Monday, April 16, 2007

Design and Governmentality

I had the opportunity to speak to a graduate design class at University of Illinois at Chicago about my role as a designer within the Federal Government. The one thing that the preparation for my presentation help me to do is to look over my cubicle walls to ask myself some of the larger questions about how we a the Bureau of the Census go about our work.

It is natural to focus on the task at hand, often to the exclusion of the bigger interconnected picture, and thus potentially missing key opportunities to do things differently. An area that needs significant work is always in communication, and that is also the case here at Census. Henceforth, I will work on identifying and connecting the dots in such away to better communicate the story of the Census and its many operations both internally and externally.

Also, it is interesting to think about the artifacts that are produce by governmental institutions that reflect for the citizenry there primary contact with policy.

Time Magazine's - The Design 100

Time looks at 100 designers/ firms they determined were worth noting. These list often feel incomplete to me because of the notable absence of diversity among the people selected.

Time Magazine's List

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Typography: Assignment III - Step 1 Results

For the third assignment, I wanted my class to experience how type fits into a companies public identity.

The first step on the path to developing an identity package for a self-selected retailer, was to use found type (type from newspapers, magazines etc.) and images to create a 11x17" composition capturing the personality/brand of the retailer.

Amazingly, the students found this approach to be challenging and were uncomfortable with being asked to find, think and compose a solution with preexisting type. But the results surprised many by the discovery of new insights and possible solution directions for developing a new identity for their retailer.

The goal was to lead the students to think about the company as well as to look at type from various sources that would inspire new ways of envisioning the company. The composition along with the second part of the assignment which was to research the retailer, would serve as the source from which they would develop concepts for a new logo.

The image above is one student's (Ernest Smith) rendering of East Bay, a retailer of athletic clothing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Designing a Backpack: Video

The process of designing follows a few key steps that are not limited to the product being produced.

Design is a problem solving activity with an aesthetic component.

Video: Designing a Backpack

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Story Behind Saks' New Identity

Saks has arrived at new and distinctive identity program that also offers flexibility for years to come. The design team has slice the old logo into 64 segment boxes that when rotated and placed in different configurations produces a sophisticated looking identity that will rival Tiffany's blue box.

The Evolution of the New Saks' Logo

Balitmore Sun

Business Week Article

New York Times Article

A Design Icon

The Egg Chair is so distinctive that it captures a unique time in the evolution of modern design sensibilities.

Designed by Arne Jacobson a Danish Architect in the late 1950's. This chair with its organic shape has since come to symbolize Danish furniture design for the world.

Arne Jacobson Bio

Short History of the Egg Chair

50 Years of Helvetica Typeface

Typography is an often seen but not recognized method of designing letter forms that support the communication of a written message.

In the 1980's Helvetica was include among the dozen typefaces included in on Apple's computer's. And with the growth of desktop publishing it has become the most widely distributed typesfaces in the world.


The Documentary Film

Article: How Helvetica Conquered the World

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Product: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

This is an example of a very practical solution to a daily task. It slices as well as stores bars of butter, a wonderful answer to a problem I have each morning that I prepare buttered toast.

From the images the materials seem a little lightweight (cheap) but I would suspect that better versions of butter cutters are on the way.

One Click Butter Cutter Website