This course has pushed me to places mentally and physically than any other class. This is not a bad thing. In fact when I look back on the work I have done this quarter I feel really good about it. There was a lack in fulfillment on my job as a designer. I have been there 4 years and design a lot of the same stuff every year (in-house position).I am happy to be an employed designer but as I learned from Stefan Sagmeister it is not always about making money. Sometimes we need to step back and design something that holds deeper meaning. In my case I have enjoyed design geared toward education in the sense of encouraging those interested in design to seek higher education opportunities as well as using design to promote general education reform from grade school to college.
As a designer I have come to understand that my job is not just to “make things look pretty” based on a brief hand to me. I have the ability to see and evaluate problems and an even greater responsibility to address those problems using the resources and knowledge gained. It is somewhat difficult being responsible for more aspects of a project, but this gives me more insight to what is really needed. I think more about each component placed in my composition. I know I can’t solve everything but I can connect and collaborate with others to work toward the best solution. I look forward to approaching things in new ways and finding more fulfillment in my current job, but especially look forward to the next phase of my design education and career.
I can’t say before this unit I was consciously working toward creating a moment of performance or noble pursuit. Over the course of the past weeks I have analyzed and review my create process several times and each time I make changes. The process I have used in the past have gotten the job done in that i was able to deliver a solution suitable for the needs of the individual or group I was working for. Taking a deeper look at my process I was able to see areas I could improve upon, but I feel I am getting to a point where I need to solidify and test my current process before making more adjustments. I am willing to be flexible as I work with different groups, but overall think I have a solid process and have learned a great deal from it.
In past units we discussed the idea of disruptive wonder or providing new ways to communicate. Kelli Anderson does this using materials around her and presenting them in new ways. In Project B I am attempting to do the same by using common items found in homemade survival kits to communicate tips and advice to students preparing for the professional world. Instead of spending time trying to think of a completely new approach and wonder if the audience will be able to understand and receive it – I can apply a new use to something familiar. Doing this offers a new view and hopefully a disruptive wonder for my audience.
In this unit I reflected on how my values impact my design process and ideas. In the past I have turned to my values as a reference point and a source of creative fuel when I am stuck. If I could not connect with a certain project, I would look to my values to see how it relates to the project topic. I understand applying personal values is not realistic for all projects – after all being flexible is one aspect of a good designer. The value may be so embedded that only the designer sees it and hopes that someone else will, but as long as a message is received I think it will be successful. One thing I must be careful of when using my personal values in a project is to not let my value drown out the message. Doing this excludes the audience and I become the target audience. That is not my intention. In everything I do I want to bring people into the message not isolate them. Even when I do personal projects that rely on my values as a source of inspiration I work to keep the imagery and language inclusive. If may not be familiar to every single person that sees it, but hopefully they at least stop to look at it and take it in before feeling the message is not for them. I think this approach could create a lot of opportunity for cross cultural and value learning.
Deep down, I think all designers embrace the idea of disruptive wonder or using the old to create something new. It can be a refreshing exercise for use instead of relying on the idea that new is better. While I had not heard of the term “disruptive order” I have attempted to use materials around me to create new experience for myself as well as an audience. This has come in the form of self initiated projects. A few years ago I experimented with images of the Statue of Liberty for a screen printing project. I wanted to take the symbolism of the image – freedom, strength and power- and manipulate it to change the perception and even reinvent the image itself. After this project I started taking other familiar images and symbols and repurposing them. Sometime is involved contradicting mediums like “digital watercolor” in which I attempted “painting” using Photoshop and a digital tablet. Other instances included repurposing the letters in the Krispy Kreme logo to spell out my hometown’s name. These examples do not create the social and more interactive approach Anderson used, but it is a start. I am attempting to use what is around be and looking at things in new was in the hopes of taking it to the next level where I am involving an audience.
Working on this last part of project A has been one of my favorite in design and process. I like that I did not know exactly where the project was going at the start of the process. This allowed me to do a lot of thinking about the message. the final solution was definitely an “ah-ha” moment. Once I had the subject of music I knew I wanted to do something that would promote change and bring about awareness to music education. I understood the feedback from my peers but initially did not agree with it all. Color is one of my favorite area of the design process – it is what I use to capture the attention of the audience. I was told the colors should be toned down in the initial round. I thought having too much white would cause the design to get lost in its environment but the point was the color was distracting to the legibility. I also needed to make some adjustments to my logo to ensure the words are read in the intended order. I think the feedback really helped me see how things I think look good may not be the most effective for my intended audiences.
Last week’s collaboration with my partner lead to some great word expansions and associations for me to build ideas for my project. Although I was able to make associations between all three words I was a little lost on the type of project I would propose. After seeing an example I had a better idea of the direction I needed to take. The overall subject I decided to work with is music education programs in grade school. All three of my words had a connection to music in addition to themes of freedom, opportunity and coming together. Once I had a base I began to think about how to visually represent the message and a collective name. I decide on “More than Melody” which speaks to music education’s impact on student’s academic performances outside the music room. I found research and stats on how music has contributed to the success of student math, reading and even social development. I idea is to visually communicate that with music students can enhance their academic experience. For the visual representation I will highlight the stats found with fusion graphics to show how musics impacts more than sound, but a greater foundation in academics.
Letting go of bias is hard. Admitting you are wrong is even harder. Stefan Sagmeister even placed it on the his list of “Things I have learned in my life so far” – Everybody thinks they are right. When I made my initial list for Exploration A I did not break my biases which cause me to have a shorter, less developed list. Collaborating with a partner opened my mind to other directions and lead to many more word explorations.
From this project some far I have worked on keeping an open mind and accepting when I wrong. In design being wrong can not only impact the creator of the work, but more importantly the viewer. If I use the my bias to select design elements, I am not only wrong in my selection, but contributing to the spread of misrepresented information.