This assignment required that we find and analyze a current advertisement looking for design elements that we’ve been discussing all semester, design our own similar ad using the findings, and create slides from which to present all of that content. In order to accomplish all of this, I looked at a lot of print ads trying to determine a good one for this project. I found a lot of great advertisements including:

I found that I was looking for specific criteria in my search: The ad had to be simple enough that I could replicate the style within my abilities and time allotment. (It is finals week, after all). I love the Move the City ad above, and I thought that I would have a blast recreating some other stacked imagery for a different take on it, but when weighing the reality of what it would require, there just wasn’t time enough for it.

However, as I searched, I also found that the most effective ads had some specific content in common.

  1. They use a sans serif font. Nearly always. Never a script, and almost never a decorative type.
  2. They are usually minimal. A specific focal point is required, you don’t want the message getting confused in advertising!
  3. They use a limited color palette, and it usually is consistent with the branding of the advertised item.

I’m sure there’s much more to it than that, color theory, word selection, etc. But these are what stood out to me.

The ad I chose:
ad6I really love this ad campaign by Intermarche about food waste. They’ve taken a new, interesting approach to the topic and haven’t thrown any statistics at their audience. They’ve even made light of the imperfections of produce.

Intermarche has developed this campaign about both fruit and vegetables. Here are a few more examples of their print ads:







My Take On It

I noticed right away the simplicity of the ad, the sans serif type, the catchy headline, the consistent color palette, and the beautiful photography.

Now, if you’re dong a campaign like this, you probably look for abnormal produce to photograph. And I’m sure you’d find plenty of it! I, on the other hand, had to create an abnormal image out of what I had on hand. Testing both my photography skills and my photoshop skills, I took a simple picture of a pineapple before my husband chopped it up for dinner.
20170708_185904I took the photo in front of a blank wall, holding it out in front of me. Then I set about editing the photo in photoshop where I cut out all of the background, copied just the pineapple, pasted it back on top of the first, but reversed the image. Then I used masks, the clone stamp and the content blender to make it look like the pineapple had two tops.

Then I created a poster in Illustrator and inserted the new image. I chose a font as close to what Intermarche is using to create all the text on the poster, and I even used their poster of the eggplant as a template in the background so that I could match their leading and letterspacing.

Here is the new poster:

fruit poster












Designing slides around the campaign was a little trickier for me. I struggled with the color palette selection. In the end, I kept it very simple, used complementary colors from both the old ad and the new one and identified the design elements in each.

Here are the slides for the presentation:





After watching all the presentations in class, it was pretty much confirmed to me what I had determined earlier in looking for effective ads. Sometimes simple is better to express your point. A lot of times, as we’re beginning designers, we tend to over do it and get things too busy, too over-designed. It would be better to be more minimal and use the design elements more effectively.


Creative Toilet Paper Print Ad

Getting Started

Making a print ad fun and exciting is always a little more challenging when the product you’re given may be one of the most mundane and ordinary household items there is. Marketers do it every day, though. And, I assume I might be asked to do it frequently myself. Everything from beer to toothpaste has a marketing campaign behind it and not everything is as glamorous as high fashion in magazines. So how do you take ordinary disposable items and turn them into something desirable in an ad that a person might look at for a total of 5 seconds?

The Audience

Lucky for me, there was a generator that chose my item, audience, and all of their demographics for this assignment. The item I created an ad for is toilet paper. I chose Scott brand for no particular reason other than their brand name and logo is reasonably easy to work with. The audience is both male and female, ages 25-34, married with a reasonable income of 60 – 90,000. They have some college education and mostly consume magazines and social media entertainment.


With all of those things in mind, I began sketching. Three of my strongest ideas included a couple on an evening stroll walking along a path of soft tissue; an iconic celebrity photograph (like Marilyn Monroe), only their clothes would be replaced with the airy delightfulness of toilet paper; or one of the World Wonders showcasing toilet paper in a way unique to them, for example, the Statue of Liberty holding a roll of toilet tissue high above her head instead of her torch.

While sketching I continually asked myself, “What if…” in order to help combine two different ideas into an idea, no matter how absurd, it’s only a sketch. I liked the idea of Marilyn’s dress being replaced by streams of billowing TP, but quite honestly I wasn’t sure how to go about executing that idea and was skeptical about the legal availability of the images needed. In the end, I chose to go with the Statue of Liberty idea.

The Images

Often, I use a site called Pixabay for quality photos and images with high resolution. This site allows users to post and offer their photos to the Public Domain, often with no attribution required. My photo, however came from Pixabay’s site and was taken by user nash78690. Additionally, I took my own photograph of my daughter holding toilet paper high above her head.


Image by: nash78690

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Image: Beka Ackerschott

Magazine Ad

I designed the magazine ad first, using the photo as a background image and adding everything else on top. I had to a little bit of creative masking and layering in order to scott-couponsreplace Lady Liberty’s torch with the toilet paper. After that, I settled on  a patriotic slogan in Lato, a sans serif font, and added it to the Scott brand logo that I found online. Finally, I added just a tiny filler text in Centaur, and Old School traditional serif font.Scott toilet paper final mag ad jpeg

Social Media Ad

In order to complete the social media ad, I needed to resize and reposition just about everything. However, the placement of all the elements in this format might even be better than the original.

Scott toilet paper final social media ad jpeg

So What?

The assignment taught me how to look for better images with better quality. I also enjoyed practicing with photoshop and learning how to better use the layers and masking palette in order to achieve the image I want without destroying pixels. I also gained an appreciation for having to generate creative content on a subject that isn’t necessarily juicy and ripe with creative directions.


Icon png-01

Getting Started

The requirements for this project were to design a set of 6 icons of my choosing with a theme and target audience in mind. I thought of many topics including animals of Yellowstone, the fair, agriculture, dogs, the circus, maps, movies, and others. Of these topics, I tried to then think of individual characteristics, since I needed six icons that I could digitally render. As I thought about these things some more, I slowly morphed agriculture into Old MacDonald Farm Animals.

This topic almost automatically defined my target audience of young children and parents. I began sketching, using pictures from the internet for reference, and giving myself a few guidelines. For example, I sketched each animal 5 times; once facing front, once in profile, once using a triangular shaped face, once using an oval shaped face, and once with just the head in profile. After this process, I was able to see that  I had some consistent things repeating and other things that would either be too difficult digitally , or were better for other visuals and not icons.

Design Decisions

The sketches showed that there was some potential for the triangular shapes to be effective while providing a thematically consistent direction. Initially, I simply designed the icons with eyes and facial features similar to that seen in the pictures I was referring to, but limiting my color palette to a predetermined set. As you can see in my first rough draft, I started simple, and the animals progressively got more detailed.

Old MacDonalds farm

Furthermore, I was designing these icons very large on my screen and not stepping awayOld MacDonalds farm very frequently to analyze them at small sizes. Because I was designing against a white artboard, I wasn’t seeing enough contrast with the lighter colors and so far, my solution had been to outline the shapes with a stroke.

There are other problems, too. My son said that the duck wanted to “devour his soul”, and there were several who had trouble identifying it clearly. The turkey also has issues; size, detail, and clarity among them. Not to mention that the stroke is again, a distraction.


In class, I received some feedback that was helpful and guided the next session of design decisions. The most helpful question I was asked was, “Which one is your favorite?” To which I replied, “The sheep.” It was agreed that the sheep was the shining star of this first draft, so my edits revolved around making all the icons more similar to the sheep. First, I removed the duck and the turkey from the lineup, replacing them with a horse and a dog. Next, I went through each of the other animals in order to define them further and remove the stroke. I changed all of the eyes to match the sheep, but edited them according to the animal and placement on that head. It was also pointed out to me that some in the first draft were more photo-realistic and others were more illustrated. I tried to also change this and make each more cohesive. The last thing I did was limit the color palette even further and add a background shape to each image. During this step I made sure to check the grey-scale values so that the backgrounds didn’t compete with the animals, either.

The Set

Icon png-01

After all of the edits, my final icon set for Old MacDonald Had a Farm are ready to go! They are simple, but have just enough detail and character that they are recognizable individually and as a set, and best of all, none of them want to devour my soul. Designing them was challenging, but really fun, and I was able to use and practice many of the new skills I learned in Illustrator while I designed them. This is helping me get better, be faster, and more organized as I practice these skills.

Editorial Design

Magazine Final- Beka Ackerschott

Designing for a Magazine

There are certain elements of an editorial design that are consistent in order to make a multi-page document look cohesive. Different magazines have certain audiences and thus have a certain look. People Magazine looks significantly different than Forbes Magazine, for example; and the Ensign of the Church looks significantly different than Fast Company. However, all issues of People, or Forbes, or the Ensign look similar to their respective brand image and issues.

Looking for and identifying the consistent content in a given issue helps to reason why the magazine is laid out the way it is. For this assignment, our class looked for similarities in the Ensign. We noticed that running footers are always consistent. Placement and alignment of article titles varies, but is significantly similar enough to look like an Ensign title. There are other similarities as well, body copy is always a serif typeface, text wrap is applied to images, the author is sometimes pictured, and all photos have been given proper credit. These are but a few of the things that the Ensign handles their issues to insure consistent hierarchy and display of their issue.

Religious Freedom and Photography

The assignment called for each of us to choose an article to design for a spread at least 3 pages in length. Additionally, the article needed to contain photographs within the content to supply visual unity and variety. These photos were to be taken by ourselves. I chose an article about religious freedom contained on, and proceeded to take some photographic images that would visually illustrate the content of the article. These are my images:


As written in the assignment parameters, the editors of the Ensign have hypothetically hired me to design this article for an upcoming issue of said magazine. Therefore, my audience is LDS, adults, and generally English speaking. However, the audience might also include adults of various other faiths and ethnicity. My images were taken in an effort to appeal to a large general audience.

The SpreadMagazine Final- Beka AckerschottMagazine Final- Beka Ackerschott2

I used the principles of color, photography, proximity, alignment, contrast, and variety to express the article in a visually appealing way. I designed the two page spread with a large image spanning the width of both pages  and included an additional image within the body copy content which also employs the principle of big, medium, small in the layout design as well. I further used some contrasting typography to engage the reader and help them find interesting reasons to proceed reading. I decided to include a color within the subheads of the article, and by doing so, found a repetitive element and contrast to the neutral layout of the article.

I found the image of Elder Christofferson  here, all other images were taken by myself. I don’t consider myself to be much of a photographer, so I’m quite pleased with these happy accidents!


I have enjoyed putting these principles to good practice and look forward to doing more. I learned a great deal by using a template under my layout to help me decide on leading and sizes of subheads, etc. I now know that I need to practice doing that and redesigning other articles to develop the eye to see the subtle differences and strengthen my decision making skills in editorial design.

Design Analysis: Photography

Principles of Photography

Photography is an art, indeed. Just knowing how to handle the camera in order to capture an interesting image is a feat that I struggle with. However, with some basic settings and the following principles, photos can come to life with interest and beauty, as well as tell a remarkable story visually.

I’ve borrowed three images from James Neeley Photography to help illustrate the principles with professional skills and then I’ll try to follow the same principles with my own photos.

*Disclaimer: I recently purchased a nice, new camera for an upcoming trip. It was supposed to arrive yesterday, but it did not. My images will be taken with my phone instead (because I also don’t live in Rexburg for the rental to work for me today). Believe me, I don’t think my skills would be much better with a real camera. Especially not in comparison to James’ work!

James Neeley Photography

James Neeley is a freelance photographer and educator. Specializing in landscape, nature, and architectural photography his work has been recognized and published locally, nationally, and internationally. James loves to teach. He has conducted photographic workshops throughout the western United States with Mountain High Workshops and Perfect Light Camera. He also teaches HDR and Photoshop courses. From:

Rule of Thirds

rule of thirds

Amazing, right?

rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a powerful principle of design because it effectively uses the Fibonacci Sequence, or Golden Ratio. Here, James Neeley captured the principle quite literally.


my rule of thirds

My photo lacks artful composition, but illustrates the rule of thirds by dividing the space into nine sections and placing the focal point at one of the intersections.

Leading Lines

leading lines

Beautifully composed, James Neeley uses the leading lines in the landscape to draw the eye of the viewer through the photograph, never trapping or leading into the corners.


my leading linesJames Neeley’s photo used the lines to allow the eye to travel through the landscape, I followed his example to a degree in that I looked for lines in the landscape that were strong visually, but instead attempted to allow the lines to draw the eye to a spot in the distance.

Depth of Field

depth of field

In this simple shot of the wheat, a single tare is in sharp focus while the rest of the image falls into a fuzzy background to which is enough contrast to create a visually interesting image.

20170513_145246my depth of field

Lucky for me, it is springtime and the flowers in bloom on trees provide an easy reference for depth of field photography. I was careful to make sure that the flowers remained in focus and that everything else fell out of focus and into the background.


As I said before, photography is definitely an art. Following these principles certainly help a photograph become much more compositionally sound than just an ordinary snapshot, but there are other elements that take the photo to the next level of becoming extraordinary. Photography doesn’t come easily to me, but I understand the principles and with them, occasionally I get lucky!

Design Analysis: Typography


Contrast in Typography

Minneapolis-based Fallon created these outdoor boards for Chicago-based Nuveen Investments to promote its sponsorship of the baseball team. The work celebrates the deep loyalty, tradition and mystique that exists between the team and its fans. The boards are located inside Wrigley Field around the luxury boxes.

Fallon is a “fully-integrated creative, media and production agency, headquartered in Minneapolis with offices around the globe.” according to their website. They employ over 115 creatives between 5 locations. This Cubs ad is one of seven billboard ads commissioned by Nuveen. I found the ad on the Communication Arts gallery in advertising.

Headline Typeface

design analysis - type sansThis all caps, sans serif font is easily identified because there are no serifs attached to the ends of each letter. In fact, this font has so many characteristics apart from just sans, that it might even be considered decorative, owing a lot to the blocky geometry of each letter. Nonetheless, it functions as a sans serif typeface.

Script Typeface

design analysis - type script

The second typeface used is a script. The connected, fluid, cursive style of this type qualifies it to be a script, and it clearly contrasts the block style of the sans serif.

The two typefaces working together creates an interesting composition that is engaging. Because the types are so different, it causes a viewer to pause and read what is written in order to understand. It is both elegant and bold, sophisticated and athletic, as well as optimistic, which is an effect that Cubs fans hold tightly to!

Print Ad Design Analysis

Well executed design is all about using the principles wisely and effectively . This ad by Volkswagen illustrates each of the design principles subtly and with great success.













Volkswagen analysis - alignment










The ad uses a clever alignment trick with the strong diagonal line of each item. If the items were scattered randomly throughout the ad, there would be no connection to parking that the marketers are implying. The words on the page are aligned with a strong right alignment which mimics the same diagonal line mentioned previously. Finally, the Volkswagen logo, and the text line up perfectly with the bottom of the diagonal, giving the image implied margins and a road map for attention in the order it is intended.


Volkswagen analysis - contrast










The area of highest contrast always becomes the focal point in an image. Here, the porcupine is the area of greatest contrast in texture, size, and grouping. We can clearly see which of these is not like the other! Volkswagen also cleverly included their logo with a dash of color contrast, blue is found no where else in the ad, and it is a complement to the fish in an otherwise neutral environment.


Volkswagen analysis - proximity










In this case, the items that belong together (in spite of their contrast within the group) are placed near each other. The line of objects are mimicking a line of vehicles, and their close relationship to each other are effectively communicating that visually. The text on the ad are also grouped closely together to give unity to their message, and if that isn’t enough, this text is also grouped with the logo.


Volkswagen analysis- repetition










The repetition of the orange fish works elegantly to create the needed repetition in this ad. These little fish and the bags that contain them are the only repetition found in the image. It is enough to give the ad the needed element of this last principle. Imagine if each bag contained a different kind and color of fish! The ad would be completely lacking in repetition and fail to be an effective example of good design.

When each design principle is included, the strongest results occur. A little wit never hurt anything, either, but this ad would not visually communicate effectively if it were lacking in any one of the principles. Identifying them and learning them is great practice for remembering to use them in my own design.