March 26, 2010

Mind Mapping Book Covers

So here are some of my preliminary mind maps for my brainstorming for the book covers! I have been breaking the titles apart word by word, to perhaps come up with some not-so-cliche ideas. Looking up the synonyms and definitions of these words has definitely led to some new thoughts that wouldn't have occurred to be otherwise.

I'll be image-hunting this weekend, visiting bookstores and the library to see what I can find. I still want to continue with the idea of using texture as unifying feature, using it as a background or something. I'll also be figuring out what I can take pictures of myself!

Information Graphic Beginnings

Here are some of the preliminary diagrams for my informational graphics:

This is a comparative graphic showing the different amounts of fruits/veggies that American citizens in the years 1996 and 2007. But, it's very poorly laid out and confusing for something that should be a simple fact.

This is a timeline of food related trends in the past decade. I like the facts, they're varies and interesting, and there's a lot of information for each. Sadly, the organization of the whole thing is not working. Since it's a timeline, it really needs to show the order of the daters somehow. Also, the icon isn't really doing anything in the image. I'm going to work on the time-based structure and giving the icon purpose.

My time-based graphic is this clock! It is showing good and bad choices that you can make throughout the day, meal-wise. I need to add a ket to this, and separate the times and the facts by changing the hierarchy of them. I'll add a key. I'll also be rendering the clock in different ways, and abstracting it, since it really doesn't need to be as literal as it is now.

The kitchen map exploration is my personal favorite, and shows you kitchen safety tips. I need to do some more research on this, so that I can try to incorporate some more icons in to the graph. I'll be looking in to different ways of depicting the kitchen too. Maybe a few drawings, photos, photo montage. I'm worried that if I just try to kind an image, or take an image, the kitchen will not have all of the elements needed to connect the facts too. I'll be thinkiiiiing.
Time for lots of iterations!

March 24, 2010

Learning New Things

None of this is graphic design.

A list of things I want to learn/do:

Growing Moss
It's lovely to have found this moss "recipe," since previous to this I always just hunted and used moss I found at different locations. Not only does this prevent a lot of problems (bugs in the moss, uneven coverage, dying moss(kind)) it also opens up a lot more opportunities as to what I can do with it! I don't know if the weather will allow, but I'm gonna try to find some good moss tomorrow so I'll have some moss terrariums off to a good start, ready for spring. I'll also be familiar with the process, so I can make more moss spread later, maybe try experimenting with where it is applied. x)

Makin Some Curtains
I need some curtains, now that the sun is actually starting to show up! Also, I don't know how to sew, and it's on my list of things to learn. I figure big, simple rectangles can't be too difficult. It's a start!

Perhaps a Peg Board?
Another interior design project. Freeing up cabinet space by making a peg board pot and untensil holder! Julia Childs knows best.

Some other images for inspiration:

Montage/ collage with patterns/veneers. No Purpose, just playing with shapes:
Water colouring. Illustration. Flowers.
Cut paper. Cats with glasses.
Botany. Dried and pressed plants. On display.
Functional and Fresh. Tangle free necklaces? We'll see.
Found plantlife mashup.
I don't know if I'll get around to any of this at all, but it's something I at least want to look into. I can only spend so much time looking up information about food/cooking for all three classes! :)

New Blog Layout!

I changed the layout, whew! I'm afraid the colours are a bit too Valentine's Day-ish though! Maybe I'll change it to a nice spring blue or something. :) The Important part is that I sifted through all that coding to figure everything out!

The template was created by Deluxe Templates, and the banner and colors were all put in my meee. I don't know enough about code to do one myself, but I can understand enough to modify an existing template.

Woo! :)

March 22, 2010

Facts for Information Graphics

carrot - organic food
Comparative data between states, and nationwide, allowing looks at different years as well (lots of numerical and location data available on this site).
Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Data and Statistics. n.d. Center For Disease Control. 22 Mar. 2010>.

2. " Farm animals and animal production facilities cover one-third of the planet's land surface, using more than two-thirds of all available agricultural land including the land used to grow feed crops (Haan et al. 1997). "

3. Greenist Cities
. Boulder is number 7! Cool! It is also the country's best organic food suppliers. No wonder I enjoyed it there so much, haha.
Best Green Cities. 2007. Sperling’s Best Places. 23 Mar. 2010>.

4. Organic Vs. Nonorganic Prices. Nice side-by-side comparison of the cost of different foods.
What Does Organic Food Cost?. 2006. 23 Mar. 2010>.

5. Organic Food Timline
Organic Industry Timeline. 21 Oct. 2002. Whole Foods. 23 Mar. 2010>.

6. "The researchers calculated that the annual environmental costs for a city the size of Edmonton were $135,000 to $183,000 (5,492-7,426 tonnes CO2) for conventional produce and $156,000 to $175,000 (6,348-7,124 tonnes CO2) for organic produce. Many of the organic products are travelling further than the conventional food. Two items in particular, mangoes and green peppers, were shipped much further than their conventional counterparts (4,217 and 1,476 kilometres, respectively). The mangoes were shipped from Ecuador and Peru as opposed to Mexico, and the peppers came from Mexico as opposed to Canada or the United States."
Organic Food Miles Take Toll On Environment. 7 June 2007. Science Daily. 23 Mar. 2010>.

recipe box - homemade/home food trends
1. fast food vs homemade cost
Cost comparisons: Fast Food vs. Homemade Meals. 5 Feb. 2009. ABC. 22 Mar. 2010>.

2. Food Trends through the Decade. Covers important eating/habit/changes that involve food, like the Super-Size Me documentary, diet trends, the recession and its effects on home cooking, etc.
Tannenbaum, Kiri. The Decade in Food: Trends from 2000 to 2009 - Page 10. 2010. 20 Mar. 2010>.

3. Food Price Trends:
FAO Food Price Index. 2009. UNEP. 22 Mar. 2010>.

4. Culinary Events Calendar. Shows a break down of months, weeks, and days. Shows events and special days (both historical and current).
Ehler, James T. Food History & Culinary Events Calendar. Jan. 2010. 22 Mar. 2010>.

5. "According to a study by the University of Arizona Garbage Project, each American throws away 1.3 pounds of food a day, which amounts to 474.5 pounds per year per person. This is more than twice the estimates of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In response to the study and another one by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), EPA revised its data methodology from the late 1990s to the present. Increased consumption of packaged foods was a key factor in causing food waste's share of the solid waste stream to decrease by 15 percent from 1960 to 2003. USDA estimates that higher percentages of fruits, vegetables, dairy and grain products are thrown away, while lower percentages of meat, dried beans and processed foods are discarded."
Miller, Chaz. Food Waste. 1 Oct. 2005. WasteAge. 23 Mar. 2010>.

6. Strange Food From Around the World
. Gross! Very interesting look at what other people eat in other areas of the world. I would definitely stick with the more "normal" strange foods, nothing like the animal brains or stuff like that.
Strange Food From Around The World. n.d. StuffUCanUse. 23 Mar. 2010>.

shrimp - seafood
1. shrimp life timeline!
Life Cycles. 2010. Ova Yonda. 20 Mar. 2010>.

2. Preparing Seafood (Timeline)
Zisman, Carrie. Allergies, Food Poisoning, and More. 2010. Kid Safe. 22 Mar. 2010>.




knife - cooking technology/utensils
1. How has technology changed cooking? He lists many things, which I can look up the dates for. Good and bad things!
Pepin, Jacques. How Has Technology Changed Cooking?. 21 Nov. 2007. Big Think. 22 Mar. 2010>.
2. History of Eating Utensils. Positively riveting information. A must read. (that was sarcasm)
Hermes, Amanda. The History of Eating Utensils. n.d. eHow. 22 Mar. 2010>.
3. "On October 8, 1945 Raytheon filed a U.S. patent for Spencer's microwave cooking process and an oven that heated food using microwave energy was placed in a Boston restaurant for testing. In 1947, the company built the Radarange, the first microwave oven in the world.[3] It was almost 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) tall, weighed 340 kilograms (750 lb) and cost about US$5000 each. It consumed 3 kilowatts, about three times as much as today's microwave ovens, and was water-cooled. An early commercial model introduced in 1954 consumed 1.6 kilowatts and sold for US$2000 to US$3000. Raytheon licensed its technology to the Tappan Stove company in 1952. They tried to market a large, 220 volt, wall unit as a home microwave oven in 1955 for a price of US$1295, but it did not sell well. In 1965 Raytheon acquiredAmana, which introduced the first popular home model, the countertop Radarange, in 1967 at a price of US$495."
Microwave Oven. n.d. Wikipedia. 23 Mar. 2010>.

4. Top Ten Useful Utensils
Larsen, Linda. Top 10 Kitchen Tools and Gadgets. 2010. 23 Mar. 2010>.



spoiled soup pot -cooking accidents (mess-ups AND injuries)

Bayan, Ruby. How to Prevent Kitchen Accidents. 2010. 22 Mar. 2010>.
2. I gathered a lot of bar graphs and pie charts regarding injuries in the kitchen from this source, lots of interesting stats.

Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System. 23rd Annual Report of the Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS). Teddington: n.p., 1999.

3. Fire Safety Methods.
Technically timelines, although spanning over short periods of time as apposed to years and years.
Cooking Fire Safety
. 24 Nov. 2009. U.S. Fire Administration. 23 Mar. 2010>.




Pizza Box - Fast Food
1. The History of Fast Food. This is a concise time line of important dates in fast food history.
Each point on the line is clickable for additional information. A portion of the time line: XTimeLine. 2009. 20 Mar. 2010>.

Numbers of fast food restaurants in the USA. Very cool website, these developers made this map through google maps. There's also a Starbucks version of the map. Very cool.
that's tasty:

In the KC area, there are 388 fast food restaurants. This is the nation-wide total(seems like it should be more though):
Fast Food Maps. 2010. 23 Mar. 2010>.
3."Each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant."
Super Size Me. dir. Morgan Spurlock. narr. Morgan Spurlock. 2004.

40 percent of American meals are eaten outside the home
Super Size Me. dir. Morgan Spurlock. narr. Morgan Spurlock. 2004.

5. Cost of Fast Food in Different Countries
Yi, Esther I. World’s Most Expensive Fast Food. 07 July 2009. Forbes. 23 Mar. 2010>.


Reading Responce

Graphic Design: The New Basics


  • a graphic representation of a structure, situation, or process.
  • allows us to see relationships not visible through straight lists of numbers or verbal description.
  • no metaphorical distractions of excessive flourishes ("chart junk"), stay within the realm of objective observation.
  • also called a graph, it's a set of connections among nodes or points
  • centralized networks - all power issues come from a common point
  • decentralized networks - spine with radiating systems
  • distributed networks - node-to-node relationships with concentrated nodes of connectivity

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This reading shows a lot of really good images for image mappings, and I'll continue to look back to them for inspiration and reference and my factoids begin to shape into information graphics. The different distributions of hierarchy in the graphs was really interesting to explore, and shows how varied the format of this information can come in.

Graphic Design Sources - p.154

This was a really concise, clear reading about the important elements of information graphics! It's hard to summarize so much straight-forward information, so first, important points and lists:

Challenges of Information graphics

-people find statistics to be boring

-people resent the idea that things, attitudes, Points of view, and choices are reduces to numbers.

-stats tend to be very cold, with little depth into the topic they cover

  • many statistical information take time to decipher
  • the end result of understanding the info and remembering it is rewarding to the viewer

Graphic displays of data should:

-serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, comparison, contextualization

-show the data

-cause the viewer to think about what the data mean rather than how the display was made

-avoid distorting what the data have to say

-encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data

-reveal the data at several levels of detail, from fine structure to broad overview

-be closely integrated with the statistical base of the data and the verbal descriptions, including the title, of the display

-not confuse design variation with data variation

-not show more information-carrying dimensions than the number of dimensions in the data

-assist in remembering the information

-respect the viewer’s intelligence

Principles of graphical integrity:

1. Proportional correspondence: The representation of numbers , as physically measured on the surface of the graphic display, should be directly proportional to the numerical quantities represented.

2. Data-ink proportionality: The largest share of the ink should be used to show measured quantities (as compared to the ink used for the measurement system).

3. Clear Labeling: Data need clear, detailed, and thorough labeling to eliminate graphical distortion and ambiguity. Write explanations of data on the graphic. Label important events in the data.

4. Contextual relevance: If you do not furnish the context, the viewer will. (if something goes up, something related goes down, etc.)

5. Device Relevance: Suppress vibration grids self-promoting graphics, and expression of data by the use of relevance graphic devices, typographic manipulation, and finesse in the relative weighting of elements.

6. Shape Relevance: Information should not be squeezed into forms that deny its characteristic shape. Being true to information yields its own form.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Instead of finishing the homework for this week and then hurrying to complete the reading like I tend to end up doing, this week I made sure I read it BEFORE starting on the assignment so hopefully it will turn out better with this information rattling in my hear while I work.

Hiebert's rules of graphic displays seem to be really similar to Tufte's rules. Some differences that I really enjoyed though were: encouraging the eye to move around the image, having multiple layers of information (both narrow and broad), and also respecting the viewers intelligence. Even with information graphics, it is important to remember go waaay back and refresh ourselves on the earliest principles of design, and arrange these elements with meaningful scale, proximity, layering, etc., etc. Plus, there's no reason to need to dumb down information for the viewer. Taking it from a plain text form and placing it in a diagrammatic layout is clarification enough. Being too simple is insulting to the people who read it (and also insulting to our ability, haha).

Magazine Research

Links for Type articles and research!

I also have 3 essay-stories from a book that I checked out from the library, and a magazine article from Food Network Magazine.

March 20, 2010

Ampersand Calendar

300&65 Ampersands

So pretty! So many! New Homepage? Think so.

March 12, 2010

Final Applications

Still have a lot of things to fix.

The video keeps skipping and messing up when I try to upload it as a .mov file on vimeo, so I'm going to research into how to fix that tonight. I don't really want to upload a seven second video that skips most of itself. Blech! Also, something seemed to get buggy when I exported the video, and the night portion of the interstitial didn't blink like it's supposed to, even though all the keyframes are still on the right layers.

Icons • Final Sets and progression

Here's the final portion of the progression of my icons! In this stage we explored adding color to our icons:
A lot of time was spent choosing colors by sampling the photographs that we gathered at the veeeery beginning of the project as source images for our icons. One thing that I had trouble with initially was only choosing the colors that I thought that I wanted from the images. I looked for oranges in carrots, green in the leaves, and grays on the pots and pans. Because of this, my first round of colors were not very successful; I was looking for specific colors instead of exploring all of my options. Shame on me. After talking with an upperclassman though, it was suggested that I try sampling colors from parts of the images that might not be the focus of the image (ie: the kitchen in the background, instead of the pot itself). The colors that I came up with in this secondd round were a lot more successful, and from this set I chose the colors that I ended up using for my final set:

Color scheme pyramid! Those are actually the colors I chose for the one-color, two-color, and three-color icon sets, respectively. I really like these colors, and I think they're pretty successful at conveying the ideas of both "tastiness" and "dangerous.

The final icons (2 and 3 color sets):

Ater the critique today, I'll be making some more changes to both the colors and the icons themselves. Or, better said, I will be altering the distribution of color throughout, not changing the colors.
Notes from today's critique:
  • Pizza Box • possibly needs a rounder edge, or perhaps a hint at the demention of the box. It's an improvement on the last icon, but still needs some work! I'll also try removing the thin lines on the inside of the pizza, which can actually allow me to make my curlies a bit bigger, which will be nice. Lastly, no green for the pizza color. Gross.
  • Extinguisher • Maybe the exhaust needs to be changed so something more similar to the flames on the pan icon. It looks like a fiesta extinguisher right now.
  • Recipe Box • Skewing the box so that it is similar to the pizza box, so it is not so dense and flat.
  • Soup Pot • Try to make the bubbles/lumps look more refined, similar to the leaves on the carrots.
  • Three-Color Set • Try making only a tiny piece of each icon have the third color, so it's more like an accent. It will help unify the set, yes?

March 11, 2010

Modern Hieroglyphs

This article brought up several interesting points about the use and function of icons, while cleverly incorporating them into the actual text. This was pretty cool, since it only made the point of the article even stronger, showing how easy it is to substitute words with icons, but retaining the message.
Reduction and consistency are the basis of the Neurath's pictograms, and are important rules that all (successful) icons need to conform to. But while western culture finds Neurath's icons to be easily understood, they rely heavily on the viewers being educated on the icons beforehand and also rely on contrast with the icons they are placed with. The man icon can stand for many different things, not just the toilet, when placed next to a water fountain, or in an elevator, or sitting down.
My favorite part of this article was at the end, when icons from another culture were compared to their writing system, and then attempted to translate to a "western" meaning. The ideographs created for the Japanese airport might not seem as clear to a foreigner, but when explained, it is immediately understood as a car rental, or hotel information icon.
It also brings up the interesting point that just as much as we may try to convince ourselves that icons are always clear, they are not. It is the same for English and the Latin alphabet. For something that is prided for being so rational, there are so many irregularities that there's never one way of reading (or pronouncing) things! Very interesting food for thought.

7 Deadly sins • Final Statement

This project has evolved a lot through the course of its production, and the changes and improvements that have been made, I think, have made it a pretty strong representation of the sins:

The beginning sketches messed around with the themes in a really elementary manner, trying to make it super obvious which picture was each sin. While this was a nice way to help understand the meanings of each of the sins, each idea was a pretty typical, expected representation of each sin. Moving forward, I tried to think of ideas that were still clear and understandable, but not as cliche. Here are some of my early sketches for some of the sins:

Even in the drawing stage of this project, I realized that I wanted to pay particular attention to the facial expressions on each of the chicks. Drawing this was a lot easier than making it work on the actual chicks. Formally, the chicks are just a piece of really fuzzy pipecleaners with legs and eyes glued on. With such a simple object, it was a fun challenge to try and convey their emotions while keeping everything as simple and crafty(since they're so crafty-looking to begin with). Even just adding a pair of eyebrows to the little toys made their emotions recognizable; it's crazy how something so tiny can make such a big different in our understanding of emotions. Then it was just a matter of twisting and standing or sitting them in a position that helped to further convey the sins they were representing.

In order of appearance in book:

In the end, I chose to have 4 photographs containing text, and 3 without. I think this is a good split down the middle. I considered having each composition contain speech, then reconsidered, because it seemed like overkill, and too redundant. In the opposite direction, I also considered trying the photos with no text at all, but decided against it. The sin that each photograph is representing it clear without the text, but I liked the text to help reinforce the theme, and also to add a bit of humor to the images.

The book:
For the cover page, the index and the colophon, I kept the text all pretty simple, with the added character, the text-made chick, peeping up every once in a while. Minimal color, just an Easter-y pink, was used. Craft-wise, all the images printed out pretty well, and the construction of the book turned out really well.

Overall, this was a really interesting project that tested my skills in ability to compose interesting and informative images while keeping the set as a whole cohesive and visually compelling. Also, this was a fun experience in constructing and setting up artificial environments for the subjects of my photos, even though in the final images I chose to omit most of the extra details that the environment provided.