Designing the DOT Garden Sign: Drafting and Drawing

My project was to design the DOT Garden sign with my mentor Noel Chilton. We spent hours researching materials and designs before we were finally ready to draft the design for our own sign. Knowing that it would be carved out of wood, I wanted the design to be simple and elegant. I chose the sunflower, an icon of New Mexico and representative of growth, to be the symbolism on sign. Noel helped me to design everything myself, from the font to the shape. I was impressed by her dedication to perfection and her willingness to help me with this project. 0506141728aNoel edits the “bienvenidos al” of the font photo by me The font was probably the trickiest part of the sign. I began with a simple sketch of “bienvenidos al”. Then, Noel scanned the sketch onto her computer and began clarifying my lines with photoshop. It took a lot of tweaking before my “bienvenidos al” looked like an actual font. Using inspiration from my initial sketch, I drew out the letters in “Desert Oasis Teaching Garden” in italics. The nice thing about designing a font is that you don’t have to draw letters that repeat. The only letters I had to draw were “D,E,S,R,T,O,A,I,C,H,G,N”. Even before I drew those, we could make some italicized letters from the letters in “bienvenidos al”. As I was drawing letters, Noel was editing them on the computer. It was a great system because I was doing most of the creating and learning, and Noel was making sure that the work I produced was top notch. Noel even had me do a page of letters that we wouldn’t use at all, so that I could practice the style before I drafted the final product. 0506141651a draft of how the letters, eventually discarded photo by me 0506141710 the finalized italic letters photo by me After we had finalized the font (which wasn’t for a long time), we moved on to designing the sunflowers. I had come up with some sketches on my free time that needed to be inked, scanned, and applied to the sign. When inking the sunflowers, we decided that they would look best with varying lineweight (the thinness or thickness of a line). I spent a long time perfecting the weight of the line on each petal and crease. This lineweight is what will make the sunflowers stand out on the sign. 0506141728 The inked sunflower photo by me Once we had all of our pieces, it was time to assemble. Noel and I picked out a simple woodgrain texture and made the base of the sign with photoshop. Noel is an advanced photoshop user who’s skills rendered us a perfect model of our sign. We used tools such as “emboss and bevel” to simulate the carvings in the wood. We carefully placed each letter on the sign and excruciated over the layout. We had to consider aspects such as readability, aesthetic, and space. We inserted sunflowers into the blank spaces we had left. Our final result was this:averill4

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4 thoughts on “Designing the DOT Garden Sign: Drafting and Drawing

  1. This is a really interesting post! It was very useful of you to describe your experience based on the step-by-step process. The use of pictures documenting your experience allowed me to further understand the process. The decision to incorporate a sunflower into the sign was creative, and symbolic, as you said it was a “representation of growth”.
    The fact that you designed everything on your own (like the font!) is very impressive.
    The only constructive criticism I have is that it would be interesting to learn more about your mentor, Noel. Is she a designer? What experience does she have in the area of art and design?

  2. Wow! That sign is absolutely gorgeous! I think that this is a great project for you because you are so creative and artistic. I understand the difficulty of making letters look the same, kind of like eyes on a face, and I think you did a great job. This project is really different than the others and it is coming along really well. The overall content of the post is informative and fun to read, and I like that you included how your mentor, Noel, helped you along the way, but also let you work on most of it by yourself. I also like that you chose the Sunflower as the flower because it really connects with New Mexico and makes more personal than just a random pretty flower. The sign is lovely and I hope it continues to blossom into a great representation for the Desert Oasis Garden.

  3. That sign is fantastic! I had no idea it would turn out to be so nice. This was a great conclusion post and you did a good job of tying everything together. Once again, your captions are jumbled in with your text and, while it’s not a huge issue, correcting it would make your post more enjoyable to read. In your “Designing the DOT Garden Sign: Graphics” post you talk about how cool it was that you were able to see the original sketches next to the completed products in the grey-haired woman’s portfolio. I thought it was really cool how you did the same thing in your post: having a picture of both your sketches and the final product. The only question I have is, how did you meet and get started working with Noel?

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