September 26, 2011

Final research posters.

The final posters have all the tweaks and refinements made to them, resolving issues with hierarchy as well as some tinier issues like copywriting!

September 24, 2011

Research Poster: Round 3

To refine the posters further, we worked on fixing all the levels of hierarchy we had last time because of the colors (the bright yellow really popping out) as well as some scaling issues that I had. On to the final!

September 21, 2011

Research Poster, refining!

 Here is the next iteration of the research posters. We took some time to comb through the type and edit a lot of it down, trying to avoid large, dense masses of text. For this new version, we also added a lot more of the hand-rendered type, although it could still use some refinements. Still, the idea is there! While working on this, we are trying to keep an eye on both our research and our mood board, so to make sure that it accurately reflects our audience!

September 18, 2011

Poster Draft 1

This is the first draft of the research poster. Lots of dots and lots of text. But the hand-rendered text is nice, thanks to Brandon! I am working on the individual side while he manages the community half. Meet Charlie and Eyelyn, middle-schoolers in a classroom crossover!

September 13, 2011

Initial Branding Tries

So here are some of the initial thoughts that I had, after floundering around with the name for too long. Lots are really literal and pretty much just illustrate the early bird. Moving forward, I will make sure that not all three directions will feature a bird. Maybe just one, and I think the very top image is where I'm headed for that one.

Visual Advocacy: Week 4 Readings

Towards Critical Autonomy

Several decades ago, graphic design seemed to be much more simple, or at least more simply defined. There were perimeters that it stuck to and only a limited amount of media that it could be applied to. With the onset of computers however, that all has gone out the window. In many cases, it seems like graphic design is now a commodity, a vehicle, that often loses cohesion the more mediums one concept is spread across. Also, much of graphic design seems to now rely on someone's personal style. Many times the style is the end-all, when what we really need is a cohesive timeless solution to a problem—not just a pretty picture.

Now that we can do Anything

There has been a lot of innovation in the past few decades, more than there has been since the age of invention. When I read this, it was almost hard to believe, and it kind of blew my mind. But part of that might just be because it's something I grew up with, and therefor kind of gloss over. With the speedy change of the economies, and the sorts of services out there, it is important that graphic design is as up-to-date as the rest of what's out there. We are not just designers, but researchers and inventors, problem-solvers and presenters of information on all levels.
And designers are also not just those who design graphically. Nowadays, a designer is anyone that uses critical thinking to solve a problem. And we cannot discount these new designers, because design is now, more than ever, and extremely collaborative environment. Also, more and more of the systems that these other designers use can be manipulated to be used by us (again, collaboration!). Everyone is spilling into each others' respective fields, and it all sounds very exciting! The more that we can utilize these overlaps, the more ambitious we can be.

Cultural Catalysts, Cultural Agency

As a designer, it is our job to be a catalyst. We not only deliver the message, but also to create an environment or system in which we are not only informing the viewer (ie, to the existence of a product) but also providing the beginning of a dialogue between the client and the consumer. From there, the consumer has the opportunity to give their opinions and criticisms of the product, client can continue the dialogue, and trouble shooting can begin.

Quantum Leap: Beyond Literal Materiality

This reading was a little difficult for me to understand, I admit. What I think I got from it is: with the digital age, we need to modify our thinking to think past the previous physical limitations of what graphic design was. A toolbar in a program is not the same as a box of tools in real life. Do not think of what you are working on as a page, again, that it physical. Instead think of it i s a space, and a system. I was not really sure what this guy was getting at, eve after rereading this article.

September 11, 2011

Half Price Books Presentation

Half Price Books
I chose to rebrand Half Price Books, a store the resells books as well as CDs, records, movies, magazines, etc. Currently HPB is seen by their audience as being an affordable, vast collection of used books. But they are much much more than that, and with their current branding, it is unfortunately not clear how big of a role they play. Because of the scattered, cozy nature of their stores, and their name containing the words “half-price,” they are currently giving off a vibe that seems to be a little more “cheap” than it needs to be. HPB is a wonderful company in the fact that they are community-based and extremely invested in literacy, education, and green movement programs. Unfortunately, these wonderful qualities are not well reflected in their current branding, which is somewhat scattered and off-track of their mission statement. My goal with this rebranding is to update and enliven Half Price Books so that the emphasis of is about their strong values rather than their affordable prices.

Half Price Books

September 10, 2011

Ivanhoe Research: Community Center?

Since Taylor and Bethany and I are all working together, we decided to start off by looking in different directions.

To begin with, I continued my research regarding microfinancing from the previous class. Initially, I was stuck on the idea of implementing KIVA to raise money for what ever sort of center we end up trying to add. Personally, I love the idea of an affordable eating place for kids to gather and family to enjoy.
While looking at KIVA, I began to realize that it seemed to mostly offer loans to very VERY poor third world country people. So, against that, I don't know that KIVA was the best choice for Ivanhoe. I found another reputable microfinancing group, Grameen America. This is how they work:

IF we used this, we would have to use a group of people who would be willing to pull out a loan. And of course, whatever they ended up making into a business would have to be a for-profit establishment. If it were non-profit, then they would not be able to pay back the loan. But this is all still very rough.

Another element that I researched was the logistics of turning a home, in a residential area (the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council owns a few) into a business. There are a couple things that would have to happen. First, we would need to contact the city and see if the house was zoned to be a business. If it were not zoned, we could apply for a conditional use permit. This is just an opinion, but I think that considering the location and the purpose of this community center, I think we might be able to argue the conditional use permit if it's not zoned for it!

Possible uses for the center:
  • cafe
  • smoothie/juice bar
  • computer lab
  • occasional market
  • pop-up
  • daycare center?
  • tutoring
  • rec center
  • restaurant
 More research to come!,9171,1950949,00.html

September 8, 2011

Visual Audit and Mood Board

 For our visual audit and mood board, Brandon and I decided to turn them into one piece, because many of the bright colorful images for the audit side served as inspiration to us. Don't worry though, they are still separated, with the audit on the left and the mood board on the right.
 Middle school/junior high school students are very in tune with popular culture, no matter what clique they fall into. They might be a Beiber fan, enjoy the peppy beats of Katy Perry, or perhaps spend their time keeping up to date with the latest television shows (adventure time is immensely popular among the artsy/fringe crowd).
 Most of our target audience is consumed, one way or another, in their self image. This of course helps them relate with their friends and distinguish themselves as individuals.
 Both social networking and mobile communications are detrimental to these kids. they never put down their phones, much to the frustration of their parents and teachers. Just like with their clothing and accessories, they use their facebook as a way to express themselves. They spend a lot of time editing their interests so that it reflects all they have in common with their friends.
 They are of course young and fun! Middle schoolers, while very self conscious, also really put themselves out there for the sake of making friends and expressing themselves as being independent.
 And of course there is the awkwardness.

 As for the mood board, we tried to find things that both represented their young, bright personalities, while including a large variety to represent such a large crowd. I thought this was an interesting and cute little definition that at first appears scholarly, but then is actually something funny that middle schoolers can relate to.
 We found many geometrical, brightly colored icons and images that reference some of the digital media that they use.
As for text, we found a variety of both digitally and hand-rendered examples that, again, speak to the youthful nature of the group. This rendering also reminded us of the doodlings that many students do on their notes and homework (of course this will not be rendered in quit as a juvenile manner).

September 5, 2011

Readings Week 3

 The Designer as Producer

Even though big companies will always dominate the market, it is increasingly common, and easy, to create and market our own products as an independent designer. Our job is no longer just to make a package, or an advertisement, or whatever. We can create whole experiences. With the resources available now, we can prototype our work and send it off to be created somewhere for a reasonable cost. We are now entrepreneurs, creating all elements of a product.

Birth of the User

Text is something that is more universal than icons, and it can cross the boundaries and limitations of language. In an screen-based experience, users are more interested in quick absorption of information rather than long periods of reflection time. It is all about being as quick and productive as possible. Of course, while they are using the web, there is also an opportunity for the designer to collect information from the users.

Graphic Authorship

In the past, graphic designers took their clients information and turned it into whatever the client wanted. But now designers are taking a more involved, active role in the process. Perhaps they realize that what they client wants is not what they need, and alters the message and the design to better suit. In this way, we are now creating our own sort of authorship that we did not have before. In order to be graphic authors, we must take control of both the design and the writings in the design. It's not a matter of copy and pasting someone else's message into the frame we make for it, but deciding the best message to coexist and complete the experience we make for it.

September 1, 2011

Ivanhoe Assessment

Talking to Dina about the issues in Ivanhoe gave me a good idea of what what really needs to be addressed in the neighborhood. Some things that stood out to me were:

  • Only 30% own cars, most must use the bus system
  • Beautification can really help raise the morale of the neighborhood
  • The lack of grocery stores
  • Poor nutrition is leading to obesity among the youth
  • Ivanhoe got special permission to sell "lawn veggies" in order to help with the garden movement
  • Not many have internet, but most have cell phones
  • Many people jobless and sitting on their porch, uninvolved and apathetic
  • 87-89% of the women involved in community are single moms
  • UMB opening in the neighborhood council building is a great opportunity
  • Not a lot of winter activities for children
  • Community is very involved in the churches, religion is a source of hope
  • They would like to continue to clean to make the public spaces safe for kids
  • Some sort of hope and pride in the bakery on the corner? Perhaps more small business like this is needed?
Out of all of these, the things that I find to be the most important are either the importance of the UMB opening, or  perhaps the nutrition of the youth.

For the bank, I would need to contact the Lady in charge of their branch to begin with. To be honest, I don't know what could be best for the bank, so I would only know who else to call after I got soe feedback from her first.

For the issue of nutrition, I would like to get in contact with the leader of the children's activities position at the neighborhood council. Also, attending a meeting where I could talk to some of the parents that are involved would be useful in finding out where the problems might be. Then go from there.