Reflections on the class "Web-Based Multimedia" and "Intro to Teaching with Digital Tools"

Mini Art School #1

Every once in a while I will see an ad or a website that has such a bad design that I can’t help but laugh. Recently I saw a mailer similar to the one below.  If you could believe it it was even more crowed than this was is, unfortunately I couldn’t find it so I will analyse this version in light of the design rules.  This is a ad for a party store called “Party Fair.”  Where to begin…

  1. It is over crowded. Every corner is full of stuff.  I don’t even understand why they have a hulu girl and two kids on a beach. (Layout sin #7)
  2. Zero margin. It should have a margin so text and images are not going right to the edge (Layout sin #5).
  3. The headline, the name of the store, is partially hidden because the background is the same color (Step 5 in works every time layout).
  4. Everything is centered, from the title, to the boxes (layout sin #6).
  5. The background is do busy and bright that they need to put everything in ugly boxes in order for you to read the text (layout sin #9).
  6. The main box in the middle is very bulky. I know they are trying to emphasis it, but if there was less going on then maybe they wouldn’t need a tacky exploding bubble.  I guess it is a party store, I think cheese is what they do (layout sin #4).
  7. Their primary competitor is Party City which has the same “every letter is a different bold color” logo.  They should consider a new, unique, image instead of copying their large competitor (chapter 2 research).
  8. The visuals are stacked down the left side of the page and have little to do with what they are advertising. It does a poor job to capture the essence of what they should be portraying, fun parties (Step 3 visuals).
  9. I supposed I’ll say two things that are kind of ok.  They didn’t warp their photos (design sin #9)
  10. They don’t seem to have trapped negative space. Infact there is bairly any negative space at all. (design sin #8)

My next project I did for this mini art project is redesign an invitation that I designed for my son’s birthday party. Since this is online I changed all the information like the address, phone number, and email. The party is tomorrow though!


The original is on the left and the new one is on the right. I changed the text so it is left justified instead of centered.  I changed the layout to follow the “Works Every Time” layout. I think it improves it so it has a cleaner, more professional look, but still fun.  It is a baby’s birthday after all.  I also changed the body font to be more readable and increased the size of the tile.  The green guy blended in so I tried to make him more orange. I couldn’t quite get the color right though.

Finally I did the “Design Basic Index: Decisive Presentation Exercise”

This was a lot of fun. I like doodling, but this forced me to try some new things.  I discovered that I really like big objects in small frames and I like the combination of strait lines and curves. I also discovered that circles are very hard to draw freehand. I supposed I could have done this on the computer, but I felt like drawing for a bit. I use to draw a lot and I miss it.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Now I’m going to see what everyone else has done.


Comments on: "Mini Art School #1" (4)

  1. Edited at 10:25 to fix picture

  2. Dawn Fowler said:


    Wow! You are so right about that website. It almost gives me a headache just to look at it, never mind to try and figure out how to navigate through all their ‘blasts’ to try and find something. With all the colors and fonts, it is overwhelming. Adding the “use every inch of space” and you get lost. They should definitely take the less is more attitude and give the customer a focal point.

    Your invitation is very cute. I liked the first one’s center focal point of information but the second one was enticing with the ‘follow me’ design of the little characters at the top. I think the second one only needs the “Jack’s First Birthday” centered more for the design. Also the echoing of the blue and green is perfect.

    I liked your doodles. Congrats on figuring out how to publish them. I was (still am) having great difficulty with getting things where I need them to be. I think my favorite is the “big bubble” since it draws the attention to the middle and then the little bubble tend to “carry you away” (I like bubbles).

    Good Job!

  3. Great example with the Party Fair Ad! I completely understand a company’s need to utilize all of the space they are paying to advertise on. However, there is a limit to how much they really need to squeeeeeeeeeeeze in there. They listed a LOT of items they offer. Perhaps it would have been more visually pleasing to list them within their categories (outdoor party equip, food and snack prep, entertainment, etc). Also, they are telling me what to celebrate: CELEBRATE GRADUATION, LUAU, SUMMER! I think people already have an idea of what they want to celebrate and do not need an ad to give them a reason for a party. “Ooh, it’s summer now, maybe I SHOULD have a Luau!”
    The ad also mentions to see reverse side for locations but then uses front space to list two locations…
    Good call on the visuals and colors. While they are loosely related to the themes presented in the ad, the hula girl is a cutout and the other two are square. Also, since the logo is similar to a competitor and the background is very busy, the name of the company did not stand out or stick in my head, rather it was lost among the many things I was uninterested in. I find this to be true of many ads, I can remember the category of the product (party store, beer, car, jeans) but the brand gets lost.


  4. ericaeducator said:

    Hi Christen,

    You did a wonderful job on all three of these exercises!

    You picked a terrific example of excruciatingly poor design, and explained each sin to a T! Short, sweet, to the point — nicely done!

    I hope that your son’s party went well! You did a great job of reformatting his party invitation based on the Works-Every-Time Layout. While I understand why you left justified the “title” of the invite, I have a natural inclination to agree with Tara’s suggestion to center it. I think that it *may* look “better” — not the right word, since I do like the layout, but I think you know what I’m getting at. I also thought about the possibility of shrinking “Jack’s First Birthday” so that it goes in one link across the top of the card (just below the line the monsters are standing on). Sometimes you’re allowed to break the rules of design — if it “works”.

    Finally, it’s great to see that you were excited to be doodling again — sans computer. Your compositions were intriguing — I particularly liked the top right corner “bubble” design (apparently Dawn’s favorite as well).

    Again, well done!


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