Graphic Design Portfolio

Poster Design

The idea behind this creation was to conceive and design an effective poster to serve as an advertisement for my institute’s Creative Graphics Design certificate course.

My approach while doing this exercise was to use Illustrator’s capabilities in such a way that two aims were achieved. First was to make the poster look attractive so that it could grab attention. I decided to use a light shade of blue for the main background in order to allow the viewer to focus on the actual headline content. The second aim was to exemplify the capabilities of Illustrator to novices in the best way I could. That involved extensive use of shape-cutting/joining and use of the ‘Appearance’ panel to add multiple fills and strokes to all shapes.

This work features a lot of playing around with type once all characters were converted to vector objects for “Creative”.

To assert the design focus of the course I constructed a unique lettering for the word “Design” using shapes and the path-finder tool.

Infographic # 1

I made this infographic for the Doing Innovation project run by Dr. Craig Watkins at the University of Texas at Austin. The infographic is done in Illustrator, with a vector render of the map of continental USA, depicting the percentage of Bachelors degree holding youths in key metro areas. The color scheme for the infographic was part of the style guidelines provided by the project’s web developer.

I used 3D rotation effects to provide a somewhat realistic “helicopter” view of the mapscape. I used pin icons and shadows with accompanying text to express the helicopter effect with more prominence. This graphic is featured in the article "Where do the young and college educated live?" on the Doing Innovation project website.

Infographic # 2

This infographic was in addition to the one above, and depicts how the top 25 cities fare against each other in terms of college educated 25-34 year olds. Since I had the requirement to represent 25 cities, I decided to keep out any eye-candy from the main map itself, and focus on telling the story demanded by the data. I found that circles centered on the cities to be represented could do the job perfectly well if I could scale the radii according to the population of 25-34 year olds with college degrees in these cities.

Since there were a lot of cities that were clustered together (especially along the east and west coasts), I faced a couple of challenges. Firstly, the circles for these cluster cities overlapped, and I had to maintain layers for each city. This, to be honest, was a great learning for me because an almost endless cycle of requested edits made me realize the importance of the stacking order of objects in Illustrator. Editing can be a lot easier if you work in layers. Secondly, I had to align all the fly-out lines so that both the left and the right sides of the infographic were similarly populated.

News Letter: Travel Times (Prague)

This was a project done in InDesign, and involved the design of a fictitious travel news letter. I decided to name it Travel Times, and used images and information from the web about the city of Prague. This was a very different exercise in comparison to some of my other work in Illustrator. For example, the 4-page layout of this news letter was far easier to do in InDesign than Illustrator because of InDesign's focused workflow for book/document design.

The most remarkable workflow-related feature (of course other than the paging features) in InDesign is how it suggests color schemes based on the color-picker. This allowed me to find the right colors for my type, i.e. colors that went well with the images underneath.

Brand Identity: Logo Design

This exercise involved conceptualizing and designing an effective brand logo for a (fictitious) Guitar amplifier company.

The company identitythat was in my mind required that the fact that they used vacuum tubes in their circuits should be captured boldly in the logo. Thus, the logo is primarily in the shape of a vacuum tube, wherein I used gradients to create a faux-glass look.

And to highlight the fact that the company was called Overdrive Amplification, I replaced the dot on the ‘i’ with a gain knob turned all the way up.

Brand Identity: Logo Design (Alternative Design)

This logo is basically a rework of the logo I finally chose to submit for my certification project, but is obviously greatly different as well. While the concept remains the same (i.e. the vacuum-tube/valve shape), this version does not use any 3D or shading effects, and is bolder in appearance. The reason I made this version was purely variety. A 'flat' look like this could fit in certain contexts (like decals for the actual amplifier branding), and packaging much better than the one shown above.

Brand Identity: Letterhead

In continuation with the design of a harmonious brand identity for my fictitious amplifier company I designed a letterhead for official communication. The wave pattern at the top of the letter depicts mildly 'overdriven' waveforms that are typical of tube-based amplifiers. That in addition to the grey gradient in the background, and the logo provides (in my opinion) an unmistakable identity to any piece of written communication from the company.

Brand Identity: Business Cards

This image shows the front and back sides of the business cards I designed for Overdrive Amplification. These carry the same 'overdrive' wave patterns that were put in the letterhead to give a cohesive brand identity.

Type Tweaking: Metallica

I took on this exercise primarily to study Illustrator’s powerful tools to tweak any piece of type by converting it into vector object(s).

I chose to replicate the 1980s logo of the iconic metal band Metallica. While doing this I realized that the best font to start with was a non-serif font. This allowed maximum tweakability as the font ‘Arial’ doesn’t have much in the way of unusual angles and proportions. Also my initial guess was right that the band derived their logo from Arial as well (but who’s to prove it?).

Type Tweaking: 'Franken Letters'

This exercise was meant as an improvisational project to explore the capabilities of Illustrator width-wise and depth-wise. The concept basically borrows from how Frankenstein was put together as an improvised body. I experimented with clipping masks, type-tweaking (like in the Metallica logo example above), and built-in Illustrator effects. It was a fun project, and the output was what you see!

About Nitin

Nitin Verma is a graduate student at the School of Information at University of Texas at Austin. Nitin's focus at UT Austin is UX/Usability Research, and Data Science. He hails from New Delhi, India, and has a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and a Master's degree in Informatics from the University of Delhi. Nitin has about 9 years of experience working in the embedded software industry, and has strong programming skills. He loves to play the guitar, and makes music as a hobby.