I was really appreciative of how much creative liberty we had on this project. That being said, it was really hard to think of a topic that was personal yet involved good communication design. I came up with the idea to document women in engineering in a Humans of New York style.
The obvious choice was to mimic the design of Humans of New York. I like how the design highlighted the stories and the content rather than making it too showy and elaborate. I worked on a cover page that was similar to the website with a darkened collage of picture of the girls I was interviewing. I used the instagram format of having square pictures
I liked this first iteration of the cover page but the white on grey was too jarring and it was too similar to the Humans of New York website so I moved away from this theme after the first design review.
Cover Page and Title
I worked with the title a lot to make it understated but clear
Initially my thought was to laser cut the picture above out of paper but it was intricate.
I wanted to keep the laser cutting idea but I moved toward cutting the letters out of paper laying it on top of another paper that had the PCBs on it .
It was pretty hard to meet all these women because they had busy schedules and it was pretty dark outside a lot of the time so we would have to meet again for the photos. Penning the stories down, however, inspired me to talk to the head of the ECE department.
Talking to Jelena was really awesome because she came from the perspective of not having to deal with gender inequality in Yugoslavia to seeing it be a rampant problem here in the United States. She directed me towards more resources for women in STEM and it was pretty impressive to read the comparative statistics of this year vs years past. This fueled me to use design to highlight the content more.
The interim critique was pretty illuminating in that I learned that people liked the square format and the white and black theme. A lot of people said they would have appreciated better hierarchy in the names of the women so I changed that in the second iteration of the body layout.
I kept the square idea from the interim critique but changed they way the names were laid out on the page
While the letters were capitalized, they were off center to draw attention to the story rather than their name.
This was done to emphasize that these stories could happen to any woman in engineering and these were just examples of the endemic that is minimal female representation in engineering rather than one-off exceptions.
The layout of the book was pretty traditional. I had initially considered including a table of contents but the response from these women was pretty empowering so I just interviewed more of them. I tried to photograph each student in a different place on campus to add some variety to the book and include pictures of them talking to make it engaging.
The font selection was pretty difficult. While browsing the internet, I saw that book publishers tend to work with older fonts like Garamond for the inside of books. Considering the ‘modern’ theme of this book, I wanted to sway away from the traditional. Initially, I thought to use Helvetica or Avenir but they seemed too common. I settled on Caslon which is a font that is used for science reports and journals and I thought that fit with the theme nicely.
Wrapping things up
This project was really great to work on because I really appreciated being able to design something that I was passionate about. I had to make some important compromises in the book, including giving up making each page interesting to maintain consistency in the body of the book. The binding was clean and not over the top, I just stapled it. I kept it fairly simple to highlight the importance of the stories. While I do wish I had included a little more of a personal touch for each engineer on each page, I am really happy with the way it turned out.
Thank you for a great semester! This was such an awesome class :)