I have always wanted to combine my interest in social justice with my artistic and design practices, and my final project in Graphic Design 3 created the perfect opportunity in which I was instructed to make an educational app. I began with choosing the audience, and I knew I loved designing for teen girls. So I thought about what they would really need to be educated on, and I chose safe sex. At this time I named the app “Gurl World,” designed a very silly app in two weeks and knew that this project was not staying in Graphic Design 3!
I got obsessed with the subject, and I knew at the beginning of senior year that I was going to continue the app—now properly written as “gurlworld”—for my thesis. I thought about some other ideas like making a journal app for young girls, but I was pretty attached to the education aspect, and everyone was really supportive of my ideas. I also knew that I was only going to design for the screen because it was suitable for the audience and I rejected creating print work after the end of junior year.
I spent the Fall semester preparing for “gurlworld” by using all of my assignments in Advanced Design 1 to create app prototypes that experimented with different styles and ways of presenting the information regarding safe sex. This helped me gain more knowledge about the subject and the design process. I started my thesis by developing the brand identity, which really lead “gurlworld” in the right direction. The four colors that I chose for the identity represented the four different sections of the app, and I came up with a system of how all of the buttons, text, and images would look, so everything flowed very nicely. I faked how the app would interact bymaking videos on After Effects and using Digital Publishing Suite so people could actually interact with it as if it were real.
It was important that the space was private and large enough to seem like a fun place for a teen girl to hang out. Thus, I set up a shag rug with a large purple bean bag and beads in the doorway. I felt that this would really prepare the viewer for the content. I chose to display the promotional video on repeat as a projection on the wall and all of the more detailed videos on gurlworld.com. There was a poster on the door explaining the overall concept, and there were of course condoms with the “gurlworld” logo. I love the way my thesis turned out, and I’m looking forward to expanding it, and hopefully making it become real in the future!
1. Choose something you really enjoy/care about! I loved researching my topic, and it really drove me to want to keep writing content and designing more compelling images.
2. Don’t take it too seriously! Although my project involved an important and serious topic, I also made sure to throw in my own personality and sense of humor. It was my project after all!
3. Be open-minded to trying new things. This is your project, but your teachers and peers may have some very valuable feedback that you shouldn’t resist. This is a great time to experiment and find out what you really want to do after MICA!
4. Have fun, and don’t give up!
Marcy is currently a designer at yourMD in New York.
See more or her work at marcygooberman.com.