This is the end… | wk8-2

October 30, 2012

Every term my mind is more open to the possibilities. While all this preliminary work is at times time consuming – it serves as a good exercise.  As able I try to introduce the students to the concept of preliminary work and record keeping. They live computer and so it can be a stretch. There is no formal organization when they do preliminary work, my own is getting better yet my physical methods need improvement.  I may have a methodology now it needs refinement.  This term also expanded the writing methodology which will be most helpful when it comes time to do a thesis project.’

Thankful …

for a second chance when most needed,

a Professor who doesn’t let us off the hook (no matter how painful)

developing skill set and expanded thinking.

Goals for the week get it done!

                     Get one night of 7 plus hours of sleep.

                                                 Learn and implement into new more organized methodology.

Process Books | wk8_1

October 30, 2012

This week reviewing the three process binders included in the unit readings, I am struck with how different everyone’s binders can be.  Jane Dorns was the most inspiring in that it was casual yet tight, it was also not elaborately designed and relied on the process to work out the details. It looked like a sketch book and not a project.  In the PDF version half the spread was computer generated the other the sketch book page.

An idea from Dorn’s Process is the yellow highlighting of usable or best ideas. This is very clever simple device used to jog her own memory and process as well as guide the reader through.

April’s as well is very clean, white paper, small type and lines used to direct the flow. Again the same half page digital information and the other the sketch book.

Turpin’s book is more “designed” yet her illustrations are wonderful.  They are well done and rich with detail for thumb-nailing.


Ironic that this is the course content for the week because it has come to me that I need to sketch on half sheets of tracing paper so that I can scan them easier.  I have tried to make my process binders simple and clean and have not succeeded at this.  In past courses we were shown examples that look like we designed thought out final projects which in reality were process binders.

What I take from this is  permission to keep it clean(er) and spend more time on the ideation and less on the compilation.

I do like to sketch on tracing paper because of the smooth surface and the way the markers leave a watermarker-ish appearance. See samples from my own drawing pads. The negative to using tracing pads can be transparency of the page for replicating, the size and the sloppiness of the pages which fall out.  I also use pencil often which is very light and hard to share digitally.

All in all my preliminary work is not as elegant as it could be.  The process biner experience has been valuable and a wonderful way to follow my own train of thoughts.

Our processes determine the quality of our products.

If we wish to improve our products,we must improve our processes;

we must continually redesign not just our products but also the way we design.

That’s why we study the design process. To know what we do and how we do it.

To understand it and improve it. To become better designers.

Dubberly,Hugh. How do you design?, (San Francisco: Dubberly Design Office, 2005)

Two things passed my way today that got me thinking about the process and students. One was a link to a site which had 50 examples of creative brainstorming for logo’s  ( and the above quote of Dubberly from the intro to his new book, How Do You Design.  My own process is undergoing an amazing amount of growth, I am invigorated by expansion of my knowledge and skills.  In class or shortly after a few students were hanging around and we were talking about what design education could look like. This was in response to which software to use.  In a short span of 62 credits, there is not enough time to evolve and explore further the skills obtained. Too much emphasis is on the teaching of software and not enough on thinking.

Yet as possible small steps can be made – at least for now to get students thinking.  Yet the process is lost on most. While many balk at the limitations or assignment perimeters, the hope is one day they will think back to being forced to sketch or brainstorm and  illumination will occur.

LOVE!  Nathan Felde’s  What the AIGA didn’t tell you,” process.  The first step Felde lists first “acquiring a distinctive persona” is so spot on.  It is a bit cynical and snarky yet so much of the industry is fitting the image.  The bright side of this is that people with persona’s or personality that stands out – stands out. And anyone can take something about themselves and make it part of a persona. (Dubberly 49)

Bryan Lawson, Creative Process is another that speaks to me in a real way.  Insight, prep, incubation, illumination and verification.  Such words put a magical spin on the process. Incubation and Illumination. The bright idea that sparks.  Lawson gives credit to the period of time in the process where one is not conscientiously thinking about the process – rather they are not and that is when the solution shows itself. This is also know as the shower effect.  (Dubberly 42)

Lawson’s model doesn’t give much room for analysis, yet it it does give creed to the mental process of creativity.

Ideo adds a step “rapid prototyping” which is an interesting concept – they feel you should not waste time, mock up everything from products to services.  This seems like a useful way to brainstorm beyond the norm. It add excitement and energy that can push the ideas. (Dubberly 65)

The system approach after Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, allows for continuous back and forth movement through every step which seems to be the most reflective of the design process where as anyone other than the designer is involved.   (Dubberly 32)


My own approach is evolving regarding my process. Room for brainstorming in alternative ways and analysis is developing.

Hugh Dubberly, How do you design?, (San Francisco: Dubberly Design Office, 2005), 32, 42, 49, 65.

Groovin’ | wk6_2

October 18, 2012

Once upon a time — the process of working while the world slipped away was groovin, then it because in the zone and now its the flow.

Go with the flow has been a saying for a long while. It is not necessarily the same as achieving design flow.  Honestly have no idea when the actual concept came to my realization, yet I can remember spending hours in my darkroom as a teen, surprised later to find several hours had passed. Then drafting or drawing elevations, again hours would zoom by.  Sitting at the computer pushing elements around on the page the same feeling of the world slipping away occurs.

This tends to happen whenever I am engaged in the process of creation, particularly when it is going well. Or yoga. Sadly my running days never put me in the zone.

Sometimes work is not going well and it becomes harder to focus.  The groove, the zone, the flow don’t come. The mind wonders aimlessly and nothing great accomplished. It is at those times that I have to fake the groove.  Usually find time when the house is quiet (or as quiet as possible with a teen, two cats and a dog who barks at every leaf that drifts by the window). I light some candles, yellow for creativity. Make some tea or hot lemon water. And trick myself into relaxed mode.  I reread the requirements and then set to focusing on the project.

Hadn’t thought of fitting it into my methodology because it organically happens once I am in the brainstorming or ideation stages. Yet the fake it till you make it zone could be inserted after analysis. Usually that is when the fight or flight wants to kick in and I need the flow most.



creative process | wk6_1

October 18, 2012

My creative process begins before I have an assignment. Naturally curious and desiring to learn, I explore  as much as possible —new ideas, new ways to use typography, software, illustrative styles.  And I observe — all the time. What are other designers doing, what are the trends?  I look for ideas and ways to solve design challenges.  When I begin a project, the first step is to research. What’s being done in similar areas, what does the collateral materials look like, what about branding?  Research includes ways to communicate, as much background information about the client or project as possible.

Brainstorming is  process within a process.  Mind mapping, word lists, word or idea associations, thumb-nailing, shower theory – step away for awhile, crazy ideas, more sketching.  After arriving at several options it is time to analyze — have the objectives been meet? Does it communicate the message clearly?  If so then I move onto ideation or the digital (or non) solution.  Another round of analysis. It’s either on to refinement or back to the drawing board.  This is not really the end, the final is never the final until it is approved by the client.

One thing about the creative process is that is fluid, entailing far more research than ever thought.

The course reading this week mentions the concept many young designers have – that designs magically appear out of nowhere, perhaps intuitively. While this is true to some extent, life and experience contribute to the process. You cannot work isolated, away from the happenings of the world.  The ability to fit life into your work is what give your work humanity and relevance.


My skills set includes the ability to find creative solutions to problems. Conceptual solutions to any range of problems.  I am thoroughly involved in the process of design and mentoring/teaching young designers. I can bring out their creativity.  In the simplest terms print is my area. Trying to push what I know in others, multi-media and web are areas that I would welcome collaboration.  Yet my make up is that of being a team player so working with a group in any capacity would be interesting.  Although the real need for each member of the team to feel a par tof the over all end product is necessary.

The idea of being or growing into some one who is involved in design systems is exciting.  Finding the solution that is new and fresh without worry of limitations of skills is an excellent reason in itself to work with others who strengths balance and enhance your own.

They often say there is a method to the madness, baby, I can feel the madness.

The madness turns out to be very thoughtful approach to developing research methodologies.  The blogs, the course discussions, the readings, the research, more reading,  mapping, outlining, CRAPPing—it’s all starting to come together. Although it does feel a bit like my calculus class the night before the exam.

Reading is key. Do it first. Get a grasp on the content of articles.  I mistakenly gave credit to the wrong speaker yet the content spoke loudly to me.  Organization is important. Make sure you keep quotes in context—reading in blurbs can lead to misunderstanding.

Presentation Topic Introduction

The first several presentation takes were too long. Thirteen minutes, the ten and finally 7 minutes and 18 seconds or there about.  It was difficult to present the topics in a way that did not make a case or try to impress opinions on the viewer. Head long into the prep for the project, I realized mistakes in my preliminary prep and the organization of main topic points.  However, for the video presentation I was able to highlight the topics.

Presentation Tone

Lets just say its a good thing the out-takes did not make it to air.  Have a hard time pronouncing names like Poggenpohl and Guililium.  And it may sound to anyone not familiar with me—like an accent. The words design decision roll off  the tongue dezindeezcession.  Talk a bit fast and can be a bit hyper excited.

Vocabulary Presentation

Pedagogy is probably the only word not everyone is familiar with, and really this speaks to the education of children. Yet it is the word we continue to use for adult learners perhaps because it such a weird word.

Visual Presentation

Feel the color scheme pleasing as well as a few images, yet ultimately I could have used animation skills and 10 more hours to produce the desired end. Yet working with the time and skills, the presentation PDF achieved the goal of providing visuals to emphasis the words and provide thought cues..

Presentation Flow

Flows yet in hindsight if I had another week I would do it a bit differently. Food for thought as we go into the next step.

Presentation Timing

Paced a bit quick yet respected professors and peer time, kept to the required time frame of 5-7 minutes.

graph·ic (gra-fik)

Relates to a written or pictorial representation, described in vivid detail, realting to graphic arts, or a pictorial device used  to convey a message.

Shelly Evenson in her presentation for the New Contexts, New Practices Symposium discusses some of the changes int eh industry today.  Among other changes she wondered if the word “graphic” was still relevant today.  Once one gets past the immediate questions, you begin to see that what Evenson is proposing makes sense .  She recognizes that many designers would go through a crisis of identity.  (Evenson) Yet lately as someone trained in interior design and tangentially in graphic design, find that I do not need to put any qualifiers in front of designer. The term designer alludes to some one who is capable of laying out a pleasing organized system of something; words on the page, rooms in a building, the interior trim of a vehicle, pages on the internet.  Much of this change of thinking has to do with a student who is required to take typography while studying architecture.  I am constantly trying to relate typography to her in terms of architecture.  Periods of design, classifications of typefaces. This could easily be periods of architectural design or classification of building structures. While there are distinct difference the principles of design are the same as is the ability to put things together skillfully.

Why pigeon hole someone with multiple aptitudes? 

If we look at the definition of graphic in the most related sense, a graphic designer would be someone who creates a pictorial device to illustrate a message.  This seems rather simplistic. In todays industry the designer needs to be able to create artifacts at the lowest end of the spectrum.  While the other end has the designer creating systems  that not only communicate a message, also incorporate social and environmental concerns, with the highest end recreating to bring positive change to the world.

Can a designer do all that alone?  While possible what’s more probable is the role collaboration will play in the process. This is were people with multiple aptitudes come together to effect change.

If not graphic design, what then?

Emergent.  Systems. Design for good. Communications. Multi-media. Film maker. Web builder. Animator. Book builder. Typeface designer. Illustrator. Researcher. Organizer. Designer thinker. Presenter. Ideator. Mentor. Collaborator. Software aficionado.


Evenson, Shelly. Provocation #1, New Contexts, New Practices. NC State University. AIGA. 2011. <;

Another helpful tool of use is the shared in this weeks content is the “Domain of Knowledge Matrix” by  Dr. Dennis Puhalla.  In this matrix, Dr. Puhalla breaks down a list of authors, common themes and the tile of the publication. While is may be redundant along with some of the other tools, it is another way to help you find information as well as make an informed decision to use a particular resource. Perhaps the best of both world would be to use the matrix along with the What, How and Why method from the bootcamp, bootleg series of research methods.

In use personal matrix to follow!


Puhalla, Dr. Dennis M., Color as Cognitive Artifact: A Means of Communication–Language and Message. Literature Review–“Domain of Knowledge Matrix”, Institute of Design at Stanford, “bootcamp, bootleg.” Accessed October 5, 2012.

research bootcamp | wk4_1

October 5, 2012

This week I would be a therapist dream client.  Afraid to start because the failure factor looms. However survivor will kick in — the  feeling will pass.  Most designers experience this overwhelming feeling at times. Giving voice helps yet what most likely will help is tackling a research project as one would any other, through process, methodologies and a strategy.

Ironic then that in reading through bootcamp bootleg, put together by the at the Institute of Design at Stanford, that one of the first methods speaking the loudest is DEFINE.

DEFINE as put forth by the is this, “The define mode is when you unpack and synthesize your empathy findings into compelling needs and insights, and scope a specific and meaningful challenge. It is a mode of ‘focus’ rather than ‘flaring.’” My research is leading me to a paper that will defend or propose a position on the education of graphic designers in a changing technological environment.  Before I can investigate how we might anything I need to pull together a defined statement or purpose.

This step will take care of the fear of getting started, or fear of failing.  The very act of figuring out what it is I have and what it means will undoubtedly help me pull it all together.

WHAT HOW WHY would be secondary. Perhaps this is basic yet as I compile and read, especially a challenge for me in digital format, I am not tying the pieces together. Despite having a mind map or in addition, the areas of the map need to be explained.

Once regrouped and back on track with determination other bootcamp bootleg methods will be employed.

Resources, Institute of Design at Stanford, “bootcamp, bootleg.” Accessed October 5, 2012.



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