Project 2: Visual Hierarchy

Crash Course: Her Seat at the Table: Women Designers in the 20th and 21st Centuries Poster Design

Renee Chang



Looking at the different choices, I decided to choose the Crash Course: Her Seat at the Table: Women Designers in the 20th and 21st Centuries. I thought the names of the sessions were very interesting. I was also interested that this event was showcasing women designers.

Specific Session Information:

SESSION 1: DESIGNING AN INDUSTRY Delve into the lives of seminal female industrial designers responsible for recognizably modern furniture, textiles, and dinnerware.

SESSION 2: SETTING THE TABLE Get to know 20th-century women ceramicists who set the table for wider acknowledgments of women designers.

SESSION 3: LIGHTING A ROOM Shine a light on forms of illumination designed by women who elevated the basic functionality of lighting through experimental forms, materials, and technology.

SESSION 4: TAKING A SEAT Explore current revisionist design histories that are leading to the greater inclusion of women and discover the furniture influencers of today who bring their own unique seats to the table.

The different sessions focus on women designers that design on different things. Most of them work in the field of industrial design. Crash Course is an ongoing series of art history courses hosted by Carnegie Museum of Art. Past courses have focused on artists’ depictions of urban industry, Renaissance and Baroque art, and many others. I also wanted to see how the Carnegie Museum of Art prioritized the information, so I went on their website to check which part was bolded and bigger.

Carnegie Museum of Art Website

I noticed that “Crash Course: Her Seat at the Table: Women Designers in the 20th and 21st Centuries” was one long title that they bolded. I didn’t know the whole thing was the title when I first got the sheet of paper. I also noticed that they put the date right under in bold except the time. The information that this lecture is online is also bolded meaning they emphasize that a lot.


Stroke Weights

The top three are with 45, 75 while the bottom left is 55, 75 and bottom right is 45, 65. Because “Crash Course: Her Seat at the Table: Women Designers in the 20th and 21st Centuries” is one title, I tried to bold that together or just not bold it at all. I think it’s more efficient when the title is bolded as well as the name of the sessions.


The top three are linespacing with 45. The bottom goes from 55, 65, then to 75 with linespacing. I personally thought the top middle was so the most successful. I feel that I had to separate the quote of “Celebrate the inspiring histories of women in the fields of decorative arts and design!” since it’s not the title and it doesn’t give information about the sessions. I also played around with the different stroke weight just to see how that would affect line spacing.

Horizontal shift: two flush-left margins

I thought the shifting was a lot more difficult than line spacing. I wasn’t so sure what to indent. For the first one I indented the quotes, time, and the online information. I indented the information that I thought wasn’t as important. I think the third one is the most successful because it indents the title of the lecture as well as the title of each session.

Horizontal shift: three flush-left margins

I based off the three flush-left margins similar to the two flush-left margins. I tried different variations where I used the third indent for the session titles and for the quote.

Linespacing + two stroke weights

I personally think the third one is the most successful, although the second one where I separate each session also looks nice. I think the first one where the session and session title have a different stroke weight is too much and takes away from the title.

Two stroke weights + horizontal shift

I kept the stroke weight the same for each one with the title and the session titles. I just changed which lines I shifted.

Hierarchy in Scale

I first approached this with a 9 column grid. For the two different stroke weights I used 45 with 65 and 55 with 75. The 55 with 75 seems a lot more heavy and impactful. I mainly kept the session information together and the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh presents information together. I tried splitting the information of the title because it is so long and I felt that some parts of the title were more important and impactful. For example, I really emphasized “Her Seat at the Table:”.

Hierarchy in Color

Adjectives about information:

  • empowerment
  • conservative
  • celebratory
  • playing around with black type font with color
  • playing around with highlighting certain section
  • playing around with guiding readers’ eyes
  • hierarchy with color in order
  • highlighting in different sections
  • contrasting different sections
  • using circle sizes in hierarchy order

Using Images

For my compositions, I wanted to use the idea of a chair since I am prioritizing “Her Seat at the Table”. I wanted to keep the idea of empowerment, so I searched for very unique chairs that would stand out.


  • warping the session text on the chair
  • tried white and the dark blue for the title but white makes it pop more
  • tried all caps for “Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh”
  • using multiply for the transparent text
  • trying out overlapping text with image
  • playing around with multiple chairs
  • middle one not effective but I enjoyed playing around with it!
  • tried using blue to show hierarchy difference
  • using multiply on images to blend in with the colored background
  • using the chair as a directional guide for viewers to read and follow
  • top left two font is too small and not effective with hierarchy
  • splitting up the name of the title and focusing on the main part of the title
  • black text can’t see well on top of black chair

In class feedback on 11/4

  • try to integrate the photo with the text
  • focus on the last set of iterations
  • try to think more about the hierarchy with color and font size

More Iterations

  • tried to integrate the title with the chairs more by using transparency and overlapping
  • used 45 and 65 stroke weight for the left
  • used 55 and 75 stroke weight for the right

Office hours feedback from Vicki on 11/8

  • try teal on the beige composition
  • text on top of teal composition is good
  • make Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh or the website just red (I think website should be red because that’s where they need to go to)
  • size of information on the teal composition is better
  • can get rid of presents
  • date sideways is a little weird
  • beige composition title is more put together
  • try removing top left corner and keep it empty there

Iterations from feedback

Final Iteration

  • mixed composition from original beige and teal iteration
  • kept the title from beige iteration because it’s more put together
  • kept the title on top from teal iteration and moved the date down instead
  • made the session information not too big as the beige iteration but not too small as the teal iteration
  • moved Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh to the bottom right corner and made it black
  • changed ONLINE to black
  • moved up “at the Table:” to make the title more put together
  • bolded Crash Course: to give same hierarchy as Women Designers title


Throughout the process of this project, I feel like I’ve learned many new things each time we did an exercise or workshop. Each time I learned something new has helped me in the end to make the final iteration. I really enjoyed this project because there were so many fascinating things that I didn’t know about, and considering those factors for the first time helped me grow as a designer.

My process began with figuring out what information was the most important. I did this by researching on their website to see what they bolded and prioritized. The exercise where we were only allowed to bold, add horizontal shifts, and add line spacing was intriguing to me because we were so limited to add hierarchy. It took time to consider what to prioritize, and I feel that this exercise helps with thinking about how to show hierarchy in a simplistic way because of the limitations.

I really enjoyed the scale exercise because I got to play around with the different text information. The title of the event is very long, and if I were to focus on the whole title, I felt that the poster would feel very crammed and heavy. I mainly focused on emphasizing “Her Seat at the Table” rather than “Crash Course” and “Women Designers in the 20th and 21st Centuries” because it seemed more compelling and interesting. I enjoyed playing around with different sizes and alignments.

Doing that exercise helped me to get an idea of what to prioritize for the next practice that involved color. For the magazine color palette exercise, I tried to find contrasting hues as well as bright colors since one of the verbs was celebratory. I thought bright colors would be appropriate for the overall mood of my poster. On Illustrator, I changed the the brightness and darkness a bit, but overall kept the same palette that I made from the magazines. I played around with making specific information colored and kept the rest of the information black. I also played around with shapes that be a reading guide for the viewers. I thought this exercise was very similar yet different to the exercise before. When playing around with colors and shapes, I was definitely able to add more creativity to it.

When searching for images, I wanted to find modern looking chairs that are very impactful and unique. I made three very different style iterations. I tried to keep the mood of empowerment and celebratory for all three different variations. I felt that the one below was just celebratory and not empowering.

Although I personally really liked the iterations below, I felt that it wasn’t effective in showing hierarchy which is the goal for this project. I also thought there wasn’t enough contrast that really made the information pop.

After much consideration during class from feedback, I decided to focus on this variation because I thought it was effective with hierarchy as well as being very empowering. Some of the feedback I got was to integrate the text with the photo of the chair, so I did this by overlapping the chair and the text. I also had to differentiate the hierarchy of the information text sections, so I increased the session information size and made the other information sections smaller. I was still deciding on between the beige or teal background. I made two iterations that have a similar composition. After getting feedback from the two iterations, I somewhat combined the best features from each poster to make my final poster.

I am really satisfied with my final poster. I think I captured the overall mood of celebratory with the teal color and the empowering mood with the impactful composition of the chairs. This project taught me a lot about hierarchy. It was eye opening to learn about the many different features such as scale, color, contrast, alignment, and proximity that I must consider as a designer to convey the most effective hierarchical structure for viewers.