The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.
If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to do an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.
Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.
Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.
Some maaad truthery going on. I need to think of this when writing/recording music and when presented with a problem at work.
I won’t introduce Dieter Rams. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re aware of those incredibly influential, beautifuldesigns. But I do want to take a look at a recent book by Sophie Lovell and published by Phaidon.
Named after Rams’ 10th principle of design, Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible is an excellent collection of some of his work and explores his legacy (full disclosure: I’ve only leafed through it at the local bookstore). The textured cover and light type treatment caught my eye, but one little detail marred the experience. Can you spot it?
Lower left corner. Flying in the face of everything Rams sought to bring to modern industrial design! The greatest absurdity: it contradicts the very title of the book. That takes skill.
I fully understand that companies have their standards. Logo placement, sizes, colors, fonts, all that good stuff. But you should know when breaking the rules is appropriate. The cover would feel better without the logo and you’d have a subtle nod to the title. Problem solved. Not to mention it’s a sleeve — they could’ve left it off the jacket but kept it on the hard cover.
To be fair, the logo is more fitting on other covers. For Paella, it doesn’t disrupt the balance as much. But in each instance, the covers are much better suited without the logos.
This is likely something that only (aspiring, in my case) design nerds will care about, if at all. It’s still a perfectly functioning book and it’d be fine on someone’s coffee table. But, just for fun, consider this review. The cover image was cropped to exclude the logo. Perhaps I’m not alone on this one. So my message is this — Phaidon, baby, don’t change a thing, sort of. Just recognize your surroundings.
Here’s the first in what I hope is a long-running series. I decided to record some mundane/nonessential data while traveling home from work a few months ago via the DART. I’m sort of a data geek and these meaningless statistics are a neat, quantifiable slice of time. I’m hoping to refine my methods and make it more visually engaging for future posts.
Also should break out the scanner for these, yeah? Yeah.
Update: There’s an app for this! Tallywag is $.99 and basically does what I’m doing. Not to mention easel.ly, venngage, and infogr.am. There goes all my sweet, sweet cred.
So I have some leftover galvanized steel panels from a previous Hyllisproject and I wanted to make a magnetic board for notes, pictures and other stuffs. I’m moving into a radical place shortly and there’s a small partial-foyer area where said board would be welcome. So I grabbed some spraypaint, made a stencil and, well, here’s the result (warning: overcast lighting and noob-level photography). I have more cleanup to do (hence swabs), but I think this’ll be kinda neat in the entryway. Will update once I’m in the new place.
Probably the most serendipitous event in 2012 (so far) — I’m working as a design intern at a local firm! The local AIGA chapter hosted a mentor/protege meetup in Feb and I thought it’d be worth a shot to meet and greet some local talent. I borrowed a friend’s iPad, prepared my WIP portfolio (which you can peep on this very site) and had 10 five-minute meetings with the mentors: Creative directors, business owners, professors and design nerds.
I was among maybe 16 other proteges — the majority of them either design students or recent design grads. I repeated a spiel to everyone I chatted with; I was a journo graduate who discovered graphic design late in my college career and had done some freelance work since getting my degree. The majority of proteges and mentors suggested that I go back to school or, at the very least, take classes in composition, typography and related courses. Because of the limited amount of time available, I couldn’t show every mentor my portfolio, but those who did see it had more optimistic comments and advice. Truly made me feel as if I’d accomplished something, despite not having an actual presentable portfolio.
One of the mentors and I had a great conversation and he fell in love with my limited amount of work. A few days later around 8am, I received an email from him detailing a freelance project — a local restaurateur needed a logo for a place he was opening. Shortly after the email, he called and requested that we talk about it in person over lunch that day. I’d made a positive impression on him and he was confident enough to give me this project, based on an unfinished portfolio and my dorky ramblings on designers I like.
During that meeting, he asked if I would consider an internship with his company. I’ve only truly been floored a handful of times in my life. I felt like a minor god when I left the restaurant.
I’ve learned so much in the past month and I hope I can push the internship into a full-time position, but as I’ve said before, I’ve got a lot to learn.
There’s a sea of progressive and innovative designers at my fingertips, thanks to these here intertubes, which has inspired me to strike out and make things happen for myself in some way. One designer in particular is hugely influential on my concepts, sketches and ways of thinking; every piece of work I’ve seen of his is fresh, exciting and challenging.
Alvin Lustig was brilliant. He walked a line between childlike exploration and strict Bauhausian order in his book covers, illustrations and invitations. His appreciation of and contributions to furniture, architecture and industrial design further cemented his identity as a bigwig of modernism. Lustig’s sense of color, typography and composition is beyond masterful — for lack of a better and more academic description, his book covers just feel good.
I won’t go into Lustig’s personal history or accomplishments, but I recommend paying the Alvin Lustig Archive a visit, as well as archive curators Kind Company.
Initially, I had planned on a simple 3-column layout for dexdiv with just 3 or 4 pages. I wanted dexdiv to host a blog, a photography page and a dedicated portfolio page. A later sketch outlined individual page elements.
After a few initial experiments with CSS based on some sketches, and leafing through the influential Making and Breaking the Grid, I decided a simple but strict grid layout would work best; I really liked the gridded concept in the photography page sketch above, which I borrowed from Flickr’s layout. Mocking up the site in InDesign proved to be much easier than translating every rule and parameter to CSS from scratch, though.
Thankfully, there’s the excellent Cargo theme by Jarred Bishop. With a fantastic grid structure and my meager CSS know-how, I modified a few key points and dexdiv started to take shape. I’m planning on adding code for tags to make searching, archiving and organization easier.
Update, Feb 23, 2013: I’m now using the fantastic hasaportfolio theme.
Hello and welcome to The Dexterity Division. I’m glad you’re here. I’m constantly tweaking this site and there’s bound to be the occasional snag; please bear with me and I’ll try to keep it interesting.
Dexdiv is the blog I’ve wanted to start for the past few years. I’m going to write about my progress as a self-educated graphic designer, which includes analyses on design, personal projects and my design process, as well as the occasional bit about things I find intriguing. Make sure to hit Elsewhere to find even more stuff.
I started on this path during the last semester of my last year at college, where I was set to graduate with a degree in journalism and broadcasting. One of my courses was a (brief) history of graphic design, taught by the fantastic professor Watson (whose site you should absolutely visit). Said course was fairly broad in scope and slight in depth, but it ignited something in my gut that I never felt before. Immediately after the first class ended, I sought out and consumed all things graphic design, viewing every mark, sign, poster and communication with a newly attuned eye.
A few weeks into the course, we discussed and analyzed some famous logos and the hidden symbols within, such as the classic FedEx arrow we all know and love. But it was the first project Watson presented that sealed the deal for me — that 20-dollar bill.
It wasn’t so much the design of the bill itself, but the reasons why it was designed that way — easy to discern the amount from any angle; eliminates the facing issue; denomination visible when folded in fourths, etc. This event marked the beginning of my comprehension of objects and marks in terms of why they were constructed as such, not just how it looks. Check out Watson’s explanation page for an in-depth discussion.