Isla Vista Postcard project (30%)

What do you want to say about Isla Vista and to whom do you want to say it?

In this project, you’ll use text and image to create a postcard that conveys a message about an aspect of IV. The front of the postcard should combine text and image so that they enhance and enrich (rather than simply repeat) each other; the effectiveness of your message will derive in large part from the choices you make in this visual composition. The back of the postcard should provide explanatory text, perhaps in the form of a message to the reader of the postcard.

While there is much to say about Isla Vista, you’ll be most successful with this project if you focus your message narrowly on one aspect or issue. Draw on your experience as a local with a particular perspective on IV and several years of familiarity, and also draw on research: read about IV, talk to people about IV, and visit places in IV that you haven’t been to before.

Potential audiences for your postcard include Isla Vista stakeholders: student residents, non-student residents, visitors, landlords, neighbors, UCSB administrators, parents of student residents, local politicians, Doreen Farr (IV’s representative on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors), local environmentalists, local business owners, and others. It’s crucial that you choose only one target audience for your postcard so that you can articulate its purpose/goal.

Here are the general steps you’ll follow to complete this project:

1. Decide what you want to say.

Read about, think about, and wander in Isla Vista. Decide on a message you want to convey and an audience that needs to hear this message. In class, we’ll discuss and give feedback on these ideas.

2. Develop Photoshop skills.

In class, we’ll work through the following five exercises to help you create an effective text/image combination for your postcard. Each exercise asks you to think about and experiment with the visual qualities of text and the textual/narrative qualities of images.

  1. letter shape: photograph an “I” and a “V” that natural occur in Isla Vista; note that “natural” can include man-made elements such as objects and buildings. In Photoshop, using cropping, color adjustments, and/or filters to highlight the visual qualities of the letter shapes.
  2. text on a path: place a phrase or sentence along a path so that shape the text creates enhances its meaning and visual appeal.
  3. masked text: fill a text with an image that enhances the meaning and visual appeal of the text.
  4. visual concept: choose a single word that represents an abstract concept associated with Isla Vista (e.g., community), and create a collage in which you combine that word with images that convey your interpretation of its meaning. Text and image should enhance and enrich rather than simply repeat each other.
  5. word cloud: use Tagxedo or another word cloud program to format text in the shape of an image. Choose the text and image carefully so as to convey meaning and insight from their combination.

3. Create the postcard front and back.

We’ll use a template in Adobe InDesign for the front and back of the postcard. The front should hold the image you created in Photoshop; the back should have a factual information section and a message section.

4. Write the introduction

In the introduction, explain to me and your fellow classmates what you’re attempting to convey about Isla Vista via the front and back of the postcard. Discuss key decisions you made and key elements in the process of creating the postcard. What did you learn (for example, about Isla Vista, about design, about communication, about text/image combination) by working on this project? Consider referring to readings we’ve done in class to help you explain your project.

5. Turn in the project and post it at your WordPress site, along with an introduction.

Upload the PDF of your postcard front and back to the class Dropbox. Post an image of the postcard front and back at your WordPress site along with the introduction.


Criteria for Evaluating the Isla Vista Postcard Project


      1. The text/image combination conveys an interesting message about Isla Vista through the  juxtaposition of various elements.
      2. The text/image combination show a mastery of the Photoshop techniques covered in the tutorials (e.g., layers, adjustments, masking, paths).


      1. The text on the back of the postcard guides the reader’s interpretation of the front image and provides insight into a particular aspect of Isla Vista.
      2. The text is well written, with a clear, engaging style. There are no misspellings or grammatical errors.


      1. The introduction yields insight into the project and provides an interesting discussion of what you learned from working on it.
      2. The introduction is well written, with a clear, engaging style. There are no misspellings or grammatical errors.


Infographic Project

Create a graphic in which you visualize numerical and/or textual information about yourself or about a subject that is important to you. Upload this infographic to your WordPress blog, along with an introduction that helps your intended audience understand the messages you are trying to convey.

The infographic should convey a meaning or message to a particular audience that you choose. This audience can be you alone or it can include your friend(s), family, acquaintances, or potential employers, for example. Defining your audience will help you articulate a purpose for this graphic, and that in turn will help you make specific decisions as you create it.

You can work with already existing data about you (e.g., credit card records or email archives) or about a topic that you choose (e.g., statistics of a sports team or ocean tide charts). You can also gather new data about yourself or your topic by using various apps or devices (e.g., Fitbit, RescueTime).

Once you have the data, you can create the infographic using information visualization applications that are available on the Web, along with Photoshop, Excel, and any other programs. If you intend to use the graphic for commercial purposes or to modify parts of other images, be sure to use images with appropriate copyright licenses.


Compose a brief introduction that will accompany your infographic when you upload it to your WordPress site. Keep in mind that the viewer can see the graphic so you don’t need to repeat information. Rather, use the introduction to generate interest in your infographic and/or highlight your key ideas. For instance, you can explain the reason for choices you made in the graphic, discuss alternatives you had considered, provide additional information about the data, quote from one of the readings, or otherwise help the reader better understand the messages you’re conveying via the infographic.


Criteria for Evaluating the  Infographic Project

      1. The graphic presents a clear message by presenting visualizations of data on a specific subject or theme.
      2. Each element in the infographic adds to the message and the elements work well together.
      3. The graphic illustrates an effective use of typography, meaningful use of images, and skills with Photoshop.
      4. The introduction is well written and help viewers gain insight into your infographic.


Alternative Résumé Project

You’ll need to identify an internship, job, or career opportunity that you’re interested in—for instance, an internship working for a local newspaper, or an entry-level job in advertising. If you find an advertisement for a specific opening, you can tailor your documents to that particular position. Otherwise, identify the category or type of position in which you’re interested. Develop some knowledge of the general requirements of this position (or type of position) and of the person/people who would be likely to read your application.

Create a traditional résumé (or revise your existing résumé) so that it’s appropriate for the position. Then repurpose the information in your résumé (perhaps adding or omitting some information) in an alternative format. The goal is for you to have different ways to effectively represent your experience and skills to potential employers. In class, we’ll go over some possible alternative résumé formats:  a timeline, a Prezi, an infographic résumé, and a screencast. You can experiment with these options and others; ultimately you’ll choose the alternative résumé format that you think best represents you and that works best for the position.

Finally, you’ll write a cover letter applying for the position. The cover letter should work with either or both of the résumés that you’ve created.

To turn in this project, you’ll create a WordPress post with links to both résumés and to your cover letter.


Writing About Me Project

This project asks you to watch yourself write and to draw conclusions about your writing strategies based on what you see. There are three steps to this project:

      1. Create a screencast of yourself writing—that is, typing on a computer—the text of an About Me page for your WordPress blog. You should write (and screencast) for 10-15 minutes. We’ll do this part of the project in class. Note that you don’t have to have a finished product by the end of the screencast; the screencast represents a first draft.
      2. Watch the screencast—that is, watch yourself writing—and take notes on what you see. For instance, note the kinds of corrections and revisions that you make (e.g., organization, word choice, grammar). Develop three or four (or less or more) key points that you can make about your writing strategies based on what you see in the screencast.
      3. Create a screencast or an edited video in which you present those points and illustrate them with clips from the original screencast of yourself writing the About Me text.

Your grade for the project will be based on the quality of your commentary on your writing strategies, along with your ability to illustrate and explain your points with evidence from the original screencast.



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