Monday, October 18, 2010

One Balloon

Round. Transparent. Shiny. Colorful. Delicate. Light. 
Happiness. Pleasure. Joy. Fear. Want. Desire. Freedom.  Smile.
Obstacles. Rolling. Air. Group. Color. Playfulness. Childhood. 


All of these attributes, feelings and design inspirations come from this balloon.

Sometimes the simplest idea is the best.

Balloons inspire me to look at everyday objects and incorporate them into how I think of design. Stringing words together to make an idea using everyday objects around one may be all the inspiration one needs. Now some may be saying, “duh stringing words together is called thinking and writing”, but this simple act of writing this very idea down has inspired me to design a space based on these attributes, feelings and inspirations. Keeping these in mind and referencing them later on helps them actually be incorporated. It doesn’t matter how good someone’s memory is it is always a good idea to write these inspiration items down, no matter how insignificant they may be, because they could be gone by the time you are done writing. Most of the best writing is spoken out loud and unless it is written down only the people or person hearing it have the privilege of knowing it.
Lately people are more materialistic and ideas have to be on a grand scale so I have decided to think about the smaller things and how they can be incorporated into design.

So what is your inspiration? Is it in a small-scale object like a balloon? or a large-scale object such as a city?

Compare and Contrast

                                                  Content vs. Form

                                   Scott McCloud Understand Comics
Every designer struggles with content and form and how to balance the two together. If the main focus is the content without thinking about the form the message might be lost or misconstrued to the reader. It also does not matter how great the form is if there is no content. Finding the balance is the ultimate goal of designers, or at least I think it is, no matter how minuscule the object or design may be. When first designing or brainstorming content is most important so the point and message are established but form cannot be forgotten. When form is not thought of until the end the content may not fit or it may not go together with the page size or parameters that may be there in the end.Many people do not take into consideration the time and the importance of form. This is an example of when a powerpoint presentation that has too many words and overwhelms the reader.
                                                          Frank Marks, Jr Presentation
The content is there and there was some thought as to the form but they didn’t take into account the amount of words to images or negative space. 
This is an example of a slide where form takes over and there is not enough content.
For me Form and Content go hand in hand and have to be analyzed every step of the design no matter if it is a caption of an image or the final installment of an art exhibit.

Design as Conversation

A billboard, a street sign, a menu, a street, a car , a phone are all objects that are designed with words, icons and images.
Is design a conversation? or is a conversation just with words?
In everyday life the objects around us guide our conversations. Most don't think about a conversation and how it pertains to design. Not only are the objects designed but the placement of these objects, buildings and landscapes are designed as well.
So a better question to ask is when is design not a conversation?
I am not saying that design is everything but that design incorporates everything. So when conversing you may not even realize that you are talking about design.
Designers of all genres create conversations with their designs ranging from a statement about sustainability to the violation of a women like Yoko Ono's 'Cut Piece' to the simplicity of a writing implement. For me the term designer incorporates a wide variety of disciplines.

To go back to the question is conversation only with words, if this is correct then how are words incorporated in design? The common phrase is a picture is worth a thousand words but I think an affective design that is a conversation is an image, icon and design that can effectively incorporate the written word. These images to me are examples of designs that can be considered conversation. There are so many more components to this discussion of design as conversation that designers are exploring as you read this.
Now it is our turn to find our way of designing that effectively uses images, icons and words to create conversation through our designs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

People Designing Landscapes

After a landscape is designed it is most of the time changed and re-designed by the people who use the landscape. People do this to landscapes that are natural and not man made. An example of what I mean are natural trails like this.
After a landscape is designed it is most of the time changed and re-designed by the people who use the landscape. People do this to landscapes that are natural and not man made. An example of what I mean are natural trails like this.  These were not designed in the sense of thought out in a drawing and deliberately made by designers, these were designed by the people who use that landscape. Are the people who use the landscape and create these designers?I do not know the answer to this, it is whatever you want to think but I will show you some examples of Landscape Architects who use the people as the designers. A landscape architect had the students on campus for a year carve where they wanted the paths to go. After the year was done there were distinct paths that people took to and from class and those were the paths the Landscape Architect made the paths for that courtyard. Another form of everyday people designing the landscape is guerrilla art where artists add their own artwork to the design like this
 or this 
 For me graffiti is another example of guerrilla art that someone draws to help design the landscape.
These are a few examples I have found of people helping to design the landscape and as a landscape architect major I am finding out more and more how important it is to use the people as designers not just myself.

Creativity From Without

Finding creativity from without is to me a form of inspiration. Looking outside of ones self to find creativity to me is essential. Landscape designs are incorporating the spaces you occupy and thinking about how it affects the people using the space. Finding creativity from the people, things and spaces is what landscape design is all about. Peter Donnelly is an example of an artist who finds creativity in his medium, the sand, and trusting it to show him the right way.
Work By Peter Donnelly
We performs art at the pier using the sand specifically brighton sand which is volcanic. The stick he uses relates to a pencil, the rake is like a brush and the shells symbolize beauty. His artwork is using the space and objects around him. He says the pier is a healing place and that he uses that to shape his piece of art that day. When he works he makes references to the place and space itself saying it has to be done in it's time. He says that the pieces of art are not suppose to last they are suppose to be born and then die and he isnt the one that decides this but the space and environment do. 
Work By Peter Donnelly

Peter Donnelly is not the only artist who draws from the environment he is in for his art. Goldsworthy is an artist who is famous for art that is only there for as long as nature will allow. These two artists to me are very similar even though they have different mediums and styles. They both look outside of themselves and look at the environment their in for inspiration and creativity. Work By Goldsworthy

Stone Soup

There is a childrens book written by Marcia Brown called Stone Soup.

The concept of Stone Soup is to have everyone bring in items that they may have just lying around to contribute to this communal "Stone Soup". This is typically done in kindergarden classes to teach the children how to share but it can be applied to any situation like a introduction design class in college. My design 1 class at UC Davis had a stone soup day where we broke into groups of around 8 people and built a piece of art with random objects everyone brought. Using the concept of stone soup, where each person brought a piece of food to add to the stone soup we brought objects that we thought would be nice to make into an art piece. 
My group started by putting the objects in a pile and having everyone start assembling together. We didn't really talk about a design but changed it as we went. This was a very different approach that other groups. When we started to put everything together it was a different design approach that I normally do but it was nice to try something new. After looking at everyones Stone Soups I wished we had talked and come up with a design first. 
The design process of sketching and talking through the design is more my style than just doing. It was a good exercise and I learned a lot about the different styles of design. Something I observed when looking around at all of the stone soups was that each group didn't use every single object that they brought.  In art and design negative space is very powerful and many people forget about this object. This art piece uses negative space well, where the designers thought about the piece and didn't fill every space. 
By Sarah Smith
At the end of the class I was sad to see the art come down because it was a good demonstration of design and art using every day objects. I learned about designing with every day objects and materials and am now thinking differently about these when designing. This Stone Soup project has inspired me to start my own Stone Soup in my backyard to keep learning from this concept and experience. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Is graffiti considered design?

Photo Credit: HabitForming

 Many people that I talk to don't consider graffiti to be anymore than someone tagging something. Would they think of it any different if that was drawn deliberately on a billboard and portrayed as a design?
 Graffiti can come in my shapes and forms, from tagging to murals. Most people do the designs or art with spray paint as there medium. I love the look of this medium on concrete and different building surfaces. To me they blend well together and many artists can get the texture they need for the drawing from the "canvas" they choose.

Who are the people that consider graffiti art? What is the differentiation of someone who tags to someone who is an artist?

I dont know the answer to these questions or if they already are answered but I know that graffiti is just another form of design and getting our messages across. Graffiti is known for how gangs choose to show their logo and design of their gang so does this make it not design? It is there logo, their design.

So how do we go about making people see this and that graffiti can be art and beautiful? For me I have always thought that people were using the architecture and their surroundings as their canvas and "typically" spray paint as their medium, so it was art! What makes it "graffiti"?

Photo Credit: Banksy
If you saw this but none of the surrounding building would you consider this art or "graffiti"?


As we are turning the curve on the freeway the anticipation starts. "Frank Lloyd Wright Frank Lloyd Wright Frank Lloyd Wright" I keep saying in my head, and then it comes into view. My mom asks, "Who was the architect for the Marin Civic Center?" and I say "Frank Lloyd Wright!" and we both laugh to each other. This happens ever single time we would go into San Francisco and has always made me think about architecture, designers and art. For me the Marin Civic Center and San Francisco are where I began to think of design.

These trips always meant seeing a musical, preforming arts show, going to the museums such as the MOMA, walking around the Presidio and gawking at the different styles of architecture. At first it was just second nature to see these things and to not think twice about them but over time I began to realize that admiring these things is in a way studying design. Now I know some may say no it isnt but for me admiration turned into love and a drive to study design. Design is so broad that I didnt even realize that it was what could end up being my career.
Recently I have gotten stuck just looking at spaces and how they are designed but I am now starting to think about how everything from a picture of a vegetable to a thank you card is design.

                                                                                    Photo Credit: Michelle Davis

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba

Thinking of one specific object that makes me think of design was difficult because it is a different way of thinking than I normally do. I tend to think of design as in objects creating a space which is different than that specific object. For me musicals and plays were a common occurrence when I went to San Francisco. One of my first musicals was the Lion King. Thinking back to that day the giraffe that came into the aisles of the theater was my favorite part. It was not until this blog that I fully thought about why at a young age I loved the giraffe. The ability for one person to take from there imagination an image of a giraffe and design a costume to represent that animal fascinated me. The intricacy of the giraffe and the puppeteer was the most interesting part about the design. You could see the puppeteer and know that it was a person but completely feel like it was a giraffe. The design of the costume is not the only design but also the way the costume is worn can be a design. Specifically I mean that the designer had to design the movements not just the fabric and look.
When I think back on this day I realize that design is an integral part of our everyday lives in ways that we may not see connect. I never thought about how the design of a costume for a play incorporates the design of the movements as well as the feeling or character of the object.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


"What do dandelions and bubbles have to do with design?", you may ask.
Well for me they create a mental picture of a dandelion being blown in the wind and then the seeds turning into bubbles as they fly away. What intrigues me about this is that something as simple as two words put together can be art or design. No one knows if these two words could in fact be the design or artwork that defines me, or that it could be a graphic design for a blog. There are endless possibilities with these two words alone. 

Definition of Design........

Why do we have to put everything in a box, with a word, definition or idea?
Everyone asks what is the definition of design? We try and put it into a sentence or two but no one seems to be able to. Why can't it be omnipresent? Who says that design can't be everywhere?
The umbrella, the clothes, the shoes, the sidewalk, the road, the buildings, the composition the list can go on and on. So is design limited to a definition, a single idea or everywhere?