Friday, January 29, 2010

Most Recent 'Holy Shit' Moment

In response to Mitch Goldstein's blog post here asking about our own 'Holy Shit' moments I had to post this. Plus it's good news about my senior project anyways. I've made serious progress.

So, my struggle with ideas had to do with the overwhelming amount of static ideologies dripping from graphic design all around us. 'Buy this because it tastes good!' 'Use this because it's better!' A culinary artist doesn't have a immense passion for creating food and make a burger and fries for their defining dish. I did not want to present myself as a designer through wine bottle label designs and fake brochures. Plus, this is my last semester as an Undergrad and one of the VERY few times I can create something I truly care about.

So, what exactly did I come up with? Well, I did a lot of research on other student's senior projects and ended up seeing some great designs, but no inspiration for a great idea. Then I did some searches on 'Graphic Design Thesis.' This was far more successful. I came upon a group called the Situationists. Here's a short video on this inspiring group of people.

The Situationist International focuses on reality and day to day activity which is constantly experimenting and correcting itself rather than just reiterating a few supposedly eternal truths. Static ideologies, however true they may be, become gross fetishes and just one more thing to passively consume.

By adopting the views of the SI it all became clear. I needed to celebrate the reality of my everyday. But what? What was so abstract and complex in my everyday to be interesting yet so simple and concrete enough to illustrate graphically and typographically?

'Relationships' was the first thing that came to mind. Like any human being I deal everyday with managing the many relationships I have with people. This then led me to focus on the miss communications I've had with others that effected my relationships, which then led me to conversations I've had that marked the moment of miss communication and the big 'change.' There it was! Conversations! How beautiful and complex and real are conversations? It was perfect!

From there I sketched and made lists. Now was time to come up with concrete pieces illustrating this immensely abstract idea. I was overflowing with them. From typographic installations to scripts of the actual, personal conversations with people I care about. It had everything I wanted.

Here comes the problem. Convincing my adviser to allow me to put this on as my own senior show. Sounds easy right? Wrong! See every year ALL of the students get together and put on one show. I have nothing against this, I just know that for this idea to work I needed my own space and control over that environment. It's critical.

So that's where I am right now. Soon I'll be posting some sketches and mood boards, developing my pieces for this possible show and, in the mean time, crossing my fingers.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I've been struggling. My time here at school is about to end and my show is coming soon. Problem:I NEED to push the envelope when it comes to the pieces I make and present at the show. I've never been the type of person to do the expected. Every average graphic design student does the same thing. And to be honest, exceptional students usually do too simply because of the exact struggle I'm having.

Pushing the envelope. How do we do that successfully? I think it's the same question every designer asks when they approach any project. In 'Never Sleep:Graduating to Graphic Design' one of Dan's mentors, John Bielenberg of C2 and Project M, preaches 'Thinking Wrong'. This is pretty much exactly what every designer strives to do but ends up failing (according to John). The very few who can train themselves to do this find great success.

I wish that this post was more of an intro to a solution then a problem, but unfortunately the struggle for me continues. I'll let you know when the light bulb goes on (or off I guess, since we're thinking wrong...ha ha).

In the mean time I wanted to share a picture of a piece of fashion design that inspired me to write this post. It's definitely 'pushing the envelope' and makes my mind wander. See for yourself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Never Sleep: Graduating to Graphic Design

I'm halfway through my new book "Never Sleep: Graduating to Graphic Design." by G. Dan Covert and Andre Andreev.

So far I'm absolutely loving it. For one the layout of the book is easy on a designers eyes (you know...unlike walking through the mall being bombarded with a mix of so many fonts and colors and overwhelming and often horrible design). Besides that, the way it's written doesn't put me to sleep and already I'm learning things that I think every design student should know but can't unless an experienced designer shares that insight.

The book (so far) is told from both Dan and Andre's perspective, separately, on their journey to who and what they are now. In between their own stories are inserts of advice and tips from other designers and mentors along with samples of work that Dan and Andre have done along the years.

I can't wait to get home and read more!

For those of you interested in your own copy go to I've found they had the best prices. Also, here is a post I wrote for the blog I run for our graphic design club and it has a little more info and also a link to an interview with the authors that you can purchase at a great price.
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