parking pal logo, 2013
When you get the chance check out our classmate, Jacob Dunn’s new album! It’s free, what do you have to lose?
I would like to preface this reading response with an apology. The past week melted my brain and all day I thought it was saturday. Now i’m even more frazzled knowing tomorrow is monday. Anyhow, I was initially turned off by the article, Education is Not Necessary… by Matthew Monaco. While he did mention the pros of obtaining a design education, he did not mention some of the key things I have taken from a design education. The first thing being, access to materials. Of course you are technically paying for them, but I find I am much more apt to create when I am surrounded by materials at my disposal. The next thing I realized he didn’t mention, is having a professor to pick their brain. They are specialized in whatever subject you are learning and you can always ask them for guidance. The final thing I thought he could have mentioned were the opportunities you get throughout the years of getting a design education. Before I have even gotten out of school, I have been given dozens of client jobs that I would not have otherwise. It exposes you to the design world before actually having to enter it.
However, I do agree with some of the things stated in the article, Why Design Education Must Change by Don Norman. “Fresh eyes can produce novel solutions”. I find that true, and Norman is also correct in saying that the eyes must also be knowledgeable and educated. I have seen time and time again peers create what they think are “solutions”, but they don’t address the root of the problem seem to consider the human behavior. I am by no means saying that everything I have done has changed the world, or even made an impact, but I do think, in general, students need to be taught more of social and behavioral sciences. What works, what doesn’t, what actually makes an impact, and what is just novel.
I am not sure how to feel about the final article, What this country needs is a good five-year design program by Steven Heller. I agree that the concepts one is expected to learn is a lot, but i’m not sure that it is too much to ask. The article uses typography as a weak subject for many graduates and post-graduates. I tend to agree, but realize things like this can be learned in a four-year degree if the student takes a general interest in the subjects they are learning. I have learned a lot about things like typography by researching out of curiosity outside of the classroom. Then I am able to implement these things in future projects. I don’t expect the professors to walk me through every single step of the way. But then again, there are some days I feel like I am nowhere near ready to get into the real world. On days like this, I just have to tell myself that i’ll never truly feel %100 ready to go to the next step. There are always going to be things that I feel like I could be more knowledgeable about. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Looking back, there has never been a transition period (elem. to middle school, high school to college), that I have felt completely ready for. I think students should just go out into the world with the knowledge they have, and have an open mind to learn along the way.>
I am an advocate of the addition of the arts into STEM. I think it’s easily just as, if not more, important than the other subjects. I say possibly more so, because the arts can tie in with all of the other subjects. Knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math can bring great advancements, but a key piece missing is creative thinking. That is where the arts come into play. The arts heavily rely on and promote creative thinking. Creative thinking is what brought us some of the most groundbreaking products to date. Not to advocate drug use, but it has been revealed that Steve Jobs envisioned the iPod, iPhone, and numerous other Apple products with the help of mind expanding drugs. Not at all saying this is what young people should do, but it shows sometimes outside-the-box creative thinking, is key.
In the next article, The Optimism of Design by Jon Kolko, he explains how there are an infinite number of directions one can go in the design world. I feel like I have heard the exact conversation between a student and a professor he presented in the article. And I myself, have not necessarily been part of this conversation, but have been guilty of having similar feelings. That’s when I realize I am not completely ready to go out into the real world. On many projects I feel like I have reached a solution, but then I will show it to a professor and the will give me feedback on how to take it one step further. I see sometimes I still need that extra prodding and it is something I have to work on.
Turns out that is not the only thing I have to work on. In the following article, Patrick Neeman explains the skills one needs to make it as a new designer. The first thing he mentions is writing skills. If my writing assignments on this blog haven’t spoken for themselves, I am not a great writer. Working on it, but not yet. For projects I will be asked to write about my process, deeper meaning, etc., and I always have trouble. I am a more visual person and just want the work to speak for itself, but I realize that explanation is an equally big part in the process. The next part he mentions is the ability to use tools. The 3 tools he mentioned; never heard of them. I suppose it’s something i’ll have to look into because outside Adobe, I pretty much don’t know anything. By this point in the article i’m getting kind of worried. Then, finally he mentioned the importance of prototyping skills. Hands on stuff is more my thing and I actually enjoy doing that, so I suppose that is one thing I have going for me. Wo0t!>
The article “The Politics of Desire and Looting” speaks on the 2011 riots in Great Britain. The article suggests that designers might have partially been the cause of these outbreaks. I’m not sure I buy that, because the designer’s job is to entice the customer and make you feel like you need their products. I have been the victim of advertising before, but never to the point where if I couldn’t afford it, I felt like I needed to riot and steal it. And it doesn’t make me feel inferior or unaccepted by society. Maybe some people are naturally more affected by the pressures of advertising? Whatever the case may be, I don’t think any blame should be placed on designers. I think there must have been other larger economic things going on at the time to triggered the riots.
The next two articles are interesting in relation to each other. The 1964 manifesto hopes for a time where society grows tired of advertising gimmicks, being sold something, etc. Clearly that time has not yet come. Actually, today it is probably worse than ever. But I think a lot of designers see this and have began to react. They see that there is more to design than selling products. It is a powerful too that can be implemented in social change, education purposes, a much more. From studying design for the past 3 years, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of getting out of school, and my job being selling people things.>
In the AIGA video, Design for Good, it stresses the importance of designers taking risks and implementing innovative ideas as opposed the most obvious solution. I think that is the problem with a lot of design I see today. May designers don’t take the incentive to come up with, creative solutions that can yield a great payoff. What I think are some of my best designs, were birthed not from obvious solutions, but from ideas I really had to carve out and think critically about. The video also mentions the importance of collaboration. Not just with other designers, but with community leaders, accountants, etc. It is not just about designers sitting around trying to find a solution. It is essential to hear from people directly involved in the social change you are trying to make. I have experienced this first hand in my graphic design client class. We are currently rebranding the city of Weston. My group would not know what they want out of our services if we did not take the time to collaborate with the community and ask questions.
The Firefly Phototherapy video did a good job of vocalizing how I feel day to day. I have only been around design for around 4 years, which is not that long, and I already see things differently around me. I now always see room for improvement with the implementation of good design. I’m not sure if I would want to dedicate my whole life to projects such as Firefly, but one day it would be a great feeling to know you were a part of something that significant and makes that great of an impact.>
Watching Emily Pilloton and reading about Project H were very interesting and relevant to the type of work I am doing right now. In my graphic design client class we are working on rebranding and revitalizing a run down small town. It was reassuring to see that change can be made and design can make a huge difference in the community. It also made me super jealous of those kids. They got to learn critical “design” thinking at a young age. I would have loved to learn that way of thinking at their age. When I was in high school I was in a “graphic design” class, but I didn’t obtain any real knowledge that I could use to make a change with design. It was more like make a cool flyer class. But I think it’s great the kids of Bertie County are learning this way of thinking at a young age. That’s when their minds are prime for molding and if they can become accustomed to this way of thinking at their age, when they grow up the possibilities could be endless. I thought it was great that the kids learned that change can be made in small steps and doesn’t have to happen on a large scale. Oftentimes it is even more effective. This is similar to what Marc Rettig had to say in his talk. Just from working as a graphic design student for the past 3 years I have noticed that people want to make large scale changes, and often nothing results from it. Instead of making changes on a grand scale, I find it more effective to focus on small scale changes that can realistically be made that make a grand impact on people’s lives.
This type of small scale change seems to be what Kenji Nakayama and Christopher Hope are attempting to make in the article “Can Good Graphic Design Help the Homeless?”, in which they replace homeless people’s signs with colorful hand painted signs. I see where the good intention is, but I found a couple things that bothered me with this project. Hope claims that many of the signs don’t ask for money or food. But instead works of “self-expression”. I have to call bs there. I understand that having a sign may be their only voice in the community, but at the end of the day that voice is still asking for money. For example, there is a picture of a man with a sign that says “Hungry, Homeless, Tired and Broke”. Nowhere on the sign does it say anything about money, but at the same time he has a cup sitting in front of him. It’s not money the sign is asking for, but for sympathy to give money. And this goes into my next complaint with the project. Jazzing up these signs seems to encourage this lifestyle. It might make them more money and that might help them in the short term, but is that how their life should be or should there be a solution that helps them more in the long term? Sure they’re bright, colorful, and maybe even beautiful, but is that the reality of what homelessness really is? Their personally made signs were at least genuine and coming from them.>
10/6/2013 pt. 2
It was also interesting reading about trademarking your design and ownership. I think it will be information will be relevant the rest of my career and save me some headaches down the road. Besides the obvious legal trouble, I wasn’t aware of the of the negatives that came with having a mark similar to another another company, in terms of dilution and other things. I also didn’t know the TM symbol could be used whether your design is registered or not, which is something I will be doing from now on in my future designs.
It was really interesting to look at the infographic guides regarding salary in the design world. Not only will in help me in the future, where to look for a job after college, but it helps me out with information I could use now on my design landscape map. In my map I am representing the importance of a given design firm by the size of dot. It would be interesting to also compare the salary of the field a firm falls under, and seeing if there is any correlation.>
10/6/2013 pt. 1
The article, “A movement to make internships fairer”, argues that interns should be treated with more respect (paid money). This I agree with. It doesn’t make sense to me for interns to be paid less / not at all, for putting in harder work. I understand one has to work their way to the top, but come on. Isn’t the point of an internship to get experience for how it’s really going to be in the work force? You don’t get paid with thank you’s and good job’s, but with real money. And even if the experience of an internship is unparalleled, how can one afford to give that much time and effort towards something, and not get paid? Young people need money to live too ya know. And like the article said, it should be about to respect. And whether you want to admit it or not, that does partially equate to money.
In the next passage, Tricia Rosetty of AIGA, proposes the question “Should AIGA certify designers”? While I think it sounds like a good idea, I don’t think it’s a necessity. I have always been a believer of letting the work speak for itself. One gets hired and assigned to jobs by showing their work. I fell like if someone’s work is not up to par, employers will see that, and they will naturally be weeded out. Rosetty argues that design should embrace industry standards if professions like hairstyling do. I can say from experience that certification does not automatically make something good. I’ve gotten some messed up hair cuts from certified professionals. I feel like the same would apply to design and that’s why “certification” is not necessary.>
Trying to add disqus is harder than they make it out to be. Should have it figured in the next hour.
I noticed a common thread in Catalyst Group article, “Five Big UX Topics in 2012”, and the business model of Engine Services, a design group specializing in user experiences. They both mention the importance of research to create the best user experience possible. The Catalyst Group article stresses the importance of researching and collecting data, and visualizing it in understandable ways to improve user experience. I assume Engine Services is a successful service design company, and I don’t think it is a coincidence that under their “What we do” description, they repeatedly stress that heavily rely on research before and customer input when forming design solutions.
As an aspiring graphic designer, I probably should have known what a user experience designer is, but I had never heard of the title prior to this class. In the article “10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design” Whitney Hess mentions the blank stares she would get when she told people she was a “user experience designer”. I could relate more with those people than I could Hess. This article gave me a better idea of what a user experience designer was. Then, after reading the article “What is Service Design?”, I realized I really didn’t know what that was either. I feel like I have been living in a graphic design bubble for the past 4 years. It’s almost like I had ignored all other types of design, many of which I will probably have to work in or collaborate with later in my career. Reading these articles made me realize what kind of design I want to do and what I don’t want to do. It was interesting to learn about them, but I realized UX design and service design aren’t careers for me.
I’m not even sure if it’s realistic, but the kind of design I want to peruse is designing album covers, posters, ads, and things of that nature. The more artistic side of design. So I feel out of my element, and kinda get a headache, reading about these other areas of design. I can’t think of any other way to explain it but they felt too left brained for my liking.>