The space issue snuck up on me. It didn’t hit me until halfway through the project: there are only so many pieces of information you can fit on a small piece of paper. Yet, as a designer, restrictions push the limits of my creativity, so the finite space I had to work with was a welcome challenge.
The interesting thing about limitations is that they can actually help you be more creative. There are not so many things you can fit in a specific space when you have tons of information and a small piece of paper.
I faced two big challenges with this piece: Refreshing the existing illustration and improving the clarity of the labels. Finding a more refreshing style sounded easy at first, but the more I dug into it the more complicated it became. I identified five objectives: 1. it had to be monochromatic, 2. inputs and outputs needed to be distinguishable even though they can have the same shape, 3. video hardware had to be different than regular peripherals hardware, 4. it needed to fit on a 14"x14" page. The obvious number five is the readability for its size, after I fit all the elements inside the format.
As a designer I have to create goals to solve problems and overcome limitations. But this limitations are the things that are gonna make the design unique. Depending on how meticulous you are, the attention to detail will create the achievements of these goals an enjoyable project.
I presented myself with the opportunity to create a system for each goal:
1. A grayscale for the monochromatic objective.
2. Contrast of shades and solid-and-line differentiators between input and outputs.
3. Pure black for peripherals.
4. Make clean, small and high contrast background labels for easy legibility.
5. Design a default breakout cable design with consistent size and placement for all versions.
If all of the goals were successful, there will be no issue with the initial issue of the project, which was fitting all elements into a 14'x14' format.
Final output of the project.