Design Systems Delivered; Exploring All Platforms

I think I’m really starting to grow as a designer.

Leigh Fisher
Apr 7 · 6 min read
Design by Author | Illustration by Marjane Satrapi

I’m actually really excited to unveil these final deliverables from this design project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. This was my first time trying to take a design and adapt it to many different formats; a poster, program spreads, and a symposium website.

Here’s how the story of this design has unfolded so far.

I found myself really enjoying the process of refining the poster.

Design by Author | Illustration by Marjane Satrapi

The final round of changes on the poster was mostly focused on cleaning up the text, using color a little more strategically, and getting my spacing between lines just right. By refining this with feedback from others who are passionate about design practice and theory, I felt like making changes felt like me making meaningful strides toward growing as a designer. There was no agenda behind the revisions beyond making for a better finished composition.

Working this way was a delightful breath of fresh hair and I feel like I got a much better sense of how to use subtle elements like letting to make my overall composition both clear and eye-catching.

I tried to really spread my wings in these spread layouts.

Design by Author | Illustration by Marjane Satrapi

The changes between last week and this week are a bit more subtle, but I feel like they did a lot to really tie the loose ends of this design together. I feel like I became a lot more aware of subtle editorial best practices, like avoiding dashes and hanging words.

I’m actually hoping that I have the chance to do a program brochure like this in the near future for my day job since I feel like I’ve made some pretty big strides with this type of print media.

Design by Author | Illustration by Marjane Satrapi

I tried to be very purposeful when I read and reread the essay to find the best lines to emphasize. They aren’t pull quotes, but rather, key lines that I tried to essentially turn into section headings. It was a little tricky to take a relatively dense essay and adapt it into something that reads more like magazine copy, but since my background is primarily in writing, it made for an interesting challenge. Beyond that, it helped me appreciate the style of writing that is typically used in programs and magazines.

Designing a landing without code in mind was a fun treat.

Design by Author | Illustration by Marjane Satrapi

This week, working out the landing page for this design project was my biggest focus.

I initially did far too few columns and treated the web page more like a poster than a proper, responsive webpage.

When I expanded it to be roughly three vertical page heights, I played with a few different formatting options.

I wanted to use a full-width hero image at the top since I feel like they made for an eye-catching way to capture a casual viewer’s attention.

I’ve always found that type of website engaging, even if it is a little bit common. I feel like if the art is interesting enough and unique enough, it makes the formatting very effective.

In this first draft, I played with a few different shades of gray, but I ended up feeling like this was a bit too dark and a little too simple.

I used a textured stroke to create the dividers. I wanted to get a stroke that would go well with the illustration style of Persepolis. I wanted to keep the amount of information on the landing page fairly minimal, but I wasn’t terribly fond of that initial layout.

Ultimately, I tinkered with the header and footer a lot more, then opted for more illustrations.

Design by Author | Illustration by Marjane Satrapi

I combined design decisions from both the poster and the spreads to bring this website to life. I tried to break it into three distinct sections, plus the header and footer. I always like landing pages that seem like a cohesive work of art all on their own, which is why I wanted to use the same dividers to split up sections of the page as well as the header and footer.

All in all, I really enjoyed putting the visuals first without worrying about code. This is another scenario where I usually end up constrained by what a CMS can handle or by what I can code with my mild knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Going absolutely wild and just letting the UI speak for itself was a treat — I almost felt like a kid stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. Since I wasn’t worried about how to code things, I concentrated solely on what would look good and what would be amply readable.

Though I don’t think any design is perfect, I’m pretty happy with how these developed.

Reflecting on this process as a whole, I feel like I learned a lot about best practices for each different component of the design.

I’ve come a long way with learning how to tastefully use spot color. I always opted for complicated palettes in the past since I wasn’t confident in my ability to sprinkle color in the right balance to consider it a spot color. I’m really excited to experiment with this color tactic more in the future and use it in both my personal and professional work. I feel like this tactic could be particularly effective in creating content for Instagram since a lot of Instagrammers underestimate the power of a strongly contrasting spot color.

Out of all the pieces, my favorite part would have to be the spread. This was a really incredible exercise for me because my first iteration was absolutely terrible. I felt really lost trying to come up with a spread design from scratch. Though I tried to sketch out several different composition ideas back in that first portion of this activity, a lot of my initial sketches just didn’t pack the punch I wanted them to.

Once I found the happy medium between using grids as a gentle guide, that’s when things really started to flourish. I put together .pdf files on Google Drive of each of the deliverables.

A Designer’s Diary

Digging into design best practices, theory, and improvement

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store