Week In Design: My group, the second time around

Our outline of notes and questions for the class discussion:

{Based off of the Just Creative Design Blog: What Makes A Good Logo}

An “effective” logo is…

1. Simple

• Is simple always necessarily the best?

• One of the comments said “a logo should be able to be drawn in the sand with fingers.” Do you agree with this? Does this give non-designers the impression that we don’t work as hard as we do?

• How, as graphic designers, can we approach something detailed and make it simple?

2. Memorable

• What do you think makes a design memorable?

3. Timeless

• What makes a logo timeless? In particular, what makes the Coca-cola logo timeless?

• Do you think Pepsi is really struggling or are they just keeping their image fresh and new?

4. Versatile

• Why is versatility a factor to ALWAYS consider when designing a logo?

5. Appropriate

• Does the logo really need to say what the company does or is it purely for identification?(Top brands that don’t directly SAY what the company does)

*Compare these tips and discuss what’s not working for these “worst of the worst logos


Is shock value the most effective route?

There are a lot of things that many people are naive about…or just purposefully ignore.

For example: Texting while driving. It’s dangerous. It’s responsible for MANY deaths, and yet people still do it…and deaths are still happening because people think they’re invincible and they’re better than the victims they’ve read about in the past. Because it’s such a serious issue, many campaigns to stop texting while driving have turned to drawing fear or shock out of viewers. Or in summary…give them a reality smack in the face. They want to essentially show them EXACTLY what these car accidents look like without babying them or trying to put it nicely. Here’s the most blunt video campaign I’ve seen about this: Texting While Driving PSA, which comes straight from the UK. It’s scary. I mean, REALLY scary. It really makes you SEE the effects of texting and driving instead of just hearing about it constantly as a little “warning.” It may be completely gruesome and horrific…but it happens. And that’s what’s even scarier. But ya know what? It scared the shit out of me enough that I never text while I drive anymore. So, uh…I’d say it was pretty successful. I’m not sure how it worked for everyone else, but it sure did force me to change my actions. There’s one less person adding to the dangers on the road.

This shock value approach really got me thinking about our Health Disparities Project and the nutritional stand I’m zoning in on. There are A LOT of people out there who know about nutrition, but constantly make bad decisions about their food choices because they don’t see the overall picture. Okay, yes, I can’t assume…there ARE some people out there who have health issues and/or are just uneducated about nutrition at all. BUT, there are people who just choose to ignore it. Maybe people need a big reality slap in the face like the Texting and Driving campaigns. Maybe people really need to see what they’re doing to themselves when they choose not to put their health first. In class today, Lizzie and I talked about our proposal of creating a series of posters to hang around ECU to direct students toward healthier lifestyles. Lizzie had mentioned nutritional ads she had seen (for inspiration) that had an obese man hanging himself with sausages and butter strapped to himself like dynamite…it’s one of those blunt messages that say, “UHH…YOU’RE KILLING YOURSELF. SLOWLY, BUT SURELY.” I think it’s a huge aspect to be considered…maybe people really need to SEE what happens when they follow through with unhealthy habits, and then of course need to be directed to things like the Nutrition center, Rec center, or any other healthy living facilities. I have heard in past research that using fear as a source of attention helps in the short run, but sometimes doesn’t help in the long run-but I think if we also DIRECT people to instructions on how they can help prevent certain things…it’ll really help out in the long run.


To shock or not to shock?

THAT is the real question.


Btw, here‘s our revised schedule for the rest of the semester. It’s good to stay on track.

I’m using this blog post to jot down my ideas for one of my Junior Review Poster developments. One concept I have come up with simply states: “SHOW ‘EM WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF.” Through this concept, I want to represent a graphic designer by exposing what we’re physically composed up within an x-ray perspective…who knew we were made up of apple products and other art supplies? Here’s a few of my ideas for the inner workings of the body I want to represent:

Spinal cord= Computer charger

Lungs= Macbook computers

Heart/Chambers= Apple logo and Adobe Program logos

Stomach= Coffee to-go cup

Liver= Digital alarm clock

Intestines= External hard drive and stack of Graphic Design Books

Hand/Feet bones= X-Acto knives

Shoulders= Magic Mouses (Apple Product)

Continuous drapings and connections made by computer charger wires, etc.

Obviously my concept stems from ideas that are humorous, but very tangible objects that we are known to utilize. Unintentionally, my concept has made me think of the INtangible things we’re also made of…Creativity, open-minds, problem-solving mind, determination, willingness, drive, artistic approach, communication skills, sense of organization (which isn’t just limited to the grid system), aaannndd (get ready for the most popular elementary school concept) preservation. I believe a designer HAS to have these qualities…or at least a good summary of them. We can’t just rely on our talent with the programs…graphic design is so involved and we need so many more attributes to help us along the way.

Fortunately to all the naive graphic design haters or disbelievers, we’re much more than socially-awkward vegetables sitting in front of computers.

MUCH more.

Thank God for that.

Health Disparities Project

Today, in class, we mentioned thinking about a plan for the future of our Health Disparities project. In a sense…making the intangible tangible (a repeated concept I’ve mentioned before) and creating some sort of artifact for our project as a whole. One idea came up and I thought I should jot down my initial thoughts…

• Series of Awareness Posters for around campus/ (a way of promoting healthy living or nutritional thinking through design interpretation and relevancy)

We have seen through our research that education is a major factor to nutrition deprivation. Some people simply do not KNOW of certain options or aren’t aware of certain negative consequences. The problem of food deserts, etc, is a BIG and widespread problem; but, as designers, we could take the initiative to start at a smaller scale and get people around ECU aware. Designing a thorough, but simple awareness poster about nutrition, etc. (not like the other cliche posters we’ve seen before as college students) and hanging them around school could help raise some discussion or some reality checks. As college students, we’re so busy with our daily lives and homework that we sometimes put our nutrition/health on the back-burner…what’s more important is sometimes what I can buy with ____ amount of pirate bucks or what I can grab quickly and eat on the way to class.

Why not make a reminder?

Our group has been stunned by all of the information we have found out…why not share our findings with everyone else?

…Just a few things to think about. I think it would be a fun project!

Mcinen: Design From Finland




Random inspiration that needed to be jotted down.

His style is so interesting. Especially his rhythmic combination of geometric and natural shapes and texture.

Click on the links to see even more of his portfolio.

New Photoshop Tools!

Photoshop | Content Aware Tool

You wouldn’t even believe my face as I watched this…SO COOL!

I might even sound like such a Photoshop beginner, but ever since I started using this program, I’ve loved finding new tools and seeing how they work. It’s so crazy to see how much you can do to an image…or even how much you can add or take away from a image. You, in many senses, have complete control over your image.

Craig brought this topic up in Typography class one day when we were discussing photographs we had brought in for our ECU Ads projects:

Many times, photographs aren’t even photographs anymore…they’re completely manipulated photographs with the power of Photoshop. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have the right settings, sun glare, shadow, or tint…you can add all of these elements with a few clicks. (okay, maybe sometimes more than just a FEW clicks, but you still get my point). Want to take away the random dog in the background of your photo? Easy-peasy. Change your haircolor to blonde? Add a baby? Lose your all-time hated love handles? Pshhh that’s beginner stuff.


And then it got me thinking…EVERYTHING is so easily manipulated these day in the arts.

I mean, look at what animation and film has accomplished…Have you seen the commercials for “The Adventures of TinTin”? (And if you haven’t, click here) The first time I saw the trailers, I didn’t even REALIZE it was an animated film until they showed a close up of the main characters. It looks so real!!

So how does this relate to my topic?


We manipulate everything in Photoshop so easily…so easily that we can CREATE a picture that never even existed before.

The same way we have managed to manipulate images in animation to look so much like real life that it’s pretty unbelievable.

Will there be a day that we don’t even rely on cameras anymore?

And…will there be a day that we don’t even use actors and actresses anymore? Only their voices?

I guess we can only wait and see…

The developments of our time have only begun.

Crowdsourcing: What is it really saying about designers?

Design Crowd | Crowdsourcing Video

Okay, so…a few things I had going through my head while watching this video.

•My first impression? It completely down plays designers and devaluates the profession. Yeah, it’s cool practice, but it completely dismisses the process we as designers take advantage of when creating a really great mark or project. It also pretty much states that ANYONE can design a great mark…you don’t need design firms or personal relationships.

• “You’ll get feedback within hours.” Really? I mean, sure…maybe you’ll get some solutions sent back…but is REALLY good work really produced that quickly? Wouldn’t you rather have a design that is well-thought and designed meticulously? But then again…it doesn’t take too much to design something pretty, does it? -_- That was complete sarcasm…more nonbelievers setting fuel to their own fire.

• Aesthetic is more valued by the public than the function…aka, This looks pretty therefore it works. But of course, a lot of naive people without design sense might think this.

• In many senses, while watching this video, I get the sense that designers are just being “used” for their talent. These people throw out a bunch of ideas for no money at all…and a lot of them won’t even be chosen. That’s time that is completely wasted. Like I’ve said before, a designer’s time should be valued…not taken advantage of.

• The site just further proves that people don’t know what we do as designers. They don’t understand the process. How can someone who reads a one sentence brief about a company REALLY understand how to envelope the entire concept of the company into a single image that will constantly represent them in the future? These people think that we, as designers, are able to just pull worthy images out of our asses because they look cool or pretty…graphic designers, or really good graphic designers in that sense, create more than just a picture…we create solutions and make the intangible concepts tangible. Our process is a lot thicker than a one sentence brief.

• Continuing on the topics of the briefs…Do the clients really know what they want/need anyway? Just because they “like” certain colors or designs…is that always what is best for the company or project? Clients are completely biased in the project…they are not able to take a unbiased look at their company and choose the perfect reflection or representation.

• All and all, you get what you pay for. For many businesses, they NEED sophisticated designs for their sophisticated audience in order to make money. Crowdsourcing is a gambling process; I don’t believe that companies who are really serious about being represented in a sophisticated manner should take a that kind of gamble or chance. And if they’re not serious, then they probably do deserve a “non-serious” image to represent them.



A bitter-sounding, yet non-bitter graphic design student


Week In Design, #4

AIGA | Crowdsourcing

99 Designs | Contests

Visual Explanation of Crowdsourcing

Design Crowd | Crowdsourcing Video


• Do you need a degree to be a graphic designer?

No. Kind of ironic since I’m in college getting a degree for it, isn’t it? However, I didn’t come to school just for the “degree”…I came to school to be further educated and to get an experience with the different kind of projects, etc. offered in the field. I think, in many senses, school is a great warm-up for graphic designers…you’re able to become a better, well-rounded artist, while continuing studies in design. It’s a chance to better your design skills BEFORE you have a job…When you get hired, they’re not going to wait for you to improve. They want you to be a KILLER designer…NOW.

• Is the portfolio more valuable than the degree?

Yes. And in a sense, I think that’s why we ultimately go to school for that degree= we want our portfolio to be AWESOME. In school, we get a lot of opportunities to try classes like letterpress, screen-printing, and other things that make GREAT portfolio additions…but hey, if you are talented without those classes, more power to you. Of course, a degree is recommended…especially in other majors more than others. But, as a graphic designer, I think that have an amazing, out-of-this-world portfolio is way more important than writing down “BFA in Graphic Design” or whichever degree. And, once again, I’m not crushing the idea of a degree…I’m obviously all for it since I’m specifically in school for that AND the added experience that comes with it…however, is it ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to be a graphic designer? No. Do you HAVE to have a degree in painting to consider yourself a painter or artist? Of course not. When it comes down to it…the portfolio weighs a lot heavier in the hiring process, etc.

• Have those that haven’t done what you have deserve to call themselves graphic designers?

Sure! But I’m willing to take them on in a portfolio stand-off 😉

• Do tutorials as lynda.com tutorials and adobe tutorials devalue going to school for graphic design?

Not really, considering lynda.com was the site I was told to visit daily when I GOT to art school. I have taught myself Photoshop, Illustrator, AfterEffects, InDesign, and more…*ahem*…”taught” “myself.” I get it…art school doesn’t have time to teach everyone the programs, but I literally haven’t been taught anything from the programs…minus the lessons that were set up by a former graphic design STUDENT. Tutorials have been my teachers, in that sense…so I don’t think they devalue going to school at all. They’ve literally helped me REMAIN in art school.

• What skills have you gotten from school you don’t think you would have gotten by going straight into the industry?

Exposure to other art mediums, art processes, thinking processes, and immediate connections with professionals of the graphic design field. I am SO fortunate to have links and experiences with Kate, Gunnar, and Craig…all are so knowledgeable and obviously are a great source to come to for directional help. Going straight into the industry may leave someone naive or connectionless with the graphic design world: it’s good to have knowledge about what you’re getting yourself into. Although DEFINITELY not impossible, college does widen that experience and could help create a much better portfolio.


Random Planning…

Next semester, Lizzie and I are doing an independent study with Craig. We talked to him about the curriculum and as a matter of fact…there isn’t one. We get to essentially choose our projects (with his consent, obvs). I wanted to use this blog entry to brainstorm some possible ideas for some projects…

• **Design a personal business card

• **Design a personal portfolio website

• Design custom labels for wine bottles, etc.

• Design school advertisement poster for “Graphic Design” major (similiar to ECU Ad project from Typography…could even create a series)

• Design tribute poster, etc. for famous artist

• **Design cereal box

• Design a brand identity/logo for a made-up company

• **Design poster for a specific social issue (drunk driving, texting and driving, bullying, littering, smoking, etc.)


…I’ll come back and add if I think of any more.

A Future Of Design

CORNING | A Day Made of Glass: Same Day. Expanded Coming Edition.

I absolutely loved watching this video. It not only completely embodied, what I believe to be, the inevitable direction for technology in the future, but it also made me think about our recent class question, once again: What do graphic designers bring to the table?

What do WE bring to the table? Should we watch the video again??

Every innovative idea…every ingenious engineering detail and user-friendly-based technology…involved a designer. Especially a graphic designer. Don’t believe me? The first example that popped into my head dealt with the girl swiping through her “closet collection”: WHO designed those icons she touched? Who designed the layout of the swiped box entries or the colors involved? But it’s also a lot more than that…Who made sure the user-friendly factor was more important than displaying involved technology (aka. RTFM Technology…Read the F*cking Manuel Technology, brought to you exclusively by engineers of our day). Who designed and reshaped the usage of glass in the first place? Who used design thinking to directly create technology for the improvement of our daily lives (from choosing an outfit out of our closet to learning in school, etc.)?

Tired of the questions yet? Well, its a graphic designer. We’re a lot more than what we’re given credit for. Yes, we design…but let’s remember what it even takes TO design: First you have to FIND out what the problem is or what the direct issue is that you’re designing for, of, etc. (WHICH might I add takes just as much research as any other in depth business, science, etc. major if not more…) Then it’s a matter of brainstorming for a solution (if there even is one) and that involves: sketching, re-sketching, word lists, research, discussion, word maps, rough drafts, critiques, more discussion, more re-sketching, brain dumps, more and more and more research, more sketching…and that’s without even touching the computer yet (and don’t get me started on that either…my pre-carpal tunnel will start to ache).

All and all through that process…we’re thinking of you. Our client. Our audience. Ourselves. We’re thinking of user-friendly attributes that can make certain issues either easier to handle or understand.

The video really demonstrated this and I was SO enthusiastic watching it. It made me realize all of what I just said AND more…Graphic designers have played a major role in creating the future. Our designs have improved technology and have opened our minds to seeing newer possibilities. Designers have helped create iPods, iPhones, Computers, and will one day even help design/create the good ol’ “hoverboard” featured in “Back to the Future.” Graphic designers, with an immense talent of peeling back the true process of “design thinking,” have helped our world progress…

And hey, without graphic designers and our user-based solutions, we’d all be buried beneath manuals.


Foreign-sounding manuals.

Oh, and to all the haters…yes. You’d be without all the “pretty designs” we create, too.

And DEFINITELY no hoverboard.

Who doesn’t want that??