Concrete Jungle of NYC

Just got back last night from a trip to the concrete jungle of New York City. Interesting train ride from Rochester to NYC going from trees, wide open spaces and farm land to endless seas of buildings.

It was the first time I’ve been in NYC that I’ve spent more than 24 hours not doing touristy things. Gives a different perspective on the city – especially after walking over 6 miles in it from Long Island City to Central Park!

Definitely a lot more to look at in terms of advertising there. Bus wraps (Simply Orange wins the award for that), Subway ads, Amtrak ads, taxi signs, etc. Wish I had taken more pictures of everything – guess I’ll just have to make another trip.

There’s something beautiful about all of the graffiti on the buildings. The graffiti on the building below was something way beyond the traditional stuff seen on the side of bridges or trucks. The level of detail on each was incredible especially on the huge portraits of people were spray painted on the buildings. Wish I could have gotten a closer look at some of it. It would be interesting to see the transformation of a building such as this one.

On the train ride there and back, I got a solid 6 hours of work in on some wireframes I’m working on for a Graphic Design online archive for my Advance Design Networking class. I’ve decided that train travel is the way to go – so civil. There are plugs and everything! But it’s also a great way to tune out everything else and just get work done. Really excited about how these are turning out so far, will be interesting to take it the rest of the way. Updates on that as it progresses.

 

Spring Quarter – RIT

This next quarter is my LAST one at RIT. Kind of crazy to think about, considering in my head I’m still a sophomore.. or applying for college. I’m definitely going to be taking advantage of these next 11 weeks to make some sweet work & really get all that I can out of the rest of my time here.

Today I had Career Search class which deals with personal branding, our website, promotional pieces, etc. It’s always fun to redesign my own collateral because it’s the one time you’re the boss & get to decide everything without asking! Plus it’s like having a client around all of the time (I believe I’m on redesign numero 4?). Also had my Advanced Design Networking class this morning which is in New Media design + will be focused on iPhone/website interactivity. Super pumped for that class.

    

I did get a chance to work on my own personal website over break but I’m still not 100% happy with it (I’m starting to think that’s a reoccurring theme..). But I’ve noticed the more I redo it, the more comfortable I am getting with coding. Win-win?

 

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The Past – Continued

As long as we’re on the topic of things from way back when… here are some black & white film photographs I took when I apparently had no concept of contrast. Graininess is due to processing.

How very hipster of me.

All three were taken sometime in 2007 down in Athens, GA while visiting my grandparents. The third is the Bridge that the famous band, REM, was photographed on for their album cover.

This is making me want to dig back through all of my old work and see just how far I’ve come in 4+ years. It’s also making me want to get back into more fine art driven things. Need a break from graphic design every once in a while!

Sketchbook Sundays

Maybe this will inspire me to draw more – I realized the other day that all I do is write to-do lists in my sketchbooks!

They sometime get a wee bit out of control. I’ve been trying to make more of a conscious effort to doodle in my sketchbook, I love doing it and yet I never seem to remember that it’s an option for free time (which has been few and far between lately).

Painting – From Way Back When

To be filed under “things that make me laugh”… I found these hiding on a thumb drive from forever ago. By forever, I mean junior year of high school. That feels like an eternity.

Proportions were clearly of zero importance…

It’s interesting to look at artwork from that long ago that I haven’t so much as thought about in the past 4 years or so. Definitely come a long way & yet there’s something nice and naive about these. I remember doing a whole series of square paintings just about objects that I found around the art room. Maybe I should bust out the paints again and see how I’ve improved.

Side note: It’s finally time for Spring Break! After a long quarter with oodles of projects, I’m finally headed south (well, comparatively) for a week of sleep, family time + designing.

How to Survive – iPhone App

As I talked about earlier, I’ve been working on an editorial spread for a while now. The topic I decided on early this quarter was “How to Survive 16 Hours in the car” as that is the length of our typical road trip to Wisconsin each year for Thanksgiving.

For Interactive Design we were required to animate an app in After Effects. Being unfamiliar with the software, I wanted to choose something I already had assets for rather than worrying about both the design AND the new software. Turn out I completely changed my mind on the overall design of the piece in the process so I ended up redoing everything anyway – but it was worth a try!

The app features various games that can be played on the car ride. Ideally it would be a more in depth app but this was a pretty quick deadline. I featured the “Are We There Yet?” part of it where a user can insert their intended destination and then anytime the “Are We There Yet” button is pushed the app updates you with a “Nope, not yet. Still have ____ miles to go” or some other similar saying. There is also a “States & Plates” part that acts as a digital checklist for finding license plates.

Unfortunately the final movie clip is a little large to embed on here right now. After Effects is definitely going to take longer than the 2 weeks I spent on it to get used to! I’m pretty happy with the progress that I made on it so far and definitely a lot happier with this direction compared to where I was going with it earlier in the quarter. Everything always seems to smooth itself out in the end!

Positive Negative Magazine

Yesterday was the official “launch party” of the Positive Negative magazine that we’ve been working on for so long.

To say it took a little more time and effort than a regular class would be an understatement. This class was awesome because everyone was really invested in it. Normally people come into class, work on their own projects, critique semi half-heartedly and then leave. This class from day one was a group effort.

We elected a “staff team” early on with Art Directors, Copy Editors, Photo Editors, Design Directors & more. Including the iPad team which I worked on! This meant that in addition to the articles that we were writing and designing for the class, the staff was responsible for the printed magazine (cover, table of contents design, folio, all of the copy editing and the list goes on…). The class also raised funds for the magazine through Kickstarter, in addition to funds from RIT’s president & different departments.

I loved seeing how everyone really backed each other up & gave honest critique and advice. We started a Facebook page early on and everyone was able to put up images of their work and get critique almost instantly from somewhere. This meant that we weren’t just showing up to class with something new to show but the whole process along the way was able to receive help & advice. I definitely think it helped the pieces overall because people were able to jump in with new ideas right away rather than waiting for the next class which meant the growth from beginning to end was greater.

The iPad team was a new edition to the magazine. This Positive Negative magazine has been done by editorial design classes for the past 4 years (this is the 5th edition). Each is different in it’s own way. Everything recently has moved into a digital space and so we thought it was only fitting that the magazine transition as well. It was definitely a trial run and a huge learning experience. At the beginning of the quarter we really had no idea what direction we were going to take.

The idea of a magazine on an iPad is still relatively new and therefore there is no set software or set of instructions that anyone can go off of. We ultimately decided to build it like a website that was responsive using HTML/CSS and Javascript which allowed us to use coding languages we were already familiar with (hooray for  huge time savers). Since we were diving into the unknown it was nice to at least understand the language we were coding in and not have to learn that on top of figuring out interactivity. In choosing this route we did give up the ability to use xcode or put it on the app store (something that would be nice for the future). Of course, that would be the ideal situation but seeing as we had no idea what we were doing 10 weeks ago and none of us had an experience with iPad magazines, I’d say it was pretty successful.

If you go to www.positivenegativemagazine.com you’ll be able to see the 12 articles that we’ve put on the iPad version of the magazine. Please keep in mind that we’re still working on some minor thing for it so if there is a bug, chances are we already know about it! We’re also working on getting some behind the scenes footage up on it so that will be available in the next week or so – will post again when that’s working.

Finals Week

Tomorrow is the start of finals week at RIT. Luckily for me it’s the start & kind of the end of it as well – I have 3 finals tomorrow and then just one more thing due on Tuesday. I’ve enjoyed the projects I’ve worked on this quarter for the most part but I’m definitely ready for a fresh start (and more sleep!).

I’m currently working on finishing up a 4 page editorial spread on Road Trips & how to survive them. I’ve been looking and tons and tons of car/road trip/traveling/route 66 designs for inspiration. It’s been a frustrating process at times because I keep changing my mind! I was originally going an illustrative route & then switched to photography & then back to illustration! It has been a good learning experience though – I’ve become SO much more proficient with the pen tool in illustrator and better at making quick vector graphics for icons. I’ve also gotten the chance to play around more with typography & more inventive uses of that. Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a rut of using the same typefaces and using them in the same way. Well for this latest project I’ve gotten a chance to break this & try out some new exciting things!

Here’s an example of something I was looking at while working on my own. (Note: I use these for inspiration only. It’s really helpful to look at other examples and see what is possible to do with type – gets my brain thinking!)

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Probably won’t put a final shot of my editorial spread up for a while – I’m also working on an after effects animated version of an iPhone application that I created with the imagery from the editorial spread. First time using After Effects – boy was that a learning experience. Easing is still not a huge strength of mine – I do just fine with print or interactive thing but getting animations to look normal is tough! New found respect for animators & anyone who deals with After Effects or Flash on a daily basis. Even if I don’t really plan on using the software myself in the future, I was really interested in getting a basic knowledge of it – mostly for fun!

After classes are over this week, I have a few plans for over spring break – mostly figuring out what I’m doing in 10 weeks for after graduation (!), redoing my personal portfolio website and working on some design projects I haven’t otherwise gotten around to during this busy quarter. Should be nice to work on some of my own projects for a week or so without the thought of homework looming!

Wegman’s Packaging Design Challenge

Life recently has been consumed by working on a team Wegman’s Packaging Design Challenge…

For the past 7 weeks or so in my Packaging Design class, I’ve worked on a team with 5 other students from Industrial Design, Packaging Science and Graphic Design majors. It’s certainly been a challenge at times but overall an awesome experience that gave us a better perspective into working in groups on real-world projects. It seems like forever since we started sketching and coming up with ideas way back when [Process Work / Inspiration]. This morning we presented our final design concept to a team of judges, our professors as well as the rest of the class. 

For the project we were required to cover everything from determining the target market to the new bottle design, new branding, all of the material specifications and the sustainability aspects for end of life considerations. I learned a lot about what goes into creating packaging (which by the way is A LOT more than simply making it look nice on shelf..). It was interesting to hear about all of the technical specifications that went along with it, such as considering how the tertiary (transportation of the good) packaging can be reduced to save costs. Not really things graphic design majors are required to think about in other classes. Still have to say that I’m not a fan of numbers, much happier letting someone else deal with the technical specifications of a bottle or design.

It was also a challenge to design for something that wasn’t going to be viewed flat or on a screen! I learned a lot about the materials and how that plays into how the design looks and works with the bottle. After the initial design of the bottle, we were given a “panel” for the graphics and it was entirely up to use how we used all of the space throughout the bottle. We really looked to minimize the graphics and materials involved which ended up saving a lot of costs of production!

Classes like this are very time consuming but totally worth taking. I can’t even begin to describe how many things (other than the ones listed above) that I learned and will take away from this quarter. I really enjoy classes that push the boundaries of the traditional lecture/do homework/read textbooks. This was a great opportunity to use skills from a variety of majors and really experiment with new ideas (ie. no actual funds for companies were lost). It makes in class time more fun too because rather than being required to sit in a classroom for 3 hours at a time, we’re able to set our own deadlines and work in the studio. Not to mention, having a real-world project like this makes everyone more involved in the class!

Overall a good experience, however, I’m looking forward to getting a little bit more sleep now that it’s all over. Now on to finishing quarter projects for all of my other classes! [More on those later…]