April 15, 2008

Boxcar setup process

Be sure you are in CMYK mode with Black as 100% K.

1. Use the following template to setup your final 2 plate designs. [Download .ai file]

For steps 2-3, files should be named: "UMNLastnameMMDDYY.extension"

2. Save a .pdf of your final setup file for an electronic proof
3. Save an .eps (Illustrator) or .tif (Photoshop) of your final file
4. Email me the above files
5. Print a hard copy of your final file setup and give it to me

April 3, 2008

Embrace the process

blogpic.pngThe following blog documents my journey through a 21-day traveling journal project, a great exercise in generating spontaneous (but informed) designs based on a theme. Throughout this entire project you will notice time and date stamps: this was a result of the grand focus being on the representation of time and movement. Within that larger theme, each individual book had a different focus and traded hands of each student in the class.

(Tip: Look at the older posts first to better see the process unfold)

books.pngNot quite knowing where this project would take me, I took photos of each of my designs along the way. Sometimes it is necessary to continue to work with content in a variety of ways in order to see which is going to generate useful and meaningful results. I also forced myself to improve my photography skills (not sure that happened) by limiting myself to the 'first shot' . . . in other words, I did not try to perfect my photographs of each design, but rather learned from my mistakes and embraced the results regardless of their imperfections.
See thephoto documentation

embraceBook.pngWhen I received my completed book (with the theme of "what do you want to (re)present?"), I also documented the designs that my colleagues contributed. You can see the final version here: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~atank/journals/ Even this piece is just a starting point for another project or could be useful purely as inspiration.

So, get started brainstorming, sketching, photocopying, collaging. . . whatever it is that speaks to the theme of "-MADE"!

Printing videos

Continue reading "Printing videos" »

April 2, 2008

Digital meets handmade

Despite the incredible advances in technology, fine crafts like typesetting and letterpress still hold a certain aesthetic appeal. However, because of technology, we can create digital designs that are output to polymer plates and print them in a similar process, using a type-high (0.918") form to create a relief print. This relief process is what gives letterpress printed pieces their tactile quality, an element not replicable through offset printing.

Picture 4.pngFor your final project, we will be using the New York based companyBoxcar Press to make polymer plates which we will use to create prints on a Vandercook press. As with any craft, understanding and being sensitive to the process is integral to the success of the final piece. Not only should you understand the technical aspects of the process, but also consider the strengths (and weaknesses!) of the technology when conceptualizing your piece.

Continue reading "Digital meets handmade" »

March 15, 2008

The Thing Quarterly

Has anyone else seen THE THING?

THE THING is a quarterly periodical in the form of an object. Each year, four artists, writers, musicians or filmmakers are invited by the editors (Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan) to create an everyday object that somehow incorporates text. This object will be reproduced and hand wrapped by the editors and then mailed to the homes of the subscribers with the help of the United States Postal Service.

Sounds intriguing...

March 4, 2008

Postal mailing resource

envelope.pngFor the Greenway promotional piece, a major consideration is how the final piece will be distributed and mailed. There are many specifications regarding what and how things can be mailed. The Addressing and Mailing Dept. at the University is a great resource for information surrounding these issues, including size and format regulations:


Updated syllabus dates

Please make a note of the following critique days:

March 11: In-process critique of series
March 13: In-process critique of Greenway promotional piece

There is no need to mount these pieces; we will post them up on the bulletin boards in class to save on resources.

February 27, 2008

Personal process blogs

Remember that your process blogs are meant to be an electronic sketchbook of sorts, allowing you to pool your ideas, inspirations, links to resources, and digital images of your work in one place. Your blog should also showcase your progress throughout the course; include multiple entries for each assignment to relate this sense of progression. Most of you are already doing this, but two blogs that stand out are:


Also, remember to include the link to your personal website in a visible location on your blog and vice versa.

February 19, 2008

Inspirational blogging

Research is always a critical step in the design process and can be inspirational as well as informative. For class on Thursday, Feb 21, find at least two sources of factual information related to your series concept and three sources of inspiration that will inform and guide your designs (these can be campaigns, series pieces, and/or innovative examples of grid structures). Blog these examples, being sure to provide source information (i.e., the article name and location and/or the designer and campaign name) and how it will shape and inform your design(s). We will be sharing these in class on Thursday.

Grid it be.

breakGrid.pngWhen creating a series of related pieces, it is helpful and effective to develop a grid system on which to base the designs. Grids help to inform your individual layouts, and – while they may seem limiting at first – can actually aid in revealing new and innovative designs that effectively balance consistency and variety within your series.

Grids should be developed before your designs in order to provide a framework in which to work. In your planning and brainstorming phase, consider how a grid could be implemented to create hierarchy, structure, and unity within your series.

As you design, ask yourself:

-Do you want your grid to be highly visible or subtle?
-What are the proportions of your grid?
-How do your elements (i.e., headline, image, supporting copy) occupy the spaces? Will this vary?
-How will you break out of the grid, in order to introduce variety and interest in your designs?

Continue reading "Grid it be." »

February 18, 2008

Chip Kidd @ Mpls Central Library!

chip.pngChip Kidd, a contemporary graphic designer most notably known for his award-winning book cover designs, will be at the Minneapolis Central Library on Feb. 27, 7pm, speaking about his own publication, The Learners, a follow-up to The Cheese Monkeys.

With The Learners, the fascinating follow-up to his national bestselling debut The Cheese Monkeys, Kidd again shows that his writing is every bit as original and memorable as his celebrated book jackets. The Leaners is a remarkable story about advertising, electro-shock torture, suicide, a giant dog, potato chips, and the Holocaust.

Get full details about this FREE event!

I encourage you all to attend this free and local event to increase your awareness of well-known professionals in your field. Chip's dramatic and appropriate use of found images and careful integration of type is iconic and is recognized worldwide; the opportunity to see and hear him speak is one not to be missed!

Connecting to webspace from off-campus

If you are experiencing difficulties connecting to your U of M webspace from home or other off-campus locations, you may try running a VPN (Virtual Private Network) Client before you try to establish a connection.

vpn.pngTo do this, simply:

1. Download the appropriate VPN software
2. Follow the installation instructions

February 14, 2008

Dreamweaver specifics

If you are using Dreamweaver to upload files to your U of M webspace, you will need to install an extension in order to set the file permissions to allow for public viewing of your files.

1. Download extension
2. Follow these directions

Remember, you can also set the file permissions in a separate FTP client. Either way, test yourself by viewing your website and seeing whether or not the files are visible. You may need to refresh your browser once you have updated the settings.

February 7, 2008

Reminders and details for Tuesday, Feb. 12

1. By Tuesday, everyone should have established access to their personal web space on the University servers. Please post *something* on your index page (i.e., a link to your blog, an image of your work, your name and email address) to test that you have correctly established a connection and are able to upload files. We will discuss any issues in class.

2. For your in-process critique, please have your poster:
-printed to scale (no smaller than the required 12x19")
-mounted (either flush on foam core or on black matte board with at least 2" margins on all sides)

Aesthetic Apparatus Trunk Show

sale.pngThe local (and totally awesome!) screenprinting duo, Aesthetic Apparatus, will be hosting their 2nd Annual "Kindling & Litter-box-liner Sale" this Saturday, Feb. 9, from 6-11pm at Grumpy's in downtown Minneapolis. This is a great opportunity to buy some slighty damaged but incredibly cheap posters, and also a good place to find inspiration . . . these guys really know how to print!

Check out some of the prints that will be on sale >