Sunday, August 29, 2010

What Graphic Design Is To Me Now.

     Having watched the video and read the text I would like to make only a few additions or clarifications.  Graphic design is a tool or a central hub for which information is passed and is the basis for decisions made, trends changed, and problems solved.  It is a language that is both universal and unique and it spans across almost everything we see today.  It is reliant on both the style and purpose of the designer and the environmental and social constraints.  It is a method of visual and physical problem solving that is both as flexible and fluid as the designer.  The designer should be themselves, be adaptive, and be purposeful.  Design is a practice that must be founded on experience, principles, and successful process, and then brought to fruition through evolution and exploration.

     Having watched the video on Stefan Sagmeister I believe he is everything that a designer should be.  There is no cookie cutter form for what a designer should be but what he is is himself.  Who he is is a culmination of years of professional practice and experimental growth.  Essentially there is nothing but himself to hold him back.

What Graphic Design Is To Me.

     My definition of graphic design would have to be, any design or created image used as a device for communicating visually to an audience of consumers.  The making of such images can span across a vast number of medias.  I would also define it as successfully employing proven principles of visual communication.
     I have always been interested in designing art using many different mediums.  It wasn't till my freshman year in high school that I started dabbling in using computer software and designing things that were mostly just for fun.  One day it was brought to my attention that there was a name for what I was having fun doing, and that I could actually make a career out of it.  I sought the help of a friend of mine who took me under his wing and mentored me in design.  I've had three summer internships with him and have done some freelance work for him also.  He gave me a push in the right direction and I just kept going with it.  I've been exploring different medias and methods of visual communication ever since.

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Page.

    These are my latest large scale images for Typography 1.  Even though we weren't really supposed to worry about how precise the image was I still did my best to keep it clean and precise.  I have to... I don't do expressive gestures well.  Either way I really enjoyed the process of making these.  Instead of being particularly expressive I tried to focus on framing and composition, and how the form of the letters could help to shape it.

Framing... It's Important

   This image is a header used on a web article for a photo gallery by Aidan Kelly  The image uses the principle of framing in the way it is bordered and seen through the top text-image.  It provides a sense of separation almost like a veil or window that has been opened.  This works well due to the intimate and semi candid nature of the photography.

GEneral Electric Cont.

     These are some of my top pics from my latest versions of the General Electric logo.  I've tried to experiment with the newer tools in Illustrator CS5 and even some of the old ones I never use.  I've found that many of the tools that are available are either not appropriate for this project or have functions that seem so rigid and elementary that I would never use them.
Someone please explain to me the benefits of the filter gallery when using this program.

But I digress...

  • used the pen tool to extend the G and E into the surrounding circle

  • used the grid tool and added weight to the lines to create a shutter
  • flatten Transparency and refilled to grey

  • added grey scale gradient
  • adjusted gradient direction and placement for each unit
  • singled out the "GE"
  • replaced circle background with a square
  • layer masked large "GE" and placed in corner
  • added small "GE"
  • used perspective on prior comp.
  • using the pen tool added what I believe in professional practice is called "pizzazz" 
  • took a segment of the "GE" using a layer mask
  • duplicated/rotated the segment
  • re-added the outer circle on top 
  • recreated the outer circle into a triangle using shape, scissors and pen tools
  • used perspective to create faux-3D objects and layered them 

Futura Nn.

     The typeface futura I would describe as being sharp, clean, rhythmic, and even electric.  It suits me well as I have a natural affinity towards clean and geometric fonts.  Hopefully that doesn't reflect too much on my personality.

     Futura is a Geometric Sans typeface that was created in 1927.  It is characterized by having no serifs and sharp peaks on many of its capital letters.  These peaks extend beyond the terminals, base line, and cap height.  The characters have even weighted strokes and there is little to no thickness variation (stress) in curved characters.  Due to its geometric nature futura has a quick short movement that could be compared to a tap where as other fonts like bodoni portray more of a strum or bow.

Anatomical Features (Nn)-

  • Stroke
    • the line that defines the shape of the letterform
  • Stem
    • vertical and diagonal strokes that make up the letterform
  • Crotch
    • the interior space where two strokes meet
  • Terminal
    • the self-contained non-serif end to a stroke
  • Shoulder
    • the curved stroke that is not a bowl (n)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Refined Dots Have Principles.

     I've been working on a collaborative project for Visual Communication for almost twelve hours straight.  I haven't had more than a bag of cookies and a couple of bottles of soda today and I'm feeling it now.  The purpose of revisiting the dots from our previous project is to explore some basic design principles, with some added parameters.  One of those parameters was to create a number of our dots with found images.  Being able to allow for the image to partially define the words we are trying to depict, gives us allot of welcome breathing room.  Jumper (my collaborative partner) and I started working through our individual thumbnails to gather compositions.  Then once we had ninety-six compositions between us we went through and edited them down our final twelve.  Then we decided which ones had potential for image and which ones could stay as simple black dot compositions.  Honing the craft of cutting a perfect circle by hand was laborious and in many cases it was simply getting it as close as possible.  Magazine paper was not kind for this activity.

     After our collaborative compositions were complete we each went back and individually rework a previous composition that we felt had potential.  We were able to recreate the previous black dots and make a copy utilizing found images.  I'm reasonably happy with the outcome.

Principle: Framing

Principle: Repitition

Principle: Layer

Principle: Compound Shape

Principle: Compound Shape

Principle: Proximity

Principle: Proximity

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dots That Do... Stuff.

     The assignment for my visual communications 1 class was interesting.  The project was to use simple dots to portray a certain action, emotion, or condition in an abstract manner.  Also the composition was supposed to be visually appealing and consider the spacial relationships.    I don't know if the parameters are entirely comparable to many real life design problems, but I think thats why we're doing this project.        

     I learned one of  two things.  Either I learned how to solve a problem using very basic units and tight constraints, or I discovered forty-eight different things that dots should never do.  I think the jury is still out on that.  I guess I'll see how critiques go tomorrow.  I did find that with the more compositions I made, a few became better refined.  I'm reasonably satisfied with my three final pieces, but I will still be anxious to get some added parameters for this project.

Little "a".

     This will have to be the first installment on this project.  Tomorrow I will hopefully have something a little more comprehensive to post.  In this project we were told to do sketches of five different lower case a's.  Then after we sufficiently studied them we were to try and match them as accurately as possible to their printed counter parts.  The third part of the assignment was to attribute characteristics to each of the fonts.
     The sketching part I labored over for to long.  It will take me a while to loose my habit of trying to put to much detail into my sketches.  I could have definitely squeezed more studies into the time allotted.  What I did try to do was notice and mark what similar characteristics each "a" had within its own typeface.  Characteristics such as angles and weights of the line helped me be as accurate as I could in recreating them.
     When I gave these fonts characteristics I gave them ones that they seemed to be conveying to me personally.  I found them to be anything from clean and friendly to slow and even judgmental.  I seemed to give them characteristics different from those of others in the class.

General Electric and the Illustrator Fun.


     I've been working on my first project for Color, Form, and Production and I think I have enough to start posting a few things.  The General Electric logo has been easy enough to duplicate using the pen tool, shape tool, and scissors tool.  I've had a lot of downtime with this method in the past.  I was able to break it down into its general parts and then put it back together and it looked pretty accurate.
     The next step, using the live trace, seemed to work the first few times I used it, and for the most part it was reasonably accurate itself... not as good as me might I say but decent.  The tip of the G was a bit pointy.  When I used flatten transparency I was able clean up the points a bit.  I'm not sure if that is the right manner for going about it, but it worked.  Going to save each of these became a bit frustrating because on one of my files it kept insisting that there was nothing on the page after the live trace... so I gave up and saved it as a different file.
     The last thing  I've been working on has been trying to figure out the perspective tool.  Due to the circular nature of the GE logo, using this feature is less than a perfect solution, but I haven't explored it entirely.  I ended up with something more of an object than a logo.  Once I experimented with the perspective I came up with an idea to give some connection between the logo and a potential GE product.  Maybe it's a washing machine or a dryer.  I was unable to effectively use the perspective tool to achieve some different planar variations, due to the distortion of the curves in the logo.  I was however able to use the marked vanishing point to create what depth I achieved.

     Hopefully I will have a few more variations tomorrow.  Now that I've worked with the perspective tool I will probably move on to other methods, unless I should have any further revelations on the matter .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This Will Be In Helvetica.

     Simply putting the first post down on this blog may be the single most relieving thing for me to do right now.  Until I can dispatch the "no posts" on my page I'll continue to feel uneasy while viewing it.  So now that I have some down time and a good caffeine buzz, I figure let's go ahead and jump in.  Let it be magical.

     Yesterday was relatively pain free.  I arrived at the design building with a few minutes to spare.  With both back pack straps secure over both my shoulders (thanks for pointing that out Sam) I trooped in like every good kindergardener would on their first day of class.  Everybody played nice and the faculty seem as excited as I am anxious so I'm definitely in the right place.  So far the only speed bumps in the road have been running into people I know on the way to class.  I need another day or so in the week for "catching up".  Needless to say my calves are going to be ridiculous by the end of the year.

     Today I had the pleasure of going on a lovely treasure hunt for all my necessary books.  The art store which has given me great service and reasonable pricing in the past seems to have forgotten that upperclassmen also need their books.  Enjoy it while it lasts freshmen.
I ended up taking a short trip over to Barnes and Noble where they were able to find most of them and order the rest.  Now I just have to actually read them.  I also ordered the Adobe Font Folio Package today.  I wish that it could have been on the list of things to get, along with the new computer and software.

     Well there you have it, first blog post ever.  I think that I can start to live with myself when I look at this blog.  Slap a decent header on the thing and I'm good to go.  Now if you'll excuse me... I have to read.