A Dog’s Life: Pedigree Dog Food’s “A Dog Changes” Campaign

For my final project, I chose a campaign from Pedigree dog food featuring a series of outdoor photos with one person. Most of the photos featured men at the beach, in the mountains, or on a trail. The general effect was one of possible loneliness within a lovely natural setting.

Another photo sat next to the first, identical except for the addition of a dog. The tagline in each campaign ad was something about how having a dog makes life better. The demographic for this ad is probably a nature-loving male, ages 35 to 50.

The Original Ad


Source: http://www.gutewerbung.net/pedigree-bottle-stick-suicidal-ads/

The original ad is subtly clever. In the original image, we see a man holding a stick in response to a stranger approaching. In the second image, the man is holding a stick because he’s playing catch with a dog. The whole atmosphere of the ad completely changes.

The design is subtle and sophisticated. The ad uses vertical lines and a path framed on both sides by trees to draw the eye in. The muted color palette adds to a sense of ambiguity and slight anxiety — is this a menacing situation or is it not?

The text is small and somewhat difficult to read. The whole page arrests the reader’s attention. This is clearly an ad that must be considered to be understood.

I changed the ad below to enlarge the text and left-align it. I also did a reverse-engineer to describe the ad in terms of design, color, and typography.

COMM 111 Mixed Ad Final3


The New Ad


Source: Unsplash https://unsplash.com/@alexklopcic?photo=5w_VHnJIe6A

I used the image above as the foundation for my new ad. I  removed the dog and added some text. The new ad is consistent with the original campaign. It features a man walking through the landscape on a drizzly day. Horizontal lines and trees in the distance help draw the reader in. I included text to explain how the new ad is consistent with the old.

COMM 111 Mixed Ad Final13

The end result is effective. The design elements, color scheme, and typography are very similar to the original piece.


Cuisinart: Make Something Fresh

For this design project, I chose a whisk from Cuisinart. The headline and call to action says, “Make Something Fresh” and the ad features the bottom of a whisk with lettuce where the handle would be — a symbolic representation of Cuisinart’s potential in the kitchen.

The Final Project

I chose this project for a few reasons. The market audience is married women, ages 30 to 45. I thought the whisk would be of interest to this demographic since many women are interested in healthy cooking. Hence, the lettuce combined with the whisk. I also chose this project because of its simplicity. It reminded me of the Chipotle burrito ad and it seemed like something I could do with my skill level.

COMM 111 Magazine Ad Julie Christensen

The Photos

I  wanted a whisk with onion greens atop it. I looked online and couldn’t find anything really suitable. I thought about switching to something else, but I was excited about this project. Luckily, my garden is full of greens right now so I improvised by taking my own photos. I took them in my bathtub since that seemed to have the best white light.

lettuce photos 004

Comm 130 whisk and salad 002

A Fresh Design

The whisk is center-aligned in this ad. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I liked the clean, simple look. I used a modern, minimalist font to repeat that simple theme and also put the word “fresh” in green to go with the salad greens. I thought about aligning the word Cuisinart with the fresh, but it seemed more interesting to have it left aligned.

Final Thoughts

Of all the programs we’ve worked on, Photoshop appeals to me the most. I’m enjoying watching tutorials and just playing around in the software. It doesn’t feel intuitive yet and it’s still frustrating, at times, but I can see its potential.

Wheels for Dax

A Fast-Moving Intro to Illustrator

For this assignment, we began learning about Adobe Illustrator. It’s a versatile program and I can see it’s potential. I chose large vehicles as the theme for my first project, designing an icon.

draft transportation-01

Things That Go Vroom!

I chose a vehicle theme, in part because their simple shapes seemed achievable for a newbie. Another reason I chose them was that my grandson has been visiting and I’ve spent several hours playing cars with him.

My intended audience is my grandson Dax, and other young children, who like him, are fascinated by anything with wheels. I think the simple lines and bright colors of these icons would appeal to young children, especially when presented as part of a book, puzzle, or other toy.


draft transportation-02draft transportation-03draft transportation-04draft transportation-05

Designed for Motion

In terms of design decisions, I chose a bright, child-friendly color scheme. The vehicles have some repetitive elements, such as the color scheme, the tires, and the rounded rectangle shapes. Contrast is achieved through the odd shapes, such as the dump truck bucket and the cement mixer.

draft transportation-06

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Drive for More

Diving into this first Illustrator assignment was exciting and challenging. I’m looking forward to watching some tutorials and continuing to develop my skills.

Digging into InDesign: A Newbie’s Try

The purpose of this assignment was to introduce students to InDesign. I chose to create a design for a magazine spread featuring an article titled, Choose the Light, by Vern P. Stanfill.

COMM 130 week 5 magazine draft Julie Christensen 5.20

Considering Content and Audience

Because light was the theme of this article, I chose photos that represented light. I also wanted a warm color scheme that would complement the subject matter. Women are the target audience for this article. I kept that in mind too as I chose photos, colors and design layout. I wanted to create a design that was soft, peaceful, and inspiring.

COMM 130 week 5 magazine draft Julie Christensen 5.202

Design 101

With my limited (by limited, I mean none) experience with InDesign, imagining what I wanted was much simpler than actually achieving it on the page. Because of this, I knew I needed to keep it simple. I focused on creating clear communication over trying to design a sophisticated spread. The text aligns with the photos and pull-out quote. Headings are simple and add some color.

COMM 130 week 5 magazine draft Julie Christensen 5.203

Lessons Learned

I’m excited about the possibilities InDesign offers, but I still have a long way to go. I stuck my foot in the pool with this project as I learned how to wrap text, use contrasting typography types, add color boxes, and manipulate photos. I’m looking forward to learning more.

All About Photography

All the photos in this spread came from Unsplash.com. Below are the original photos and their links:


Photo credit: Unsplash.com 


Photo credit: Unsplash.com

Photographic Memories: Reverse-Engineer Photography Project

Today’s reverse-engineer project emphasizes three principles of photography: the rules of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field.

Easy as Pie: Rule of Thirds

This reverse-engineer design features a food photo by Annie Spratt at Unsplash.


The photo has a vertical, rather than horizontal orientation. The photographer has strategically placed apples, a tart, a dish cloth, and other elements so they follow the rule of thirds, drawing the eye to the tart. The apples are also positioned in a casual line, which draws the eye into the photo and to the tart.

annie spratt draw over

Pie-Making at My House


tart draw over

My photo is a sparer rendition on the theme of pies, but it still follows the rule of thirds. The blank space and the highlights on the right contrast with the shadows on the pies.

A Day at the Playground: Leading Lines

Photographic hobbyist, Aaron Burden, shared the photo below at Unsplash.  The playground appears uncharacteristically quiet, yet the potential for play is evident.


In the draw-over below, the subtle line made by the swings is made more obvious. This line draws the eye to the blurred background and back to the swings, beckoning the viewer to come play. The entire piece speaks of the whimsical possibilities found on a playground.

leading lines swings

Drawing a Line in the Sand: My Photo


sandbox leading lines drawover

I took this photo at a playground in San Diego. The late-afternoon lighting was similar to the photo above, as was the line of playful elements, in this case, a row of pails filled with pine cones, rather than a row of swings. The line of pails, as well as the edge of the sandbox, creates a pleasant symmetry and alignment.

A Passage to India: Depth of Field

The scene below, captured by Nitish Kadam at Sanjay Ghandi National Park in Mumbai, India, is almost dreamlike in its detail and beauty. The image is available on Unsplash.


The draw-over below shows the photographer’s careful use of depth of field. He places the tree and the rock face in the foreground, drawing the eye into the photo. The reflections on the water and the trees and grass on the opposite side of the river form the mid-ground; The sky and mountains are the background. The sun shimmering on the water adds beauty while the trees and shrubs frame the photo.

Indian river drawover

A Walk on the St. Vrain River: My Photo

IMG_0363 (1)


The photo above, while admittedly overexposed and a little grainy, duplicates the previous photo in its depth of field, as well as its use of vegetation to frame the photo. The ducks and water in the foreground create a sense of movement; the large tree and shadowed area create the midground, while the sunlit area is the background.

Like writing or design rules, the basic principles of photography give a framework and structure to the art, offering a starting point for beginners and experts alike. Photographers can break the rules effectively and intentionally only after they’ve mastered them.



Blue Grass and Blue Jeans: Typography Reverse-Engineer Project

This post features a layered design for Blue Yodel Clothing Co., an Austin-based  company specializing in handmade, vintage jeans and duds. The design, by Steve Wolf, was featured on canva design school’s website. 

The lock-up is a combination of Copper Plate (?) and stencil that knocks out of the sepia-toned image. The overall effect is one of vintage Americana.

original image by Steve Wolf

Make a Statement with Sans Serif

In the example below, we see at least two examples of sans serif, evidenced by their uniform edges and lack of serifs. The ad makes ample use of “All-Caps,” a design no-no, but perhaps for this vintage look, it’s a rule that can be broken.

San Serif example

The Fine Print: Slab Serif

In the second example, the ad uses a type of slab serif. Although it’s hard to see, the thick lines and obvious serifs are consistent with slab serif. It has a heavy weight and an “old-time” feel.

Slab serif example

Putting It Together

The two typefaces in this ad obviously contrast. The streamlined, classic look of the sans serif type contrasts with the more elaborate slab serif. Additionally, the decorative stencil font echoes some of the elements of the slab serif. The sans serif in the top right-hand corner also contrasts because the first line has tall, vertical lines while the second line is stretched out horizontally. Overall, the effect is charming, if somewhat busy.

A Prickly Situation: Volkswagen Reverse-Engineer Project

This assignment explores the use of contrast, repetition, alignment,  proximity and color in design. The advertisement below for Volkswagen Precision Parking was produced by Cerebro Y and R, Panama.





The overall subdued color palette in this ad contrasts sharply with the orange goldfish, drawing the eye to the fish, which represent a line of drivers attempting to parallel park. The surfaces also create a contrast. The backdrop has a smooth, slightly shiny surface. The water is luminous. Both have a somewhat soft appearance, which contrasts with the rough texture of the porcupine’s prickles and fur.


repetition volkswagen

Repetition is achieved here through the repeating line of goldfish. The simple font and its small size subtly repeats the minimalist look of the page.



The fish and porcupine in this ad are aligned with one another and create a line that runs from one corner of the page to the other. This line is also equidistant from the two opposite corners. The text is right-aligned and the bottom text also aligns with the logo.



This ad uses the principle of proximity in the positioning of the bottom text. The goldfish and porcupine lined in a row create a more subtle type of proximity, drawing the eye there first, causing the viewer to wonder about the ad’s message.



This ad is almost entirely done in shades of gray and blue-gray. The addition of the orange fish creates a playful, humorous tone and hones in on Volkswagen’s message, which is that parallel parking can be as tricky as placing bags of goldfish next to a porcupine.


The spare design and thoughtful use of contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity make for an intriguing and effective ad. The lighting and blank space in the left-hand corner give the eye a break, while the shaded area in the lower right corner draws the eye to the logo. The orange color works well against the muted gray and blue tones.