Expressing meaning – Typography

Week 6

In this Learning Activity, I had to create three A4 compositions showcasing three chosen words. The requirement was to use only one typeface per composition and only back and white. I experimented with the size, letter spacing, spacing, placement, etc.

The first word is one I created and has no dictionary definition but has a meaning for me. The term is musicappy: feeling of happiness when one listens to music. The other two words I picked from a given list and are falling and inspect.

I first sketched several ideas for each of these words:

When I was happy with these ideas, I created the following compositions using a combination of InDesign and Illustrator.

For musicappy I chose the sans-serif facetype Peaches For Breakfast that I downloaded from I think the letters are thin enough and have a casual and “happy” feeling, which goes well with the meaning of the word. The text is curved and sits over the drawing of a smile. Lastly, I added a couple of small black ellipses at the end of the letter M, as if they were notes.

With falling I went for a bold type and chose Impact Regular. I used only uppercase letters to make the word very solid and thick. Then I cut pieces of the letters and placed them under the word as if they were falling out.

The font used for inspect is Adobe Garamond Pro Regular, both on the background text and the magnifying glass. The idea was to use an old-style serif face like it would be used in a book.

Create a logo using Gestalt Principles

Weeks 4-5

The goal for this Learning Activity was to recreate the Unilever logo using one of the Gestalt principles.

The original logo is a combination of a symbol and a wordmark with the name of the brand. It has the shape of the letter U -which stands for Unilever- made up of different icons. Even though there are many shapes, the design looks neat and straightforward.

The Gestalt principle used in this design is proximity: several objects or elements that are close in proximity to each other (icons) are seen as a group (the letter U).

I started the process by researching the company and the meaning behind their logo. Unilever makes some of the best-known brands in the world that produce cleaning products, food and refreshments, and products for personal care and beauty. Each of the 25 icons shaping the big U represents an aspect of the business; all of them have a meaning. I looked closely at the little symbols and realised that many are related to nature, science and health.

After that, I began sketching everything that came to mind, using different Gestalt principles. Here are my first ideas:

My three favourite versions are the following, using the principles of closure, continuation and figure/ground:




Finally, I picked the one where I applied figure/ground to create it in a vector format. The reason why I chose this one is that, in my opinion, is the cleanest design. Besides, it represents a drop of water, which is in agreement with the nature theme I noticed in some of the icons from the original logo. Thanks to the figure/ground principle, the eye either sees the droplet or the shape of the letter U.


Idea Development – LA – Q3

Question 3 – Practical assignment (problem solving)


You are given a teaspoon as an object. Now apply each one of the SCAMPER techniques to it and give a brief explanation of what new product comes of this and how it can be marketed.

S – Substitute
The first thing I thought of was to substitute the material or the color of the spoon, but then I thought it’d be better to replace the handle by a straw. This way, you can add sugar or other condiments to your drink, mix it and drink it, all with one item. It could be of interest for cafes and restaurants.

C – Combine
I thought of combining the spoon with a fork at the other end of the handle. It could be marketed to people that take their lunch to school or work. It’s also useful when traveling or going out in nature. No more single-use plastic cutlery.

A – Adapt
Making the spoon foldable makes it easier to carry it with you. If we combine this option with the previous one – spoon + fork – it’s an even better solution for portable cutlery.

M – Modify
I modified one side of the bowl of the spoon to give it the shape of a serrated knife. It would be useful for eating certain fruits, like kiwi, without the need to peel it. It could be sold at any store where silverware is sold, or next to the fruit section at the supermarket.

P – Put to other uses
Another use I came up with for any metal teaspoon is to roll up metal tubes in the kitchen, like those for mayonnaise or cream cheese.

E – Eliminate
If we eliminate the bowl of the spoon, we are left with a stick to mix drinks. The advantage is that it takes less space to store than a regular teaspoon. It could be marketed to students or people who live in small apartments and need to save space. It’d probably be interesting for cafes and restaurants as well.

R – Reverse or rearrange it
By linking the handle of the spoon to both sides of the bowl, we could use a simple spoon as a bracelet. It could be aimed at coffee/tea lovers and sold at cafes, for example.

Rice packaging

You have to design packaging for rice. The packaging has to be different from what is out there in the market. Apply each one of the SCAMPER techniques and do a write‑up on your findings. Then choose the option that you think would work best and do a sketch of what the packaging would look like.

S – Substitute
The most obvious substitution would be to find a new material for the packaging. For example, glass, metal, fabric or even leaves (which would make it biodegradable and more eco-friendly).

C – Combine
It would be easy to combine the rice with salt, spices and dried herbs to make the preparation easier as it eliminates the need to add them afterward.

A – Adapt
I usually cook too much or too little rice as I find it difficult to calculate the portions. One way to avoid this problem is to adapt the packaging to include a measuring cup. The top part of the cardboard box would detach from the rest of the box and could be used as a measuring tool. It would also work as a lid while storing the leftover uncooked rice.

M – Modify
The package could be modified so it includes a dispenser that would release one serving of uncooked rice every time you push it. This would be useful in the same way as the option above.

P – Put to other uses
The box could be made in such a way that it could be reused once the rice is finished. One application could be to store different products around the house or even to use as blocks for kids to play with.

E – Eliminate
What if we eliminate the packaging altogether? We would be left with only rice, and the customers would need to buy it in bulk and bring their own container from home.

R – Reverse or rearrange it
Usually, the rice packages are opened near the top. We could rearrange it and have the box open at the bottom part. If we combine this solution with the dispenser explained in the Modify section, we have a better solution.

Some of the ideas presented in this exercise already exist on the market. Adding a rice dispenser to the packaging would probably result in a price increase. The option of using part of the packaging as a measuring tool gives you the same results; however, it would be cheaper. For that reason is the design I picked. Here is the sketch.

Rice packaging sketch

Idea development – LA – Q2

Question 2 – Research and written assignment

Use the Internet to research the history of the fast food chain McDonald’s and explain which parts of the SCAMPER model are evident in its development onto its current success.

Alex Osborn, a pioneer teacher of creativity, first identified the nine principle ways of manipulating a subject. Bob Eberle later arranged them into the SCAMPER method:

Substitute something
Combine it with something else
Adapt something to it
Modify or Magnify it
Put to other uses
Eliminate something
Reverse or Rearrange it

Substitute something

  • French fries and milkshakes replaced potato chips and pie in 1949.

Combine it with something else

  • The Happy Meal, a menu for children, was introduced in 1979. It combined a meal and a toy.

Adapt something to it

  • The company has adapted to the customers’ and society’s wishes and needs over the years.
    • For example, in the first Macdonald’s restaurants in the ’50s, ketchup was reserved for hamburgers and cheeseburgers. French fries were meant to be eaten alone, but Macdonald’s customers frequently asked for the sauce for their fries. The firm ended up creating “The Dunk Cup”, a small cup containing ketchup to serve with the food when requested.
    • In Arab countries, the restaurant chain introduced halal menus, which complied with Islamic laws for food preparation. In the same way, McDonald’s offers Big Mac made with lamb instead of beef in India.
    • In order to offer a healthier meal option, salads were added to the menu.
    • In 2018 McDonald’s announced that plastic drinking straws would be banned in the UK and Ireland restaurants.
  • Early on, McDonald’s defined the quality, service and cleanliness guidelines that all franchisees continue to follow to this day.

Modify it

  • In 1948 the restaurant’s name was changed from “McDonald’s Bar-B-Que” to simply “McDonald’s”.
  • Shortly after, the architecture of the building was modified as well – The “Red and White” design and the “Golden Arches” where introduced.

Magnify it

  • Even though the menu initially was reduced to a few items, new ones have been added during the years, such as chicken nuggets, breakfast options or ice cream.
  • The chain has grown from only one restaurant in San Bernardino, California, to over 36.000 worldwide.

Put to other uses

  • The Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent non-profit organization whose stated mission is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. The first house was opened in 1974 as a way to give “something back into the community where you do business”.


  • Besides changing their name, one of the most significant early changes in the company was to reduce the menu from 25 items, mostly barbeque, to a simple one of only 9.

Rearrange it

  • In 1948, the McDonald’s brothers rearranged their kitchen and set it up like an assembly line to ensure maximum efficiency.


Idea development – LA – Q1

Question 1 – Practical assignment

During week 2 of GRA1, we are working with idea development. The Learning Activity this week has 3 parts. In this post, I cover the first part: creatively solve 4 given riddles.

1- A man is replacing a wheel on his car, when he accidentally drops the four nuts used to hold the wheel on the car. They fall into a deep drain, irretrievably lost. A passing girl offers him a solution that enables him to drive home. What is it?

I have to admit this first puzzle was the hardest for me to solve. I could not see an immediate solution to it, so I began to brainstorm and wrote down all I could think of:

  • The girl lends him a car or wheel – but she is a girl, not a woman and it’s unlikely that she would have a car
  • She gets him a lift – then he wouldn’t be driving
  • She gives him the nuts from another car – again, unlikely she happens to have some spare nuts on her pocket
  • He borrows her bike to go and get help/new nuts – then he wouldn’t be driving
  • She gives him the idea to use a thread and a magnet to get the nuts out of the drain – but the riddle states the nuts are “irretrievably lost”

None of these solutions felt right or good enough, and suddenly it hit me: she suggests him to take one nut from each wheel and fasten the fourth wheel with them. This way, he can drive home and find new nuts later. 

2- Two Russians walk down a street in Moscow. One Russian is the father of the other Russian’s son. How are they related?

These people are not necessarily related, but they both have a son together (either biological or adopted).

3- What occurs once in June, once in July and twice in August?

The letter “U”.

4- Six drinking glasses stand in a row, with the first three full of water and the next three empty. By handling and moving only one glass at a time, how can you arrange the six glasses so that no full glass stands next to another full glass, and no empty glass stands next to another empty glass? What is the minimum number of moves to solve this puzzle?

The minimum number of moves is one: pour the water from glass number 2 into glass number 5.