Field Guide

At last, I have completed my Home Ownership field guide. I am pleased with the end result.

The final version is similar in look and feel to the Draft Field Guide. I made some improvements to the text and futher developed the illustrations. I did all of the illustrations using Adobe Illustrator, with some inspiration drawn from Noun Project.

As a side note, I'd like to point out that this was the first time I used Illustrator and didn't feel like I was fighting with the program. I actually enjoyed using it. This is a big step for me. I'm glad I did all of the illustrations myself because I am now more confident in my ability to use Adobe tools. I also spent half of Sunday learning how to use Adobe InDesign. InDesign is another tool in the Creative Cloud suite of products. Learning how to use that was a great investment because I was able to easily layout all of the content and save myself a lot of time. It handled all of the printing issues for me. I designed the 8 pages in sequence but used the Print Booklet feature to create a printer spread so that when the pages are printed and folded the pages appear in the appropriate order. Doing that manually would have been a nightmare.

Now on to the field guide.

The cover features a house with a lightening bolt and circular arrow in the center. A lightening bolt is a source of energy both in the literal sense of electric charge and the metaphorical sense as a source of life. I added a circle around the lightening bolt to give a sense of movement and activity. Things are happening because of the energy in the house. The houses moving around in a circle denote a community of similar houses, all sources of energy and all interacting with each other.

house illustration in center with small, identical house illustrations in a ring around center house. The text says "Homeownership" and "Powering a Community".

Inside the cover on pages 2 and 3 give a basic introduction of what will be presented in the field guide. I explain what I expect from the reader and what I want the reader to do. I also provide a system map showing how home ownership benefits link to home ownership and build off of each other.

Intro to Homeownership summary along with diagram mapping out the benefits of home ownership. These include increased physical and mental health and more sense of community.

On pages 4 and 5 the field guide outlines the ways home ownership benefits the individual. I tried to create illustrations that will augment the message of the field guide and make the information more memorable.

In last week's class we discussed our draft field guides with our classmates. A few days later I talked to them and asked them what they remembered about my field guide. Both classmates found the individual benefits to be the most memorable. One said the most memorable aspect of the guide is that home ownership "changes peoples' psychology" and "improves their mental well-being." Another cited the impact of financial stress on home owners.

Summary of individual benefits: physical health, financial satisfaction, trust in neighbors, sense of control over one's life, and mental health.

On pages 6 and 7 the field guide outlines the ways home ownership benefits the community. I made more illustrations to try to symbolize abstract concepts like collective efficacy and a willingness to fix problems. Here the noun project was a big help.

Summary of community benefits: local elections, civic engagement, social capital, sense of community, willingness to fix problems, collective efficacy, and lower crime in neighborhood.

And on the final page the field guide cites sources and states that I created it.

small house illustration and citation of research sources.

My last step is to print out multiple copies of the field guide with two copies in color to share with the class. I'm happy with my work and am looking forward to presenting this today.