Mentorship Project

PHASE 1 Listen/Gather/Define


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This is a glimpse of my research resources.

I think it was really important to listen, and what the manager/owner had to say was valuable despite not really agreeing with what I was planning on doing. I also learned that I shouldn’t try and shoehorn a cleaver idea for the sake of it, but rather do what is right for the brand.  Going to the property, I learned about really unique things that you can’t read online.

I also found research really rewarding in that it presented me with a lot of nuggets to expand into visual and written assets.

The most challenging part of the Listen/Gather/Define phase was gathering the courage to approach the manager/owner of the motel to talk about a possible rebrand. I had sent an email that didn’t get a response explaining the school project. Pam noted it would be great to have a before and after shot of the assets so I asked to see existing collateral with branding but they didn’t have any besides a business card, but I was able to capture some from signage around the property.

Phase 1 self-assessment: 8/10. I was really happy with the amount of information I was able to gather up front before I started. It was well worth the time investment.

Online Resources:




PHASE 2 Imagine/Ideate/Explore


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This is a glimpse of my visual research.

Something that Pam suggested which is part of her design practice is to do shallow explorations into three execution styles that would be presented to the client. At first, I thought I had found the style I wanted to go with, but by lightly mocking up 3 I was able to find even more ways that they can make the styles even better because elements can be used.

It felt really good to have arrived at 3 distinct styles and to have done the work that I thought might have been in vain. It made the following work easier since I had explored many avenues and could pull from each of them later on.

I think a big challenge I faced that Pam helped with was choosing pieces of collateral for my portfolio that make the most sense and don’t stray too far away from what brand. I wanted dog poop bags and gum packages but Pam was able to see that that was getting too far from branding the Motel.

Phase 2 self-assessment: 8/10 I would have liked to have wide sandboxes to get to be able to inform illustration direction better. And I would have liked to have had a copy sandbox to gather a tone of voice earlier to develop with the visuals.

PHASE 3 Push/Refine


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Snapshot of what I brought to Pam.

I learned a lot while refining and pushing the logo. It is always interesting to have many views on it and hear the rationale behind what they think and take what is most appropriate to what you are trying to achieve.

At this point, the goal is to get a  number of assets to a point where they are portfolio ready, or to a client presentation. Or in this case to pitch the the manager to apply my design to the motel.

It was rewarding to get feedback that people wanted to stay here! At this point, I was also starting the typeface in my worshop class so it was really exciting to really flesh out a project with many design elements.

A challenge I faced by relying on a photographic approach was that I wanted specific shots but not being able to get or the weather was terrible.

Phase 3 self-assessment: 8/10 I was really happy wiht the amount of pieces I was able to execute and how well things are looking as a family.

PHASE 4 Rationalise/Articulate/Sell


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Snapshot of my presentation.

In our last meeting, Pam and I discussed how this presentation would be best presented in my portfolio. There is the classic, well used overhead tabletop approach where everything is laid out nicely. Or I could put something like property signage in the situation by photographing the property and photoshopping my sign in later. She suggested I look at other studios to see what they do and what I like.

The most challenging part was stepping back and looking at what I had created as a whole with a critical eye. There were things that I wasn’t able to see on my own but Pam was able to point out. There were instances where my illustration style departed from what I had intended, or I neglected to use the logo in places it should have been. But I think it has really taught me the importance of getting your work in front of other people because it is easy to be blind to the details of your work.

I loved when people  “uped” my idea, like they could envision further explorations because they bought into the idea and world I had created.

Phase 4 self-assesment: 8/10 I was really happy with the

Phase 5 Grading/Report/Evaluation

I really liked the whole process, and it was really great having someone who does this work as their career guide you. It was amazing how fast Pam could find the thing that was wrong or holding the work back. I really felt confident in this project. I think it was partially because of the research I had done. After Pam’s feedback and direction, I felt sure of the visual decisions I was making because of the research I had laid out for myself and the ideas that sprout from it.

I also really liked the accountability aspect of checking in each week. I found myself struggling with the copy was a challenge. It was really rewarding to have a fully realized brand that reaches in many directions.

Self-assessment overall: 8/10



Editorial Layout


I give myself a 6 out of 10 for this project. I am still not sure if my concept worked in the end. If I were to revisit this project I would create a splashier opening spread and spend more time fleshing out the concept to different parts of the piece such as the drop cap and headline. In my next spread, I will try to be more adventurous in my layouts as I see habits forming of what I do over and over. I will try practicing reproducing existing Wired spreads to see how they organize their space. I believe I was successful in designing for the target audience and the inspiration publication.

You can view my layout here: ashley.visvanathan.magazine.layout




Magazine Presentations



I really appreciated the magazine analysis presentation. It was incredibly valuable to analyze a piece of design that I like and figure out exactly what it is about it that I like. I  had a chance to really focused on details that create a beautiful whole. Each groups presentation was so informative, it was like a design blog come to life seeing all the examples.

I give myself and my team a 9 for presentations for the cohesion and quality of information and insights. We explained why what are magazines were doing was successful or not, rather than just saying something is interesting or cool. Next time we could have had summary posts to give an overall impression of the work as a take away for the rest of the class.









Montreal Learnings

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Have a side hustle.

Experience > Irrelevant high paying job.

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People hire personality, not photoshop skills.

Be persistence! You’re not being too pushy, people are just busy.

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Self-promote for two reasons. 1: Because no one is going to do it for you. 2: No one can hire you if they don’t know you exist.

Design should be subordinate to communication.

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Grow a business brain.

Insight is EVERYTHING.

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Go above and beyond the brief.

Have empathy in your work.







Indigenizing IDEA

I REALLY enjoyed getting to share our projects with the Indigenous Film students. Especially getting to their reactions colleague’s pitches was very interesting.

Something that the students and instructor mentioned for nearly all projects was the fact that we should be working in consultations with a member of the First Nation’s community. While this wasn’t entirely feasible for this project, I will certainly remember this sentiment as I progress through my career.

The biggest take away from this project for me was to remember the lens of which I see the world through and to know which stories are not mine to tell. Something that hadn’t occurred to me which I feel foolish about was that the content surrounding First Nations People has been controlled by Non-Natives for so long and this fact has heavily influenced how Non-First Nations people view First Nations people and how First Nations people see themselves.

After I pitched my idea of preventative sensitivity training resources the advice that I received was to present my message in a way that people will care and listen. And to avoid pointing fingers or placing blame which will cause push back to the message.

My message is simply to display the misconceptions that exist and allow people to reflect.

I wanted to avoid using imagery to avoid appropriation so I stuck with a conceptual typographic approach. I wanted the Stereotype written in an authoritative typeface, and the call to action written in an approachable script in contrast to the heavy clock feel of the misconceptions that was friendly enough that a conversation could form.Something that I try to be mindful of all my work is Robert Brinhersts quote “Typography honors content.” So I asked myself, how do I harness that do portray a message that I oppose and reject.

I give myself a 7.5. I think I did a good job of adjusting my project to the feedback of the students but still stayed true to my initial problem I wanted to solve of dismantling stereotypes imposed by. I think the vernacular works for the target audience and speaks to them enough that they will understand the poster is for them and stop and pay attention.  I think the posters stark colours would punctuate a bulletin board and stand out the way hearing stereotypes stands out.

I also learned a really good piece of information is that you can’t rely on your posters sitting next to each other so you have to really work to have your message stand alone in one piece.





Here as a pdf  -> distorted.posters

Brief here -> first.nations.final.breif


Full Footprint: Social Media Platform

Overview of Full Footprint Social Media Platform approach:

The proposed solutions for the social media platform for Full Footprint centers around awareness, visibility, and shareable content.

We wanted to address the hurdle of accumulating followers for Full Footprints Facebook and Twitter in order to have a greater reach when they post content. This starts with visibility. We propose that Full Footprint partners with an ambassador who is a prominent figure in social media who represents the vision and mission of Full Footprint. They would encourage their audience to offset and they would show ways that they offset their own impact. People need to see others doing it.

Once we have people following Full Footprint on Facebook it is important to offer them opportunities to click through to the site to eventually purchase offsets.

The opportunities lie in a having a presence on people’s facebook and twitter feed in the form of content posts that they can either click or share. One of the roles that the content has is to educate people because the concept of offsetting isn’t part of the mainstream consciousness. So we propose that we piggy-back on the success of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and promote the cycle of offsetting as  Measure, Reduce, Offset. In the long run, the more exposure people have to this content, the more it becomes normalized  part of people’s behavior, just like recycling.

Another goal of the content is to help people develop their own sense of what their personal impact and footprint might look like. By displaying activities that require offsetting the content can become relevant to their lives.

The goal of the content is to present Full Footprint and the concept of offsets in a digestible and approachable way, but to also convey a sense of trust and professionalism. This informed the colour choices, tone of voice, and illustration style of the content. It is important to echo the voice of the website in the content in order to maintain consistency.Additional applications:

Additional applications:

These posts would also be able to to be printed out and posted by her volunteers in the various counties where they live.

How to measure success:

We will be able to measure the receptiveness of the audience by the likes and shares, and the click-throughs to the actual site.

Research and Sketches:

Existing Offset Advertising:

Final Out Come:




The most valuable take-away from this project for me was the ability to understand the client’s problem and come up with the best solution to address the problem rather than just being an order-taker and make a website simply because the client says they need a website.

Individual- 8/10 I was happy with the solutions I came up with but would have liked to have had better execution in order to portray a better sense of professionalism. I don’t think content posts fully convey the amount of research and information gathered. Overall, I believe I contributed valuable ideas to the Social Media Platform team and understood the clients needs well.

Group- 9/10 The Social Media Platform team did a good job of sharing the tasks and workload.  All members were willing to incorporate everyone’s ideas.   We came up with a wide scope of solutions that was well received by the client. We also kept on strategy with the other Full Footprint groups. Our solutions were well researched and relevant to the problem.


Editorial Spread

I learned a lot from this project. It was good practice to balance an array of typefaces, weights, and sizes. What I found helpful was to study conventions that well-established magazines use and understand what is appealing about them and ask myself why I like it.  I find that I gravitate to heavy use of whitespace, out of proportion image, and juxtaposition. The Elephant was a good model for me to follow because it leans toward some of my sensibilities. They have strong convictions, they reject fanciful decoration, and they are intentional. I mimicked Elephant’s tradition of creating a narrative with their out of proportion condensed sans-serif typefaces structures that allow readers to project their own thoughts.

I believe I was successful in creating an eye-catching and intriguing opening spread and an inviting body spread. I aimed to cater to many types of readers, who either skim, read a bit and come back, and those who dive right in. I would have liked to have found a way to continue the concept of the opening spread to the body spread in a stronger way. I give myself a 7.5/10.


Click here to view spread: wonderwoman