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shinebrighterxx 02-05-2020 11:42 PM

Message Board Customization Process and Graphics Team Information Thread
Hi everyone,

In this thread you can find out what the Graphics Team is about, the process we go through to customise each message board, and how you can apply if you wish to join the team. We hope that it will answer some of the questions you may have. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask them in this thread or PM one of the Graphics Team Managers.

For a list of all Graphics Team Members, see the Forum Leaders page.

When possible we all work to design graphics for three boards. Each member of the team makes a graphic for at least two of those boards. Sometimes some of us are too busy with work or school or have other things going on so we are not able to make graphics for each round. Hence, some rounds last longer than the sixteen days we set for each round.

When each board is to be (re-)customised, we start a thread on that board asking for colour and picture suggestions so that the posters on that board can let the Graphics Team know what they would like to see. These are only suggestions though; so do not expect the Graphics Team to make exactly what you say. Some suggestions are unfortunately unfeasible for the team to create.

When enough graphics have been made (usually around 5 or more for each board), we put all of them into polls and then vote for a week anonymously for which ones we feel are the best.

After the three graphics for the three boards are chosen, the colours are put together by Mel and Leif based on the chosen graphic and wishes of the boards. This process is time consuming and can take quite a bit of time. When it is decided that the design looks good enough, the customisation is set up on the actual board. Sometimes the graphic that the team has chosen does not look right for the board, so the runner-up graphic has to be used. When putting together the customisations Mel and Leif follow the list outlined at the end of this post. Ideally the boards will be done in order, however some boards are simply more difficult to do than others so it is just a guideline.

All of the message boards here at Fan Forum will eventually have their own graphic and colours; all of the boards that need a new look will be re-done. Some boards take longer than others because we can get delayed at any stage in the process; we want the best look that we can achieve.

One of the main questions that is asked is "when will *insert board name here* be customised/re-customised?" and the answer to that is "as soon as possible", but we cannot give you an exact date. The boards chosen first are the boards that we feel will most benefit from being customised. When picking the boards to be customised, we consider a number of things including:

- Whether the number of posts on the board is low and therefore customising it could give it a boost.
- Whether the number of posts is high and therefore it deserves to be customised as many people view it every day.
- How long a board has been without a customisation.
- Whether the graphic it already has needs refreshing.

We also contact the moderators of boards so that they can voice their own opinions on if the board could benefit from being re-customised since we understand that they know their boards best. It is important that you respond to these PMs by the deadline set in the PM so that we can work with you to create your customisation at a time which best suits the needs of yourself and your board. Failure to respond will result in the GT Managers presuming that you are happy for us to begin the process.

It is a myth that a board will be customised after a year of it being at Fan Forum, we do not even hold that into consideration. So do not expect that just because a board reaches its one year mark it will immediately be customised. It is also a myth that as soon as a board is made permanent they will begin the customisation process. While we will not begin the process until a board is made permanent, becoming a permanent board here will only mean that the board is added to the bottom of the list of new boards to be done. We work through this list in order of when the boards are made permanent so while some boards may begin the process soon after becoming permanent, others may have a longer wait. Our aim is to get to them as soon as possible but becoming permanent does not automatically mean that we will begin the process on the board.

We can assure you all that we have a list of every single board that does not have a customisation yet and of every board that needs re-doing, so do not worry that your favourite boards might not be on the customisation radar. They are on the list and will not be forgotten.

If you feel that your board could use a refreshed look feel free to PM Chelle and we will take it into consideration. When sending your PM please take the above points into consideration and inform us why you feel your board could use a refreshed look. Chelle will then discuss this with the other Graphics Team Managers and we will get back to you with our decision. Even if we decide to not recustomise your board at this stage we will make a note of your request to look at again at a later date. You can also contact Chelle if you are wondering if we will be redoing your board soon and feel that it would be better to hold off.

polaris (Mel)
Member since: January 23rd 2013 | Manager since: August 21st 2014
Mel is the manager in charge of doing the actual customisations, meaning she's in contact with Leif to discuss and put up the board customisations. This means that when you find there's a problem with one of the customisations or you have a question about when they'll be put up, Mel is the person to contact. Mel also handles all Graphics Team applications which means that if you have any questions about joining the team or wish to join she is the person to contact.

If you have general questions about the Graphics Team, it's also best to contact Mel about these things.

shinebrighterxx (Chelle)
Member since: May 8th 2014 | Manager since: April 10th 2017
Chelle is the manager who is in charge of determining which board needs to be recustomised next. She maintains the lists which assist in determining which boards need to be (re)done; including a list of all new boards which have not been customised yet, and a list of when all current customisations were put up. She is the contact person for any moderators who feel their board could use a refreshed look or have any questions about the customisation process or when their board is likely to be up for (re)customisation.

me and the sky (Kate)
Member since: January 27th 2009 | Manager since: June 15th 2020
Kate is the person in charge of all current customizations, meaning the ones that the Graphics Team is working on at that moment. If your board is getting customized and you have some concerns/questions, feel free to contact her about this. She can also give you more information about the process (if you wish extra info other than the information given in this thread).

The process for joining the graphics team is not hard at all. You do not have to wait for an opening to be posted anywhere, we will accept applicants all the time. Ideally we would like to see two graphics from you; one celebrity and one television show. For those unsure if they are ready to apply yet feel free to stop by the Graphics Team Mentoring thread on the Fan Art board where you can receive tips and advice from current graphics team members. You can also read Jen's tips (Live Journal) and Mel's tips for some advice on how to make them. Please note that you must be a member of Fan Forum for at least 6 months before you can apply to join the team. You can however still sign up for the mentoring program before that.

If you feel that you would like to be a part of the Graphics Team please send Mel a PM with your two graphics.

Mel, Chelle, and Kate :flowers:

Please note that although we aim to do row 1 before row 2 and row 2 before row 3, it doesn't always work out that way, some boards are simply more difficult to do than others. Each row is in a random order so any board in a row could be the first and any board could be the last. Basically this list is just a guideline.
  1. Stargirl, Eva Green
  2. Psych, Katie McGrath
  3. Marvel Cinematic Universe, Henry Cavill
  4. Anime & Manga, Stana Katic
  5. Julie and the Phantoms, Books and Writing
  6. Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bridgerton
  7. Superman & Lois, Television & Reality TV
Note: This thread should be restarted by a Graphics Team Manager. Thank you.

shinebrighterxx 02-05-2020 11:42 PM

When will you recustomise X board?
Unfortunately we cannot give you an exact date for this, but as soon as possible. The boards chosen first are the boards that we feel will most benefit from being customised, and one main deciding factor for this is the age of the customisation itself. Other things we consider include:
- Whether the number of posts on the board is low and therefore customising it could give it a boost;
- Whether the number of posts is high and therefore it deserves to be customised as many people view it every day;
- Whether the graphic it already has needs refreshing.
We also rely on the opinions of the moderators of the board to make the final decision on if we recustomise that board since they best know their board and topic of their board.

How do I find out how old my board's customisation is?
If you can find the most recent customisation thread you should be able to work it out based on when one of the Graphics Team Mangers (or former Graphics Team Managers) has posted that it was put up (E.G. 'enjoy your new colours'). Alternatively simply ask one of the Graphics Team Managers or members as we have a list which tells us the month and year each customisation was put up.

Can we be recustomised sooner?
Yes. Please contact Chelle if you feel your board could use a refreshed look. The Graphics Team Managers will have the final decision on if we accept your request at that time or hold off until a later date. We prefer all boards to have their customisation for at least two years before we will consider redoing them. When contacting Chelle please ensure that you include the reason as to why you feel your board should be redone sooner. Every request made will be recorded on a special list so that we don't lose or forget them.

What happens if I don't want my board to be recustomised? / Can I delay my boards' recustomisation?
Prior to beginning the process of recustomising your board you will receive a PM from Chelle informing you that it is almost your boards turn. At this point we will ask you to consider if you feel the timing is right or if you would prefer to hold off. If you decide to hold off then a note will be made to contact the board again in a year's time to reassess the situation. This process can be repeated three times before we will proceed with the customisation. For example if you postpone your customisation for the first time in 2020 we will ask you again in 2021, 2022, and then in 2023 we will inform you that you have run out of postponing chances and we will be proceeding with your boards recustomisation. This has been designed to allow boards which are less likely to get out of date too quickly (E.G. general boards, past TV shows) to hold onto their customisation longer, and for the team to focus more on the boards which are more likely to become outdated sooner. It also ensures that all boards still get a refreshed look eventually which may assist in boosting activity and interest in your board.

What if I've opted to postpone my board's customisation but then change my mind?
If you change your mind at any point prior to being recontacted you can contact Chelle and ask for your board to be redone sooner.

I have been contacted about my board being recustomised but there still hasn't been a thread started on the board, are you still going ahead with the recustomisation?
Yes we are. When planning the future rounds Chelle will contact a number of boards (usually around four) to see if they would like to be recustomised. She then collects those responses and starts pairing up the boards to see which ones will work well for the team when making the graphics. How many boards she contacts which respond that they do want to go ahead will impact on how long it takes to get to each of those boards. Because of this, unfortunately it may be a few weeks or even months before the team then begins the process on your board. This is also why we ask that you don't post about the upcoming recustomisation on the board until we start the recustomisation thread as it may seem like we have forgotten about the board, and we would hate for your posters to be confused or wondering where we are. I promise we are coming to you. Then while you can't discuss what you want yet, the board moderators can always think about some ideas on what they'd like to see before sharing them in the recustomisation thread and seeing what your other posters would like.

When will new boards be customised?
As soon as possible, however there is no set time frame for this. All new boards must pass the 3 month trial period and become a permanent board prior to us beginning the customisation process. Once a board has become permanent, they will be added to the bottom of our list of new boards to be redone. We work through this list in order of when the boards are made permanent and sometimes we may have lots of new boards to get through, while others we may have hardly any. Because of this some boards may begin the process soon after becoming permanent, while others may have a longer wait. Our aim is to get to them as soon as possible though as we don't wish for any board to go too long before they get their own special customised look. Please keep in mind that boards for new shows take longer to become permanent as Jerry allows time for the shows to start and build an audience before he begins the 3 month trial period. Due to this those boards will have an extended time in the new boards category before becoming permanent or beginning the customisation process. While you wait however feel free to start thinking about or even brainstorming a few ideas on what you'd like to see. Know that we will get to you as soon as we can.

How long do we have to share our thoughts and ideas on what we would like to see on our board?
The thread is opened and topped on each board for two and a half weeks (approx. 16 days), however the sooner you begin to discuss what you want the better so that the team has more time to work on their graphics for your board. Once the time is up one of the Graphics Team Managers will let you know and close and untop the thread until your new customisation is put up. You can always start thinking of ideas on what you'd like to see prior to the thread being started. We only ask that moderators don't reveal that a board is coming up for recustomisation as at times we will contact board moderators a few months in advance and we don't want anyone to be confused over the customisation process or left wondering when or if we're actually coming to start the process.

Who gets to decide on the new customisation colours and graphic for the board?
Any poster on the board can share their thoughts and ideas on what they'd like to see in the graphic and for the colours. While moderators may know that the customisation is coming sooner than the posters so can start thinking beforehand, we want to hear from all posters on the board. It is not only up to the moderators to decide or make suggestions. The Graphics Team will then use these suggestions to design a graphic for your board. Please keep in mind that unfortunately some suggestions are unfeasible for the team to create, but we will do our best to design something to best suit your wishes.

What happens if the moderator(s) are away when the customisation process is started on a board?
The Graphics Team Managers try to monitor when moderators are away to try avoid this from occurring but sometimes it will unfortunately happen. In some cases we may opt to postpone your board's customisation to a future round to ensure that you are going to be present during this time. However we generally only do this if you will be away for the majority of the two weeks the thread is open for on your board.

When will board X's customisation be put up?
As soon as possible. Once the graphic for each board is chosen, the colours are put together by Mel and Leif based on the chosen graphic and wishes of the boards. This process is time consuming and can take quite a bit of time.

Can we make a change before the new customisation is put up?
Generally no but there are exceptions to the rule. If we didn't have good quality recent photoshoots to work with and ones are released between us finishing the banner and us putting your new look we can look into this. If this occurs please contact one of the Graphics Team Managers so we can look into if it is possible. However we do prefer not to do this and it is not always possible.

Can you change things after the customisation is put up?
Sometimes. It depends on the situation. We do ask that you wait at least one week, preferably two, before contacting us with your concerns. This is to allow you time to get used to the changes before you contact us as we have found that in most cases the initial shock of change eases over time. If after this time you do still have concerns please contact Mel to discuss these concerns with her.

I'm concerned that the board will be too harsh on my eyes, what do I do?
This is something we wish to avoid at all costs. If you do have this concern providing examples and/or descriptions of what 'too harsh' is for you will help us in ensuring this won't be the case. You can also discuss your concerns with one of the Graphics Team Managers via PM.

Will you do dark boards?
No. The Graphics Team stopped doing dark boards a number of years ago and have worked through all boards which were dark to convert them to the lighter style which you will find all boards now have. For boards which need a darker feel to match their theme we will work with you to ensure that we can provide this still while keeping all boards with this consistent style.

Why don't you do dark/black boards anymore?
We found that many users found them to be harsh on the eyes. There were also issues for some when going between dark and light boards. In order to eliminate this issue we have been maintaining a consistent style across all boards which have light bases with dark writing.

I'm not very good at coming up with colours, can you help me?
Yes! We suggest that you take a look around the design seeds website as it has an endless supply of amazing colour schemes to choose from. You can search through the colour schemes by colour so if you're thinking that you might like a certain main colour for your board you can easily select that shade and have a look to see if anything inspires or jumps out at you. The website also has a selection of themes/collections which groups together similar colour schemes which you may also like to look through. Don't feel you have to use a colour scheme from that site, that is just one which we suggest. You can also choose elements from a few colour schemes for us to combine.

Are there any colours we should avoid?
Any colour schemes which are bright, neon, predominately red or black, harsh, or dark. Colour schemes can have these in them and still be usable, it is only when there is a large amount of these shades that the end result will become harsh on the eyes. If you are unsure on a colour scheme please don't hesitate to check with us. This guide may also help you determine what are good and bad colours.

I really like the colours on X board, can we have the same?
As we wish for all boards to have their own unique look, we don't copy the colour scheme of one board for another. If you like the colours on another board we recommend that you look at colour schemes with similar colours.

We really like the colours we have now, do they have to change?
As all new customisations are made based upon the new graphic, the colours may change slightly, however yes we can make your new banner based upon your current colours. So while your colours may change, you will still have the same feel as you have now.

What colour will the posting area and/or text be?
All posting areas are now white with black writing.

What sort of pictures do you use?
Recent coloured photoshoot pictures of the highest quality. It is important to ensure that the top of the heads/hair and sides of shoulders aren't cut off, and there is nothing covering any part of the face so we can clearly see the person. We also don't use black and white pictures, but it is fine if there are black and white pictures in the photoshoot just so long as there is at least three usable coloured ones. Hands over and around the face can be okay to use; we can judge this on a case by case basis. If you're unsure on if a picture is usable just ask us.

What does 'recent photoshoot' mean?
Ideally we prefer to work with photoshoots which were done in the past twelve months, but anything going back three years is considered recent.
For television shows we look at the most recent photoshoot the show has had done.

What happens if we have no recent photoshoots?
In these cases we can look at using older ones or recent appearances. This is something we can discuss with you prior to starting the customisation process to help you decide if you should go ahead or hold off.

Can we use older photoshoots even if we have more recent ones?
We prefer not to as it will leave you with a graphic which is outdated sooner, however we also want you to be happy with the final result.

Can we use a mixture of photoshoots?
It depends on the circumstances and the board in question.
Normally when this is suggested it is to capture a range of different looks for celebrities which we do not do. All celebrity boards should have recent photoshoots used. We can only combine photoshoots if they are from the same year and have a similar look/feel to them to ensure a consistent look in the graphic.
In the case of television shows often we will have to do this to include all characters that the board wants included so in that case we can do it.

What happens if there are no photoshoots for the show? / What happens if the show hasn't done a photoshoot in a long time?
In these cases we can look at using episode stills, or alternatively the photoshoots of the actors if they will still look in-character. The same goes for when shows only release new pictures for certain characters but you wish to include more. This is something we can discuss with you prior to starting the customisation process to help you decide if you should go ahead or hold off.

Can we use in-character pictures for a celebrity board?
Preferably not. We will not create a graphic showcasing various characters a celebrity is best known for. If the only available recent photoshoots are from a show and the actor still looks like themselves then we can use those pictures. Celebrity graphics are meant to represent the celebrity the board is for, not a specific character.

How many characters can we have in the graphic?
It is preferable that you have at least three characters, however we have worked with less. The max is fifteen/sixteen characters as anything beyond that will leave the faces too small and unrecognisable. How many characters you feel should be your max is up to you as what you may feel is 'crowded' or 'too much' may be different to our opinion. The consensus we have found is that a good average amount of characters to keep them visible and the graphic from feeling crowded is 6-10 characters. If you are still unsure what is a good amount for your board we recommend taking a look around at other boards to see how many they have and what they look like to see what you like the best. You may also wish to look through the archived forums as some of those boards still have their customisations and have examples of larger casts - for example; Downton Abbey and Grey's Anatomy. The graphic with the most characters is currently Twilight Saga with fifteen.

Do we have to have photos in the graphic?
Only if your board is for a celebrity or music artist. All other boards are free to choose how best their board topic is represented. While we do recommend that television and movie related boards include characters in their graphic we also understand that this isn't always possible. Some boards are better represented with symbols and other images not characters. We do recommend this for boards where the cast and/or characters are changing each season as otherwise the graphic will always be outdated.

How do you apply to join the Graphics Team?
Applying to join the Graphics Team is easy and can be done at any point, you don't have to wait for an official opening to be posted anywhere. If you'd like to apply please PM Mel with two 230px X 100px audition graphics. Ideally, we would like to see one single celebrity graphic and one television show graphic (of your choice). We will make a decision as a team whether to let you join or ask for addition designs (for which you will at that point receive tips).

Please note that you must be a member of Fan Forum for at least 6 months before you can apply to join the team. You can however still sign up for the mentoring program before that.

What is the mentoring program?
Our Mentoring Program is designed to help potential future team members as well as anyone else curious at trying their hand at designing FF-style banners. Each person that wishes to participate in this program can sign up in the mentoring program thread at the Fan Art board, and one of the Graphics Team Managers will then appoint a Graphics Team Member to you. This mentor will help you out by providing tips and adjustments that improve your chances of becoming a Graphics Team Member, and you can ask them anything about any concerns or questions you may have. While the program is designed with the intention of supporting you in joining our team, anyone is welcome to sign up or use it to learn more about how the Graphics Team works and improve your graphics making skills.

Please note that the mentoring program can only be used to provide feedback on FF-style banners, not other graphics.

What is expected of a Graphics Team member?
We expect that members of the Graphics Team are motivated members of the Fan Forum community who wish to help make this a beautiful place on the internet. You should be able to provide, handle, and work with feedback. During each customisation round each team member is asked to make at least two graphics for two different boards (so one graphic per board). You will also get to be a part of the process of making the awards for the yearly Holiday Fan Art Competition and determine which graphics win the round three categories of the competition.

Do I have to use Adobe Photoshop?
No. We don't mind what program the members of the team use, it is your talent in using your program that we look at. We do ask that team members use a program which allows them to save editable files so that you can make any necessary changes to your graphics.

I wish to join the Graphics Team, but I'm unsure on if I have the time to commit to the team.
Firstly I would recommend that you check out our Mentoring Program where we can match you to one of the lovely Graphics Team members to help guide you through the process we go through on the team. They can provide you with a mock round to help you develop a greater understanding of the time required to be on the team. Members of the Graphics Team are asked to make at least two graphics per round - a round lasts for approximately twenty three days. However as we are making the banners at the same time as boards are discussing what they want the time you have to complete your graphics for a set board may be less. We provide one additional week after the (re)customisation threads are closed for the team to finalise their graphics based upon the feedback from the boards.

What happens if I can't make two graphics for a round?
That is fine. We understand that real life always comes first and we allow for this. We only will check in on you if we feel that you are struggling to make the graphics over a long period of time. Honestly on the team we give everyone lots of chances as we do understand that sometimes it just isn't possible to make two graphics. We all have lives too so we understand that it can be a struggle and some weeks are busier than others.

Are there any breaks?
The Graphics Team usually takes break from rounds over holiday periods such as Easter and Christmas. We do however focus on the Holiday Fan Art Competition during the end of December/start of January. If any member of the team needs to take some time off from the team they can contact the Graphics Team Managers to request a leave of absence from the team.

I wish to join the Graphics Team, but I'm unsure on if I am talented enough.
It is highly likely that you are. The Graphics Team are a mixture of beginner, amateur, and expert (and at times professional) artists who all wish to make Fan Forum a beautiful place. We're not necessarily the best artists on Fan Forum; we have a wide range of skills, passions, and experience. The trick is simply learning the skill to create the :ff:-style banners. Our Mentoring Program is the perfect place to start to begin your journey on learning that skill. Even if you don't know how to do it yet, doesn't mean you can't learn. Then once you're on the team your talent will grow and shine. We're sure you'll be amazing, so what are you waiting for? Come join us!

Are there any perks to being a part of the Graphics Team?
You get diamonds. Okay, so they aren't real ones, but you do get to have the words 'Graphics Team' and pretty diamonds under your username to show off around Fan Forum. More seriously, being a part of the team is a special experience which allows you to be a part of the creative process in designing how the boards and graphics will look around Fan Forum and help to influence which boards get customised next. Every member of the team is there to bounce ideas and feedback off to improve your graphics making skills, while also being a welcoming and supportive group who genuinely care about each other. Members of the Graphics Team get to showcase their amazing talent in a unique way and feel a sense of pride in being able to help shape the way Fan Forum looks and ensure that this is a beautiful place on the internet. As a member of the graphics team you will also be able to change your username and receive increased private message space.

We hope that we have answered your questions, if you have any others or if you think of something that could be added to this post, please let one of the graphics team managers know.

Mel, Chelle, and Kate :flowers:

shinebrighterxx 02-05-2020 11:42 PM

From the previous thread:

Originally Posted by 21:21 (Post 99828411)
We have started the customization process on the Robert Downey Jr., YOU, and One Direction boards. :wiggle:

Chris 02-06-2020 06:49 AM

Thanks for the new thread Chelle, and the extensive FAQ.

L i N d $ @ y 02-07-2020 08:14 PM

TFTNT Chelle and for the new update. :)

shinebrighterxx 02-08-2020 09:24 PM


Please let us know if you've got any questions or if there's anything in the FAQ that's not clear or you'd like more information on :wiggle:

21:21 03-04-2020 01:18 PM

We have started the customization process on the American Horror Story, Girl Meets World, and Carrie Underwood boards. :wiggle:

Elle 03-04-2020 02:42 PM

Thanks for the update :)

Full Frontal Nerdity 03-04-2020 03:24 PM

Good news for those boards!

L i N d $ @ y 03-05-2020 07:39 PM

Thanks for the update!

polaris 03-08-2020 06:45 PM

We have finished the customization of the following boards: Demi Lovato, Doctor Who, Everyday Life & Interests, Fan Art, Friends, Gilmore Girls, Harrison Ford, Info Center, Little Mix, Matt Czuchry, Music, Roswell, New Mexico, SKAM and The Big Bang Theory.

Due to the Ellen Pompeo board closing the same weekend as the customization being put it, it also still got recustomized so you can still go check it out at the archived Ellen board. :)

L i N d $ @ y 03-08-2020 07:55 PM

Awesome job, GT! They all look wonderful and that's a lot of customized boards too. :thumbs_up:

meraki 03-09-2020 10:32 AM

Beautiful banners and colors on all the board. Amazing job, GT!

Elle 03-09-2020 10:52 AM

Great job :D

k-drama addict 03-09-2020 12:01 PM

All of the boards look amazing! Great work! :D

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