The Unsung
Hero Project

The Unsung Hero project gives you a chance to honor an individual who has bettered the world (or your own life), but has not been recognized for their valuable contribution.

As a design challenge, this project requires you to compose:

  • photography

  • typography

  • design elements

  • visual fx

into a cohesive and attractive work of design. To this end, a considerable amount of research needs to be spent gathering the best possible media, quotations, statistics, color schemes, layouts, and other composition considerations.


1. Communicate

Because you will be the one to select the “unsung hero” for this project, you’ll need to give yourself a short questionnaire and come up with a design brief.

Here are the essentials:

  • Who is your unsung hero - and why?

  • What quotations, stats, and other typographic content evokes who they are or would make the most compelling case for why they are heroic?

  • Beyond photos of this person, what contextual images should you search for - e.g., the people they helped, the place that they made an impact, what they invented or wrote, etc.

  • What stylistic considerations best represent this individual (fonts, color schemes, etc.)

2. Research

Based on your design brief, visit the following websites and conduct some related searches:

Google (image search*)
Dafont (be sure to use custom sample field)
Google Fonts (be sure use custom sample field)
Coolors (come up with a color scheme)
Behance (for layout and style inspiration)

As fonts, image, layouts, etc. resonates with you, screen grab them (cmd+opt+4). After you have at least 20 or more assets**, drop the collective images into gomoodboard.

*Make sure you do a “large” image search for higher-res photos. If you find something you really like, be sure to download the image not just a thumbnail.

**For this project you need to use at least:

  • 2 photos (person, background, context, etc.)

  • 2 type elements (name, quote, stats, etc.)

  • design elements (graphics, textures, signature, etc.)

  • image manipulation - masking, adjustment layer, filters, etc.

3. Ideate

Based on your moodboard, grab your sketchbook and draw at least 4 possible layout solutions.

From these initial 4 solutions, selected one. Flip the page over and draw 4 new variations based on the initial solution you selected.

From this second round of 4, pick your top solution.

Before you fully commit, get some feedback from classmates, family, . . . anyone you can. Listen to learn - and be open to suggestions - you might come up with an even better solution with some outside feedback.

Then hop into Photoshop - make sure you setup the document properly (see: Specs and Standards below) and start designing with the assets you’ve selected from your moodboard. Throughout this stage of the process, keep considering other arrangements, colors, fx, etc. that might be even better.

4. Finalize

Before you turn in this project - be sure to save 3 versions:

1 Source - with all fonts and guides still retained (“last,first-source-v1. psd”).

2 Turn-in - with all font layers rasterized and guides hidden (“last,first-turn-in-v1.psd”).

3 Web - as a .jpg resized to 900 x 1315px

This will give you options to re-edit or share your work whenever you like. (For initial setup, see “Specs and Standards” below).


Specs and


Your unsung hero poster needs to use a minimum of:

  • 2 photos (person, background, context, etc.)

  • 2 type elements (name, quote, stats, etc.)

  • 2 design elements (graphics, textures, etc.)

  • appropriate image fx - masking, adjustment layer, filters, etc.

Your Unsung Hero Poster should be setup and turned in with the following specs:

  • 13 x 19 inches @ 300ppi

  • RGB

  • .psd file format

Issues and

Given all the factors at play, the range of potentially great solutions for this project is enormous.

But here are some common issues and helpful guidelines to consider.




Use the highest resolution photos you can find. Note: going from 72ppi (screen) to 300ppi (print) makes images smaller.



Use Photoshop blend modes, filters, adjustment layers, and layer fx. etc. to unify assets with different color schemes.



Use appropriate fonts and emphasis techniques (scale, italics, etc.). Note “hanging punctuation”, “widows”, etc.



Minimal design can be great. But for this project you need to create something truly new that shows real effort and creativity.