Monday, June 29, 2009

staying astonished

i think i can earnestly say that this book is the coolest thing i've seen in a long time. at points where it feels like i can't help but become bogged down as a designer with things like intention (is it ok to indulge in the fun, seemingly purposeless, stuff?) and sheer quantity (why would i want to add to this mess? what can i offer that hasn't already been done?) it helps have a friend who finds such a gem of a guide book for only 25 cents in the used book section of the school library. circa 1941. no joke. and they're practically giving it away. it's a falling in love all over again feeling.

these are some of my favorite pages:

i especially love the "posters help school activities" page. today was my first day of ta-ing (if that's even a word) the graphic design class for pre-college this summer. i loved hearing what each student had to say about why they're interested in graphic design. it seems like just yesterday i was in their high school shoes and designing multi-pronged ad campaigns for things like sadies or battle of the bands, slowly realizing that i was on to something.

on a side note, we watched a few artists videos in the class as well (after seeing helvetica, of course) and this was one hillman curtis video i hadn't seen: milton glaser. just thought i'd share. a wise old man with words on things i've been thinking about: responsibility (family/city/world), teaching ("projecting into the future"), and astonishment (reminding yourself that you've never seen it all).

Monday, June 22, 2009

i believe this is what the kids these days would call "booking it"

i'm officially back in baltimore. but not before i had the chance to send my tiny house into a messy chaos and paint my room. impromptu. hgtv never tells you that it's actually hard work. and impossible to finish in a day. or two. or three. (try like a week.) not to mention i was probably as inefficient about it as possible and left (almost) all the furniture in the room. we'll see if i can even recognize it in a few weeks under it's lovely shades of butterscotch and lemon ice. all i know is it sure beats the sterile white dingy walls of the commons. i'll give aesthetics that much credit.

Friday, June 19, 2009

paris calling

ok. so spring 2010 is sorta far off... but there's just something about the planning stage of things. (and a july 15 deadline to give you a kick in the pants.) here's the plan: parsons paris.

plus pulling together a portfolio, writing a statement of intent, obtaining letters of recommendation, and making a seperate petition application. (because, go figure, parsons paris isn't on mica's list.) sort of a daunting summer task. to add to the french fun, i have the rosetta stone to make my way through now. (thank you, dad.) good thing. two years away from any formal french classes and i am unbelievably rusty. i couldn't even write my email to mademoiselle asking for study abroad advice en francais. so sad. but i'm going to try to get as far as possible on my own with that prep this summer while i have some time. (there'd be no way when school starts again.) the rest i'll just have to leave up to immersion.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

blah, blah, blogs

i had some time to kill at work on saturday, so i let myself get swallowed in the endless sea of design blogs out there. usually it's a matter of mindlessly scrolling through recent posts on many stuff or design sponge or swiss miss or the like, occasionally following links, and generally taking it for what it's worth. i try not to spend too much time in that world, and i rarely do when i'm at school. hypocrisy aside, so much of it seems so pointless and self-indulgent. but going back to some of that stuff now, at a point where i just might be frustrated with design for the first time in my life, might have been just what the doctor ordered. (that and, dare i say it, reading daniel pink.) it helped remind me that it's ok if design is fun and it's ok if it does nothing more than look good. this isn't to say that the really good stuff (in my opinion) doesn't do more... but even the act of bringing beauty alone is commendable. out of the hundreds of projects and pictures that i saw on the screen before me, this one was worthy of writing on my hand to bring back home for bookmarking. cardon copy.

"cardon copy takes the vernacular of self-distributed fliers and tear offs we have all seen in our neighborhoods. it involves hijacking these unconsidered fliers and redesigning them, over powering their message with a new visual language. i then replace the original with the redesign in its authentic environment."

and although i'm hesitant to say that i like it because i'm sure someone out there is already thinking that it represents the arrogance of designers to mess with what's already there and think they can make it better and that it's a waste of time and blah, blah, blah... i like it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

in defense of comic sans

art school does things to you. no matter how humble your roots, you'll inevitably start to scoff at the scrapbook section at jo ann's that you once loved and poo-poo fonts that every one else finds perfectly fine. like papayrus. (rightfully so...) or comic sans.

still, i have to wonder if we aren't being too harsh. now, i'm not completely clueless. anyone who has taken a typography class (or is aware of this radical movement) can give you easily a hundred reasons why comic sans is horrible. at the end of the day, it's just tacky type. but, in certain contexts, i'm willing to argue that it might just work. (form vs. function)

case in point: my mom, who happens to be a preschool teacher. she diligently pecks away at her keyboard one letter at a time and uses clip art gratuitously in microsoft publisher. (love you, mom.) but what she manages to do with such skills is more than commendable. for the past few years she has toiled away at her laptop before school ends to produce a book for each one of her kids documenting their year. she uses pictures from pajama day and snack time and everything in between. she saves attempts at name writing (where capital e's sprout horizontal lines like centipedes and spelling is somehow only mastered when letters are laid out right to left) and drawings of family members. starting from the first day of school to conge, just about every adorable moment is captured. now, her layouts don't use a grid or the golden rule. sometimes she stretches type (shock!) and uses comic sans. the pages are laminated and they're spiral bound together. but i'm willing to overlook all of those things that make a graphic designer squirm knowing the gift she is giving to every single student.

as someone who just found this fourth grade masterpiece, i don't mind at all. we all have to start somewhere.