The point of this project was to invest time and energy into a project for my own pleasure. I know that sounds like a simple sentiment, but too often I find myself designing for others more than me. Or maybe it's just easier designing for others more than me. Likely, lots of artists face this if they don’t want to starve. I can thank my friend Hugo for really lighting the fire inside me by saying “You should really try focusing on making something just for yourself, I think you’ll get a lot more out of your next project that way”. So thank you, Hugo, you were right.
I was making a lot of infographics at FMG Suite all about retirement and 401(k)’s and loved the semiotic challenge of distilling intelligence into more refined, bite-sized chunks of info. But I’d never made an infographic for myself.
In January I adopted a puppy from a shelter in San Diego. There was such an array of information out there on the stuff that was good and bad for my dog, and learning how to not kill her was a pretty big goal of mine so I came up with the idea of making an illustrative cheat sheet. I started sketching and was planning on illustrating the foods with Posca Paint Pens. Originally I also made some digital illustrations using Procreate on my iPad (with composite fx done in Photoshop). But little did I know the detour my production was about to make.
Katie Howard reached out to me for help prepping a few illustrations for printing on something called a Risograph printer. I had never experimented with one, but I was excited to learn everything I could about the technology. I spent a couple nights reasearching, and loved the process and double-loved the products she sent me.
As a fun date, I took a riso class with Lu at the Outlet. Getting my hands into the process of this anachronistic print tech was so rad, I decided it would be a fun way to flex and to apply it to my infographic.
1. Grid. Colors (5 colors, 4 tints), fruit compositing, food=100% / dots= 50%. Cutout food/text from dots. 4 column 3 row grid.
2. The colors I chose were Orange, Green, Cornflower Blue, Purple, and Red. I used a 50% opacity on the dots background layer of each of the food boxes, and 100% color value and the foods and labels.
3. As I mentioned earlier, originally I was planning on illustrating the foods. But when I made the decision to do a risograph print, I changed my stylistic direction and thought it would look cuter using actual photos with halftones. I was thinking it might look more like something I could have seen hanging on my classroom wall in the second grade.
4. So I found photos of all the foods and began the compositing process in photoshop. (Skip this paragraph if you don’t wanna bore yourself with the technical jargon). Remove the background and duplicate your for layer. Select the food layer and desaturate. Then mess with its brightness and up its contrast a bunch until you get a nice balance of blacks and whites. Then go to Filter >> Pixelate >> Color Halftone. Set the max radius between 4-9, then enter 45 for each of the 4 channels and hit ‘Ok’. BOOM: You’ve got some halftones. Use the Magic Wand tool to remove all the white from that layer so you’re just left with black dots. Cmd+Select the original food layer that you duplicated earlier. Use that selection to mask out/delete the dots from the background dot layer. Repeat that process with the food labels.