Better Days Are Coming

While getting close to the end of the semester, I wanted to invest a lot of time into some very high quality graphic design work. While the assignment had a heavy emphasis on the idea of creating a story, I put a bit of a twist on things to still incorporate story and fictional elements while simultaneously having the freedom to display how I’ve improved as a graphic designer from the beginning of the course.

This semester, I had a professor that had a great impact on me and really solidified my direction for my future. While Professor Bond and this class fit this description as well, it happens to be a different professor, but for the sake of privacy I will keep him anonymous. He recently lost someone to drug abuse and I have distant family that struggle with substance abuse as well. It is a problem that I don’t tend to see enough attention being brought to, so I thought I could do something constructive and create a drug abuse awareness campaign. Because of the relevance of social media in today’s day in age and the impact it can have on youth, I wanted to create the first pieces as a collection to be posted and advertised on Instagram. I spent a lot of time brainstorming ways to make the post eye-catching but not overwhelming, while also tastefully addressing a very serious topic. To do this, I went into Adobe Illustrator and began working on some concepts, using a simple color scheme that isn’t too distracting. With a bit of research, I found that there is a certain shade of purple that is often associated with drug abuse awareness and recovery, so it only made sense to use that as the main color. I found that a nice, warm golden color complimented the purple as an attractive accent color. After picking out these two, I felt that white and various shades of gray were the only other colors I should incorporate.

When it came to actually creating the design, I initially planned to use abstract shapes that would cross over from one slide to the next. With a bit more playing around in Illustrator, I decided that I wanted to actually create some art as focal points for the pieces. The concept that made the most sense and stuck was to create stylized art of different substances. While this may sound like a risky approach, I kept in mind my desire to be tasteful with things. After hours and hours of work across days, I was able to create 5 cohesive pieces with different types of substances. After completing the images, I took them into Canva to use the attractive fonts from their library to add in shocking statistics that related to the designs they would accompany. I made sure to not load these with text, instead keeping it simple and consumable while still achieving the desired purpose. Considering the shortness of people’s attention spans nowadays, this was definitely the best option for an Instagram post. To tie the whole post together, I created a fictional organization to sponsor the campaign. This is where the story elements begin. Because of WordPress’ limitations, I’m unable to directly embed the Instagram post into the blog post, so the designs are embedded separately instead. If you’d like to see how it would look as an actual post, click here!

While a fictional campaign and organization satisfy a loose interpretation of “story” and this work took an incredible amount of time and effort already, I still felt that the project wasn’t complete. On top of this, to be as realistic as possible, I felt that a campaign like this would most likely be accompanied by some resources and extra information for help and recovery. With a bit more research, I found a resource that seems very accessible and promising to use, but I wasn’t happy with only one, so I created a fictional chat service from MADA to help set individuals off on the right path. This design could be printed as a poster or flyer, used on an electronic board in a location like a subway station, or posted online.

I felt that a sun rising from behind the cloudy horizon would match well with the slogan, “Better days are coming,” so I incorporated that subtly into the bottom. The rest of the text on the screen is descriptive enough to give a good understanding of the resources to viewers while also not being too wordy and intimidating. In hindsight, I think it would’ve been fun to add more animation to the page by having the sun slowly rise from behind the clouds to where it is currently sitting, but I had originally planned for this to be a primarily still image.

Upon finishing this, I knew there was one more thing that I wanted to add to fully tie things together and create a completely cohesive campaign and organization. All companies and organizations that are taken seriously in the world have some kind of mission statement and blurb about the history of it’s formation, so I got to work thinking of ways to effectively achieve this for MADA. I wanted a short but heartwarming tale of someone who lost multiple people to substance abuse as the founder of MADA, so Beau Maniloff was born. To pair with this bit of history, I have 3 main “missions” for the organization that are realistic and appropriate. By adding in these elements, I believe that everything is wrapped up nicely with a bow and the campaign is complete, looking like something one may actually see on social media and in high traffic areas. I hope that you guys think the same!