Wednesday, December 10, 2008

teaching graphic design

This is the first of many posts to follow in the next few days about my adventures teaching graphic design. It is now the end of the semester at East Carolina University, and I have been dutifully grading my student's design process books. I've been teaching Art 2200, a broad survey of graphic design that is these students' first attempt at graphic design at ECU. These books have been their catch-all for the myriad writing and analysis assignments, all their thumbnails sketches (they'd lead you to believe I assign millions!), their comps, their rants, their raves. I have been a task-master with these process books this semester, and it has paid off!

As I was sifting through my students books I was amazed at the quality of their sketches, their thoughtful insights, and their cheeky notations. It made me happy. So, over the next many posts I'll be sharing the best of the best - exceprts from my students' process books that reveal their brilliance, quirkiness, and thinking.

To get you started, here's a tasty bit of verbal evidence of my students' being reflective practitioners. The class was introduced to Koberg and Bagnall's The Universal Traveler as a model of the design process at the beginning of the semester. To wrap it all up, at the end of the semester they had to revisit Koberg and Bagnall's theory and develop models of their own process as well as reflect on their strengths and weaknesses (up to this early point in their careers/education!) in the design process. Some were amazingly insightful. Enjoy!

Anna Vaughn Creech
I believe my strengths of the design process are accepting, selecting, and implementing. I welcome the challenge of accepting a new project and problem, sorting through imagery to find the best solution, and refining the imagery digitally. My weaknesses are probably defining and ideating. I usually want to jump right into the project with my preconceived ideas rather than spending time researching, even though it helps me in the long run. I also despise doing thumbnails sketches – part of ideating; however, it does help to generate ideas and helps me discern visual successes.

new nip/tuck promo

I was at one time an avid fan of FX's nip/tuck, but it lost me along the way... Well, I was surfing the channels this past weekend and caught a glimpse of the promo for season 6. It's brilliant in all its over-the-top, visually-excessive glory.

From the cheeky retro vinyl 50s diner mint green dresses to the corseted dancers to the sutured skin to the surgical instruments in brilliant pattern and repetition, I lurve this bit of design. It makes me want to watch the show again, and it makes me want to know who designed/directed it. You can check out a high-quality version of it at FX's web site here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

the jiggly-bounce

I was just uploading some photos to Flickr... watching the little pink rule slide to the right, then disappear by fading downward, and up pops a little green check-mark. As it pops, it bounces a couple times before settling down to a mundane existence as a "life's all good" symbol for a successful photo upload.

Watching these arrows appear one after the other during my recent upload made me think - the jiggly bounce seems to be everywhere these days. When a program on my MacBook Pro needs attention, it throws a mini digital temper tantrum by bouncing up and down - the jiggly bounce.

We are, perhaps, in the era of the jiggly bounce. Flash animators and computer interface designers: could you please come up with a new gimmick? I've grown tiresome of the jiggly bounce. It bounces, you bounce, we all bounce. How about the shimmy?

Monday, March 03, 2008

No Reservations warning.

I'm addicted to Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations , which airs on the Travel Channel. I love his sense of humor, the fact that he'll try anything, that he repeatedly gets drunk, and all the rest. It's pure TV fun and escapism. And, he's easy on the eyes [wink].

I have been watching the newest season and noticed that the obligatory warning screen is now taking on a life of its own. Well, first, let it be said that any food show that needs a warning screen should be watched, but this warning screen now responds to the topic of the show. With the New Orleans show, it was under water and slowly drowning; with the Romania show the letterforms were pierced by other letterforms a la Dracula and more...

I'll do some sleuthing later to the find the witty designer(s) of these essential but tedious moments of television viewing. More later.