Sunday, May 1, 2011

Laws that choke creativity

One of the main laws addressed was that of land and property and where the line was going to be drawn, especially with the invention of aircrafts. How much upward does the law of property extend to?

Also the control of spreading context across the land and the freedom that airwaves would provide to businesses to spread their information to the masses.

Larry Lessig more addresse the issue of "ASCAP cartels" and also the issue of copyrighted content using the the example of AMVs and using digital technologies and also the permission to use what's readily available in pop culture. However, we see that these "cartels" slam the law on anyone who uses this content without permission. However, on the other side, we have a generation that chooses to ignore and/or rebel against these copyrighted materials. Larry Lessign adresses that both these extreme sides are wrong and strives to find a happy medium.

Debbie Millman

Debbie Millman is president of AIGA and chair of SVA's master program in branding (Oy sweet Abraham). Debbie Millman is in charge of Design Matters which is a show where she interviews designers.

Notes on interview with Ed Fella:

40 seconds in: "I'm the kind of person who thinks everything is my fault." .... wut.
4:40 - "Self perception is the illusion of the ego" Troof.

This was the main part I found interesting, unfortunately for the whole interview. It reflects on the self and how that may influence your design. Are you comfortable enough in your own skin to be comfortable enough with your own designs?

Also what I liked about the interview was at the 21 minute mark was the question of design influence by the geography of the designer. Not only the environmental, but the social. It also brought up the question of taste and what the hell good design actually is. I mean, almost everything is arbitrary.

Good is... heh

This website called is kind of awesome actually. The motion videos seem to be on point. The infographics are outstanding. They're informative and very nice to look at from a design standard of course. Using design to be an activist is quite the feat in my opinion. You utilize your skills of something you like to do with something that you are passionate about.

Journal no 8

Two fonts similar to Futura are Avenir and Neutraface.


"This, in my opinion, is true because it maintains Futura’s geometric construction, normalizes its quirks and expands its width offering."

Avenir seems like Futura at a quick glance, however the apexes are less... aggressive (?) which can make the font more usable in signage and kind of takes away from that 1950s look


Design Daily states that this typeface comes in more variety making it a better choice, especially since the readability is a little better. Can it be used as body text? Probably not, however that's typical with most sans serif typefaces. However, it makes a kick ass headliner font.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface

1. Because it works
2. Because you like its history
3. Because you like its name (eff that)
4. Because of who designed it
5. Because it was there (why the hell not?)
6. Because they made you
7. Because it reminds you of something
8. Because it's beautiful
9. Because it's ugly (rock on)
10. Because it's boring
11. Because it's special
12. Because you believe in it (viva la revolucion)
13. Because you can't not (Helvetica anyone?)

I find a lot of these reasons interesting and I wrote comments on the ones I found the most intriguing.

"Because you like the name"

I wrote "eff that" because if I find typeface ugly, I don't care what the name is. It's just like if I find a hideous shirt in my roommates closet and if she exclaims "Well, it's Gucci!" I'm most likely going to say she should get her money back if it's completely heinous.

"Because it was there"

As there are certain typefaces universally agreed to be superior from all the hundred thousand fonts, you do need explore other options. If you find a great typeface that WORKS and it happens to be out of the list of approved fonts (no offense to you, Andrea) then freaking use it!

"Because it's ugly"

I found this reason interesting as this is the epitome of punk design. However, it still has to work of course or not work for the right reasons. Feel me?

"Because you believe in it"

The best example of this I find is the use of Papyrus. I really HATE Papyrus, as do most graphic designers. I think it's hideous, has absolutely no function, and is just a cop out of doing your own handwritten type. HOWEVER, I find people who will defend this font until death. And hell, it worked. Avatar anyone?

"Because you can't not"

In human nature, there is this thing we emphasize called tradition. As there are holiday traditions, there are fonts used because of tradition. For example, Helvetica is something most, if not all designers will use in their lifetime. Sometimes you don't even know why you find yourself using it, you just do.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blog 2-28

_ What are the advantages of a multiple column grid.?

A multiple column grid helps in fitting lots of text within one spread while still keeping the text organized in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.

_ How many characters is optimal for a line length? words per line?

About 6-8 words.

_ Why is the baseline grid used in design?

The baseline grid is used mainly for to organize spreads.

_ What is a typographic river?

A typographic river are the white spaces running through the paragraphs of text.

_ From the readings what does clothesline or flow line mean?

They separate columns horizontally to create a better alignment... or something.

_ How can you incorporate white space into your designs?

White space can be used to group certain bodies of text

_ What is type color/texture mean?

Size, tracking, leading, weight of text, etc.

_ What is x-height, how does it effect type color?

X-height refers to the height of the baseline in relationship to a lowercase x

_ In justification or H&J terms what do the numbers: minimum, optimum, maximum mean?

Minimum - lowest space allowed, maximum - most space allowed, optimum - preferred space allowed

_ What are some ways to indicate a new paragraph. Are there any rules?

The most common example is the indenting of a new paragraph. However, you can use different line spacing, change of typographic color, etc.

_ What are some things to look out for when hyphenating text.

More or less using the right dashes to convey the right message.

_ What is a literature?

_ What does CMYK and RGB mean?

C- Cyan M- Magenta Y - Yellow K - Black. R - Red G - Gree B - Blue

_ What does hanging punctuation mean?

Punctuation that does not interrupt the alignment of the text, so they are usually set outside of the box of text.

_ What is the difference between a foot mark and an apostrophe?

A foot mark goes straight up and down, while an apostrophe curves

_ What is the difference between an inch mark and a quote mark (smart quote)?

Basically the same as the different between a foot mark and an apostrophe. An inch make has both marks going straight up and down, while quote marks usually curve and alternate directions.
_ What is a hyphen, en dash and em dashes, what are the differences and when are they used.

Hyphen - short dash; usually to conjoin something. En dash - longer dash; indicates "through" i.e Monday through Friday. Em dash - longest dash; indicates a long pause.

_ What are ligatures, why are they used, when are they not used, what are common ligatures

A ligature occurs where two or more graphemes are joined as a single glyph.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog 1 for "speads": CULT OF THE UGLY by Steven Heller

Steven Heller has published more than 60 books on the subject of illustration, typography, and other subjects relating to graphic design. Over the years, Heller has kept track and written about trends in design.

In "Cult of the Ugly" Steven Heller brings the question of what beauty is to our minds. He compares the beauty standards of typography and other design from decade to decade and era to era. In the article, Heller emphasizes on the ugly integrating with the beauty during the 1970s wave of the Punk subculture. He illustrates how the punk scene was dedicated to the shock factor, which eventually led to what was considered "ugly" design to be considered high design and also to ask the question "Where does beauty begin and where does it end?" Heller also brings to mind John Keats famous line, "Beauty is truth, truth Beauty - that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know" but insists that anyone's beauty can and will be another person's ugly.


Your beauty is another person's ugly
The standards of beauty change from decade to decade and era and era
Your beauty is not the norm
The idea of "good design" is always to be challenged
Take the ugly, make it pretty and vice versa
"Ugliness is valid, even refreshing, when it is key to an indigenous language representing alternative ideas and cultures."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Esplanin' a Vague Thriller

Vague: Not clearly expressed; inexplicit.

Thriller: a book, film, play, etc., depicting crime, mystery, or espionage in an atmosphere of excitement and suspense

How can I make the a book cover for the The Giver read vague thriller?

Vague cover examples:

Thriller cover examples:

The cover should of course reveal that there will be a thrill here and there, then again shit doesn't pop off until basically the end of the book. Before then, we barely know how anything works except for assigning jobs, spouses, children, etc. However, we do not how the Council of Elders regulate such a thing. This will be interesting...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Journal entry one

Writer's Toolbox covers the organizational aspects of writing. However, how can these be applied to design? Design is a practice that takes a lot organization, especially graphics. When in the initial process stage of any work, itis always a good a idea to make concept maps and word lists. Along with those two, it is always handy to keep a sketchbook around to jot down notes, ideas, observations, and of course various little doodles as you go through the design process. Writer's Toolbox sums up the section by saying that writing is an ongoing process, which we all know is very true of design. Usually what is concentrated on isn't the product of design, but the long grueling process of it all, from seeing the hundreds of initial sketches and of course the hits and miss of the sketch concepts.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A little early in the game...

However I thought this was a great site to get inspiration for our upcoming motion graphics section.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LOGOS! (not mine)

Project Brief for rebranding Summerfest

1. Summerfest started in 1991 to perform chamber concerts during the summer to give Kansas City Symphony musicians the opportunity to perform chamber music.

2. Summerfest hopes to target mainly Kansas City residents and of course other audiences are more than welcome.

3. The audience hopes to get a joyful experience from the chamber music performance.

4. Summerfest’s core values seem to be to create and perform great music for everyone to hear.

5. The long-term goals are to broaden the audience horizons and expose them to creative and distinctive performances.

6. Summerfest’s distinguishing characteristics is featuring the works, input, and appearances of living composers to give the audience a great experience with the music being performed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Notes from the reading (so I don't forget)

- Semiotics is defined as the theory of signs

- Signs can include music, marketing, food, film, drawings, paintings, poetry, dance, clothes, rituals, etc.

- “Stop means Stop, Apple means Apple, Crown meets Crown” OR “Stop means Danger, Apple means Healthy, Crown means King”

- Signs can mean something other than themselves

- Semiotics is about the tools processes and contexts for creating, understanding, and interpreting meaning is a variety of ways

- Signs are formed through the society that creates them

- Sender (who), intention (with what aim), message (says what), transmission (by which means), noise (with what interference), receiver (to whom), destination (with what result)

- Signs are often thought to be composed of two elements: the signifier and signified

- With any icon, there is a degree of resemblance between the signifier and signified

- For survival purposes, we need to be able to detect the link between the signifier and signified

- Some symbols need context in order to get the true meaning the signifier is trying to convey

- What you say might not be what you actually mean i.e. Sarcasm

- Non-literal messages: simile, metaphor, irony, lies, impossibility, etc.

- Clich├ęs

- A simile is a stated comparison between two different objects

- Similes are suggestive

- A metaphor is an implied comparison

- Objects, texts, and images can be used to create metaphors

- Simile: x is like y; Metaphor x is y

- Metaphors work by the process of transference

- Transference – while x doesn’t have certain properties literally, it can have them metaphorically

- Metaphors can also be persuasive

This Means That sums up semiotics or the theory of signs. From the article, we learn that signs can be anything from art to food and that signs can also mean other things then what they show, for example an apple meaning health. This Means That also goes into non-literal signs such as lies, sarcasm, and irony. The non-literal signs that are concentrated on are ones that present similes and metaphors. We also go in more depth of the definitions of similes and metaphors and what they mean to signs in terms of what it’s trying to signify. The article states explicitly that similes are comparisons between two physical objects while metaphors are implied comparisons. Throughout the article, one of the main lessons learned is that signs are what the society makes them, as what one meaning of a certain sign can mean to one society, a different society may interpret the sign differently. However, even with multiple meanings, without signs, humans would not be able to communicate.

Homework 11-26 part one:

Series - A number of objects or events arranged or coming one after theother in succession

Sequence – Ordered list of objects or events

Sign - Something that suggests the presence or existence of a fact, condition, or quality.

Index - Something thatserves to guide, point out, or otherwise facilitate reference

Symbol - Something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention

Examples of Sign, Index, and Symbol both verbal and non-verbal (respectively)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Homework 1/24: Chosen Books

The books I chose for the book jackets covers are Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, and Daniel's story. I chose these three since the follow the topic of police states and utopian societies. Enjoy.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is an American mystery, science fiction, and horror author. He was born Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920 and is still living. He began publishing science fiction stories in 1938 and started his own “fanzine” in 1939. His first paid story was Pendulum written with Henry Hasse in which was published in the magazine Super Science Stories in 1942 and he was paid $15. Bradbuy was married to his late wife Marguerite McClure from 1947 to her death in 2003 in which they had four daughters.

Other books include:

The Martian Chronicles

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Farewell Summer

Plot of Fahrenheit 451:

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian fiction novel. It takes place in “the future” in which some dialogue hints after the 1990s. The population at this time is, what some may describe, hedonistic, with constant chaos in the streets. As a solution, the government makes certain books illegal to keep order. The story follows the main character Guy Montag who is employed as a “fireman,” which is a book burner, since illegal books at this time are burned with the owner sent to a mental hospital. Illegal books include all historical texts, including the Bible. Guy Montag’s life is changed when he meets his new neighbor, Clarisse McClellan, who is a free thinker and makes him question his beliefs, ideas, morals, and his thought of happiness.














The message of this novel is illustrating what happens when people forfeit freedom for safety and order.

The protagonist goes on a quest for knowledge and questioning, while the antagonist tries to suppress education and knowledge of the protagonist and everyone else in order to have control and order.


“You're not like the others. I've seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me.” (23)

“She's nothing to me; she shouldn't have had books. It was her responsibility, she should have thought of that. I hate her. She's got you going and next thing you know we'll be out, no house, no job, nothing.” (6)

“We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.” (58)

I picked this book to redesign due to the symbolism of the temperature, objects such as the mechanical hounds, and the idea of a dystopian society and wanted to try to convey that through the cover.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry is an American author of children’s literature. She was born March 20, 1937 in Honolulu, Hawaii and is still living. She has written over 30 books with subject matter that tackles racism, terminal illness, and murder, catered to a younger audience. Lowry came from a military family, causing her to travel throughout her childhood. Lowry completed her degree in English literature from the University of Southern Maine in Portland in 1972. Lowry published her first children’s book, A Summer To Die, in 1977, which is based off of the tragic death of Lowry’s older sister in 1968.

Other books include:

Gathering Blue


The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline

Plot of The Giver:

The setting of The Giver is what appears to be a utopian futuristic society but gradually grows to be dystopian. The novel follows the main character, Jonas, in his twelfth year of life. In Jonas’ society, people are assigned jobs by evaluating their skills from birth on. Husbands and wives are matched up to each other by personality and are only allowed two children per household, one male and one female. Although this is a futuristic society, technologies such as televisions and radios do not exist. Cars and airplanes exist, however in small numbers and are usually only used to transport food and other material goods to their community. At first in the novel, it appears that this community is without crime, poverty, violence and injustice, however throughout the novel we find that the people are rid of certain feelings, mainly love, compassion, and the idea of family. When the children of the community turn 12, the council of elders (government) assigns them the jobs that they will continue for the rest of their lives. Throughout the novel, we go through Jonas’ journey as he becomes a “Twelve” and as he realizes that the life presented to him is not the only means of reality.



Mixed up











The message of this novel is that what appears to be utopian could be a lie, as the means of making a utopian society can be cruel.

The protagonist discovers his unique ability within the community, which is to feel emotion and remember the past and is assigned to store that information from everyone else. The antagonist is the whole society, which reinforces the idea of emotional distance and forgetting the past.


"There's much more. There's all that goes beyond – all that is Elsewhere – and all that goes back, and back, and back. I received all of those, when I was selected. And here in this room, all alone, I re-experience them again and again. It is how wisdom comes. And how we shape our future." (10.56)

"It hurt a lot, but I'm glad you gave it to me. It was interesting. And now I understand better. What it meant, that there would be pain." (11.60)

"The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared." (20.33)

I picked this book to redesign as it would go well with the series, as it is similar to Fahrenheit 451 in which a government tries to make a utopian society by controlling knowledge and emotions.

Daniel’s Story by Carol Matas

Carol Matas was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 14, 1949. She has written over 35 books for children and young adults. She writes historical fiction, as well as science fiction and fantasy. Her inspiration to write historical fiction came when her Danish husband’s family would talk about their experiences with the Holocaust, which would inspire her to write Daniel’s Story.

Other books include:

The Burning Time

The Whirlwind

The Primrose Path

Plot of Daniel’s Story:

Daniel’s Story follows the life of a boy throughout the struggles of the Holocaust. His family is forced from their home in Frankfurt to the ghettos in Poland and eventually to Auschwitz where he witnesses the horrors that the Nazi’s are capable of to his people.














The message of this book is that the cruelness in the world is present and that humans are capable of unspeakable acts. However, we are shown throughout these ordeals that courage is still possible.

The protagonist goes through his life of persecution while finding the courage to stay alive, while the antagonist tries to rid people like Daniel from the world.

"Even a new country needs music. And the Jews need a country of their own." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 5

"Hitler wants someone to blame all of Germany's troubles on and he has decided it will be the Jews. And anyone else that isn't 'pure' Germans of the 'Aryan' or 'master' race. I've heard they have opened up camps - where they're putting all his enemies - communists, socialists, Gypsies, Jews, anyone who disagrees with him and anyone he doesn't like." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 9-10.

"The authorities have instructed us to illustrate the inferiority of this race to you students in this way." He then quickly measured Daniel's head and announced, "You see! Inferior species. Head too small, no room for brains, a close relative to the vermin in our gutters." Part 1, Chapter 2

I chose to to redesign Daniel's Story book cover as it may be historical fiction, but it is based on what people went through in the Holocaust. I thought this would be a nice contrast, as the Holocaust is a real life example of people trying to create a utopian society and the horrors that become of it.