Food…but Fancy.


I really liked the way I worked during this project. What made a huge difference was using the transferring technique and working with type on transparency sheets. It was like composing on the computer, but in real life.  I learned a bunch of new tricks and techniques with this project.

For example:

Top: transfer using blending marker. Bottom: Transfer using nail polish remover plus marker on edges. Using a combination of both got me a well saturated image (polish remover) as well as with crisp details (marker)


I also experimented with scanning, and how different options when scanning can result in very different results. I ended using the regular 24-bit scans, because of the details and richness in colors:

24-bit color (what I used)

color smoothing

24-bit color

color smoothing

24-bit color

color smoothing

grayscale – halftone

black and white

Not only did this project help me practise working with my hands again, but my choice of topic was very fun for me. Creating a persona that I related to helped make a lot of my design choices. It also opened me up to shifting my topic, by thinking about what someone like me would be interested in seeing and doing. I tried out making jelly spheres/strawberry and banana caviar/ as a side experiment:

They were surprisingly successful, but ended up not making it into my zine. The reasoning behind this was also related to my persona. I thought about students like me, and how making simple foods for us/me is difficult or took time. That made my zine shift from an information book, to a mixture of entertaining foods, as well as the useful recipes part.

printed on transparency

transferred type

Finally, the composition of the final piece was very similar to working on inDesign. I had to test different typefaces and effects as always. What I found hard/inconvenient was having to keep on print different sizes of images, to test how it would look on the page. While working, resizing the image would be faster, easier on screen. But this way, it was better to be able to see the actual way the images would look, instead of having to test print.

This project didn’t really make me lean towards one way of working over the other. Both have their pros and cons. What I realised is that a balance of both would work for me better. Maybe collaging by hand, but resizing and composing on screen. Test prints are something that have to be done during both ways. It most likely would depend on project to project.

What was difficult was the alignment of crossovers by hand, since I really wanted to align some type across a spread. I ended up testing out registrations and stapling a certain way, to have the type be slightly off, but not so much that it’s illegible. What was also good to know—even though it was subconscious initially—was that I had kept a sense of narrative throughout the zine, despite it never being explicitly discussed (it should be obvious from the course’s name, but still).


The Golden Key: Final critique, reflections and ‘elevator pitches’

IMG_5096 copy

Final Reflections and thoughts:

What moment from the story is being portrayed?


It is the moment in the story where the boy is scraping at the snow and discovers the golden key. It is relevant because the story is all about the discovery of this key


Not a specific moment. Overall storyline told by the fading of the twigs. He wants to start a fire so collects a lot of them, and then slowly gets more and more distracted by his discoveries.


I gathered inspiration for my minimalist poster from various artists and illustrators, for example, Nathan Reed. The inspiration for the maximalist poster came simply from my process. I worked and experimented and worked and the ideas evolved. I guess I inspired myself?

Which way is my preferred method of working?

I personally enjoyed making the minimalist one. Not making it in the sense, staying up late at night and rushing and panicking. But the part where I go inspired by an Illustrator whose illustrations I saw in a book I read when I was a child.

Which is stronger?

I feel that the minimalist one is stronger. Mainly because of how everything seems to work together, even the type. The maximalist’s type wasn’t successful in my opinion, it looks integrated, but for someone who knows the story, it’s positioning may not make sense.

1 thing that works very well, 1 that doesn’t?

Min – The creepy aspect of the illustration and the integration of the type works well

The fact that I’ve put the boy very obviously into a keyhole, when the story is about a key seems weak. It’s too direct and could be uninteresting.

Max – The gradient of the twigs and the way they end up forming the type is strong.

The placement of the twig type is weak. Key is too obvious, and it seems to be an accident that it’s been placed further down, and not intentional.


I had a kind of creative of creative block after getting the strict critique on my Minimalist poster. With assistance I was able to get through that. So finding my way from gradients to THE minimal poster was difficult. For the maximalist, I found striking a balance difficult. Balancing how much of the type to show and how much to hide it took time and a lot of thought, testing and revisions.


I would probably work more on the maximalist posters composition. The way the type is placed specifically, gives the wrong idea. I would work faster, not focusing too long on one idea. I would revisit old ideas that I thought weren’t successful.

Things learnt (Technical+Conceptual):

Apart from improving my Illustrator skills and getting more used to using the tools, I also improved my Photoshop skills. I learnt about double exposure and other such things from the sharing of tips session we did in class. I also did my own tutorial watching to find ways of selecting things quickly and effectively. I loved the discovery of the auto-select. 

Conceptually I learnt to make things subtle. My minimalist poster is confusing to those who don’t know the story. But to those who do, it becomes an interesting conversation. I went from having the boy in a key in the image and a key in the title (too obvious), to having him inside the keyhole. I feel like even the keyhole is too direct, but again, striking the balance forced me to include it, otherwise the image would  not be able to make the link to the story.

Elevator Pitch session:

We had a surprise session of presenting our posters to fresh eyes (VIP visitors). Not only did this force me to talk about my work effectively, but it also revealed A LOT of things I didn’t notice as the designer.

I look so lost:

IMG_5096 copy 2

A lot of people loved the character in the minimalist poster, and found the composition of the maximalist one beautiful. I wasn’t sure whether it sent the message to them, because most didn’t know the story. What did happen was that one of the ladies that came to my work, praised it, and went on to say how she gets the maximalist poster.

“It’s like a nest, right? Yes I get it, I get it, beautiful work.”

Shocked and unsure of what to do I kind of just nodded and was all “Yeah, nest! Thanks!”.

I’d already lost the ‘pitch’. If I wanted to explain to her how it wasn’t a nest, I’d have to tell her the story, but that would take time and by that time she had moved on to talking about the minimalist poster.

Now I could hope that the reason this happened was because my poster was right next to the Cinderella poster (which had a nest), but really I got where she was coming from. She TOTALLY got the wrong message, and the sad thing was that she was SURE of it.

This experience made me realise how IMPORTANT it was to test the posters on completely new people. And that my maximalist poster could do with a lot of improvements

The Golden Key: Final results and after-ideas (that couldn’t be put to use)

TheGoldenKeyMinimalistPoster TheGoldenKeyMaximalistPoster

It was only after I had printed out my maximalist poster that I realised that I had a problem which I didn’t have the time to solve. A design problem was that the eyes ended up reading the text backwards. I wanted the golden key to be seen at the end and not be very visible, which is not possible with this design (when the gradient ends up leading to barely any twigs at the end). afterthoughtsofmaximalistgoldenkey2

^  I tried adjusting the key to ‘hide’ it behind a twig (and made the k and e sort of grow from the twig), but it was still the most visible word.

I thought that if I had had time I could have a gradient of twigs going from bottom to top, So that key is hidden. But that beats the purpose of the “fading story of twigs” idea…

Don’t know how to fix this problem and at this point I didn’t have the time (or energy). If this was my own personal side project thing, I would probably come back to it after a break.


The Golden Key: Final touches on the minimalist before printing and printing NIGHTMARES

I tested these two versions on different people and consulted with my professor. Some people felt the black and white was boring, but I felt like The Golden Key was trying too hard and distracted from the composition I designed to lead the viewers eyes from top to bottom. My professor left the decision to me. I stuck with the super-minimalist black and white one.


Made final adjustments, fixing the symmetry of the eyes/reducing outlines:

minimalistthegoldenkeyfinaltouches1 minimalistthegoldenkeyfinaltouches2 minimalistthegoldenkeyfinaltouches3 minimalistthegoldenkeyfinaltouches4

I tried fiddling with the type in someway (it looked too small in size, but I didn’t want to increase it’s width). In the process I discovered why designers cringe at the thought of stretching things, especially type:


Stuck with the original. Then I moved on to fiddling with how big I wanted the composition to be in the blank space:

minimalistthegoldenkeyfinaltouches8 minimalistthegoldenkeyfinaltouches9   minimalistthegoldenkeyfinaltouches12

^ If I had it touching the top and bottom edges, the top part looked annoying. And just the bottom edge touching was odd. Again, stuck with the initial composition.

After I had printed out the final I noticed issues. The black printed out grey and I hadn’t fixed my craft with my hands! Then when I went back to the file I noticed that my black, wasn’t even black:


Changing it to black made me notice things that otherwise weren’t visible:


Fixed the hands:


And reprinted…lesson learned to double check work. I was probably too preoccupied with double checking the page size, that I didn’t even check the work.

The Golden Key: The Type Story

I started by using thin type (because the I felt like it would match the twigs):typeusingexistingtypefaces4 typeusingexistingtypefaces5 typeusingexistingtypefaces6

^It just ended up getting lost

typeusingexistingtypefaces8 typeusingexistingtypefaces9

^Instead I chose a serifed font (also because I felt it looked twig-like) and then tried warping it to ‘blend’. It looked very Microsoft WordArt like and I didn’t like it. Kept it the way it was and worked with ‘hiding’ it amongst the twigs:  typeusingexistingtypefaces12 typeusingexistingtypefaces14

^I had to really think about the way I hid it, because otherwise the letters could be completely lost (in the left image the h is almost lost – most of the serifs are)

typeusingexistingtypefaces15 typeusingexistingtypefaces16

^ Experimented with the positioning of them

Including the word key was the most difficult:

typeusingexistingtypefaces19 typeusingexistingtypefaces20 typeusingexistingtypefaces21

I decided to try masking the type out of the twigs:


typeusingexistingtypefaces25 typeusingexistingtypefaces26 typeusingexistingtypefaces27

Tried hiding it some more with cream lines over it:

typeusingexistingtypefaces28 typeusingexistingtypefaces29 typeusingexistingtypefacesexpwithkey2

Next I thought of, instead of masking it out of twigs, I could try making it out of twigs:typeusingexistingtypefacesexpwithkey4 typeusingexistingtypefacesexpwithkey5 typeusingexistingtypefacesexpwithkey9 typeusingexistingtypefacesexpwithkey10

^I showed my friends and they found this second approach WAY more interesting. I didn’t see it but I thought that there must be something about it if they all were so into it. The only problem was that once I had scaled the twigs down, they’d become pixelated. So I couldn’t just use the e in key for the e in ‘the’. typeusingexistingtypefacesexpwithkey14

Went along with it anyway. It took me a while, but I was FINALLY able to appreciate what they saw very early on. Once I had completed it AND printed a test out AND put it up and happened to distractedly look up at it from a distance. I loved the way the text grew out of the twigs. I thought that I must have a really bad eye for aesthetic things, since I couldn’t see it earlier. That’s not a very good quality for a potential designer to have…

The Golden Key: Testing the twig ‘gradient’ and experimenting with colour

I began working on my final poster:


^The gradient was too repetitive twiggradientsecondtries22

^ Transformed the twigs/rotating/reflecting to make them look more random, and copied huge chunks to get density. (thank goodness for the auto select feature)


^ I thanked my past self for photographing some twigs in bunches.

I tested my composition out on my sister (since she didn’t know much about my concept). I couldn’t  print it out so I showed it to her from a distance on my laptop screen. To her it looked like hair…Then I zoomed in to 100% and she still thought it looked like hair. She came closer (to the screen) and could see the twigs. Not sure whether that’s effective or a problem:

testminimaltwigsandcolours3 testminimaltwigsandcolours4

Even though cream seemed to work really well I tried out different colours, just because maybe something else could be better:


^ The white shine and lighting on the edges of the twigs really stood out on greytestminimaltwigsandcolours6 testminimaltwigsandcolours7 testminimaltwigsandcolours8 testminimaltwigsandcolours9 testminimaltwigsandcolours10

^ after those didn’t work I reverted back to cream. But just to try being different again I thought of using earthy colours:

testminimaltwigsandcolours11 testminimaltwigsandcolours13 testminimaltwigsandcolours14 testminimaltwigsandcolours15 testminimaltwigsandcolours16 testminimaltwigsandcolours17 testminimaltwigsandcolours18 testminimaltwigsandcolours19 testminimaltwigsandcolours20 testminimaltwigsandcolours21 testminimaltwigsandcolours22 testminimaltwigsandcolours23

^I thought I’d settle for the last one (that was a slightly darker version of the cream the professor chose) but I did end up using the cream. It just worked better.

The Golden Key: Last critique before final and failed ideas

We had our last critique before the due date and the general consensus was that the wood grains were overpowering the twigs. They took the attention away from the twigs way too much


^ The professor suggested a cream background and also suggested that I don’t need to make the twigs conform to a keyhole shape. They could just be a regular ‘gradient’, like one of my VERY first experimentations.

I didn’t listen to him and tried something out anyway. I wanted to make a keyhole out of the negative shape (I kind of listened to him, because this way the conforming didn’t look as forced)

twiggradientsecondtries1 twiggradientsecondtries2 twiggradientsecondtries3 twiggradientsecondtries4 twiggradientsecondtries5 twiggradientsecondtries6 twiggradientsecondtries7

^ As I was working I tried making a face out of the twigs…bad bad bad idea. With darker colours it could look very freaky. I wasn’t going for freaky.

I noticed that my twigs had green tinges on them:

twiggradientsecondtries8twiggradientsecondtries9twiggradientsecondtries10 twiggradientsecondtries12twiggradientsecondtries13twiggradientsecondtries14twiggradientsecondtries15

^ I experimented with different hues of brown to get it to look more like wood.

Then I went and asked a few people which looked better:twiggradientsecondtries19

Most people found the greenness interesting.