Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fractal Experimentation

In Music Branding the next phase of our project will be an album unique to the band full of art or interesting packaging; whatever you want.

I decided a logical expansion to my RGB circle square triangle poster concept would be mathmatical geometric forms: Fractals.

These are a few experiments I did a few days ago with a brand new program I learned called "Apophysis." I am amazed at the potential with this tool. Its a different way of making art, despite its intrinsic quality it requires less skill than photoshop, instead relying on more thinking attributes and lots of numbers.

Unfortunately I can only mildly lay claim to the first and third images, I was using tutorials to learn how to make these things because I was otherwise overwhelmed by the program. The middle image was my first foray into the process alone however.

I am eager for the work that I can produce through Apophysis.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Final Posters

These are the final posters that were well received in my critique earlier today. I made them correlate to each other through RGB color schemes and simple geometric forms. Triangles are a common theme in the design I was trying to capture, so I put my own spin on it by extruding them in a semi random order. I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out.

These were made with Illustrator, Photoshop, and some massive gravitational collapse of atoms.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Music Branding Update

Some more poster sketches. Its getting there.

The Professor didn't really care for the second one, he saw it as too much of where I started at, and that I should expand more. Personally I think he doesn't like the grid because he grew up when that was first being used in the 80s and is probably sick of it, where as for my generation its more interesting for its retro quality.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Graphic Design Icon sketches

Icon and Pattern sketches for the Sense of Place project. I assume these will be used in the book/website we are developing for Sense of Place. Just some quickies developed based off things I saw and feel represent Old Bradenton Road in some way. Saw a lot of graffiti so that explains the Spray Can. The Sarasota Fire Fighting Company resides on that street and their trucks fly down the road, alarms blaring daily. I don't hear of many fires in the area, so I assume another day, another old person having a heart attack.

There are stone flowers on some of the buildings of Ringling Campus and a lot of strange flowers in general on the road, so one of the icons was made to reflect it. Old Bradenton is a very long and straight road, you can see one end practically from the other, and so I made an icon that was a road that showed a sense of horizon without actually going to it. I think the play on the type worked out well, "OLD" mimicking a bike lane and all, but it could maybe stand for a revision.

The patterns are basically busy work. I don't plan on using any pattern in the website and doubtfully for the book. The second radial pattern came out decent, however.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Graphic Design II

Sense of Place:

In Graphic Design II we are doing a semester long project called "Sense of Place." The point is to develop different media associated with a location of our choosing in the Sarasota-Bradenton area of Florida; the town surrounding our campus.

Knowing everyone would do the beach, or a mall or one of the other few things Sarasota is known for, I decided to do a road that runs through my campus called "Old Bradenton."

Ringling, unfortunately, for all its merits as a school located in the middle of a high crime rate ghetto. Sarasota is known nationally as the most racially tense and segregated town in the United States, and Ringling is near about the worst of it. I've had friend's houses robbed or mugged themselves, and murders happen across a creek from my apartment in alarming frequence. Its not uncommon for me to hear gunshots at night while working on assignments.

Anyhow, I decided to brave Old Bradenton Road, collecting photographs to use for my upcoming assignment. I walked its entire length where it meets Highway 41 to where it ends at University Parkway near the SRQ airport, documenting nature, downtrodden buildings, graffiti and generally anything interesting I could find for about two miles.

The images I used in the project below and will use in subsequent assignments under this project are taken by myself with a Nikon D40, courtesy of my girlfriend.

Magazine Spreads:

Our first assignment was to find three of an existing magazine, and then make three magazine spreads about our location using a story we had written in the format of the magazine we chose.

I'm not very happy with these as I was confined to using the setup of the magazine I chose: "Alternative Press." Stores usually only sell the existing edition of a magazine, and so while I have many magazines at my house, I had none at my campus apartment and so was forced to use a music magazine that has pretty bad layout and type choices because it was the only one I could get three of. Overall it was interesting, because if I ever work for a magazine firm in the future, it is good to know how to conform to their themes, style and formats.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Music Branding

In Music Branding we are developing a brand identity for a musician that we have either found (and must be relatively unknown) or made up. I have a fondness for electronic music and because my digital skills are better than my hand drawn, I decided to do an electronic-techno band styled in a similar way to Daft Punk. I am a fan of music posters that use glowing effects and geometric figures, giving a very Tron-esque feel and decided to try my hand at it.

Logo Design:

The first phase of the project was to develop a name and a logo. The name I chose was something that just came into my head: "Deft Adept." A silly name when you think about it, as it essentially means skilled at being talented. I picked it because it sounded neat, not really what it meant, I'm sure plenty of bands are like that.

Working on the logo, I realized that the words I used for the name were adjectives, not nouns and didn't really have much to make a symbol out of. The only personality I could come up with that was Deft or Adept was a Ninja, but Ninjas were already an over played phenomenon back in the mid 2000s.

I decided to go a purely typographic route. I realized that the initials of Deft Adept, D and A could be abstracted into simple Triangle forms. From there I played on mirroring the shapes but still letting the letterform be recognizable.

The winning concept was actually one of the first ones I developed; the one in the top left.

I played with some more variations here. I had this idea to cut the triangle form into pieces, and then I realized that I actually had managed to make an "A" letter form appear in the bottom right half triangle shapes, where the A was supposed to be to begin with. It was an interesting idea but not one I had managed to simplify enough to be easily understandable.

Poster Sketches:

My current assignment is developing a poster that will serve to advertise a Deft Adept concert or event, or simply be a promotion. These are some of the first concepts I came up with. Extruding and then giving a perspective to my initial logo proved to be an interesting piece in itself that I will probably keep for something in the future.

I have the event take place at Musikfest, a popular festival in Bethlehem PA where they block off entire city blocks to make room, which is near the city of Easton PA, where my fictional band resides. Musikfest happens during the month of August and I decided to let them perform on my birthday, which also had the happy accident of being 8 9 10 this year.

Playing around with repetition. I like how the spirals swirl into each other.

Color concept. This spiral shape is supposed to abstract things like a record player, a knob that gets turned on dj equipment, or sound waves or a pulse of some kind.

Experimenting with glowing effects. Going for a Tron kinda feel.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Update Kaboodle

Well it has certainly been some time since I last updated.

Apologies are due i'm sure, but as last semester came to a close, things got a little hectic, and I had overloaded my schedule with a concept art class that kicked my butt since I didn't have great figure or drawing classes my freshmen year, so I kinda lost track with new posts.

Summer of course, was a nice refresher, gave me time to get outdoors and do some good old man's man work as a landscaper.

Now it is a month into Junior year and time to post the new work! Let me get you up to speed with last semester's stuff of course, continuing approx. where I left off.

Design with Type II:

Longscycle Redesign

We were tasked with remaking a pretty horridly designed website called "" a retailer in bike equipment. This was never designed functionally, simply Adobe Illustrator and Indesign mock ups that showed the improved layout and navigation systems. It was about reduction, simplification, just ways to make a website pleasing to the eye and easy to follow.

I used yellow to bring to mind Lance Armstrong, who's corporate imagery is strongly associated with bicycling these days. It brings an air of professionalism that the website drastically needed.

I liked the alternating black and yellow highlights on the links that got navigated, I feel it would've been pretty interesting had the professor wanted us to make a working website. I wanted to use more symbols and icons for buttons instead of text as that is simpler, but they felt it was unnecessary. After all, it was a Typography class. The only icon I made that survived was the Shopping Cart. Ohwell.

Type In Space

The award to most design iteration changes definitely goes to this project.

The assignment involved picking from a couple of design events that occurred at several different museums and making a typographic poster that utilized three dimensions or otherwise involved motion in some way that sponsored the event.

My first staircase concept was a little too hectic with the information, so I made sure to simplify it. A big problem was the sheer number of things that had already been done from previous examples that she gave us. There was only so much I felt I could do with isometrics. Eventually I strayed away from 3-d altogether, the class as a whole was doing more motion based pieces and because they consistently didn't like what I was showing, I decided to be a sheep and follow along with what they were doing.

The yellow one was what I settled on. Another color scheme might've been better. I think the purple and black rectangles could've worked, the professor didn't care much for the font though, and I didn't really care for the concept with a conventional font. I still think the one with intersecting planes was neat as well as the one with white accents around the text.

New Media:
Don't feel like doing screen grabs of this website, but I feel this guy was pretty successful.

Flash required to view.

We had to make a six-page website that extrapolated upon a six-sided package of our choice, one box side equals one webpage. I did Orbit Gum. The buttons were meant to be unique but understandable, I decided to make them sticks of gum inside a package, and model each page on a different flavor.

The "Cinnamint" flavor was supposed to have moving fire-esque flames in the background, but that was troublesome to animate and I wasn't the best at budgeting time last year. I've improved on that aspect of myself a lot for this year.

Graphic Design II:

Book I

These are some page excerpts from the first book I had to make in Graphic Design II. I had some exercises that played with the icon back in my posts in february, but here are some of the finalized pieces. I loved trying to photoshop the icon into actual places, check back into the february posts to see some of the other variations I tried. My craft on the actual book was not very successful however...

Oh, and the photos that I manipulated is not my own. The teachers explained we are allowed to take photos and use them for our projects as long as we don't start selling them. Just an fyi.

Book II

Book II involved taking our Icon and really pressing the idea as far as we could. We started with indexs which is a term used to describe the footprint of something, such as the snow print to the animal paw. We had to come up with large compositions that had imagery, a word, and a poem or phrase that all had an overarching relation.

This book didn't have much of new content, instead focusing heavily on the process of building up to our six final compositions. I didn't find my earlier works to be of much interest, so these are the six final concepts that relate to my Fluorescent Light Bulb icon shown earlier.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 4/27/09

-Words are not merely codes, using them is a behavior, and the behavior alters their meaning. 
It was interesting to look at words in a different way; that the phonic alphabet was an empty representation- a signifier for the richer fullness of speech and content inside. In deconstructionism, we reverse the status of the two to reveal speech fails at what it is allegedly best at- transparently repeating reality.
-There is no innocent speech.
Deconstruction is a way to read "texts." Any deconstruction has a text as its object and subject.
-normative: See Image - Read Text
-deconstruct: See Text - Read Image
-Untrained: Free to invent, Walked the line between chaos and illegibility, angering many.
Typography exploded in the '80s due to electronic media coming to fruition. 

I was very intrigued by the phrase "type production has gone mad, with its senseless outpouring of new types... only in degenerate times can 'personality' (opposed to the nameless masses) become the aim of human development." In postmodernism, we see reality as being fragmented, diverse, tenuous, and culture specific. More importantly, Deconstruction can stand for structures in the mass media can be reshuffled and re-inhabited. Words are NOT merely codes, using them is a behavior, and the behavior alters their meaning. The intelligent designer needs to strike back and disturb/disrupt.
- Emphasis on the body, the actual insertion of the human into the texture of time and history.
The films we watched today were great, especially the Hillmancurtis film on Sagmeister, which was beautiful. The talk we held after class was equally interesting, it was good to question ourselves as designers. What is our role as a designer in the coming times? A graphic designer in the '60s and one in the 2010s are not the same. What is design changing to in the new millennium?  I'm unsure that I even know right now what my purpose will be. Will what I do come back to haunt me later in life?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Design Discourse Two

Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design
Michael Bierut
#20 "Better Nation-Building through Design"

  • New logo is often a CEO's first change to a company to show a "regime change."
  • Iraqi flag changed in similar manner once Saddam was gotten rid of.
  • Flag and Logos mean nothing on their own, people project their hopes and fears onto them
  • Swastika was a beautiful symbol from a purely formal viewpoint, forever tainted by Nazis
  • Designers of the Iraqi flag mistook easy symbolism for difficult substance.
  • Symbolism meaningful as long as its clear what it means to symbolize
  • Corporate Identity needs consistency and commitment to be successful

The present day Iraqi flag was changed a few years ago to promote "change" after the American invasion; to give Iraqi's a sense of hope. Unfortunately it was wrought with trouble as the public was given no choice in the Flag's design, the colors were the same as Israel's and not Arabic's trademark white red green and black as was the old Iraq flag, as well as the deletion of the phrase "God is Great." Meaning is important in symbols, especially when it comes to flags, the lack of concern for the general populace's opinion over their own country's flag, especially in a country that is trying to be changed into a free land is puzzling.

The new logo for Pepsi is a source of confusion for many people. The redesign was not drastic but by no means subtle either. It is lazy and conveys nothing to Americans. Michael is right when he talks about clearly anchoring a sign to what it is supposed to mean. A corporate identity needs consistency, otherwise it stands no chance of success. Where there is a lack of coordination, there will be perpetual confusion in the minds of the audience. The design change and the amount of money spent on it, which will go into the hundreds of millions when taking into account all the vehicles and bottles and vending machines that must be changed, seems very pointless if a mere 5 months was spent on the design, especially in an economic state that America is festering in as of now. As an Iraqi council member said; "I think there are issues more important to concentrate on than the changing of the flag."

Johnson & Johnson's logo is a clear example of what Michael Bierut  talks about as a good logo. It has maintained consistency since its inception, and has symbolized itself in probably the most simple way you can; its logo and name are one in the same. It is clear, the name synonymous with confidence, medical technological revolutions and baby products. It is there, never hiding its face, letting people assign whatever conceptions they wish to make about the company, much like a flag. It lets them project their "hopes dreams and nightmares." It is meaningful as a symbol because it reminds one of all the deeds they have done, much like calling out a name like Bill Clinton or Mohammed Gandi. It symbolizes itself and nothing more.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 4/13/09

It was interesting how the man Paul Rand redefined graphic design in America, turning away from European sources and inventing corporate branding. He was the one who understood the value of graphic forms that were created for symbolic and communicative purposes. Companies saw that Good design was good business, and so branding was seen as a great way to make a reputation of quality and reliability.

- Simplicity enables the viewer to interpret the context immediately.
- "All visual forms carry history"

Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar were creating pieces that were trying to divert American's from European design, and back into the loose and humorous American culture with their graphic design. They and their associates would abstract form unto itself, free from alphabetic, pictographic, or figurative connotations. Television was a new way to spread graphic design. It was a period of firsts, such as the first presidential assassination for the new century. The pioneers of motion graphics; no longer confined to a static image, used timing and sequence in tandem with graphic forms, typography and photographic images. In the '60s, design was changing to include large formats with abundant space for design and photos. Fashion Magazines took the idea of an exquisitely single image conveying a visual idea.

New advertisements used the idea of :
  • Visual statements using simple images
  • Talk intelligently to the audience
  • Focus on benefits of the product
Conceptual strategies for typography was unified with photography by locking text or displaying tightly into the image.
 - Irreverent, flippant copy and polished ironic photography sets a new tone in the industry.
George Lois had very nnovative concepts which grew from his ability to understand and respond to the people and events of his era; staying in touch with the times was vital. He was willing to challenge and shock and provoke his audience. Something that has become mainstream in today's society. During this period, Typography went through another major innovation.  Herb Lubalin created "Photo-Typography" where type was made through photographic process versus metal cuts, it allowed to stack letterforms ontop of each other, and play with form relationships, which essentially made type experiments much easier and cheaper to do. This new flexibility loosened the grip of the international style, letterforms became objects and objects letterforms under the term "figurative typography."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 4/6/09

The session today started off with the invention of pictorial communication. Its interesting how pictures were the first things people drew to communicate with each other and here we are, after having developed a very elaborate language that we would resort to simple isotype images to represent and communicate many aspects of life. Pictographs were the beginning point of designing corporate identities, road signs and information graphics later on.

Expression is being pushed aside in favor of  clean no-nonsense information systems.
In 1953 Herbert Bayer creates the World Geographic Atlas. It was a remarkable undertaking that took him 8 years to complete. The illustrations were all done by him, handpainted and hand indexed. It contained comparisons about populations and world resources in a easy to access form. Comunication forms for a complex world.

Addison Dwiggins was the one who coined the term Graphic Design in 1922.
Lester Beal created a strange hybrid of design, as America was uninterested in Graphic design, and he was literally unable to find any modernist fonts in America and thus was forced to use old fonts  from the 1900s and try to give it a modernist look through other means. Lester and Paul Rand initiated a unique American approach to graphic design, built on European models, but with an emphasis on the role of content and meaning. Alexey Brodovitch taught editorial designers how to use photography effectively making it the dominate tool in editorial layout. He introduced American's preference of photography over illustration.

It was interesting to learn that the Swiss Grid was not designed as a technique to maintain balance, but rather it was a tool to organize different languages within the same document. Anton Stankowski contributed heavily to Swiss Design with the creation of visual forms to communicate invisible processes and physical forces. Armin Hoffmanns work are considered masterpieces of early graphic design due to its use of Swiss principles in their purist form. I liked that not everyone embraced Swiss Design. Critics suggested it suppressed the role of content and the voice of designers producing a rigid and severe style that had inflexibility at and sameness of form.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 3/23/09

It was interesting to look at how Graphic Deign was changing away from what was commonplace from the World Wars.  Futura was a brand new font which came along with the ushering of a new era, which belonged to the movement of "Art Deco" and featured geometric style. People applied what they'd learned from Cubism and De Stijl by making reductive compositional principles. Art Deco was the predecessor to branding in advertising.
AM Cassandre was a Russian Graphic Designer who was considered one of the great illustrators during hte 20th Century who possessed great Typographic skills, who brought about very different approaches to advertising, such as a fictitious character that sells a product. Its interesting to see how much this is used in today's advertising, such as the Camel mascot of cigarettes or the dozens of characters invented to sell cereal. He brought about Bold designs, emphasizing two dimensionality and iconic symbols.
I was fascinated that American Designers were copying Russian Graphic Design. Graphic Design was reaching a point where it was notable to see positive and negative graphic design, and the fact that America was looking up to what the Russians were doing, given their relationship with the USSR at that period, the fact that Americans would even look up at Russian design was very curious.
We covered a lot of the posters of World War II that were obviously influenced heavily by the war. I've learned a lot about it in the past, but its always interesting to see this kind of heavy handed patriotism mixed with subliminal messages designed to insight fear in the average citizen so they don't hurt the war effort or not contribute how they should. As always, war seems to be the foundation of progress for just about everything in the human world, Graphic Design is not exempt.
Swiss show off their exemplary work. They don't do illustrations in their work on the grounds that it is too subjective. One such designer, Herbert Matter, pioneered the integration of B&W photography with signs and color areas, which became a model for later practitioners of the International Typographic Style.  All of his pieces are considered masterpieces of 20th century graphic design.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 3/16/09

It was interesting how after some years of Graphic Design, it started to become such a major part of commercialism and our culture, that it needed to be passed down to a new generation. Fundamentals to the art form were being cemented and a general sense of what was good and bad design was entering the consciousness. The Bauhaus was an integral part of GIC History, it helped define the art form, founded on the idea of providing solutions for the industrial age. 

We discussed several many things relating to the schooling of Graphic Design and some of the pioneers of the media:
Maholy Nagy designs the first course that studies in Graphic Design.
Johannes Itten makes a color theory program in the Bauhaus.
Form Follows Function
Mondrian limited himself to primary colors and straight horizontal/vertical lines, no diagonals.
Simplicity and Function in furniture
De Stijl architecture
De Stijl passes along with designer Van Doesburg in 1931
Swiss Design vies to create a design understandable internationally.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Design Discourse One

A Reevaluation of the Situationist Thesis
Veronique Vienne

  • Our minds are linked to what we do. A body that sits idle will dull their mind, while someone who crafts with their hands will stimulate and improve their nervous system.
  • Many simply buy products to satisfy themselves, but not necessarily think.
  • "Acquiring things is a poor alternative to fashioning objects"
  • "The more you consume, the less you live."
  • Members of the Situationists would deliberately disorient themselves and refuse labor-saving devices to stimulate their minds.
  • "They are buying your happiness; steal it back."
  • French describe happiness as being euphoric, mischievous, prankish.
  • "Environmentalists, students, anarchists, but also old socialists, christians tired of violence on TV, critics of genetic engineering and card carrying Union members- every single one of them worried about some unofficial global government body enforcing some elite agenda"
  • Social and Environmental responsibility of Graphic Designers
  • Drifting, defying space-time

This is a cynical and very appropriate quote for the overall tone of the article. People nowadays just seem to dwell on material well-being and are because of it, becoming very narrow-minded and dulled husks of what they could've had the potential to be. Its a shame. Its a bigger shame that they are throughly taken advantage of by governments and corporations for their own well-being, their own material well-being.

This is exactly what Veronique and the Situationists were ashamed of in this world. People who only take in, who do not contribute to the world. Whats interesting is that he is holding a football, but instead of playing, he is simply watching television. A body that sits idle numbs the mind. People really are becoming brainless by doing nothing, and its a shame because each and everyone of us really does feel better when we make something, so how come we don't get up and actually do it?

This image in particular is a good representation of what the Land of the Free has become. A Land of the Minds imprisoned to consumerism. Our country wholly supports our unrelenting appetite of stale enjoyment. I wonder what our forefathers would have thought had they seen our country's future, or the thousands of people that indeed recognize the sad state of our nation, but are unwitting to do anything about it. A big help they are.

Monday, February 23, 2009

History of GIC 2/23/09

In today's session, we focused on the early 20th century, and how the World Wars and art movements affected Graphic Design. To start with, we discussed how before Television and even Radio took off, Posters were how media was broadcasted, and there was a huge emphasis on how they were put together and how best to get the message across to the audience. I've always heard how military funding and wars in general are the basis for human expansion in nearly all facets of our way of life, and so i found it intriguing how it affected Graphic Design, as there was a need to catch the attention of passerbys to get them involved in Wars, and so attention was paid to the design of posters such as the famous "I Want You!" Uncle Sam recruitment works.

I was also interested in how movements such as Futurism and DADAism tried to break the normal conventions of art and escape what had been held in place for so long, to embrace what the future held. I think about the events that are happening now, how constructs such as the internet and rampant consumerism are shaping the world, and how Graphic Design will play its part. I find myself on the wrong side of my own morals, studying in a field that is there solely in the interest of corporations to make a profit. The world seems increasingly isolated even in its rapid expansion of communication, I feel we are losing ourselves to material well-being and a fascination/obsession with one another's lives while never leaving the sanctity of our own homes. I believe in a technological singularity, that one day we will lose our own purpose amongst the empire of machines we build, and that on that day, we will have to part our ways with these silly machinations and rediscover ourselves, and what it means to be a human, or simply disappear. 
But that is enough of that, it was an interesting lecture, and I enjoyed the idea of Automatism and Surrealism, that people like Salvador Dali would deprive themselves of sleep and food to see how the subconscious could emerge in odd ways and affect the artwork they produced. I'm always intrigued by what the mind is capable of. Perhaps I should isolate myself from facebook and the internet and all my material possessions such as my phone for a month, to see what things I could conjure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Media Video

New Media Design tasked us with finding an article and creating a typographic video out of it. A focus was stressed on type, imagery was secondary and to be avoided if possible. One can find a myriad of imagery in type itself if only you take the time to look.

My article was about children getting stuck to pool filters and having hundreds of pounds of force pulled on their bodies, completely disemboweling them.  I was fortunate enough to have never succumbed to such a fate in my blissfully unaware years as a child who loved swimming; but this disgusting and unfortunate death apparently happens more than people realize. It made for a fun project at least.

Thursday, February 12, 2009