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Project 3 - Readings

Reading 1

Within a couple pages the chapter shows us that design is alive, reactive and evolving. It goes through stages, phases, etc. and imitates the traditions of the society as a whole.

Something that stood out to me specifically is a quote on page 34. It is a statement by Dieter Rams and reads, "to me a good design as little as possible. Simple is better than complicated." I agree wholeheartedly with this statement because it its base roots, design is about sending a message simply and effectively. I also find that many of designs take a minimalist approach (at least that's what I market myself as, maybe I'm just lazy. Up for discussion).

The article then spends some breadth discussing the math aspect behind design. The most notable of these being the rule of thirds and the golden mean. Nothing new, but good reference.

Reading 2

This chapter deals chiefly with the use of grids as means for communicating and information organization within text.

It is interesting to see how the grid is used to grab and guide people's attention (especially the red head passionately grabbing her breast on pg. 59. Good attention grabber).

It surprised me to see how much a serif with sans-serif fonts can create such distinguishing text. Especially in readability.

The rule of thumb of the more grids and columns one has the more choices there are available to them is an interesting aspect that I will most definitely (within reason) employ in Project 3.

Enlightening, to say the least.
B -
3 out 4 stars
Certified "fresh"

Reading Response: Anotomy of Design - iRaq

"Parody is humor used as a weapon."

What struck me the most about this article is coming to a realization that by changing the narrative behind a well established design (i.e. iPod 2004-5 commercials), a designer can completely alter and control how onlookers think, feel, act.

The "iRaq" poster struck me and fits the above statement perfectly. The sleek and cheery iPod-like design is betrayed by the message associated. It shows an all black figure, head covered and fully blanketed with two all-white electric cables running from fingers to [probably] a battery circuit fitted onto the person's body. Below the pitiful figure reads "10,000 volts in your pocket, guilty or not."

Being a commentary against prisoner treatment at Abu Graihb, this poster takes a fun, playful ad campaign and turns into a dark, even morbid, reminder. The fact that this "guerrilla" poster was also illegally displayed next to other iPod posters of the same likeness would have really driven the message home.

Other poster designs adorn the bottom dating from 1480 to the early 2000's. The most striking, in my opinion, being pictures taken from actual moments in conflict (social, war, etc.). Just the sheer emotion of people in these pivotal moments trumps any design included.

Definitely keeping this reading for future inspiration.

International Design: Iran

" Without one distinct culture or identity, how can Iran's graphic designers represent the nation through visual communication? "

Iran is a curious thing. It struggles to modernize, as apparent in last year's election riots and the ever burgeoning youth, and it also tried to hold onto its rich historical and even chaotic history. The terms culture-clash and globalization instantly flew to mind as I read through the article.

" One of the most sensitive parts in studying graphic design is our relationship with the graphic design of the West - a relationship of love and hatred altogether. "

Again, Iran seems almost a torn nation. Modern culture is dominantly western styled and historically Iran has not been western...unless said otherwise by invading armies (a symptom common in that part of the world).

Iran is a nation seeking to define itself and settle its inner disputes, modernizing, progressing, and still holding onto those ideals that make Iran what it is. From this there arises an interesting situation. From the examples given in the article there isn't one look that fits Iran (then again, is there ONE look for anything?).

An interesting read. Deserves another look at sometime.

Reading Response: Color Theory, Ch. 2: What is Color Theory?

Well-- what is color theory? In brief, it's how one uses color to convey certain messages and what messages color often has associated with it.

The chapter starts off with a glance at the history of color theory and, in the grand scope, our never ending struggle to disband chaos and create order. The author starts us at Aristotle and progresses us forward (about 2,000 years. I guess the rest of the world had better things to do...) to Isaac Newton and the first color wheel (divined from the splitting of a light beam) and updates us more regularly with other artists, scientists and philosophers.

Back history: done and done.

The author then brings us into the various fields that color is used, shows different approaches to categorizing color (i.e. the Munsell color tree, the standard 12-step color wheel, the color triangle, etc.) and also shows off the various color schemes.

All in all, straight forward and to the point. The chapter offers many lovely and well saturated images, and it can get a little distracting when trying to read through it at first and on the left is a giant picture that screams "HEY, YEAH YOU, LOOK AT ME. I'M FULL OF RED" ... but I managed to ignore it.

What I really, REALLY liked about this chapter though was the color index that showed how colors can be applied, what they mean in certain situation and their pros / cons.

It hit me to be more aware of what colors to use with what audience. For instance western cultures tend to see white as serene and often associated with divinity and beauty whereas some eastern cultures (namely Japan) sometimes associate white with death.

One must be mindful of their audience and use the proper tools accordingly.

Reading Response: Problem Solved Ch 2. The Astonish Me Problem

I couldn't get the categories to work, so here's the reading response to "Problem Solved Ch 2. The Astonish Me Problem."

--> but now I have; didn't see the box-to-be-checked under "categories."

As the first line says, "sometime plain old flat, straight and normal just doesn't get people to sit up and take notice," the chapter sets the framework for any outsider or amateur designer to world of attention getting which is a designer's realm of play.

The book (I'm guessing) and chapter is rife and abundant in good examples of vibrant and pop images that flow and offer a more engaging medium other than the text. If your visual, like myself, this helps profoundly. As you read a paragraph or two there's a pic-- BAM, right there to help guide your flow from top to bottom and also offers a visual means for understanding what has been said.

Other than the eye candy, the hierarchy of text is simple enough. Talking about base elements to design, do's and dont's, pros and cons, this is a good introductory piece that (I think) all designers should sit down and at the very minimum skim through.

The page / section that I thought to be the most interesting was page 6 where it talked about Dutch furniture manufacturer Artifort. They advertise their products in cut out, amoeba-like styles to get that "it's hip, it's now" feel across to the customer. Hell, "art" is in the company name. Running three lines in entirety, this brief look into Dutch pop culture is a snapshot of the grander pop culture. Design is all about making your product look the best and be the best...hence profit can be made ( Setp 1. Good Design, Step 2. ???, Step 3. Make Profit).

Loud, colorful, and yet informative, "The Astonish Me Problem" was an entertaining read.

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