I have been yearning to go back to Europe ever since we left (and its only been a little over a month), so I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from our trip. Enjoy.
Over the past few years, I have tried my best to incorporate my own creativity and style into projects which are usually considered cliché or overdone. Example number one: Holiday Cards.
Every year around the holidays, my family exchanges cards with family and friends which usually creates an equation for bickering over who looks best in what picture, or if we should even send one at all. Last year, I created a card that had a grid of 12 images which made most everyone happy. This year, I thought it would be fun to do something offbeat and more authentic than slapping a bunch of iPhone images on a card.
About two years ago, I purchased a FujiFilm instax mini camera and I have absolutely adored the tactical and instant glorification of images. I thought that incorporating instant images would be a unique way for my entire family to have individual pictures in the form of a holiday card. This way, the textural and film like quality hides any flaws, and allows for a fun and different style. I had my mom, dad, brother, cat, and dog wear a santa hat and hold (or have in the vicinity of them) a blank white canvas. My game plan was to take the picture, and then place the 6 images (myself included) onto a colored or photograph background, with the words "HAPPY HOLIDAYS LOVE, THE THOMSON'S 2015" photoshopped onto the canvases. I even tried implementing a few photos or textures as background images, but none of them seemed to work with the authentic feel I was going for.
One of my best friends, Sarah Hunt, was over one night when I asked her opinion on the cards. Since she is a very do-it-yourself, hands-on kind of designer, she told me to stop forcing these very tactile images into a digital space, and instead go back to square one. She told me to try photographing the images in a themed environment and to handwrite the type directly onto the images, instead of forcing originals into the computer. Sure enough, once I dug up some of last year's holiday frillies, bows, and ribbons, I was on a role.
After (surprisingly) not much of a debate, my family decided on the first set-up, which was the design that included my own handwriting. Moral of the story? Get dirty, go back to basics, and get off your computer. The best designers in history did everything by hand, with no programs to help them out. And sometimes, that kind of authenticity is what can take you from a good idea, to a special finish.
I used Artifact Uprising to print the final card design. I have printed with them before and their image/paper quality along with the ability to customize double-sided cards and print full bleed, makes for beautiful final prints.
About a month ago at PBJS, I was tasked with a color theory study to be used for four large tech events (client name disclosed for privacy), using only the 22 colors in their brand guidelines. Larissa Barth and I created four event “brands” based on color psychology.
Each event had an audience to appeal to, so beyond the meaning the colors are known to possess, their style, theme, and trend had to appeal to the attendees of each event. Though these exact palettes were not completely implemented by the client, the pairing process allowed me to reflect on what looks good in regards to design versus what works. And of course, the importance of color.
In design school, color theory was one of my favorite classes and therefore playing with hues was an easy first go-to. Larissa and I put the hues into four categories based on description words that not only represent the significance of that specific range on the color spectrum, but that correlate with the individual audiences of each event. Our outcome for each event's colors and corresponding description words were:
Once there was a solid color pairing foundation established, we began to think of ways to make the overall brand of each event sexy yet consistent.
The first design uses black as the main primary color, and sequentially the first three hues from the pairing foundation we came up with for the 3 other primary colors.
The second design uses a darker hue from the foundation color palette as the main primary color. It then incorporates white, another hue from the existing corresponding palette, and a complementary color as the other three primary colors. The "complementary color" here, can be used as a highlighting or callout tool in final designs, web ads, etc.
The last two concepts, are further iterations of the second design, yet they use either grey or black as the main primary to allow color to be used for meaning and callouts in future branding, rather than having it as the main (and a bit overwhelming) primary/ background coloring.
About a year ago, I created a logo for my friend's photography business. Lydia Yekalam wanted a unique mark that represented the style of her photos, yet simplistic enough to not distract from their beauty. Her original mark, which is featured in my portfolio, is structured and iconic. I used her initials (LY), to make up the shape of a camera, which gives her business a subtle personality within a sharp identity.
Recently, Lydia came to me in need of a mark to pair with this one; something a little more versatile for her blog. She wanted a more hand-written, textural look that could identify with her writing style. When I begun researching and curating a mood board, I was looking at everything from modernist blogs, to textile designer and illustrator portfolios. I started playing with watercolor, cursive handwriting, and san-serif typefaces. These elements worked best, especially when tying into her photo style. I came to her with the following designs:
The final touch included adding "Third Space Blog" under her name, which was where I was able to pull in the typeface from her original mark, so that the two were different, but consistent. I am so excited for Lydia's success in her photography business, and for her to begin blogging about her new creative findings.
PS. If you want to see her photos of me, click here ;)
For designers, ideas for new personal projects always seem to exist, and if we’re lucky (and have the time), some of these ideas can become truly great. Yet, too often these concepts are never completely carried out as we get too busy or burned out in our daily or professional lives to act on our own inspirations.
Stefan Sagmeister – one of the most successful, innovative and talented graphic designers of our time – figured out how to make the pursuit of personal creative passions a reality.
Recently, I was lucky enough to visit “The Happy Show,” Sagmeister’s North American touring exhibit (and soon-to-be movie) about happiness at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) in Vancouver, B.C. In the exhibit, Sagmeister explains how and why he takes a year-long sabbatical once every seven years to travel the world and enrich himself with fresh ideas and creative inspirations that he can implement into new design explorations.
While he initially spent these sabbaticals making furniture for his studio, he soon realized that he needed to discover something more if he was going to justify taking a full year off from work. So Sagmeister became set on discovering something much bigger: training the mind to be happy.
Sagmeister began his research by traveling, making art and talking to locals. Throughout this entire experience, he took detailed notes to capture his observations about what made people happy — creating an extended research project that came to fruition with “The Happy Show.”
When I entered the exhibit at MOV, I was immediately drawn to a window covered in sticky notes, where visitors had written what makes them happy. To the right of this window, there was an area displaying objects that represented good things, reminders and memories. The first room also featured 10 giant gumball machines. On a scale of 1-10, participants could take one piece from a machine they felt matched their happiness level, creating an interactive bar chart. Other walls of the room featured a collection of infographics with information and statistics about what makes people happiest in their relationships, jobs and cultures.
Sagmeister’s speeches played on screens throughout the exhibit, along with his incredible “real life” plays with typography that explored powerful words, sentences and phrases in different mediums.
My favorite room, by far, was the largest motion piece room. Three of its four walls were projected with growing and morphing typography pieces and other motion/video projects that Sagmeister created during his explorations.
The fourth (and most impressive) wall was a giant neon sign that was illuminated by participants riding a stationary bike. The sign cycled through four parts, spelling out, “Actually doing the things … I set out to do increases … my overall level of satisfaction … Seek discomfort.”
In the last room of “The Happy Show,” there was a large 3-D type installation that said “STEP UP TO IT,” which appeared to be moving because of the rotating lines projected onto the block-like letters.
This illusion in itself was intriguing, but it wasn’t until I noticed a frame with a camera in front of it that I saw the extent to which this installation went. The camera somehow detected how big your smile was and then changed the rotating projection lights from grey to flashing rainbow colors. I later stumbled upon this video of how it was made:
Sagmeister’s exhibit was not only an exciting and inspiring interactive experience, but it got me thinking about how to pursue happiness in my own life. To marry your passion (whether that be for art, nature, children, travel, science, etc.) with your everyday life is probably one of the most difficult, but rewarding, perspectives to have. I cannot wait for more people to experience this exhibit, and for the film to inspire others as it did me.
When the surrealist movement began in the early 1920's, the main focus was to bring the dream world into the real world; to make the illogical and strange thoughts of our subconscious not so hidden in society. Though the movement begun in Paris, the Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico was the main influence of the surrealist development. De Chirico was Italian but he was born and taught in Greece in his early years and worked most of his artist life in Florence, Milan, Germany, Paris, and Rome. One of de Chirico's main themes in his paintings was placing odd and curious symbols juxtaposed next to each other and this then led the surrealist group stylistically. However, the difference between many of Chirico's paintings and other surrealist works, is that most of the surrealist artists focused on the dreamworld and awakening the subconscious, whereas a lot of the paintings by de Chirico incorporated classical influences from the past, or symbols pertaining to Greek mythology (stemming from his birthplace). For example, in de Chirico's "The Soothsayer's Recompense," he used exaggerated color and perspective to show a "sleeping Ariadne, who according to Greek mythology was abandoned by her lover on the desert island of Naxos" in the middle of a deserted Italian piazza (Philadelphia Museum of Art). Though the subjects themselves in this painting are a little more realistic than lets say, Dali's meting clocks in "The Persistence of Memory," they are nonetheless unrealistic in their conflicting moods and background, and use of color and sharpness. This painting in particular is a little less "photo-realistic" than the other surrealist paintings as well, for the sharp shadows and paint strokes that are seen within the darker areas of the painting are much more harsh and unrealistic (there are even black outlines around where the shadows end). Further, the perspective seems to be much more flat. Though we can see that the train, building, and brick wall are in the background, it is not as much because of the perspective drawing aspect, but more because of his use of simple scaling. Though the style and subject matter may be not as close to surrealist work as some of his other paintings, The Soothsayer's Recompense most definitely carries the curious quality that surrealism entails. The foreground is quiet, empty, and obvious, whereas behind the brick wall, the world looks new (for that time), and the use of steam and transportation contrasts drastically with the greek sculpture in the foreground. If it were not for the background of this image (and the coloring and style of course), this work could have easily passed as a landscape painting based on greek times. The train, palm trees, clock, and even the little flags, lend a more juxtaposed and interesting perspective on the subject. Giorgio de Chirico no doubt influenced the surrealist painters and movement dramatically, but his ideology stemmed from something a little less tapped into the dream/sub-concoious world, and was more concerned with classical background and symbols.
Although Giorgio Mordani himself may have not been involved in the Minimalist movement of the 1960s and 70s, he most definitely inspired it. Post World War II, the Abstract Expressionist artists took over America with their unconstrained, involuntary works representing the individual artists' physical expression. The reaction to this movement which then took over the minds and forms of American artists in mostly the sixties and seventies, was a movement called Minimalism. This movement was much more about the physical space, breaking things down into their most simplistic nature, and giving the audience or viewers credit in experiencing the work, instead of the artist. Though Giorgio Mordani, a famous artist in the Italian art world was known for mostly his work which fell into the futurism, cubism, and then metaphysical painting movements, he was also most famous for his still life paintings. The vases and bowls which he painted most often slowly changed into looking less and less like objects on a table and eventually represented the overall shape which presented a space and possible mood, but not much more in its content, deeper meaning, or expression. Minimalism, which focused on the materials of the works and was constantly trying to move away from using metaphors in the pieces what so ever, was influenced by Mordani's use of shape and powerful form instead of the unorganized and expressive abstract expressionism at the time. Mordani striped away the inessential, leaving a different and less complicated aspect to everyday life. Though his still life objects were real objects we may see on a table at our home (a vase, bowl, glass, etc.) they are so simple and minimal that they leave room for the viewer to see what they want in the negative space, in the form, and in the overall essence, instead of blinding and overwhelming us with feeling and splatters. The most famous minimalist artists in America, such as Tony Smith, Donald Judd, and even Sol LeWitt, definitely approached their minimalist work in a completely different manner than the Italian Giorgio Mordani set the tone for. However, their sculptures and use of space and material exhibit many of the same key ideas that Mordani featured in his still life paintings, and were no doubt influenced by his minimalist conception. The most obvious impact that Mordani had on minimalist artists was his desire to breakdown the traditional meaning behind sculpture and paintings and instead to erase that distinction. Though the still life works created by Mordani, were paintings and not sculptures, they exhibited the same amount of indistinction between the two as some of the most famous works of minimalist sculpture in america did. This sense of time and space is exhibited in the most simple and raw-like form, line, and color (or lack thereof). Giorgio Mordani not only set up minimalist artists for an entire movement based on simplicity and the ability to let the viewer notice physical space, but he created beautiful forms in painting that created a bridge between two mediums and cultures.
While researching for the capstone project I have been working on for the past quarter, I found many non-profits which work with people who have anxiety disorder, or high stress levels. However, these non-profits are focused on categorizing stress-like disorders, rather than people who may not necessarily be diagnosed with anything, but instead could use help and reminders in their daily lives to overcome stress. I have learned through many articles and design-thinking reading in general though, that finding different purposes to fit specific needs is nothing to stray away from even if it may seem more abstract in the beginning stages. Through interviews, research, and cycles of several iterations consisting of ideas to help put this concept in the most beneficial context, you are able to find solutions you never thought would work so well. There is a huge part of the design community that is passionate social change, and this in itself gives us as designers the opportunity to take these thoughts we have and share them with others who have the same desire to use visual (or audible or tactile) designs to change and shape people in a positive direction. The book I created for this project includes four sections (mind, move, food, and friends), which were decided upon after conducting interviews about what helps those who are stressed. This final product though, could have been pushed and changed and been even better with a team of other creative minds. People like those at desigNYC or DIY which both combine design and helping others, ideas which cater towards the greater good of people and communities, are places where helping others through creativity happens everyday. "desigNYC is a nonprofit 501©(3) that aims to improve the lives of New Yorkers through the power of design by connecting designers with nonprofits serving the public good, and then revealing the impact of those partnerships through great storytelling." DIY consists of a toolkit which is designed "for development practitioners to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver best results."
In the 1960's and 70's when artists were taking a radical turn in Modern Art, the Italian art critic Germano Celant coined the term Arte-Povera, meaning quite literally "poor art". This term was not necessarily related to the money spent creating the artwork however, but moreover the work of anti-materialists that fell into this category (according to Celant). Common artists who demonstrated Arte Povera included Giovanni Anselmo, Luciano Fabro, Giuseppe Penone, along with several others. They "found vitality as well as metaphysical import in every kind of common, even perishable material...and chose to present rather than represent it" (Hunter, Jacobus, Wheeler, Modern Art). While in italy, the museum I visited most often was the GAM (Gallery of Modern and Contemporary art in Turin). One exhibit I remember my professor talking about extensively while on a tour, (probably because it was very close to her, being that it took place in the museum 45 years earlier), was an exhibition called "Fluxus alla Gam" curated by Maria Teresa Roberto. "Fluxus" was a type of "anti-art" of the time, which usually combined several different mediums into one piece. This work was a one time installment which took place on April 26, 1967 and resulted in a mark on a long roll of paper created by a man being drug on his head to create it. The other installation was when he tied himself with a bunch of different strings attached to different parts of the room, and had people come and observe. These events were part of a three day event "Concert Fluxus art total",which included actions and concerts of music. The idea of this kind of "anti-art" was to be in the instant of the event and for that reason, this piece is much more about the moment in time in which this event happened, and less about the outcome of the piece after the fact. However, these artifacts become something interesting in themselves, and something we as viewers are able to hold onto and try to understand though we may never have the full experience of being there at the happening. "The performative dimension thus entered for the first time in the museum, according to the principles of a Fluxus art practice widespread, collective, aimed at denying the principles of originality and authorship." This piece and Fluxus, Anti-art, and Arte-Povera in general were crucial movements in defining what art is. This was the beginning of the transition from modern to contemporary art, for the re-definition of what art is, is an ongoing question even today.
Hunter, Sam, and John M. Jacobus. Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. 2nd ed. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1985. Print.
Though there have been several articles I have read this quarter that are formed around design research, the proposal written by Meredith Davis, the Director of Graduate Programs in Graphic Design at NC State University, talks about the research process as it relates to the design education system, rather than just the overall research system. I have seen many different circle-like plans and how-to's that are formed around explaining what to do when approaching the research process before or during making design decisions. However, the thought training that is needed in order to execute these sort of processes is not always just picked up in the work force, nor is it directly taught alongside learning the fundamentals of graphic design while in school. The importance of being able to configure how exactly your audience is going to use a final design, and what benefits the look or content can do on it's own are critical when approaching the design world. Davis makes a strong and interesting point when she explains the difference between research "focuse[d] on the subject matter of their design" compared to "the characteristics of users or context." This hit home not because of the way my professors have guided my learning in design school, but because of the way I have thought of design research as a tool to look at the background of my subject instead of the use of the product at hand. Whether it be the instinct my fellow classmates and I have about education or not, this research distinction between background and use is something that should be clarified in order to move forward with more strategic and beneficial designs. The final outcome of graphic look will continue to be irrelevant unless the user and purpose is taken into consideration and helps to fully shape the way the project is formed. The easiest way I could picture this difference is as it relates to a Homelessness project my classmates and I worked on last quarter in our information design class. We spent weeks gathering background information, statistics, interviews, etc. but our final output was always going to be the same: two posters, and a motion graphic video. Could some other end product been more successful? The research testing for what the outcome would be could have taken just as long if not longer than the background research. But the end product or design as far as how helpful it could be in making a difference in the community, could have been worth that extra testing. Davis, Meredith. "Building a Culture of Design Research." SEGD (2012). SEGD. SEGD Academic Summit. Web. 1 Jan. 2015. <https://segd.org/building-culture-design-research-0>.
When I visited the Palazzo Reale di Milano in June 2013, I saw several Picasso and Braque cubist paintings that displayed the signature edgy and dimensional look that Cubism is known to exhibit. Some of the Picasso and Braque pieces were actually difficult to tell apart because of their similar look and use of natural muddy tones. In contrast to these more dull color schemes though, displayed close by, were the works of the Italian futurist painter, Umberto Boccioni. Two of the paintings I snapped a quick photo of, were his Studio-di-testa, La Madre (Study of a head, Mother) and Donna al caffè : Compenetrations di luci e Planes (Woman in a Café: Compenetrations of Lights and Planes). Futurism, being an analytical branch of Cubism, means that paintings were drawn from real life models or observations. The basic shapes, colors, and interpretations of Futurist paintings are created from taking real life subjects and finding their core forms and tones, usually resulting in very geometric and monochromatic paintings. These two particular paintings by Boccioni are actually much more colorful than most Futurist works, both incorporating more colors than the usual monochromatic color schemes seen in this movement. In Study of a Head, Mother the colors are not extremely saturated, but that may just be because of the faded canvas background. However, the use of color on the face is much warmer and realistic than the colors in those in his Woman in a Café. Study of a Head, Mother is no doubt categorized as an analytic Futurist painting because of it's simplified forms of the cheeks, eyes, hair, and body of this elder woman, but I must say that the colors most definitely seem more realistic than most other futurist paintings. The face is warm and bright, like skin, and though the hair and body are darker and blue, their tones give a realistic contrast to the skin tone. The woman herself also has emotion in her face and posture that is much more readable than the other Futurist paintings of the time which exhibit less emotion, and more focus on movement, and basic shape. The Woman in a Café: Compenetrations of Lights and Planes, on the other hand, is a more mainstream example of Futurism. It's less realistic color scheme and strong feeling of movement are more established in the Futurism movement overall. Though after reading the name of this piece, one may be able to make out the face of a woman, and maybe even a coffee table (and sugar cube tray?) it is much more difficult to make out what these shapes represent, and the overall movement, aura, and mood of this piece are more evident. That being said, seen from an analytical viewpoint, this painting makes much more sense, for Analytical Futurism was also known to focus on examining something in its entirety, not just as it looks like in real life. In this way, once knowing the name of this piece, one can feel more of an overall essence of this woman in this place and time. Boccioni's futurist works are extremely interesting in that they exhibit two very different approaches to the movement, both created within (at most) two years of one another.
When in Italy in the summer of 2013, I saw many expressionist, impressionist, cubist, and futurist paintings throughout several modern art museums. Though all of these movements took place throughout the same two to three decades, they have differences that are sometimes hard to decipher unless you know some history on the particular movement, painting or artist. Through looking back on some of the photos I took while abroad, I found several paintings that were done in the early 1900's, yet they mimicked some post-impressionism qualities. A painting done by Francesco Menzio, titled "Ritratto in Bleu" (Portrait in Blue), was sitting among some surrealist, cubism, and futurism paintings. What I found most interesting about this painting in regards to it's time period, is how much transition it reflects. It undoubtably displays impressionist qualities such as the brush strokes, and use of color with the blue shadows, and minimal color mixing, and it gives a strong emphasis on mood rather than subject matter. The colors are very cold and bright, yet the facial features, body, hat, vase, and table are not exceptionally detailed. When the war ended in 1918, there was a "Return to Order" movement, which was a time after the war when surrealism and futurism was rejected, and returning to traditional styles was favored. However, many artists (and especially Menzio who was just getting started in his painting career post-war), were still transitioning between post-impression and fauvism where new uses of color and light were being explored, but the impressionist strokes were still embraced and the desire to put a certain respect and importance on artist expression was highly sought after.
Francesco Menzio was an Italian artist who's paintings were deeply influenced by both post-impressionism and the impressionist painters before him, after he came back to Turin from Paris in 1928. He was born in 1899 in Sardinia, an island off the west coast of Italy, from a Piedmontese family. He moved to Turin with his family at the age of 13. After the first world war (which he was in), he began his painting career. He visited Felics Casorati's gallery often, who was a prominently realist painter, but he lived in Paris for some time in his life as well, where he met and continued to be influenced by some Impressionist painters. Menzio changed from a more traditional style to a more expressive one when he, along with several other artists who had interest in french painting, formed the Gruppo di Sei (Group of Six) in 1928. These six artists felt that "intellectual freedom against the dictatorship" was of the utmost importance when it came to art, along with it being "a way to express critic and ethic autonomy." (MAG Como, Francesco Menzio Biography).
Noble and Bestley's introduction to design research methodologies was an interesting read in which the process for designing something that visually communicates a message, is put into a step by step ideation of how to go about finding and creating the most successful final piece. The first instinct for most designers or people in general, is to eliminate and find the exact end result ideas as soon as possible. However, in a successful process, the practical problem that is trying to be solved needs to be thought of in a broader sense. Once the problem/idea is addressed, you can then generate research questions, which will define the research methodology to find the research outcome, which then solves the original problem. Through this cycle of research, relating the content to competing messages is important so that if there is a visual language that has already been created for your particular audience it can either be followed or recognized so that a new visual language is created. Cost and time restrictions are also an important aspect to look at before hand, and this may play a part in the scheduling for experimentation. This brings us to the section on experimentation and how to go about investigating. Context-definition is a model that purely investigates a field of study, where as context-experiement starts with investigating a field, but then uses experimentation to take the redefinition of a project into a more particular focus, sooner. Both of these methods should help find the visual route and end product which is most "effective, useful or engaging" for the purpose. To do this, social analysis' (whether they are measured by criteria/ positive and negative number results or the designer using critical self-reflection), is critical. What interested me at the end of this reading, was the section on mind mapping and the case study reflection titled "I love you." When addressing an audience of any kind, no matter what the research guides you toward specifically, there is an embedded aspect of human kind that responds to the way maps convey direction and sense-making, and the way symbols create different visual meanings based on their shape, color, size, etc. These visual variables studied by designers, are what create a successful visual communication, if done correctly. The research is at the core, and the background is what develops these visual outcomes, but in the end, basic human understanding of symbolism and mapping is how the project's successful execution is created.
Noble, Ian, and Russell Bestley. "Methods." Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design. Lausanne: AVA, 2005. N. pag. Print.
Neoclassicism is one of the first movements in modern art, and stemming from the french revolution, it greatly reflects the style of classical paintings. However, most neoclassical art is so heavily influenced by this style, because during this time period, human kind was being re-looked at as sinful and much less perfect than previously. Therefor, highly influenced by the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, imitating the extrordinary, perfect, and historical classicism was the only way to "become great" again.Two years ago, I spent the summer in Turin (or Torino), Italy where I took a Modern and Contemporary art class. I traveled to museums in Milan, Florence, and Rome. Because Italy is so well known for its older art, it was interesting to compare the classical art of the 14th to 17th centuries to the re-evaluations of them in the neoclassical art of the late 17th and early 18th century. A museum I visited several times in Torino, called the Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea held a lot of modern art pieces, and notably some of the work of Giovanni Fattori. However, most of the work featured during the time I was there, included the later modern movements. It was not until I did a little more research and looked back through my pictures from the museum trips, that I was able to find an example of the neoclassical sculpture I had remembered most, which was created by an Italian artist. Antonia Canova's Saffo (Erma di Saffo), which means Herma of Sappho, is a bust sculpture made of marble, of the Ancient Greek lyrical poet, Sappho. Though this sculpture was made in the early 19th century, it has an undeniable classical perfection influence. Sappho was known to write poetry obtaining to love by both genders, and was born on the island of Lesbos, known to be where the word Lesbian stemmed from. Sculptures and Hermas like this one, were created in the fourth and fifth centuries BC. When in Italy I visited the Vatican, Uffizi Gallery, and other museums where classical greek sculptures (or roman copies of them) were prominent throughout. To see a reinterpretation of there style, which looked so much more clean, crisp, and yet delicate gave a sense of what the marble used for the greek and roman classical sculptures looked like long ago. However, a notable difference I saw in Canova's Saffo when compared to the classical influences, was the simplicity and calm look on her face. The perfection and essence of beauty is deeply rooted in the classical greek influence that neoclassicism was known for, but the innocent, pure, light, and airy look about Saffo shows less bold-ness than it's past influences. Canova was known for his light and airy look about his sculpture, which carries even into one of his most famous works, Perseus with the Head of Medusa, which is at the Vatican. Even this piece, which represents a famous slaughter in Greek mythology, a heroic and elegant take is shown in his reworking of this historical and repeated sculpture.
After reading Brown and Wyatt's Design Thinking for Social Innovation, I quickly connected this idea of thinking through the user's actual needs first, as a similar process to what I have been using to come to the final ideation of the last few projects I have worked on in class. Whether it is information design, an app, or some sort of program used for people to obtain clean water in a foreign country, thinking about the process of the user is a vital aspect. It is easy for designers to jump into not only visual aspects of a design or product, but even the overall idea because of assumptions and habit. However, once the users process is taken into consideration, this is when the product obtains it's highest amount of usage. This article and its explanation of the "design thinking" process, is reflected currently in a program my classmates and I are testing out for our capstone class. Helium, which is currently in beta, is a program that allows professionals and students alike to make decisions and have conversations based off of poles, ideas, collaborations, and charts, all in one place. Though I have not used it extensively, our class is currently testing it for a project. As the "users" in Artefact's design thinking process, we are responsible for sending our feedback of this product in order to improve it's user experience. Our feedback is a direct reflection of how design thinking, even in the prototype stage, leaves room for constant improvement and consideration of the user. Good products, no matter how beautiful they look, only truly last if the user is able to seamlessly use them in a productive and uninterrupted manner. IDEO, who created this "design thinking" process explains this method as something which is "about empathy for people and for disciplines beyond one’s own. It tends to be expressed as openness, curiosity, optimism, a tendency toward learning through doing, and experimentation." (Design Thinking For Social Innovation, 34). This informational design piece below, by Curiousity Design Research, though not completely parallel with the steps described in IDEO's Human Centered Design Toolkit, allows us to quickly grasp this detailed and thoughtful mechanism of design.
Brown, Tim, and Jocelynn Wyatt. "Design Thinking For Social Innovation." Stanford Social Innovation Review (2010): 31-35. Print.
Though I have looked into map design in previous posts, this week I took a closer look into why information design has varied in it's execution since the beginning. When I was studying at Fuel Coffee in Wallingford this week, I was looking through a bunch of old maps they had on a shelf, when I stumbled upon an extremely illustrative guide map of all the attractions in Connecticut. As an art piece I found it to be extremely interesting and beautiful, yet, as far as info design is concerned, I found it to be a bit busy and complicated to dissect. When quickly browsing through to find which attractions were represented by each illustration, I was easily distracted by the various other pictures. Nevertheless, a sort of child like instinct drew me in to begin with, and it most definitely held my attention. This interest pushed me towards wanting to find the attractions' descriptions on the chart above it. I thought bringing in Vignelli's famous subway map, was a considerable contrast to this attraction map. It shows how much infographic maps have varied even when the idea of infographics was fairly new. Vignette's classic, strict, mathematical, and color-coded design is easy to understand. It creates a quick first read, and allows the information to become much less fussy and more constructive. That being said, there is something about the illustrative approach that adds a sense of interest and liveliness to mapping. Should we place a stronger importance on good, grid-like, swiss design or should interest and illustration play just as important of a role? No matter what, just like long ago, I believe we will continue to see diverse variations in design for years to come.
This infographic about the Titanic shows that time, statistics, and comparisons can be used even when representing a single point in time or an event. Visually, there is a lot of depth in the main focus of the graphic (the ship), which acts not only as a subject, but creates a story throughout the piece. In the bottom right, the chronology of sinking remains depth-like in the use of 3d space on the 2d poster. This depth is extremely useful because of what information it is portraying. However, in other parts of the poster, such as the bottom right, where the ship is being dissected, a flat design plays a bigger role. I contrasted this infographic which is very diverse and broken up against a very straightforward, combined infographic that has much less variety. Though I think there is validity to both of these approaches, I think that they serve different purposes and are therefore use different methods. The infographic on the right which compares education versus employment, does a very good job as still remaining separation and diversity through color, yet collectively allows the audience to quickly glance and find what they are looking for. In the titanic infographic, though the information is interesting to look around, it is more difficult to scan through and find what you are looking for. However, content again comes into play when it comes to this comparison, because in an informational poster about the titanic, one may not be sure what they are looking for in the first place, so it is okay if the poster is a little more fun and broken up.
This week I wanted to contrast two vastly different infographics in order to show how there is not a singular way to effectively display groups of information, and yet how storytelling seems to consistently play a role. In the first infographic shown, the frequency of blood groups in the Singapore donor population is shown in a red "droplet" made of paper. The information has a sort of "key" around the top, which still plays a role in the overall story. It is effective in giving us percentages in this key, and then visually displaying the information in the interesting graphic that gives us a quick-glance idea of what these different percentages look like when compared to one another. The information in this infographic is separated only by color, yet is effective in making the group visual still be distinctive. The coffee infographic on the other hand, which shows the different kinds of coffee served at Starbucks, is much more separated and distinctive in terms of space, yet the colors are consistent and do not play a role in showing the variety in drinks.The color is used to distinguish what is milk, foam, espresso, water, etc., but scale and shape is used to show the difference in each drink. Though this particular poster does have more words and explanation, it could have been just as effective with using a simplistic key to distinguish what each drink has, as the blood type poster uses. Both of these examples, though different in the way they use their "keys" distinguish differences while still showing consistency and togetherness.
Whether it be a map or a set of data, information is harder to present graphically than it looks. Though both of these examples may look a bit boring at first glance, they are carefully thought out in order to make sure that the viewers will be able to obtain the information in the most successful and efficient way possible. The first photo was taken in downtown Gig Harbor, WA and displays a map intended for the boater audience. Because fisherman or boaters most likely need a chart that can quickly show them what they need to know, the key in the corner makes it so that they can easily find places to fill up on gas, where they can stay overnight, and parks. The icons may not be the most creative or beautiful, yet sometimes when the goal is efficiency, simplicity wins over interest. In the second graphic, I really liked the way they approached the hierarchy. The chart shows what people who graduated with a bachelor's degree in visual and performing arts go into for their careers post- college. The thicker lines leading to the other half of the circular graph represent a larger portion of people, and the thinner lines suggest a smaller amount. In this case, most people who graduated with an art degree of some sort DID end up going into the "Arts and Entertainment" occupations, and the thinnest lines show us that very little when into the physical science field or into construction. This split graph allows us to easily flow from one side to the next, while still feeling an overall sense of whole-ness. This graphic is successful not only in its it's visual information execution, but in the overall feeling it gives from its natural and non-harsh shape qualities.
Map - Downtown Gig Harbor, made by Bri Communications College Majors vs. Occupation Groups - Found on fastcodesign.com, made with the U.S. Census Bureau's dat, Dikiiy // Shutterstock