Can a graphic designer make the jump to web? An insider's story.

LETS FACE IT. GRAPHIC DESIGNERS THAT WANT TO FOCUS STRICTLY IN THE PRINT WORLD WILL FIND THEIR JOB PROSPECTS QUICKLY EVAPORATING. And there is a lot of fear and confusion about designing for web. But, it needn’t be that way.

A VISUAL DESIGNER focuses on the aesthetics of web and mobile, partners with front-end developers, and delivers design for a variety of channels using familiar tools like Photoshop.

Rodney Manabat, a designer that excels in the print world, showcases the following project - A responsive site for Brass Monkey that he created in our SDPS Web and Mobile Design course: 

For the Web and Mobile Design class at SDPS, we were given a choice to redesign the website experience for an existing brand of our choice. I decided to expand on a fictional alcoholic beverage brand that I had previously created and was inspired by the drink created by mixing a bottle of 40 OZ malt liquor and orange juice. The name of the brand was Brass Monkey.

With the brand elements already created, I started my research. I created a mood board with the colors, textures, patterns and photography styles that I wanted. It took a few hours of research.

I wanted the website to feel classy and elegant, but at the same time look modern and bold. I aimed to appeal to the younger crowd. Trying to make these two different styles flow and work together posed a challenge from the start.

The next step was to create a site map and wire frame. This being my first web design class, the whole idea of “user focused design,” was new to me. This planning/mapping stage was a real learning experience.

After a lot of trial and error during this part, my “epiphany” moment happened when my instructor stated that a website is like a house or building, with the homepage being the main entrance and the other pages of the site representing other rooms. With him saying that, I decided to create my website from a first person experience that would “walk” you through an “underground Brass Monkey bar.”

Next, I created a fictional promotional campaign titled “The Brass Monkey Experience” that the website would be based on. This would be a campaign consisting of a series of “underground events” held in major cities across the country, headlined by top artists. This campaign then became the main focus for the website and its content.

Now came the fun part - designing.

This would be a campaign consisting of a series of “underground events” held in major cities across the country, headlined by top artists. This campaign then became the main focus for the website and its content.

Having all the research and planning done beforehand made this part go smoothly. From the entrance, to the dark staircase, to the lobby, and to the stage, I created each page to represent a different room or part of the bar. My goal was to make the viewer feel as if they were actually at one of these Brass Monkey events.

From the very beginning, our instructor really pushed us into thinking “Mobile First” design. With that mentality going into the design phase, I really focused on keeping the experience as simple and clean as possible, so the transition from desktop to mobile would be seamless.

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Overall, this is one of my better projects in my portfolio and I am really proud of it. Seeing this website come to life in just 8 weeks was a very rewarding experience.