Monday, October 18, 2010

Comparison and Contrast

          Over the years many companies decide to make changes to their logos in order to appeal to the consumer. Some companies decide to change their logos completely but others decide to just make some minor adjustments while still preserving the old format. In order for a new logo to be effective one must always consider what elements worked from that old logo and keep them in the new logo. Take for example the retro burger king logo.
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            This logo shows some simplicity because there are just two buns and between them there are the words Burger King. The words and the buns show a form of unity and a feeling of harmony. Together they form a hamburger which is what Burger King sells. This is a relatively efficient logo because it both resembles the product but at the same time has the name of the company within the logo. This retro Burger King logo is two dimensional in that there are no shadows and other elements that would give it a three dimensional look. Keeping this in mind now take a look at the new Burger king logo.
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            The new BK logo has more contrast then the old logo. Part of it is that the buns are lighter and this makes the words Burger King stand out more. Another reason why it has higher contrast is that this new logo has almost a full blue circle around the whole logo which really grabs your attention. Adding the highlights to the buns really make this logo look more three dimensional. These buns pop off the page more than the buns from the older logo. The new BK logo isn’t completely different than the old one and one reason why it must have remained almost the same was because of the unity. The old logo does a great job in that all the elements look like they belong together.  
            One major difference that we see from looking at these two logos is that the letters are slanted in the newer version of the BK logo. Part of the reason this occurred was because a lot of the updated versions of major food chain logos are slanted. If you notice most of the following logos are slanted as opposed to before when they were not. So when BK changed their logo they also were taking into consideration the logos of other major food chains.  Fitting in with other logos is important because it demonstrates that they are also a major food chain. It is also important to stand out that way the consumer will easily recognize their logo where ever they are. BK did a great job in redesigning their new logo because they kept there old format but updated it to resemble the present. 

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Design as a Conversation

           Can design be considered a conversation? In order to answer this question we must first define what a conversation is and what the qualities of a good conversation are. Before you begin to have a conversation you must think about what you are going to say. Once this occurs you then say what you have to say to the other person you are talking to. Then the other person must engage in the conversation by adding something to it. Once the conversation starts to flow you want to keep it going and you also want your listener to be engaged with you as well. One way to do this is by keeping eye contact. Eye contact is a way to let your listener know that you are talking to them and when they are the ones talking it is a way of letting them know that you are paying attention. Also something that classifies as having a good conversation is finding some sort of common ground in which you both give your opinions and maybe even find some similarities between you and the other person’s way of thinking.
            So how does this apply to design? Well design like a conversation is a process. According to the book Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud in order to create any work in any medium you must always follow a path.  You must think and develop an idea, decided what form it will take, decided the genre, put it all together in a structure that works while still crafting this piece of work, and finally add the finishing touches to your work of art. Design is a conversation between the designer and the observer. In order to communicate effectively through a design one must combine the processes of design and communication.

Design as a Universal Language

Design is everywhere. From the houses we live in to the clothes we where design controls our society. So how could we not know the language of design? When one views a design, no matter what language you speak, you can interpret a certain message from that design. If for example you are only an English speaker and someone said something to you in Spanish you would not know what they just said let alone be able to respond to what they said. But design is different.
This idea that design is universal applies directly in the world of graphic design. When I see any design even if it’s not from this country I do not just stare at it blankly without knowing what it is about. Take for example this design from china. It has a red background and white letters. Instantly I knew it was the Coca-Cola logo in Chinese. Through logos, like the Coca-Cola logo, graphic designers can communicate with any audience in any language they want. This versatility allows design to be one of the most universal languages we have on this planet. Without even knowing it we speak the language of design.
           This language of design helps us break many communication barriers that we have in our global society. If you were really thirsty and for some reason you were in another country you could easy recognize the Coca-Cola logo and know automatically know what it was. Designers from all over the world can use the language of design in the form of logos to communicate with virtually anyone in the world.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What Is The Place of Design In Our Society?

            In our society design is everywhere. From the house we live in to the clothes we wear design is a major part of our society. Design makes our society grow. Throughout the years design evolved not only in fashion but also in architecture and graphic design.
            Today we can look back and see how design has changed our society. If we look at say the 1970’s fashion we see many high waisted flare pants and now we have changed that style to low rise skinny jeans. It seems that what people wore then compared to what we wear now is totally different but to tell the truth some of the 70’s fashions are coming back. In the blog written by Professor Housefield, There’s no Geist like the Zeitgeist: Rodarte and NY Fashion Week 2010, we can further expand this idea of trends returning. Zeitgeist is derived from the German words (“geist”) which means “ghost” or “spirt” and (“zeit”) which means “times”. So today’s Zeitgeist is a mix between the new and the 70’s fashion. Fashion is not the only aspect of design that has evolved.
            The graphic arts have forever changed the way we communicate with our audiences. Before there were hardly any logos and brand names in ads. Now nearly all the ads you see have some type of logo or icon. These drastic changes in our society are just some examples of how design has moved our society forward.  

Creativity From Without

            Where do you look for inspiration? When you have no idea what to design or even where to begin how do you start? Many artists look within themselves for inspiration but some may look to the environment around them. In the case of Andy Goldsworthy, he not only looks around his environment for inspiration but he also uses nature as his medium.
            I was first introduced to Andy Goldsworthy’s work in my photography class senior year of high school. Some of the art work that Goldsworthy created out of nature amazed me. How could he create such extraordinary looking pieces of art by only using nature and his hands?
            To answer this question I think we must consider where Goldsworthy draws his inspiration from. Many artists draw inspiration form deep within themselves to trigger emotions and feelings into works of art. But for Goldsworthy I don’t think this is the case. In order for Goldsworthy to be able to create such amazing pieces of art he must also look around and see the world from a different perspective. Andy Goldsworthy is a true example of an artist who uses his surroundings as inspiration to create something new. As Goldsworthy once said, “When I touch a rock, I am touching and working the space around it.” For example when he works with a rock he must also consider the space around that rock and how it might look when it is part of the bigger picture. The details of a design or work of art must always be considered but don’t forget the bigger picture. Here are some examples of Andy Goldsworthy’s art and how they stand out from their there surroundings.  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stone Soup

   I first heard the words “Stone Soup” in my Design 001 class and I really had no idea what it meant. Later when Professor Housefield told us that it was a children's book that was about three soldiers who made stone soup from different ingredients that the villagers had laying around. Then I thought to myself “What does this have to do with Design?”
            We weren’t going to be really making “Stone Soup” but instead we were going to use the concept of “Stone Soup” to create something out of materials that we would bring to class. We were not really told what to bring except that these materials had to be clean from traces of food and recycled material that we had lying around. My contribution to our “Stone Soup” was 2 small cardboard boxes, scissors, newspaper ads, and a marker.Once we had all the materials gathered we really didn’t know where to start.
            Our plan was to have a strong base and then keep adding to it to make something that to me looked like a tree with branches. This tree didn’t look like an ordinary tree instead it had interesting patterns and designs that made it look different from anything else I have seen. My experience with stone soup was interesting because I’m one of those people who plan everything out before they start creating something. For me to just jump right in and start making something that really wasn’t planned was a totally new experience. At first I felt like my creation would not fit into what was already started but I soon realized that nothing really fit in and that was the magic that made our creation special.

All pictures taken by Jennifer Arango. 

Monday, October 4, 2010


As a kid when I thought of snowflakes I pictured these tiny specs of white flakes that had immense detail and that when compared to one another where very different. Each snowflake when examined closely seemed like a complete foreign object. It astounded me how this detail and precision could make up a snowflake. We all have a perceived idea of what a snowflake looks like whether it is from a drawing or snowflake decorations on a Christmas tree, but this perceived idea changes when you experience snowfall for the very first time.
It wasn’t until I was twelve that I got to experience my first snowfall. For me this was a major event that changed the way I imagined snowflakes. I expected these to be beautiful ice crystals that were carved with such detail that no one could recreate them. Instead what I saw where these tiny specs of ice shavings that all looked the same. When one sees a snowflake falling form the sky it looks like a very simple object. It made me wonder why I imagined snowflakes to be so complex. As I stuck my tongue out to catch a snowflake I felt a cool sensation hit my tongue. This tasteless spec of ice cooled my mouth and melted inside.
It was later that I realized that to see the real structure of a snowflake I would have to see it through a microscope. The microscopic image of a snowflake is actually where most of the designs of snowflakes come from. Although at first sight a snowflake looks simple, when observed through a microscope one can see that it is a fairly complex object. The snowflake is made up of lines and geometric shapes that are part of a bigger design.  So my perceived idea of what a snowflake looked like was not too far from what it actually looks like when viewed under a microscope. This just goes to show you that what you see can sometimes deceive you into thinking something else.

What Do We Ask Design to do in Society?

            Design has many roles within our society. When we refer to fashion design we expect this type of design to set the trends for fashion in the upcoming future. This expectation comes from the idea of what design has done in the past. If fashion design had not set trends in the past then we wouldn’t have that expectation of fashion design now. Fashion design in our society has decided what people wear and where they shop. You don’t see very many people walking around in 70’s fashion although some trends seem to be reappearing. These trends that reappear are not entirely 70’s fashion because although they are from the 70’s they are still mixed in with the new fashions of 2010. Looking back at the past offers input as to what we might see in the future. Although like I said before when trends from the past come back into the fashion world they are not entirely from the past because they are an updated version of what they once were.
            Design is also expected to communicate effectively with the consumer. Specifically graphic design is expected to grab the reader’s attention and also to lure them into what they are advertising. Here design is expected to be very effective because after all who is a graphic designer with out effectiveness? Graphic designers use a combination of color, shape, texture, unity and balance to create works of art that really deliver their messages. These different combinations not only allow graphic designers to communicate effectively but also allow the designs to be physically appealing to the reader. If a design isn’t of your pleasing then you simple look past it without think anymore about it.

Is Design a Noun or a Verb?

            In deciding whether design is a noun or a verb one must first define design as a noun and as a verb. According to the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary design as a noun means “the arrangement of elements or details in a product or work of art.” As a verb design means “to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan”
            Now that I reread these definitions I realized that one must also need to be familiar with the etymology of design to fully understand whether it is a now or a verb. Kostas Terzidis, in “The Etymology of Design: Pre-Socratic Perspective”, attempts to define design but doesn’t just look at the definitions we use today but also take a look at the origins of design. Kostas Terzidis says that design is often confused with planning but the difference being is that planning “is the act of devising a scheme, program, or method worked out beforehand for the accomplishment of an objective…(while) design is a conceptual activity involving formulating an idea intended to be expressed in a visible form or carried out into an action.” In this part of the essay we now realize that design ca be used as both a noun and a verb. When we use design as the process of designing it is a verb that leads to the finished product which can be referred to as a design (noun). So it all depends on how it is used in the English language, but remember it can be used as both.