In this series, we’ll look deeper into some of the projects on Behance.net that were especially admired in our community. Ryan MacEachern is a Bristol, UK based design student. His works include a project featured in the curated Branding gallery, as well as an innovative take on the bookmark. We spoke with him about his recent project, “food x design”, an infographic tracing his eating habits over two weeks.
1) What was your inspiration for this project?
I’m currently studying Graphic Design and was an assignment to collect a weeks worth of data on a personal habit and then create an infographic poster. My biggest inspiration while doing this was a project by Peter Ørntoft called “Information Graphics in Context” that I had seen years ago on Behance. I was astounded by the simple concept and striking visuals and knew I wouldn’t be happy creating a vector based solution if I were to create an infographic myself. So, years later and working on this assignment, it immediately struck me to use actual food to chart my food intake. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any projects online that had used this before.
2) Can you describe your process in creating this project?
I knew I wanted to track my food intake and wanted to create a photographic solution. I briefly explored digital, but it was soon apparent the photographic idea stood out and communicated information more effectively.
I had just started a low carbohydrate diet that was very dull and boring in appearance and considered stopping the diet in order to create a more colorful and varied project. Ultimately, I decided to use the food simply as a visual aid and didn’t directly link it to my actual consumed food.
I’m a capable photographer, but felt overwhelmed by the task ahead of me—I did some test shoots using natural light and the photos needed extensive post-production work. Luckily, a friend was able to help me get ahold of some studio lights and I set them up in my living room. I also spent around £60 on food, which about 2 weeks worth of food on a student’s budget, so I made sure it didn’t go to waste. It was very strange cooking a whole chicken at 3 a.m. just to take photos of it.
3) Did you expect it to be as popular as it’s been on The Behance Network?
Loads of blogs have picked it up and I’m getting a steady flow of followers on Behance, but I really didn’t expect it to get such immediate attention. I thought the work was good and nice to look at, but I wasn’t so sure other people would be able to see how much work went into it I’m really glad people like it, Im surprised at how extensive the behance community is I have had people follow me from all over the world which really is a great feeling.
4) Did you go through many versions and iterations before coming up with these final pieces?
This project has two main components: the visual, which in this case is a graph or pie chart, and typography, which communicates all the data and helps the flow. It was challenging to balance them both. Once I chose a font, my next challenge was to adjust lines and labeling to ensure the project wasn’t too crowded with text.
5) Do you feel that this project is “done,” or is there anything you’d like to improve on or change in the future?
The assignment only lasted two weeks, so I’m not sure I worked out all the kinks in the design. I’d like to return to the project soon and make it more extensive, covering other areas, like weight. I’d also like to work more on the coloring.