Sunday, March 8, 2015


Emerging Comm Technologies: A 10-week Crash Course in Modern Media

When I began the Emerging Comm Technologies course, I had minimal experience in Adobe software. The course has helped me to not only become proficient in Adobe programs, but has also allowed me to begin to brand my company. Because of the sessions working with, and CSS, I am confident in my ability to create a public page and create a harmonious design. The design principles studied through the blog activities helped to shape my understanding of articulating a page that makes sense to its audience. Typically, I have steered toward contemporary design principles and minimalist perspectives. See the example below, as it is a template from, the site I am using to develop my page.

Another program I found to be useful was Audacity. When creating our podcasts, we used Audacity and a USB mic. Though technology (mic) proved to be difficult at times, the workshops in Audacity were very helpful in terms of learning how to edit sounds. Because I use Final Cut Pro to work on film studies projects for my minor, I appreciate the extra experience in Audacity, as I can fuse the two together in my work.
I wasn't previously aware of sites such as where one can easily obtain mp3 files for use in Audacity, GarageBand, Final Cut and more. When working in the program outside of class, I would often reach obstacles with my sound projects. made it possible for me to get a quick refresher from the instructions previously given in class. Videos like the one shown below make it easy to relearn these programs on your own.

The social media platform I created in Blog 3 was LinkedIn, and I have not been using it regularly. While developing my brand, I have realized that I want my skills to show but I do not want to maintain multiple pages for my skills. I want to start out by continuing to improve my website and Instagram account, and one I feel confident in those I can work towards other goals. Though LinkedIn is a great networking site for many of my peers, I will hold off on developing that portion of my professional identity.

Adobe InDesign is one of the more useful programs that we used in class. I found the program to be very applicable to many different careers. Immediately I thought about how I could use the program to create a look-book portfolio for my artistry in my career. Now, I am confident that I can create brochures, newsletters, magazines, and limitless other publications not only got my brand, but for future employers.

I feel confident in the skills I developed this past quarter in Communication Studies 350. The class has encouraged us to not only work on our individual branding, but has also motivated us to network within the community and with each other. Working together for the group websites along with outside sources helped to fuse the technology with the Communication Studies aspect of the course. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rules of Website Design

10 Commandments of Website Design

What makes a "good" website? Besides content, of course, design principles play a HUGE part in the quality of a website. Design not only catches the readers eye, but it maintains the connection between the reader and the page. When one encounters a poorly designed website, one often loses interest in the message that the website is trying to present.

The rules listed below describe the traits of quality website design:

1. Simplicity is golden

-The most important rule in all of the design characteristics has to be SIMPLICITY. In this definition of the term, one recognizes that simple doesn't mean basic. By keeping your site simplistic, you adhere to the information that the reader needs and you eliminate all excess.

2. Keep it consistent

-Similar to the repetition principle of the "C.R.A.P." acronym, it is essential that your website stay consistent throughout its pages. By using the same color palette and fonts for headings, sub headings, and paragraphs, the readers eye can easily navigate to the information they are seeking.

3. Choose a memorable URL

-A website address is an investment (both literally and figuratively). It is a literal investment because you must pay money for your website to go live at the address of your desire. When you choose a name for a website, you are committing to your brand. 

When choosing a domain name, make sure to:
*Avoid using punctuation- it confuses the visitor ("is that a underscore, or a hyphen?")
*Beware of similar existing website addresses, some are trademarked
*Keep it simple, once again. 
( vs.

4. Contrast text color with background color

-By contrasting the text color with the background color the eye is better able to read the words without straining. Though this may seem like an obvious guideline, don't forget that this becomes more tricky with brighter colors.
->Just because the colors contrast, doesn't mean it is easy to read.<-

5. Navigation

-Your page should be easy to -> navigate. By having a simple menu bar, as seen in the image below, the user can quickly see which page they are currently on and which page(s) they can explore. This is especially helpful for returning users who know exactly what information they are looking for.

6. Require minimal user info

-When requiring members to "sign in" or "sign up" to continue, keep the information you initially request from the short and simple. Add an option for users to personalize their profile at another time, so that they aren't immediately turned-off by too many personal questions.

Below is an example from that asks users for 3 simple pieces of information.


7. Create links in your site, and MAKE SURE THEY WORK

-Have you ever been to a site where the "click here" pages lead you to an error page? It is absolutely ESSENTIAL to avoid this mistake in your website design. By having misguided or broken links, you lose credibility with your viewer. This can result in a loss of trust which can cause a loss of profit consequentially!

8. Have a polished, professional logo

-Companies like Starbucks, Shell, Safeway, and many others all share a trait that makes them recognizable, even from miles away; a logo. By creating a logo for your website, you make it easier for users to recognize your brand and become familiar with it. By posting your logo on the top left of your website, it often becomes the very first thing people see. It is also smart to link your logo back to your home page, just in case users become misguided on the page.

9. Check the pages functionality on the web and mobile version

-Be sure to preview your site any time you make changes to ensure the site looks good when users are browsing from a laptop or computer. Additionally, many people browse the internet from a handheld device, but not all sites offer a mobile-friendly version. This can result in major loss of potential visitors, as many people browse the web on their phone and can become frustrated when the site does not function on a small screen. By creating an app or mobile-version, visitors will stay on your site longer and potentially recommend your site to others because of the ability to browse on-the-go.

10. Finally, be creative and have fun with your site!

-The idea of starting your own website can feel daunting. You may be thinking, "How and where do I begin?" Website builders such as or offer many design templates free of charge that can get you started. These sites are extremely user-friendly, and allow you to modify your design with a simple few clicks; no html coding knowledge is required. While being creative is key, don't be afraid to take ideas you see on other sites and incorporate them into your own page!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

C. R. A. P.

In the design world, what makes the difference between "crap" and C.R.A.P.? First, you must know that C.R.A.P. is an acronym that represents the 4 basic principles of good design. These principles are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity.


Why is contrast important, you ask? Contrast helps the viewer to focus in on what is important on your website or blog. By contrasting the text color with the background color, the audience is able to easily read and navigate your page.
Beyond color contrast, font styles are also important when deciphering a web site. It is important to be able to recognize headings from paragraphs as well as decipher between clickable links and normal text.


Repetition creates UNITY. Unity is a technique used in branding in order to make the company RECOGNIZABLE. 
In order to do this in a webpage, make sure you have consistency in:
-Text Boxes


By using rulers and gridlines on website builders such as or, you are able to align your material so that it comes off with a clean and sophisticated look. 



This isn't always as easy as it looks. Above, we get tips on how to maximize the use of the grids on 


It is absolutely VITAL that your web page includes some type of organization via proxemics. Your readers want to be able to easily find the information they are seeking from your page, and by arranging similar material with each other, the reader saves time searching the entire page. 


Saturday, February 7, 2015

LinkedIn & InDesign

When we hear the term "social network", we commonly think of websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, and Snapchat. 
What do all of these "networks" have in common? (Besides Zuckerberg) 
A: All of these programs are used to share photos, words, and more with friends (and sometimes complete strangers.) 
Many people think that these programs have no important value, and many argue that they can be detrimental to one's professional image. Though this argument is sometimes valid, there is a social networking site that is aimed to help one in their professional careers: LinkedIn.

I have always heard about the site, and decided to check it out for myself. As an avid user of many of the popular social networks, I was interested to see a site designed to help people with employment opportunities. 
Below is a screen shot from a profile on LinkedIn:

This shows the basic profile of a designer named Lauren Bowen. What I like most about LinkedIn was the simplicity and efficiency of the layout. Directly at the top, we see her "current, previous, and education." This makes it easy to see what Lauren is currently pursuing, while still giving us a brief background on her past. In the top right corner we have a service that recognizes who you are viewing and your mutual "links" in order to provide possible matches.


Ever dreamed about creating your own book? This simple Adobe program makes it easy for anyone to create anything from a book, article, flyer and many other publications. The software includes a two page spread option as well as cover/back page etc. While organizing your project is easy to do on InDesign, it is helpful to use Photoshop simultaneously in order to more closet edit your images and isolate them from the other images. Once you are satisfied with your image in Photoshop, you can save the image as a PNG file, and easily place it into your InDesign project.
Once you place your image, a guide box will appear. This box will act as a window around your image, dealing with its placement and alignment on your page. When you are happy with the guidelines, you can select "Fitting" then select "Fit Content To Frame". Looking a little blurry? Don't worry! All that is left is the "Overprint Preview", which should instantly clear the image.
The video below explains just how easy it is to create guides for your page!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Starting a website or podcast

Hosting your site: Wix vs. Weebly

Many people don't realize just how easy it is to create a website! There are many different website building sites that allow users to design a page without any knowledge of html "coding" or the symbolic arrangement of statements or instructions in a computer program in which letters, digits, etc are represented as binary numbers. (

Just starting out? Try creating a profile on In this website builder, you are able to use their templates (such as backgrounds, text boxes, image boxes, etc) OR you have the option to html code. You can use any combination of the two! This website makes it very simple to create your page, by just dragging over the tool that you want on your site. Deejay Tech shows us just how easy fusing coding and the templates is!

Personally, I find to be a little more intuitive and more simple for the beginner. My group and I are currently using Wix to create a major guide for the Communication Studies program. Wix's layout contains less icons as Weebly, yet it still offers just as many features. Though they might be harder to track dowb, some of the features it offers are mentioned in the video below.


Podcasts can be made for a variety of reasons. Some people make podcasts for entertainment while others create them for informative or educational purposes. Podcasts require audio only, which can make the editing process smoother than with say a video. When recording a podcast, it is important that you isolate your voice so that you eliminate the chance of undesirable background noise. Though it is fairly easy to edit out unwanted sounds, a clear, uninterrupted recording of the sole sound you want will produce a better result.


In a program such as Audacity, the user is able to edit the recorded sound. In this sense, interfering sounds and pauses in speech are EASILY removed with a few clicks of the trimming tool. Each recording is imported into the program, and are easily dragged around to the desired location. In addition to imported sounds, Audacity and other similar programs offer special effect tools so that you can give your podcast or song the right feel.


In the video below, the audience is able to see how to use features such as:
-Noise Removal- removes background noise
-Normalize- makes sound loud as possible without changing the sound waves
-Compression- reduce fluctuations in voice
-Equalization- bass boost (strengthens voice) treble boost (clears voice)
-Hard Limiter- takes off massive spikes in waves

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Blogging, Personal Branding, and Photoshop


What exactly is a "blog", and what constitutes it from being a separate entity from a normal web site?
According to Merriam-Webster, who coincidentally named "blog" as word of the year in 2004, defined blog as "a Web site on which someone writes personal opinions, activities, and experiences." (

In this sense, a blog is a website that is specifically a self-reflection of the author and the author's experiences. There are a wide variety of types of blogs, including blogs based on food, beauty, working out and more. Many times, the blog depicts a certain type of lifestyle that the blogger endorses. 

Personal Branding

Dave Carroll explains personal branding in the age of social-media.

Because of blogs and other forms of self-expression via the web, it is relatively easy to promote a group or individual's services with a few clicks. This becomes especially helpful when looking to advertise a service, but it must be done in a way that is SMART
Q: Why would you need to be smart about how you set up a blog or another website promoting yourself?
A: Your audience needs to be able to recognize your personal brand and be able to identify the consistent choices in your page so that they can quickly recognize your brand.


With modern photo editing softwares, it is easy to maintain your personal brand by creating a logo or specific symbol. There are smart phone applications that allow users to edit their photos quickly without a mouse or keyboard, such as SquareReady and Facetune. These applications mimic only a small portion of effects that Photoshop has to offer, but do so in a timely and convenient manner.

Photoshop is often associated with the fashion world, as many magazines and other spreads use the tool to enhance the models to what some would call an "unattainable standard." 
Celebrities are often the target of these photo editing software, and some aren't happy with the results. Kate Winslet spoke out on her 2004 GQ cover stating, "The retouching is excessive. I don't look like that and more importantly I don't desire to look like that." (

There are many tutorials on the web that demonstrate how to do specific things on photoshop. The one below demonstrates how easy it is to create facial hair on the program.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Hi there!
My name is Leila Frishak. I attend Western Washington University and major in Communication Studies with a minor in Film Studies. I have a passion for the visual arts.