Author Archive

A Few More Breaths; Andrea Bolf Rationale

May 4, 2013 |  by  |  Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on A Few More Breaths; Andrea Bolf Rationale

Design Strategy: My main design strategy was to let the photographs speak to me. Since the photos were the main reason that we were doing this project, they needed to be presented as the focal point. Also, since they were different than your typical pictures, in that they were square cropped and all in black in white, it posed as a challenge on how to present them. Once I drew out some sketches, I was able to see how I would design the Malaria Piece and I could get started. I wanted to keep the design very simple and elegant, since the topic on hand was serious and needed attention. I also wanted to keep all the functionality pieces of the design simple and easy to use. The slideshows were designed to be very minimalistic, but with enough information that you know what to do without me having to write it out. The main purpose of my design was to educate the audience on Cerebral Malaria, and make a statement that with just a little contribution, things could be different.

Choice of Typefaces: The two fonts that I used throughout my design are US 101 for the titles and Nexa bold for the body copy. I believe that US 101 was a simple, thick sans serif that went the lighter sans serif that Nexa is. I also believe that US 101 makes a bold statement and really catches your eye, which is what I wanted it to do for the titles.

Visuals: The visuals that I used in my design were all photos that were shot and given to us by Jon Lowenstein. I really wanted to make sure that the pictures were the main part of the piece and that nothing else overpowered them. This is why I had black textured backgrounds throughout, as well as pieces done by me, such as the infographic, was done with text rather than images that would take away from the main pieces.

Infographic Design: I designed the infographic as something that I would want to interact with, if I was the target audience. In order for me to put something in perspective, I need to see it compared to other information that I am used to. So, I used four costs that can help prevent/treat malaria and compared them to various luxury costs that one can live without. These small costs shows that even the smallest donation can make a big change when it comes to saving a life from cerebral malaria. I think the infographic is consistent with the overall simplicity, yet is informative enough to persuade users to get involved and make their small donation.

Colors: The color choice that I used for my design was black, white, and the UMass General Blue. The black textured backgrounds used throughout the design were a way to set the mood while also providing a good background for the pictures to be displayed on. The white text was, again, simple and serious for staying true to the content shown in the magazine. And finally, the blue was used accented throughout the design. Since this Malaria piece is made with the help of UMass General, I wanted to make sure their color was included. The blue can be seen on the stripe of the first page, on drop caps, and on the titles for the galleries. It is spread throughout the design.

Tutorials Used: I did not really use any other tutorials than the ones that were given to us in class. Those various tutorials along with the books were extremely useful and full of information that I was able to use for my project. Because the tutorials were very detailed, I did not find myself having to use any outside tutorials.

April 23, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on


Overview: Every week I think I find the coolest portfolio site, and then the next week I happen to find something even cooler. Black Negative is a company website for directors, motion designers, photographers, web developers, etc. and their site is literally the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Everything is interactive, and you go throughout the site by swiping to the left. The laid out all the different projects/cases they have worked on by each having its own individual page and some different form of interaction.

User Profile: The user of this website would be anyone that wants to check out the company’s work. There would be no age cap, just people looking for some cool multimedia/design work. I am pretty sure any person could enjoy the stuff that Black Negative produces as well as the beautiful website that lays out that work. I also don’t believe there is any typical audience member, but of course those visually inclined would most likely appreciate the work the most.

User Interface: The interface is pretty simplistic, but it gets deep, in that you can go so far into the interaction that you get off the path. But they have laid out the path pretty clearly so if necessary navigation on the bottom of the page can be used to get one back to the place they were at. The interaction is a bit all over the place, but I think that only adds to the amazing experience you have as you explore the site.

Functionality: As I mentioned above, the interaction goes deep, but because of the bottom navigation, it is okay. I love the side sliding of the website versus the typically up down scroll. All in all I think they did a beautiful job laying out their projects in ways that make people want to engage with what they created and not just look at it and move on.

Yodabaz; Andrea Bolf

April 16, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on Yodabaz; Andrea Bolf


Overview: Yodabaz is another portfolio site that I believe is beautifully well. It is a cool mesh of animation, interactivity and video clips that work together to show off all of the designer’s best work. He has a nice mix of graphic work with photo work that is displayed in a very easy to use simplistic manner.

User Profile: The user of this website would be anyone that wants to check out the designer’s work. There would be no age cap to the user that would be checking out this page but his or her interests would most likely include some form of graphic arts/photo or they would be the other side of the spectrum which would involve those clients looking for a designer for their job. The people viewing this portfolio would be from all walks of life, large age range, and a wide variety of occupations.

User Interface: The interface is extremely simplistic. I love how the page loads with the numbers popping up. The font choices used are beautiful sans serifs that are in caps to emphasize the word as well as be clear and easy to navigate for the user. My favorite part of the website is the background on all pages which seems to be a moving video/gif/image of the designer who does something different in the background every time something new is clicked on. It adds the personal touch and I definitely think it is what makes this portfolio stand out even more.

Functionality: Most of the website works because it is so simplistic and it’s not very hard to navigate. There is always a back arrow or understanding of how to get to the new page. I would only have about two complaints: 1) would be that the pages/pictures/designs load extremely slow, which makes me (and maybe other users) get annoyed and sometimes end up giving up and clicking on something else or going to a different website. And 2) Some pictures are slideshows and if you go to the way right or left your cursor becomes and arrow that is used to look through the pictures. I would never have found that if I had not by accident flung my cursor on the side, there is nowhere where directions are stated and I think that would cause some confusion with the user.

Bernard Testemale Portfolio; Andrea Bolf

April 9, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on Bernard Testemale Portfolio; Andrea Bolf


Overview: Bernard Testemale is a photography and this is his portfolio site. I picked this site because I loved the creative way of presenting his portfolio and how close the images and display of his work come to looking like real 3D objects. I love the use of wood, pictures, and random objects that bring his portfolio together into one creative masterpiece.

User Profile:I believe the user for this website is anyone interested in Testemale’s work. That can include students who are learning about photography, future employers or people that are looking to hire Testemale, and any person that happens upon the website and appreciates his art. I don’t think there is any exact age limit or occupation to the audience that would be viewing his portfolio site, but once again it would be a viewer that appreciated the photos he takes.

User Interface: The whole interface of the portfolio is what stood out to me. The way the details are dispersed throughout the various screens make the whole site one big experience. I love his use of sd cards, and lenses to really give you a sense that you are sitting at his table and you are looking at all the wonderful work he has produced.

Functionality: The functionality is pretty simple. There are some things that I don’t believe work quite well. I wish there was some other alternative way of viewing the images rather than having to click on each individual one. It makes viewing them very time consuming as well as annoying if you have to keep closing an image and then opening another one, rather than sliding through a slide show. I do like how you can organize and move the thumbnails on the table. At least this can help you put to the side the images you have already viewed so you don’t click them again. All in all I think Testemale designed a beautiful site that really helps him stand out in the photography world.

Patagonia; Andrea Bolf

April 3, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on Patagonia; Andrea Bolf


Overview: I like this website because it is really cool and fun to explore. Patagonia is a brand that makes outdoor clothing and products for adventures. The Tin Shed website shows many different sides to Patagonia by presenting the audience with various photo stories, videos, and information that shows the Patagonia brand in action.

User profile: The target group for this site should be those looking for adventure. I would put the age range from 18 years of age to all the way up to 70. There is always an outdoor activity no matter what your age, and Patagonia supplies the necessary materials for whatever one wants to do. I think audience members have many varied occupations but are all users that enjoy going outside and having fun outdoors. They are those who like to go swimming, fishing, hiking, etc. and although it seems against the outdoorsy nature that the audience would be on a computer, i think Tin Shed just adds to the Patagonia experience of not only purchasing clothes, but seeing them in action as well.

User interface: This website holds to the brand. The pictures look ratty and old and the type contrasts that with a clean and simple sans serif. The website does exactly what it should, which is emphasize the photo stories and the people that are in touch with the Patagonia brand. I think the website looks beautiful in a clean and simple way.

User functionality: The website use is common sense. Patagonia did a very good job with the navigation and always making sure there is a way to return to the Tin Shed after venturing off onto another story. I also enjoy that you do not need to only find the photo stories scattered throughout the shed, but you have the option of just clicking and getting a list where you can choose from. This caters to both the user who is willing to explore, and the user pressed for time, but still wanting to learn more about the Patagonia brand. I believe the website as a whole, works well.

Waterlife; Andrea Bolf

March 26, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on Waterlife; Andrea Bolf


Overview: I picked this website because I found it will googling for interactive sites. I thought the audio and visuals really meshed together and made something that I normally would not give a second glance, quite interesting. I also like how when the page loaded the lines of the loading created waves when you would pass over them with your cursor. The purpose of the website is to educate users on water as well as give them a inside look at the documentary also titled Waterlife.

User Profile: I believe that the audience’s ages would probably be from the older teen into the adult. While the site is interactive, it is not interactive in the fun sense, but in a way of making the experience more interesting with special touches that you don’t really find on other websites. This is why I don’t think the website is targeted to young adults. The interests of the audience would most likely include biology or anything having to do with water; water life, sea life, etc. Someone who comes to this website is most likely very interested in the documentary Waterlife and wants to get more information on it. There is not much technical ability that you would need to look at this website. As long as you know how to click a cursor and be willing to explore the website by clicking all over the website, you will be able to use it.

User Interface: I do believe this is a good site that has many things that work; like the audio of water and the beautiful cinematography. I do think that there are things that do not work, such as the website looks a bit intimidating when you first see it because there are so many pictures and so many different things you can click on. I think the interface would be improved if the site pointed you to sort of a starting point.

Functionality: The website is functional. The buttons are simple and work pretty flawlessly. Like I said in the previous part, I think the experience would be improved if there weren’t so many places to click. But overall, I think the website is functional, and works.

Moodstream; Andrea Bolf

March 19, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on Moodstream; Andrea Bolf


I picked this site because I really think it’s relevant to us as graphic designers. It is a website that promotes inspiration and creativity through various channels such as photographs, videos, and music. By tweaking the settings you are able to see and hear things that mimic the characteristics of the mood you choose. I think this website is definitely a helpful tool in aiding writers/designers/etc. block.

The user of this website would most likely be 18-35 years old. They would most likely be in some creative fields since they are searching for a site that gives inspiration and this website provides it in a different way than we have seen before. Once again, the users interests would also probably be in the art or writing fields. I think it the users would be similar to those who look at Pinterest for inspiration or use Murally to create mood boards. This website is just a new fun way of aiding the creative process. The likely technical abilities of the user do not have to be extravagant. All they literally need to do for this website is be able to tweak the settings to their liking. No special computer needs necessary other than knowing how to use a mouse and having the ability to listen to audio. The broadband connection does not have to be some special system as well.

I think all in all the website works as a whole. It is very simplistic so one needs to be very nit-picky if they want to point out things that do or do not work. I believe the simplicity plays in the favor of the website. Since the idea is to inspire, the settings want to be very small and unnoticeable so the pictures/videos and music stand out the most. I also like that they videos can be paused so one can choose to only listen to the music. On the other side, it is also nice that one can choose what images (and see the mood boards) as well as mute the music if one only wants to look at the images. I do wish there was a way to hide the settings on the left, so the user can get the full experience, but that is my only complaint about what does not work.

All the buttons as I mentioned above are very easy-to-use and so the website functions very well because there is no need for prior special internet knowledge. The buttons explain themselves and are easy to move and fit ones inspirational needs.

New Fantasyland; Andrea Bolf

March 6, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Student Work, unfathomable  |   |  Comments Off on New Fantasyland; Andrea Bolf


I picked this site because just like many others, I grew up watching Disney and being in love with Disney. So by finding a site that allows me to interact with Disney behind the scenes, is like finding a little piece of childhood. The purpose of the site is to give the users a fun filled interactive experience where they collect different symbols in each separate story. The site is an adventure.

The audience would most likely be a group of young adults, that know how to use a computer and like Disney. There will be some older users that, like me, want to relive a tiny little part of childhood and enjoy Disney, but I believe it is mostly focused for younger teens who want to interact with their fairytale stories. Interests of the audience will once again be the movies, theme parks, and full out Disney franchise. Someone who doesn’t enjoy Disney and has not watched any of the movies will not get the same experience as those who have. Since the audience is young, their occupation is most likely to be students, and their technical skills will be basic, since most of the interactivity involves clicking and listening to the story.

I think the website as a whole definitely works. It makes you feel as if you are watching a movie and really taking part in a little adventure to help your favorite Disney character. I do believe that the storytelling parts are a bit long, but once again, I’m not the target audience, and those younger than me would definitely appreciate the story being told. I love the graphics and the 3D way the images are made. I also enjoy the background music which adds that extra oomph to the experience.

While this may only be on my computer at the moment, the interactivity lags a bit, which takes away from the experience. The user would need to have a very good internet connection in order for the site to work flawlessly. Otherwise I find the site to be very simple to navigate and understand, which is good considering the target audience.

Cerebral Malaria Research; Andrea Bolf

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Research, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on Cerebral Malaria Research; Andrea Bolf

Cerebral Malaria in Children

Cerebral malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium Falciparum, through a mosquito bite, and is the most serious and intense form of malaria that attacks the brain with circular-like lesions and causes a fever. It is also most easily diagnosed through noticing retinal whitening. While not all cases of malaria evolve into cerebral malaria, cerebral malaria does affect about 300-500 million people and causes approximately 1 million deaths a year. It is Africa’s leading cause of mortality (20%) among children aged zero to five years olds. Sub-saharan Africa’s topical and subtropical climates lend a hand to large mosquito breeding areas. Those that do survive, may do so without any neurological problems. For children, cerebral malaria is usually fatal or does cause neurological damage if they are lucky enough to survive.

Cerebral malaria affects the blood’s pathways (small blood vessels), which in turn block a vital supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. This blockage is not the only complication that occurs with this type of malaria. Other complications include pressure in the brain, and seizures, among others.

There are three initial symptoms of cerebral malaria. These include: 1) The cold stage. 2)The hot stage. 3) The wet stage. The cold stage is accompanied by one to two hours of chills. The hot stage is three to four hours of a very extreme fever which can reach up to 107 degrees Farenheit. And the final stage, the wet stage, involves two to four hours of extreme sweating. Other symptoms include an altered state of consciousness, seizures, neurological systems (language, behavior, etc.), coma, etc. Pregnant are women are also among those greatly affected because their immune systems are changing.

While the reasoning behind the cause of cerebral malaria is not fully understood, there are many different treatments for it. There currently exists no vaccine. In order for the treatment to be successful, it needs to occur within the first 24-72 hours, since that is when cerebral malaria can become fatal. If not treated properly, cerebral malaria can cause jaundice, enlargement of the spleen, uremia, and death in approximately twenty percent of those infected. There are two major forms of treatment for this type of malaria. The first being chemotherapy by using the quinine alkaloid extracted from bark. This method does not work if the case of malaria is too advanced. The second form of treatment is Artemisinin, a drug, proven to cure fever and parasitemia but not yet licensed in many countries.

Children under the age of ten in malaria-infested areas are at the highest risk for cerebral malaria. Approximately 85% of the fatalities due to cerebral malaria are children. When a child is infected, they should be taken to the Intensive Care Unit immediately.  For children, cerebral malaria should be treated with intraveneous or intramuscular quinine, intramuscular quinidine, or intramuscular artemisinin derivatives. Quinine works as a form of treatment by disrupting the digestive system of the parasite causing the malaria.

There are also many measures that take place in order to prevent the onset and spread of malaria. These methods include: bed nets (new nets can last 5 years as opposed to previous that only lasted months) and insecticide sprays, case management and antimalarial drugs, preventative treatment during pregnancy, and finally antimalarials. By intervening and using these different methods to try to stop malaria, the amount of global lives saved increase by almost six times the amount of lives saved without intervention.

While cerebral malaria can turn fatal, a person can also recover from cerebral malaria, if treated on time, and do so without any neurological complications. This means treatment in the first 48-72 hours.

Assessment & Ways to Improve the Interactive Infographic:

–       I like the textured and color palette used for the infographic

–       I think the fact that the countries are blue and the water is white is a bit confusing

–       I would like to add in images of maybe one of the lives saved from some of the various placed on the map

–       I would like to have some more interaction/information because after some time it gets boring.

–       Also after a while the number of lives saved is just that, a number. Fix this by making the point in which a greater number of lives were saved bigger than a point where there was a smaller number. Gives you a greater overview of what areas saved the most lives.

–       When viewing in a browser, you notice the map, and it took me awhile to realize that there was some more information if I scrolled down. In order to improve this, need to think of a way to streamline the information and have it all available in one window (pop ups, quizzes, etc.)

Usable Statistics:

– $5.18 = cost of treating one case of malaria

– one antimalarial pill costs 50 cents, but needs to be taken every day

– 80% of children die from cerebral malaria

A list of links: