Friday, December 17, 2010


It's Friday night, I've just come back from the design lab with my printed info-graphic in tow, and besides having final reviews tomorrow the semester is essentially over (!!!).  While yes, this new found freedom is a tremendous weight of my shoulders, my mind has gotten so used to constantly creating and thinking of ideas over the last couple of months I don't know what to do with myself with the hour of free time I have before attending a party.  So I'll blog...

Here's my final project, an info-graphic that illustrates how the various historical, social, and cultural factors came into play to create the phenomenon that The Beatles became:

I have to say, as frustrating and time-consuming as this project was, I learned a *lot*.  In picking a topic I thought that it would be a good one since there was a lot of information to research and I knew that I would have fun doing it.  Also, my background knowledge of The Beatles was a little bit embarrassingly not there.  Doing all of this research has opened up a whole new world of pop-culture knowledge to me-the post-war history (I have to admit history was my worst subject growing up and I knew nothing of the Cuban missile crisis or the Bay of Pigs before now), the music that influenced The Beatles, The Beatles themselves, the sociology of youth coming of age during this time, the art and literature that was happening simultaneously, I could go on and on... Basically, this project has turned me into a Beatles nerd and I couldn't be more proud.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Week of hell / Part 2

I wanted to get this done yesterday but didn't.  However, it was due today so it had to get done today! This is a series of book covers for Typography.  For our final project, we had to pick three titles by an author and design covers for a series of books.  Naturally, I chose Hunter S. Thompson as he is one of my favorite writers.  Looking back, I could have chosen easier titles to illustrate with type (these are kind of abstract), but I always like a challenge.  Don't know how effectively I took this on though-oh well, you be the judge:

Blog help needed, please!

Ok, so in designing my little piece of home on the web, I made myself a header.  The only problem is is that I don't know how to get it in place of blogger's header.  Does it need to be a specific size? I just did whatever.  I love how I took Hypermedia last summer and have no clue what I'm doing on here...just a sidenote.  Help me please! Thanks!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Week of hell / Part 1

It's the last week of the semester, hopefully the hardest semester I'll ever have to endure while at UB, henceforth I have dubbed this week "week of hell".  I have two projects due for typography and two projects due for words and images.  However, since I'm a well-seasoned procrastinator I'm used to this kind of stress and really don't feel any different this week than I did way back in September. Just thought a bit of melodrama might be fun...

On a side note has anyone noticed the stress level going THROUGH THE ROOF in the computer lab lately? I can't even go there anymore to work because people are freaking out, which freaks me out and then I'm freaking out over nothing.  Just sayin'...

Anyway, since Christmas is quickly approaching and my bank account is quickly diminishing I'm on a tighter schedule this week than normal as gifts have to be made.  That means a project a day must get done.  Yesterday, I did this:

The project was to design an editorial spread for a music, food, or science magazine. Inspired by Daft Punk's TRON: Legacy album that just came out I did my spread about Daft Punk. I think it turned out really well-definitely one of the projects I'm most proud of this semester.

On to the next one...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chuck Klosterman, really??

Today as I was procrastinating from doing work (as per usual) I thought about seeing what my favorite author Chuck Klosterman was up to. For those of you who aren't familiar with him, Chuck Klosterman is not only destined to be my future husband but is also the author of a number of books about pop culture including "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs," "Killing Yourself to Live," and "Fargo Rock City". His latest book, "Eating the Dinosaur" was published over a year ago, so I knew something had to be up. Upon Googling his name, I discovered an e-book site that his publisher had created with tons of new Klosterman material:

This site peturbed me for a number of reasons. #1-are these essays part of a new book? Looks like, but I can't find any information about said new book. #2-am I going to have to get an e-reader to keep up with my favorite author? #3-why am I asked to pay money to get even a sample of what Chuck Klosterman has been up to? #4-what is going on??

In a nutshell, I'm so confused. Chuck, if you're out there please let me know! I miss you!

Friday, December 10, 2010

More Pizzicato Five Love...

I couldn't resist the temptation to post this music video of Pizzicato Five's "It's a Beautiful Day" video.  Very Nancy Sinatra turns Japanese:

Show & Tell/ Sexy sexy vinyl

There's something about a vinyl record.  In addition to the smooth, organic sound that comes from the listening to a vinyl record, there's something incredibly sexy about the large format artwork, all the fun surprises that sometimes come with an album's packaging (think The Beatles White Album with the 4 portraits packaged inside), and the feel of pulling out that smooth disc and placing it on a turntable.  Don't even get me started on how incredibly relaxing it is to look through stacks and stacks of old records on a Sunday afternoon looking for the perfect find.  I love it all...

This past Sunday after my brunch shift at One World, I decided to take a trip to Normal's Books and Records to search for some used vinyl as it had been months since my last purchase.  Within a minute I had found two incredible records.  Pizzicato Five's Happy End of You (a remix album of their Happy End of the World) album from 1996:

Even if I wasn't a already a Pizzicato Five fan, who could deny such yummy cover art??

I also found a classic album and perhaps one of the most sexy records in my collection, Kraftwerk's Autobahn:

Not only does it feature my "color of the moment" cyan as the background, the design is just so clean and simple and yet so modern for it's time (Autobahn was originally released in 1974).  Upon coming home and pulling out the inside sleeve I had a whole new discovery on my hands:

It's like two album covers for the price of one! It really doesn't get better than this...bright colors, German cars, the Autobahn, Kraftwerk...

Here are some more Kraftwerk albums covers that I find particularly visually (and audibly) inspiring:

And here's another Pizzicato Five album, just for good measure:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Covers/The Beat Generation and The Angry Young Men

Our latest (and last--end of semester, woo!!!) typography assignment is to design a series of book covers for three books of an author of our choosing.  In looking for inspiration for this project I began thinking of my favorite book covers and for some reason this one stuck out in my mind-the cover of a book my mother passed down to me entitled "The Beat Generation and The Angry Young Men":

I don't know if it's because this book has been prominent in my mind as I'm researching the Beatles history (this book was referenced as the epitome of how the American beat culture paralleled the British angry young men culture and how both influenced The Beatles in their early teenage years) or if it's just one of those visuals that sticks with you over the years, but I love it.  The vintage hap-hazardness of the layout,  the typeface, the colors, everything.  The fact that there's so much information with such clear hierarchy is something that stands out to me as well.  Both visually charged and emotionally charged as a relic from my mother's (and now my) teenage years, this book cover takes the cake.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remember (and know) your audience!!!

If there's one thing we've learned this semester about writing and design, it is (above all else) to know your audience. Oh, how quickly this concept can be forgotten!

Recently, I designed this poster to promote my friend's upcoming jewelry show. When I was in the process of designing it I concentrated on communicating the aesthetic of her jewelry line in addition to the pertinent information concerning the event. This is what I came up with:

After sending the finished product to my friend, she pointed out a rather obvious fact that I had completely overlooked-while the colors look nice and she loved it as it was, there was concern that the overt pinkness of the poster would scare away boys.  Of course! Distracted by wanting to create something that my friend would like, I completely forgot about the audience I was designing for!

Upon being reminded of a designer's number one priority, I made a revision that makes more sense and doesn't scare away boys (but still looks pretty):
Yay for revisions! And happy friends/clients! And jewelry! By the way, everyone should head over to Frazier's next Saturday night and check out the amazing jewelry that will be for sale--perfect for  presents for friends and family and self-congratulatory presents for completing such a grueling semester!  The bands are good too-see you there!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Show & Tell/ Video

So I have to be honest here, I'm not entirely sure what the requirements for this week's show and tell are since I lost my daily from last week *but* I vaguely remember and I think I found a good one!

This animated short illustrates a vignette from the radio-turned-TV show "This American Life" hosted by the great Ira Glass.  I first saw this last summer in the midst of taking Stephanie's "Visual and Verbal Rhetoric" class  and thought it was a great example of her "memory is not fact!" argument.  Here you go:

Sammy the Squid/ Final Version

Here it is-Sammy the Squid in all of his glory! There's only one problem: this turned out to be incredibly low-res.  So low-res that you can barely read the text.  I have no idea how or why this happened but it's too late now--all the images were flattened in Photoshop before I realized this error. If I've learned one thing by doing this project it is that technology is not my friend! Also, the music sounds tin-y.  Weird, is it iMovie that's making it this way? I'm so disappointed! Oh well, here we go:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Infographic Tuesday

After having a nice little holiday break from class for a few days, I'm back in the swing of things along with my pesky little procrastination habit.  Infographic comps are due today and I feel totally lost and I really have no clue what I'm doing.

On the upside, I created a cute little illustration of the fab four circa '64:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Show & Tell/ Infographics

This is my good infographic:

Taken from Vanity Fair, it's an infographic about Bob Dylan's mind.  This is turning out to be a huge inspiration for my Beatles infographic-I love how they took the inspiration from Milton Glaser's illustration and fashioned it with tons of information in a visually appealing way that's easy to understand! The downside is that it's low res so you can't read it on here.  Boo.

Upon going in search of a bad infographic I stumbled upon  this 
article all about bad infographics.  Examples, what makes them bad, and what could make them better.  Needless to say this was my favorite bad infographic:

Not only do I hate the fact that a salad costs more than a big mac in general, this infographic does a bad job at telling you why.  The 3-D is completely unnecessary and shouldn't they be comparing like information? These two pyramids compare percentages against servings.  Also, the percentages aren't well represented visually.  Maybe the person who made this ate too many Big Macs that day...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MiniMoog Voyager Electric Blue

Seeing this post on vintage synth advertising today on the ISO50 blog reminded me of the analog synthesizer I dreamed to have when I first started playing in a band: the minimoog voyager electric blue.  Not only a marvel of audio science, but also a marvel in synth design.  Pretty colors and lights, and a big fat sound to back it up. 

I gave up the dream a few years ago when the cost was not only miles upon miles out of my reach (it retails for $3,495) but the sound of an analog synth wasn't really appropriate for The Mishaps.  Now that I'm in an electronic band, however...the dream continues.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sammy the Squid/ Phase 3 Comp

Better voice-over and sound effects to come.  I tried adding an audio track for the opening and closing credits but it threw my editing all off and I wanted to get this up here asap so you all could comment! Thanks!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Show & Tell/Package Design

Let's face it: earbuds are earbuds.  But panasonic finds a way to separate from themselves from the crowd:

How clever! The earbuds are packaged to look like music notes--and oddly enough they look like the music notes from the itunes fact panasonic seems to borrow a lot from apple here.  Lots of white space, sans serif font in a light grey color... Panasonic may loose points for originality but it's still a clever design that stands out on a shelf. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I did today/ Corporate Identity

Once again I'm posting a project from typography class. These projects come and go so fast it's like giving birth every week. And what good Mama doesn't like to brag about her children just a little bit?

This week I finished up a corporate identity package for the fictitious restaurant, a.spice. The main purpose was to develop a logotype and the subsequent materials featuring said logotype:

Creating your own typeface/logotype can be extremely intimidating however I learned that like most daunting tasks, once you break them down to their basic elements it all builds up quite naturally. It also reinforced what I already kind of knew-I love designing menus. Something about organizing a lot of information in a small space, the psychology of getting the customer to gravitate towards expensive items, making peoples appetites whet with color...I dunno, I love it!  Now if only I could do this for One World...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Lesson in Revision/ Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

Oh Project 3...I'm so glad you have left my life.  Let's take a look at your (crazy) evolution from start to finish:

Goal: To create a cohesive campaign advertise a call to action regarding a social issue. 
Campaign Idea: To illustrate the dangers of eating fast food.

First I was scaring small children:

Then I scared adults:

And then I realized that I didn't have a clear idea and needed to change *everything*.  What to do, what to do? I needed to encourage people to think about what they're eating without insulting or scaring them....what to do? 

New Campaign Idea: Be aware of what you're eating.

Better...but then we took a field trip to a concentration camp for cows:

And let's face it, these children were scarier than the graveyard:

This was all clearly *not working*.  What to do, what to do? 

When in doubt, insert pretty pictures.  For my final presentation, I decided to compare the dark and dismal old pictures (which I thought were pretty cool (and free!) finds) of modern food processes that aren't quite right, with bright and colorful pictures of a better, healthier option. 

The final campaign:

Finally, something that I (and my professor) was happy with.  It only took how many weeks to get to this point?  However, I learned a lot through the process--A) Revisions are a designer's saving grace and B) Advertising is hard!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Show & Tell/Narrative: Kenna's "Hellbent"

For our show and tell this week I took advantage of posting our narrative choices on our blogs and selected one of my favorite music videos.  This video was made for the electronic artist Kenna's debut single entitled "Hellbent," released in 2001.

The video depicts an endearing claymation character on his search for happiness.  He eventually finds it within himself, and wants to share it with the rest of the world.  While his desire to market his newfound "Bliss" and spread it around is a noble one, it just doesn't quite work out for our quiet hero.  Watch to see what happens:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Matt & Kim/ New Era of Album Artwork

I love Matt and Kim.  Who doesn't love Matt and Kim? They're the cutest band ever! I was introduced to them about two years ago when a friend of mine needed someone to go to their show with.  Needless to say, I fell in love instantaneously and never looked back.  What I loved the most about them was that it seemed as though they lived in a cartoon world--Kim (drums) was drumming and grinning away while Matt (keyboard, vocals) was singing his tales of love and happiness against a backdrop of a comic-book town. It was as if they lived in a cartoon world! How fun!

Not knowing it at the time, the backdrop against which they were playing was actually the artwork from the album they were supporting at the time--"Grand".  With their new album "Sidewalks" about to be released, I got curious of what fans were in store for visually.  Behold:

 Yay for Cyan! I love it--I also love that some of the apartment building visuals from the previous album have carried over:

Upon visiting their website I found that this theme carried throughout.  It got me thinking about the state of the genre of "album art".   Ever since downloading has taken hold of the majority of music sales, the importance of the album artwork has been reduced (quite literally) to a 1x1 inch square.  However, with bands like Matt and Kim and the Dandy Warhols using their artwork as more of a visual theme that is carried out in their website, videos, live show, and promotional materials, the importance of album art is not lost.

Group Project/ Fun With Construction Paper!

Here's our small group project where we got to tell a story with construction paper cut-outs.  This is the harrowing tale of a young triangle who has some trouble fitting in with squares:

Friday, October 29, 2010


Just when you thought Johnny Rad's couldn't get any cooler....

Skaraoke! My new favorite word, verb, and holiday activity-who's in???

Feeling Lost.../ Stream of consciousness problem-solving

We've reached the middle of a really intense semester and I already feel like I've lost my steam.  This campaign project is throwing me for a loop and now I'm scared that all of the other projects to come will throw me too! Aaaah!!!

I know that the problem with my social cause campaign is a lack of clear focus but I just can't seem to nail it.  I started with the "fast food is bad you shouldn't eat it" approach and then veered into "do you know what you're eating?" abandoning fast food altogether.  The new direction is a lot better than the fast food campaign was but it's still completely unfocused.  Let's look at the pieces I have so far:

Ok, so I think the kids are out.  Childhood obesity is really a whole other campaign.  So if I'm focusing on knowing where the food comes from the science lab is good with tweaks, the factory is good but needs to be less concentration camp-y. Or does it?? These factory farms are basically concentration camps for cows and pigs and chickens so why not link the two? Or is that too scary??  Probably yeah-ok, so we'll keep the factory but make it more factory like.

So now my two biggest problems are 1: my copy, which is a big hot mess; and 2: my third piece.

Ok, so the point of this campaign is to make people want to be more aware of where their food comes from.  I'm doing this by showing places where the majority of food is produced that just doesn't seem quite right.  Food should come from farms and gardens, not factories and science labs.  Where else isn't quite right?

Ooh, what if I compared and contrasted? I know we shouldn't show cause and effect but compare and contrast might be what I need to do.  Like if I showed a factory next to a sunny farm.  Showed a garden next to a science lab?  A happy butcher next to mean looking executives??

To be continued...

Show & Tell/ Favorite Words

Last week in class, we had to come prepared with a list of our favorite words.  I found that this was an interesting little project for a number of reasons.  For me, it was initially a bit of a struggle since even though I use words every day, I don't think I've ever thought of any word as being a "favorite" word.  I started out with the words epic and amalgamation since they are two words I've noticed as being trendy lately-I also would like to think that my old band, The Mishaps, were at the forefront of the epic trend with our epic sound-an amalgamation of punk and heavy metal rock and roll.  Sorry, I really couldn't help myself!

 Another thing I noticed as we were going around the room listing our favorite words is that everyone's favorite words were quite illustrative of their personalities.  The words I ended up choosing were mostly words that I enjoy saying because they're just so damn cute and fun to say--words that always bring smiles:

cozy/ warm & fuzzy/ bumble bee/ cupcake/ glissando/ iridescent/squiggle/ atomic/ cuddle/ strawberry/ karaoke/ bubble/ blossom

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What I Did Today

This is what I did today:

This is part one of my typography assignment for the week: to illustrate depth and texture with typography in a table of contents page.  I got the idea for this piece from yoga class.

This is part two of my assignment: to work without a grid. Or something like that...I'm real tired. The inspiration for this piece came from the color guide.  Yay for color guides.

The lesson I learned from doing these pieces is to never procrastinate on typography assignments again.  They take a long time, they're hard and seven hours straight in the design lab leads to an unhealthy crazy feeling.  Time to go work on my campaign project...after I eat a large meal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dandys Rule, OK?

Today as I was crawling around the interwebs, I happened to stumble upon The Dandy Warhol's band website and was thoroughly impressed by their design.

A band that sky-rocketed to rockstar status in the 90's with hits such as "Not if you were the last junkie on Earth...", "Everyday Should be a Holiday", and "Bohemian Like You" the Dandy Warhols have maintained a steady career trajectory and are currently touring on a greatest hits album: "The Capitol Years".  Wondering what my favorite Portlandites have been up to recently, I went to their website to find out:

Link to the Dandy's Website

There's a lot going on here but I feel like it's all super well-organized.  You have all of your (many) social networking links at the top, website navigation, and A BLOG! Woo!!!  Here you can find out what frontman Courney Taylor-Taylor reads on tour (Thomas Hardy, apparently), the status of his hangovers, and who's coming to his hotel rooms for parties!  Ah, the life of a rock star who just doesn't quit...

I especially like how all of the design elements of the page reflect the album art of the newest release.  The typeface used is interesting and gives a 1940's vibe to the page, as do the scratchy black and white photos and the visuals in the new video presented at the top.  The typeface reminds me of Citizen Kane for some reason, I don't know why.  All I know is that I need that typeface now.  Off to track it down!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Show & Tell/ Call to action

For this week's show and tell we had to find a call to action.  Inspired by the truth's anti-smoking campaign tactics, I found an interesting call to action example:

This conceptual piece calls for current smokers to quit.  As illustrated by the "Quit" logo.  Oh, those Brits are so literal, aren't they?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Table of Contents

This week, the majority of my time has been spent on creating these two table of contents pages for my typography class.  As I love magazines and hope to design and write for one/some one day, I absolutely loved doing this project and put a lot of time and effort into it.

Unfortunately I was unable to get any feedback on my pages since I skipped class to go see Belle & Sebastian.  Needless to say feedback is welcome here!

Page #1:

This is my favorite, mostly because of the cleanliness of helvetica and my new favorite color-cyan 100.  I hope to incorporate this palate into many designs in the future.

Page #2:

A little more Time-y and conservative but I thought the large-scale use of Bodoni made it a little more fun.

Belle and Sebastian

Having seen this adorable group of Scots just last night at Constitution Hall, I was inspired to write about the design aesthetic that Belle and Sebastian have maintained throughout their album art choices over the span of their now 14-year career. 

Their most recent album, "Write About Love" just came out on Matador Records. 

Looking at it during the ride home last night, the design snob in me started coming out-"It's so's not exciting...what's with this one lower-cased word?...there's no typographical hierarchy-wtf?!"

However, upon thinking about these design choices in context of the Belle and Sebastian catalog it all made perfect sense.


I really like how Belle and Sebastian have maintained some basic similarities throughout their album covers over the years--a monochromatic theme, the use of one typeface in a singular weight, and a photograph showing people yet never the band members themselves.

The consistency of design gives these albums a familiarity with their audience-when you see a Belle and Sebastian album, you know that it's a Belle and Sebastian album just from looking at the visuals-it stands out in a crowd.  The understated quirk and sophistication is also illustrative of the Belle and Sebastian sound.