Personal Color Study

Graphic Design Course: Week 3

Sep 22, 2016 · 4 min read

For the last two weeks I’ve been sharing my weekly graphic design assignments from the course I’m taking as part of my studies at Bennington College. Last week I shared my Typographic Postcards project and before that I’ve written about the Hanging Banners we made.

This week finally the assignment was much more open ended. We were asked to take 8 pictures of things we interact with everyday for three days. We were expected to look at this exercise as a personal color study and come up with a color palette for our current lives. The final step was to make a piece of art utilising the palette that represents us.

I would be lying if I said that the color palette that started creating itself was a surprise. I live a very monochromatic life.

But it didn’t take too long before certain colors that I’m very lucky to witness everyday started popping up.

I don’t want to burden you with all the pictures but there were 24 in total. I soon saw a palette forming. I realised that to compliment my monochromatic life I use some really bright colors but in very little quantity. Minimalism in design truly allows you to make certain things stand out and gives you a canvas to make your intentions as a designer obvious.

I treated myself by printing a grid of 24 pictures on some really great quality glossy paper in the college photo studio.

Now the challenge was to make something out of this color palette that incorporates both digital and the physical. I had an idea of what I wanted to do but I needed a face. I decided to go with a face that’s not exactly mine but as close to mine as you can get: my dad!

I used a processing script called StippleGen2 to analyse the image and create an SVG file of dots forming it.

I went ahead and used a laser cutter to cut tiny holes into a piece of chart paper to form the image. I pretty much stole this idea from one of my very best friends who used the same technique two years ago to create beautiful posters for a startup we were working on together.

For the last step of the process I did something I’ve never done before: paint! I used oil paints to reproduce some of the colors from my palette and painted them in abstract shapes on top of a black foam board piece.

Then I took some glue and pasted the white cardboard on top of the painted foam board to produce the final work.

Certainly things I’d change if I do it again but I’m very happy that I got to combine photography, code generated images, laser cutting and painting into an assignment that was supposed to be a color study. College can be fun, don’t let Peter Thiel tell you otherwise.

I’d be curious to see if any of you follow along the exercises I share here. The reason I find it interesting to publicly capture this is because most designers working online these days seem to be self taught (as I have been before this class). I was always curious about what happens in a more formal hands on setting and am excited to share with you. Let me know if you enjoyed this and I’ll hopefully post again next week.

Follow on Medium to keep up with the Series. More process on my Instagram story.


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Designer & digital artist currently working with brain-computer interfacing.

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