As a graphic designer, or a graphic design student in my case, when you take on a new client or new assignment you have to do your research. Now one of the assignments I’m currently working on is a brochure layout for a conference. There are several different categories and topics and my category is “Transportation Planning” and my specific topic is “Passing Lanes”. But this assignment is really all about accessibility and we have to keep that in mind when approaching design.
What kind of research have I done for this assignment? One of the first things I had to do was plan the layout of all the pieces of my brochure including text and graphics. So for research I looked up different examples of brochures to see different ways a brochure can be laid out. We also had to bring examples of schedules into class so we could all compare them and pick which ones we felt were the most effective. It’s important to pay attention to font size so it’s legible and the text is laid out in a manner that’s easy for people to read, especially if it’s someone that has some kind of disability since we’re keeping accessibility in mind.
Given my topic of Passing Lanes I’ve also been looking at pictures of highways and passing lanes, as well as pictures of different kinds of signs that are used on streets and highways. One of the first things we did in class was put together mood boards. Mood boards help get a visual sense of what your piece could look like as it allows you to experiment with colours and fonts. Colours are important in helping to organize your information but again we have to keep accessibility in mind. Some people may be colour blind so you have to remember to keep good contrast so it’s easy for people with vision problems to read and to not strictly rely on colour. That’s why we use different font variations in our hierarchy.
When we hand in our final assignment we always have to include all of our process work, and later this year we will also be putting together process portfolios. And that’s why all this research is so important, it really helps you put together an assignment, you get marks for it and it will be important to the process portfolio later on. As well with all this talk of accessibility with new standards put in place it’s become something that’s important for designers and we’ll constantly have to keep it in mind when designing. What are some of your thoughts on accessibility? What kind of problems do you think you could run into and how would you approach design with all this in mind?