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Columbia Scholastic Press Association:
Gold Medalist (Highest Award) with All-Columbian Honors award for Reference section
Florida Scholastic Press Association:
All Florida Award (Higest Rank) with a mark of distinction in Writing
National Scholastic Press Association:
First Class Rating with a mark of distinctionin essentials for exemplary work
Charting New Territories
At the end of my sophomore year in 2016, I took a leap out of my comfort zone and applied to join the yearbook staff. The staff was led by my digital art and creative photography teacher, Mrs. Helen Chwalisz, so she was well aware of what I was capable of and what I could offer to the team.
When I was admitted into the staff, I was inevitably selected to help create the graphical and artistic aspects of the book. There, the theme of next year's book was revealed and plans were made. The theme was You Are Here, a map centric book.
Over the summer, I attended Yearbook Palooza and bonded with my fellow staff members. During the 3 day workshop, I created a few quick renders concepts and we had long debates about the style and theme of the book.
This was first major graphic design project I ever had, so I essentially had no idea what I was doing. I just kept making different versions and made changes from the feedback I got. What follows below are the many ideas that had come to light.
Point of Reference
Map data was referenced from Google Maps
Cartography & Art
From Yearbook Palooza in July to early September, several concepts were created to test the many ideas that floated in my head. Each version helped distinguish what ideas were bad and what leads to follow next.
The initial design of the map contained only major highways, lakes, and
park areas in the northern Orlando region.
The colors for the theme had not officially been decided so I tried using
Highways and major roads were given a drop shadow to emphasize and separate
each type of road.
The map view angled to give it the appearance of someone peering over
the map. Colors were reverted to compare between each color palette.
3D... Not Really
Drop shadows were rendered to simulate highways and major roads being
in a 3D space.
Colors were switched again and a tilt-shift blur was applied to create
a different perspective of depth.
This version combined several aspects of previous maps and applied a vignette.
At this point I decided to stick to the flat materialistic design and
try create a map painted on a canvas.
Pen & Paper
Another random Idea was to make it look hand drawn.
We wanted to try to represent the school somehow on the map. I looked
into adding a watermark of our mascot.
The overlay was combined with a sold fill and the map filled the transparent
areas of the mascot.
The idea of using the hornet quickly faded as it was decided it was covering
too much of the map.
Another idea I had was to reference our school's use of hexagons
in the map. I manually went through each and every hexagon and filled them
with the color most prominently represented in each tile.
Making this map was not necessary but I wanted to see a version in which
it was made of bubbles and drops. Again, each individual dot was painstakingly
traced over. The size of the dot was varied every several hundred dots
This version just went through a minor color adjustment to brighten the
parks and lakes. Luckily I didn't have to redo all the blue and green
In the months of experimentation, I learned a lot of new techniques and received lots of critical feedback to bring this final version to where it is today. The 15 previous maps were discarded and were never included in the final book. Since that time, a color palette was established, page dimensions were determined, and a new purpose was discovered.
This new map was used for the end sheets of the book and a plexiglass cutout gave a peek into the inside. Due to the new dimensions and orientation of the space, the map was redrawn from scratch. This time, every road, including the smallest of neighborhood roads, were added. After several long nights, the City of Orlando was recreated with great attention to detail.
Zoom In, Enhance
A second map of the school was commissioned to be used for the title page
and division pages. Now that the Orlando map was out of the way, it was
a relatively quick turnaround to map and create this map.