Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Paper Postcard: Process

After a direction has been determined, the mind maps and mood boards are filled with visual research, the next task is to build models and to create a look and feel. A series of 12 postcards provide a quick way to test some ideas and visuals. The postcards may not solve the look and feel problem completely, but they rule out some things, and they sometimes (hopefully) hold the kernel that directs the next step.

Each postcard represents a specific focus within the larger theme and focuses on a visual element: typography, image, color pallete, pattern/texture, image, abstract and representational symbols, and diagrams.

The shapes Carina used for her project are reflected above in circles, squares and triangles. The idea being that shapes and colors communicate emotions in ways that words can't. The final three dimensional shapes could be arranged to express how a person was feeling at a particular time. This series of postcards helped her to define some aspects of communication with color and geometric shapes.

Jaime imagined a place called Reverie, a city of dreams. Some of the ideas from his post cards carry over to the final project and some do not. The cards helped him to build the visual and verbal content for his city.

The cards are assigned and due the next class period. These are intended to be quick studies and then we move on.

Simple models of the projects structure include no text or graphics, just blank bristol board models. Jaime chose to stack the city emphasizing upward movement. In his idea, the dreamer begins at the lower level, with the goal being to reach the ultimate dream at the very top of the city.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fortunato Depero: Unified Visual Language

Italian designer, Fortunato Depero worked from 1914 through 1955 and depicted figures and environments in the manner of futurism. The expressive qualities of the simple geometric forms are emphasized by dynamic angles and unexpected placement of buildings in the environment. The people and the environments share a cohesive visual language of form and color.

If citizens, or accessories are designed to live in the ”Flat City“ make sure they continue the visual form you have created. This way all the parts will feel unified, like they all belong to the same idea.

The imagery you design and apply to the forms can communicate a few different ways. You could communicate just what is there. In other words the form looks like what it is, but why not entertain some other ways you could communicate? What if the graphics depicted what was going on inside, or around the form? What if it was purely typographic?

Remember covering a three dimensional form with an even pattern or texture will visually flatten the shape. Differentiating between surfaces and planes will accentuate the form.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How To Imagine a City

To expand our thinking of how a city can be imagined, we wrote city poems. Each person begins with a sheet of paper and writes a statement about a city. They fold the top of the paper down to cover what they wrote and then pass the paper along to the next person who reads the first statement and then writes their own statement which is the opposite of the previously written statement. They cover what they wrote and pass it along again. Each person covers what they wrote and the new person only reads the previous statement and writes the opposite and so on. These are the cities we imagined...

A city that never sleeps
asleep by 10 pm
awake by 10 pm
fell asleep at 10 pm
i went to bed early last night
i haven't slept in days
i sleep all day every day
i am an insomniac

when you are in a big city there's Bright lights and events everywhere, and tons of places to go, you never stop.
the city can make you feel excluded or unattached because there are so many people and places.
i always feel warm and welcome in a department store
i almost never feel itchy and scratchy in a prison
i get the best medial treatment in prison
canada's health care system is the talk of the town
canadian bacon is the talk of the town

Cities where dreams come true
the city is a place where people suffer to live their reality
the city is a place where everybody chases their nightmares
the city is a place in which nightmares haunt those with problems most at night...seeping in through the window.
the city is a happy place with sunshine and rainbows. People have bright and colorful dreams

a city filled with a younger crowd during the winter
a city full of middle aged singles in tropical weather ready to party
a city with no middle aged singles that's not tropical, not able to party
single and ready to mingle, “cosmopolitan anyone?”
married and celibate anyone?
boring and wild

a place of dreams
a place of nightmares
people here never sleep
a city in which everyone lives on north, south, east, and west elm street.
mayor freddie krueger runs the city very tightly
freddy krueger runs his city loosely
son of sam ran a tight ship
daughter of jill didn't own a ship

I thank Laura Jean Mclaughlin for introducing me to this technique of prying the brain loose from its routine thinking. It comes from a book titled ”Surrealist Games“

What to do with a Sheet of Paper

Success in making anything improves as you understand what your materials like to do. we compiled a list in class of what can we do to a sheet of paper, and the properties of paper. first of all most paper has a grain. It is best to fold with the grain of the paper. If you don’t your edges will crack. To find the grain direction you can lightly fold the paper, do not crease, and press down. The paper will give more resistance going against the grain. You can cut a small strip of paper and wet it. The paper will curl with the grain

properties of paper:

weight, transparency, surface texture, color or tone, synthetic or organic material

things you can do to paper

cut, fold, score, tear, perforate, punch, crumple, soak, burn, rip, emboss, layer, make marks upon, stab, scratch, weave, cast ( paper pulp ).

some paper categories
1) commercially milled paper
usually there is a minimum order. commercial printers order paper from mills.
2) specialty paper
includes decorative and hand made papers.
3) upcycled paper
for instance, when junk mail is made into wallets.
4) paper objects
includes paper products that are mass produced.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mind Maps

The flat city project begins with a mind mapping exercise done in groups of two. The objective is to map ideas related to ”city“. By comparing maps we are able to distinguish between broad ubiquitous ideas and unique singular ones. Subjects like education, technology, and culture are general and appear on all the maps. Yara imagines “City of the dead” somewhat like the Dia De Los Muertos. We realize this is a unique idea because it only appears on the map she is working with. The maps are engaging in that they tell mini stories about how one idea makes its way to another. After sifting through the broad topics individuals create their own focused maps using topics they are interested in developing. These maps are expanded and include imageresearch, color pallets, and typography, to guide the intended look and feel of the project.

Mind mapping tools are available on the internet that allow sharing and also create webs of associated content. Bubbl.us maps can be developed and shared by multiple users. I see Bubbl.us as a way to organize content generated in a broader map into specific categories. Credoreference.com organizes a map from words typed into a search. Both sites are accessible through the Ringling Library link. I find these internet searches to create some seeming random branches that I have yet to decipher. The human mind is still necessary to filter through the words and make the conceptual connections. I encourage the web based maps to complement, but not replace the maps done by the human hand and mind. Standard 8 1/2 x 11 pages or even screen sized maps do not encourage the outpouring of ideas that can fill a wall sized sheet of paper.

Thank you Emily and Michael for such a well developed mind map.

Mind Mapping Continued

When we mind mapped the article titled“Bad Press” by Elizabeth Diller, we discovered how a simple object like a man's white oxford shirt could reveal all sorts of underlying meaning ranging from economic hierarchy, to women's roles, to disorder.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

White Models

These architectural models by Frank Gehry are a good example of how to think about a white model. The models indicate form proportions first, later models are built showing details like windows etc. You can see that these models are not exact replicas of the building, and are sometimes made with simple materials like tracing paper. In your models it is important that your idea come across clearly rather than sweating out details. In the case of “Fred and Ginger”, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are dancing together. The idea of connection/contrast, grace and flowing movement is evident in the stark simple white wooden model. You can see later how this form was carried out to the final construction of the building.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Concept vs Idea

How is a concept different than an idea? Is it possible to define a difference between the two?

An idea for the example above might be “I have an idea to make a series of unconventional packages to make people think” The concept is further developed by assembling disparate visual and verbal elements and combining them in a new way to create a message that is sum total of the individual parts. The“ scarcity goods collection” packages individual, community and environmental imbalances. Collectively these packages read as a cry for collective healing. An empty bottle that we associate with a drugstore product labeled “symptom remover” becomes a remedy for perhaps some of the ills of the body, environment, or even culture. The concept is complex in its interpretation, but simple in its solution. FLOWmarket packages are designed by the danish designer Mads Hagstrøm.

A title, an artist's signature and a museum context elevate Duchamp's “fountain” to the status of a work of art. A found object declares itself as a work of art because it combines the nomenclature found in art museums and is placed on exhibition.

A concept transcends the physical object to create a mental image or idea.

In “Brutus Killed Caesar”, an artist‘s book by John Baldessari, the title helps to direct the interpretation of events. In the book two men face each other separated by an object. The title implies the object is a murder weapon, Brutus is on the left, and Caesar on the right. As the middle pages are turned different objects appear that we understand to be weapons, like a knife or gun. As the book progresses the objects become more absurd and we imagine murder committed with a roll of packing tape or a potted plan. This is a good example of how the context or juxtaposition of images and words shape the message.

The watch series “ Waste not a Moment” designed by Tibor Kalman communicate more than just the time. By emphasizing 5 o'clock on a watch, we interpret an aspect of time rather than just the time of day.

David Trujillo presents a concept for packaging a remedy for a phobia about germs:
Disposable anti-human wipes that talks about taboos, genocides, rituals, myths, and social stigmas overall. Small graphic elements support the concept: the registration mark on the flap resembles a shooting target icon while the red fingerprint symbolizes marks left by the user.

Thank you David and Crissy for bringing the Flowmarket, and Fountain to the class discussion.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ghost Town

The inhabitants of this town were killed in unfortunate circumstances and spend eternity wandering around this suburban nightmare.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Corporate City

The Coporate City center is the BP oil company logo interpreted as a giant tree. All roads lead to the tree. Stops along the way include familiar companies. The mail truck travels from building to building and the inhabitants of the city wear suits brandished with logos.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Illusion City

The buildings here are camouflaged to match the sky, hence the name “illusion city”. The buildings can be separated to reveal patterns and foliage.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blue Collar Utopia

The base of this elaborate city is held up by the workers. When the tops of the buildings are removed the mechanism that holds the city together is revealed.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Once Apon a Town

This town is where all the inhabitants from fairy tales live. There is a house for Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk among others.

Tomorrow Town

“Tomorrow Town” is a place where you can escape the dreary everyday world of the suburbs. There are endless possibilities here. This is a town for the entire family.


“Typodula” is a modular letter form city. The city can be constructed of letters, words, or sentences.

Endless Winter

“Endless Winter” is an alpine town hidden in the desert. The city offers an opportunity to ski year around.