Fall Semester 2020

Final Outputs

Learning Journal

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DES // 540 —— Research Studio

DES // 500 —— Political Ecology
DES // 520 —— Agathokakological Tendencies
ART // 520 —— Teaching Artists 

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Monday 8/31

Today we analyzed our first pass at diagrams. I think everyone put in a good effort and there was solid discussion surrounding the results. It will be interesting to see how these evolve before wednesday and I am also interested to see how these objects that we have selected for the semester begin to take on or represent the characteristsic of our own topics of research. Fortunately everyone seemed to pic up on the metaphor/duality of my chosen object, the knife, and the floral motif created via animation in p5. Also, feedback on removing my object from a black field and placing it in some sort of setting proved fruitful as well. It may be furhter from what is “good design” but I really enjoy the aesthetic. Most recent version here.

Wednesday 9/2

Discussd more recent versions of our diagram work. I had worked on a few different versions between last class and this class in order to incorporate some sort of color or image in the background. I wanted to place this object in relation to education somehow so I opted to try incorporating the idea of the desk or educational workspace. I ultimately landed on the use of the cutting mat grid because not only could it be easily tiled to makeup the background but also because to me it represented my desk as well as design as a whole due to the use of the grid. That direction can be found here. We discussed that direction in class which lead to comments that the background was disorienting and also didn’t really say what I was hoping instead leading classmates to thinking of how this knife seems out of place and instead expect to see an exacto knife. One thought was to place this more firmly in a desk setting which I attempted by adding some desk items on the periphery. That direction can be found here, and didn’t really work for me. So instead I chose to opt for graph paper that can reference a notebook or field notebook and also still referenced the ever present design grid. I also chose to cover the paper in notes that I have been taking while researching/discussing my research around design education. That most recent version can be found here

Wednesday 9/10

Got feedback on the final outcomes of our diagrams. I am happy with where mine netted out and pretty much everyone understood what I was going for, so that’s good. Next we will be working on a catalog of our object/recearch topic. I am wondering how I can go about making a catalog that is representitive of both a knife as well as design education (subversive education?). One thought is to create a catalog of the design canon that is important to contemporary design education. But instead of a direct catalog, maybe instead this cataog is made up of facsimiles of these pieces of design that have been destroyed by the knife (assuming the knife represents subversive thought/education?). Maybe then the pieces could be kitbashed into new means of design education? Could they also include things like YouTube, Skillshare, Pateron, etc? Also, what is the form of this catalog? Is it some sort of printed zine or is it something else? Maybe I can lift some of the ideas utilized by the Boot Boyz and produce this catalog in the form of a shirt. Maybe it exists as cyanotype prints on fabric that are then mutilated and applied to a dress/button up shirt. Can that shirt represent the traditional commercial designer (Micael Bierut)? Maybe along with books and examples of contemporary design canon, the portraits of design’s heros are also mutilated and repurposed? Maybe the Knife is only present in that it is used to cut down the printed material. Maybe it is represented somewhere inside the shirt? Under the flip side of the collar perhaps? Could things that represent traditional/eurocentric design canon be printed in negative and things that represent subversive/decolonial design canon be printed in positive (vice versa)?

Saturday 9/12

Response to The Crystal Goblet by Beatrice Warde : Ahhh The Crystal Goblet… It was good to read this one again. I still disagree with the overall tone, but find myself understanding it more. I think the metaphor makes sense if you are strictly speaking of technical typography, but that this text really takes a turn for the judgmental/pompous in trying to define “good” typography because in doing so it means that everything else must be “bad” or “other”. Why does the choice of ones glass either make them a connoisseur (Ward’s word) or a barbarian (my word). In my opinion it doesn’t leave enough room for flexibility or even and evolving or advancement of the practice of design.

I would much prefer to make a metaphor in the form of cocktail styles. Are martinis good in that they are uncomplicated yet full of flavor in their stemmed glasses? Sure, but is that the only proper way to make a cocktail? Should all other cocktail styles be seen as less than? Fuck no. Look at Tiki, it stands almost in opposition to the purity of a martini in its complexity of flavor delivered in ofter absurd ceramic cups. Would it be nice to see the color of the cocktail provided by freshly squeezed juices? Maybe, but that would take away from the pleasure and amusement provided by the kitschy cup and garnishes.

Maybe it is time that we burn this text and rewrite it. Expand our design palette beyond wine to any type of booze that our drunken hearts desire served in whichever glass adds to the experience. I encourage you to take your modernism and serve it inside of a vessel made of psychedelia. Take your art nouveau and pour it into a cup made of punk xerography and get drunk on barbaric designs that bring more to the table than a straight-forward presentation of what is “good”

Response to the Post Typographic Manifesto by Post Typography : All I have to say of the Post Typographic Manifesto is wow. I truly appreciate the efforts to liberate the practice of design from its hierarchy of rules on which the Typocracy has been built. I am not sure what else I can say outside of quoting the parts that gave me chills.

“”It has been said that the “medium is the message,” but your medium is transparent and likewise, your message hollow.”
“We step on your crystal goblet of typography at the marriage of liberty and design.”
“We will liberate typography from the stuffy shackles of classicism and rigid mores of modernism."
“We only answer to the ultimate satisfaction of our own Dionysian impulses.”
“We make our impact with Impact!”

So much else to love in this text, I think I’ll print it out and hang it by my desk next to my printout of the First Things First manifesto.

Monday 9/21

//Class Note Dump//
Crediting pieces
  • does it speak to genius in a productive way?
  • elevate lesser-known “genius”?
  • bring to light marginalized practitioners
  • index?
Question mark archive
Hide text under collar?
Set of flyers instead of or in addition to shirt?
Booklet or publicaiton that explains the concept?
collect additional/reproduced text
index for shirt (as was tag? Other shirt)
having booklet allows for obscurity on shirt
Play with scale of archive pieces
Rick Griffith

Sunday 9/27

Monday 9/28

// Class Note Dump //
Embrace monoprint through application of one-off color??
Hiding content below belt or inside shirt is interesting
Hide all inside shirt?
Sewn in tag in addition to publication (credit for each piece?)
Blank spaces allow for evolution/addition (evolving, personal Télémaque?)
More content means more volume (how loud do I wan want to be?)
Write an intro to the context-based credits (leaning into ignorant schoolmaster and self learning)
Jenny Holzer truisms as reference/way to change research questions into something concrete?
Companion publication as zine vs manual (what does each say formally?)
If goblet illustration stays how do I make the connection to Beatrice Warde a quicker read wihout being overly overt with it?
If I keep the type on sleeves, take time to typeset “properly”

Monday 10/5

// Class Note Dump //
Room for notes in book?
Room in margins for annotation?
White space defined by space used for writing notes?
Wavy notebook lines?
Embrace imperfection — rag by hand with paper/layout with cut paper and scan?
Reconsider pixel type?
Consider using monotalic for body copy?

Wednesday 10/7

// Class Note Dump //

// Map Notes //
Interesting to look through lens of genetics
  • modernism >>> eugenics?
How things relate through family trees
  • start before modernism
  • see how it morphs
Mind map/family tree
  • focus on location as well?
Tracking design lineage back or in relation to “self”
  • what influenced me
  • what forms of design exist beyond/after/stem from me (my design offspring)
  • Relate to others through lens of self
  • track current interests in relation to my own education
  • text, text and images, images
  • film/interactive? Interactive p5 thing? >>> https://www.timelineofthefarfuture.com/
    • Tie in links to the web?
  • what does leveraging only images do/say
  • instances or influences outside of design?
  • placing self within history of design pedagogy
  • mapping influence?
  • current/historical events
    • social media
    • political events
    • lived histories
Don’t just focus on education but all things?

Kerry James Marshall >>> https://www.artsy.net/artist/kerry-james-marshall

Monday 10/12

// Class Notes Dump //
Datamoshing >>> https://www.google.com/search?q=datamoshing&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS893US893&oq=data+moshing&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l7.5693j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Historical Memory and Collective Memory - Maurice Halbwachs >>> https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GPhGukFWC84C&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=Historical+Memory+and+Collective+Memory+-+Maurice+Halbwachs&ots=dt7QZxOd2Y&sig=cx0vtpoJ8PdBBvZ8CjU5WNftIwg#v=onepage&q=Historical%20Memory%20and%20Collective%20Memory%20-%20Maurice%20Halbwachs&f=false

// Map Notes //
Personal Ideologies
More people and institutions?
Include Europe?
Include self/job? 
Include self as timeline?

Logic behind university choice
What am I missing (MICA, SCAD, OTIS, Carnagie Mellon, etc)
Research into universities and who taught there over time?
Who influences the universities over time, how have these influences affected each institution?

Time element behind each university
mapping design movements?

Thursday 10/15 —— Midterm

// Research Topic //
SO —— Other parts are more successful
Item based/in chunks

Evidence based practice

From cadastudent to Everyone: (9:13 AM)
@josh, do you know the works of Ivan illicit? Deschooling society, tools for conviviality, are two interesting works about education and tools. it comes out of 70s South American left political movements. Could be an interesting reference
Sorry Ivan Illich

JF — Poignant for the time
  • Thinking about tools?
  • how do you get out of the idea of individual genius and instead opt into collective experience
  • Focus on one pedagogical experiment
  • Spector press — Tacit Knowledge Feminism — CalArts 70s — Collective Project (how to organize something myself with other students?)
  • From jack henrie fisher to Everyone: (9:27 AM)
  • Tacit Knowledge / Post Studio is the title of the book I just mentioned
  • https://spectorbooks.com/tacit-knowledge

CTW — Liberal arts model does exactly what I am looking to do already ... ?
  • Tadao Ondo (spelling?) — Self Taught
  • Lacour Bousier (spelling?) — Self Taught
  • Art School (book) — History of art school philosophies — more traditional end
  • Kathy McCoy/Meridith Davis/Sheila De Bretteville

JM — NASSAD Documents — Meridith Davis/Educational Bureaucracy
  • Free teaching vs considering the framework of educaiton
  • how design edu has interfaced with a larger discourse fo education
  • John Dewey — Not taught in design edu
  • Don’t get overwhelmed by scale and find a way to work through topic in a way that satisfies interests and ambitions

ML — Don’t pressure the conclusion

// Diagram //
PB —— Swiss Army knife?
  • PB —— more iconic?
  • loaded in being from germany?
  • JF —— how does it figure in post war imaginaries?
  • set of cultural associations?
Narrow in education as instrument
BA —— Is this a full or >> limited << conception of education?
JF —— !! Can’t education be weaponized through its absence as well? !!

// Catalog //

// Map //
STW —— Charles Jencks chart of postmodernism

Friday 10/16

Reading response to Searching for a Black Aesthetic in American Graphic Design by Sylvia Harris : “I believe that the building blocks of a black design aesthetic are scattered across many disciplines and will be found in unlikely places. For instance, some of the best examples of the potential for a black design vocabulary are found in the work of white designers who have been inspired by black culture and take advantage of the market for black expressive styles.”

It is interesting, and regretful that black students historically have had to look at work of white designers/artists that have appropriated black vocabulary in order to find some sort of representation within our field. It seems like there are strides being made towards unearthing and archiving the work of black designers (Cornell has a wealth of examples), but we are yet to carve out sections in our monuments of design.  I am glad that cubist appropriation of African art was mentioned in this text. This was something that I stumbled across while researching and working on my mask for Pouya’s class. The essay that I read framed this appropriation in a negative light, something that I think this text counterbalances to some extent. Cubists lifting motifs from Africa had provided a canonical example of African influence in art and, in turn, design. I find that to be generous that these individuals aren’t being taken to task for this, but I think it also hast to maybe do with authenticity, specifically in regards to the framing of Carson’s Ray Gun as the best example of a visual jazz aesthetic. Another example brought up in As Not For is Pen and Pixel. Presented as they were in the show I just figured the designers were black, but upon research for my catalog I found that they are in fact white. Again, I think they get a pass for translating a black aesthetic in such an authentic way while also working directly with, and promoting black musicians. Maybe parallels can be seen between this and the design/designers working on jazz album covers for Blue Note.

Either way it is strange to me that a lot of the contemporary examples of black design vocabulary are or have been filtered through whiteness. I wonder if that is due in part to the fact that our industry is so closely tied to white, Eurocentric values? Either way this has put into design vocabularies into a perspective that I had not previously thought of, and the next time I seek to emulate design similar to Carson I will be more aware of what approaching design from this jazz perspective means.

Also, as an aside. A buddy of mine who studied music (and dislikes genres in general) has a whole lot to say about the genre of jazz in that a lot of things get dumped into jazz as a broad term because of their time period and blackness (things still that happen at the Grammys seen through how songs like Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road and Tyler the Creator’s album Igor were categorized). This is something that we need to consider moving forward with design that comes out of the growing black design canon. In order to make sure that we as an industry are not forcing black designers into one box/genre.

Reading response to The Alphabet That Will Save a People From Disappearing by Kaveh Waddell : This story is really inspiring. The fact that Abdoulaye and Ibrahima have turned this into a lifelong project is totally astounding. On the other side it is frustrating that while this language has been created and included in Unicode it still is not available on the wider digital market. It really makes you question value and makes me wonder what could be done to increase the value of this language to the point that it is adopted by wester tech giants, and subsequently the internet as a whole.

This is another reading that also falls in line with the Aesthetic innovation in indigenous typefaces text we read a few weeks back in that it really shows the power that design can have on individual daily lives. Something that I am very guilty of losing sight of. This text also reinforces the importance of preserving language (and culture) something that I believe designers are uniquely suited to do. Preserving though the creation of faces that support struggling languages, preserving through the creation of archives (printed, digital or otherwise), or even preservation of ideas through the production and dissemination of printed or online publications. Jeffery Keedy looked at the future as a ‘hallucinogenic melding of mind and information structures’ and notes that ‘If this is the construct of our future world, then it’s graphic designers that will be creating our total “human environment”. Maybe instead of “creating our total human environment” we should instead look to preserve it.