For my final Communication Design Fundamentals project, I was tasked to create a visual book. So far my projects in CDF were heavily constrained in order to help us develop as designers. Now our only constraints were that our imagery had to be our own, everything else was open.
While I was tempted to do poetry or floral books, I wanted to challenge myself to incorporate multiple feelings in this project and not just choose based off aesthetics I enjoy. Instead, I chose to explore a small portion of the internet that has always intrigued me: missed connections of craigslist. I gathered the stories for my book specifically from a collection of them on Medium. These missed connections are stories that people post on craigslist after experiecing a "missed connection" with a stranger. These stories represent many layers of emotions. There is this hopefulness and excitement about the interaction that is also paired with a soft kind of sadness. These stories celebrate special moments between two people often times strangers. At the same time, they remorse the lost potential of something beautiful and great.
In the beginning I was a bit lost in how to start with this book. I knew I wanted to really capture the whimsical and softness of the stories but I also wanted to convey the sadness and all the rest of the layers. At first I thought of making abstract illustrations similar to the ones below to pair with the stories.
I also envisioned type to be an avenue in how I convey the differing levels of emotions.
After exploring many books and many types of illustrations in person and in the library, I moved into sketching. I sketched with a few decisions in mind: I wanted the book to be square, around the size of an open palm, and I wanted the stories to each be numbered.
After thinking about my sketches and being stumped on illustrations, I decided to go for more abstract imagery. I moved quickly into working digitally since I wanted to test the type and images together. I also was eager to move into adding color. I knew that colors add an emotional value to the book and I could really play with it. I felt like these stories were emotional and beautiful and aligned with the idea of a “rose colored life” and that struck me to play with color. I made paintings in Procreate to try to capture these whimsical fleeting moment.
After a round of feedback from an in class critique, I decided I wanted to add more typography to the book and focus on type instead of the images. I made the follow different iterations to try and explore with how type conveys a story.
After struggling for a while and being stuck on how to convey multiple layers of emotions. I decided to move into working with multiple mediums. I kept repeating that I wanted to capture multiple layers of emotions but was having trouble doing so with the type and color. I decided to use transparent paper, something like vellum or tracing paper to work with conveying the story. Here are process shots of me experimenting.
Despite exploring mainly color configurations, it seemed like the colors were detracting from the traditional feeling and taking away from the excitement that was the red thread connecting the posters. I went back and decided to explore more neutral or subtle color palettes instead.
After many hours of testing and going back and forth between multiple designs. I finally finished with a book I was really proud of. Overall this was a very difficult project for me. I wanted to challenge myself to capture these beautiful and multifaceted stories and I wanted to do it with a minimal amount of imagery. I found these stories to full of emotion and potential to simply be told by a drawing of a bike or a garden. The vellum was an interesting challenge that I would love to explore more with in the future. A big thanks to Soonho Kwon for helping me shoot the final photos.