Design for the Job You Want: Personal Projects to Build Your Portfolio | Alison Koehler | Skillshare

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Design for the Job You Want: Personal Projects to Build Your Portfolio

teacher avatar Alison Koehler, Creative | Graphic Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

22 Lessons (2h 1m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Your Class Project

    • 3. Your Resources: Class Worksheets

    • 4. Qualities of Good Portfolio Projects

    • 5. Setting Intentions: Your Destination

    • 6. Checking In With Yourself: You Are Here

    • 7. Making Connections: Choose a Path

    • 8. Work Agreement: Your World, Your Brief

    • 9. Choosing Deliverables

    • 10. The Audit: Finding Inspiration

    • 11. REST STOP: Let’s Check In

    • 12. Make the Dang Work: Thumbnailing

    • 13. Make It Real: The Big Idea

    • 14. Project Design: Your Elements

    • 15. Level Up Your Mockups

    • 16. Level 1: Make It Real

    • 17. Level 2: Customizing Photos

    • 18. Level 3: Messing Up Photoshop Mockups

    • 19. Tell Me How to Feel

    • 20. Creating Your Case Study

    • 21. Bonus: The Trailer

    • 22. Wrap Up

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About This Class

In this class, you’ll learn how to create an effective portfolio project that helps you get to the next level in your career!

You have the tools to follow your dreams, right now! We’ll focus on creating a personal portfolio project that connects you from your point A, where you currently are, to your point B, where you want to go. This class is designed to take you step by step through the process!


Get ready for the road trip of a lifetime as you learn:

  • Why the problem, process, and passion should be at the center of all of your work
  • To concretely define your vision for your future
  • Recognize which parts of you make your perspective unique and valuable
  • How to make mockups work more effectively to tell your story
  • To write about your work to capture the attention of potential employers and clients
  • How to present your work professionally

This class is for any creative that can see where they want to be far off in the distance but has no idea how to get there, any artist who no longer sees themselves reflected in their work and anyone who is starting over in a new field and feels like a fish out of water. If you’re any kind of visual artist, and you have a vision, this is the class for you.

By the end of the class, you’ll not only have a new portfolio project that you’re proud of but a way to assess where you’re at and how to get to where you want to be whenever you feel stuck, bored, or discouraged with where you are in your career!

So let’s get started - see you in class!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alison Koehler

Creative | Graphic Designer


I’m currently working as a freelance graphic designer. I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a graphic designer since I was 12 years old and now I’m living out that dream. I studied design at the University of Arizona and graduated in 2019. I've been working with the Adobe programs for over 10 years, worked professionally for 6 years, and have been working for myself for the past 2 years.

I love working with all different kinds of clients but my favorite projects to work on are large-scale branding projects with lots of opportunities to help the clients decide the direction and applications for their business. But whatever project I'm working on, they all have one thing in common: people first. The secret sauce of a... See full profile

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1. Introduction: A lot of creatives know where they want to go but have no idea how to get there. The portfolio is a missing link that a lot of people neglect. It's not just a collection of works you've done, but it can also be the way to attract the work that you actually want to do. Hi, my name is Alison Keller, I'm a graphic designer and illustrator. Over the past two years, I've tailored my practice towards the kind of work that I'm excited to do. What most people will tell you is that you have to look a certain way, have a certain type of experience, or have a giant following on social media to be successful, but I reject that entirely. In this class, you'll learn how to create a stunning and purposeful portfolio to design for the job you want. I believe that by designing intentionally with your goals in mind and keeping it grounded to who you are, you can tread the path from where you are to where you want to go. For your class project, you'll be deciding on a personal project that will deliberately move you closer to your goals. To demonstrate the process, I will be working on a personal project that is centered around roadside attractions. To attract not just any type of work in the travel field, but the work that I'm interested in, the odd and the curious, we'll move through the class in three main stops. They are research, design and presentation. In the research phase, we're taking an inventory of ourselves, making an assessment of our skills and our dreams. In the design phase, we'll focus on making your project real by taking insights from our research and transforming them into a visual language, and using mock-ups, mock-ups, mock-ups. Finally, we'll work on presentation. We'll write copy, create an engaging story and showcase what we can do. This class is for any creative who can see where they want to go far off in the distance but have no idea how to get there, any artist who no longer sees themselves reflected in their work, and anyone who is starting over in a new field and feels like a fish out of water. If you're a designer, illustrator, embroider, photographer, filmmaker, or any other kind of visual artist and you have a vision, this class is for you. Even if you don't feel like you have a vision, I'm here to help with that too. Throughout the lessons, I'll teach you why the problem, process, and passion should be at the center of all of your work. While it's not just about where you want to go, but where you come from and why investing time into your projects is one of the most valuable things that you can do. To make the journey easier, I've created a workbook that you could fill out throughout the process. By completing it, you'll have a finished portfolio project that speaks directly to your goals with intentional writing and curated mock-ups. I hope that after this class, you'll always feel that you have a way to assess where you are and where you'd like to go whenever you feel bored, discouraged or stuck with where you are in your career. Let's start working towards our dreams. 2. Your Class Project: For your class project, you're going to be creating a portfolio project. You're going to need the class worksheets which include the portfolio roadmap, the anatomy of a case study, and the deliverables cheat sheet. They're all available under the Project Resources tab. You'll also need some paper and a pencil as well as anything that you need to do your work, whether that's a computer, a camera, paints, or a loom, whatever it is that you need to do your work, make sure that you have it handy. To do this project fully, it should take you at least a week or longer. Don't feel bad if you have to come back to the class to complete it. I'm going to be going through an example as I go throughout the lessons, which is a personal project of mine called the scenic route. The scenic route is a project where I am creating a brand for a roadside attraction from every state in the United States. But for this class, I'm going to be creating the overarching brand for the scenic route itself. By the end of this class, you should have a completed portfolio roadmap as well as a portfolio project. If you want to share any work-in-progress with us in the Discussion tab or your project, in the Projects tab, I would love to see it and give you some feedback. In the next video, I'm going to be going over the different resources that I've provided for you. 3. Your Resources: Class Worksheets: In this lesson, I am going to be going over all of the resources that I provided for you. That is the portfolio roadmap as well as the deliverable cheat sheet and the anatomy of a case study. Additionally, I have provided all of my mock-up demo files for you to poke around in. I'm going to be showing you more tips and tricks rather than a full software demonstration. If you're a hands-on learner and like I am, you can go back and poke around in those files. Don't worry if you don't remember all of this, I will be providing a little clue at the start of each lesson for which worksheet that you'll need to complete that lesson. Without further ado, here are all the resources that I provided for you. The first worksheet, the three P's is meant to be used to break down the work that you like using the three P's, which is a concept that you'll hear about throughout the class. The three P's, are problem, process, and passion. The second worksheet, defining your destination is meant to help you concretely define your goals and what that next level or step in your career looks like to you. You are here, is a mind-map that's meant to help you concretely define who you are right now and what's in your toolbox. What I mean by this is, what do you have at your disposal, and what are you bringing to the table? Bridging the gap is going to take ideas from the previous two worksheets and help you melt those things together into the start of your portfolio project. The exploration map is a great exercise if you're feeling stuck between a couple of ideas. This will help you figure out which one is the most realistic. It plots effort against interest. Next is the work agreement. This is to help you more concretely flesh out your project. The action plan is a tool to help you break down your project, by deliverables. You'll write down the deliverable, how long do you think it's going to take you to finish it, and the steps to get it done. The inspiration chart is going to help us translate our ideas about what we want our project to convey into some more concrete visual ideas. The ideas and action exercise is going to be used to help you organize your writing as you create your case study. Finally, your case study checklist is a handy little reference sheet that's meant to help you make sure that you're covering all of the bases when talking about your project and finalizing your case study. Also provided for you is the anatomy of a case study, your deliverable cheat sheet, a case study template file, and three mock-up demo files. Before moving on to the main lessons, go ahead and download the portfolio road-map, and get ready to dive in. Now that we have all of our resources broken down, let's jump into the main lessons. 4. Qualities of Good Portfolio Projects: In this lesson, I'm going to be going over the qualities of good portfolio projects. Portfolio projects serve a few different purposes. They're not just for showing off your work, they can help you transition to a new field, attract new clients, or even help you get ahead in your career. Sometimes I'd be looking at somebody's portfolio or their work and I think, "I wish I had done something like that," but I would have no idea where to start. Well, that's what we're going to be focusing on this class with the qualities that all good portfolio projects have in common, the 3Ps. Make sure that you have your 3Ps worksheet out as we talk about this topic. What are the 3Ps? I definitely hear you asking. Well, it's problem, process, and passion. Every project should have some challenge or problem that you're trying to solve. It doesn't have to be solving world hunger, but there does need to be some problem statement. Not every project that you find will dive into process. Sometimes people will want to keep their process secretive. But I personally find that showing off my thought process has only ever lead to fantastic collaboration and interesting conversations. Your portfolio should reflect the kinds of work that you would like to do. Thus, any project that you have in your portfolio should be exciting for you or be related to some passion that you have. Especially since we're going to be creating a project for this class, don't you want to work on a project that you enjoy? If you are enjoying yourself, I can absolutely promise you that your work will be better just because you will have put more love and attention into it. With my project, the scenic route, how am I approaching the 3Ps? The problem that I'm addressing in the scenic route is how I'm going to represent an overall brand for a large project that can, one, work in several different contexts, and two, makes people feel more curious about looking into the rest of the project and connecting with me. The process I want to reflect is how I'm going to be putting my unique perspective and personality into my project. This is one of the first projects I'm doing for myself like this. I really want to emphasize my interest in the subject. Additionally, I'm trying to expand my storytelling abilities through some of the deliverables that I'm going to create, and I would like to express that in my process. My passion comes from my love of weird hole in the wall places, connecting with others about oddities and curiosities, and my interests in folklore and mystery. A concept that's going to come up throughout the class is looking at your creators and seeing how they approach different topics that we're talking about in this class. We're going to be diving into it a lot more in the next lesson, but I just wanted to briefly touch upon it in this lesson. Specifically, what I mean is, looking at your heroes and seeing how they approach the 3Ps. Start to think of some projects that you like or some creators or agencies that you look up to because they will come in handy in the next lesson. The heroes that I'm specifically going to be referencing for this class and for this project are Hoodzpah Design and Snask. Hoodzpah Design is a studio that I absolutely adore. It's run by twins, Amy and Jen Hood. They've got Moxy, as they say. Hoodzpah will come up again in this class, but the project that I want to showcase for this example is their project Fanhood. Fanhood is a sports club where fans can connect with each other about the sports that they love. The problem that Hoodzpah faced when creating this brand was that they didn't want it to feel like a typical sports brand. For process, they do show quite a bit of their process here, showcasing their colors, typography, and how everything works in a system. The passion is definitely shown through their attention to detail in design and illustrations. I especially love this illustration which has so much detail, you can really tell that they put a lot of love and attention into getting it all right. Hoodzpah has even gone on record talking about their love for California and LA culture. This fits right into their work. Snask is a studio that I am pretty much obsessed with. Their personality comes through in many of their projects but one that I particularly like and the level that I am going to shoot for in my own work is the trailer on their website. For context, this project is referencing their first Wi-Fi password at their agency, which was badminton. They're facing off against a chicken in a badminton competition. It's funny, absurd, and full of Snask personality. There's not really an obvious problem here, but you can look at how they're trying to balance story with introducing their team members, how they're going to show off their personality with no dialogue, etc. They don't show a lot of process either, but you can imagine the logistic concerns around filming, sourcing matching outfits for everyone, finding a set, casting the right chicken, etc. I would say that the passion is pretty clear. It is an introductory video for the company. It shows their personality and charm, as well as their offerings as a company, which helps set them apart. Breaking things down in this way didn't come naturally for me at first. Especially when I was in college, I would just think to myself, "Wow, I really like the way that looks," but I wouldn't be able to tell you anything about why I liked it. I ended up just usually trying to imitate the way that things looked without much thought or reasoning behind it. Breaking things down with the 3Ps allowed me to not only just think to myself, "Okay. This is what they're doing, but here's why they're doing that." By breaking down the why, you can start to learn from other people's process, which in turn helps you grow and helps you with your career. Using the 3Ps worksheet, go ahead and write down some artists, agencies, or projects that you admire and write down how they approached the 3Ps. You'll need to reference these in the next lesson. In this lesson, you learned about the 3Ps, problem, process, and passion. Additionally, you learn that by breaking down things in this way, you're able to understand how people think, adopt problem-solving processes, and improve your own process. In the next lesson, we are going to be focusing on concretely defining your goals that will help us demystify the path to get there. 5. Setting Intentions: Your Destination: In this lesson, we are going to cover your points A and B. Your point A is where you currently are and your point B is where you would like to go. We are going to work backwards so we are going to start with our point B first, your destination. In this lesson, you are going to need your defining your destination worksheet in the portfolio roadmap. So you know when you're looking at a map, trying to get directions, you'll see two points, your point A and your point B and you may not have been to point B before, so you need to get directions. Well, you can do the same thing for your career. A lot of the time our point B can seem super far away. It might seem like you have to climb a mountain, cross a rickety bridge with a bridge troll and answer a strange riddle. Well, by defining what point B even is, you might discover that there was an easier path all along. So get out of your defining your destination worksheet because we're going to start defining what that point B is. I have a mind map here to help you out. This is on your defining your destination worksheet. In the center put your name, and then each section focuses on a different area of your goals. Let's start at things that you want to learn. Are there any skills that you've been wanting to learn? Anything that you think will give you an edge? This could be things like coding, photography, painting, rug making with that really cool rug gun that shoots out yarn, etc. Your dream job is up next. What would be the best work situation for you? What kind of work are you doing? What kinds of clients are you working with? Are you working from home or do you have a corner office with that sweet natural light? How much money do you make, etc? Really try to paint a picture. For people that you admire, this could be some of the creators from the previous exercise, or it could be personal. Who are your heroes and what do you like about them? Things that you want to achieve. This could be goals, big or small. This could be working at your dream company or making the perfectly toasted bagel. What motivates you to get up in the morning, and what are you striving for? Finally, alternative universe you. If you had unlimited time, energy, and money, what would you spend your time doing? The purpose of this category is to see if you can incorporate some of those things into your project or even just more into your life. What are you doing in an alternate universe? Or another way to say this is, what imaginary lives are you living in your head? Do those have to be imaginary? This is how I'm going to approach this for myself. For things that you want to learn, I know that I would like to focus on storytelling and video for what I'd like to get better at. You don't have to list all hard skills in this category either. What are some soft skills that you'd like to get better at? For my dream job, I love to work with interesting, quirky people, such as those who may own a roadside attraction. I know that I love working with people and I don't mind if that's freelance or working in an agency setting. My ideal work situation will also be one where I'm solving creative problems and every day is a little different. For people that you admire, I'm going to pull from the last lesson and write down Snask and Hoodzpah design. But another designer that I've always had a lot of love for is David Carson. So I will add him here as well. For things that you want to achieve, my eventual goal is to be a creative director. So I'm going to make sure that I incorporate some of the things that a creative director does into my own process. For alternative universe you, in an alternate universe, I think I would either be a rock star or an archaeologist. Not sure how I would incorporate those things just at this moment, but they could come up. Using the defining your destination worksheet, go ahead and fill out the mindmap. Try to write down two to three things for each category. Use a separate sheet of paper if you don't have enough room. In this lesson, you broke down your point A and B. Point A where you currently are and point B at where you would like to go, your destination. You also learned how to break down your point B to demystify what that even looks like for you. In the next lesson, we are going to be tackling our point A, aka where we currently are. 6. Checking In With Yourself: You Are Here: So now that you've defined where you would like to go, it's time to figure out where you currently are. You will need your You Are Here worksheet in the portfolio roadmap. Now that you've defined what the destination is, it's time to take inventory of where you currently are. These are the tools that you have at your disposal, so let's see what we've got. It's important when you're going on for these opportunities and designing your portfolio, that not only are you considering the audience that you're trying to talk to, aka link the clients that you want to have or the employers that you're appealing to. Basically, you also want to bring a part of yourself to the table. I don't want you to discount that or think that you have to imitate the people that you like or admire to be able to get to their level, because if you're just imitating them, you're not going to get very far. But if you're thinking about the processes that they're using and what it takes to be at that next level, you can raise yourself to that level as well. I've created another mind map to help you figure out what you got at your disposal. Just like the last one, put your name in the middle and I'll go over each category. First up are your skills. What can you do right now? These can be hard and soft skills. Are you super great at coding and communicating with teammates? Write both of those things down. Next is your personality. What aspects of you are your best assets? Do you have a great sense of humor, are you insanely kind? Are you totally at peace with the universe? Write those things down in this category. Your background, what's unique about where you came from? What's your unique point of view? What were your favorite subjects in school? Were you really awesome at math or science or were you more on the humanities side? Whatever it is that you have at your disposal in your background, write it down here. Finally, what are you passionate about? What makes life super good? Live music, crocheting, friends and family, your career? Write all of those things down here. For me, here's what I'm going to write down in each of these categories. For skills, I'm going to put down graphic design, branding, and communication. For personality, I'm going to write down humor, empathy, and imagination. These are parts of my personality that I haven't let loose in my work before, but I'd like to showcase my voice more prominently in my career moving forward. For my background, I am from Tucson, Arizona and I really think at this point that the desert is like baked into me. Unlike a certain Jedi from Tatooine, I don't mind the sand. Also in my background is a big love for interesting history. My great grandfather helped build some of the highways around Tucson, so it's definitely an interest of mine. I'm very passionate about design, connecting with others and exploration. Before moving on, I'd like you to fill out this mind-map, try to write down at least two to three items in each category. Like before, if you run out of space, feel free to use an extra piece of paper. In this lesson, we broke down our point a, which is where we currently are. To know where you're going, you have to know where you're starting. You broke down your point A by skills, personality, background and your passions, which are all equally important in making you up as an individual. In the next lesson, we are going to be charting our path from our point A to point B. 7. Making Connections: Choose a Path: Now that we've defined where we are and where we would like to go, it's time to chart a path between those two points. You will need your Bridging the Gap exercise page from the portfolio roadmap. In this lesson, we are looking at our point A and point B, and trying to find a path between those two points. To go back to the map metaphor, when you chart a path to a location, think about all the different ways that the map can take you. Some ways are much longer than others, some might have construction on the path that might take you twice as long to get to your destination. By considering where you would like to go, you can potentially reduce the amount of time that it takes to get there. You're taking inventory of the skills that you need to learn to get there, you're taking account of the different methods that people use at that level, etc. The purpose of this exercise is to start building a foundation for your project. You're looking at where you would like to go and where you currently are, and you're trying to see if there's any pieces that are missing. It's basically like trying to put together a puzzle. By breaking down your goals and your skills like this, you can keep your project focused on bridging the gap between where you are and where you would like to go. You are trying to speak directly to the people that you either would like to work with or work for. On the Bridging the Gap worksheet, I've broken it down into three sections. My skills in blank plus my passion for blank can be mixed to create a project that will help me achieve my goal of blank. You'll notice that the first two are from the You Are here worksheet, and the last one is from the Defining Your Destination worksheet. There are also some helpful hints on the side if you're not sure what you should write in these boxes. As you're working on this, you may not use all of the points that you wrote in your mind map, but that's okay. You can mix and match to create different combinations or even save those for later down the line when you're writing about the backstory of your project. Let's say that you're a photographer and your dream is to work for Nike, but all of the work in your portfolio right now is portraiture. What does the path look like from where you currently are to where you'd like to go? Perhaps, it can be a project where you're incorporating your portraiture skill set, but you're focusing specifically on shoes. You're still bringing aspects of your work as it is right now, and you're trying to incorporate what you would like to do in the future. You're bridging the gap with this project. Another example might be that you're an animator and your dream is to work for Pixar, but right now, you're designing and animating eight-bit backgrounds for video games. How can you bridge that gap? Perhaps, your project can be to create a two-minute trailer for a short film that's in an eight-bit style. I would really like to drive this point home. In every example that I've given you, you're bringing a part of yourself to the table. Do you remember the movie, 13 Going On 30, from 2004 where Jennifer Garner's character is a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old's body. Well, in that movie, she is a magazine editor and they're trying to rebrand this magazine. Everybody on her team is pitching these brand ideas that are coming from the industry at the time for what they know to be correct and trendy, but being Jennifer Garner, being a 13 year old in the 30 year old woman's body, is bringing her unique perspective to the table and pitching an idea that's completely unique and out of that field. I really would like to stress to you guys to bring your unique perspective to the table. This isn't just about looking like those people at the next level. What makes you an exceptional person and will make people want to work with you is that unique perspective. It's that 13 year old in the 30-year-old's body. It's your skills, it's your background, it's everything about you with your dreams and goals in mind that are going to help you get to that next level. For me, I'm currently a graphic designer who's focused on branding, but I'd like to work on projects in the travel industry, but none of my current work in my portfolio reflects that very well. While the project that I'm going to work on to help bridge that gap for myself is to be focusing on roadside attractions, which incorporates the idea of travel and destinations while still being unique and bringing in my own voice. Before moving on, please fill out your Bridging the Gap exercise. We will be building on this directly in the next lesson, so be sure that you have it done. If you'd like to experiment with this and try different combinations, use a separate sheet of paper. In this lesson, you learned to look at your goals and where you currently are to see what's missing. You took this information and filled in an equation that will work as a foundation for your project. By breaking down your project like this, you can really make sure that it is going to fill the gap and be the most effective project for your portfolio. In the next lesson, we are going to formalize our project and write a creative brief. 8. Work Agreement: Your World, Your Brief: Now that you have a couple of project ideas outlined or maybe floating around in your brain, it's now time to write a creative brief. You will need your exploration map, your work agreement, and your action plan from your portfolio roadmap. We're all busy people, we're balancing school, work, other life obligations. It might be hard to find time for yourself and your creative practice. Well, the exercises that we're going to do in this lesson are going to specifically be helping us break down our projects into manageable, bite-sized chunks so that we can get them done in a reasonable time. The first worksheet that I have for you in this lesson is your exploration map. If you're feeling stuck between a couple of different ideas, this worksheet is a super valuable tool. It plots interests against efforts so that you can figure out not only a project that sounds super fun and is interesting to you, but it is also realistic. I would say any projects that fall in this general quadrant are probably good projects to shoot for. For the scenic route, I had a couple of different ideas for the direction that my project could take. I knew I wanted to really incorporate this storytelling aspect so I was considering a video series where I interview people or even something more documentary style. I also considered making it into its own brand, something that people can connect to and follow. At the end of the day, that is what I chose because I primarily wanted to show off my design skills. However, I did incorporate a little bit of video, but I decided to go with a trailer because that was more realistic for the amount of time that I had to dedicate to this. Take a moment and think about the different kinds of projects that you can do. Plot some out on your exploration map and choose one that fits your interests and available time the best. Spend about five to ten minutes on this exercise. Next up is your work agreement. There is a space for your project name, a short description, three deliverables, what medium they're in, a proposed deadline, and a promise to yourself at the bottom. Doing work like this can be really hard to find time for so it's important to be committed and make the time because you and your dreams are worth it. The work agreement is basically your creative brief, which is very important. It sets up the scope for your project, which is basically the foundation that everything else is built off of. Later on, when you're writing about your project, this initial brainstorming will be a very good base to work off of. In my work agreement, I'm writing down the scenic route for the name. Don't worry if you're feeling kind of stuck about the name aspect. I will be going over naming and how I came up with this name a little bit later in the lesson. I'm writing that the scenic route is a branding project centered around the idea of travel, roadside attractions, and adventure. For my deliverables, I am choosing branding, which will be a logo suite, merchandise, which will become some sticker designs and a t-shirt, and a video trailer. Take a moment here and write out your work agreement. Make sure to fill in all the details and think about which deliverables will showcase your skills the best. If you're having trouble picking some out, in the next lesson, I will be going over how to choose deliverables. Spend about 20 to 30 minutes on this exercise. Finally, I have the action plan for you. On this sheet, I want you to list out each of your deliverables, the timeframe of when your plan to get them done, and the steps involved to get each one done. For the action plan, I'm writing down each of those deliverables on the side. I'd like to get this project done in about a month. I'm going to make those little boxes depict how long it's going to take for each part. I know the video is going to take longer, so I'm extending that timeline a little bit. Then I'm going to write down the steps underneath. For branding, I know they need to do some research, create the logos, and create some examples of how the brand behaves in different situations aka how the colors interact and the type hierarchy. For merchandise, I broke it into a t-shirt design, front and back, and a sticker pack design. For the video trailer, I broke it down into planning out my shots, filming the B roll, choosing music, editing, and rendering. Take each of your deliverables and write it in the left column, then plot how long you think it's going to take you to do each deliverable, write a due date on the top, and then write down the steps underneath each section. You can even give each step its own deadline if that's helpful to you. Spend about 10 to 15 minutes on this exercise. I just wanted to share some basic tips and tricks with you about naming your project. I know that this can be a very hard part of any project and coming up with a good name can help you tremendously. A clever name can help it stick in somebody's brain, especially when they're looking at tons of different portfolios as they're just flipping through looking at applicants. I would encourage you to really pay attention to how you're naming your project. The first thing I usually do after I come up with a concept is to write down all the related words to that idea. For the scenic route, I'd write things down like adventure, road trips, destinations, life is a highway, Americana, old cars, highway signs, cows, etc, anything that's related to road trips. Then I'll take some of those words and I'll look them up online. I'll look for synonyms. I'll write those down. I'm just trying to amass as many words as I can possibly find. I'll write down song lyrics, I'll write down movie references, anything. I basically tried to totally immerse myself in the ideas. After this, I will make mind maps, I'll write list, I'll try different combinations of words. When I like one idea, I'll flip the words around, etc. I just start to experiment basically. Sometimes I'll even talk to friends and family. I'll take a walk, I'll look at the clouds, I'll smell the flowers. Sometimes actively not thinking about your project will help spark ideas. The original idea for the scenic route was actually This Must Be The Place which is a song by The Talking Heads. It felt like it fit the project pretty well, but it was a bit too long. I continued writing down some words. Eventually, I wrote, take the long way home, see it to believe it, and on the road, close together on my paper. Those all kind of morphed into the name, the scenic route. In this lesson, you will learn how to plan out your project, not only for your interest in that idea but for how much time you have to visibly spend on it. You wrote about your project in your work agreement, but you also spent some time writing down these steps in your project on your action plan. This helps you to start to write about your project which will come in handy later, as well as breakdown your project into manageable steps. Finally, I went over some tips for how to name your project. In the next lesson, I'm going to briefly go over some deliverables and how to know which ones will be the best for your project. 9. Choosing Deliverables: In this lesson, I'm going to go over some different deliverables and how to choose the right ones for your project. This section is definitely geared more towards designers. Again, if you are a photographer, or a painter, or a different visual artist that doesn't focus on deliverables, then go ahead and skip this lesson. You'll need your deliverable cheat sheet to reference as we go through this lesson. How do you know which deliverables to make? How do you know that they're going to be the right fit for your project? Well, there is a couple of different things that you can look at to decide that for yourself. One, look at your heroes. What kind of work do they primarily focus on? Is it a digital studio? If so, maybe put in some web design projects or is it a letterpress studio? Maybe put in some print work. Two, look at yourself. What are your interests? What are you most interested in creating? This is a big part of choosing your project. You should definitely be enjoying what you're making. Three, look at your project. Thematically does something makes sense, such as for the scenic route, I thought about what kinds of items that you might be able to get on the road or what might appeal to that crowd. I've broken down these deliverables into a couple of different categories. This is definitely not an exhaustive list so if you have another deliverable that you specifically want to do, or you do some research on your own, I would definitely encourage that. This is just a starting point. Branding focuses on creating logos and branding systems for our client. You could focus on creating type systems, a.k.a. how type functions in different situations like on social media posts or in print. You could also define the brand itself, like brand pillars, a.k.a. what is important to your project. Branding projects are great to show off high-level thinking and strategy skills. Do you love to solve unique problems and apply one idea to multiple applications? Definitely choose a branding project. The second category is print. I love creating print projects. You could create book covers, brochures, menus, packaging, postcards, signage, or even merchandise like stickers, backpacks, and key chains. This category is great if you can actually go and get something printed and then take pictures of those objects. The deliverables in this category would be great if you're someone who loves physical objects and creating tactile things do you love texture and figuring out how to print colors accurately? Well, this might be the category for you. The third category is web. Web projects can consist of apps, web banners, website design, animations, online shop templates or ads, and even UX or UI designs. This category is great if the job that you're applying for focuses specifically on UX or UI skills, but it also shows that you have high level critical thinking skills to be able to piece together puzzles like websites, you know how to empathize with users, and think thoroughly through functionality. The fourth category is social media. Social media deliverables can be banners like on Facebook or Twitter, profile pictures, social and story posts templates, or even highlight icons for Instagram. So much of life is on social media and these skills are very high in demand. This category is awesome if you're well-organized and can think through the lens of social media, you understand what will grab people's attention and information hierarchy, a.k.a. what people see first, second, and third. The fifth category is video and music production. These skills are ideal if you want to show off your editing skills or your storytelling abilities. This can appeal to a wide range of people because our world is rapidly becoming much more digital-focused. Finally, I have miscellaneous which is a bit of a catch-all category. In miscellaneous, I have an icon set, a marketing campaign, a personal manifesto, a set of photographs, or a physical exhibit booth. With all of these, if you have a specific niche, design that object, show off your best skills. Remember, this is your ideal work situation, so make sure that you're showing off the goods. Let's look at a couple of different companies and figure out which deliverables might be best for those specific companies. I'm going to take a look at IDEO and &Walsh. These companies are very different, very different client base, and very different offerings I would say. IDEO focuses a lot on philanthropy and looking at real-world case studies and how design can help in those specific cases. I would say if you're interested in working with IDEO, you might be focused more on the UX side and the user experience and creating an innovative product that would help people. &Walsh has a lot of branding agency services, so branding, web design, and packaging. But they also do conceptual works such as Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister is a book on beauty, so you could go the route where you do a conceptual book project or a conceptual gallery project or you could do a project that is more on that branding side as well. In whatever company that you're looking at applying for or whatever clients that you would like to work with, I will go ahead and do some research, look into their websites, look at their portfolios, and see how, one, they're presenting themselves, but two, what kinds of products they do a lot of. Before moving on, make sure that you have your deliverables picked out. In this lesson, I went over some examples of deliverables and how to know which are the right ones for your project. Remember to design for specifically what is going to showcase your skillset the best. In the next lesson, we're going to start looking for inspiration for our project, and we're going to build a mood board. 10. The Audit: Finding Inspiration: In this lesson, we're going to dig a little bit deeper into our projects and start developing it with inspiration. We're going to do this by compiling information about what we want our project to feel like, and then we're going to start building a moodboard around that idea. You'll need your inspiration chart in this lesson. Make sure that you have that out. The inspiration chart has different categories on it that we're going to start writing ideas in. The categories are mood, colors, techniques, stuff that you like, as well as materials and sounds. The first category is mood. I would say that this is the most important for you to fill out. It's the mood that you want your project to convey. This can really affect how you do your work. For example, with color. If you want the piece to look moody, you might choose dark, saturated colors. Or if you'd like the mood to be earthy and relaxing, you might pick a color palette that is desaturated and uses natural hues like olives, browns, and creams. Pick about three to five mood words for this list. For the scenic route, I am choosing mysterious, happy/optimistic, and kitschy or campy for my words. I'm choosing these because a lot of these roadside attractions focus on local folklore and that's bringing in a little bit of that mystery. But it's not like scary mystery. It's more like fun, campy, happy mystery if that makes sense. The next category is colors. I use a lot of color in my work, and this is one of the main ways that I do express mood. Jot some notes down in this section about what colors you think would fit your project. For colors for my project, I'm choosing warm, nostalgic tones that harbor back to those days of the early highway 1940s, 50s feeling when the highway across the US was really being built. If you need some help finding color inspiration, I would suggest looking at one of my favorite tools, which is, It has a random color generator, as well as an Explore tab where you can look up your specific mood words and find color palettes that other people made within that mood. The next section is techniques. This can come from the process section in the three P's worksheet that you filled out. For the scenic route, I am pulling nostalgic retro branding from Hoodzpa Design. I really like that about their work and I know that I want to do more work like that. From SNASK, I'm pulling that absurd video trailer that they had on the front of their website. I'm going to be making my own version of this for the scenic route. The next section is stuff that you like. Since this is a personal project, you should absolutely take into consideration what you like. Do you love the very iconic Star Wars rolling intro? Work it into your project somehow. Do you love corny destination t-shirts? Make one. You get the picture. This is your project. Make it undeniably yours. For stuff that I like, I chose kitsch, as well as old signage and weird interesting folklore. The next section is materials. What I mean by this is that you should think of your project in terms of how you would print it or how you would display it. Literally, what material is your project made out of? If you're doing a web design project, this might seem a little bit abstract. But for instance, if you're doing a packaging project for an oat milk, for example, how would you package it? A paper milk carton or a glass bottle with the cork? These are two very different branding choices. For materials, I chose recycled paper as well as vinyl stickers. I'm trying to think of anything that you might find either at the time that 30s, 40s, early highway experience, or things that might appeal to the road trip crowd of today. Finally, we have sounds. Again, this is a little bit more abstract, but if you're doing a video project, for example, this can be very concrete. But even when you're picking up your glass oatmeal container, that makes a sound. It feels a certain way. All of this goes into how you should be approaching your project. For the scenic route, I wrote down in 80s road trip mix and the sounds of the highway. Before moving on, make sure that you have completed your inspiration chart. Try to write down a few items in each category. I'm going to build a moodboard for the scenic routes and I'm going to share with you how I'm going to search for images on Unsplash, what I'm looking for in each photo, and some cool ways in Adobe InDesign about how to build a moodboard super fast. Now I'm going to start building my moodboard. My favorite way of doing this is to go onto Unsplash and other free websites where you can download royalty-free images. I like to do this because I don't want to pull any inspiration that might be like direct design representation, but something that is a little bit more abstracted, like a feeling or an idea that I'm getting from an image rather than referencing somebody else's work. My favorite image website is Unsplash, but I also frequently use Pexels. Those are my two recommendations, but there are plenty of sites out there, paid and unpaid, where you can find images. I'm going to go to Unsplash to look for images. What I'm looking for when I'm searching for images are based on my inspiration chart. I have here like warm nostalgic colors, mysterious but still happy, kitschy or campy images, nostalgic retro branding. Anything that has a retro flavor to it or old signage, I might pull some of that and that is probably the closest that I will get to like a direct design reference. But it's still just a step away from that by being a picture of like a sign rather than somebody's work who's working today. I also have weird interesting folklore. That might end up manifesting itself as like cryptozoology or something like that. I'm going to use those words to search on Unsplash and then I'll show you my thought process behind picking certain images. Some of the images that I like already are like this polaroid image. I really like the colors on that, so that might be a color reference for myself. I'm going to download that. I really like this view master image. I really like the bright red and blue and the feeling that that gives off, as well as just like the item itself. It's like an item that I might find in a roadside attraction or something along those lines. I really like this first image of the road trip, but just because it's in the desert specifically. I think that that speaks to my inspiration specifically and my background. That's how I'm going about picking images. I'm going to continue to do that. Then when I have all my images downloaded, I'll show you how I'm going to make a very fast moodboard in Adobe InDesign. Now I have InDesign open here and I want to create a 1920 by 1080 board. This really doesn't matter. I'm just doing 1920 by 1080 because it makes it easier for me to show to you guys. I'm going to use a specific tool, which is the rectangular frame tool, and that is on my toolbar right over here. I'm just going to click and drag from the center and I'm going to continue to hold my mouse down. Once I've got that laid out where I want it, I'm going to use my arrow keys to create the boxes. If I use the side arrow key, I can create five columns. Then if I use the up and down arrow keys, I can create another row. Now you can see that I have ten perfectly spaced boxes, and that is going to be the rough layout for a moodboard. It's nothing super fancy and you can definitely go in and change the size of these boxes in relation to each other. But I'm just going for super simple today. I'm going to take and drag all of my images that I found in here. If I click again, it's going to take its sweet time. You can see that I have a little preview of the image there that shows that I can now import these images. Using the Option key, I can click into any of these boxes and the image will be dropped in there. I'm just going to continue to do that for all of them. Now I have all of my images in there and I'm just going to click and drag over all of them and then hitting the right arrow key or the double select if you have a trackpad, I can go to Fitting and then Fill Frame Proportionately. Then it's going to take its time. Then you can see that it takes each photo and it resizes it to that box. Then I'm going to go into each of these and adjust to where the focus is on what I liked about each image. This is my final moodboard for the scenic route. If you're that photographer that wants to work for Nike, you can look at different colors, like Nike uses a lot of white and orange in their photos, so you might do that. You could also look at the mood that you want to set and how you take photos now and mix that technique with how Nike presents themselves. Your moodboard might look like this. If you're that animator that wants to work for Pixar, you can bring in elements that Pixar uses a lot like certain kinds of music and elements of storytelling, and then you can mix up with your own aesthetic into something that's completely your own, but speaks directly to Pixar. Your moodboard might look like this. Take about 20 to 30 minutes to find some images for a moodboard. You don't necessarily have to create a formal moodboard. You can save them to your phone or your computer in one folder so that you can refer back to them. But try to find at least five to seven images. In this lesson, we went over a couple of different methods of compiling inspiration that included mood, color, techniques, as well as stuff that you like, and we also considered materials and sounds. Again, even when we're looking at inspiration, you're looking at your heroes, but you're also bringing part of you to the table. In the next lesson, we're going to take a little break and check in with where we're at. 11. REST STOP: Let’s Check In: [MUSIC] We're about halfway through the class, congrats on getting this far in. I hope you're feeling good and ready for Part 2. In the first part of this class, we've been compiling lots of information. Information about where we would like to go, where we currently are, what our skill sets are, how our project can fill that gap, etc. You wrote a project statement, you planned out your project, you wrote down each step for each deliverable, and now we're ready to start making that work. In the next part of the class, we are going to take all of this information and we're going to start applying it to our projects. The most important thing that I want you to keep in mind as we move forward is that I want you to stay true to yourself. This is your ideal work situation. If at any point you find yourself not having a lot of fun, I want you to take a step back and ask yourself why and then readjust. In the next lesson, we're going to start making the [inaudible] work. [MUSIC] 12. Make the Dang Work: Thumbnailing: In this lesson, we are going to start thumbnailing our ideas, and this is your first chance to take a look at your brainstorming exercises in your inspiration chart from the previous lessons, and start applying that into a visual medium. For this lesson, I would advise that you have some paper and a pencil or a pen out. What is thumbnailing and how does it differ from regular sketching? Thumbnail sketches are usually really quick small drawings that are done very fast and with no corrections. You want to get out your ideas as quickly as possible, and not worry too much about how they turn out, you're just trying to communicate with yourself what the idea is. When I am doing these thumbnail sketches, I like to use a pen because I've got perfectionist brain, and I basically want to not go back and fix anything, I want to just take that idea and then draw it again and make whatever changes or ideas that I had. I'm basically iterating on whatever ideas that I had before. My biggest tip for you is going to be to follow your brain threads. What I mean by that is, as you're drawing, if you think of an idea, go and draw that idea as quickly as possible, don't worry about what you were doing before it, just keep drawing. If you have multiple ideas that are pulling you in different directions, the best idea, I would say, is to write those down so that you can draw the ideas that you're most excited about without forgetting that other idea. Sometimes I'll do pages and pages of these thumbnail sketches before I even jump on the computer. When I was in college, my professor would have us do at least 50, and doing that many forces you to think outside the box when you've exhausted all of the obvious answers. As I'm starting to thumbnail, I start with a blank sheet of paper, and I start to think about how I want to start. Usually, I'll start with the name and just the scenic route, and then I'll take a look at the letter forms and all start to think about how I can modify them. My ideas are all about the highway and taking the long way home, so how can I express that idea visually? That starts to manifest itself in the style of my E, which is this diagonal crossbar instead of a regular one, and I also went with these very angular letters which remind me of the highway or streets or things like that. As you can see, as I'm sketching, I really don't care what they look like, I'm just going from idea to idea. I'm building on my ideas, I'm just letting my brain flow. Sometimes I'll do several sessions of thumbnailing and think about it in the meantime and then let my brain go in different directions. I also start to sketch some hand lettering in different assets that I want to include, so there's some sticker designs in here in this sketch that I did of a Sasquatch. This is just a simple example of how I'm setting up my thumbnail sketches, so that I can bounce off of these ideas when I get on the computer, and really have a place to start from. If you're any sort of visual artist, I would suggest thumbnailing your ideas before you jump on the computer. Draw as many as you can and as fast as you can. When you think you've done enough, try drawing ten more, spend no more than a minute on each idea. In this lesson, you learned what thumbnail sketches are, you learned that you should draw fast, draw lots of them, and draw without going back to fix anything, just keep moving forward. You also learned that you should follow your brain threads and trust your intuition. In the next lesson, we are going to focus on what the big idea of our project is and how to push it to feel more real. 13. Make It Real: The Big Idea: In this lesson, we are going to focus on what the big idea of our project is and how we can take our projects to the next level. You've broken down the aesthetics and now you're starting to work on your project, whatever medium that's in. One of the things that I've noticed does really well in job interviews and portfolio reviews is people like work that is real. What I mean by that is they like work that goes the extra mile. How can you go the extra mile? Well, you could take your packaging project, and you could go get it printed, and cut it out with the Exacto knife and you could use tape and glue to make it real and take pictures of it. You could make your project into an event where you go to the park and you just bring your friends something super small, but you put it on Facebook and you do Shakespeare in the Park or something, you could do that. Are you doing a UX or UI project? Find somebody that matches your user and test it out on them. Survey them, see what real problems they're having and how you can solve them. Here's the big secret that nobody wants to tell you. Potential employers and clients are just looking for thoughtfulness and enthusiasm. Whatever that means for you, is what you should put into your project. Whatever extra little bit that you can do is what's going to get you noticed. This might mean that you have to invest a little bit more time or money into your project. If you don't have those resources available to you, don't worry. I'll also be showing you how to make mockups work more effectively for you. I usually use a combination of both, so no worries. How am I making my project more real? At its core, the scenic route is just a conceptual branding project. But I found out that one of these roadside attractions that I am including in my project and basing off of for inspiration is actually just an hour away. I went there and I took some video and photos and I'm going to include it in my trailer. For this lesson, start making the work. As you do so think about how you can take it a step beyond. This is probably going to take the longest out of all the steps, so try to stick to your action plan. In this lesson, you learned that the secret to having a show-stopping portfolio is just to take a step beyond and that all that employers and potential clients are looking for, is just a little bit of thoughtfulness and enthusiasm. This might mean that you have to invest a little bit of time and money into your project if you're able. Then next lesson, I'm going to show you how to incorporate all those brainstorming exercises into your project. 14. Project Design: Your Elements: In this lesson, I'm going to show you how you can take those past brainstorming exercises in inspiration chart, and how you can incorporate that into the elements of your project. The biggest idea that I want to stress to you is that everything should be related to your concept. That's your colors, typography, your lighting, your music, literally, everything should be related to your concept and serve a purpose. I'm going to show you how I'm taking some of my thumbnail sketches and those ideas that I had for the scenic route and how and translating those into my design elements. I'm going to show you how I'm incorporating those ideas into my logo, my type, my color, one of my deliverables, and also the language that I'm using within my project. Okay, now I just want to share a little bit of my process of how I'm going to be applying some of my visual ideas from the previous lessons into the design of my project. What I'm focusing on here is I'm going to create the logo, the colors that I'm going to use, are those same colors that I chose from that one image of the 1950s diner scene. I really liked the neon, and I really liked that it was a little bit different than my usual color palette. So that's how I decided how to do that. My general idea that I'm going to go for is a mono-line logo that I'm going to add texture to. I'm going to make the logo from this one design that has these diagonal slashes on it in the Es. I like this from a conceptual point of view because you're not taking the straight way home per se, you're taking the scenic route, which is a little bit off the beaten path, you might say. What I did was I took a rectangle and I used the split into grid function. Then I made that into guides. I did this because I want each of the letters to be a little bit more uniform in size. Obviously the I isn't the same size as the other letters so I do have to take that into account, but for now, I'm just using it as a basic framework. Route has one less letter than scenic. So I'm also going to have to take that into account when making those letters. I'm just using basic shapes here, and that the line tool. I'm not doing anything super fancy. I'm just experimenting right now. What I'm thinking about is that conceptual idea of making these shapes look like highway signs or things that you might see along the way. I wanted it to be general enough that it could work for all of the roadside attractions as an overall brand. But I also wanted it to feel unique and be able to stand on its own. That's my first attempt at the logo and now I'm going to make a little monogram with the S and the R. I have a bunch of different assets and ideas that I'm building off of. I'll eventually get around to making a version of each of these. But for now, I just want to explore how the type is going to work in my system. In this slogan that I'm working on now, let's take the long way home. I am still playing with that idea of the scenic route, taking the long way home, having this diverging pass. That's where most of my ideas are coming from and where I'm trying to pull inspiration from and bring in my ideas a little bit more. That's how I'm applying my inspiration to my design. I will continue to clean them up a little bit more. But as you are approaching your own project, just think about how conceptually you can apply your ideas into a visual medium. For me, that was, how do I apply the idea of taking the long way home, not be straight path? How do I turn that into a visual language for the scenic route to follow? In this lesson, I want you to continue to work on your project but take inventory of how you're applying the ideas and intentions that you set for yourself. Are you staying true to your goals? In this lesson, you learned that everything should have a purpose in your project and that it's okay to go back and take a look at what you're doing and seeing if it's matching your goals. In the next lesson, I'm going to show you a couple of different ways of how you can make mockups to best serve your story. 15. Level Up Your Mockups: In this lesson, I'm going to go over why mockups are important and how you can take them to the next level. Mockups are a way to show off your work in context. They can really help your audience to understand how they are functioning in a real space and they can really make or break your project. You want literally everything in your case study to feel like it belongs to that brand or that project, or whatever you're creating. There's a couple of different ways of doing that. One, you can make the item for real and photograph it. Two, you can go on to free image sites like Unsplash and you can find a photo and really go into Photoshop and make it your own. Which spoiler alert, that's how a lot of free mockups are actually made. Three, you can use a mockup that's already created and you can go into Photoshop and really customize it and mess it up. In all of these cases, you want to really make sure that the mockup is working for you. You want to make sure that every decision that you're making in presenting your work serves a purpose and tells the story of your project. For instance, if you're doing a can packaging project, a 16 ounce can feels very different than a 12 ounce can. Or one of those like really tall skinny cans can feel a certain way as well. Each decision is important, so make sure that you're considering that when picking mockups. Just a couple of tips for you. Number 1, people are hard wired to connect to human faces. Make sure that you are using some instances of people in your project. It can really make a difference in catching somebody's attention. Two, if you're using a project that you've already done, if it's some client work that you're just adding onto, go back and make some additional assets and make those mockups work for you. Remember, at the end of the day, this is your portfolio and you can present your work however you like. In the next three lessons, I'm going to show you all three of those incidences that I talked about, making it for real, customizing photos and messing up Photoshop mock-ups. If you have an interest in one over the other, you can go into that individual lesson and learn more about it. The deliverable that I'm going to show you how I made at each different level are my sticker design deliverables. Start thinking about which of your deliverables might work well to create for real. In the next lesson, I am going to show you how I made my sticker designs for real and how I'm going to photograph them for my case study. 16. Level 1: Make It Real: In this lesson, we are going to look at making our deliverables for real and tips and tricks for presenting them. In the previous lessons, you saw me making some of my sticker designs. I went ahead and I got them printed through a website called Sticker Mule, and I ended up gaining these really nice high-quality final stickers back. I ended up getting a sticker sheet printed with a bunch of little designs and typography. They have some of my language that I was discussing with you guys on here. We have LET'S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, REST STOP AHEAD, WHAT IF WE'RE NOT ALONE? WHAT IF? WHAT A STRANGE TRIP IT WAS. All of those language ideas as well as the logos, and I also decided to take our Sasquatch buddy and get him printed as his own individual sticker. This was a great way for me to get a bunch of designs onto one sheet. They're not as big as maybe a regular sticker would be, but for our purposes this works really well. I also decided to get two individual stickers printed. I got the minimum amount that you could get, which was 10 as a sample pack, and I got the CLUB SCENIC ROUTE sticker as well as the WHAT IF text on a holographic background. I really wanted all of these to be core elements of the brand, and I wanted them to exist in a couple of different places. This product shot is what we're going to be working on today. I was trying to think about what sorts of objects that my stickers could go on. I happen to have this Nalgene water bottle that is basically one of my brand colors. That works out really well. I'm trying to think of things I already have instead of going out and purchasing something that might not end up really mattering that much in the long run. I'm going to use this water bottle, and I'm going to basically cover the water bottle in stickers. As I'm applying these stickers to the water bottle, I'm thinking a little bit about how they are playing together. But mostly I am just sticking them wherever I feel like is best in the moment. There's not really a rhyme or reason to this. I am going to just set up my backpack next to a cactus, and I am also going to just put my water bottle next to it to serve as a textural element, and I'm just going to take some pictures. I also ended up having a last-minute idea where I put the water bottle in this plants, and it just framed it very well. Now I'm done, I have a couple of nice pictures that I could potentially use for my case study, and I will end up editing them at that stage. The things that you need to consider when you're taking your own pictures is one, what about the staging? Where are you putting the objects? Where does your brand live, and what elements are in that picture? Two, consider the lighting, is it natural? Are you using neon lights? Are you using studio lights? What's the vibe that you're trying to make? Three, contexts. What is the context of what you're doing? Are there any items that would make sense in the frame? What is the story that you're telling with your mock-up? Getting deliverables printed or created can be pricey. That's part of what I was thinking about when choosing my deliverable. I was able to find stickers for a reasonable price without having to buy like 500 of them. If you're able to create them yourself, like if you're doing a packaging project, you can go get it printed for pretty cheap and then cut it out with an Exacto knife and make it yourself. But what if you're doing like a skateboarding company? You could get the logo printed on some stickers. You could grab some of your friends, slap it on the bottom of some boards and go to a skate park and take pictures and videos of your friends with the brand. There's definitely things that you could do that are fun, and this doesn't really have to be a chore. You should be having fun and thinking of new innovative ways to showcase your work. In the next lesson, I'm going to show you how to find images on free image sites and how to customize them for your case study. 17. Level 2: Customizing Photos: I'm going to show you how I find photos, as well as how I edit them with a couple of basic tricks that I think will help you take your mock-ups to the next level. I have my stickers already and now I want to find an image on Unsplash. I'm not looking for specifically a picture of a sticker, but something that this sticker could go on. Let's try and find one. My thought process behind this is I'm thinking that maybe the stickers could live on like a light post or something like that. Something that stickers usually can be found on. But I'm not really finding any that are close enough because this really has to be like a pretty smallest sticker. You can't imagine something that's this size existing, unlike a picture that's like 50 yards away. This is like the vibe that I'm going for. That one might be good too. Now I have a couple of options and I'm going to bring them into Photoshop. Now that I have found my photo, I'm going to do a couple of little tweaks to it. The first one is going to be that I need to cover up these other photos. I always duplicate my layer. That way I'm like still have an original copy to go back to. The Content Aware Fill is the tool that I'm going to be using. You can see on this screen over to the side, it's giving me a preview of what it looks like. The green is where it's pulling from and I don't want it to have any of the texture of the wall. You can see here in the preview that has some pores like it's a brick wall and I don't want that. I'm just going to use my tool to deselect any of the wall portions and then I'm going to see what I'm left with. That's the basics of how you put in the stickers and showcase what it looks like. I am going to throw in a little bit of texturing with an online texture that I found. I'm also going to give them a little bit of a drop shadow so that it looks like they're actually on the box. My final step will be to add a gradient map to melt everything together. There's lot of different places to find textures, but I usually just pull from the vast collection that I've been growing over the years of just like random places. Just keep your eye out when you see that people are giving away free textures or you could make them yourself as well. I'm just using a clipping mask to mask this shape over each sticker. That way they just don't look so clean. Now there's a couple of different ways to do drop shadows as well. If you go into fx and then drop shadow, you could do it that way. You could do it with the drop shadow, but it just makes it look like it's floating. I want to be able to make it look like specific parts of the sticker art coming up. I'm just going to make a new layer right underneath that sticker layer and then use my brush tools to brush in a shadow. I'm just going to use black because later on I can really go in to the blend settings for the layer and customize it a little bit more. I'm just doing a little soft brush. I just want to create a couple of small areas where there could be some sort of lifting. I'm going to do that for this one as well. I'm just going to turn the opacity down on that layer. Then it just looks a little bit more custom. It doesn't have to look perfect because people know that this is a conceptual project, but it does look a little bit nicer than just a standard run-of-the-mill mock-up. Now I'm going to add my gradient map. The way I'm going to do that is in the adjustments and then the Gradient Map tool. I am going to pick one that has some green in it. Turn down the opacity a little bit because I don't want it to be super overwhelming. But that's how I would approach this level 2. I'm going to show you one more example so that I can show you the perspective tool. We're just going to focus on one sticker. I am going to curve this sticker around the telephone pole. I'm going to use that with the perspective tools. I'm going to use the puppet work tool to form it to this shape. That is under Edit and then Puppet Warp. This works really well if you have like one solid shape rather than a bunch of little shapes put together, if I had words like the what-if sticker wouldn't work as well for this. But since it's one solid triangle shape, I can use this tool. Basically, you add these little pins. Then you can move the pins around and you can add more just to give it that curved shape. I just created a clipping mask so that I could cut off the edge. But I've curved my shape a little bit more so it looks like it's on the poll. I'm going to do the same trick for adding a shadow and then adding a little bit of dirt back into the mock-up so that it looks a little bit less new and clean. I'm looking at this and I noticed it's just way too bright for the setting. I'm going to use that same shadow that's right here in the mock-up. I'm going to just paint that on and then turn the opacity down and then it should look a little bit more like it belongs in the scene. That's how I would approach this mock-up. Here's my final two mock-ups that I made for our level 2. In the next lesson, we are going to focus on Photoshop mock-ups and how you can really dig into those files and customize them for yourself. 18. Level 3: Messing Up Photoshop Mockups: In this lesson I'm going to go over how to find Photoshop mock-ups, how to decide if a mock-up is a good one or not, and how to really go into those files and make them more custom. We're going to go over a couple of different basic ways that you can really elevate those Photoshop mock-ups. Now I'm going to make a holographic sticker with a Photoshop mock-up. This is something that's a little bit harder for me to create that effect, so I'm going to use a pre-made one. These Level 3 Photoshop mock-ups are great if you're not sure how to do it, then you can use one that somebody has already made. There are plenty of resources out there online of places to get these Photoshop mock-ups. But just be careful that you're clicking the right Download button and you're not accidentally giving yourself a virus. Going into the structure of this, they have the pattern, and then they have the shape. I'm going to do the what-if stickers. For those, I need to bring in the background. Now I have my background all in here and I think we just want this black text and that is going to be our what-if text. There was a bunch of other options in here and I just turned those off. To customize this and make it my own, I might choose a different background, like we could use one of the images that I didn't use before. Let's check that out. I'm basically just looking for a cool wall to use as a background. Now it just looks a little bit more accustomed to my specific project rather than just being on a black background. I want to use this as its own element on the pages to layer over the other pictures of the mock-ups. I might just end up saving this with a transparent background so that I can't do that. That's how I would approach level 3 of creating mock-ups. In the next lesson, I'm going to go over best practices for writing about your project in your case study. 19. Tell Me How to Feel: In this lesson, we are going to talk about writing about your project. Specifically, we are going to revisit your problem, process, and passion. So make sure that you have your portfolio roadmap at your fingers so that you can refer back to all of those exercises that we've been doing. Specifically, we are going to be using the ideas and action worksheet for this lesson. Writing is an undervalued skill for any visual artist. You should be able to talk about your work as well as represent it visually. The way that we're going to format this text is we're going to use some bullet points for shorter and more high-level information needed for context and then we're going to use longer paragraphs that will explain your decision-making and your thought process. I like to write about my projects this way because when you are showing your portfolio to somebody or somebody is checking out your website, they don't have a lot of time to look at it. So you want people to be able to just skim through it and get the gist of what the project is, as well as capture the attention of those who want to learn more about your process. So we're addressing two different audience members. Listed under that short-form content, you can use bullet points, numbered lists, bold, italic, underline. All of those things that you can use to draw emphasis, that's what you're going to use for this information. Those items are going to be things like your project goal, what your role was, what kinds of deliverables were you making, things like that. Longer paragraphs are used to talk about your creative decision-making. You could talk about the backstory in here. You could talk about your process and anything else that's unique about what you did. I'm going to show you a little bit of how I'm going to approach this for the scenic route, taking those short bullet points and then turning it into a longer paragraph. On your ideas and action worksheet, I have the categories, problem, process, and passion again. Are you getting sick of them yet? I also have some hints here on the left side in case you're not sure what bullet points you should be including on this side. These bullet points are basically the higher-level context that's needed to understand your project. On the right side, I have some space, if you would like to handwrite some notes that are the longer paragraphs of your project. Or you could type these if that's easier for you. Basically, you just want to break down your project into these two different styles of writing. That way it's easier for people to skim it through your project, being able to understand it if they're in a hurry or be able to go back through and really understand how you think. I'm writing down creating brand that balances mystery and optimism, incorporating travel and adventure into my work, and bringing in my voice into my work. So I have the problem which is creating that brand that balances those two opposite things and the contexts which is incorporating travel and adventure and bringing in my voice. For process, I have researched into folklore, visiting the thing, and my creative decisions. The research into folklore is a larger part of my process. So that's how I did it. Visiting the thing is how I did it. My creative decisions are just a shorthand way of saying that I'm going to talk about each of my creative choices. My passion, it covers weird hole-in-the-wall places and how much I like them. Seeing the Thing billboards growing up and my connection to the highway. Seeing the Thing billboards is related to my backstory. My love for weird hole-in-the-wall places speaks to why I care and my connection to the highway also speaks to why I care. You don't have to specifically answer why your audience should care, but talking about your passion should spark passion in your audience. Now I'm going to show you a little bit of how I write for my projects. I just have a Google Doc open here with the categories, problem, process, and passion. So I'm just typing my bullet points from the ideas and action worksheet. I don't have to necessarily talk about each of these points, but I can include them specifically in my writings such as bringing in my voice. That's not necessarily a point that I'm going to write about, but a point that I'm going to keep in mind as I'm writing. I'm just giving a little bit of space here. The first thing that I want to talk about is that the goal of the project. The project that I'm showing you guys here is the overall brand for the scenic route, which is made up of smaller projects for each roadside attraction. I'm talking about the goal of the project first and then I'm writing what I notice as a "problem", which is that a lot of these places just have brands that were created by the people running it, not a professional designer or anything like that, which is totally fine. But I am thinking, how can I connect with these places that I find to be interesting using my specific skill set as a designer? I can design brands, and that was the basic idea behind the project. Then I'm going in and I'm just calling out things that I think are important, such as the goal and what the goal is. So my final sentence for the problem is, the goal for the scenic route is to create a brand for each state's most famous roadside attraction. I noticed many of these places have what I am lovingly calling DIY branding. I thought to myself, how can I connect? How can I create something for these places that I'm interested in? What I'm typing now under process, I'm eventually going to move under passion, but I just wanted to start writing about my backstory with my project. Which is that I always saw these infamous yellow billboards as I was growing up in Tucson. If you had driven anywhere between Tucson and El Paso, I guarantee you that you have seen the signs. This is almost like my call to adventure. This is what inspired me to start this project, which is that growing up I drove past the infamous yellow billboards advertising the Thing that countless times. As an adult, I realized two things. One, I can drive myself places and two, the Thing was only an hour outside of town. So it's almost like, why not go? Now I am tackling process and I am just writing down the different kinds of creative decisions that I might want to talk about. As I'm writing about my process, I just wanted to talk about the research phase and what kinds of questions that I was thinking about as I was designing the brand. My final paragraph for process is I started this project with a deep research phase and wanted to know everything about roadside attractions, cryptids, and the history of each place. A lot of these roadside attractions have questionable pasts. They all contributed to how I wanted to approach the brand. How would I balance the kitschy nature of each location with the potential dark past that each might possess and how did that manifest for the overall brand? So as you're approaching your own writing, I just want you to remember to, one, be patient with yourself because good writing takes a while and does take editing. So just keep in mind those little hints that I have for you on the sheet and your case study checklist. We're going to be jumping into the case study checklists a little bit more in the following lesson. But I also just want you to think about those questions now. You can pull it out and make sure that you're covering these things before we get to the next lesson. In this lesson, you learned that you should really be guiding people through your case study and you could do this with two different kinds of writing. One, short-form content that shows the higher-level context needed to understand the project and the long paragraphs which could be used to describe you're creative decision-making. In the next lesson, I'm going to cover how to create your case study. 20. Creating Your Case Study: In this lesson, I'm going to be going over how to build a case study and what elements should definitely be in there. In this lesson, you are going to need all of that material that you've been gathering this whole time, as well as the finished elements of your project, so any writing and mock-ups. Before we jump in, I just want to go over a couple of technical aspects about case studies. There is no one specific way to do this, and at the case study that I'm going to be building for this class is going to be very simple. But I'll show you a couple of more elaborate ones that I like a little bit later in the lesson. The first thing that you have to consider is where is your case study going to live? Your own website, Behance, a physical portfolio. Each one is going to have different requirements and capabilities. Here's how I like to set up mine for Behance. I like to use 1920 by 1080 art-boards, multiply it by however many I need, 1920 by 1080 is a common web dimension, so that's why I use that. I like to use RGB color space because we are going to be only viewing it on the web, but for instance, if you're building a print portfolio, you will need to use CMYK. When I'm done, I will save all of my boards with 72 DPI so that they're easy to load online. If I'm putting something on my personal website, I have to consider what options that my website builder has. I specifically use Squarespace, so sometimes I'll take advantage of the options that they have. As we move through, I want to make sure that I'm covering all of my bases, specifically the 3Ps. I created a case study checklists for you that has a bunch of different questions on it that you should be including in your case study. They should be answered in one way or another. Let me show you how I'm going to build my case study. I like to build my case studies with 1920 by 1080 artboards. I will resize them if necessary, but that's where I like to start from. My biggest piece of advice to you would be to gather everything that you need before you start building. As you can see in my document, I have quite a bit of stuff here and that's so I can just pour it in and drag and drop. That way, I'm sure that I am covering everything. You'll see that I have my deliverables as well as my mockups, my colors, type, sketches, logos, and the writing. In the top-left corner, I have just some notes about how I want the document to flow, which is just the same as I have it on your anatomy of a case study. I always like to start with one big image that showcases the brand. For the scenic route, I'm going with this beanie image that has the logo. This and the t-shirts are just some mockups that I created off-screen. They both utilize Photoshop mock-ups, so there's not really anything super special about them. Now, I want to talk about the background and I'm going to use my type system that I created. I'm just resizing the art board to see what feels right. I'm typing out the name and then underneath that, I just want to do a little tagline. I just recently thought of this, but I wanted to express that I was doing a conceptual branding project, and then I wanted to play with that idea that they are called curiosities, but they also captured my curiosity, and that was one of the big motivators behind this project. Now, I'm bringing over my text from the side, which is a great reason why you should have your texts over there. I really want to make sure that it's lined up. I am creating a rectangle that is 100 pixels smaller than the width, and then I am going to split it into a grid using columns. It's going to be 12 columns. I'm going to use 20 pixels for the gutter. Then if you go into "View", and then "Guide", and "Make Guides", you'll see that there is a guide there now and I can align my text. This is a technique that's used a lot on websites. Most web designers design on a 12 column grid, so I like to utilize when I am designing web assets for myself. I really want to emphasize a couple of things in my project, that is the goal, and then the almost call to action or call to adventure, which is, as an adult, I realized two things. I can drive myself places and the thing was only an hour outside of town. That's going off into the wilderness or going off on an adventure or text. I want to make sure that I am referencing that and pulling it out for people to read. Now, I really want to include my role as well as the project timeline. This isn't as important if you are just doing a project by yourself and you're doing all of the different parts of the project. But if you're on a team that you really do want to stress what your specific role was. But this also can help you explain the different skills that you have. Now, I'm doing process. I moved over my colors and I just last minute thought that I wanted to make them all look like a road just because it's all about the highway. I created these rectangles, and then using the Stroke tool, I just made a dashed line instead of a solid line. I really just like that it brings in a little bit more personality into things that are otherwise standard. Now I'm playing around with how I want to showcase my type. As you can see, creating a case study is a lot about experimenting. I think a lot of it can be really subjective because you are deciding how you want to showcase your work. I decided to go with this standard way of showing the type which is with the uppercase and lowercase a. Then I was thinking about it and I want to have my sketches first. I'm going to create a new art board, and then I'm going to move all that stuff down, and then I'm going to move in my sketches and have my process text on this slide. Originally I thought that I wanted the text on the right and the sketch over there on the left but then I thought that I really wanted to vary my slide design. I'm going to end up moving it to the middle and then I will put the text underneath. Next, I'm going to tackle my deliverables and the first one is my logos. I'm just playing around with the layout here, trying to bring emphasis to the main logo and then showcasing the logo system down below. Next, I'm going to showcase the different merchandise, which was the stickers, as well as the t-shirts. I really wanted these to break the fourth wall in a way. I have these mockups and I'm going to layer the mockups, the design, and the stickers, that way it's a little bit more interesting. I was thinking about how I was going to incorporate my mockups that I created myself, and I really wanted to have them as their own big hero image to break up the mockup section but to also showcase that yeah, I did make these. I have two images that I wanted to focus on of this water bottle that showcase my stickers and I'm putting them right next to each other and I'm going to have one as more of a detail shot and the other one as this downward shot that showcases that it's in nature, but it also showcases the holographic stickers specifically. Here's how my final case study looks. I just wanted to quickly go over two examples of great case studies. The first one is from Hoodzpah Design, it is their happy tooth branding, which is for a pediatric dentist. I just love the way that they incorporate the same elements that we're including, but they just take it a step beyond. They're showcasing all of their branding elements but they're having them stagger in with this animation effect, which is really nice, and it keeps your brain focused on what you're looking at before you move on to the next thing. Next, they dive into the space and they show you how their type and color system is working within that space. Next, they go over this custom basketball court and you can see from their language that they're really bringing in their personality. They showcase some more collateral and assets and my favorite thing from this project is this happy tooth, little teeth cracker toy. I just think it is so fun and it showcases the personality really well. You can see that they are writing about their project, they're showcasing the scope and what they did. They're showcasing some of their creative decisions by talking about the different fonts that they're using, how they are talking about the different assets that they created. The other project that I wanted to share was this Marmont, a hotel design from Farm Design and they really approach the questions really well. In this first part of the project, you can see that they specifically talk about the goal of the project and they really explore the backstory and they're thinking really well. This is just the high-level concept for the brand and then they go into more depth about the specific history of this hotel, which is really important for how they approach the brand. They go into brand pillars and they set up contexts for that. They showcase who it's for and then they show a picture specifically of what that person looks like. They go into brand inspiration, which I really love at their mood boards. They're showcasing the space and how they are applying the brand to that space and the different rooms, then they're starting to incorporate a little bit more of their branding. They're showing it in context and my favorite thing that they do is this graphic spectrum and they showcase the functional designs to where they were able to push it a little bit more with their illustrations and layered textures. They're really good at setting up contexts for each part of their project in the case study. Hoodzpah Design is really good at showcasing their personality. Their case studies are really conversational and on the other hand, Farm Design is really good at setting up contexts for their designs and they're really good at exploring the backstory of what their project is about. Those are two different ways that you can showcase your work and what you want to stress is really up to you and what fits your goals the best. The last step that I want you to think about is looking at your case study checklist. I have each category here, problem, process, and passion, as well as some specific questions about your deliverables. Just go over this list and make sure that you're covering everything, you don't have to write notes under these questions, but sometimes that can help just to make sure that you're thinking through everything. For problem, what is the problem or challenge? This doesn't have to be solving world hunger but what was the challenge? Is there any context needed to understand the problem? What was the outcome? What did you learn? I don't see this particular one included much outside of UX projects, but I feel like it's valuable to include your thought process about the outcome. If you're using a real-world project, great, ask your client what the outcome of your project was. Ask them how it's going. Process, what was your role, what did you do? Create a decisions type, color, mood boards, etc, anything that you researched or created, add it to the case study. How did you do it? Explain techniques, show sketches, etc. Passion. What is the backstory? Explain why you're interested in the topic. Why does it matter? Why should your audience care? Your passion will spark passion in others. Finally, each deliverable with a mockup to show it in context. Use your mockups that you created in the previous lessons to showcase your work. Now it's time for you to go create your case study. As you're making it, remember to include the problem, process, and passion. In this lesson, you learned exactly what you should be including in your case study. This covers everything from your checklist and the anatomy of a case study. The biggest takeaway that I want you to take from this lesson is that this is just a starting point. I want you to push this in whatever direction makes sense for your project. In the next lesson, I'm going to show you the final trailer that I made for the scenic route, I hope you enjoy and I'll see you in the wrap-up. 21. Bonus: The Trailer: [MUSIC] 22. Wrap Up: Congratulations on making it through the class. Throughout the lessons, I taught you that you should be always taking inventory of yourself and your dreams to form that path to get to where you want to go. That your inspiration should be coming from inside yourself and should always tie back to your goals. That presenting your work isn't just about your visuals, but also about your writing. The biggest takeaways I want you to remember from this class, is that you have all the tools to follow your dreams right now. That it's not just about imitating those whom you admire, but it's about bringing your unique perspective to the table. Please share your projects and any work in progress in the projects tab below, I would love to take a look at the wonderful work that you've created along the way. Thank you again so much for being a part of this class. I really appreciate it and I'll see you next time.