Response to essay number 79: On Falling Off a Treadmill
I was drawn to this essay because I thought that it may be about losing your footing in life, and how to get it back. After reading this article I realized it was partially about that, but more about how some things do not need to be designed. I can relate with him because whenever I want to run outside, there is often an excuse in my head that tells me that it is a bad idea. Luckily I can just go to the gym at school and I have yet to fall off of a treadmill, but maybe I would not be very upset if I did. When he describes running at the gym as going into a “self-dazed hypnosis,” I automatically compared and contrasted cardio at the gym and outside. The gym feels cold and confined and nature always feels more lush and open. Yes, there is the threat of stepping on something gross, getting bit by mosquitos, or the minor but menacing threat of creepy people and wild animals, but still nature seems so much warmer. It seems like when I leave the gym compared to when I go back inside, I am much happier when I have jogged outside. At the gym the hypnosis is only in your head but your body stays pretty much in the same spot, and outside there is almost unlimited freedom. It is good that we have the option of going to the gym, but maybe more people should fall of their treadmills (unscathed) once, to force them back into being in nature. Nature can be designed in the sense that you can grow things or trim things, but have you ever noticed how strange it looks when people trim plant life into an unnatural geometric shape? Although there is a point to where nature can be beautifully designed, like Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, for the most part is should not be altered. This makes me think of garden mazes from the renaissance. Mazes such as these have been so altered by humans that they no longer look like nature anymore. Is nature even considered to be nature when it has been dramatically altered by humans? Or is it a sick and artificial chimera of nature and control? If left alone for a few years, nature will eventually revive itself and take over, replacing any strange paths and patterns with tangles of foliage. Ultimately, nature can not be completely designed by humans unless it is destroyed, and then it is no longer nature.
For my last critique my last two cover options were the best, but it was suggested that I change my type and try making type only covers off of the computer. Here are five covers that I created through collaging. I thought about making the collages in color, but once I began I realized that the black and white looks very French. I believe a bit of red added to the cover would look French as well. I posted the middle collage twice in different orientations because I believe it also works well vertically. If I use this for my cover, I will re-create the collage and make it wider so it will stretch to the back cover as well. I made all of the collages on 8″ x 5″ pieces of card stock so that they can be used for the front and back cover. Next, I will be designing simplified maps for each city to complete my book.
A response to Michael Bierut’s essay number 24, “Just Say Yes.”
At the middle of this essay, I began to wonder why it was considered to be an essay about design. Then I began to realize that design isn’t necessarily an object, but an idea. Design always starts out as an idea, and if it doesn’t then it probably isn’t very well designed. What the Yes Men did is pretty amazing. I don’t recall ever thinking about con men being good. The Yes Men came up with such a well designed plan to con dishonest coorporations that it isn’t even considered to be identity theft, but “identity correction.” So, if they technically are not stealing identities, can they be arrested for what they are doing? I am sure they can be sued, but would the companies be brave enough to sue the people who made them come out as the bad guys? It’s pretty genius. They designed a plan so well that it can not be questioned. So, does that mean that good graphic design is design that can not be questioned (to be not good enough or well thought out) as well?
I created a mock book for my thesis project last week, and now I am working on the layout, cover and content. I decided to make a French inspired cover. After looking through my photos of France, I picked out a few that would work well incorporated into covers. I still want to include a few hand-drawn elements in my book, but I really enjoy my image of the eiffel tower for the cover. France and London both remind me of iron, because of all of the beautiful iron gates and lampposts everywhere. I believe this image is abstracted enough to have a French feel, yet not immediately look like the Eiffel tower.
At first my book size was 5″ x 5″, but I decided to change it to 4″ x 5″ because it will fit better in pant pockets. Here is a mock spread of my layout for the London information page.
My thesis project is inspired by my trip to France and London this past summer. It was a wonderful trip and I want to go back someday, but I would have loved to have a bit more advice from someone else who went on the same trip before. For example, my group that I went with was all girls. Most of us straighten our hair. We did not have the best information on converters so we had to constantly borrow each others straighteners, blow dryers, and converters. This was quite tedious and frustrating. Eventually I just bought another converter in London once I broke the one that I brought with me.
On this trip, you are constantly going and your seemingly small bag starts to get heavy after a while. This is why I am going to create a small lightweight 4″x 5″ book to carry around in your bag or pocket wherever you go. I would like to have an elastic band sewn in the book to keep the pages from getting creased and ruined by all the rest of the things you will accumulate along the way. A book larger than this would be inconvenient and a book smaller than this would be difficult to fill with enough information.
I will be creating a small book with advice on packing, places to go on free days, maps of those places to go, and helpful phrases. This will accomplish three goals: the traveller will be able to pack properly, not be overwhelmed and confused on where to go on free days, and know the right phrases to navigate France. I would also like to create a small case for the book and carry on items. I will include what to pack in the carry on case in the book. This way, the traveller will not have to fish through their possibly bulky carry on bag for the items that they need to feel clean and rested before they leave the airplane. Once the traveller is at their hotel room, they can place the bag inside of their suitcase and put the book in their pocket.