Friday, September 30, 2011

Mapping A System

For the creation of our poster, we incorporated images and text for the title to add interest to the piece.  In addition, we added typographical elements which highlighted key terms that labeled subdivisions of our research.  We used a green, analogous color palette that related closely to the object itself.  One of our highlights was the interactive element contained in the historical lineage of the lawn.  Specifically, this element is a small, interactive book, composed of multiple sheets of information.

Lawns influence culture by being a social conduit where people gather, mourn, play, eat, socialize, and live.  Most people take this everyday object for granted because it has become embedded into American culture.  During our research, we found that lawns are a part of the American Dream, which allows one to define individuals based on social class and weigh in on our overall judgment of people.

Some of the most interesting research regarded the DIY movement. This movement originated from the Popular Mechanics and hobbyist culture which evolved into the modern hip and popular subculture. Additionally, the Flymo Lawn Mower captured our interest due to its commercial success and very foreign nature of the object.  Researching this object appealed to us due to the wide range of emotions which it would display.  The backyard, as a type of lawn, can be considered a fun and playful spot, whereas a cemetery can be considered a sorrowful and mournful spot.  The use of lawn for public in contrast with for family produces another range of perceptions.  The lawn can be seen as cozy and tight knit, whereas a public space can be uninviting or dangerous.


Concept Map progression (collaboration with Anna De Sando)
Generation 1
Generation 2

Generation 3

Style Generations

Final Concept Map (collaboration with Anna De Sando)

From this project I have learned the value of hierarchy and time management. Analog work requires more time and patience then digital does for me and so this process was very daunting at first. Mapping out the entire scheme of the actual object was very informative to me and brought up concepts which were previously embedded (such as the american dream and social class relating to lawncare.) I'm very excited for the next phase of exploration within the themes of this map!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Illustrating a story, short story themes

William Faulkner weaves short stories which are deeply rooted in a conflict of tradition versus change. In a Rose for Emily this conflict grips the town of Jefferson and embodies the main character named emily. Faulkner themes continue in the social tension caused this time by race relations and the assimilation of black people and native americans in the story Red Leaves. Both of these stories and That Evening Sun Go Down all speak of change, generation gaps, and racial tension. These social issues interest me because of the constant evolution of these issues. Racial tensions and confusion caused by the generation gap will always be evident and still exist to this day. Faulkner makes all of these issues corrode the air that they are in and dive into the characters in the story creating a path that the characters follow to their destruction.
All of these conflicts and the general discord that plays out with the characters in all of the stories interests me and inspires me to do a work that communicates an experience that is introspective and also external. I think that William Faulkner's work can be communicated best by observing how the community reacts to the main character and I will attempt to convey that tension in my next works.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Evel Knievel Documentation

For the documentation of this final project I wanted to showcase the help I received from some of my fellow students-- Thanks Collin and Vanessa for all the help!

Shoot in Progress

Final Shot

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reactions to readings

Creating Concept Maps

In Creating concept maps by Hugh Dubberly the process of making a concept map was made more concrete to me. I was generally informed about the technical characteristics that each map should have and how the work should be approached. I think some of the things Dubberly says naturally occur. For instance to describe an event or occurrence we usually use other objects or ideas associated with it which forms Dubberly's first step of creating terms. Additionally, Hugh's concept of viewing the map as a forest holding individual trees set off the spark in my mind which really connected the grandness of something like this map. Each "tree" or term can be viewed as the focus of a map and therefore have the forest around them. Each tree from a certain perspective defines the forest. Overall, the concepts which Dubberly conveys are very helpful and while some of the things he talks about are assumed by me now (such as typographical hierarchy) it is nice to hear that there should be a system in the concept map which enables a clearer field of vision.

The System of Objects

Jean Baudrillard's writings made direct parallels to the current project that we are working on (the object map) and also visual communication as a whole. The way Jean presents the system of how things work is very applicable and something that should be remembered in design. In one instance Jean talks about how there is a social/cultural system of objects all relating to how they are perceived. I think that this idea was apparent in the formation of the how-to books, which were largely based on symbols. One object could communicate a variety of meanings just by how it was viewed and the context of the thing. Possibly the most eye-opening idea in the writing was that we are unconscious of technology and that the abstraction of technology is what transforms our environment. The society we live in today is so embedded with technology and reliant on basic advances such as electricity that it is crazy. Even the service of the internet is something which is so integrated that people can not live without it (try going a week without the internet, I dare you.) All and all the categorical view and the amount of discrepancy that can achieved when  viewing an object socially is striking and this type of information only adds a need for clear intention and concept when approaching a design problem.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Typographical Hierarchy Studies

In preparation for the letterpressed quote that Allyson and I will be printing we did typographical studies to get an idea of how the composition of the piece should look. Here's what I've developed so far.

I really believe that the large type will reflect the joke and that I need to make the quote even bigger. Additionally, I feel as though Petrula, while very interesting, isn't as important as her statement. I wish I could have brought the point size down on her name for all of the exercises but alas, the restrictions only allowed for the last version to exhibit this. More to come-

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quotes for Letterpress card

"Practice safe design: Use a concept."
-Petrula Vrontikis,

I chose this quote due to the youthful nature of it's joke. The play on words relates to american advertisement (on the level of sex being sell-able) and seems very applicable to an everyday non-designer. With the statement's broad reach and also the clever play on words Petrula's quote is my top choice.

"If design isn't profitable its art."
-Henrik Fisker, born August 10th 1963, Denmark, Fisker Coachbuild (Ceo).

This quote spoke to the more commercial and realistic side of design. It seemed practical and related to how everyone needs to make money to survive. In this economic climate I think that everyone can relate to that. What I really didn't enjoy about it though was how everything fell into a solid black or white area. What about charity work? What about doing side projects for kicks?

"To create memorable design you need to start with a thought that is worth remembering."
-Thomas Manss, Owner of Thomas Manss & Company

While I found that this quote was deep it seemed detached to the passerby. In addition I found that the actual statement was problematic. Any event in history or the future could produce a piece of design that has profound influence and popularity on future designers. The scale of the job (ex: working for an opera house or a nation's flag) doesn't matter.

Bit-Boot-Bop Typeface Final

Final Spread


Generations of the uppercase "R"

Left spread generations


With my bitmap typeface I implemented rules that allowed for a forward progressing feel to each character. This complemented the idea of having a boot (an object for movement/walking) as my bit for the face. My spread was successful to me due to the inversion of the bit and the finalized word. The outline of the boot by the type played off of the micro/macro nature of the typeface and showcased the object used, something which could have been missed by the everyday viewer. This exercise taught me tons about type design. Every decision impacted the characteristics of each individual letter and as I set rules I felt as though the path for the typeface became more clear. Although the restrictions of the grid with bitmap type created difficulties in making curves and defining different characters the creation of rules such as an x-height made the characters flow very well together and create a cohesive unit.  The grid seems to invite this and create a structured environment blooming with possibilities. With all of the lessons I learned and all the revisions that the face has gone through I am proud to call Bit-Boot-Bop my own.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Evel Knievel Poster progression

After the first round of shooting I have developed this poster..

During the critique changes such as improved lighting, better alignment of the flag, replacement of the xrays, and inclusion of more "risk" related objects were all suggested and will be shown in my second version for monday. Overall I am enjoying how my color pallet is working and how well the cut out of Evel's name is going. At this stage I think that all of the changes will be at the compositional level and also be the tightening of technical elements.

How-to Book Reflection

With the final critique approaching I am very happy with my product. My colors (which were a split complement of three colors found in nature: green, yellow, and pink) worked with the subject matter and also were very high contrast which pulls the reader in, making the how to more interesting. My choice in the halftone and vector mix was necessary and in retrospect I believe I could have done the entire project in vector and it could have been a lot more clear. What I would have lost in a straight vector how-to would have been the backgrounds. The amount of texture the background on my work add an additional layer of noise which makes each frame seem more cohesive. On step 4 I opted out of the background for two reasons. One, I wanted a change of pace for the style of the work and two, clarity was an issue with the background in the frame.
My understanding of connotations and symbols has improved greatly with this project along with the new skill set of bookbinding which I was more then happy to learn. These ideas along with the tactic of setting rules for graphics are all things that are new and welcome to me and I'm sure these skills will only grow in the following three years.

More to come--

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How-to Book Documentation

For this how to guide I was interested in the exploration of strong contrasting color. As I explored my options I observed that in nature color can be very vibrant (such as in flowers). The concept of nature being present was important to my work due to the fact that I was going to be producing a guide for making a chair that was held together by wood but made from dirt and grass. In each how-to step I always included at least one halftone pattern and one vector-styled image I think this consistent style choice is very appealing and lead to an easy explanation of objects such as depth and actions such as placing or patting.

After 4 accordion bound books I achieved a level of craft that I felt was acceptable. The book you see (below) is one of the wallet sized books I produced for practice. I think that this type of bind is very interesting for displaying collage, information, and making things more compact. I feel like I will be using it a lot. During my steps towards the final product Paper quality came into question. Really what I was looking for was an adequate paper weight. After coming to the conclusion that the output center was not an option I ran a heavy paper through the department's printer.
This assignment has taught me methods which I will be using well into the future and has been an interesting first project for my Visual Communications class.


The poster I created for MRMF is now being put into production!

If you're in Saint Louis for the weekend you should take the drive down to see some independent music!
You can find directions, bands, times, and venues here on MRMF's tumblr.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How-to Revisions

After the last critique these are the steps I have designed. I wanted to have a strong color scheme running through the entire book and so I'm getting rid of the red (representing ground) in the 3rd step. Other then that I have a split complement with the addition of black throughout. The how-to book will soon follow-

Second Iterations of Bit-Boot-Bop

Today the first iterations of "Bit-Boot-Bop" have landed! Using an ordinary rubber boot as a bit this typeface is showcasing a rhythm which is found in walking (where there is greater amounts of pressure in the impact of your heel and then the weight is distributed out.)  Currently for the second version I'm working on resolving spacing issues and the capital "R"that is showcased . The final font will be set in a green color. More to come soon..

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bitmap Typeface Process

finalized sketches

During my first sketches I tried to look at objects that would have interesting shifts in space but would also hold a lot of dark value to anchor the character down. Additionally, when I first converted to bitmap I wanted to explore the concept of creating curves in the gird which are traditionally very hard to accomplish. My final object (which is a boot) has the curve that I was looking for already allowing for the creation of angles in my font.