tried to put these elements in the order that the ticket holder might need from the beginning of their travels to the end.  Once I had this list I began to think about a grid system that would make sense for this ticket format.  Figure 2 shows this process.

  Figure 2

Figure 2

 Since the right side of the ticket would eventually be ripped off, the information in that area should be dedicated to the personal information like your seat number and zone.  On the left side, I wanted to divide the space into two main sections and clearly indicate what is important information for the ticket holder and what is not.  Keeping these two grids in mind, I came up with a general solution shown in Figure 3

  Figure 3

Figure 3

This design keeps all of the personal information on the right side of the ticket, all of the general flight information that you might need through the airport on the left side in a clear box and all of the less important information below the box.  The final design is shown in Figure 4.

  Figure 4

Figure 4

Here shaded boxes stand out with the information that the ticket holder needs throughout the travel processes.  The right side contains the personal information with the zone and seat numbers in bold.  If the user has TSA PreCheck, it is clearly indicated in red.  The order of this information is generally in the order you may need it.  On the left side the same is true.  When you first get your boarding pass, most people check the board to make sure that their flight is on time or their gate hasn't changed.  So the flight information is clearly indicated in the box on the left so the user can easily find it as they need it.  The information that is not as important to the user in on the bottom of the ticket in smaller font.  The top row has information about the origin, destination and the date.  Presumably the user will know this information, however it is at the top of this section in case they require it.  The two rows below contain all of the information for the airlines.  Since the QR scanner should pick up this information, it is not usually necessary so it is okay for the font to be small since it is rarely used.  Overall, I think this design is much cleaner, creates clear boxes to guide the users focus and uses a successful grid to organize the information. 

In addition to redesigning this boarding pass, I also experimented using Illustrator to create some expressive words.  The following figures show some examples of this exploration. 

Week 2: Signage

This week I explored signage around New York City.  I noticed that it was much easier to identify poor signage than it was to find good signage.  None the less, I still managed to find a few successful signs. Figure 1 shows a sign on a Javits Center door on the West Side Highway.  This sign clearly indicates that the freight delivery check in is through this door.  The large white font helps to indicate to truck drivers passing on the West Side highway where to pull over to check in.  The Javits Center symbol and name makes it clear that this check in area is meant for the Javits Center.

  Figure 1

Figure 1

Another effective sign I noticed was in an elevator (Figure 2).  I think the fire operation section of this elevator panel is quite effective.  It is red which pops out in the event of an emergency.  The location of the key hole helps to make sense of the “Normal”, “Hold”, and “Fireman Service” labels and how one might adjust the key to create an action.  The buttons to the left however could use some redesigning.  Presumably one makes a call while the other cancels the call, however this is not totally clear.

  Figure 2

Figure 2

Although I discovered many unsuccessful signs Figure 3&4 represent the two I thought were the least effective.  Figure 3 is a picture taken at the Franklin Street subway stop in Manhattan.  After Aretha Franklin died the MTA decided to put a tribute to her at this station with the title of her most famous song Respect.  I think that this a very poor sign.  The Respect sign follows the same style and layout as the modern station name signs throughout other New York City subway stations. However this is not a station name this is a tribute to Aretha Franklin.  To a tourist, this sign is very confusing.  The sign makes it seem like the station name is Respect.  The size of the Respect sign is also the same as the size of the Franklin St sign so you can't even use size hierarchy to differentiate the two.  While this was a lovely intention, the execution was definitely not successful.

  Figure 3:  (photo credit: https://nypost.com/2018/09/04/mta-honors-aretha-with-signs-at-franklin-avenue-subway-stops/)

Figure 3: (photo credit: https://nypost.com/2018/09/04/mta-honors-aretha-with-signs-at-franklin-avenue-subway-stops/)

Another unsuccessful sign that I noticed was for a hospital in the Bronx (Figure 4).  This sign is supposed to indicate the the Emergency entrance is to the right and there are other Hospital entrances to the right or left.  When I first saw this sign I did not realize that the 1st and 2nd Avenue arrows meant that there are Hospital entrances in both directions.  Instead, I thought that there was an emergency room entrance in either direction.  Especially because this sign is meant for very serious situations and for people who are in a hurry I think that it should be redesign so there is no mistaking where the emergency room entrance is.  Thus, I decided to redesign this sign.  The most important message that this sign needs to convey is the direction of the Emergency room.  Thus when the user first sees this sign, their eyes need to go the that message.  I think the red part of this sign actually does a good job of that.  However, if someone keeps reading the sign, they may get confused by the two other arrows.  Thus, I think that this should be split into two separate signs.  One sign should be for the emergency room entrance and the other should be for the hospital entrance.

  Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 5 shows my initial sketch for the redesign of this sign.

  Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6 shows the final result of the redesign.  I decided to use color and size of font to differentiate between the emergency room and the hospital signage.

  Figure 6

Figure 6

Week 1: Design Anaylsis of Other Half Brewery Labels


Other Half Brewery in Brooklyn, NY has a reputation for their creative labels which accompany their cleverly named beers.  Other Half collaborates with other well known breweries to develop a constant line of new beers.  As a result, they are constantly developing new labels.  My family has been going to Other Half for years and I have watch the creative minds develop new, but consistent labels.  A list of all the beers and labels can be found here.  Despite the amount of labels, Other Half does an amazing job sustaining a style for the labels. One way they keep this consistency is by categorizing the beers and thus the labels.  All of the beers with “mosaic” in the name have a distinct style while all of the beers with the name “shower” in the name have another style.  Some names combine two words with different styles, and thus the labels have aspects from each category.  

To highlight the design features in the Other Half labels I will focus on one of my favorite labels, the Mosaic Daydream IPA as shown in Figure 1.

  Figure 1 : Mosaic Daydream Label

Figure 1: Mosaic Daydream Label

This particular beer label is a good example of how Other Half combines the styles of two categories into one.  Since the beer is called the Mosaic Daydream the label takes from the labels that are in the Mosaic category and the Daydream category.  Figure 2 & 3 shows the labels for beers that are in the Mosaic and Daydream categories, respectively.  It is very apparent how the Mosaic Daydream IPA takes from both of these styles.  The pixelated, gradation pattern is taken from the Mosaic labels and the cloud grid is taken from the Daydream labels. 

The Mosaic Daydream label uses three layers, the Mosaic layer, the Daydream layer, and the text layer.  The Mosaic layer uses a diagonal color gradient to move from yellow to purple.  Figure 4 shows a simplified color pallet for the label that is largely represented on the Mosaic layer.

  Figure 4 : Color Pallet

Figure 4: Color Pallet

 The Daydream layer is represented in a grid pattern, Figure 5.  In order to connect these two base layers, the designers cleverly replaced the cloud closest to the yellow section of the label with a round sun.

  Figure 5 : Daydream Layer Grid

Figure 5: Daydream Layer Grid

 The final text layer is placed on top of all the layers and is centered in the lower left third of the label (Figure 6).  This text layer is consistent across all Other Half labels which allows for clear messaging.  The text is in a font called XIntnl Morse De Code which provides a clean read over the busier background.  For the Mosaic Daydream label, this is the only font that is used.  However, in other labels, Other Half will use different fonts to differentiate between the text layer and the other background layers.

  Figure 6 : Text Layer Grid

Figure 6: Text Layer Grid

Overall, this analysis has given me a deeper appreciation for the time Other Half takes to develop their labels and the design vocabulary they have created for their brand.