CATALYST

Graphic Design, Environmental Design and Branding
Project Overview
Tasked with designing the future materials for the exhibition of our choosing being housed at the SCAD Museum of art. Centered around the topic of our choosing, I eventually decided on wildfires because of my experience with wildfires during the 2020 summer. Before any visual communication is made, it was imperative to determine ‘the Story’ to ensure the success of a connection to the audience.
My Contributions
This project was done solely by me, however, it is important to emphasize the role of my classmates and professor for the duration of this project. As I went through the phases of this project (research, design, develop, deploy) my professor and classmates acted as the audience and investors, determining the success of my visual communication.
Timeline
September-November 2020
(10 Week Project)
My Roles
Research
Environmental Design
Graphic Design
Product Design
Project Manager
Team Members
Professor Jane Zash
Our entire Class
Wildfires
My initial research into the issue at hand.
Starting with secondary research and eventually doing a small amount of primary research with friends and family recently effected by wildfires. I found resources from historical accounts, recent studies, recent reports and personal accounts. After finding written resources I singled out impactful and unique words into attribute lists and developed mind maps to further my understanding. This afforded me with an abundance of words to use as my guiding factors for designing something which truly expressed the story of wildfires in the United States.

I then wrote this paragraph to summarize my research:

Who, or what, is to blame for the start of a wildfire? Natural forces, deliberate burning and human negligence can all be at fault for some of the world’s worst wildfires in history. Today the balance of growth and destruction has been troubled; fighting to restore an equilibrium in nature is the only way to protect earth, the place we call home. Time is ever fleeting and soon our world could face irreversible effects. It takes one catalyst, a break in the chain of events, to help reset our ecosystems homeostasis. This exhibition looks at the brutality of wildfires and the scars they leave behind, while demonstrating the regrowth offered in it’s wake. Scars are proof of healing.
The Problem
Who and what are we designing for?

Follow the process book for much more in depth design process:
Process book
With any exhibit it can be relatively easy to create graphics and narrative literature that appeals to someone who has always been interested in the topic. However, the challenge with this project was not only to develop and tell a compelling story, but tell a story which intrigues and interests people who may not necessarily care about wildfires. That means creating deliverables which are not only compelling to the target audience, but compelling to a random person walking along the street.

Additionally, the project required the creation and application of successful graphic design and literary elements on a number of different mediums. This started with developing the identity program and then applying it successfully to walls and exhibits, narrative literature and the product. This required successful application and pacing of single large page formats as well as multi-page books and prints.

The process book goes into detail and chronologically shows the process for this project. During the 10 week project, we worked on the process book to guide us chronologically, this means immense detail is in the process book and if you are curious about more of my design processes, go to the process book!
Ideation
Each project within the process book lays out the entire ideation process.
Suggested Changes
"Investor" insights can be extremely beneficial to creating a great final product.
  • Look beyond the obvious exhibit title "SMOTHERED"
  • Reduce the number of words to define your direction of storytelling
  • Develop some less literal mood boards
  • Explore different ways of creating the identity moodboard
Physical Exploration
Beyond drawing logotype ideas myself, I wanted to explore the real world and find inspiration in physical objects.
Final Comp
Testing
Testing my narrative literature and product on real users.
Final Changes
Suggested legibility and graphical changes to improve experience.
  • Have more fun with the pacing of the journals
  • Explore different ways to break up text in journals
  • Slightly bump up typeface sizes
  • Double check any spelling and grammar
  • Change legibility of text on images
Final Deliverables
After just ten weeks of class, I presented the final work.
The Process Book
Physical Prints
Being a virtual quarter prints were not required, however, I did a relatively inexpensive final print as a proof of concept.
View PDf
The entire Process
A more in depth and detailed look into the ENTIRE process.
Process book
Digital Deliverables
Sometimes the best way to show a product is with mock ups done digitally to enhance understanding.
GO to sEction
Reflecting on the project
What I would change, do differently or tweak looking back on the project.
Being my first rewarding virtual quarter due to COVID-19, this project gave me a new appreciation for graphic design and branding. Often times in UX design, our curriculum requires us to do many similar branding and graphic design but within maybe a week or less. Dedicating 10 weeks to this process was game changing and resulted in much greater storytelling and insight.

With that being said, there is always room for improvement. Although it was not a requirement for this class to write the copy for our project, I took it upon myself to write all the copy. The subject matter could be improved, especially with the journals which referenced recent wildfires. Furthermore, I found great engagement with the poster deliverables, exhibit walls and journal sleeve, but less engagement with the journals themselves and the product. I think the cover pages to these deliverables and the content inside of them were not as compelling when compared to previous deliverables like the poster. Doing additional user testing to determine where changes could be made would be a great first step towards improvement.

Overall I was happy with the final deliverables, but exploring different ways to improve the pacing of the journals and further enhance the exhibit experience is something that I would have loved to develop given more time!
OverviewThe ProblemExplorationFinal DeliverablesReflection