Wednesday, March 30, 2011

William Faulkner E Book Sketches

Round 1
integration of type into image and a relationship between two symbols in story (interaction in Barn Burning is weakest)

Direct reference to title of stories

Ideas in story expressed through hands gestures

Separation of the object of a character from hands. The hands represent the main community and the items represent the characters in the story with ideas or perspectives that aren't clear or are seen as austere  to the community 

Circular forms in background juxtaposed with symbols of destruction

Round 2

Objects act as symbols for the people views that are looked over or not seen by the rest of the community. Continuation on hand reaching idea from round 1. People walk past or away from these discarded objects to show that they are looked over.

Using hands to express emotions, and paired with symbols from the story

Circular motif objects paired with symbols from story

My chosen direction will be the circular one. If I feel up to it I might try some ideas with the people walking by. I felt like the conceptual idea in the passerby set was stronger but the circular motifs created a more interesting composition through juxtaposition. Some brainstorming will be carried out to come up with pairs of objects in each cover design. The goal is to juxtapose an object of destruction in the stories with a key circular object in the story. The circle will act as a formal motif and the object begins to add a conceptual flavor to the design. 

Saville Poster Side 4

For this round the focus was in trying to integrate the three elements on the page together. The colons separating the two web addresses were replaced with a line from the pattern and two uses of forward and back slashes. This ties the block of text to the pattern while the colons were different and brought in circles to the composition that weren't anywhere else. The chandelier was positioned along the side and behind the pattern in two iterations so the forms could compliment each other. In one iteration the chandelier is placed in the bottom left corner to create a balance instead of trying to rely on symmetry or using two much visual weight on the right side. The other three have the chandelier in the center and fading into the background. These three mostly explore the relationship between the overlap of the chandelier and pattern.


With these postcards I was trying to create a sense of curiosity on the image side. For the informational side a continued using the idea of juxtaposition in type using weight, size, style, and typeface. I directly used the text from the posters for one postcard and used other text for the other two. The other two are both left aligned and very layered in type through juxtaposition (like layers of a cake to think of it visually). On the image side, I also strove for simplicity. I wanted a simple composition that said a lot about the lecture, the artist, and Vanderslice Hall since representing Vanderslice's identity without visually showing it was a vital concept in my poster design.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Designer Poster Iterations Sides 2 & 3

My second and third rounds for this poster. With the second round I felt like I beginning to incorporate Peter Saville's methodology into my design for the poster, but I just wasn't quite there. In the next round I really tried to implement his ideas of juxtaposition in design. In this poster I use it in three primary ways. The lines contrast with the chandelier is a dual juxtaposition in form and concept. Rigid form versus organic form and modern color palette and pattern versus the antique aesthetic of the chandelier. In the third round I also tried to employ the type in a way that severely highlighted the main information over the secondary information. In a way, I tried to hide the secondary information.

Round Two

Round Three

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Find and Share (Info Graphics2)

(link to the interactive information graphic)

I came across this infograph while looking for something to influence my set of infographs in an aesthetic way. The linear layout of this page of the infograph is what initially caught my eye. When I opened the page and saw that it had multiple pages of information I was immediately compelled to look at every page. The chart breaks down the types of energy used in the U.S. It then shows where this generated energy goes. The generated energy is then broken into two groups: electricity and energy consumption. This shows what amounts of generated energy are directly consumed and are converted to electricity for later use. The two groups (energy consumed and electricity) then branch apart and show what amount of each is used and wasted. The linear chart here shows the overall generation, use, and waste of energy. Clicking on any source of energy or the lone electricity will take you to a page with a pie chart showing how that particular form of energy is distributed between the four forms of consumption (transport, industrial, residential, and commercial). If you click on the energy consumers it shows where they get their energy and how much is used and wasted. 

Its a really cool and simple infographic and personally resonates with me through its interactivity, multiple layers of information, and the content. I was appalled to see that over half of the energy generated in the U.S. is wasted. I don't know how it compares to other countries for certain, but it is such a great disappointment.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saville Posters: Side 1

Trying to think like Peter Saville, without being him. That's putting the objective of this project into words. I have been assigned a designer (Saville in my case) that I must design a poster for promoting a hypothetical lecture of theirs at the Kansas City Art Institute. The main goal I was trying to achieve was communicating the presence of Vanderslice Hall without visually and recognizably showing Vanderslice Hall. I also tried a little anti-advertisement out for size, but while still trying to somehow convey the idea of an artist or something important being at Vanderslice. As far as color goes, I tried some neon high contrast colors like what I saw on Suede's Coming Up album cover and some side work that Saville has done. I imitated a color coding system he used on the album cover of Power, Corruption, and Lies and the cover for the single Blue Monday both for the band New Order.

Overall I also wanted to go with an album cover sort of look. The first and fourth posters here don't push that as much as the others. I'd say the fourth doesn't at all and the first looks like a movie poster somewhat. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Typographic Hierarchy Exercise 2

In class typographic hierarchy based on on multiple and angled axes.

single axis

angled axis

multiple axes

crossed axes

free axis

Find and Share (Info Graphics)

I came across this set of information graphics about the harms of cigarettes. This set of infographics resonates with me though because it doesn't consider the harmful effects of cigarettes on the user. This set instead focuses on the damage cigarettes pose to others (and in terms other than second-hand smoking). These problems that are pointed out in this set of infographics I have personally never seen promoted. This twist of considering the general public over the user of the cigarette is intriguing and a new concept and take on the anti-promotion of cigarettes.

Aside from the nice conceptual side I think this set is a little odd. Mostly because it seems that there are a lot of arbitrary elements in each infographic. For example, the helicopter above the ruler in the first infographic, the word light in the second graphic, and the car and stoplight in the final graphic. They just seem a little quirky and useless in the message of the graphics. I can kind of make a tie between the "arbitrary graphics" and the rest of the image,  but the connection is distant and odd. Like with the helicopter, I think its just another example of height, which the infographic is focused on. But why a helicopter? So my final conclusion with this set of infographics isn't that they are bad. Quite the contrary really, I do like them. I think its just the context of the culture they are in, which I believe is Japanese. So maybe in Asia it all makes sense. There is no doubt they have a different aesthetic than the West. 

Evolution of Booze

The development of the alcohol icon for my 1920's gangster/mobster/mafia culture. It shows the two beginning sketches of two different takes on rendering styles for the icon, one of which (the geometric/ fragmented) was abandoned for the more appropriate 3D/high contrast icon. The rest of the process is finding the right way to represent alcohol as an icon concerning the size and amount of black to white space, transferring the icon to a digital format, and adding color to the otherwise black and white icon.

Final Icon Set with Color

The icon set was rendered in a fashion that alluded to the visual concept of a harsh spotlight shining in a criminals face while he's being questioned by the police. Hence the three-dimensional/high contrast rendering of each icon. Photographs of four out of the six objects were taken into the photo room and photographed with a spotlight shining on them giving them the high aesthetic I was looking for. It also allowed me to set them with the same general viewpoint, The gritty sepia and gray colors allude to the black and white news papers of the time.

Edge lines were drawn in on each icon to help divide the white inside the icon from the negative space around the icon. Since the two bleed together in the one color set these edge lines were extended from tiny little stubs that suggested the edge to a more complete line that truly defined the edge. In the two color set the two colors work together to establish a better legibility of each icon.

Particularly, a couple of modifications were made to the stack of money and alcohol jug to make them more legible. The jug began as a bottle, then was two bottles, then it was a jug with a glass (and it looked like a thermos), then it was just a jug (but the handle was still messed up), and finally it was rotated and it pulled it off. The money had a few too many indentions in it and had no band around it at first. Knocking out some of those indentions and adding the band to it kept it from looking like a brick and made it look like a stack of cash.

The extended edges of each icon and the same general angle were used to establish a cohesiveness in the icon set. The amount of black to white space also serves as a unifier although on a lesser value.

Keetra Dean Dixon

I had been excited for this Current Perspectives lecture for a few weeks. When I first heard that she extends a lot of her design into the physical realm and does some more non-traditional design work I was immediately interested. When I heard her lecture I was just blown away. Three points made during her lecture really grabbed me. They were more like working methods for her, but I'll sum it up into three points.

First, her work with layering I found very interesting. It seemed to me that she brought up the idea of layering a few times. She didn't just layer physically, but conceptually as well. Her I've Been Thinking of You For a While really impressed me. The physical layering of wax she created was beautiful, and the most interesting thing about the whole piece was that she thought it was going to go horribly wrong at one point. However, she just kept layering and the piece turned out pretty amazing in my opinion. Both words she used for this series of pieces ("Become" and "Throughout") I felt like had conceptual ties to the idea of layering and growing that occurred in the process of the project. These pieces were then used at the presidential inauguration (I believe Keetra was commissioned to do the Become piece after she had done the Throughout piece as an experiment). So the commissioned piece then had a conceptual tie to its application through the layering, the word used, and the growth that occurred in the process of making it.

Speaking of words brings up the second point I would like to note. Keetra used words a lot in her pieces.  DIVIDEDs, Half Wishing, Half Lying, and Embrace the Amazing Mistake are all just a few examples of her work with words. Looking at her portfolio, I would say that the majority of her work makes use of words, and largely through wordplay of some kind.  Embrace the Amazing Mistake uses the letters of the word "mistake" to created the letters for the word "amazing". As one can see, the two words have a conceptual play with each other and furthermore both have the same number of letters, which allowed Keetra to take advantage of their spelling to use in a conceptual word play piece. DIVIDEDs and Half Wishing, Half Lying both really take advantage of wordplay and the serendipitous events that we created in words over time. Serendipity occurs in the words "lies" and "wishes". She takes advantage of a few similar letters between the two words to create her piece Half Wishing, Half Lying which, again, has a conceptual pun on wordplay. The DIVIDEDs are the same way. She takes ordinary words and divides them into two words (sometimes a word and prefix/suffix). When she does this she creates a new meaning between the two created words and the parent word. When these words were first conceived of hundreds of years ago for the English language, they would have never been looked at the way that Keetra divides them and analyzes these these words and creates layers of meaning and examines the connotations that exist in words. 

Finally, my last point to mention is Keetra's embrace of serendipity and what I like to think of as chaos theory. In her commissioned piece Swatch Keetra was asked to design for a watch called Swatch. She had recently seen her husband creating typography using Adobe Illustrator and Javascript coding. She then applied the idea of controlling patterns using coding to make unique designs for these watches. In a way she controls the final outcome of the design of these watches, but in another way she really has no idea how any of these will look when they're done (the design at least, not the actual watch). She takes a pattern and messes with the coding in a way that gives her the desired aesthetic. She does not actively design the layout of the watch, she lets the coding do it for her. She then finds moments in the rewritten coding and applies them to the watches. F'in magic!

For me personally, all three of these points find special places in my heart. I have been interested in what I think of Chaos Theory. In the design world though, I might call it serendipity. Looking back to my dot book, this idea of Chaos Theory/serendipity was employed in the gridded vectors and planes I used as backgrounds for each page. These gridded planes spun in space and time as they stretched through the book and interacted with the layers of dots and words that I could have never planned. I set the gridded planes up because I knew that serendipitous moments would occur. And occur they did just as Chaos Theory would suggest. Also the use of the idea of Chaos Theory in the context of Physics had a nice conceptual tie that I am only just now realizing. So, I embrace the serendipitous and Chaos Theory. I embrace how these occur through layering. 

Words and letters have had a special place with me since my calligraphy workshop in the spring semester of 2010. My ability to perceive what I was trying to replicate increased ten fold under the wings of Carl Kurtz (and was then taken even further with Richard Mattson immediately afterward). The nuances of lettering drew me in originally. Then I started getting into rap and hip-hop and became fascinated with the wordplay I found there. Then from there I began to think of how all these moments of wordplay and instances of rhyme are all serendipitous moments. Being able to tell a story through rhyme isn't easy and couldn't be done the same way if the words in the English language were different. Right now, at this point in my life, these moments of serendipity in rap and and language are just way too cool to be ignored.

Here's a link to her website. With her portfolio!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Peter Saville Research and Views of Vanderslice

When researching Peter Saville, I found that his work covered an extensive amount of visual style and philosophical influence. Not like ancient Greek philosophical influences, but more of a personal opinion sort of influence. Saville cares greatly for his work and cares a lot about making something beautiful. His care and concern with being involved with the work and wanting to make something aesthetically pleasing is what drives his work ethic and is also what forms his opinions about design work in general.

He is very relaxed about his work and is rather notorious for missing deadlines. One of his friends, and clients, claims that the wait is worth it though. He says that Saville gets in touch with the work he is trying to create an identity for (in his friends case album artwork). He listens to the music and thinks about the feel and mood of the music. He gets in touch with the identity he is trying to create.

Saville is mostly known for his album artwork, but his work has reached farther than just record sleeves. He has done fashion design catalogues for Yohji Yamamoto, some freelance identity work through Peter Saville Associates, and has even been commissioned to design a cultural identity for the city of Manchester, his birthplace. His work has almost entirely consisted of creating identities for the products he is advertising.

The philosophy he employs behind his identity work is where Saville's genius shines. He is said to be able to capture the sheer epitome of whatever he is designing for. This would explain the personal and thorough connection he establishes between himself and his work and that which he works for. He creates a mood and persona and essence in his design work that goes beyond suiting for what he is designing for. And he always did this without ever referencing the actual object he was creating the identity for. In his early Yohji Yamamoto fashion catalogues he didn't  even use images of the clothing. Most of the time he would use some overused Photostock-like image and combine it with some text.

This is essentially what I will try to attempt in my poster for the theoretical Peter Saville lecture. I want to capture the epitome of Vanderslice without visually depicting it. I will do this by photographing parts of it that speak its visual essence the best.

Slide show presentation here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seven Smokey Virtues

Screen grabs my title page and diligence page. Smoke and human interaction with smoke are used as abstract and formal representations of the seven heavenly virtues. The essence of the virtue is derived from the smoke and human interaction. The use of smoke as a medium for this series suggests the ancient  belief of some cultures that smoking tobacco and/or cannabis can act as a spiritual release. Smoking was frequently used in religious rituals and was believed to induce a divine state of mind of sorts. The use of smoke as a medium also mocks the typical connotation of smoke as dirty or sinful.

Here's the link to my site:


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Color Icons and Icon Color Palette

The color palette I used in my book was based around three colors. All images in the book were black and white except for one image on each spread. These images then had a particular color highlighted. The three colors that were highlighted throughout the book were red, green, and brown. These three colors were based on the images of blood, money, and alcohol bottles used in the book. I made a color palette for each color and used the colors from the palette to color this set of icons. I feel that they are all too vibrant and need to be muted in saturation and tone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Typographic Hierarchy Exercise 1

Few examples from an in class exercise. Objective was to demonstrate different methods of hierarchy using certain objectives.