Monday, February 28, 2011

Typography II - Journal Entry #4


Don’t clean your desk.
You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

Visionary and world-leading innovator Bruce Mau is the Chief Creative Officer of Bruce Mau Design. Clients of his Chicago and Toronto studios include Coca-Cola, McDonald's, MTV, Arizona State University, Miami's American Airlines Arena, New Meadowlands Stadium, Frank Gehry, Herman Miller, Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus, and the feature length documentary The 11th Hour. Since founding his studio in 1985, Mau has used design and optimism to originate, innovate, and renovate businesses, brands, products, and experiences.

Bruce Mau is recognized as an author and publisher of award-winning books, including the celebrated Zone Books series and S,M,L,XL in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas. Now viral, Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth guides thousands with his articulation of design strategies and motivations for unleashing creativity. His newest book, The Third Teacher (Abrams Books, April 2010), which he and his studio co-authored with OWP/P Architects and VS Furniture, features a collection of 79 ways that design can transform teaching and learning for children to thrive in tomorrow’s world.

Inspired by the conviction that the future demands a new breed of designer, Mau founded the Institute without Boundaries -- a groundbreaking studio-based postgraduate program. This became the engine for Massive Change, an ambitious travelling exhibition, publication, and educational program series on the power and possibility of design. In recent years, Mau led ¡GuateAmala!, a project in collaboration with business and cultural leaders of Guatemala, to galvanize action and realize a positive future for their country.

Award highlights in Mau’s distinguished career include the Louise Blouin Foundation’s Creative Leadership Award, the AIGA Gold Medal for Communication Design, and being named the Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Bruce Mau is also the feature of the recently released book GLIMMER: How Design Can Transform Your Life and Maybe Even the World (Penguin Press) by Warren Berger. Through his work, Mau seeks to prove that the power of design is boundless, and has the capacity to bring positive change on a global scale. Working with his team of designers, clients and collaborators throughout the world, Mau continues to pursue life’s big question, “Now that we can do anything, what will we do?”

**I think that Mau's work is a PRIME example of Iconographic material that we have been learning about. It is innovative, recognizable and WELL-KNOWN, and his work is something to be admired and revered.**


I chose Mantra #25: Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

I chose this mantra because I think this is one a lot of young, learning, designers and guilty of breaking. We get so hooked on reaching that final goal that we hurriedly trash any other routes that may be open to us. If we would just stop and look at all the process we've gone through thus far maybe doing so would make the journey to that final goal more efficient, effective and overall FUN!

Typography II - Journal Entry #3

Stefan Sagmeister shares happy design.

Sagmeister shares his thoughts on the difference between design the visually displays happiness and design that actually EVOKES happiness in the viewer. An example of visually happy design would be an image of a smile or of a physical act that makes people happy, but to actually evoke happiness without simply displaying it is more difficult. One example he used was from a designer in New York who replaced all of the warning signs in a subway car with new, "happier" ones that had cute little messages on them geared towards making people cheer up. Another example was from another New York designer who plopped blank speech bubbles onto random walls throughout the community and let anybody fill in text. How Fun!!

A question I would have for Sagmeister is how he goes about pulling his thoughts and work AWAY from the computer. Techniques? Habits? Anything...?

The man seems very organized and well-planned. A lot of his works are based off of lists he has made, which is an AWESOME exercise to do before setting out on a design. This organization leads to his spontaneous and intelligent creativity and, I believe, bolsters his popularity.

I watched the Theo Jenson and JJ Abrahms videos and they both had awesome stuff to offer. Theo's video displayed how a career in design can really have an impact on society and have a larger effect on people that I could have ever dreamed. His invention, "the next wheel" looks like it is going to go places and bring about new age technology! JJ Abrahms video showed how many different influences a designer can draw from. Talking about his youth and the fascinations instilled in him by his grandfather really got to me. It showed that the creative mind never stops creating, and it knows no age, race, gender or what-have you. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homework - Feb. 23rd 2011

ARTICLE: "On Creativity."

AUTHOR: Andy Rutledge

WHY SO IMPORTANT?: Andy Rutledge is a principal at Unit Interactive in Plano, Texas. When not working, biking, or banging on the piano, he’s usually found ranting about design or professionalism on his personal site, Design View.

SUMMARY: The article discusses the legitimacy of creativity in a designer's work and reveals the common misconceptions about creativity. Creativity itself is the application of design to solve a problem and has little to nothing to do with overt self expression. Anyone can make something or make something up from scratch but can they do it with purpose, can the do it to solve the issue, or will they end up saying “sorry?” If one can adopt these techniques then one can call him/herself creative.


1. As designers, our creative efforts are judged—and rightly so.

2. Creativity has nothing at all to do with self-expression or flamboyancy. Aside from the simple ability to create things, the most important feature of creativity is a highly developed perception filter that is somewhat less common than we’re led to believe.

3. f you are a designer worth your salt, you know that no design project begins with creativity. Instead, it begins with client- and/or context-specific discovery, and lots of research to help you understand the fundamental nature of the challenges at hand.

4. Any reference to constraints that limit creativity is just another way of equating creativity with self-expression, an erroneous and irresponsible idea.

5. Constraints are a designer’s best friend. They’re signposts, not shackles. In a sense, constraints amount to the solution half-built. It is merely up to us to then realize the other half according to what these signposts indicate is appropriate. Nowhere in this concept does self-expression find any valid foothold.

6. art of a designer’s job is to show people what they want before they know they want it, and our success in doing so is based largely on our intuitive abilities.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Typography II - Journal Entry #2

Dieter Ram's: ten principles of good design.

Ram's take on the success level of a design is based predominantly on the connection it establishes with the user/viewer. His rules list that good design must be innovative, useful, understandable and unobtrusive. All of these qualities have a direct user effect and make for a more enjoyable and friendlier experience with a design/product. This experience and interaction with the consumer is of up-most importance, but the design must also maintain a certain level of aesthetic value, honesty, timelessness, friendliness and simplicity in order to be considered GOOD design. If a design meets all of these requirement then it will easily cross the dividing line between (simply) effective design and good design.

Don Norman: three ways good design makes you happy.

Don Norman used to be concerned solely on the functionality of a design and thought that the overall value of a specific design we reflected in that functionality and how well it performed it. Since, however, he has grown to have a deep fascination with the aesthetic quality in design and has discovered that EMOTION brought on by "pretty" qualities in design can lead to better understanding and functionality in products. Certain emotions cause certain stimulating brain activity in many different ways that can effect the perception and usage of a design, and he reiterates that the way a design LOOKS is just as important as the way it is used and functions.

Question: What pivotal moment drew you to this new-found interest in the aesthetic and beautiful qualities in design? Can you offer advice to those of us that wish to view design from BOTH standpoints (functional and beautiful)?

What is a Graphic Designer?

When I tell people that I'm majoring in Visual Communication and plan on becoming a Graphic Designer they usually nod their heads and tell me how cool it sounds, but then they confess that they have no idea what a Graphic Designer really does...

One of the most popular questions I get asked is what my career options are going to be once I graduate, and the beautiful thing about Graphic Design is that the options are virtually LIMITLESS. However, that statement still leaves people with a lot of unresolved ambiguity, and I've done some research and would like to share some general fields that a designer may find him/herself working in:


Identity Design.

The process of identifying a product, service or organization, identity design is more than simply creating a logo - even if there is nothing simple about that. Through a concise and consistently applied set of elements - colors, typography and other visual cues in unison with a logo - identity designers create a visual system that makes a product, service or organization easily identifiable. The identity can be manifested in business cards, uniforms, marketing materials and other communication materials. Identity design is broadly divided into corporate identity and brand/retail identity. The former specializes in designs for corporations and businesses, while the latter focuses on design meant for direct contact with consumers. In both cases, identity design is an influential aspect of our profession because it generates tangible manifestations of the intangible values of any given product, service or organization, no matter how big or small.

Delta Airlines Logo.

Delta Logo applied to aircraft.



Typically related to consumer products and services - although the same principles apply to corporations and business, even personalities - the goal of branding is to form an overall perception of any product, service or organization in the consumer’s mind thorough a variety of means. These range from the behavior of staff, to the lighting conditions in a store, to the music that plays in a T.V. commercial, to the photography used in a print campaign, to the tone of voice in which something is communicated. Branding is usually the result of collaboration among graphic designers, strategists, researchers and writers where every discipline - web, advertising, public relations, identity design - comes together cohesively to position and deliver the aspirations of a product, service or organization. Successful branding creates positive associations and establishes consistent expectations for the consumer. And, yes, successful branding also generates revenue.

Examples of branding logos.


Collateral Design.

All products, services and organizations must communicate beyond what branding identity and advertising can offer and, in this regard, collateral design can be one of the most varied and active disciplines in Graphic Design. Through an unlimited range of approaches, designers create brochures, pamphlets, manuals, catalogs and annual reports of all sizes, page counts and production techniques, with singular regularity. Ranging from lavish to low-end productions, from oversized to compact, from informational to emotional, collateral design offers infinite communicative and expressive possibilities - maybe too many!

Brochure, letterhead, business cards...


Environmental Design.

Despite its name, environmental design is not necessarily concerned with ecological initiatives; instead, it refers to the application of design to a specific environment. Whether in service of a museum, an airport, a train or subway station, an amusement park, a movie theater, a shopping mall, or an entire neighborhood, environmental design aids and enriches the way in which the destination is experienced, navigated and understood. Taking the shape of directional or informational signage (or wayfinding systems), exhibit design, retail or restaurant graphics, and even interior decoration, among other manifestations, this discipline provides a rich output for design as it interacts with the built environment and benefits from the diversity of materials and textures in which it can be produced in various scales - any environmental designer will tell you that Helvetica Bold (or any other typeface) is much more amazing when specified in feet rather than points.

PCBC 2008 - San Francisco, CA, USA

PCBC 2008 - San Francisco, CA, USA

PCBC 2008 - San Francisco, CA, USA



The intricate difficulties of creating cohesive systems of dozens of icons that must communicate and extensive amount of varying information in a unified style and with the least number of visual elements possible makes iconography a rare specialty. Icons are developed for a range of applications - user interfaces for computers or handheld devices, software applications, instructional manuals, warning signs on equipment, signage, weather information, and more - and must be adaptable to the various mediums in which they are deployed, from pixels based graphics on a wrist watch to metal-cast identifiers in an airport. Iconography plays a major role in large graphic programs as well, like the Olympics Games, or a zoo, because no one likes to confuse fencing for javelin throwing or bears with lemurs.

Popular computer-based icons.

The apps on your Iphone are all icons that were designed by someone!


Information Design.

While designers manage and organize information in every project, one specific discipline deals with presenting complex information - statistics, research, findings, data comparison, forms and more - in the most efficient and easily understood way as possible. Through innovative, allusive and engaging diagrams, charts, graphs, iconography and illustration or photography, information design visually presents facts, figures and data that aid in the understanding of any given topic. Typically used in editorial contexts, as supporting elements in newspapers, magazines and journals, information design thrives in the interactive realm. The Internet has fostered a new breed of information design that can parse both live and static data from various sources and present a dynamic view of how this data is changing and evolving by the second. With the added layer of user interactivity, information design can now engage users in ways few other disciplines can.

Political infographic.

Workforce infographic.


Editorial Design.

Shaping the layout and pacing of magazines, newspapers and books - items bought, read and collected by millions of people - across dozens to hundreds of pages in collaboration with editors, writers, photographers, illustrators and information designers is the task of editorial designers. With newspapers and magazines the challenge and joy is to create unique layouts under a consistent style, governed by strict grids, and determined by impending deadlines. For books, the schedule may seem more relaxed, but the demands of extensive content, the need for consistent pacing and the imperative to maintain an even visual execution that permits the material inside to be the protagonist provide the framework for book designers. Regardless of the end product, one goal is constant in editorial design: To design successful hierarchy of of information punctuated by bold graphic treatments - like a double-page, full-bleed photograph, to mention one example - that lead readers from beginning to end, maintaining their attention and sparking their curiosity.

Full magazine spread with illustration.

Half spread with table of contents.


Poster Design.

As a highly celebrated form of design and because of the sheer size of the blank canvas offered, poster design is a coveted endeavor. Whether they are announcing concerts, films, products, or sporting events, or serving causes of activism or public awareness, posters have a tremendous impact and resonance. The poster’s guises: a utilitarian device for conveying information, a provocative voice for calling to action, or a seductive lure for selecting a specific product or service. Included in permanent collections of museums, shown in galleries, and organized in biennales worldwide, posters are ambassadors for the design profession, public beacons of the creative and communicative potential this profession offers.


Packaging Design.

More than other disciplines, packaging is intimately tied with the general consumer because it occupies every moment of almost everyone’s day. It manifests in the endless array of products people purchase or use, from shampoo bottles to milk cartons, paint buckets, soda cans - every conceivable item available for consumption. At its widest application, packaging serves to unify ;large families of products, abiding by strict legal requirements trough consistent visual systems that allow variety (different sizes, flavors, quantities, etc.) and create a unique and recognizable presence on store shelves across regions and even countries. packaging can also serve smaller stores or boutiques through limited-distribution products offering a differentiating identity. Regardless of the volume or reach of any given product, packaging offers the possibility to enrich each design through the use of different materials, finishes and production techniques that interact with the three-dimensional presence of the product. The challenge of packaging, to persuade the consumer to pick the product it embodies over another or a dozen others, is its driving force.

Vitalize fruit beverages.



Interactive Design.

As the youngest discipline, interactive design has been redefining itself since the mid-1990s, evolving energetically along with technology and the growing embrace of the Internet - although interactive work has been practiced since long before the advent of the Internet in the form of interactive kiosks, CD-ROMs, and earlier forms of user interface. While websites may be the most common expression of interactive design, the discipline takes form as user interfaces for electronic equipment (digital cameras, handheld and mobile devices, computers), software applications, electronic ticketing kiosks as onscreen menus for DVDs and cable or satellite guides; and as electronic displays of information. The key to interactive design is consideration for the end-user. The designer focuses on the usability and accessibility of the design, striving for tge least obstructive and most intuitive interaction with the information. Interactive design relies on the collaboration of graphic designers, front-end and back-end programmers, and information architects - or one really smart person who can do all these things.

Web based presentations.

Online navigation and usage.


Motion Graphics.

Affordable, powerful and easy to use software, coupled with an increasing number of output channels - the web, mobile devices, hundreds of T.V. channels, outdoor digital displays, buildings with fancy screens in their lobbies - have brought interest and attention to motion graphics, a discipline practiced as far back as the 1920s. Whether it’s the opening (or closing) titles of a movie or T.V. show, the two-second animation of a logo, the full composition of a short film or music video, the graphics over live-action footage, or the coveted identifiers for T.V. channels, motion graphics thrive in the integration and orchestration of typography, imagery, sound, digital effects, and storytelling with movement and time, allowing designers to take on an exciting and glamourous-sounding role other disciplines don’t offer - director - even if the cast’s biggest star is just Mrs. Eaves.

BBC News Intro.


Information provided by: "Graphic Design Referenced" By: Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit

Monday, February 7, 2011

Audience Personas: THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS.

Quincey is a fourteen year old science fiction enthusiast who loves reading any sort of fantasy material he can get his hands on. He enjoys reading long novels that tell of daring adventures, and dangerous situations that, in reality, Quincey will never find himself. His social life is nothing special, and this is the main reason why his idols are big, burly barbarians in all his adventures novels. These rugged adventurers compensate for his lack for “manly” graces. He wishes to read these novels and adopt some of the qualities of these characters in order to improve his moves and increase charisma, however it often backfires and makes people think he’s even more of a oddball.

Barbara is a forty-three year old mother, living in Kansas with two kids and works hard for her local school district. Her job and family keep her very busy and she rarely ever has a spare moment to sit down and enjoy reading a good book. However when she does get the chance, she loves to read books that take her away from the reality of her busy life and let her mind wander into another world. Fiction books are her reads of choice and she, surprisingly, has managed to complete quite an number of them all while completing all of her budgeting, spreadsheets, presentations and, of course, saturday night dinner.

Richard is a twenty year old college student who has much difficulty filling his free time. He often gets very bored and (as a film major) never seems to have much homework. He likes to fill his time by reading books that inspire his creative mind. He aspires to be the next Leonard Maltin and create the next “Star Wars-esque” movie. Reading all of these different fiction novels help him visualize different cinematic ideas that could potentially help him really this dream and maybe make him millions one day!

Twenty Rules for Making GOOD Design

1. Have a concept.
2. Communicate - Don't decorate.
3. Speak with ONE visual voice.
4. Use TWO typeface families, maximum. OK, maybe three.
5. Use the one, two, punch!
6. Pick colors on purpose.
7. If you can do it with less, then do it!
8. Negative space is magical, CREATE it, don't just fill it up.
9. Treat the type as image, as though it's just as important.
10. Type is only type when it's friendly.
11. Be universal. Remember it's not about you.
12. Squish and Separate.
13. Distribute light and dark like firecrackers and the rising sun.
14. Be decisive. Do it on purpose or don't do it at all.
15. Measure with your eyes - design is VISUAL.
16. Create images, don't scavenge.
17. Ignore fashion. Seriously.
18. Move it! Static equals dull.
19. Look to history, but don"t repeat it!
20. Symmetry is the ultimate evil.

3 RULES: I think are the most important.
#1 - Have a concept. Without a general idea of what you are trying to accomplish and convey to your audience then their is no goal set and no guide to where you want to end up, thus making the journey to that endpoint that much more difficult. So it is best to set a firm concept before even hitting the drawing board.

#11 - Be universal. Remember it's not about you. Your design will have far greater success if it can appeal to many varieties of people. The larger your audience is, the more powerful your work will be!

#14 - Be decisive. Do it on purpose or don't do it at all. Making accurate and appropriate design decisions is key to maintaining a certain level of understanding an overall organization to your work. If the elements of your design are not integral to your concept and desired function of your work, then they are not needed and their presence is doing nothing but hampering the comprehension of your design.

3 RULES: I need more practice with.
#2 - Communicate. Don't decorate. I find that often times I get so caught up with how something "looks" and how "pretty" I can make it. What needs to be my goal is to successfully communicate what I need to while still maintaining aesthetic value.

#16 - Create images, don't scavenge. I have a very bad habit of web-searching to find a lot of my material, and i need to pick up the habit of self illustrating, taking my own photography or (at least) manipulating my found images to give them my own personal spin. ORIGINALITY!

#14 - Be decisive. Do it on purpose or don't do it at all. I, by nature, a very indecisive person. This being said, it makes it hard for me to decide on wether or not i should apply certain elements into my designs and is a giant (AND EFFECTIVE) waste of time.

3 RULES: I want to ignore.
#5 - Use the one, two, punch! This basically means that a design should be immediately recognizable and immediately deciphered by the viewer which is always a good thing when wanting to convey information. Sure. But I don't think it is necessary to ALWAYS follow this method. Sometimes a bit of ambiguity is sexy and a deep, vague, not so easily recognized meaning is fun to ponder.

#17 - Ignore Fashion. Seriously. Although doing everything by what is "hip," "in," and/or "trendy" can grow cliche and predictable, I think that knowing what is popular and well-liked can only help you as a designer and (while you shouldn't MIMIC what is fashionable) I believe that using fashionable inspiration you can be guided in a path that with make your designs stand out and be noticed more than others who ignore the qualities that (at the moment) people find most appealing.

#18 - Move it! Static equals dull. I disagree. Although movement and versatility in design is always a good thing, "static" design has its benefits as well. High motion design runs the risk of becoming unruly and wild, while calmer, more subdued design is easier to read and gives less headaches. That being said, it also runs the risk of becoming boring and uneventful. Ultimately, the momentum if your work should reflect your concept, your ideas and the mood of your topic.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Typography II - Journal Entry #1


The “Writer’s Toolbox” excercises are geared towards getting the artist/designer a better grasp of the topic that they are dealing with through writing. Writing down ideas and thoughts AS THEY OCCUR is an excellent way to preserve them and (later) organize and revise those initial thoughts and transform them into a better and all over more successful work. Learning to brainstorm and think before you act will not only improve your work but save you valuable time.