I’m currently working with teammates (including Alice Yang, who is also in this class) on a Mandarin Chinese language learning game called Chinese à la Carte. For this challenge, I started by developing a few icons that could be useful for buttons during gameplay or graphics for marketing. The castle is probably the least self-explanatory: it would be the icon for a “vocabulary palace,” modeled after the concept of a mind palace that’s used to support memory. Players would use this space to store and sort new vocabulary that they learn.

I also took a stab at a logo for Chinese à la Carte. This definitely isn’t the end product, but I wanted to get some ideas going. This version incorporates the Chinese character “zhong,” which is the first character in the word “zhongwen,” meaning “Chinese.” It also uses the colors of the Chinese flag. I like the idea of integrating Chinese characters, but know the meaning will be lost on our target market (beginners who have never spoken Chinese), so the logo will have to stand on its own visually to get the point across.

In Photoshop, I worked with a photo I took many years ago while visiting Nanjing, China. I thought this could serve as a background image for a variety of purposes, and I’d probably modify it for any specific use. In general, I tried to fade out the stones and soil and make the green grass pop a bit more. I also lightened the edges of the image for a mild reverse vignette effect. 

Finally, just for fun, I played around in Photoshop with this photo of U.S Olympic medalist Laura Graves and her horse Verdades. I took this in Wellington, Florida, for my previous job (hence the watermark I added). I generally used Lightroom to edit my photos for work, so I wanted to see what I could add with Photoshop. Shooting people and horses in action at night always posed a challenge for us. In this image, I made the (typically grainy) background black & white and then upped the vibrance and saturation slightly to put the emphasis on the athlete and her horse.