Designing Systems: Painting

Communications Studio

Thursday 3/26

Tuesday 3/28

Last Thursday, we began to talk about our new project, Designing Systems. I’m working with Hee Seo to design a set of materials to inspire people to paint. This topic, being super open-ended, definitely allows for a broad range of ideas to work, so I think what’s going to be most difficult is connecting the three pieces and making them visually cohesive.

During class, we had a mark-making session to demonstrate the power of abstract visuals. We were given an abstract word and a few minutes to visualize that word with paint, markers, or whatever we had on hand and some paper. The words ranged from loud, contemplative, to somber and uplifting.

Experimental, Contemplative, Uplifting.

Thursday 3/30

During class, we had really productive discussions about our projects. We talked amongst our groups, as well as with Stacie, and figured out more of our project directions as well as our vision.

Possible Catch/Hooks:

  • Have you been creative today?
  • Paint me
  • What makes you creative?
  • Innovate with paint


  • Art therapy statistics
  • Famous celebrities who paint
  • Scientists/engineers/mathematicians who paint

Call to Action:

  • Shift your thinking.
  • Think with your hands.

Tuesday 4/4

As we started thinking about audience engagement, we put together some quick posters. We wanted to incorporate some kind of participatory design, so we were also thinking about how we could get people to draw/paint on the posters.

Because I’m also taking a class in CFA, I was really interested in using the Risograph printer because the way the colors come out are so unique, but we can still make a lot of multiples.

Thursday 4/6

We’ve started looking at possibilities for our visual systems, and I did extensive inspiration research online. We decided that in addition to a poster, we want to make our physical piece interactive and engaging, so we decided on a “painting book.” The size of the book reflects the portability of it, since we want to make it as convenient as possible for people to carry their books around. I got some tackboard to play around with thicker materials, as well as a large paint marker. The paint marker didn’t quite have the consistency that I was looking for, but it was fun nonetheless to play with.

We also looked at different ways that books are made, such as different cover styles, as well as different ways of binding.

Tuesday 4/11

Steph and I went to get mini paint sets for our book, which got really good reviews from our peers. The idea of a painting book is working really well, and we prototyped various versions.

We worked on the content for the paint book as well. Steph really shelled out the idea of personalizing the book, making pages where people paint themselves. This idea works really well, because people who are intimidated by painting can ease in slowly by focusing on what they know best, which is themselves.

Our other prompts include things like filling in half a photo, changing letters to create things, etc.

Our biggest feedback and advice from Stacie was making sure to keep everything visually cohesive. We’re experimenting a lot, but getting everything to come together will be a feat as well.

Thursday 4/13

Over the week, I experimented a lot with different visual styles. We needed to come up with a more compelling and finalized catch, call to action, and validation as well.

Because we bought a roll of vinyl, I wanted to see what I could do with it. I tried cutting out poster size pieces and painting on windows, an idea for the Environments aspect that I thought could work at various locations around campus. However, this turned out to be too time based, and user viewing distance was a huge issue, so it didn’t work.

Looking up how people wrote about being passionate about painting was really helpful, and that’s initially where “taste with your eyes” came from. I was really compelled by that language, and created the above poster with paint marker and paint.

We focused also, a lot on why people in our school don’t paint: they don’t have the resources, and they don’t have the time.

As a result, we wanted to create a really engaging tag line with validation that includes relaxation, creative thinking, and inspiration.

Tuesday 4/18

For our in class crit, we came up with several new iterations on our catch. For the top one, we wanted to try something interactive. The paint brush would be a sliding level of some sort that would reveal a call to action under neath. However, the feedback on this was that the language was too harsh, and not compelling enough for people to want to actually engage with it.

The “You for Yourself” received better feedback, since it focuses on a person, and personalization as well as self expression.

Our current idea for our environments piece is a pop up shop, where people can build their own painting books. While we’re not totally happy with this idea yet, since it seems a bit arbitrary and just an empty extension of our physical piece, I like the general interactive direction that it’s taking.

However, it definitely needs to be fleshed out a lot more.

Our digital piece will be an online gallery where people can exhibit their works with each other.

Thursday 4/20

During the week, Steph came up with the hands and the eyes logo that we both enjoyed a lot. I pursued the “You for yourself” tagline a bit more, and came up with the YOU face. Together, we thought that these images were really strong.

Because the catch “taste with your eyes, see with your hands” is so loud and strong, we definitely wanted to use that for our poster and primary language. Steph and I both spent some time creating painted marks that could be used throughout our system.

We made a ton of iterations since the possibilities are truly endless with this, even though we have a much clearer direction now.

Stacie’s feedback for us

Tuesday 4/25

For our painting book, we laser cut out a palette that we could fit in our books. The final size of our books is about 3.5 by 5 inches.

For our environments piece, we talked a lot more during class, and we came across some designed vending machines that we were really inspired by.

We decided that because we have our painting books with prompts on each page, we could have a vending machine that vends out new prompts.

We were both really excited by this idea, so I think we’re definitely going to pursue it.

Thursday 4/27

We made a lot of prototypes for our vending machine, testing out different layouts for the marks, as well as where the language would go on each panel.

One suggestion was for the box to also take in submissions, so I started out by placing the submission slot on top.

However, this made it hard to see as the box would kind of be on eye level, so we moved it to a side panel instead.

Our call to action for the box was to either pick up a book, or go to the website to get more information or more prompts.

I iterated some more with the posters, and we received a lot of important feedback about hierarchy, typography, and layout. We decided that the imagery was the highest priority in our hierarchy, so the catch was second, with the call to action and validation coming in third.

Stacie talked a lot with about the leading, tracking, and kerning in our typography, as well as our typeface choices if we wanted to use a handwritten typeface.

She suggested Taz since its more narrow, and would match our handwritten typeface more.

Tuesday 5/2

Home stretch: we’re finishing up the layouts of each of the pieces. We changed our digital piece significantly to match our now book-centric project.

The digital piece is now an extension of the vending machine, where people can find a new daily prompt, as well as revisit old or random prompts. The examples will mostly be generated by us (the creator), but people can submit their work if they want to.

The feedback for this prototype was that it really does not match the rest of our system. The blue is new, and it doesn’t have the paint marks that the rest of them have.

Thursday 5/5

Heading into final iterations! We worked long and hard on the compositions of the posters — having a “random” look to the paint marks is so much harder than it looks.

We also changed our website a lot to match our system more closely.

Landing page, main page, examples page

These are the final iterations of our website.

Our final layout for the box, with the call to action as a little curve around the “YOU” face.

The final box had a clear acrylic casing, which was really hard to get exactly right, but we managed to pull it off.

We made a small plastic edge for the slots, and a plastic button as well.

Final covers for the books. Inside there is a matching endsheet, paint palette, booklet with insert-able pages, and clear vinyl cover.

Final Photos

Vending Machine


YOU Books

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