AVT 414: Corporate Design and Branding

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Designing with Thumbnails or Marker Comps

Thumbnail sketches are rough drawings, sometimes only comprehensible to the designer, used to explore layout options. These quick pen or pencil sketches allow the designer to try out several ideas and zero in on the most likely layouts before beginning a project. Marker comps are the approximate size to the final layout, using broad markers to indicate color, type positioning, image placement, etc.

Creating thumbnails & marker comps is a crucial part of the brainstorming aspect of your design work.
Don't discount the value of this step in the design process—plus it is a major part of your grade.

  • Don't fret over details. Use thumbnails to establish approximate locations for major elements. Don't worry about making "pretty" pictures.
  • Try for an approximate proportional page size for a marker comp layout but don't get out the ruler. You're aiming for a general idea of how the piece might look.
  • Make lots of rough sketches. Repeat: lots of sketches. You'll rule out many design ideas quickly this way before wasting time in your page layout program.
  • Don't try doing these initial rough designs in your software, even if using dummy text and placeholder graphics. You're apt to get caught up in things like changing the fonts or doing perfectly aligned graphics. Save that step till after you've done the initial brainstorming for ideas with thumbnails or comps.

Assignment One

Branded Environment Analysis

Take a moment (actually several moments) in the next few days and examine a nationally branded environment that you encounter during everyday living such as gas stations, food stores, coffee shops, electronic superstores, etc.

Look around and take note of all the design elements that have contributed to expressing their brand. Collect branded elements such a receipts, cups, napkins, menus, sales flyers, coupons, etc. If possible, take photographs of the branded environment. Don't forget to examine non-design elements that also contribute to brand expression such as interpersonal interactions, lighting, scents/aromas, location, parking, hours, etc.

Write down your impressions. Describe what works—and what doesn't work—in the branded environment. Provide examples to support your analysis (photos are great) and your suggestions to improve the brand experience.

Minimum of one page in Microsoft Word 12 point/Times Roman 1.5 line spacing
Due Tuesday, June 9, 2009