AAD529 Week 15 Kirsty Cooper

As I reflect on this online course, my primary thought is what an enormous scope of design thinking we have covered over the past 15 weeks – from the elements and principles of design, to layout and composition, typography, colour systems and swatches – from analogous to complementary colour groups. I also had heaps of fun re-visiting what different treatments of images in Photoshop can produce. The most interesting exercises for me were in addressing the creation process itself – from the different approaches offered to creating ideas, to the use of language, signs, and other connections to meaning.

I have enjoyed gathering images on our Pinterest boards and know they will be a good kick-off point for future avenues of visual research. The other aspect of this course I have enjoyed is the researching and thinking about sustainability in design, and in the process I have discovered some great books and videos about this extremely vital piece in the design toolbox.

AAD529 Week 14 Kirsty Cooper

Preparing files for printing

Catch Food Waste Poster

Having a check list to follow when preparing a file to print is really useful:
I checked the bleed setting (as I am using colour to the edge of a design), as the poster is an A3, I put a bleed of 5mm – but I am not sure if that’s being over-cautious. I checked there’s some safety margin at the edge of the poster. Links and overset text were checked. Before I placed my images of the logos, I resized them to 200dpi and have not increased their size above the maximum suggested for a crisp result.

The document settings are CMYK, and I have made a backup file as well. I included crop marks in the PDF and used the document bleed settings for the export. It is a pretty straight forward process but it really helps to know what the parameters need to be at the start of setting up a design document – to save lots of headaches at the end of the process.

AAD529 Week 13 Kirsty Cooper

Copywriting and Tone of Voice

My non-profit poster is connected to the “Love Food Hate Waste” initiative that is turn connected to Kai Rescue run out of the Nelson Environment Centre.

Leftovers Lunch

I have been doing some initial research on food waste in New Zealand and have discovered some (to me) quite horrifying facts about food waste – not only in the waste of resources of money and produce that could be diverted to people’s bank accounts – or those in need of food to feed their families – but also the negative environmental impacts by greenhouse gas emissions from food waste in landfill. I have also learned that Gen Y and Gen Z (20 – 40 year olds) between them are responsible for about 28% of the food waste in NZ.

This has informed my approach to the copy I am considering for my poster. Phrases such as “Waste Not Want Not” have been around since the late 1700s, and I’ve thought about taking a retro /vintage approach to the poster. I have also considered using a play on a famous American television series, “America’s Most Wanted” but changed to “New Zealand’s Most Wasted” to highlight the worst offenders for food waste (fruit and vegetables 66%, and bread 25%). I quite like the idea of putting the power in the hands of the people and offering an approach and a positive – such as “Fight Food Waste – make a meal of your leftovers – the planet will love you for it”, or the more direct: “Land Fill or Tummy Fill – make the right call”. All these options suggest a different approach and I think I will be focusing on an informative/activating approach to include some of the more outstanding statistics I have found. My goal is to communicate the problem of food waste, and the options available to combat the problem, as effectively as I can.

AAD529 Week 12 Kirsty Cooper

Sustainability in Design – hype or hope?

It is hard to accept that anything other than moving as quickly as possible towards a sustainable way of working and living is an option for any person today. It follows that any role in a community – including design – should have sustainability at its core. There is, however, the reality that much of the current design work being done, particularly graphic design, is to encourage consumption of one kind or another, so there is an in-built conflict in working for companies that rely on continuous consumption for their existence.

But there are often viable options for approaches to design projects that can minimise an impact on the environment. For example, print projects can utilise unbleached or recycled paper, plant-based inks, and/or constructed in a way that minimise waste in raw materials or extend their use. I believe designers have an important role to play in this regard, encouraging businesses and organisations who use their services to consider what can be done to maximise sustainable practices wherever possible. Digital design can offer alternatives to print but require inputs, such as use of technologies that contribute to energy consumption and electronic waste, that need to be considered. Designers, such as David B Berman in Do Good Design and Peter Claver Fine in Sustainable Graphic Design: Principles and Practices, highlight the (sometimes) hard decisions faced by businesses and give examples of design projects concerned with environmental and social justice concerns. They also offer guidelines for designers to consider when approaching a given project, as well as projects to initiate or look out for in their own design and local communities.

In a heartfelt TEDx presentation, designer JD Hooge says it is time for designers – of digital technology in particular – but appropriate I think for all designers – to take responsibility for the things they create and their impact on human lives. Hooge speaks about the idea of “purpose in design” and of his career path and determination to become a better designer through creation and “having a point of view”, with the realization that graphic design gives people identity, and has the power to create conversations and spread ideas. He also raises concerns about the influence of digital technology and the design elements embedded within it. Identifying this as both a privilege and a burden for web, product, and graphic designers he advises designers to get out of their comfort zone and become more comprehensively educated. Hooge believes seeing different perspectives, including learning from the past, is incredibly important for designers of the future – with existing tools of data, awareness and hindsight – it’s time to leverage those resources and put humanity back at the centre of design.

And while many companies appear to buy into the sustainable message, designers have a role to play in ensuring that these claims are more than hype, and that they support the hope for a more transparent, robust approach to a sustainable existence.


Berman, David B. Do Good: How Designers Can Change the World. Berkley: New Riders, AIGA Design Press. 2009.  https://davidberman.com/wp-content/uploads/DoGoodBermanForCh1Ch12Index.pdf

Claver Fine, Peter. Sustainable Graphic Design: Principles and Practices. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 2016


JD Hooge, TEDx Portland, “The Power of Design”, Sep 13 2019. Accessed 8 Oct 2021

AAD529 Week 10 Kirsty Cooper


This week we took a look at the number of ways of expressing ideas visually. Follow this link to my Pinterest Board that looks at examples of visceral, behavioural, reflective design, the persuasive approaches of logos, pathos and ethos, as well as variety of linguistic terms such as irony, metaphor and antithesis that are used to influence behaviour.

AAD529 Week 8 Kirsty Cooper

Creating Concepts

We took a look at the different ways to develop ideas and approaches to creating concepts. We did a random pairing exercise with two lists of nouns that could help us as we work on our travel poster designs. I chose the random pairing of ‘waterfall’ and ‘canoe’ and drew up a quick illustration to represent this pairing using Adobe illustrator.

AAD529 Week 7 Kirsty Cooper

Photoshop explorations this week. Resizing and looking at image manipulation using ‘adjustments’. Below are my ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of the glasshouse at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre. It’s a wonderful piece of architecture. On resizing from the original taken on my iphone, my image size went from 1066.8 x 1422.4mm (at 72dpi) to 384.05 x 512.06mm (at 200dpi) – big enough to print on an A3 poster with no loss of clarity. Adjustments made were in Curves, then a minor Hue/Saturation adjustment, then I tried Invert – I really like this highly graphic effect.


AAD529 Week 6 Kirsty Cooper Travel Poster Research

Photolithograph for TWA airline by David Klein, 1956. Strongest visual elements are the buildings, traffic and the lights and advertising illuminated billboards of Times Square, cleverly implied through through bright, overlapping, coloured rectangular shapes arranged in single point perspective, as well as lines and star bursts. These are set against a striped, background of black and tones of deep blue. They reinforce the feeling of a big city full of very tall buildings. The deep black-blue becomes lighter towards the centre of the image to reinforce the perception of depth. Secondly, I see the text, bright pink ‘Fly TWA’, then ‘New York’, and finally the plane, above it all. Contrast of colours, rhythm through repetition of coloured elements and symmetry are the design principles engaged here. This poster says everything about both the mode of travel and the exciting destination that awaits a traveller on landing in New York in the mid-1950s.

David Klein, New York Fly TWA, 1956. photolithograph, 1012 x 636mm. MoMA, New York

My second poster is also promoting New York with a contemporary approach. Poster Art NYC Brooklyn Bridge Details | Pink by Melanie Viola, nD. Here, a combination of text, image and colour blocks has been used to great effect. Interesting use of typography and extended lines, as well as placement of text (on white, on colour block and on image. Strongest visual element for me is the ‘NYC’ white on grey. and pink. Then the colour blocks, followed very closely by the split photographic image. Fourthly, I see the text identifier of the image (a detail of the Brooklyn Bridge) then (to my mind) the great incorporation of the geographical co-ordinates. Just what’s needed when you’re promoting a destination! The vertical and horizontal elements, keep pushing my eye around the composition. Design elements to the fore here are unity (of rectangular shapes and minimal colour) and emphasis (of differing text scale and orientation).

Melanie Viola, Poster Art NYC Brooklyn Bridge | Pink, nD. icanvas.com