Friday, December 17, 2010

one last blog post for the class

What PBDS601 has taught me:

1. I'm not that good at this. I just need more work and some harsh critics. I spent a lot of this semester questioning myself and if there's any talent underneath my desire to do well in this class/life. I'm still up in the air about it but I'll attempt to let myself discover if I do have talent instead of cutting myself down - which I am a professional at doing. The only time I don't cut myself down is when I remember that there are people in the program and I need to do better than them.

2. I can't make it perfect. I can technically, but for now there's always going to be something I want to change and that's ok. I'm definitely not good enough to make something that doesn't require any changes and most of us are in that same category.

3. You can't make everyone happy, I should start with me. Specifically, I need to make changes I like and can live with, not just to make people *COUGH AMY COUGH* happy. I at least need to be able to justify my decisions with something other than, "Amy thought it would be better". This is in specific reference to the project 5, where I got rid of the tooth but thought I could've made it work by keeping it.

4. Letting an idea marinate is good. Man, my first projects really sucked hard. Going back to them to do revisions is so much better. I had a decent idea of how to structure them but made some bad decisions. Now I am able to see that and the revisions aren't so tough. I'm glad I get to go back to them for a new grade, but I think I would just enjoy going back to them anyway.

5. Sometimes your ideas are shitty. I've had some really shitty ones. Salvage anything workable and move on, it's ok.

6. Questions I still have: Will I be nothing more than mediocre at this? How can I tell? What am I getting for Christmas? (oops, looks like I'm already moving on)

This class was great, it even opened me up to the wonders of a blog. I'll likely be keeping the posts coming, just at a slightly slower clip and with a mini break over the holidays - you should never blog drunk! Anyway, goodbye isn't forever Internet, I'll be back!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

cheese or font

I've finally found the missing link between my love of cheese and my love of typeface. Maybe it was all a subconscious choice or some higher power created this website to finally make the pieces of my life fall together (it wasn't a higher power - I don't believe in that and even if it was he/she/it needs something better to do anyway). Have you ever noticed that cheese names and typeface names are similar? Eerily similar? I didn't, until this simple website made a game out of deciding whether a particular pronoun was the name of a typeface or cheese.

Here's some examples, you have to decide whether they are cheese names or font names - I'll put the right answers at the bottom:


Feel free to test your knowledge at Cheese or Font. Good luck!

ANSWERS: They were all cheese, except Eurow

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

8 faces magazine

What if you could only use 8 typefaces for the rest of your life? This is the question posed by the new magazine, 8 Faces. I can tell you I don't know enough about type yet to make such an important decision, but I would like to find out by getting this magazine. It is beautifully printed and looks like it would awesome to own and refer to regularly. All I have the skills to do is make a list of typefaces I should mostly never use, which I've included here and you can feel free to add to. Maybe one day soon I'll be able to pick my 8 faces...

8 Faces magazine

Typeface no-nos:
Comic Sans
Times New Roman

Any others? Amy (A Design Dive) just recently posted some typeface dos and don'ts as well so maybe between the two of us, we can attempt a cohesive list!

Monday, December 13, 2010

design blog roll to end all blog rolls

I found this handy little huge website that seems to be a compendium of all design blogs. Now I know it can't be all of them, but I haven't even looked through their whole list - it's really quite staggering. The blog itself has some interesting information about all components of design but more importantly for me is the blog roll for designers. As a person who isn't familiar with good blogs, it's nice to see a giant list that I can peruse at my leisure. After all, a recent post led me to this blog (You Look Like the Right Type) with fun pictures made out of phrases the artist hears everyday like this one:

So check out the blog and the blog roll, looks like a good jumping off point!

Designers Who Blog

Designers Who Blog blogroll

Friday, December 10, 2010

license plates: mostly graphic design vomit

Sometimes I look at things in the world and thing, "Toni, why does that look so hideous? Surely the person who created this could see that it adds absolutely no value to the world, that it in fact makes the world uglier for having existed". I find myself thinking this an awful lot, which is probably one of the larger reasons I find myself in the Publications Design program - I want to be a part of the Making The World Look Better Through Good Design and Eradicating Bad Design movement. I often feel my eyes are assailed with poorly designed products, buildings, signs, etc but not understanding how it came to be. My view of this is slightly depressing, as I find myself thinking people generally don't care if things look bad so long as it performs the necessary function. Would it be so hard to make things we see every day look good? Would it really?

Which brings me to my point and actual topic of this post: license plates. As a recent resident of Ohio, our license plates left something to be desired. These unfortunate license plates have always made me pay attention to license plates and judge states based on what they look like. First, let me show you the current Ohio plate:

I'm not much for hokey plates, so this is pretty much my nightmare. Look, we have trees, a logo, two taglines, a aeroplane, cities, rolling hills and a bridge. Oh and the sun, please don't forget we have that too. To be fair, I prefer things be as plain as possible, just so it isn't so awful. Like so:

I understand this may bore some of you, but I think it's infinitely better. Subtlety. Sweet sweet subtlety.

Alternately, I also like this plate, despite the attempt at fanciness. Our neighbors to the north are kinda crafty and I like it:
Now that you see how I view license plates, please take a gander at the following, ranked from nauseating to extremely nauseating.

It's fine, but note really. The type seems off and I don't know what's happening in the top section, is that still mountains but with that new hue? But don't worry, it gets worse.

This specific type choice also bothers me, along with the lazy rizer  aspect. Good thing this one isn't the standard for the state, you'd have to pick this on purpose to put on your car. Much like this next one...

Oh Florida, this doesn't make any sense. Isn't Kentucky known for horses? You know what else you aren't known for...

Wait, this moderately makes more sense. But really? It's kinda weird to have the phrase Sunshine State behind a picture of a dead man who seems to be missing part of his arms. Is the sun supposed to be like a halo? Where's the separation of church and state? Oh wait, this is Florida.

Without the background, I like it. But you just put some paint stroke suggestion of the Texas flag in the corner, put a sky in the other corner and what seems like open expanse in the bottom. I'm just not buying it.

I think I get a little annoyed when I see two taglines for the state, neither of which mean anything to me as a resident of another state. Maybe it's the handwriting typeface, or the buffalo that seems to be missing it's front legs. Or that weird wheat (?) pile in the bottom right. Not for me.

I saved my favorite for last, as you can see. Why wouldn't you like this, it looks so friendly. In fact, that's basically tagline number two. The grass looks like clouds, the sunset/sunrise is mostly not physically possible and hello, creepy sun. Really the crowning glory of license plates. And this is their default!

Additionally, there are a few websites that have some analysis of license plates, so enjoy.

Choose life plates, gah
10 Disastrous License Plate Designs

P.S. Can I do license plate redesign for my senior thesis? Please?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

nice cover, assholes

I don't always read Pitchfork, though it is my main source of knowledge about the music I like (though AV Club does a good job as well).  I was perusing the site yesterday, taking their yearly survey of favorites and came across this little piece of magic. I really like mocking bad things so this is right up my alley. They posted the worst album covers of the year, with just a tiny caption. I like when there is no explanation necessary, though honestly I'd like to hear from these artists as to why they would ever choose these album covers.

Here's an example one:

And here's where you can see more: Pitchfork's Worst Album Covers of 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

hello graphic design nerdiness

For someone whose nerdiness makes her pretty uncool at every turn, I am pretty unabashed about getting excited about stupid things. Recently, watching someone pace back and forth on my street staring a house, I have been quoted as saying, "It looks like he's looking for Grimmauld place!" If you don't understand this reference, like my brother to whom I said this, I wouldn't be surprised. There's a little nerdiness in all of us I assume, given our designing intentions but sometimes I think I'm out there on my own. Regardless, the point I was getting to was this quickie website which has Gangsta Lorem Ipsum, where you can copy the pregenerated text to use as dummy text in your work. A sample: Lorizzle ipsum crazy sizzle amizzle, consectetuer adipiscing go to hizzle. It really made me smile and kinda want the t-shirt that says, "I saw ____ (fill in a name) tizzles and my pizzle went crizzle." SUCH. A. NERD.

P.S. Here's the site: Gangsta Lorem Ipsum

Sunday, December 5, 2010

project 5 colorama

As a novice graphic design student, I don't think I quite have my "thing" yet. I assume and hope it will be typography, as it was the thing that brought me to this program. More importantly I don't think that thing will be color. It's not that I don't have an idea what will look good together, more that I can't really make a decision. And sometimes I don't know what looks good together. That's where you, my faithful readers/people in need to weekly comments come in. The first picture below is my draft I turned in for review. In my review, Amy said she didn't like the teeth and that she wanted me to give some other colors a chance. Can you tell me which ones you like, don't like, any other suggestions with color and if you have an hierarchy or layout suggests. Just trying to get some feedback and generate another blog post - it's a win-win!

The Original:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

short video with an interesting aspect you say...

Immediate disclaimer: I know the assignment for this one is "The video needs to be at least semi-professionally produced." I know, I read that. But this video makes me giggle like a child and I think it can be argued that there is some level of production in this. The drawings are awesome. The guy that does the narration, Brad Neely, has a fantastic voice (and does a voice over for the first Harry Potter movie that is pretty awesome as well). I should also mention that it is a spoof on the bible story of sodom and gomorrah in a way that could offend some religious folks so be warned. Enjoy!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

ministry of type

Just like everyone else in class, I found a fun website when I was searching for inspiration for the infographic nightmare assignment. This site not only has that but seems to be a good place for several aspects of graphic design - product design, type and illustration among other things. I am enjoying their write-ups, they seem to be well-informed and articulate, two things I rarely achieve on this blog but should strive for. Anyway, check it out, the man who writes on this site also links to other blogs and whatnot so it seems to be a good jumping off point.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

was it a tease or necessary for my sanity?

Thanksgiving break is such a tease. I was getting so comfortable having free time and pretending I had no work to do, ignoring the ever-growing specter of school work looming over my turkey mountain. I don't know how I motivated myself to generate a draft for Tuesday but it actually happened so maybe the break was worth it. It was nice to see what a Saturday could be like when you don't have 6 hours of soul-crushing design fun! Given that I pictured an infographic being much more like a graphic with information, I'm doing my best to recreate something that looks like this:

It's not anywhere near this yet though, so I have to keep on keepin' on. At least for 3 more weeks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

information graphics

The bad:

For my bad infographics example, let's take a look at this one pictured above. This graphic is telling me information I want to know but not in an easily understandable way nor is it nice to look at. There seems to be a lot of extraneous decoration and attempts at clarification that make the graphic needlessly complicated. The blue and red bars should suffice, we don't need the 'D' and 'R' labels. The typefaces used are more distracting than helpful. The unnecessary colors on the axis labels are similarly distracting. What do you think?

The good:

Conversely, I find this infographic from Wired magazine to be very useful. Everything on the page seemingly has a purpose, from the colors to the text to the graphic elements.

If you want to know more about this infographic and read the article that it came from:
What a Hundred Million Calls to 311 Reveal about New York

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

dairy crack

Despite this not being design related (though I could argue that cheese fuels my designing, so it is related), my boyfriend sent me an article about cheese that I felt the need to share for a few reasons. First, this blog title references this food of the gods, so my interest is obvious. Second, it could explain why I've often proclaimed, "this cheese is like crack!" Apparently, there's naturally found morphine in cheese, which could help to explain why it can be addictive to some. For your reading enjoyment: Why is Cheese like Dairy Crack?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

heads of state

Generally I don't think I know enough about design firms and such, or knowing what designer's work I prefer. It's a very very short list. But on that list is the design collective known as Heads of State. They have done a lot of work that I appreciate including a design for UB last year. Below are some examples of their work. Their website isn't currently up due to some upgrading but feel free to check it out in the future if it appeals to you.

Most of what I put up here are prints they sell on their website but I have seen their packaging work, advertisements for magazines and such and design challenges from PRINT - see the last photo of what they designed for marijuana packaging (if it were legal).

Friday, November 12, 2010

packaging with a narrative

I have been looking for excuses to try one of these teas since I saw them at the UB bookstore so today I decided to purchase one so I could copy the narrative. I know what you're thinking, "Toni, couldn't you have found the text online or copied it from a picture?" Yes, that is probably correct but I won't be able to taste test the tea that way. Is that essential to this blog post? It is now. This line is from The Republic of Tea, called Be Well Red Teas. They are all herbal and caffeine free, a must for me since I usually go for weeks without caffeine, or at least any significant amount. They do different things, and they tell you at the top. Get Healthy, Get Clean, Get Happy, etc. Below is a picture of many of the tea canisters, but not all (it's a big line) and the text from the front of the "Get Clean" can.

Get Clean: Herb tea for detoxing
Had too much of a good thing? Feeling out of balance, a bit heavy or puffy? Then it's time to get clean. This gentle herbal blend helps the body help itself as it stimulates the liver, one of our natural cleansing mechanisms. Based on organic rooibos, it includes milk thistle seeds to sweep toxins away. Both dandelion and burdock roots help wake up the liver and get things flowing. Their cleansing properties encourage healthy digestion and help to keep the kidneys flushed. We've also added red clover and Indian sarsaparilla, both known as effective tonics and purifiers. Finally, a good thing you can indulge in.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

social media sobriety test

This is a nice little advertisement for Webroot's new application, the social media sobriety test. Basically, it works by forcing you to complete one of three tasks that would supremely difficult for a drunk person to complete (fine motor skill test, etc) before you are able to post on social media sites of your choosing. The video thoroughly explains all the features of this product, such as how you set the time of day you would want this feature active as well as the different tests they offer. It's a well put together video and a product I should be getting a few of my friends for christmas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

live scrabble

Playing scrabble using an apartment building? Awesome. What an undertaking this must have been - all the coordination and preparatory work. Only something that would work overseas, this done by Ogilvy Paris. I like that the connection between Scrabble and the video aren't immediately clear but begin to make sense as you watch it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Google is adorable - as evidence of this narrative on their website on Halloween. They even added the letters when they were unable to work them into the illustration, though the added letters are illustrated as well. Google keeps all their logo illustrations here, should you want to peruse them (and you should!).

Friday, November 5, 2010

don't be a design zombie

My brother send me this link and it proved to be a really great article about graphic design and James Victore's design process. We are all probably familiar with his work and it's nice to read about his process. I like his idea at the end, that people can be like zombies and you don't really want to surround yourself with them. Anyway, here's the link to the article, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the tolerability index

From The AV Club, a sister publication of The Onion, comes this weekly graphic about what's happening this week. Specifically, what good or awful things are happening. I'm always on board with this stuff, as a nerd and someone who mostly dislikes pop culture phenomena - or doesn't even know what's happening until I read about it. Plus, I like it graphically.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

midterm class project

For our show n' tell this week, we made narratives in groups using just construction paper and scissors to tell our story. I don't want to describe it too much, see if you can figure out the story for yourself.

Friday, October 29, 2010

twelve creepy cats

My cat, CK Dexter Haven, recently got a case of fleas which I'm certain he got from my contact with the neighborhood cat that I can't help but feed. Regardless, I had to take care of the situation, he was miserable. I purchased the Advantage brand flea medicine on Amazon (which worked great by the way) but was startled to see the cat on the cover. Having noticed that bizarre cat, I started looking around for others. Low and behold, there seems to be a small industry of weird cat pictures. I've ranked them from 12 to 1 - enjoy!

Certainly not the worst thing you've seen, but the illustration reminds me vaguely of myself and the cat not only looks large but sinister.

Oh illustrated cats, you never cease to be creepy. He has a little bit of Looney Tunes going on here, the way that he is coming out of that circle like Porky Pig does at the end of the shorts. But that bell? Probably too big, might make that cat fall over.

Mmm, your fluffball is gonna love all that gravy. He also seems a little sinister too. I don't like fluffball cats...

...nor do I like fluffball dreamy kitty either. He just fades into the box and everything has a distinct glow to it.

This one, I don't know what's wrong with it. All I know is that it's wrong. Maybe it's that he seems like he's a skinny kitty in a fat kitty suit.


Normal, except for that paw up like he's saying, "hey buddy, I'm adorable and photoshopped to be more so, please put food in my face"


Why hello Meow Mix! That is just creepy all around: the tail twitch, tongue out and made of letters. I feel weird about this.

Here begins the series of paws up and mouths open. I've never seen CK do this and he enjoys his food IMMENSELY.

This beats number five for a few reasons, particularly the illustration, the scenery and I can't quite tell what the cat is making that dumb face for.

MEOW! Why is the cat's mouth open on the packaging for nail covers? It reminds me of magazines from 90s, I can almost see a young Justin Timberlake making this face from the cover of my Tiger Beat.

This particular product features quite the trifecta: illustrated kitty with a mouth open and tongue out, paws up in the air and the background is the best yet. Dare you ask, is that Mt Rushmore, with the presidents replaced by a cow, turkey and chicken? Yes, yes it is. Is that cat cooking chicken on an open fire pit? Oh definitely. Is the tent in the background his? Well maybe, but either way that domesticated kitty is out camping.

This little number is the reason I started looking at cat pieces in the first place. I think we can all agree this cat's name is Colonel Gravy and he sails on the S.S. Butter n' Bacon. The cat basically has rolls and seems as though he's stuffed. I almost want this cat to have fleas.

Comments? More pictures? Names for the other cats? Do tell!