Eric Martin, the newest member of the Elefint team, inspired by TED, ponders the connection between design and happiness.
How does design affect your happiness? We just watched another interesting TED talk that asks how design relates to our happiness on a daily basis. Though probably an under appreciated and rarely noticed factor in our personal contentment, design in its various forms affect nearly all of our interactions with the world.
What makes you happy? How many of those things involve design of some sort? In our increasingly complex society, more and more of our experiences involve other people and when it isn’t your friends or family or a kind stranger, that person is probably a designer. Stefan Sagmeister, an Austrian graphic designer, asks how many of your happiest moment in your life involved design? He talks about riding his motorcycle up a mountain road with his favorite music playing through his Walkman when he was younger and how nearly his entire experience that day related to design. While I don’t think real happiness can come from consumer goods its hard to separate the two completely. Products that tap in to how we experience pleasure, fun, and excitement, can certainly enhance our well being.
Although we don’t create tangible products here, our designs are meant to have affect on people. People want to feel connected to the world, and to the causes they care about. Our goal is to bridge that gap. Working with many non-profits and social businesses to create something that resonates with the target audience and allows them to understand the cause is a challenge. Having an understanding of what makes people happy from a design perspective helps us to create a powerful logo, infographic, or website. Simple design principles that engage, excite, and appeal to our ethical intuition are what we focus on at Elefint Designs.
"Great design is an essential component to the success of nonprofits and socially responsible businesses. Great design means more than nice collateral materials and clever logos; it’s about telling a compelling story in a clear and consistent way. "
Get the new year off to a positive start with these design resolutions
1. Choose better problems to solve
Designers are, by definition, problem-solvers. And the world has never been so blessedly full of problems. Our infrastructure is rotting, the economy is crap, Wall Street is awash with criminals and millions of people can’t get basic medical care, food and water. We don’t need another app to rate your sandwich. We don’t need to know when we go to sleep and get up. We do not need digital farms. We need real ones. We need fresh water. We need solutions for the apocalypse.
We have more processing power, affordable tools, and combined intelligence right this very minute than at any point in the history of design. We are using it to build shit. It’s time to aim higher. Let’s find problems to solve that actually improve people’s lives. Whether it’s figuring out a better way to access medical records, figuring out how 14 year olds can stop carrying forty pounds of textbooks back and forth to school every day, or a reservation system for the communal rooftop farm in your building, there has got to be something more beneficial to society than the next Facebook clone.
2. Stop stealing crap
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against stealing. I’m against the quality of junk you’re stealing. Design is the collective knowledge of all the design that has been done before. So take advantage of how others have solved a particular problem. Learn from what they did and see if you can take it to the next evolutionary step.
Do I mean that you should literally steal their code or drop their screenshots into your own work? No. I’m telling you to be aware of and take advantage of the learning that came before you. Be aware of yourself in that timeline. And become the person who next generations will steal from.
Don’t be afraid to steal, just steal the right stuff. I am old enough that my first book on how to make websites was called View Source. If we saw something cool, we viewed the source. We copied it. We tried doing it ourselves. Then we added something new to that, put it online, and somebody came along and copied that.
You have not been alive that long. Design has been with us since the creation of the universe. Be aware of it, explore it, take from it and put something new into the timeline once in a while for someone else to steal. Trying to re-solve a problem that has been solved by millions of other designers without the awareness of what they did isn’t just a sin of ignorance; it’s a sin of ego.
3. Stop trying to save bad work
The most common question I get from designers after pointing out what is wrong with their work is, “Can I save this?”
You are not Jesus and comps aren’t for saving. If something isn’t working, start over. Otherwise the goal you’re working towards is saving your work, not solving the problem.
Also, comps do not have feelings. You are not abandoning them. (You have no idea how much therapy that sentence took. Seriously.)
This urge comes from not wanting to feel like the time they’ve spent on that comp is wasted. The only possible way you can waste time is by being dishonest with yourself about its value. If you just spent an hour on a comp thinking it was working, then that was time spent honestly trying to solve a problem. The minute you realise the comp isn’t working and you start trying to “save it”, you’re no longer working towards good design. You’re working towards ego salvage. You gonna bill for that? That’s what I mean by dishonest time.
4. Stop being your own obstacle
I spent the first 10 years of my career saying things like, “If I could just do this work the way I know it should be done…” and convincing myself that someone else was keeping me from making better choices. I’ll often be reviewing work with another designer and they’ll say, “Well, if I were doing this…” I stare back at them in astonishment until they realise what they’ve said. What is this strange gene that makes designers handicap themselves?
Stop designing the compromises you expect to have to make. Your fear of being wrong wins out over your fear of having to convince someone you’re right. Your client is in your head with you. Telling you to make the photo smaller, the logo bigger, paginating the multi-page article. You’re choosing the typeface you think your client will like, not the one that solves the problem best.
How horrible for a client to have gone out and found a good designer and then get handed work that looks like something they would have done. Clients deserve your best work, not their best work. Really good clients, the ones I want you to work with, would rather be challenged than pandered to.
Always design the best choices. Compromises will always come later on down the road. With much argument. And after much salesmanship. But if you’re coming to the table with a compromise in hand, even before you’ve tried selling your best work, you’ll end up losing the client’s respect – which you were so naively craving anyway.
You can’t design in fear. Don’t throw the fight before a punch gets thrown.
5. Blame yourself first
Blow a deadline? Miss a requirement? It happens. Raise your hand. Let everyone know it’s your fault. The sooner you take responsibility for something the sooner you can start fixing it. Excuses help no one. Everyone respects the person who can admit their mistakes. No one respects the weasel trying to pin the blame on their teammates.
This year, everything will be your fault. It’ll feel good.
6. Stay curious
Don’t be the designer who gets proficient and then stops. It’s easy to make a steady living doing that one thing you’re really good at. Until something comes along and obliterates it. Aim higher. Remember those guys who were really good at Debabelizer? (Ask your parents.) Don’t spend your career satisfied with doing things you’re good at – try to do things you’re not good at. You’ll eventually be good at more things, and you’ll know what you honestly suck at. And you’ll have a longer career.
There’s a ton of great shit coming down the pike this year, including stuff that’s gonna surprise us. Not to mention the stuff we’re still getting used to from last year. The future’s not only fun, it’s messy. Welcome it with open arms.
7. Learn to make mistakes faster
The first thing I do when I sit down with a designer is sneak a peek at the file name. If it’s 2pm and we’re looking at “acme_article_1.psd”, I know we’re in trouble. By 2pm we should be looking at double digit version numbers. If we’re not, then chances are the designer’s being too precious and careful. They’re either not willing to make mistakes or not recognising them fast enough. Even if you think you’ve nailed it on the first try (you haven’t, by the way), challenge yourself to try it another way. You’ll learn more by trying something 50 different ways than by stubbornly trying to make your first idea work.
8. Stop Using Your Mom as an Example of a Stupid Person
How many times have you heard, “We need to make this so easy my mom could use it!”? The goal is worthwhile. The example is condescending.
Do you think Chelsea Clinton asks herself if her mom would understand something complex? No. Because her mom is a badass. And while your own mom may not be the Secretary of State, she was smart enough to raise kids who learned to read, navigate the internet and become career professionals. She’s no dummy. So please stop using her as an example of one. (Not to mention that we’re using a beloved family member to thinly veil an industry-wide sexism problem.)
Stop using “mom” as a shortcut for finding out who the people you’re actually designing for are. Find out how the people you’re designing for actually run their lives and handle their business. Good design comes from empathy, not stereotyping.
And send your mom flowers. She’ll know what to do with them.
9. Learn to write
Ninety percent of design is communication. Half of that will be done in writing. A designer who can’t write can’t defend their work. And work that can’t be defended will die.
I’ve seen a lot of good work get trampled on because the designer released it into the wild without a clear explanation of how it mapped to strategies and goals, a defense of how it met project requirements, and a well-articulated advocacy from its designer. The biggest lie you’ve all been fed is that good design sells itself. Whoever told you that couldn’t write.
10. Get comfortable arguing
Remember when I said half the communication you’d be doing would be in writing? Well, here’s the other half. You’re going to spend a lot of time this year (Mayan apocalypse notwithstanding) presenting your work to people. They will ask you questions about your work. Questions it’s your job to know how to answer. At some point they may ask you to make changes to the work that you feel are detrimental. You’ll stand your ground. You’ll be amazed how many times people are just looking for a solid justification. Stop giving away the farm just because someone asked for clarification. Just calmly tell them why you think your solution is right. You’re the line of defense for design. It’s your job to protect good design. No one else’s. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. But you will always do your job.
Above all, remember that you have more power over situations you find yourself in than you’ve been giving yourself credit for. Start using it.
I hope to one day pick and choose my clients based on the same three things Sean Adams bases his selection from: fun, fame, and fortune. If a prospect does not provide at least two of these three things, Adams turns the prospect’s project down. This phenomenon derives from the belief that good leads to good. You have to work with good people to do good work.
My senior year as a graphic design student involves being a valuable member of a design team. Although we are all students learning, I take advantage of the skills and know-how of my collaborators. Their good habits and technological navigation make me all the more savvy. Working with others allows everyone to give and take from one another. I can only imagine what good could come from working with infamous designers, educators, companies, and organizations as collaborators. I strive to get in close relation to these good influences by emerging myself in as many lectures, tours, archives, and design as possible.
Another basis of Sean Adams’ design is to center each project around clarity, purity, and resonance. To have clarity means to have a message that everyone understands. This reminds me of a quote from Paul Rand, “Ideas do not need to be esoteric to be original or exciting”. Another piece of advice Adams gives is that some clients give you projects that they think are right. However, a designer may have to realize what actually needs to be designs. An example scenario is to be asked to design museum print pieces but what the museum really needs, is have an identity first.
To have purity means to have form. Adams elaborates when saying, “If it doesn’t need to be there, take it off.” Clients may say that a design comes off “plain” but there is a difference between plain and clear.
To have resonance means to connect on an emotional level. There is an audience to relate to and a conceptual message to convey – always. These facts have been ingrained with me – always.
Henry Ford made an automobile, not a faster horse.
As designers, we have to think in terms of what we need at an innovative level. If Henry Ford asked the public what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse. The fact of the matter is, people are incapable of telling you want they want. This is why Debbie Millman stresses the importance of searching for problems that need to be solved in the world and instead of asking, search and tell.
If Henry Ford were to verbally propose a machine that could transport people from point A to point b faster than any horse—the public would inevitably distrust this unfamiliar system. Instead, generate acceptance toward a phenomenon like the automobile by building a model to support the proposal. Debbie Millman says “It is not enough to be a marketer. You have to be an evangelist for what you believe.”
As a student designer, my week’s discovery has been the realization to create an idea and then propose it—rather than proposing an idea to create. I am a group collaborator who rambles ideas—first level or not—to build up and evolve from. Then, I’ll discover the “hook” that will act as the concept’s foundation.
I could talk and talk about how strong my concept is but until I pair a visual to it, it is nothing but an idea. From here on out, my goal is to bring the ideas I deeply believe in to life so I can better communicate to others, the vision and potential I see in them. After all, 99% of the job is persuasion.
My design classmates and I made our way to Liska + Associates on a sunny November afternoon in downtown Chicago. All the advice given, revolved around being smart.
Being smart means: validating everything you design, problem solving, and learn constantly. Selling design is hard. Communicating design is hard. Styling design in easy. Fifty percent of all design is management.
I was very pleased to hear that my BS degree is much more functional than a BFA degree. This is due to the fact that I am required to take PR, marketing, and management courses. I have built these courses into my system of design.
Ferris also provides a range of courses under the graphic design umbrella. This includes getting submerged in typography and my feet wet in web, motion graphics, photography, printmaking, illustration, and environmental graphics. Liska + Associates stress the importance in being as broad based as possible. Everything connects in someway and it is our job as graphic designers to communicate through all mediums.
Currently, I am working on a hypothetical re-branding project for an existing nonprofit organization. Steve Liska, of Liska + Associates, mentioned that portfolio identity projects are the first thing he looks at. “I get it, that’s really nice” is what designers, like myself, should strive for in a client response. Liska’s want to look at an identity project above anything else within a prospect’s portfolio comes down to the fact that it evokes “the big idea condensed down”. It’s all about the bigger picture.
Catherine Griffiths replied with the above quote after being asked if she feels isolated living in New Zealand. Griffiths talks on how easy it is to stay connected with the world these days and that distance is not a great problem. She keeps up to speed with subscriptions to several publications including Time magazine and internet involvement.
Griffiths touches on moving to some place like Paris or New York. She advises listeners to go some place where you can accomplish the type of design work you wish to do and want to accomplish.
Being a student in Big Rapids, Michigan, there are times when I feel isolated from the design world. I can resonate with Griffiths when believing “distance is not a great problem.” Over the past couple weeks, our Ferris State University design classes have allowed us to hear Skype chats and guest speakers enlighten us with great design insight.
Speakers in the past couple of weeks consisted of designer Marc English, President of Creative Displays and Marketing, Mike Morris, and a design competition full of diverse advertising agencies and design firm gurus from the Grand Rapids area. AIGA West Michigan Graveyard shift also presented us with guest speakers from House Industries.
This diverse set of people has set out to educate on their own specialties, experiences, dissolutions, and advice. Although each guest does fit under the graphic design umbrella, everyone has his own story to tell.
Knowing this, I must take Griffiths advice when she says go somewhere you can accomplish the type of design we wish to make. It is not about taking the same path as the wise successful designer who may be sitting in front of you. It is about knowing what makes that particular person successful and gearing those attributes toward building your own success.
Through networking, wanting to stay involved, and maintaining curiosity, my personal challenge is to find out what work I wish to accomplish most and locating a perfect fit.
Typeradio: Justus Oehler and how Pentagram's process relates to me.
Justus Oehler appears on Typeradio, discussing the criteria to become a Pentagram partner. Oehler describes it as something that happens with all romances. “The chemistry has to be right.” Both the people of Pentagram and the potential partners have the same opportunity to decide if that chemistry exists, ultimately deciding if they will become partners.
I take this same idea into consideration when seeking out future employment. I have just as much say in the environment I would like to work, as do the people who decide to hire me on. Am I a good fit for them? Are they a good fit for me?
Oehler also touches on what his favorite type of work is. He ultimately enjoys all types of work but identity design has its advantages. He states that identities multiply much quicker than a book cover would, meaning identities can be applied to more things, seeing a more “glamorous”, for lack of a better word, life. Oehler explains that there is something fascinating about pointing to a taxi car’s advertisement or other public domain and being able to say “that’s one of our identities”. He likes to see his work in everyday life and gain credibility with collateral.
After listening to Oehler’s talk, I could gain valuable insight using the same idea but switching out “Pentagrams partner’s” for “my future employers”.
As a graphic designer in my senior year of College, there is an importance in what my personal design identity will communicate. It will be expressing my personality, my work, and my design capabilities all at the same time. Accuracy is essential. Like Oehler, my identity will be in the public eye, the eye of future employers. Once I make my “mark” present, I will fulfill a creditability to those employers who feel a spark of chemistry between them and I.
Oehler also stated that doing business in such a democratic form, “The people decide”, can become very stressful, much like the difficulty in designing a personal identity system. The design revolves around where I would like to fit in and the employer decides if I am the right fit. It is an exciting journey to sell my professional self. Therefore, accuracy in communicating who I am is vital because I want a design job of a perfect fit.
Typeradio: RK Joshi on not being the master of your own creative work
‘You’re not a master of your own creative work – the master is your assignment. You do your work, and then leave this world.’
The above statement is made by RK Joshi, an Indian designer and relates a lot to FSU’s recent design guests Rob Carter and Sandy Wheeler’s statement “Its not about self expression but solving problems anonymously.”
I feel like this also coincides with recent group work that I am collaborating with. Concept themes that are proposed should not be known as Katie’s idea or so and so’s idea, but rather the Apple idea or Banana Idea, for example. Input and progression of a certain idea comes from all five group members in some way. Suggestions are always getting bounced off of one another and inspiration is at a constant.
What is important is making headway toward a solution to the client’s problem at hand. It is not about whose idea it is because in the end the client does not receive satisfaction from who came up with the idea, but rather how well it was executed. A team is responsible to come up with a solution that best suites the client’s request and the team continues together in making that well suited idea a successful solution.
In Joshi’s statement, “you do your work, and then leave this world” refers to accomplishing a client assignment and moving on to the next client. The overall success of a project does not come from one aspect of a design solution but how that design becomes a system. You can have the best idea ever, but if you don’t have a team to enhance its potential then all it is, is an idea, not a solution.
Graphic design is more important than typography. This is true in the eyes of designer Phil Baines. His reasoning behind this is simply because type is type, it doesn’t do anything. However, graphic design is the end product, giving it more importance. Graphic design is the solution, building something.
After hearing the explanation behind his answer to the question “which is more important: typography or design?”, I have decided that it was the wrong question rather than the wrong answer.
I don’t believe that there is a different level of priority that exists. Its not like you could solely use type or solely use graphic design. I feel like the question was essentially asking “if you had to choose between graphic design or typography, which would you use?”
In my opinion, there is a relationship, rather than a difference in importance, that occurs between the two. Therefore, graphic design can only be as successful as the typography used within it and vice versa. With this said, type may not have to be used in a graphic design piece but when it is used, it further communicates the overall message.
Illustrations and photos do say a lot on their own, hence “a picture says a thousand words”. However, just because typography doesn’t have to be used doesn’t mean there is a lesser importance for it. There is a context for everything.
One good example of how graphic design and typography are equal is a logo. Their purpose is to communicate and be applied on multiple applications. Some are solely type and others include an icon. An emotion is still sensed looking at an all type logo, just as there would be with an illustrated icon.
How the logo is applied and where it is applied fits under the graphic design umbrella, seeing the bigger picture. This bigger picture allows logos to work because the surrounding environments in which a logo is applied strengthen or weaken the message intended. Typography can portray a certain emotion or enhance meaning. For example, a sans serif typeface can tend to feel more welcoming but a serif can come off more strict and authoritative. It all depends on the context in which it is being used in.
The relationship between type and image go hand-in-hand to strengthen one another. This doesn’t mean that they have to be included together but when they are, the overall success relies on their complimentary relationship, not their individual successes.
“Be self disciplined. This means finding someone smart or wise and choosing to follow them.To be disciplined is to follow in a good way.To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.”
This is great advice and one tip that John Cage provides for teachers and students. I agree 100 percent with the statement above and it makes me want to read it over and over again.
Observing everything from small scale to large scale will only broaden our knowledge. Can you imagine what observing wisdom can do! The observer’s mind would get great exercise in, first, realizing wisdom and then secondly, picking apart that wisdom. Deciphering how it’s wise and what perspective was taken to evoke it to be wise. From that, those qualities can be applied and then strengthened.
Another “wise” tip from Cage is as follows, with a few of my own interpretations that support the domino effect of good practice and advice.
“Follow the leader.“ (Following the wise.)
“Nothing is a mistake.” (You learn from everything.)
“There is no win and no fail.” (Something can always be better and nothing is a mistake.)
“There is only make” (Practice makes perfect.)
“The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It is the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch onto things. You can fool the fan – but not the players.”
This last statement made by Cage, essentially sums up my whole thought process behind these tips for success. Everything basically comes full circle. Hard work is something that cannot be faked and expertise is certainly no exception. The two go hand in hand. The journey through all of the trials and tribulations is always worth it because “nothing is a mistake” and “there is only make”. It all starts with observing and then understanding takes fold.
Over the past weekend, the FSU graphic design program got the privilege to meet, speak, and interact with Graphic Designers Rob Carter and Sandra Wheeler.
Being a senior in the graphic design program, I got to have a one on one class discussion with the two notorious designers. One of the big questions that was addressed was the dynamic created by a graphic designers style or lack there of.
When referring to style, Carter and Wheeler explained it to be either a familiar aesthetic or a consistent methodical approach to addressing each project. I know that for every client, there will be a new problem to solve. As long as a solution is visually communicated, the job is well done despite the notion of “style”.
I quote Rob in saying “Its not about self expression but solving problems anonymously.” I have been reassured not to force myself into a style, but rather embrace the project at hand. Sandra believes that our personal aesthetic will inevitably evolve because, as designers, we draw inspiration and ideas from our own experiences.
Advice that both famous designers gave to us was to “embrace it all”, meaning reading, writing, art, biology, architecture, psychology, everything. This will only strengthen our viewpoints and ultimately aid our visual voice. There are so many hats to wear and behind the scenes work revolved around this “noble profession”.
I was reminded how great our responsibility is as designers. We effect how people think, feel, and interpret meaning.
“Doctors do good, designers do good. There is no difference in my eyes” – Rob Carter
Finding relationships between things and discovering order in chaos is a constant job for graphic designers. I have learned to speak up and not let someone get a way with saying “you’re a graphic designer, so you work with computers?” Technology is nothing but a tool to help us get to the innovation behind an idea. However, there are happy accidents when mistakes are made within different software programs.
Design is a way of thinking, ultimately becoming a way of life. Rob Carter addresses this idea when saying “its not a burden, it just happens”.
Since college, I have evolved as a person along side my transformation into a designer. I have no idea what it was I paid attention to as I drove down the highway or walked through the halls of my grade schools throughout my pre-college years. I do know that I see the world differently now. I can’t help but make constant observations and analysis’ whether it deals with traveling, cooking, giving advice, or approaching a project.
The Deli Mart on 4th Avenue, just around the bend from “Abandoned Urban Spaces Lane”, is the building of development for my projection group.
Research has already pleasantly surprised us with a number of past identities. The Deli Mart has supposedly been home to a deli, barbecue place, and bridal boutique. Our discoveries have grabbed hold of our curiosity and motivated us to dig deeper. I’m excited to find out what this weeks research holds for our 80 year old building!
Talent verses hard work is one of the subjects renown designer, Michael Bierut, touches on in a 2007 podcast. He would consider famous designers around the world to be “talented”. There comes a distinct point of view that talented designers inherit. There is a fogginess between learning to be talented and inheriting the abilities to be talented and he cannot fully comprehend it.
Like Bierut, I have been through design school and have observed many talented peers. However, Bierut implies that success and talent are to different things. Many people “fall by the waste side” because you have to stay eager to work in order to be successful. As a design student, I have come to the realization that there is no way around hard work and it just needs to be done to gain a sense of satisfaction and success.
The ability to prevail and gain a curiosity for design are the best qualities to have as a graphic designer in Michael Bierut’s eyes. Working with different clients, he has gained more than enough information about dinnerware or football. Research needs to be done in order to gain the insight about a client or project. I feel like it’s all about customization for clientele. There is always a new design problem to solve and therefore, different ways to go about that. The first step of the design process is exploring. With exploring comes research. Bierut solidifies this theory when saying there are always completely different looking ways to go about designing verses the statement “If I design it, it has to be done this way”.
Outside of the profession, Bierut thinks of songwriters as one of his heroes. He loves music and admires songwriters because they have the ability to write a melody and intergrade it with words to evoke so much emotion. Musicians, especially jazz musicians, are free to improvise on a stage but songwriters have a specific job and cannot improvise to accomplish it. They design music, and some songs are remembered and others are passed by. The fact that they have an understanding of the inter workings between melody and lyrics is amazing; Especially, on top of accomplishing it with a compelling association to life experiences. Bierut also admires the fact that when a person hears a certain song they can remember where they where when they heard it.
Improvisation is one of the key differences regarding music and songwriters. Shifting that to design, Bierut believes that there are some cases of improve found in design. He says that doing the work is only one stage of design, the other is selling the idea. Improvisation comes forth for the selling aspect. He refers to improve as not having time to rehearse a sales pitch because selling a design is not something most people think about in design school.
Although most schools don’t stress the marketing side of design, Ferris State University is one of two universities in the country to teach graphic design within a college of business. It excites me to think I have an education that puts be one foot in front of the next person. FSU graphic design students have both stages of design covered, the work and the marketing of the work.
At sunrise, on a padded floor, no distractions and an empty mind. This is how, famous designer, Stefan Sagmeister spends his first half an hour of the day. He aims to get his mind “as empty as it can get” while in deep meditation each morning. Making sure he does this before checking any email or work of any sort. Being an atheist, Sagmeister had a hard time grasping the idea of meditation because of all the religious associations. Eventually he came to terms with it and has discovered that the day after meditation brings more clarity to that day. It is a pleasant process and allows for him to let go of everything for a few short moments.
Bali, Indonesia is not only where he began meditation but it is the only place he would consider traveling back to, considering he likes to push new things and not revisit much. He thought of Bali to be untouched by tourism in many parts with a very much intact local society. Bali also happens to be the place where Sagmeister took his sabbatical, somewhere quite opposite than his home environment in New York. Another thing that greatly contrasted New York and Asia is the fact that famous designers are commonly recognized on the street day to day. Having been a collaborator with rock stars, he has come to realize that his ego does not match the ego of a rock star. The short-term popularity that comes with design conferences in Asia and across the world is enough to feed Stagmeister’s need for attention.
Throughout his career, he has recognized the advantages of design. One major advantage is the ability to travel, meaning, going beyond vacation destinations but still seeing places worth seeing. I can especially relate to this because of my experience studying abroad. Culture educates. Everything from interactions with cultures, observations of construction, engaging in customs, to appreciating surrounding details allows for the eye to gain something, anything.
Something else Stagmeister identifies with is the fact that design concerns change from age 20 to age 47 to age 65 and “it would be sad if it wasn’t this way”. Living a full life is important to do and you only have roughly 16 hours in a day to do so. Because of this fact, he makes sure his time is spent doing compelling things. Although, he is not against blogs or blogging, Stagmeister simply doesn’t have that extra hour that goes along with blogging.
Moving to a bigger picture. He left the US in 2008, missing the election, noticing a crisis with his recent return back. Several storefronts have closed over time and we are in a place where adjustments needed to be made in the working world. Prior to 2008, Stagmeister and his company would only take on every 10th job. Now, times have changed and he has realized he cannot be as “choosey” as he once was. The economic crisis was definitely apparent and notable but never thought of in a “threatening manner”.
Stefan Stagmeister has a renown career, staying educated and adjusting to the changing world through design and therapeutic findings. When asked “How would you like to be remembered?” He replied “I don’t give a shit”, however, recognizing the fact that 5 or 10 years from now his mind could change so ask him again then. Interesting man, interesting 30 minute podcast with the Stagmeister.
North State Street of Big Rapids, Michigan, has been dubbed Abandoned Urban Spaces Lane.
Over the past weekend, our graphic design projection group has been on the lookout for unused structures to project conceptual graphics on. We found three ideal buildings in a location where the projection project would gain great publicity.
There is power in numbers and with three closely-knit projection groups, the senior graphic design students can really impact the community, gain attraction, and solidify the concept behind the project. With chosen buildings on either side of the road, both the viewers and opposing student groups can observe their surroundings, learning and fully taking in the experience. Each group’s message would strengthen as an engaged public pass down sidewalks and drive through one of the busiest streets in Big Rapids.
“These lines aren’t put here just because a graphic designer thought it looked pretty, there is a reason for it”. This week in my Geography 111 class, after reviewing the history of a map and referring to its graphics, my professor made the above statement and got me thinking.
It is unfortunate that so many people view graphic designers as embellishers. Little do they know, graphic designers solve problems, enhance meaning, and communicate through visual design.
During the same Geography class, I learned that China should be four time zones wide. However, with a communist government, all areas of China, with a few exceptions, have been set according to Beijing’s time. This means that for some, when it is truly 9:00am they are told it is 12:00pm.
A designer could be at the heart of this wild reality and design around the time zone’s inconvenience. The brain would function so much differently because the time of day revolves around the function of the sun. Knowing this about China, it is no longer universal to think waking up to a sunrise means morning: the start to everyone’s day or going to bed around sunset is the end of one’s day.
The Graphic Design realm, including marketing advertisements, product design, and visual identities would be positioned differently and restaurants and store hours would have to adjust to these time zone happenings. Regularly thought of universal visual cues, revolving around the sunlight in anyway, skew communication for those with altered time zones.
It is the designer who has the ability to make sense of things for the sake of others. After all, graphic design is the art of visualizing ideas. Paul Rand once said “The key to good design is to take the essence of something that is already there and enhancing it’s meaning by putting it into form everyone can identify with”.