While design has always been one of my passions, I started to get a little bit jaded while working in the industry. Being the only creative in my office, many of my projects were done on the fly with quick turnarounds. Since I was on such tight deadlines, I found myself getting into a bit of a rut, using the same techniques and pulling out the same design tricks when I needed to get something done in a pinch. This class reenergized my enthusiasm for design and forced me to explore beyond my comfort zone.

It’s easy to sit back reflecting on the semester and point out new programs I learned, like After Effects, or new Illustrator tricks I picked up. But what I value most from this class is becoming more comfortable with the design process from start to finish. I’ve never been what I consider a traditional artist. Freehand sketching is a foreign concept to me and I end up erasing everything I do anyway. Traditional art in the purest form, rather than digital art, doesn’t lend itself well to overanalyzing slightly neurotic designers. I’ve gained confidence in conceptualizing on paper and translating my ideas into rough prototypes. I started to accept that first drafts and storyboards aren’t supposed to be perfect. Imperfections make them adaptable to edits and changes. Looking back at my time at Fleishman there were so many projects that I just jumped on the computer and started designing. No sketching or planning whatsoever. I don’t think I will ever go back to that process and have found a new appreciation for the beginning stages of design projects.

Posted in Musings | 2 Comments

Pica Towers

First of all the creators are pretty dark individuals – at least with these short films they are. But I loved the videos, nonetheless. In the first video the narrative presents the character opening the door as perhaps the villain – the same character that was raising the other animated entity to the ceiling shackled in chains. After opening the door the second time to find the nun/priest-like character fall to the floor with a knife in its back, followed by the change in its eyes – the showing if fear – there was clearly other dark entities present. The ability to show a storyline with such depth in such a short amount of time is pretty impressive.

Not quite sure what to make of the second video. Clearly it is a representation of a dog and its blind owner, but at first glance I thought the dog had died just prior to the blind character finding the walking stick. The end clarified that situation with the dog-like creature scurrying into the vent. The use of camera angles and decisions of when each shot should be present really began to tie the first video to the second. The shot that brought the viewer back to the site of the stabbing shows the conjoined aspect of this series. The sound of the gunshot was foreshadowing to the final video.

The final video reveals a “leader” if you will of the “family” or whatever you might want to call the two characters that appeared to be working in tandem. The scene following the shot where the second character enters the room and yanks the gun away from the other showed a real father-son like / or adult-child like relationship. I almost got that the shooter was young and finding joy in the murders.

Posted in Pica Towers | 2 Comments


I entered this class knowing that I was not a designer or destined to be one. I’m leaving the course with the same understanding. However, this course was one of the most enjoyable for me – at least for the most part (minus motion-type) – because it gave insight into what visual aesthetics really means. From the study of typefaces, which I really enjoyed, to the understanding of what drives good design.

One thing that we heard as a class on a consistent basis was something along the lines of – I don’t have to like what you design, but one should always have an explanation, something to back it up in order to support your case. There’s more to design than simply making it pleasing to the eye. It’s also about making it functionally sound.

I think this class makes me analyze my work deeper and answer the questions of “Why is it there?” “Why does it look this way? “Do I really need that there?” Does it serve a purpose?”

Those are just a few of the things I will consider going forward in my career.

Posted in Musings | 7 Comments

iPhone Interface Design

When first viewing this video, I couldn’t get interested. The narrator’s drab delivery could not sink in until three or four more times watching, and even then it barely stuck.

I can say, however, having recently made the switch to my first iPhone, that I am continually blown away by Apple’s ability to design with both detailed purpose and simplicity. Start by observing the device, as a whole. One screen, one round button. That’s it! The interface accomplishes “new and sleek” without having a complicated, modern design. Rounded objects, simple shapes and colors, basic font, gradients, and clean swipes and touches comprise the most universal, widely used interface in the country. It’s amazing, really.

Posted in iPhone Interface Design | 2 Comments

30 Conversations

“Design is the purposeful arrangement of elements to produce an intended reaction in the viewer.”

These words jumped out at me as I heard them, and they completely strip down the ideas of design, art, and aesthetics. Design needs to be two things, really:  deliberate and effective. As long as a choice can be justified and it “does the trick,” then it’s good design. I understand that there are certain fundamentals in design properties that rarely go defied, but there are also many situations in which rigid rules can be thrown out the window, and it still works. In fact, in some scenarios, it works only when protocol is abandoned.

Posted in Thirty Conversations on Design | 2 Comments


This visual aesthetics course included a bit of everything:  reading, writing, technical use and application, design principle theory… It could be easily misinterpreted that this was a “design” class, but I like to think of it as making any work we do from this point forward deliberate, at the least. There’s something to be said for having reasons, whether good or bad, in the decisions we make. I don’t know that I’ll necessarily design anything professionally, but I can almost guarantee it will be my job to make things aesthetically pleasing, to a certain extent.

I liked the emphases on presentation, critique, and receiving criticism. They’re skills that can be universally translated to any line of work, and honestly, they are underestimated. We’re all here for our own reasons, of course, but those reasons at least partially include the general ‘bettering ourselves,’ which can’t be done without reflection and evaluation.

Posted in Musings | 3 Comments


I came into this class with a pretty strong understanding on the importance of visual aesthetics. As an undergrad, everything was analyzed from the color or emotions to social and economic differences between using a serif or San-serif font. That isn’t to say I didn’t learn anything in this class. I didn’t know much about ‘fine’ art and never did web site design. But while very different, every topic covered in this class had a layer of complexity and critical thinking that I didn’t expect. I feel more equipped to make my designs have life and I don’t just mean through After Effects or video. Design aesthetics should make users want to interact with the content and want to engage. I now feel better equipped to communicate without ever writing a word.

Posted in Musings, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Title Sequences

Title sequences never seem to get much love so I’m excited to see these two collections. I won’t even begin to list the large number of things I’ve watched but some of these are beyond words. What makes title sequences so fastening is how they become part of the work themselves. I am especially fascinated but those that are graphics that aren’t directly related to the movie/video/etc. Title sequences shouldn’t be overly invasive. There purpose is to excite and engage the viewer; offer that teaser of a seductive plot you can’t look away form. And, when it is really well done, it will excite someone years to come. Cut out the James Bond theme music and watch the visual progression of the series’ title sequences. These designs know what they are creating for and how to communicate those feelings to the audience. And that’s a powerful thing.

Posted in Title Sequences | 9 Comments

Thirty Conversations

There are definitely some interesting viewpoints in the Thirty Conversations on Design series. Thanks to my Tony Hawk fandom as a kid, and the memory of how much I loved the deigns on his skateboards, I immediately went to his video. It’s no wonder he is so successful with his current career path. His primary message about design is in relation to Apple’s philosophy of matching functional with beauty. For so long, design featured one or the other, at least in most cases. In his opinion, Apple products are a great representation of the two being combined. What do you take from that? For me, it’s that one should never be taken into consideration without the other – budget pending – but despite the commonsense notion he is presenting it’s still something worth taking note of.

Peter Docter brought a unique prospective into the process by taking the story into consideration as design. I have never looked at it from that perspective either, but when you look at the definition Docter presents, it makes complete sense.

“Design is the purposeful arrangement of elements to produce an intended reaction in the viewer.”

The third video I watched featured Ze Frank. Interesting take on the subject of designs … “This is a glorious age for designers because we’re finally getting feedback and we can see how the choices we make in our work are affecting the people that consume that work.”

Social media has presented that opportunity for immediate feedback on how design effects those that use it. For that reason, design is seemingly improving as a whole due to the ability of designers being able to react to responses being presented by consumers.

Posted in Thirty Conversations on Design | 4 Comments

Pica Towers

Cool animation style. reminds me of Tim Burton animated movies. Very grim and disturbing via the displays of torture and murder. Like the Saw movies with a single haunting killers with in the tower. Also it seem to be set in a place of anarchy and chaos. The music and tone is set from the first watch. Very erie.

Posted in Pica Towers | 3 Comments