Graphic Design Rough Draft

I enjoyed creating this project because it required me to think of familiar imagery associated with accounting and then challenging that imagery to present a more nuanced view of the field. In my experience, public perception of accounting is radically different from its reality. For one, not every accountant is a math wiz. There’s often very little complicated math involved in accounting. Another misconception is that all accountants work in tax and are willing to do their friends’ taxes for free. I work in auditing, and the environment is project-based, social, and collaborative. I, like many other auditors, use TurboTax. 

I had an idea of what I wanted the viewer to feel when they saw my image: Hope, Determination, and Confidence. To facilitate this, I tried to find a background that I thought would convey a sense of calm and order – two traits that lend themselves well to the accounting world. For inspiration, I reviewed the recruiting images from several public accounting companies, including my own company. I noticed those recruiting images had almost no information about accounting, suggesting that the viewer would already be familiar with accounting and is now trying to decide between firms. The goal of my image was to present an alternative view of accounting for the individual who may be considering a career path, not necessarily someone who had already made that choice.

I found all of the photos in my project from Pexels, a website with copyright-free images available for manipulation, and searched for “accounting.” I was immediately captivated by the bright, candy-colored photos taken by Nataliya Vaitkevich, and I loved that a picture of a calendar and 1040 could be so vibrant. It seemed like the perfect background.

I knew I wanted to include text to drive home my point, and my point was that through a career in public accounting, an individual could gain the skills to empower themselves in their career. From there, that person could help others with their financial knowledge and create a comfortable life for themselves.  

I chose three additional stock photos for my project: a single woman with a prosthetic leg, two women and a man in a wheelchair working on a project together at a table, and a couple sitting together on a couch happily reviewing paperwork. At least two individuals in these photos have noticeable physical disabilities. However, I would like to note that not all disabilities are physical. Disability is a broad spectrum, and a person that may appear abled could very well be dealing with a disability that impacts their daily function.

I had a different reason for choosing each photo. I chose the image of the single woman on her computer because I liked her relaxed, confident posture and location. It looked like she was working from home, and as the accounting field has become more flexible regarding where its employees choose to work, it fits well with the ambiance I wanted to convey. I chose the group photo in the top middle portion of my image because it met several of my criteria: the man in the wheelchair is the center of the action, showing he is a vital member of his team. The location of the photo – a conference room – also created an appropriate sense of setting. Many auditors will conduct their work at the client location rather than in an office, and the environment is conducive for fostering a sense of camaraderie amongst coworkers. While putting this image together, I also had to consider common symbols associated with disability and knew that a wheelchair was wide-ranging and easily understood. I made a conscious effort to search for a photo containing a businessperson in a wheelchair.  

I chose the last shot of the couple because I liked that the two seemed deep in conversation and working together to reach a solution. The couple’s body language conveyed a sense of collaboration, focus, and ease. The colors of the photo are warm, earthy, and inviting. 

I wanted the three photos to pop against the background, so I included a stroke and drop shadow effect for each picture and arranged them so that the 1040 form, Calendar, and planner were visible. I also used the lasso tool to edit the background – I moved the “tax plan” stamp to the corner, shrank it, and used a combination of the eyedropper, paint bucket, and smudge to fill in the remaining space.  

Photo Resources Below:

  1. Background (by Nataliya Vaitkevich):
  2. Single Woman (by Vlada Karpovich):
  3. The group at Office (by Kampus Production):
  4. Couple (RODNAE Productions):

7 thoughts on “Graphic Design Rough Draft

  1. Alexandra,

    I love the composition of your design. The way you positioned your photos made my eye bounce between each one, and I wanted to look closer to view the unique scene in each image. That said, focusing on one image at a time was a bit of a challenge for me, especially considering the added text and images in the background that compete with the three photos in the foreground. Perhaps scaling down the number of images would help bring some more focus and simplicity to the design as a whole.

    You expressed that you intended for the viewer to feel hope, determination, and confidence: and I absolutely think you achieved that here. For one, your bright blue and pink color scheme is cheery, and I especially like how you tied in the different shades of the two colors with the text blocks and the 2021 planner.

    You do an amazing job of telling a story here as well. I can immediately tell what your message is, and I especially like that you used common identifying symbols that most viewers associate with disability. I completely understand the story behind your graphic without even having to read an explanation, which I feel is one of the main goals of any graphic.

    I found the white text somewhat difficult to read, perhaps because the background is fairly light. You may want to consider changing the color of the text blocks, or of the text itself, to increase contrast and make the words a bit easier to read. I want my eye to go from word, to image, to word–but I found myself mainly focusing on the images, and noticed the text a fair while after.

    I look forward to seeing the rest of your work!


    Lily Engel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lily,

      Thank you for such clear, kind, and helpful advice! I think I have an idea of how I’d like to alter my image to make it less cluttered and allow for the images to speak for themselves. 🙂


  2. Hi Alexandra,

    Nice work on your graphic design project. Your purpose is made very clear as you discuss your thought process in putting your design together. You were not afraid to tackle a challenging composition with a complex and nuanced topic.

    Impressive that you found graphics that represent the tax field and used those to set the stage as you built your design. Selecting three photos and then aligning them both vertically and horizontally makes good use of the rule of thirds and grid/alignment. Overall I am impressed by your ability to work in Photoshop so early on in the course.

    A few things I think could help your design improve:
    – You have many items in the background that I think may be competing a bit with the photos and text on top. Streamlining and simplifying a bit could give your design a more focused, cohesive look.
    -I love the photos you chose, especially after I read your explanation on why you selected them. You might consider cropping them a little more closely as I didn’t notice there was someone in a wheelchair or someone with a prosthetic leg until after I read your post and went back to look at the photos. I am generally more observant of these things, given that my mom has a prosthetic leg. Cropping them more closely would also allow the reader to relate more to the subjects.
    -You might consider a “title” of some sort, in a different font to give readers a better sense of the purpose of the design. It could be in the form of a question, or a simple tag line.

    Nice work!

    My best,
    Kim Doherty


    1. Thank you, Kim! Your advice has been very helpful for me in revising my image, and I hope that when you see the new version, you’ll see the changes you’ve suggested are present. 🙂


  3. Alexandra, your photo choices are FANTASTIC—they are indeed warm and inviting. They are the first thing that catches my eye and I immediately want to know what those people are doing. I think cropping all three would make them an even stronger focus and reinforce your “public” message further. I also suggest in the final design that the people are angled toward (look at) your text blocks, which will help your readers do so, too.

    You’ve created an intriguing, tension-filled contrast through font and color: the all-cap italics make me feel rushed and intimate the urgency of tax season, while the colors stop me because they’re calming and cheery and make me smile. 😊

    I think your strongest statement on the page (Achieve) is currently lowest in the hierarchy. I wonder if relocating that block to a higher spot (upper left?) might not only anchor your message, but give the reader a strong starting point to help them move calmly from left to right. Your other two text blocks then become the good result of that message.

    I checked it against a colorblind web page filter and the contrast is good, if the white’s a little hard to read. I viewed it on large monitor and phone and liked the monitor best: since the tax form has many details, the words on a smaller screen were a little distracting. Would blurring them a bit to simply suggest a tax form work? (Again, torn, because again, perfect background photo choice.)

    This is such an important topic and you’ve made me feel strong and empowered and grateful. I’m excited to see where we go next and what I’ll learn when we get there. Thank you, Alexandra!

    Elaine Heim


    1. Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for the wonderful and thorough feedback! You’ve given me some great suggestions, and I’m going to try to put them into practice now. I appreciate you taking the time to give me such helpful and kind advice!


  4. Upon further reflection of my work and the helpful advice of my classmates, I have been able to reevaluate the strengths and weaknesses of my design. Regarding what I would like to keep and what I am most proud of, I love the photos that I was able to find for my project. The light pink and blue were not my original intention when setting forward to create this image, but now I think those colors are an integral part of the design. I also love the three stock photos I have, as I think they each tell a complete story.

    The most important aspect of this design that I need to address is the background: while I love the colors, the design is cluttered. This clutter is not conducive to the flow of the message I am trying to convey, and therefore, I want to make it simpler so that my other photos will be more present.

    I will also work on the text: I want it to be more concise and easier to read. To fix this, I plan to work with the text to stand out more against the background. I will also revise the section that says “achieve your dreams through public accounting” because that line is a little too wordy.

    I’m happy with my design, but I see definite room for improvement, and I’m going to apply what I’ve learned recently to my new design.


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