SWDILT 01 - A New Beginning

As the semester comes to a close and I quickly find myself with more free time, I’m going to try to start writing about what I learned in the day that was useful, fun, or important to my success as an individual personally and professionally. I think that if I love learning about these things, I want to share them with other people.

I figure that writing in small portions keeps things easy and accountable on my end, so I’ll be trying to write out bite-sized chunks that take me less than 10min to produce. Obviously this isn’t everything I learn about in a day, but I want to keep it small and make sure it’s digestible.

So What Did I Learn Today? (SWDILT for short)

1) I learned about way cool typography pairings from a woman named Bethany Heck. I just found her on the internet and I love her work. I’m inspired by her site and I can’t wait to sit down to try things out on my own site. If you’re into that kind of stuff, give her post a read.

2) I learned that one of my designs became an actual thing, and the client made it into a neon sign. Something from my computer became real and it feels so good! I mean look at that guy, he’s happy too.

 I know, it's a crappy image. I'll get a better one soon.

I know, it's a crappy image. I'll get a better one soon.

3) I learned more about other designers’ experiences with mentors, because I asked and these fine people out in Utah made an entire podcast about it. So cool of them to take me up on a topic and spend almost an hour of their time talking about it. So thank you Eric, Geof, Adam, and Ben!

That's it for today! Talk to me about this if you liked it, it will help keep me motivated to do more of these!

My Midwest

(Jump to the project, located here.)

Over the past week, I conceived and produced a photo project that completed the objectives I set out to achieve, and along the way was to create new memories that juxtaposed my old ones. 

I'd love people to see it, as it's a visual representation of the time I lived in my hometown of the Midwest. It's by no means a comprehensive guide, but rather more of an abstract view of some of my favorite memories.

The original intention of the project was to be able to talk to people about where I come from, but tell them with pictures. I've tried to remain restrictive in how much I tell about each photo, but please know that if you to strike up a conversation about a certain image in the gallery, I could tell you a wonderful story about each.

Check out the project here.

Weekend Project: Follow Up

This past weekend I got the chance to spend some great time with siblings and my hometown. Glad to have the opportunity to document where I call my childhood. Here's one of the first images coming out of this project. I know I have at least six I really like. I may end up printing eight. Stay tuned.


Weekend Side Project

I’ve lived on the East coast for nearly 2 years now. It’s very different from where I grew up in the Midwest. I tell people the stories from my childhood, yet it is always difficult to cast the proper light onto the memories I wish to portray.

I am traveling back to my hometown this weekend, and thus the opportunity to rightfully capture my young memories is present in my catchups with old friends and rediscovery of favorite spots.

The goal of this project will be to show people a snippet of the life I lived growing up in the small town of Batavia, IL. I will do it in 6-8 photographs to encapsulate my narrative into a brief series of snapshots that seek to tell the full story. 

Let the adventure begin.


The Modern Sherwood Forest

For years, I struggled with finding the most original idea I could. To be renowned in my field, I thought that reinventing the wheel would put me at the top. Little did I know that inspiration for other designers and artists often came in the form of sources that they could pull ideas from. 

We have a postmodernistic world view, accepting that we have run out of original ideas and quickly moving on to the fact that artists much steal from each other to create new things. In a sense, this is a grim thought to think of originality as dead, but when you consider the amazing works we've seen since our society was declared to be post-modern it becomes apparent that the death of originality does not correlate to the depth of captivating interest. I believe that Duchamp touches on this with his chosen quote, "I don't believe in art, I believe in the artist." Even if someone takes an idea and makes it his own, it is the work of the artist that makes each piece so unique. We're able to have wonderfully individual art because of the power of the artist.

This practice should not be confused with plagiarism. The honest artist is the one who admits he steals, but tells you where he finds his ideas. This practice leads into imitation and emulation. If you use Pollock's exact same process in an art piece, it is impossible that your art will be the same. You have created a new piece of art while emulating an artist, and learned more about the artist, methods, and materials during that time. It seems that mimicking someone in this form is an intimate way of admiring their own work.

One of my heroes is Aaron Draplin, a graphic designer from Oregon. He's very forthright about his influence, specifically packaging and logos of the 40s and 50s. He calls it 'Rescue Efforts'. It'd be hard to chase back a distinct genealogy with so many collected influences, but his includes Saul Bass, Paul Rand, Eliot Motes, and Andy Warhol. He's a noted collector of unique objects and searches them out specifically. Check out this talk to be able to put his character in context (the selected part starts at 8:40).

This attitude is especially pertinent to graphic design. The culture leads itself directly to sharing and rebounding off of other designers. In most cases, it's celebrated. In the field of interactive UX, making sure we ALL steal the right ideas is important for the users we affect. I've also found that it makes a massive difference in the speed of my work, versus attempting to come up with my own ideas about patterns. I now assimilate resources and things I like, and then put the pieces together to create a piece of work that is distinctly mine.


A New Effort

I write for school, for reports, for work, but not for myself.

As a self-initiated effort, I want to begin blogging for the design industry as a commentary on contemporary events happening around me. I want to discuss popular design topics as well as add authentic content to the mix of opinions. I’ll improve my writing skills as an individual to develop my unique tone and voice.