Graphic Design Project




When choosing a blog topic for this semester, I’m not so sure I entirely understood exactly what I would be doing with the blog.  Though seasonal food pairing is indeed and interesting topic, it’s not entire what we do at my work.  We focus on matching flavor to an application, rather than pairing different types of foods together.  While the two ideas are seemingly related, they are also two separate entities of the flavor industry.  However, I am determined to make it work.

This first project is dedicated to the summer season, in honor of September being the time of year when summer is on its way out.  I decided to focus this first graphic design on a simple yet nutritional breakfast option: a protein shake and breakfast bar.  Vegan protein powders have been trending in the nutritional industry for quite some time now, and my coworkers have had the task of pairing flavors with the not-so-tasty protein options, such as pea and rice protein powders.  Since I discussed focusing on trending flavors in my initial post, I figured this would be a good place to start for the project.

Over the course of working with these types of powders over the past few months, the applications team at my work have come to find that flavors with brown notes are most complimentary to the rice and protein powders, which have brown, earthy notes of their own.  One of the most positively received flavors to mix with pea protein, for example, is caramel-coffee flavoring.

So, I decided that’s what I would showcase: an at-home caramel-coffee pea protein shake.  Seeing as the summer months bring with them sunshine and warm weather, a nice cold drink to get your morning fuel (caffeine and protein in one) seemed to be an appropriate selection, especially for us coffee fiends who can’t enjoy a hot cup of coffee on at 90-degree day.

In my first blog post, I mentioned my goal was to bringing flavor out of the lab and into the kitchen. This is precisely what I intended to do with the first graphic design project: to simply show how to make a lab-inspired drink at home that you can take to go.

I had some difficulties deciding how to convey this image as a story.  At first I had pictured the drink in a kitchen, hoping to capture the feel of the drink being made at home.  This was more difficult than I had assumed, as I could not get the right photos for the job.  I then decided to focus on the summer season instead, and thus created the recipe graphic as pictured.  Keeping the ideas of balance and simplicity in mind, the images placed on the design were spaced out using the ruler and guidelines in Photoshop to help unify the image as a single design.

I also kept the rule of thirds in mind when piecing together the photo. The background is a photo I took at a local park this past summer. The bright colors and contrast between the blue, green and white gave the project the summery feel I was hoping for.  I chose white for the text, working as the middle ground to keep in line with the background color scheme, as I did not want anything too flashy to take away from the summertime feel. The white text against the clouds I think helped add to my desired atmosphere, as well as the daisies surrounding the protein drink in the foreground of the photo.  I took the daisies from a design I found on Flickr created by Polly. The original design can be found here.

Going forward, I am considering swapping out the current shaker cup the protein drink is in for one that has my work’s name on it, but with the shortened work week due to Labor Day, I did not have enough time to discuss using our name with the appropriate people.  I think adding that piece to the design will help connect the project to my work even further.  However, if that is the case, I can imagine them asking me to list a certain type of protein powder in the recipe as well, which may force me to alter the text portion of the image. I also think I would work to make the image a bit bigger, as the current size doesn’t seem big enough for a WordPress post.


5 thoughts on “Graphic Design Project

  1. Hi K.C.! First off, I think you pulled off the “summer refreshing drink vibe” you were hoping to achieve. It looks like something I would want to try! The design is strong in the summer background picture you chose and some of the other touches you added to give it a summer theme. It looks like you used a magic wand or pen tool to cut out the drink and add a few daisies at the bottom for an added summer feel. The hand written font you used for ‘SUMMER’ and the bubble letter font chosen are carefree, youthful and summer-y. I think having the bubble lettering up top and also at the bottom for the recipe heading is a nice touch because it uses the law of similarity to show that the two elements are related to each other.

    Although I agree that using a white font goes along with the theme, I think it was difficult to read in a few areas. You may want to consider filling in the bubble letter font in solid white so it pops out more. Another suggestion would be to play with cutout and blending modes by removing a few clouds behind the ‘SUMMER breakfast to go’ lettering so that the white words are on a blue sky rather than on white clouds. I think the recipe font shows up fine on the green grass. I look forward to seeing how your project progresses! 🙂


  2. KC,

    After reading the blog post that goes with your graphic design, I was better able to understand what you’re looking to do. I’ll admit that I wouldn’t know where to take that topic, but so far you are off to a great start!

    I certainly agree that you kept your design simplistic, which was my favorite part, and also seems to work well for a recipe. I can actually envision someone having a protein shake at the park, especially if it has a trail for running or biking. Another thing that I noticed is the natural horizon line that separates the sky and Summer from the bottle and recipe, giving it balance.

    One of two suggestions is to explain the process of the graphic design in terms of what was done to the photo via the elements that we learned from the tutorials. Second, potentially adding a vignette to your photo or even playing with different fonts may enhance your design.

    On a side note, what were the dimensions for your design? And where/how would this design be used (e.g. print, social media, poster, flyer).



  3. Hello K.C!

    Ohhhh boy, does this picture make me want to take a vacation and drink some smoothies! Like other commenters have said, you have definitely nailed the vibe you were going for. Any viewer will get excited for summer or want to relax with one of these smoothies. The color scheme is nice and simple, with the tannish/warmer colored drink contrasting off of the grass. You did a really good job of cutting out the image and placing it on the “ground”. I would almost make it a bit larger—maybe even way larger– so it stands out even more as the focal point of your composition.

    Following the photography readings we had, the composition of the graphic might also be helped by placing the horizon of the background at one of the thirds of the image—right now it intersects the very middle. Depending on how that goes, you may have more or less room in the grass. Right now, your text feels a little cluttered and could be a bit smaller. The title of “caramel coffee protein shake” is an unfilled font, and at this size it’s a bit hard to read. I love the choice of making all the text white however, it stands out even on the clouds and it matches the daisy.

    Very cute! Great job on this…now I’m looking around my kitchen for smoothie ingredients.


  4. Hi K.C.
    It is funny you say at the beginning of your blog that you were not entirely sure what that entailed. I was right in the same boat, but I guess it is good to be adaptable.
    Not sure if you follow football but if you are a Bears fan, I must apologize that you have to lay your eyes upon my photos later when responding to my blog design, and hope that you will remain objective. ; ) haha.
    Anyway, so I really like your idea, and I feel that your design follows the theme of your blog. Your design communicates the food and flavor one post at a time.
    I don’t know that the idea you have about putting a work themed one is necessary due to the fact that your blog is not really about your work so much as what your title describes. Basically I am just saying it works without it. But that is just my opinion.
    I don’t see the connection between the “pea protein” anywhere in your design, although you may be just referring to pick a protein of your choice…maybe??
    I would normally say that the white letters with clouds probably wouldn’t work, but I like what you have dome with the shadows and shading to separate the letter colors and the cloud background. Did you try yellow letters? Just a thought.
    I would suggest that the title of the shake be bolded or possibly larger, or…maybe make the ingredients (words) smaller to show enhance the title.
    My last suggestion is to make the shake image large. What I think this could do is add some depth of field to your image and the shake. It should give the impression that the shake is close to you and the park is off in the distance. Besides the shake is the core of your post and design, I think making it bigger would add a lot. I would also make the flowers a little bigger if you did this.
    Lastly, yes the image is very small, and hard to see. I had to use my surface and zoom in a bunch to see it. I am not sur how to help with this as increasing the size might distort images etc…
    I am eager to see how your post comes along.


  5. Thanks for the feedback, everyone. You all made me feel better about my project and its connection to my topic. After reading everyone’s critiques, I plan on going back and adjusting a few things. One of the things I talked about, and some of you mentioned, was the overall size of the image. I used a 1000×800 pixel image, but after doing some research about using images on WordPress, I am going to up it to 1925×1200. This is the largest recommended size, but considering how small my current photo is, I’m hoping this will be better. This is the link to the article I read, if anyone is interested to learn more about optimizing photos for WordPress.

    As the image will be bigger, I will have to adjust the size of everything else to accompany the enlargement, including the text and the protein shake. I intend on following through with the recommendation to increase the size of the protein shake to showcase it as the main character of the story. This was something I overlooked when creating this piece, and I thank you all for pointing it out to me.

    I think that by increasing the size of the image, the fonts will appear less crowded and difficult to read. Working while zoomed in doesn’t help much when your photo is small as mine was! I was so shocked to see how tiny it was. I originally had made it the minimum of 800×600, thinking that it would be an okay size, but once I uploaded it and seen how small it was, I went back and made it bigger. Guess it still isn’t big enough!

    I think the biggest challenge I will have is making sure the photo is balanced once everything is increased. I’m hoping the image I have for the protein shake will be suitable to use as a larger image. If not, thankfully I took about 50 photos of that shaker to get the right shot! I’m sure one of them will be big enough to work.


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