Angles & Perspective
Once I reduced the number of objects, and confined them to the desk to make the illustration less abstract, the team noticed that the perspective was off on some elements: When things were partially floating off the desk before, it was okay to have everything facing head-on, since the illustration wasn’t playing by the normal rules of perspective.
But now with all the objects on the desk from a bird’s-eye view, it appeared that the computer, plant, and coffee cup were laying flat on the wood, which didn’t look right. As a result of this feedback, I experimented with a couple different iterations: a few with the desk angled back so that upright objects like the computer could remain head-on, and a few keeping the bird’s eye view but either showing the computer from the top, showing it at a very slight angle, or replacing it with a tablet.
Hierarchy & Grouping
When creating an illustration that has multiple objects in it, there is a tendency to want to spread those objects around so that they feel sufficiently “random”. In this case, I wanted it to look like a messy, lived-in workspace, but I did receive feedback to introduce some grouping so that the placement of everything was more intentional.
I still angled things a bit – after all, pencils and rulers are not usually left in perfect alignment on a desk – but this feedback was a good reminder that grouping and visual hierarchy is important for guiding the eye of your audience so that they know where to focus.
Shapes & Flow
Through the process of reducing the amount of objects in the illustration, I had started grouping everything on the right side, and the team pointed out that leaving some negative space on the left created a nice angled shape overall.
I hadn’t noticed that initially, and it helped me realize the importance of considering the overall composition of these headers: since the webpages themselves often adhere to a strict grid structure with a lot of straight lines, a cover photo with interesting angles and shapes can provide some contrast and break up those horizontals and verticals.
This shape would flow nicely on Twitter in particular, where profile avatars partially overlap the left side of cover photos, so maintaining negative space on the left was helpful.
Details & Accuracy
The team wanted to ensure that the content on the computer, tablet, and phone accurately communicated what Designlab does. I tried a few different iterations for the computer to convey the Designlab platform, including depictions of wireframes and two users chatting with each other to indicate the mentor/student feedback cycle.
For the phone, the team suggested to show a simple call screen, again as a nod to the communication between students and mentors. As we got closer to the final iteration of the cover photo, the team also took note of details for me to tweak that made a significant difference in modernizing the illustration.
Technology moves very quickly, so depictions of devices like phones and tablets should keep up! I had used a picture of an iPhone X as a reference for my phone illustration, but I received feedback that my tablet looked outdated, and my inclusion of cords wasn’t really needed since wireless tech (keyboards, etc.) are now the norm.
Iteration on project deliverables was a huge part of my time as a Designlab student, and applying that discipline definitely served me well in this project. It allowed me to move through progressively stronger solutions to the given design problem.
It also brought home the value of regularly presenting and listening to feedback on work. By definition, other people have a different perspective on your work. Whatever their perspective, it has the potential to be valuable simply because they will see and think of different things than you.
Finally, this was also a good reminder to save the process and work non-destructively. Rather than overwriting the previous version all the time, I kept duplicating my artboards in Sketch. As well as allowing me the fun of going back and seeing the creative journey, keeping all this work can also be a great way to show process in a portfolio, or even get feedback on the process itself.
Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to sharing iterations on another next project soon!
You can check out Annie's portfolio here
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