iPhone Icons – Semiotics


Our generation is so dependent on technology to stay in touch with others that it is hard to imagine going for an entire week without your cell phone. I know that mine is permanently glued to my body and when I put it down for only a few hours, I feel as though part of me is missing. One of the main reasons I always check my phone is to check social media. I want to make sure that I am always up to date on any and all information from a shooting on a bus in Dartmouth to the worst dressed women at the Oscars.

Because I have grown up in this tech savvy environment, I do not need to have the name of each form of social media to recognize what program it is. For example, when I turn on my phone I know that if I want to go on Facebook that I don’t need to type it into the search bar. It is on my home screen in the form of a white letter f on a royal blue background. I recognize the program through the icon that has been burned into my mind. This is an example of semiotics. Any of the icons above you probably know what they stand for, even though there are no names.

These companies have created unique logos that will automatically trigger a response in it’s users. Most people in the world, even if they do not have Facebook or Twitter could probably recognize their icons. Take a minute to think of how many icons you see everyday that you might not even have considered. I bet there are a lot!

– Erika Murray

Training Course

After attending a military public affairs training course during February break I noticed a lot of repetition between what we were learning in class and what they are taught. There was also some interesting differences but most of those related to our writing class then it does our text based media. A professional photographer came in and talked about the rule of thirds. We talked about different angles and how to attract your audience. To add on to angles, a student in my other class did a study on how lighting effects the way a consumer perceives a product and if lighting from the left was more attractive tthen lighting from the right. They concluded that if a product was lii from the left in an advertisment the consumer was more likely to go out and purchase this product. This is important to keep in mine when trying to attract the audience to a prouduct. The study was done via a print ad. Lighting for a print ad can be changed in photoshop to better apeal to the audience and make the ad more attractive.

We talked about words and titles. Not specifically to print ads but a journalist talked about how when she worked for the Chronicle Herald they were not allowed to have their titles longer than 140 characters. The reason for this was allignment. If the title was over 140 characters they couldn’t properly allign it with the story making it look very awkward in the newspaper.



 Applying what I have learned is harder than I expected. When using the program Photoshop it is easy to manipulate, enhance or completely change images/advertisements. We have been practicing for several classes and although my Professor has been more than understanding and patient, she should see how her students work is positively progressing. The first day I couldn’t even get the program to open. Having different layers was confusing and I kept making errors. Then we added the magic lasso which is a tool meant to make cropping simple but made my life more complicated. It is has to be precise and it took me a while to get the hang of it but I finally did.

Last Thursday our Professor was absent but we had an assignment to recreate an Ad. It was on ski and snow apparel and surprisingly the skills I had learned from her previous classes had stuck in my mind and I was able to apply them. This was a great feeling of accomplishment, I had a few small questions for my peers but overall I found it simple to put together. It is also a good way to stay creative. In public relations so much of our career is reading or writing so to be able to do some marketing in our own way was enjoyable.

This was purely just practice as we used images from the internet and based it from an original ad. Whereas if we were actually working for an organization we would have to be cautious of the legality of the pictures and what is acceptable to use.  I was happy with my design of using colors and an Olympic skier as the main image, but I incorporated all the logos and addresses so it could pass as a public ad. This is all a learning experience but I learn fast and like to add new skills to my list so I can maximize my own potential for being successful.



Having no prior knowledge of computer design or much to do with technology in general this Text-Based Media is an interesting course. I need constant help with the program photo-shop, however the terminology is simple to comprehend just not apply. The first lecture dealt with the design elements CRAP, a humorous way to remember contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. 

Contrast deals with having an object or specific focal point that you want your audience’s eye to be drawn too.  For example if you have a solid black background you probably should avoid using darker colours because it will blend in, when trying to make it pop you could use a red or a yellow. There was an interesting image brought up with a giant waterfall with multiple mini-falls within it. There are four monks walking across and instantly my eye was drawn to them. I always think contrast has to be so forced but the interesting thing about this photograph was that it was very natural but unnatural at the same time.  It kept with the peace and simplicity of nature but having people walking on the water isn’t where they should be, so it caught my attention.

The next point was repetition..the next point was repetition. Okay so you get the point, it is self-explanatory. This element helps make the picture flow together and provide consistency (Williams). Then the final points are alignment and proximity. These are two different concepts but are closely related. Alignment does not necessarily mean in the proper order but more so using the space given wisely. By not leaving too much white on a page layout or not having enough white showing, having it centred or scattered, these are decisions to consider. Lastly Proximity is also using the space given wisely but by grouping what is important together to signify a relationship within the picture.

Overall these elements are key in understanding images but also key to your own work being successfully understood. They come in handy especially when dealing with advertisements or works that will be shared with the public. 


Lululemon on Facebook




A couple of months ago I “liked” lululemon on Facebook because not only am I a fan of their clothing, but I also enjoy the posts that they create for their followers. I find on a gloomy or slow day, i can look at one of their posts and be motivated to finish a task I am doing, or throw some clothes on and go to the gym.


I find lululemon always uses complementary colours in their ads, and there is always a good flow about them. This particular ad is for people trying to buy presents last minute this holiday season. I really enjoy this ad because of the lighting used in the photo, and the font that accompanies the picture.  Bold but yet simple and delicate at the same time. I think white was the perfect colour to use because is simbolizes purity ( something I think lululemon values) but also jumps out of the picture and captures your attention, especially while scrolling through your newsfeed.

I suggest everyone to take a look at their Facebook page and website when you need a little inspiration or something pretty to look at. (Girls, whether it be the pretty clothes & accessories, and guys… well um you can look at the girls 😉 ) 



Before and After – Black and White


I don’t know about you guys, but I am a sucker for before and after pictures! With absolutely anything that has been manipulated using Photoshop,  I love seeing the original photograph and the end result side by side so that I can see what a huge difference the editing really makes. I think that this is the best way to truly appreciate the effects that the designer has created from the photographers original photograph.

This photo is the perfect example of a before and after picture! I really like the first photograph because the contrast between the colour of the woman’s bouquet stands out against the background of her white wedding dress. I love how the bride is in focus, but the men in the background are blurry. This ensures that the viewers eye goes directly to the bride and is not distracted by the background.

Even though the first photograph is beautiful, I really love the second one. More and more, photographers are leaning towards black and white photos, especially for wedding photography. In my mind, the black and white photo is more soothing and creates a more romantic allusion. Because there is more contrast in the first photo and a gray scale limits the amount of colour contrast available, my eye does not go directly to the pink bouquet, but rather the woman’s smiling face.

This being said, I do not think that I prefer black and white photographs to colour ones. There are certain times that I believe that black and white photographs have more of an impact, and I believe that wedding photography is one of those times!

– Erika Murray

Color Overload



In light of the dreaded season of midterms with spring break in close sight. I was of course procrastinating on Pintrest and came across this gem of a picture. With tomorrows midterm, I thought it was a great visual description of some key elements we learned in class ! So here you go fellow classmates study away!

Okay.. Now I’m Hungry.


Once I saw this add there was no turning back. I fell for it, I immediately was hungry for a hamburger. Although I’ve never tasted a Burger King burger I suddenly wanted to. This ad uses the rule of thirds to its fullest while using the edge of her nose and ending of the tip of the brow, the models eye aka the hamburger is perfectly centered in the middle causing it to immediately catch ones own eye. The make up artist who completely the juice burger look did a fantastic job using all the critical colors and contrast needed. The background color of the models skin is a perfect tone for the contrast of the make up.I really like this ad. I think it is very unique and different but still leaves the audience wanting a burger just like a typical burger ad.

Alysha Elliott


The Magical World of Advertisments



Since beginning my failing career at Photoshop since the beginning of the semester, I am continuously looking at adds, logos, etc examining just how one may have utilized all the scary wonders of Photoshop. While wasting time on Facebook the other day I came across a friend who had just recently returned from a magical trip to the park were dreams become a reality. This got me thinking. Disney, in my mind, has got to be the most creative place on earth. With that also got me thinking imagine the type of work the are doing with Photoshop from print adds, tv adds, and web adds this mulch-billionaire company is constantly trying to sell you something to either the parent or the kid. When I stumbled upon this picture it got me thinking about the process they would have gone through to assemble it. From the layers upon layers including: the castle, each firework, the rainbow, the dark clouds, the white fluffy clouds, and the text. I can imagine an add such as this, to the unknown looks simple and easy but to the trained (or attempting to be trained, such as myself) eye it is easy to see the difficulty and lengthy process behind it.Now on this long and bumpy road to attempting to understand the scary world of Photoshop, I am going to take Mr. Walt Disneys advice when working with the program and instead of getting frustrated see it as an opportunity.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

Alysha Elliott


Logo Design

Chelsea Coates, one of my best friends is just finishing up her final semester of a graphic design course. In order to complete the course she needed to take a year of visual arts and one year of graphic design.

Below is one of the paintings that she created last year for a “fire” assignment. I love the warm colours that she decided to use in the Phoenix (orange, red and yellow), but also that she decided to use the contrasting colours of white and blue.



This was the painting that she chose to use for her professional logo. I’m not completely sure how she worked her magic, but somehow she was able to replicate the basics of this painting in Photoshop.


With a little bit of tweaking, she was able to create some texture in the wings, making them look more like feathers. The shadows that she included created depth and makes it seems like everything the bird is actually flying. She then added a bit of text to include her information. Here is a picture:



Finally, the last piece to creating the logo is finding a cool background. This picture incorporates the grey that she had used in the previous designs while creating more texture. It looks like she also applied a bit of a gradient so that it isn’t too shiny.




This is the final product! She plans on using it on her website in the future. I know that a design like this will attract lots of people!

– Erika Murray