Author Archives: mkane2014

Typographic Map Process

This was another assignment in the graphic design course but this time in Typography. The purpose of this project was to design a typographic map showing the typographic character of a local environment. I used photographs I  took of type in the field, such as signage, as well as did a written analysis of the typefaces, their classification and why I believe that type face was used. This was an assignment That I had a bit of a harder time with as I wasn’t quite sure what to do. But sometimes that’s the way an assignment goes, you’re just figuring it  out along the way on step at a time. So after doing some research and looking at examples of interactive maps online as well as choosing an area to depict, taking some photos of type in the area and deciding that the character of the typographic environment I wanted to try and get across was of a historic feel, the next thing I did was sketch out some thumbnails to try and figure out the layout of my map and then drew out a larger sketch of my idea for my layout.

Scan 8 Scan 9

I then did a mock-up of a style guide. The style guide was meant to help me figure out what colours I might use, and what type faces I might use.

Style Guide

Now that I had a rough idea of the layout, fonts and colour palette I did my first digital mock up in photoshop.

Typograhic Map 1 Welcome Typograhic Map 1 Main Typograhic Map 1 Pop Up

However I really misunderstood the assignment. I knew I needed three pages but rather than having a welcome page I just needed an introduction explaining the purpose of the map and assignment. I also included a bunch of different elements that I didn’t need such as the header and the options box, and the colour scheme just wasn’t working for the whole historic theme. So I redrew the map, got rid of the unnecessary elements and tried changing the colour palette to a sepia theme to tie into the historic feel as well as added the intro and fixed the pop up to what it’s supposed to be, showing a picture of the type and explaining it.

Typograhic Map 2 Intro Typograhic Map 2 Main Typograhic Map 2 Pop Up

Now the colours just weren’t working, they looked to close together and were bleeding together. It also wasn’t clear when you were rolling over a marker. So I changed the colours again, made the title look more decretive, and made the rollover state much more clear as well as putting on other final touches.

Typograhic Map Final Intro Typograhic Map Final Main Typograhic Map Final Pop Up

Now this final design only shows one of the pop-ups, we needed to include eight examples of type, which means the actual interactive map would have eight different pop-ups, so I put together a document showing those images with their information.

Type Classifications

and that was the process that I went through to create this typographic map. I hope this has given you some insight into my design process.


Logo Process

Notice: This was a school project. I am in no way associated with Henkaa, I was not hired by Henkaa, I do not work for Henkaa. This was entirely for the purpose of learning.

The objective of the project was to redesign a logo that will help to promote the assigned business, , and present the logo in 2 colours. The logo is also being presented on letterhead, an envelope, mailing label, and business card. The company  I was assigned is called Henkaa. They design, manufacture and sell women’s clothing specializing in making dresses that are convertible, meaning that they can change and be worn in a number of different ways. Their mission is to empower any women, of any size, in any situation to express their uniqueness through convertible fashion that changes.

After researching Henkaa and figuring out what they do and what they value I started of by doing rough sketches. This first series of sketches focused on experimenting with word marks, emblems, monograms, pictorial symbols, and abstract symbols. As well as experimenting with the corporate name, corporate ideals and corporate activity.

Scan Scan 1 Scan 2

After group critiques with my classmates I narrowed down the best concepts. People seemed to be drawn to the chameleon, which I drew because chameleon’s are known for being able to change their colour, which ties into the company valuing change and creating dresses that can change styles. People were also drawn to the abstract drawing of the dress made up of curved lines. And I also wanted to work with a monogram some more. So the next step was to do some more sketches based on those three concepts. This time I focused on experimenting with fragmentation, outline, planar, imposing shoes or lines, containment, essence, and stylized. Scan 3 Scan 4 Scan 5 Scan 6

At this stage I also started experimenting with different type faces to figure out what would work best for the word mark.

Scan 7

After another critique with my classmates and teacher it was decided that the chameleon in the round, stylized style was the best way to go. I tried drawing the chameleon in illustrator using the pen tool and pairing it with the Henkaa word mark using the Lucida Calligraphy type face.

Henkaa Logo1

However  the shape of the chameleon was lost and after another critique the consensus was the type face wasn’t working. So I went back to the drawing board, redrew the chameleon using the pencil tool and tracing over the sketch and chose a new typeface, Candara.

Henkaa Logo2

I chose Candara as a type face because of the curvy lines that make up the characters and I felt that tied into the curvy shape of the chameleon. The type face was now working and I got the shape of the chameleon back from the sketch but it was still a little to rough looking. So I drew it again and rearranged the positioning of the chameleon.


After one final critique I knew the spiral shape of the tail was still a little off as I tried drawing it with the spiral tool in illustrator and it needed to be tweaked. This final time trying to draw the shape of the spiral with the polar grid tool.


After resolving the logo it was time to apply it to my stationary.

business card Envelope Mailing Label Sample Letter

And that is how I redesigned a corporate logo. I hope this has given you some insight into the design process.

Final Blog Post of the Semester: A Reflection on Blog Writing

My initial feelings of the blog assignment were apprehension. I realize that part of doing these blogs are to help us develop an online profile and give a personal perspective on these different graphic design related topics. Now maybe I’m an old fashioned kind of guy but I don’t really care for building an online profile. I’m someone who’s spent years developing my public speaking and communication skills. I prefer to communicate in person.

However I have learned a number of things. It’s helped me to learn about researching a topic, since with all of these different topics I would have to go read about them and find some images or links to social media to help support what I’m taking about. As well as posting links to this information to help support my opinions. Although it was sometimes a challenge to remember to cite everything.

If you want to know weather or not I intend to keep up with writing my blog outside of class assignments, I’d have to say I’m not sure. I’ve been writing this blog since last year and I’ve pretty much stuck to just writing for school assignments. And as I was talking about earlier I don’t care that much for writing a blog. But I may change my mind, there might end up being something I’m really interested in talking about that doesn’t have to do with a school assignment. Either way I’ve still got three semesters left in the graphic design program so I’m sure I’ll have to keep writing this blog for awhile yet.

Design Thinking

My problem: Making a custom made ring

The problem was I wanted a Green Lantern ring of my very own. Now you can get green lantern rings online but many of them are made out of plastic or other cheap materials and are not of very high quality. That’s why I wanted something a little nicer and needed one custom made. But I don’t know anything about making jewelry so what was I to do?

In comes Miranda Scott. Miranda and her friend Talia own their own business, Alchemy House Jewelry, where they make and sell their own jewelry as well as taking custom orders if someone wants something specific. They also teach classes if someone wants to learn how to make their own jewelry.


After I decided on the design I wanted, as there have been different variations on the green lantern ring over the years, I told Miranda what I was looking for and off she went to work. A few weeks later I had my ring.



I sat down and did an interview with Miranda to find out a bit about her and her business and what goes into making these pieces of jewelry.

The Interview

What got you interested in making jewelry?

I started with beads, arts and crafts in high school. I did craft shows. The metal arts guild of Canada website helped me to discover schools. I went to York to study and I discovered silver smithing/ metalsmithing at George Brown College.

How do people approach you about making jewellery?

People email or come into the shop, my works been featured or I’ve posted on, buzz feed, when geeks wed and reddit.

When people approach you to have something made what kind of information do they give you?

They tell me their budget, which tells me what kind materials I can use. They tell me what kind of design they want. When I ask them questions I try to use terminology that people will understand like art nouveau or retro or modern.

Do you have to do further research?

Not so much research, but working independently to figure things out and refine details.

What kind of preparations do you do?

Sketching, wax mock-ups, colour renderings. I like to experiment try different things and see what works.

What does the process involve?

Setting the stones, polishing the metal. We use files, torches for saudering. As well as using drills, hammers and saws.

Do you ever have to make alterations?

Sometimes. I can fix the size, but I won’t change stones.

Are there any finishing touches you put on?

Polishing the jewelry, and putting the jewelry into Craft paper boxes for the customer.

Do you have anyone that inspires you?

Todd reed, Barbra Henrick, Michael David Sterling. I draw inspiration from these people. I like looking at stones they like to use and using those stones in own work.

I hope this gives you better idea of who Miranda is and what kind of work she does. As well as telling you a bit about the design process and how you can approach thinking about design. Both Miranda and Talia do awesome work. If your interested in buying some jewelry be sure to check out their website, you can find it here:

All images except for Green Lantern ring photo are from alchemy house jewellery’s website and used with permission. Green Lantern ring photo belongs to myself.

Design Thinkers


This past weekend the students of the Graphic Design program were meant to attend this years Design Thinkers Conference. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get enough students who wanted to go to get a bus. So only a handful of students who could make their own way there were able to attend and I sadly was not one of them. But as a graphic design student I’m a student member of RGD which means I can access member features of their website, such as videos of presentations from previous years Design Thinkers Conferences.

RGD Logo

One particular video I would like to talk about is a presentation by David Berman called How to make the entire planet your client. Now if your not a member of RGD you won’t be able to watch the video for yourself but you can check out his website here:

check out his blog and take a look at his portfolio.

Now this is a fairly long video so I’m just going to talk about a few points that I found interesting. One thing he talks about is how designers can use design to save money. He gives this example of ecofonts, thick sans-serif fonts that have white in them, the purpose of which saves ink toner. Another example he gives are these trains in Germany called DB. They were designed in such a way that they are painted with a larger ratio of white to dark, which saved them a ton of money in paint, which paid for the entire design fee.


Another interesting thing he talks about is the four stages of sustainability in design. It looks something like this.
1. Financial = Prosperity
2. Environmental = Planet
3. Social = People
4. Cultural = Design

David Berman happens to be the guy who helped establish these sustainability standards in design, first in Ontario and now spreading throughout the world.

He also talks about how traffic signals can be confusing for people who are colour blind since they can’t really see the difference between green and red. But in Quebec the traffic signals use both shapes and colours which makes them easier to understand if you can’t perceive colour.Here’s an example of a universal traffic light.


David Berman is someone who is very passionate about using design to change the world. He’s got a lot of interesting things to say. Check out his website and find out what he can teach you.

RGD logo and Design thinkers logo are copyright Rgd and come from their website:

Ecofont image was found on:

Traffic light image was found on:


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.

SDE_CARD_BACK_4X6_FINAL Event-Schedule-TURKEY-2012-final

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.

Mood Board

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?

Why Does Typography Matter?


Ever since beginning this Graphic Design course I’ve often thought why is Typography so important. What’s the big deal? It’s a major part of this course. There are typography classes every semester. There’s something like hundreds of thousands of different kinds of type. Why are there so many? As long as the type is legible why bother coming up with so many different variations? I mean most people probably don’t even recognize all of the subtle differences in different kinds of type. I know it’s something I never thought about before taking this course. I came to realize that I had to look at it from an artist and designers point of view. I found this article that really helped me try and think about typography in a different way.

Well, the first thing to consider is many of these different kinds of type exist as logos and branding for all kinds of companies as many companies want a type that’s unique to them. The use of that special type can be as strong of an indicator for that brand as colour or imagery.

Another interesting thing this article talked about was comparing typography to fashion. We don’t really need all of these different styles so long as we have clothes that function, but people like to express themselves or look a certain way. Typography can be thought of in the same way.

Another interesting point this article made was the psychological effect. Just because people don’t notice the differences in all these different kinds of type doesn’t mean they aren’t reacting to it or being affected by it in different ways. Similar to how people can watch a movie and not notice things like the way the film was shot or edited yet can still be affected by these things.

There’s all kinds of other great articles out there about why typography is so important and there’s been different kinds of scientific research that’s gone into studying typography. I believe it’s something that people are going to become more aware of and start realizing some of these things. I hope this has helped you think more about why typography matters.

Typography Matters Image was found on

It was created by Jessica Herodes