Project 1
Tom Whalen in a poster


- 3 weeks 
- Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Figma
- 19.25 inches x 31.75 inches

Exploring Designers to study 

Picking two designers to research in-depth: After looking through several pages of designers and their work, these two illustrators caught my eye for their interesting vector graphic styles and relatable content. 


















Initial Pages (Quote, Portrait, Artifact)

Studying and Analyzing the Designer's work 

Consolidated work from his website, news articles, google

Selected the most distinctive from different categories including diff medias

Left: Posters (some series, some individual with similar styles) 

Right: Other Media (Pins, toys, branding, shirts) & Info Design (Spreads) w icons  














































Developing Moodboards (Print vs Other Media)







Analyzing Typography 




Researching the Designer 

~1500 word Biography (Link to full paper)

Developing Sketches 

Creating 11 sketches of potential avenues to pursue with the poster design 

Requirements: Body copy text, timeline, portrait of designer, images of their work

Creating Initial Posters 

Poster 1 Process Images

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Jon & Leigh Hicks

Graphic Design, Iconography, UX Design 

"We are most known for our logo work for Firefox, MailChimp and Shopify, but our skills cover a much broader spectrum of services and mediums. We prefer to call ourselves simply Graphic Designers, as that encompasses everything we enjoy doing. As well as our digital skills, we still enjoy the buzz of making something physical, whether it's with ink, paint or clay."

"I really try to keep it simple as possible. Not to over-complicate it, or get bogged down worrying about fashion, but hopefully still have enough personality to avoid being bland."

"I call it practising ‘input and output’. Digest as much as you can and from different disciplines; books, articles, YouTube videos, podcasts or viewing source on webpages. Keep a scrapbook of all the interesting things you see. Trace artwork you like and work out how it was put together. Then output it: write about what you find or have learned about and experiment. This process will improve you as a designer."


Tom Whalen

Vector Illustrator, Graphic Designer

"What I really loved seeing were the variations and colorways next to each other, and seeing those come to life during the process. Usually, it’s about the end result, and that's where I normally get my satisfaction. But seeing the piece completed and knowing what the watch took from the box art to become a watch was something else. Having to add and subtract to then learn where art should be, or shouldn't be, and where imagery should land so that it all comes together to create a piece that looks really cool, was a process."

"countless sunday afternoons were spent sitting next to that squeaky old spinner rack of comics in my grandmother's candy store. i loved the stories, but it was the art that stuck with me. armed with well-worn issues of character guides like "who's who in the dc universe"and "the official handbook of the marvel universe", it was sometime around sixth grade when i started to take drawing seriously. multiple trapper keepers full of my own character designs would follow. an 11"x17" drawing pad and a pencil were staples of my high school existence. a few thousand  drawings (give or take) later, my own style started to emerge. now, nearly 20 years later, i relish the opportunity to mesh my passion for design and love of illustration for clients like disney, marvel, the beatles and target."

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Creating Initial Posters 

Poster 2 Process Images

Posters Day 1 Critique

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Posters Day 2 Critique

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Changes/ Decisions Made

  • Changed compositions of the images, made some of them vertically larger to break out o the strict horizontal row grid

  • Made "Tom Whalen" more dynamic, moving to the top and extending the letters downwards to sit behind the city, masked with the grid behind the letters 

  • Drew in miniature cities for inside each of the letters - appear like a story inside the counters

  • Drew planets and clouds that flow off the page, breaking the boundaries of the box, match the gradient with the color scheme 

  • Experimented with wrapping the quote around the curve on the bottom of the page 

  • Integrated quote into the body of text instead 

  • Drew in more buildings for the bottom of the poster to replace the location of the quote 

  • Shortened body copy text to increase the type size and change it from a condensed typeface to normal for readability purposes 

  • Photoshopped some of the images to have solid backgrounds and increase resolution

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Posters Day 3 Critique

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Changes/ Decisions Made

  • Reduced the body copy by half, increased type size, made it left aligned instead of justified to increase legibility and fixed the rag. Changed the quote to medium weight to decrease contrast between bold and light. 

  • Experimented with removing objects that go out of the grid, decreasing the sizes of those objects to decrease the disorganized chaos- not take away from the geometric form, changed the colors to match better 

  • Moved the vector art downwards to show more of the letters in "Tom"

  • Reduced the amount of graphics within the letters to minimize confusion 

  • Increased resolution of images/ switched out some of the blurry ones

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Project 2
Tom Whalen in a 16 page booklet


- 3 weeks 
- Adobe InDesign, Figma
- 16 page booklet, Each Page: 8.25 x 10.5 inches 

Day 1: Sketching 

Top Left: Experimented with collaging round shapes with his work and contrasting colors in each of the shapes. 
Bottom Left: Experimenting with city and rigid shapes including parallelograms and squares, heavy contrast 
Top Right: Experimenting with different schemes for every page- using inspiration from the specific pieces of work 
Bottom Left: Space, circular orb themed, where each circle contains a different work, use a triangle grid to create shapes

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Thumbnails of my sketches

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Day 2: Categorizing Information & Choosing Spreads 

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Day 3: Booklet Rough Sketches

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Initial Iterations 1: Blocking images with solid shapes

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Iterations 2: After Feedback 

simplified cover to contrast detailed inside, removed all the objects, blow up the one cityscape, incorporated timeline of clients in the center, need to find a better way to incorporate top and bottom of city 

Space orb theme, have text curve around the work it corresponds to, integrate page numbers into the circles

Made this page simpler by making all the text horizontal instead of facing different directions, made the shapes have 90 degree angles, incorporate quote in top left 

Inserted work according to color gradient, have inspirations across the page, each of the 3 boxes discusses a different influence

Incorporate quote into the images of the work on the left. The only page with text written out. Wanted to have a page that doesn't have crossover between spreads

Use parallelograms to separate categories of work to refer to in the timeline 

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Iterations 3: Inserting images, editing spreads, After Feedback, inserting body copy

Removed the top city to simplify the cover, tried incorporating a drop quote, changed the client timeline to the ToC instead so that it makes more logical sense

Inside back and Inside front should parallel each other, one light mode one in dark colors. Made 2 versions with one including circles of solid color in the background to cluster objects

Inserted work that corresponds with the text for each section of the timeline, added triangles to the background to highlight the shapes and cluster sections together

Design Style: Experimenting with text and image colors (splitting image in half) and adding bright circles as light 

Inspirations: Changed background colors, size of text and rag

Inserted work on the left side, created a grid for the caption system in the bottom left, wrote quote using colors from the work. Two iterations- one has text in white with white lines in between the work

3 versions one with grid, one with outline and solid color, and one with split color. Leaning towards grid one since the pullouts can be in the color of the work 

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Iterations 4: After Studio Feedback Revisions & Moving to InDesign

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  • Redid the cover going back to a previous version

  • Removed the quote since it doesn't seem like a cover

  • Scaled down the letters, moved "Tom Whalen" to be on the front cover so it doesn't read Whalen before Tom

  • Experimented with different placement and sizes of the letters,

  • Drew another city for the top that fades from red to orange to complement the bottom cityscape

  • Moved all of the text to InDesign to properly curve along the circular shapes

  • Shifted the constellations and companies text to not overlap with the center gutters​

  • Fixed page numbers inside the circles

  • Changed background color to better match the other page

  • Shifted text to not overlap with center gutter 

  • Experimented with triangle shapes in the background 

  • Reduced the size of the text in InDesign 

  • Fixed rag on text 

  • Made the quote much larger (same size as the next page) and take up more space 

  • Minor changes in placement of title along line 

  • Redrew line in Indesign to prevent being fuzzy 

  • Fixed rag on text 

  • Added more circles for the background 

  • Page numbers and folios in white  

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  • Decided on this shapes gridded background version over the others for consistency and because of the heavy contrast between the two different colored ones and the outline appearance of the other version 

  • Decreased size of headings and text when inserted into Indesign 

  • Fixed placement of text boxes and lines to avoid overlap with the center gutter 

  • Added smaller shapes around the larger blob to make the page less center heavy 

  • Decreased size of text to match the other pages in InDesign 

  • Changed the text back to left aligned for consistency and breathing room 

  • Moved the dates from the center gutter

  • Made the diagonal colors in the text boxes line up with other images around it 

  • Changed captioning system to take up 4 boxes rather than half of 2 boxes so that it is more easily visible 

  • For the future, incorporate other designers work into some of the boxes and reduce the size of the text in captioning system 

  • Edited the colors of the quote (chose version 2 that has lines in between the boxes) so that I can make the quote the same cream color as the background and blend in 

  • Removed page numbers/ folios and added copyright in the bottom right corner (might be too small?)

  • Shifted timeline so that the constellations don't overlap with the center gutter 

  • Added portrait of Tom Whalen to the back inside cover so that it appears like the "story is ending" 

  • Chose version with colored circles in the background to increase visual interest versus plain version

Iterations on the Front/ Back Cover 

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  • Initially too crowded, too much going on with the background grid and the multiple buildings so reduced the illustration to only 2 cityscapes on the bottom and top 

  • Large space in the middle so included a timeline with Tom Whalen's clientele 

  • The list of clients doesn't belong on the front cover so removed it and drew more of the illustration on the bottom o it takes up 3/4th of the page.  

  • Moved "Tom Whalen" to be sitting on top of the buildings to better integrate with the illustration 

  • Added a quote to fill in the space on the top of the front cover using different weights and colors

  • Increased contrast between the background and the illustration 

  • Decreased some of the styles in the text

  • Chose a blue to orange gradient for the text 

  • Feedback that the quote is out of place, doesn't belong on front cover, and too much going on 

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Best Iterations for the cover

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Iterations 5: After Studio Feedback Revisions

Captioning System Iterations

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  • Need to increase the size of the box- maybe expand to take up the bottom 6 modules

  • Don't combine similar work with a series of letters, make separate lines for each letter 

  • Increased size of box to work with the grid

  • Increased size of text, separated work 

  • Added more letters

  • Added other designers' work not Dave Perillo

  • Added more letters and decreased font size (since the number of lines doubled since designer name is labeled) 

  • Changed colors of the diagram to match the work 

  • Final panel, shifted to fill the ending an used space at beginning to add title 

  • Cut out bottom modules from the diagram

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  • Changed subheads to not all caps 

  • Increased size of quote

  • Shifted some of the paragraphs

  • Decreased the size of the subheadings when they are capitalized

  • Added images from other designers so it is not just 1 other designer's work

  • 3 versions of the impact spread one that emphasizes the quote rather than the header 

  • Also experimented with adding some colored shapes to complement the background since the space seems too empty 

Final Iterations

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Similar modular grid applied throughout the pages with consistent margins 

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Project 3
Tom Whalen Mobile Experience

- 3 weeks 
- Figma Prototyping


Site Map

Rough outline of what pages will be navigated to on the app

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Home page wireframes

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Every page wireframes

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Intermediate Iterations of each page


Final Page Designs & Prototyping

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After finalizing my prototype, and getting feedback during lab, I screen recorded by the prototype on Figma, and moved into After Effects to draw and animate the background scene behind the phone to make the final video more engaging. Each object had to be individually animated to move in the background after I masked out the video in the shape of the phone outline.

Video of Final App Prototype


Project 4
Tom Whalen Animation

- 3 weeks 
- Figma, AfterEffects 
- 1920 x 1080 pixels, 1-2 minutes long


Day 1: Listening to Audio 

I began by listening to several of Tom Whalen's interviews, including podcasts and drawing videos. After compiling my favorite audio pieces, I thought about what story I wanted to portray with my animation. Since I've already created many pieces on his biography and life, I wanted to try something different where I capture his unique style and technique in the animation. Since he is a vector illustrator, the bulk of his work is done in Adobe Illustrator. One of the videos details him walking through drawing one of this pieces, which would be interesting to create a storyline along. I also hope to incorporate the bulk of work he has done through his career into the animation. 

These are the top 4 videos I listened to for audio and hope to incorporate pieces from. 

Picking Audio & Noting Scenes

This audio piece has the most relevant information for the storyline I mentioned about his drawing process using Illustrator. The audio is also fairly clear and in the video, there are some nice snippets of when he is actually editing his work in real time in Adobe Illustrator which would be interesting to incorporate. 

The audio includes Tom Whalen demonstrating his process for his Robocop drawing and I found some scenes from the video nice to include from the animation. I screenshotted some of them for future reference and for time stamps. 

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12 minutes long- need to also clean audio 

Day 2: Transcribing Audio and Narrowing Script 

The original audio is quite long- 12 minutes. I began with transcribing the audio to create a script

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STEP 1: Get 5 second interval transcript from Youtube, Paste into Google Sheets, Use a formula to merge alternate rows together, Then use formula to merge all the lines together vertically 

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STEP 2: Initial transcript of the recording, I bolded all the quotes that I think were useful for my video

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STEP 3: Separated only the useful parts of the transcript, its much shorter now, narrowing the text

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STEP 4: Categorized the script by the content (no longer chronological) into Intro, Process, Conclusion, Background/ biography. Ordered the script into the sections I want to discuss. Red = times in the audio that have relevant videos

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STEP 5: Narrowed down the script to 1 page, including only the relevant information for the process animation 

STEP 6: reordered and categorized the quotes into multiple sections for the animation 

Creating an initial storyboard

Bright colors, vector illustration style, interactive with a cursor

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Editing/ Consolidating Audio Clips

Combed through the audio and trimmed out the clips that correlate with the script. Shortened the audio from 12 minutes to 3 minutes of the best audio. Still need to shorten the script more. 

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Background Music Search 

Searching for Background Music; I'm looking for something more upbeat and friendly to go along with the vector illustration feel with bright colors. Something with lots of beats/ somewhat dramatic so that each step can align with the music

Sliding Scale - BROMELIAD Music Library (1)
Good Game - BROMELIAD Music Library
Summer Melt - BROMELIAD Music Library
3 Minute Whalen Audio Compilation

Integrating Audio with Music (Chose Sliding Scale)
- Music is repetitive so try to integrate some other noises to it (mouse clicks, dings) 
- Cut the audio from 3 minutes to 1 minute (take out the details about the layer organization/ more tutorial like things)

Removing background music from audio 
- Using Adobe Audition, watching videos on Youtube, tried to edit out the background music 
- First clip too loud, Langston helped me capture noise clips to reduce the sound 

Choosing new music (Chose Summer Melt)
- As I started to animate, I realized that I wanted the beat of my music to be faster and for it to have more variety so I tried integrating new music and cutting down the script 

First attempt with the new music: still have too much audio script, need to add more pauses to just hear the music, remove bg noises, increase levels during speech

Final audio track 

Finalizing Script
- with the audio, the script is now 1 minute and 3 seconds 

My recording 95Artist Name