Minimalize Your Philosophy: Design Assignment

Design Assignment 365:   Pick your favorite quote OR make up your own phrase which describes a philosophy that you try to live by.  It can be about love, friendship, family, education, culture, health, charity, etc.  Design a minimalist poster depicting the concept.  Extra challenge: Try to include a unique element that makes it YOU.  Don’t forget to explain your thought process. 🙂


The Product:

SAPERE AUDE (Dare to think)

The three dots representing ellipses…  linda3dots is my handle that I often use online.  It signifies thoughts in progress.  Again, what could have been a very simple project turned into hours of laboring over the size, color, placement, adding shapes, subtracting shapes, etc. etc. etc.   I finally ended up with this final version.


The Concept and Thought Process:

The dark and gray portion on the left represents a box and the absence of thought, then the dots emerge out of the box and get gradually get brighter as they move to the right.  The shadows behind the dots connect each dot to the next, suggesting the idea that each new thought is connected to the previous thought.  I wanted to communicate that the process of thinking is sequential, and the dots are gradually transformed rather than popping up on their own by accident.

I thought about just having the circles touch each other or overlap each other slightly, but neither design looked interesting enough.  So I thought of adding the drop shadows that would connect the dots.  Then I also wanted to add the idea of thinking outside the box.  I played around with many different shapes and positions but finally decided to just divide the background into two sections and have the dots emerging out of one section into the other.


The Tool:

I used Photoshop CS4 and used only the basic ellipse tool and the rectangle tool.  The drop shadows were added to each layer by selecting “fx” option at the bottom of the layers window.  I would be happy to share anything else you many have questions about, so just leave me a comment below. 🙂



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0 Responses to Minimalize Your Philosophy: Design Assignment

  1. linda says:

    Hi Brian,

    Oh how you tempt me so! 🙂 I do fantasize about being a designer all the time, although it has never gone beyond the fantasy stage. I seriously think I have what people call Impostor Syndrome. As soon as I finish each project, I fear that it was just a fluke that I somehow managed to do it and that I will never be able to come up with another good idea. Haha.

    I am toying with the idea of taking some more courses in graphics and web design after I graduate with my psychology degree. I just don’t think I have enough skills yet to promote myself. 🙂

    Thank you so much for your kind and continuously encouraging words. 🙂 🙂

  2. Hi Linda … I wanted to share this idea with you, following up on Norm’s “first thought” that your powerful design might become your business card.

    I know that you are working toward a Psychology degree. Although I don’t know what your aspirations are following graduation I have a suggestion. With your sharp eye for photography and design, you might want to set up a home business using your creative talents in the design arena.

    I know when I was teaching in the classroom and working on my thesis, I was lucky because many of the activities that I crafted for my Computer Science students also were included in my thesis. Things work out more efficiently when you do a task that has benefits in more than one area.

    So as you progress through the continued design ideas of DS106, you might want to think of completing tasks that satisfy the course but would also look good on a design resume or a business web site.

    Just an observation and suggestion.

    Take care & keep smiling 🙂 Brian

  3. cali4beach says:

    simple but effective!

  4. Linda says:

    Thank you, Norm! I see what you mean. I think it may be because of the orientation of the poster. hmm… I just might keep this idea for my future business card. 🙂

  5. linda says:

    Thank you, Feng! You should make one too. 😉

  6. Norm Wright says:

    I know its supposed to be a poster, but my first thought was that it would make a sharp business card.
    Nice work.

  7. Feng Chen says:

    Linda, I like how you elaborated on the concept and thought process, it’s really interesting why you picked what you picked and now I understand your username 🙂