Week Six: Communication Design workshop with Zipper

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Workshop today! Today Erin Zipper, a communication designer, came over and told us a lil about what she does. Zipper’s job is to make posters, book covers, illustrations, etc. to convey a message.  She’ll do what ever it takes to convey any message her client wants. Hard and determined worker isn’t she?

She showed us a series of illustrations and posters in a slide show. Zipper then proceeded to do an experiment with us. She flashed two posters really fast. She wanted to see if we could get what the poster/illustration was trying to “pitch” us. She then came to her point: a poster/illustration’s point should be gotten in fifteen seconds or less. Since most people are on the move communications designers have to grab your attention as quickly as possible. So keeping pictures and text to a minimum is essential. This is where knowing your audience comes in. Knowing your audience gives you an idea of what to incorporate in your illustration or how to grab their attention.

Zipper then mentioned hierarchy. What is this you say? Basically, in normal-people speak, hierarchy is putting what you want to be noticed first at the top and then spreading the rest of your poster design/ text accordingly. This was all on a poster she had made. It’s titled “When Making A Poster”. The first bullet is “Knowing Your Audience” and “Say It Quickly”. (These are mentioned above.) The third is “Guide the Viewer”, which is where the hierarchy comes in.  You create a hierarchy with whitespace, scale, font weight, and color. So whitespace, the space that is white, is the negative space around the elements in your design. You can put illustration, color, or what ever have you in your white space. Scale is how big or how small you make your text. When placing text, you need to make sure it flows and doesn’t conflict with other text, so that it guides the reader through the poster. Font weight is also important. Making a font bold or changing the size in certain areas can really draw attention in the right places, and using different font weights can help make the hierarchy of information more obvious than if you just had one font weight. Adding color can really make a difference as well when making a poster. Making certain words red in a provocative poster can add more effect then if you bold the text and kept it black. Changing font weight and color add more emphasis on certain words in a poster. The final thing to do is test what you’ve created and see if it works toward your target audience.

Congratulations, you successfully know how to make a poster! So that concluded the workshop. To me the workshop was ok. I now know what a communication designer does and know someone named Zipper. I’m very pleased with that. :] The images she showed in her slideshow were really cool; they appealed to the kid in me because they were really colorful and clever. – Shianti, 18


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