What I learned this week: It is hard to make a business card when you don’t know what business you are in. Illustrator is an equally powerful and difficult piece of software. Styles are a lot easier to copy / steal / borrow than to create from scratch. I began the task of making my ‘business’ card by writing out a number of my more endearing professional qualities – character traits and interpersonal skills which have felt valuable to me as a creative team member.
I started with a relatively simple idea for the design of the upcoming ITP Winter Show’s postcard: several students working together at a white board covered with their designs for said postcard. Despite that the photo’s composition came out relatively well, it proved to be lacking in a couple of key ways: the images on the whiteboard were unrecognizable, and there were several distracting elements in the frame. Because of this, I decided to pull the students from the image and alter the background.
It was during an incredibly off-topic venture onto the internet of 2002 during a middle school math class that I first remember seeing the “helicopter game” – a game in which players control a helicopter’s lift as the game side-scrolls through a cave of sorts, replete with stalactites and stalagmites (which the player must avoid at all costs). A cursory google search did not reveal the original, but I have attempted to recreate the original in P5.
I began this weeks assignment where I begin most visual projects, at the Library of Congress online photos and prints collection. I often look to this resource when I want to emulate some aspect of a graphic style (Works Progress Association posters, turn-of-the-century carnival or theater posters, etc.), but find it generally inspiring for its collection of documentary photos of life in 20th Century America. Among these photos are well known and powerful photos (Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother), as well as many thousands of lesser known (and frankly less interesting) photos commissioned by various government agencies for various documentary reasons.
For this week’s visual language assignment, we’re attempting to take a notably poor example of typographic design – an airline ticket – and redesign it with clarity in mind. This required an approach which understands and respects a hierarchy of information importance, especially as it can be manifest with typographic tools: varying font weights and grouping like things together. We began with the following: My first step was to suss out which information was most important to the passenger, and which to an airline representative or TSA agent.
For our second Visual Language class, we looked at signage and wayfinding systems – systems which constitute such an essential and ubiquitous part of our designed world that their effectiveness in conveying information can be considered a public interest. As pedestrians we use and depend upon these visual markers dozens of times within a single commute for directions. And as drivers we look to them to convey essential right-of-way information and rules of the road within seconds.
A few years ago, I stumbled across a series of reference manuals in my uncle’s (electronics /computer) workshop that had been published by IBM. These manuals (for BASIC, DOS and the like) were housed in small cloth-bound binders which were themselves housed in cloth-bound hard dust-cases. On these outer cases was printed the IBM logo and various bits of information about the version of BASIC, DOS, etc. that it supported: