Exercise: Birthday List

This is an interesting little task involving the design of a simple Birthday Reminder Calendar for family and friends. As opposed to a spider chart style mind map I looked at the key themes of the exercise and used these as a starting point for what the exercise was attempting to do. I then considered the brief from my perspective as a disabled person who struggles with communication. What did I want/need? Clarity above all else.

The actual list is based on a simple sheet of A3 separated into 12 square grid, which was going to originally be orientated as landscape, but I decided to move it to a portrait orientation. Each square would represent a month, with no individual dates, instead there would two simple types of symbol, circles for family and squares for friends. I was inspired by Eastern European birthday calendars that are wall hung which use similar approached for different birthdays.

For the actual methods of communication I did think about symbols, however some are easily confused visually so opted for colour coding which makes the task that bit easier.

For the main List background I chose a pale yellow with a pale blue banner with the words Birthday List in a simple Black San Serif Type, Candal. This was then given a light shadow effect. For the Background I initially intended to use a coloured background to help contrast with the colour coded disks, so came up with this:

I’ll be honest, after literally sleeping on it these first drafts look hideous. So a review of White Space is in order with resign adding a faint background image being more in keeping. The arrangement of the grid is also off so I’ll address that too as well as sorting out the type, its size (30Pts) and colour (60% grey). I used a generic back image as I wanted the poster to have a family appeal too, especially for the younger members.

I made all my changes and realised I hadn’t left room for the key which used Arial for the lettering as this is easy to use and read at a distance. This was then added to the bottom of the calendar. The final task was to populate the calendar using family and friends details.

One the things I tried was to curve the name of a family member inside the circle, whilst easy enough to do in the Affinity package in terms of legibility and accessibility it’s a no-go. So back to my original idea of simple flat line text.

As I populated the details list and colours I realised that my colour choice wasn’t the best and most suitable. The shades were simply too similar, so a quick change was in order.

The next and final task to populate the calendar with the list, unfortunately I had an issue with the lasso selection tool so had to move a few of the markers, however a quick shift around gave me a great representation of the finished Birthday List.

Overall the hardest element of this task was not the design but drawing the practical elements together. That said I learned a lot including maintaining design flexibility.

Resources Used

Birthday Celebration PNG https://www.kissclipart.com/birthday-gifts-clipart-birthday-balloon-gift-p1k8za/download-clipart.html

Corner Balloons PNG https://www.clipartmax.com/middle/m2H7i8K9N4b1m2Z5_royalty-free-clipart-illustration-of-an-arch-of-streamers-birthday-balloons-border/

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