General discussions continued from class—

posted by Tony Brock on January 22, 2006 | comments: 8 | post a comment

Experiences and Perceptions. They are personal things to each of us. Because of our experiences we perceived of the same things with different mind-sets sometimes. I am curious as to what "eyes" everyone is coming to the idea of experimental text with.

I come with a love for language, word, understanding, and education. Thinking about reading... how do people read? Does everyone do it the same? Get the same out of it? I don't think either of these things are true... but I'm also curious as to what everyone else thinks.

figure these may be a good way to start discussion, as it will for sure evolve through the semester hitting things from class a little more in depth hopefully....

Posted by britt hayes on January 24, 2006 02:14 PM

\\reflecting on reading experience.

As I was reading for film last night, I pulled back and wrote down the way that I was reading. I had three chapters to digest, to study for a quiz. I realized that as I grew more tired/weary, I just began to scan for bold words. This book is designed as a supplemental text to the class, so it is designed in a different way than a fiction novel. For example, I read A Million Little Pieces in a day, not caring what the type was like, scanning quickly through each word, allowing my mind to decipher the most important thing, the content.

This experience is similar to the dictionary page, in that the words we are looking/scanning for are also in bold. We scan these texts searching for something specific. When I began to actually read the dictionary page instead of scanning, I noticed the many different ways of pronunciating or sounding out a word. [ie: eligible or el-i-ji-bl] Its amazing how a word is broken down into these fragments/syllables for someone to understand how it sounds. How is it that other letters/words help us sound out a different word?

This reminded me of helping my mom test her kindergarten class on letters and their sounds. This made me curious about the methods behind teaching someone how to read a word for the first time, either a young child or someone learning a new language. You must first begin with the letters, their sounds, before actually putting the word together and then applying any sort of meaning is a whole new arena. Thinking back, I don't remember reading being so hard.

sorry britt, kind of got off on a tangent...

Posted by adrienne yancey on January 24, 2006 09:20 PM

a must see::
1966 film Blowup by Michelangelo Antonioni.


Posted by adrienne yancey on January 26, 2006 01:25 PM

good discussion today.
really liked seeing the work pinned up, instead of hidden inside of sketchbooks.
its good to see how far everyone has progressed. just by watching islam + colleen's
"movies", we can see how their ways of thinking/understanding have evolved. its nice
to see the range of print + motion, making a fluid connection between each medium.
nice job guys, keep [experiment]ing + pin up more>>>>>

::::go team go::::::

Posted by adrienne yancey on February 8, 2006 01:15 PM

This is more of a personal post—one that I thought could I could extend to the class. I have taken myself down a different path than the one assigned (bitmap animation). While continuing to work out my bitmap face, I have been also reading Johanna Drucker's "The Invisible Word". This class is about experimental text. And Johanna speaks to the idea of writing, written forms, spoken language, the visibility of language, the sound of language...all of which I consider pertinent information to "text."

How for so long did, "the authority of language reside in its capacity to signify, and not in its mutability." Johanna reflects on the threat to linguistic authority [made by the manipulation of the words on the page]. “Text appeared, was there, and the unmarked author was indeed the Author of the Text as pure Word—with all the requisite theological resonance.”

So what does this mean? Why did the linguists ignore the functional operation and not allow typography to have its own distinct function?

As graphic designers, we constantly practice the manipulation of typographic language. We take it for granted indeed. It was only until recently that we were able to “demonstrate convincingly that the typographic signifier is an identifiable and describable entity with particular characteristics and effects”.

I will stop here. If this is a subject worth expanding, discussing, I can bring my notes to class on Wednesday.


GREAT! All should note that this book is on reserve in the design library. Bring notes—we will discuss in detail. Johanna will be here in a few days to lecture in the dept. -tony

Posted by megan hall on April 4, 2006 02:18 AM

A light hearted analysis of the alphabet. Things to think about when designing bitmap type.

::Alphabetic Matchmaker::

Posted by Amber Howard on April 7, 2006 05:05 PM

The majority of my process for these past few projects have been about processing (Huh, process=processing, never would have guessed it!). Then reprocessing in a new way. Then taking the new reprocessed stuff and reprocessing it again. Taking something that starts out very simple and building on it, taking away from it, pulling it apart, rearranging it and then putting it back together only to do it over again. This has really opened my eyes to the huge differences that can be produced from the slightest shift in view or material.

I really tried to pursue this in the movie that manipulated type all in the camera. Combinding the raw footage with footage of it being re-recorded on different surfaces and from different angles then seeing how bringing these seperate pieces back together could confuse the line between them. Making it more complex yet still in unison...

Posted by Colleen on April 9, 2006 10:05 PM

Digestion of Wednesday. [paraphrased + bonus commentary]
This is longer than I anticipated. If you don’t care, go to the end for some links.

We don’t know what to do with computers. Designers see them as production tools. Where’s the love and respect? They are generative environments that quickly present visual options, iterations, and a network of interchangeable parts. Tags and preferences organize the content so the designer need not learn the latest palettes. It’s a future of templates on steroids, a new paradigm to change the enterprise of graphic design.

Right now, CSS reinforces the ‘design as container’ paradigm. This is fine and dandy for the beta models of design templates, but this conception of design has got to go. At least it begins to identify designers as a ‘rule definers.’ We will become experts at creating simulations, at tweaking form through instructions. In stride with the new media artists of the 1960s, it is not about perfection. This is a model of design as ‘contextual response,’ it is “a set of conditions for perception, rather than as a discrete, bounded objects... (Johanna Drucker)” It is the fruition of the post-formalist (object-less) aesthetic. It is transitory.

The assumptions expressed in class about digital templates reminded me of Typography 101 (based on the Bauhaus model) where each student is initiated into graphic design by creating what seemed to be an infinite amount of type studies using Univers in a square frame. There is no meaning to this exercise. In fact, even the content is empty, it is greeked. The exercise teaches aspiring designers that they might have what it takes if they can adequately compose gibberish in a somewhat pleasing manner. Pleasing to who? Who wants to be this type of designer? With digital templates, just pop in the constraints and watch the options generate right before your eyes. The questions now are, 1) is the designer an editor/curator, 2) is the designer an instruction creator/manipulator, and 3) is the old model of design obsolete?

Digital-templates are a small conceptual node within the graphic possibilities of computers. I support the generative computer-based design vision because the computer can generate without hesitation or judgment, and allow the designer to find meaning (or not) in the options. This is much more like instigating happy accidents, but it also teaches designers to think of design as an ecology, which requires a balance in the intensity of information and experience. This is not to say that the instructions created by the designer are not visual or that the computer could not also suggest instructions. My intensions are to point out that this digital process requires patience in order to have a dialog with the subject matter.

For instance, the designer forms many assumptions about the subject matter, and then formulates instructions with the computer initiating a generative conversation. The computer responds with visual interpretations of the assumptions. Then the designer alters previous assumptions and shifts the instructions. The computer visually interprets. And on and on until the designer is fitfully moved beyond initial assumptions and, through a visual process, has formulated more specific believes about the subject matter—beliefs that would not have occured had the designer used the computer as a production tool to execute initial assumptions. Of course, the vital component to this vision is the option not to have a conversation in the first place.

On to the portion of our discussion about values and beliefs. A few statements that stood out were ‘the need to improve communication to improve ‘the world;’’ ‘the need to figure out what we should be doing for the rest of our lives’ and ‘be comfortable as creative inventive people first, before we can do it anywhere else.’ There is a level of intimacy that one can accept or deny about one’s relationship to design. I see design as a belief maker. It is a space to investigate, argue, anticipate, associate and contemplate. It is a space to structure belief. It is used to persuade, convince and create an experience to prove a point. It is not about truth, it is about representation. As such, figuring out what to believe and say beforehand is an invitation to maintain surface assumptions. Generative computer-based design demands more than that.

I see the use of computers in visual exploration as a way to improve communication by opening up belief structures and adding sophistication and subtly to one’s understanding of self and others. Interacting with the computer is a way to gain humility and patience for language. It is a first hand experience of remedying misunderstanding and it reveals personal short-handed assumptions that would otherwise go unquestioned. The computer is a tool to speed up production, to quickly generate results, and it is simultaneously a space for evaluation and reflection. It opens up time to consider purpose and intention. It allows time to rework assumptions without ending prematurely for production deadlines. It allows the designer to notice and question the tropes that the computer suggests (that the designer might have been blind to had he/she made the design suggestion) and be able to move the design beyond that initial “appropriateness.”

I do agree that the computer is vastly misunderstood and misused. It is a technology that reduces previously differentiated channels of media—image, sound, voice, text—to a quantity, a number, which allows any medium to be translated into any other. I am not proposing that we destroy all previous media or stop making things in other technologies. It is interesting, however, that by converging media into a singular channel, we are able to talk about design as an ecology, an organic process of visual discourse.

Oh, and here are some links I found about CSS and generative creative environments:

:Friendly Bit (CSS, HTML, and JS tutor blog)

: The CSS Zen Garden

: Dynamic Text Replacement (blog (check out the design topics too))

: Bold Predictions for the Savvy designer, 2006

: Steel Code: CSS Layout techniques

: Generative Approach to Creating Art

: Digital Media Program at RISD

: FutureLab

: Generative Music: Brian Eno

Technically, I don’t know how to do this stuff in any sophisticated manner, but the Lynda.com tutorials in the library were very helpful. I’m learning.

Posted by Amber Howard on April 16, 2006 05:41 PM