I’ve been busy the past month exploring designs for a mural in the elementary library at my school. My sketches are now complete and we will let the students vote on their favourite design. I’ve been posting this process on my other blog, which is pictured above. Feel free to visit there to see the complete works or the sketches. If you are patient, I have also embedded the Flickr set below.
I have seen a few of these around Japan and even a few tiles on sidewalks depicting historic scenes from local areas. Thanks to Toxel, here are a few more to view. A bit more interesting than a simple circular piece of metal and just as good as the storm drains from Brazil.
I love it when I find a great resource after I taught the topic and no longer need it.
If you want a basic introduction to what makes good design, go here for blurbs about colour, line, shape, scale and size, space, texture and value. Remember, the purpose of graphic design is communication. There’s also50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theoryas described below.
While many of us can create something that looks good in Photoshop…do we actually understand the design theory behind what we create? Theory is the missing link for many un-trained but otherwise talented designers. Here are 50 excellent graphic design theory lessons to help you understand the ‘Whys’, not just the ‘Hows’.
The topics include:
Grid Based Design
UI & Usability
Since I’m at it, there are more resources here that may be of use. The last plug will be for an Australian show that was passed onto me from a coworker (thanks Luke) called The Gruen Transfer. ABC television describes it as…
…a show about advertising, how it works, and how it works on us. Hosted by the inimitable Wil Anderson, TGT decodes and defuses the commercial messages that swirl through our lives, with the help of a panel of ad industry experts.
It has a comedic touch with that Australian sauciness that we all love but occasionally deals with adult themes so be warned!
Last night I went with some co-workers to the Mac Store in Ginza (Tokyo) to hear Garr Reynolds give a talk entitled, ‘Think Like a Designer.’ For those of you who don’t know, Garr is the author of the book and popular blog, Presentation Zen. When giving presentations, audience members usually want content and a clear message. More often than not, we usually get confusion or boredom.
Basically, everyone is a designer if you know it or not. Everyone wants to change things and/or make them better. What do designers know that we don’t? Here are my notes:
It’s not about tools: It’s about the ideas. You can visualize your information in any format you wish. Abandon death by PowerPoint.
Start in analogue mode: Don’t start your presentation on the computer. Plan on paper just like a storyboard. Find some alone time to get your ideas down.
Take a risk, lose the fear: Just like children, take a chance. Be comfortable with the idea of maybe being wrong.
Put yourself in their shoes: Think of your consumer’s point of view.
Look for the ‘story:’ Involve your audience by telling a story. Dan Pink also dedicates a chapter to this in his book ‘A Whole New Mind.’ Make it ‘sticky’ (Chip and Dan Heath) by using (a) simplicity (b) emotions (c) unexpectedness (d) concreteness (e) credibility and (f) story
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication: Why do we make simple things complicated? Being simple doesn’t mean being stupid.
Show restraint: Use control and moderation. Think about what to both include and exclude.
Vision trumps all other senses: Use graphics and images. We are great at remembering photos. Use these to enhance your story and ideas.
Signal vs. Noise: You should have a high signal, with low noise. Are your slides distracting to the viewer? Why use various random colours? Why use 3D text? What are their purpose?
Empty space: Embrace it! Don’t cram it all in. Create more slides instead. Be minimal.
Learn to see the lessons all around you: Everyday we are bombarded with signage and graphics. Look for examples that strike you as interesting or bad and consider why.
What were some of the best and worst presentations you have seen? I have posted the clip below before, but it’s worth sharing again. Also, check under my ‘Arts, Learning & Talks’ tab to see a presentation done by Garr at Google. UPDATE: Check Garr’s Posterous site for more pics from the event.
UPDATE: (April 9) Note the graph for hits to this site. It’s the power of Garr and Twitter. Looks like a graph of popularity for saying ‘happy new year.’ Spikes once a year.
UPDATE 2:Slide:ology has a good post about improving slides and shows examples of their paper drafts.
A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.
Jacek Utko is an extraordinary Polish newspaper designer whose redesigns for papers in Eastern Europe not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. Can good design save the newspaper? It just might.
In this talk from 2003, design critic Don Norman turns his incisive eye toward beauty, fun, pleasure and emotion, as he looks at design that makes people happy. He names the three emotional cues that a well-designed product must hit to succeed.
20 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. For his next project, he’s building a web for open, linked data that could do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together.