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: