Well, well. Looky here! It’s a blog post!

I’ve had 3 posts in the last year. Hoo-ray for a new one.

I’ve always told myself not to procrastinate. It stresses me out to no end but I do it anyway. For some reason I work a little better when I know the pressure is on. Tonight (today) is no different. I finished up working on a redesign of a bridal salon earlier, now I’m left to print things out for my process book.

I think the site looks pretty good considering I was given a 2 week time constraint to pound it out. White Lace & Promises is the original site and here are a couple of screen grabs or what I have going on:

 

 

This is the most important semester in my life. Not only because I’m a senior, but also because the married life happens at the end of the semester. It’s like the bright and shining start at the end of a long dark tunnel of stress and procrastination.

But I resolve to get better. With all the planning and brewing I have going on right now, I have no time to procrastinate. Let’s get super awesome and get things done! YAH!

Art 2840 Reading 1

To be honest, photography sort of blows my mind. And I’m not just talking about what we see today with all the editing and whatnot. I’m talking about where it all came from. From the invention of the camera obscura to the zootrope.

In the beginning of photography, it’s really interesting to read about all the different techniques being put forth into society all around the same time. In the text from Techniques of the Observer by Jonathan Crary, he mentions the theory of “persistence of vision.” I wanted to look into that theory a little more. Most of the articles I skimmed about this topic are actually debunking the idea and showing the more modern theories about what actually happening in the eye when you observer things.

It’s so strange to think that things like the phenakistiscope in the 1830’s is what would eventually lead to the creation of modern day films. And in a sense it didn’t really change a whole lot [pre-digital], it just got faster and the logistics were improved.

Another invention I find super fascinating is the stereoscope. By taking two non-identical photographs and viewing them through a binocular type field, you can create three dimensional illusions.

No matter where we advance to in the future, I just don’t think it can compare to what a revolution photography was in the beginning.

DevChat: The Prequel

Friday, March 19th, UTC was lucky enough to be graced with the presence of Chris Mills. Chris is a developer relationship manager for Opera, check him out here.

He came to give a talk (as part of the DevChatt conference) about HTML5 and CSS3. It couldn’t have come at a better time as we’re currently jumping feet first into HTML and CSS in our Web Media II class building portfolio sites. (Not to mention a very detailed wedding web site on my part.)

Some of the new features of CSS3 just blow my mind. I feel like it’s going to make things a little easier in the long run and I feel fortunate to be able to learn about some of these properties early on in my web education. I do agree with his statement that there are some pretty terrible things that will come from some of the properties for a while though.

Like this:

—This is straight from Chris’s slide show.

But then again, there are always going to be terribly designed and inaccessible pages out there. One can only dream of a completely accessible world wide web.

After the lecture, I immediately started trying out some of the things Chris mentioned. I’m very excited about CSS3 and HTML5. Although I will admit that it’s slightly frustrating to know I can’t quite use it across all platforms yet… (Come on IE… you can do it…..)

But it’ll get there one day. I’m certain of it.

The simple things.

As a designer, and as a human in general, it’s rare for me to take a look at the simple things that I enjoy about living and designing. A class discussion brought this topic up and I think it was a good way to start out the day. What do I love about design? What are the little things that keep me coming back for more? At first, I was … “uhm.. uhhh” But that’s silly. If there isn’t anything I like about it then why would I do it?

I love web. I remember getting my first computer and internet service when I was 10. AOL was the most amazing thing to ever happen to my life. I loved creating my own expage and angelfire webpages. (I actually just looked up my old expage domain… of course, it isn’t there anymore and now links to some porn searches… awesome.) I loved making text scroll across the page, changing the color pallets, adding animated gifs, etc. It was new and exciting. I had no idea then that it’s what I would want to do for the rest of my working life. Okay, I don’t want to make text scroll for the rest of my life, but surely you get where this is going. (Think coding and html.)

I wanted to be a dentist. Not because I wanted to, but because I was told I should. They make a decent amount of money, so why not? During my first semester of college I realized that in order to graduate Pre-Dental with a concentration in biology, I would actually have to pass biology. That didn’t work out so well. I did some soul searching as the semester dwindled down and decided to try my hand in the art world. Although I hadn’t had an art class in nearly 6 years, I knew it was always something I admired and felt passionate about. I couldn’t have made a better decision for myself.

Now here I am, at UT Chattanooga, a junior in the graphic design program, and I’m back to loving the web. Not loving it because I’m supposed to, but because I want to; because it makes me happy. Many of my classmates singled out things like kerning, but I’ve come to realize that the simple things I love are loving what I do and the road that brought me here.

Web Banners

Sitting down and searching the interwebs solely to find decent web banners is a daunting task. After being given this task I started racking my brain to see if I could ever remember seeing a fantastic banner. I couldn’t.
Apparently, I didn’t know where to look or just didn’t consciously care about the advertisements being displayed around me constantly. After hitting the usual (facebook, linkedin, theknot, etc.) I started going through some of the designer friendly sites… I started with Jeremy Cowart’s Help Portrait and ended with Beautiful/ Decay Magazine. I can’t imagine why I didn’t start here in the first place. The website for this magazine is loaded with decent banners that lead to other sites with decent banners.

I found myself drawn to very simple designs that got the information across quickly.

This banner is very clean and it has a good use of a diagonal to break up the design. I think it could be more effective if I know what FNPlatform was. At first glance I think it’s a shoe store, but the dates tell me it’s some sort of show or convention. So maybe it isn’t what I think it is, and I need to click on it to find out more. In my mind this is what a web banner should do. It should give you just enough information to make you want to find out more.

The puppy/ kitten tactic works for some people and for others s a waste of space. I’m definitely a person it works on. This banner gets the point across quickly. I’m drawn to the bright color and logo immediately, but the typeface seems a bit out of place. I think there are better choices out there that can convey the same message without being to ornate. Also, I would have considered making the ’25th Anniversary’ larger since that’s what the banner is actually promoting for the company.

After all this banner searching I feel like I’ve obtained the necessary information to create my own web banner. Of course the only way to be sure of that is to hop to it. Look out for my creation soon!

CSS Zen Garden

This project was set to further our understanding of creating functional and accessible web design. Although we were not incorporating actual CSS into this project, I feel like I have a better understanding of how I would begin to incorporate it. Careful consideration of information placement and color contrast were the two most important items on my agenda before building this design. I chose to go with simple sketched images so they wouldn’t take anything away from the information given. I worked with many different gray-box models in the beginning to figure out what felt most balanced, and chose to put my information into two main columns. I chose this method after researching more about the heat patterns involved with webpages, and where the users eyes tend to go first.
My font choice was the basic Arial in the regular and bold styles. I felt the san-serif typefaces worked well the the basic design and made the text more readable. The color scheme was picked based on the preexisting colors in the bottom image. The purple was added as a nice contrast to the greens and blues.
Overall, this design feels completed and well thought-out.

Paper Plus!

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For the first part of Thursday, our processes and materials class visited Paper Plus. They offer a wide variety of paper products from vellum bristol to multipurpose xerographic paper. Several samples were passed around while Alex talked a little bit about his job and certain papers. One particular thing we talked about was the difference between long grain and short grain. The grain is dependent on the second number of the sheet size. If the second number is higher that the first, the paper is long grain. If the second number is lower, the grain is short. Also, something I never realized was the direction of the grain. Alex showed us that you can find the direction by tearing off a strip of paper. If the ripped edge was clean, you have torn with the grain and if its jagged, you’ve torn against the grain.

After talking for a few minutes, we were given free range to the sample books. To see it from an outside perspective, it looked like 16 hungry wolves attacking a single squirrel. Poor squirrel. I’m not a big fan of being run over or people grabbing around me so I only left with a couple of swatch books after the masses picked through all the things they wanted. I’ll go back on a later day to get more I suppose. It’d be really helpful to have  some in the future, not only for business but for when I’m trying to decide what type of paper to buy for all of my wedding invitations, programs, etc.

Chattanooga Times Free Press

Zooooommmmbiiiieeeeeesssssssss! I originally typed a period at the end of that, then I sat here for a minute to question why I would do that. Why would I front all the effort to say ‘zombies,’ then finish it off with simple period? Terrible. So I went back and added an exclamation point. Clearly.

There was a mix up with out guest speakers for today, so instead of going back home to sleep, we all stayed in the room and watched Zombieland. It was pretty amazing and hilarious. Not to mention good to have a day not to worry about anything but relax around each other. We all received an email from George Bairaktaris later today to explain the mix up and apologize which I respectfully accept. Shit happens.

For Processes/ Materials today, we visited the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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I can honestly say I never expected to be so amazed by a newspaper. We’ve been hearing about the evolution of printing presses since we started with design classes as sophomores, but seeing it today made all the difference. The actual press is so enormous as is the process to get everything done. The light sensitive plates that each page is printed on are amazing and they let us keep one to bring back to school.

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The press:

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Oh if only pictures could really do it justice.

And I sorta wish I had just one of their tanks of ink. It took all the strength in my body not to crawl on top of one… open it up… and dip my hands inside. I know that may sound strange, but it’s what I was thinking at the time.

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The end of the tour took us through a time portal and we somehow ended up back in the lobby. I had a great time touring the facility and really seeing all the things we’ve heard about come to life.

Medium

Thanks to Josiah Roe and Bekka Reece who were our guests today from Medium!
The first thing we were hit with was a quote by Stephen Anderson, “To make good website we must be good info architects, need to learn what motivates people and how they consume content visually then bake those ideas into our designs.”

Alright, well. That’s it.

Is there anything else that needs to said? No? Not really?

We looked at several sites (EPB Fiber Optic, Lula Lake Land Trust, Olan Mills) that they designed and the process they used to get them there. They started with the content management phase, or a site map. Basically this lays out key information (usually all the links) you have on your website in a text/bullet form for easy navigation.

After that you move on up to the wire framing. This where we want to get all of our information laid out in the form of boxes to discover how things should live on the page.  There are a few things to really keep in mind when your wire framing; it amy not be possible to fit all of your information in these boxes so be lucrative, and we highly aware of what area gets the most attention on a site. This area is where you are going to want to put the most important information.

Process is so important. I need to take it up a notch or three on my process level.

Allegra Print and Imaging

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Oh my wow. I wasn’t too sure that I was actually going to leave this place. Todd Oates, the GM, took us on a tour of the shop. The first thing that was mentioned was the organization of everything. Everything was so well organized and filed away in every department. I would definitely feel safe giving them my order and relying on them not to lose it!
Heather, the only graphic designer in the shop, took the time to tell us a little about what she deals with which is mainly company logos. That can be a real hassle if the client doesn’t have a high quality file of the image and will sometimes find herself reconstructing the entire logo.
Following that we went into the print room with 3 very large printers. (2 of which were named Bonnie and Clyde) We got to see Bonnie jam while she was printing out our example booklets. This made me feel a little better about the MFD on campus. (Take your time, breath, and just fix it.)

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I was really impressed everything Allegra had to offer me. (WHICH IS SOOOOOOO MUCH) I’m finding it hard just to recap everything because of the sheer overload of information. Not to mention the awesome free stuff they gave us. (Water bottle, personalized stickers and notepads, pens)

Ohh and there was another thing that peaked my interest. The banners. Er, the material the banners are printed on, rather. Fade, weather resistant for up to three years. Very important for me in the next couple of weeks.

I have so many things that need to be printed in the next month (bout books, stickers, magnets, bumper stickers, banners….. to name a few) and there isn’t any place I would rather go than Allegra. I feel like it’s going to be very beneficial for the roller girls to establish a relationship with them for all our printing needs.

Gosh. We all left so happy.