Dealing with design work

Well, it…at least feels as though, it has been a long day.  Although I’ve been monitoring what’s been going on with my class, I haven’t really been participating, today.

What I can say is that I feel like I’m relatively prepared to work with Graphic Design.  Relatively speaking — which means, as compared to people who have no experience in either Art or Design (which seems to include most of the class).

I don’t have a degree in Design, and I only have an AA in Art; but that training allowed me the experience of critiquing the work of others (over and over again), so I have some grounding on which to base my opinions.  I also have experience working with computer graphics tools…and with how to note down design ideas in the middle of the night.  (The latter came from being kept up with story ideas in undergraduate work; the former came from taking Digital Imaging courses, plus one Graphic Arts course.)

This meant that the exercise we recently undertook in my UX class — redesigning a couple of signs — was fairly easy for me.  I had thought of working things out by hand, like I did in my Intro to Graphic Design class, but I actually had the tools I needed so that I could manipulate elements digitally.  It vastly speeds up the process, and makes it easy to place color fills and gradients, and work with type.  And quickly change the font, size, spacing, placement, and color of that type.  I was actually kind of amazed at how easy Photoshop makes these things — and I’m not even working with Illustrator, or InDesign.

I’m hoping that the MLIS program will give me the background knowledge to make functional Design, as versus Design which looks nice but is nonfunctional (due to a lack of consideration of the end-user’s experience).

We were introduced to the idea of “personas” as used in marketing, this semester — which seems as though it draws off of creative imaging skills.  I have an abundance of these, but I was never told that I could work in Business in a Marketing department, utilizing the same skills I had used in Creative Writing.

Aesthetics seem to be placed below functionality, so far as Design is concerned in the classes I’ve been in, in the MLIS program.  I can’t help but think that this is the case, however, because people have been taught how to make things look nice, but not how to make them usable.  And I’m not sure I would fault the Graphic Designers for a lack of overall consideration of the user (although the Graphic Designers seem to take the blame — is this why they don’t get paid as much as others?).  It seems as though someone isn’t doing their job…and I’m not sure if it is the Graphic Designers, that is.

I’m almost wondering if the MLIS program will help me progress more in my chosen career path, more than a degree in Design would help me.  I’ve heard Design dismissed offhand in the Art world (most notably, as “selling out”), but in reality I think that even though both Art and Design utilize skill in working with images, visual communication, and fine motor movement, Design is a totally different category of activity, than Art.  They’re not anywhere near being the same things, and it becomes extremely apparent when you’re dealing with things like user research (which seems to utilize Social Science techniques) and usability, among other concepts which are hard for me to name right now.

I’m not sure if people in the Art world realize this (or if Clement Greenberg — the person I am thinking is most responsible for the current idea that money corrupts art — knew enough to realize this), and nor am I sure I’m totally up to picking them apart, at the moment.  It is a question that has continually been in the back of my mind, though.

I haven’t been writing so much recently because I’ve been trying to see what it is like just to live, without recording my life for several hours a week (each of these sessions is more than an hour long).  It’s apparent that logging my experiences is useful, but I don’t think I should do it out of a sense of obligation.  At this point in my life, my thinking is cohesive enough that I don’t really need to work at drawing it all together the way I had to, say, four years ago.

What I really do need to do, though, is keep some kind of practice where I put thoughts into words and into text.  It’s a great strength which declines when I don’t write.  That doesn’t mean I have to write about what I have been writing about…or in such volume…but I need to write.

I’m getting pretty tired right now, so I should log off:  though I had wanted to write about moving back into my toned paper journal.  But I had wanted to look at this from the perspective of considering Design to be a creative activity in which the message I’m communicating is somewhat predetermined.  I’ve been dealing with a lot of trouble starting because of not knowing what to communicate, or what to draw, etc.  Maybe Design can provide that for me, but really it does feel like …a puzzle.  Like creating a solution to a problem which just happens to be functional, useful, and beautiful.

I think I’ll leave you on that note, right now, run and brush my teeth, and try not to collapse before I get to bed.  🙂


New Tag: “Images”; plus organizational stuff.

I finally got tired of not being able to quickly index through my blog and see all of my photos and scans in one place.  Hence, this new Tag.  In lieu of immediately finding a more image-ready blog template, I’ve tagged everything I could find which has an image connected to it, under “Images”.

I’ve learned a couple of things while doing this (sorry about the horizontal lines.  Lack of hard returns within numbering systems equals a formatting nightmare):

  1. If my blog is primarily about visual art — and to be honest, I’m not quite sure what it’s about, at this point — then people who wish to view it will probably veer towards wanting to see visual art posts.  If it’s about writing, Creative Writing posts would be welcome.

    I’m just not sure if or precisely how to separate these two, other than to make another blog.  I’m pretty sure I have people who want to see visual art, and people who want to see writing (and people who like both integrated), at the same time.  I can do my best with the tagging, but right now I’m wondering about how to best serve or guide my audience.

    Plus, I’m pretty sure that I’m almost the only one interested in my career explorations, though that is related to both of the above.

  2. Two:  What is up with the post titles?  Sometimes there will be an image embedded in a file which is primarily (possibly radically) about something else — or otherwise, the connection isn’t made explicit.  And sometimes the post title gives no real hint as to the content of the post.

    This isn’t good where it comes to the Reader, and I only get the post header and first 1-3 lines to try and pique the people who may be interested in the rest of the post.  Working with a “Simpsons”-like writing style and having an intro to the post which is nearly totally unrelated to the rest of the post, doesn’t help me, here.

    (Yes, I have at one time casually analyzed scripts from “The Simpsons”.  Difference is, “The Simpsons” has a strong brand and brand loyalty behind it.  No matter what was on “The Simpsons,” that is, the writers could bet that people would keep watching and still enjoy themselves, as there was something larger promised than plot continuity.  I don’t have that type of thing in place, yet.)

  3. I’ve seen that at one time I was making “Image”-sorted posts, which would hotlink to all posts with the “Image” type when their icon was clicked, but somewhere along the line I seem to have forgotten that this option exists.

    I can also see the point in time when I started to watermark things.  I can only hope that I thought to compress the file sizes and take the ppi down to 72 (my camera’s default is only 180)…but that’s for older work, anyway (likely before I got Photoshop, when I was using The GIMP).

    I think that’s long enough…