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Mentorship Project – Reflection

Research 8/10

Topic

I decided to brand and design a VR gaming system called TERRA, as I’ve never worked on a project that involved any sort of technology. I think it was an interesting challenge to bring a nostalgic feel to an innovative form of technology like virtual reality consoles and goggles. I initially had my brand as a VR Gaming Studio but ran into issues of my ideas needing an actual game in order for them to make sense. So we changed the description of the company from “VR Gaming” to a “VR Gaming Systems” as a manufacturer of VR gaming equipment.

VR Gaming

During our class trip to Toronto, we visited “Secret Location” a Virtual Reality Gaming Studio under “ONE Entertainment.” We spoke with Olivia, who was a Junior operations manager there. When we started this project, and I decided on my topic, I reached out to Secret Location to ask for advice on designing and branding a VR company as well as insights into the VR industry. They got back to me with an awesome document from their different departments, with all kinds of information on their process and advice for me. It was quite an unexpected surprise to have their entire team help me out.

Ideation 9/10

Slot Machine

Dominic was creating a system to distill topics for self-initiated projects for a boot camp class he was teaching this semester and wanted me to test it out. It was based on the idea of a slot machine having different sets of options that when combined create your project concept. Going through the list I picked an industry & sub-category, client profile, values, and collateral. I made picking a topic a lot easier and made it feel more solid, rather than me just creating an idea off the top of my schizophrenic head. I chose a “New” “Technology” “VR Gaming” company that targets “students/ young adults,” is an “adventurous, innovative, and “urban” brand, providing “mid-range priced” product with “global distribution” and providing a “unique experience.”

Branding

Branding for TERRA needed to a balance of raw, organic, emotional nostalgia and cutting edge, modern, innovative technology. The logo especially needed to reflect those strangely contradictory attributes, so ideation for the logo was a slow mule-ish at first. I started forgetting about the vibe that I was supposed to be going for and starting going off track in creating logos that just looked like cool tech company logos, and forgot what it was that I was actually trying to achieve. When I finally realized what I was doing I was either being too “techy” for too “organic,” or literally just re-skinning the x-box logo, but eventually, I created a graphic that fit what I was trying to convey. I formed a top view of VR goggles that also represented a landscape with 2 equal sized ridges similar to mountains. The circle in the center represents the user’s consciousness nested in the VR system, as well as a sun in the image of a landscape. The font I chose for the wordmark as “Manifold” and its extended fonts. It added a sturdy, squared element to the roundness of the logo while feeling related to the VR goggle visor. I’m really happy with how this logo turned out; I feel like it fully reflects the brand that I came up with in that it has a strong sturdy, technological aesthetic, yet remains comforting, approachable, and embracing.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming with Dominic is always beneficial, he builds on the ideas you have a gives them angles I never would have thought of. In the first semester of 3rd year, Dominic used a slide system with different prompts for advertisement approaches/ ideas and we applied those ideas to our brands. I ran TERRA through the same system and came up with the ideas for executions. I came to a lot of cool solutions for packaging, product designs, and interactive experiences, all of which I was really excited about. They fit the brand’s personality and message and give an exciting edge to the company.

Distillation 6/10

Narrowing Ideas

I aimed for ideas that would fully showcase what I wanted my brand was about which is bringing people together through healthy rivalry rather than aggressive competition. Initially, I had TERRA as a VR Gaming Studio rather than a console. This became a problem as many of the ideas I came up with needed a game to exist in order for it to work. I didn’t, however, narrow to ideas that were actually do-able in terms of rendering, and had to set them aside because of their complexity.

Refinement 6/10

Rendering

My rendering was slow going, and I didn’t get my project’s scope to the point I initially wanted. I had trouble rendering what I needed on time, as I stumbled through distilling my ideas. I am pleased with how my logo turned out, I feel it fully reflects what Terra’s brand is a is strong on a lot of levels. I’d like to spend the summer rendering

Reflection 7/10

Process

Overall I feel like I arrived at strong ideas that support my brand and its values. I’m not thrilled with how my collateral turned out, as I wasn’t able to arrive at the point of a professional aesthetic. I did get a lot of great feedback from Dominic during the process, he was always to add to my ideas and was always in constant communication.

Terra - Logo - Final Logo

(Above) Final Terra Logo

TERRA – Sketches

(Above) Terra Ideation Final Sketches

BOX - DESIGN-04

(Above) Terra Console/ User Orb

BOX - DESIGN 2-02

(Above) Terra Press Kit Box

BOX - DESIGN 2-01

(Above) Terra Console Box

TERRA - INTERFACE finalTERRA - INTERFACE final2

(Above) Terra Menu Interface

Professional Development: Personal Branding – Logo Concepts

My final three concepts are 1) a fist with the index finger extended forming a “Jm”, playing on the fist of a martial artist and the computer cursor of a designer. My concern with this design is that the extended finger has no real significance other than wanting the “J” to stand out more. 2) Is a board broken in half forming “JM” playing on the board breaking of Tae Kwon Do that I grew up with. My issue with this concept is the letters aren’t easily identified or recognized. 3) The third is two shapes forming a seel that resembles “JM.” My problem with this shape is that it looks and feels too much like a military patch which is very off-brand for me. I’ve decided on the first concept as I feel it is the strongest combination of my occupation as a designer and my background as a martial artist.

Personal Brand – Logo Concepts – Presentation

Professional Development: Personal Brand – Logo Sketching

Logo sketching was a lot more difficult than usual.  Again I think to design and brand for yourself comes with the unconscious self-restriction of “oh that doesn’t fully feel like me” and ideas are easily dismissed without being recorded. I’ve tried and failed in the past to create a personal logo, not that I needed one in grade school, and I’ve never thought about combining different aspects of my life to create something uniquely me. Only after doing so many branding projects in this program, have I become accustomed to combining 2 unique aspects of a brand to create something new. It took me a while to feel like I was getting anywhere with my logo sketches as I was forcing a curved “j, J” to match a sharp structured “M.” Until I realized that was the problem it’s not about combining letters, because the letters were secondary to a solid idea. I was thinking too much about the letters and less about the concept and the essence that made me, me.

Logo Scan -1092Logo Scan - 209300-20-1

Professional Development: Personal Branding – LinkedIn

I was always told LinkedIn is a must-have when it comes to networking and looking professional online. I started my LinkedIn in, I think, my first year of the IDEA program. Not because I wanted to start utilizing it to find jobs, but because I wanted to have a respectable amount of connections by the time I needed to start using it. Like all things on the internet, LinkedIn has both its benefits and setbacks. I think it’s great that it’s essentially a professional Facebook, and that your profile is just your resume. This allows for qualifications, skills, and experiences to be presented without needing to print out a hardcopy resume every time you need with an agency you’re interested in. Then, of course, there’s the underlining ambiguity of online privacy. Maybe it’s still just me, but the idea of personal/ professional information on the internet for anyone with an account to see is still a horrifying idea.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-michael-embalsado-05462113a

Professional Development: Personal Branding – Moodboards

This moodboarding part of the project was a lot of fun. Everything I put was on-brand because I was the brand, which is so liberating! I’ve realized through this exercise that I don’t find smells or textures very exciting or inspiring. That most of my creative stimulation in visual and audible pieces. Also, after going through other peoples moodboards I noticed that a lot of people find some kind of comfort or stimulation from “therapy noises” let’s call them, like rustling leaves, wind blowing, or birds chirping etc. I’ve also learned that I’m more of a people person than I’ve previously liked to admit. I’ve come to realize that I rely on social interaction and emotional connection with people in order to function. I decided to include an illustration moodboard, not because it’s what I want to pursue as a career, but because it’s what provides a lot of my inspiration and growing up it was always been the thing that kept me from going insane amongst the garbage that grade school made me do.

Personal Brand – Moodboards

Professional Development: Personal Branding – SWOT & Poster

This first “Self/ Career Assessment” had me identify future milestones that I loosely held in my head but never actually gave any real thought or consideration. With this exercise, the fears of not being able to afford my desired lifestyle in Vancouver, and the idea of freelance illustration on the side of a branding design job, is maybe a little ambitious for a post-graduation. The self SWOT analysis had me honestly evaluate myself, and admit negative parts of myself, that I knew in the back of my mind I had, but never did anything to address it. I’ve come to realize, that I have a lot more things to work on that I initially thought; not just in terms of work, but in my process, work habits and, professionalism. I have been told on many occasions that my punctuality is a huge problem, and I’ve tried many changes in my morning routine and sleep schedule to change this, to little success.
The poster assignment was interesting. It kind of helped as a jumping off point for visually representing myself, which has always been difficult. I think when creating a personal brand it’s quite easy to dismiss ideas, for logos and such, as inaccurate or unfitting to ourselves. So creating a poster that is sort of a “free-hand sketch” of our design selves, was a foundation of sorts.

Personal Poster

Process: Hand vs Digital

For most of my life, I worked traditionally using a pencil. I never considered the possibility of working digitally and it’s all its potential. Though it has its drawbacks the digital mediums provide efficiency and make it easier to fix or undo mistakes. Working traditionally comes with an inherent fear of making a mistake. Such as when I’m painting I find I work very timidly, trying to make as few mistakes as possible.

However, working by hand has a certain control to it that I have yet to replicate working digitally. I find that when a project needs to end up being digitized I always need to start at least the sketching and drafting process traditionally with pencil and paper, before scanning it in and rendering it with a digital program. Perhaps it’s because of how long I’ve been doing it, but there are a specific appeal and finesse that comes with pencil or pen line drawing that even the best digital programs can’t recreate.

Now mind you, when I say these things, I am referring to artwork. When creating art I find it is necessary to work traditionally, before rendering it digitally to maximize efficiency and maintain traditional line quality. When it comes to writing, be it an essay or story, I find it extremely difficult and draft at all in pencil or pen. I require my writing to be done 100% in a writing program. Edits and fixes can be done much faster digitally as well as adjusting the structure of a writing piece.

It is also my belief that there is a very close relation between human emotion and traditional mediums. As well as digital programs can recreate colors and textures from reality it can never replace the raw emotion and livelihood of the human hand.