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Thursday, July 3, 2003

CDF Week 1 Wrap-Up

Our introduction to display typography ended today after reviewing the final set of exercises exploring typographic variations. [Note: it is going to be exercises like these, and the accompanying critiques (and hopefully the learning that goes along with them), that will be nearly impossible to capture and document in a blog. But aside from the raw knowledge that you gain in school, this is what you are ultimately paying your money for: the training. This blog is free (for readers at least).] Some notes:

  • Distinctions can be subtle or bold...but shouldn't be too subtle, nor too bold.
  • Using two typographic variables at once can overemphasize text.
  • This from Ian: The "rules" of typography are dependent completely on the context and the content.
  • Karen Moyer recommends finding a set of fonts (around 10) that you use all the time and understand well.

Next week: photography! And in software bootcamp: Illustrator!

posted at 12:53 PM in classmates, design 101, techniques, typography | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Linespacing, Stroke Weights, and Horizontal Shifts

We continued our Typographic Hierarchy Exercise from yesterday, the purpose of which (I'm postulating) is to train our eyes to see what slight changes in type characteristics do, how they can change emphasis. Indeed, the trick is to make sure the audience can unconsciously (via visualogic) determine what is the most important. By applying individual or combinations of two characteristics, you can see (or start to see in my case) how each affects the type (and thus the message).

A couple of related notes:

  • Without any linespaces, stroke weight changes look odd.
  • The length of a line and its placement on the page help to determine its emphasis ("loudness").
  • The top of a page determines the bottom. The left usually determines the right.

In software bootcamp, our study continues on InDesign, learning about frames and bounding boxes and how to manipulate the two. I'm starting to feel comfortable with the program, three days in. It helps we're using it in CDF class too.

posted at 06:15 PM in design 101, software, techniques, typography | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Introduction to Typographic Variables

Today we examined the concept of visualogic: what might not make sense logically, but what makes sense visually. To do this, we're taking a unformatted poster (that has reportedly been used in this exercise for years in the design school) and making changes to linespaces, stroke weights, and flush-left thresholds to make it make sense visually. (First homework!) This involves first analyzing the message and identifying the most important content. From there, the content/text is broken down into labeled parts and a hierarchy of information is determined. Then you look at the micro and macro labels and use them to help in arranging the message visually.

Today's key point: the best typography does the most communication with the least amount of materials.

posted at 05:39 PM in big ideas, design 101 | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, June 30, 2003

First Day of D School

I survived my first day at school! Hooray! My two classes are Communication Design Fundamentals and the accompanying "software bootcamp."

Communication Design Fundamentals is a six-week course designed to teach Design 101. Each week is a different instructor to teach a different aspect of design. This week is Introduction to Display Typography, taught by Karen Moyer.

There's about 13 students in the class, a majority of them from the HCI program. We spent the first day arranging a pile of kitchen utensils and art supplies into a pattern that would make sense. The purpose being not only to show that this is what designers do--make order out of disorder--but also to show the process of design, from familiarization to development to refinement. The key points:

  • Form carries meaning.
  • Space carries meaning--even empty space.
  • Structure carries meaning.
  • Everything has a form, including (especially) typography.
  • Appropriate, engaging, and clear presentation of content: this is the purpose of communication design.
Another key point: let the visual display do what it can do and nothing more. It must be well-thought out, but it cannot do the thinking/processing for the viewer.

The first program we're learning in software bootcamp (taught by second-year second year interaction design grad student Ian Hargraves), is Adobe's InDesign. It's a smaller class (about 8 of us) and for some of us (like me) the beginning of the class was just getting used to the Mac machines as opposed to the PC (what do you mean there's no right mouse click?). Since I've never used InDesign, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to learn it.

In other news, I got the key to the Graduate Design Studio, my new (working) G4 Powerbook, and my summer student ID card. I'm a student again! So strange, but so great, to be back in school. I'm glad this first, awkward day is over though.

posted at 07:35 PM in classes, classmates, design 101, software | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Sunday, June 29, 2003


First day of school tomorrow! First day of school tomorrow! First day of school tomorrow! My mood (if you couldn't tell): nervous, excited, scared, hopeful, happy, thrilled, curious. And about a dozen more adjectives.

posted at 08:58 PM in student life | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


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All straight lines circle sometimes. - The Weakerthans