Accountability

According to wikipedia, accountability is a concept in ethics and governance with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as responsibility, answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving.

I like this definition. It’s much more clear than dictionary.com which states that accountability is the state of being accountable. Come-on dictionary, just tell me how it is for real.

Geoffrey Canada came to campus last week to speak as part of the George T. Hunter Lecture Series which focuses on issues affecting the Chattanooga community. Canada is a social activist and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone in Harlem, NY which is something I recommend you check out.

I feel the meaning of his speech was that we need to hold ourselves accountable for the education of the children in our own community. Those kids are the future of our community. Without the proper education and values to succeed in life.. Where does that leave our future?

It isn’t a pleasant place, I can assure you of that.

These are things that have always been on the back burner in my mind, at least until recently. The UTC design program (juniors/ seniors) will be hosting a CreateAthon on Campus in April of 2011. It will be geared toward education.

Here’s a tidbit from Peyton Rowe (Creative Director of CreateAthon)’s resume as a description of CreateAthon:

A pioneering academic program modeled on the professional model, CreateAthon onCampus is a way for college students to learn, earn credit, and serve the local community. During the year-long program students help develop, administer, and manage all aspects of the program which culminates in a 24-hour creative blitz held during Spring Break. Student teams mentored by professionals work around the clock, to generate advertising and marketing for local nonprofits that have little or no marketing budget. Area vendors partner with the CreateAthon onCampus teams following the 24-hour event to produce the work at no cost to the nonprofits. The mission is to widen the scope of communications students beyond “getting the job” to considering how they can be successful and help those in need. In the past two years, the events have served 24 nonprofits and produced over $195,00 worth of creative work for the nonprofits.

While it’s a little different for us, you get the idea. I’ll have more information about it as the time gets closer. For now I just wanted you to invest a couple of minutes of thought into  education and what a world of difference it can make in a child’s life, not to mention our own. If our children fail, then we, as a community, fail. This is where we have to hold ourselves accountable. This is when it’s important.


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Awesome Package Design

Package design is not something that ever really struck my fancy. That’s not to say that when I see something that’s very clearly awesome, I take note.

I was out doing a massive amount of wedding planning over the weekend with my mother in Knoxville. While we were out and about we stopped for a quick bite at Chik-fil-a. Now, I’ve been to Chik-fil-a a million times, but I’ve never seen one have such awesome….. ketchup packets… Seriously. I took some careful photographs with the handy Droid to show everyone.

I don’t even like ketchup, but felt an overwhelming sense of joy and need to share when I saw this.  They should make all condiments available like this. The functionality is perfect for any of your ketchup needs. You can rip off the top tab and use it like a regular ketchup packet by squeezing it out the top or you can peel back the label and use the container for dipping. Not to mention there’s an admirable amount of ketchup in the packet which is handy for those who tend to over-sauce. [In my own opinion, of course..]

I found this article about the stylish new packets. It touches on when it was developed and a couple other things Heinz has in store for their ketchup.

I realize this design is not necessarily new. Chicken nugget sauces have been doing it since the beginning of time.. err.. my time anyhow. Why is ketchup just now catching on? And when will mayo and mustard catch on?? I’m personally a dunker for nearly everything from hot dogs to burgers to fries (and any thing else that needs sauce), but have been brought down by the inability to do so. So I squeeze it all out onto a napkin or box, and of course the end result is always a mess.

I applaud Heinz for finally taking the initiative to improve the appearance and functionality of their ketchup.

 

Advertisement and a world without it…

Today, as I was working on a video editing project, I popped a DVD into my computer and tried to flip directly to the menu screen. I was immediately prompted with a “Not Permitted” sign when I did so. I then had to sit through 5 or 6 movie trailers that I wanted nothing to do with.

This made me think about what things would be like without any advertisements.

I initially thought about how wonderful it would be. I could skip directly to a movie that I wanted to watch. I could look at a website and not be completely overwhelmed by 15 ads that border the main page and distract me from the information I came to get. No more distracting billboards that lure my vision away from the task at hand [driving without crashing into a tree or another vehicle]. The world would be less cluttered with somewhat value-less information.

Keith Blanchard wrote an article for the Huffington Post about this very idea and I thought it was interesting. You can find it here. He makes some points that line up with the ones I’ve previously mentioned. Unfortunately he doesn’t bring up the issue of how everything gets paid for without advertisement.

He says that it would be great to see the color of NASCAR cars instead of covering them from bumper to bumper with ads, but what’s important to remember is that this is the way the drivers are able to afford the cars. These are the sponsors that donate their materials, or services, or even cold hard cash.

Likewise with television and commercials. Without the commercials, would the networks have the budget to create more TV shows or even keep running at all? Probably not.

So, even though a would without advertising would be an interesting [much more pleasant] site to see, it’s support of business in general is invaluable.

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.