Sunday, February 13, 2011

Journal 2

Dieter Rams: 10 Principles for good design

Don Norman on 3 ways good design makes you :]

What is beauty about? And pretty, and emotions
Most successful design is beautiful, functional and reflective...can you tell stories about it?

Uses the example that Google uses multiple O's in their search results. This is a subtle design solution, many won't even notice it. 

One of the most powerful things Don said was.....pleasant things work better!

Humans have a visceral level of is the subconscious level.
We have adapted through biology to like bright colors, dislike bitter taste, scolding voices and loud sounds, etc.
------you can make choices in design that correspond with this visceral level of processing

There are some things that we buy not for the actual functional but instead for the way they look, and use them for a different purpose than they are intended for

The middle level of processing is called the behavioral level. It is also subconscious, and Don points out that actually most of what we do is subconscious. Behavioral design is all about feeling in control, which includes usability and understanding of the product. 

The third level of processing Don discusses is the reflective level. It is that "little voice" in your head that is watching over everything. He uses the example of the Hummer and an expensive watch, which you buy in order to impress people, not because it performs better. 

Question for Don: How has your understanding of design evolved to where you now view it in this way? Has the relationship between beauty and functionality changed what you believe is "good design"?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inspirational Bookcovers

So, what is it that makes a successful bookjacket? 

I LOVE the typography in this example. (except the 
70 in the corner). 

The bold silhouette is contrasted by the loose text 
and textured background. Although I do not agree with the
placement of all of the text, the composition works well.

I appreciate this cover for its simplicity. Overall, I think it has a 
very soft and sophisticated look. The use of typography is 
interesting and incorporates imagery. The color of the background
allows for the text and image to stand out most. 

This Means This.

This Means This, This Means That: A User's Guide to Semiotics

-Signs are often thought to be composed of two inseparable elements: the signifier and the signified.
-Signs are always produced and consumed in the context of a specific society.
-Societies have two basic sources of signing: the first source is natural, while the second is conventional.

-In semiotics, the term "symbol" is used in a special sense to mean literally any sign where there is an arbitrary relationship between signifier and signified.

-Objects, images, and texts can all be used to create metaphors. Metaphors link something familiar with something unfamiliar. They work by a process of transference.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book Choices, Project 1 Typography 02

These are my potential book choices for Project 1.

The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

Author bio:
One of four siblings, Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1960. Her family lived in various southwestern towns before settling in Welch, West Virginia when she was ten. She moved to New York City at age 17 and graduated from Columbia University's Barnard College in 1984. She went on to become a reporter for New York magazine, Esquire and USA Today. She has appeared regularly on television, including the Today Show, CNN and PrimeTimeLive and is widely known as a former gossip columnist for She currently lives in northern Virginia and is married to writer John Taylor. Her memoir, The Glass Castle was a New York Times bestseller with movie rights optioned by Paramount. Her next book, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, was published in October 2009.

Other books by Jeannette Walls:
Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel (2009)

Short synopsis:
When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility and of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. 

Feeling of the book:

Message of the book:
Jeannette Walls faced a very difficult childhood. It is sad, but her story is very endearing. 

Protagonist does:
The children are fairly innocent but are continuously impacted by negative influences on their lives. 

Antagonist does: 
The parents, they do not provide the life they should for their children. They neglect them and often leave them to fend for themselves. 

Quotes from a character:
"Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet." Page 3

Why did I pick this book to redesign?
This novel tells the sad story of a family very different from my own. Even though I cannot relate to this story, I enjoyed the writer's style and felt connected to her struggles.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
By Beth Hoffman

Author bio:
Beth Hoffman had always wanted to write fiction, but she was the president and co-owner of a major interior design studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. She sold her portion of the business to pursue writing full time. She almost died from the same infection that killed Jim Henson. She lives in a quaint historic district in northern Kentucky, with her husband and three cats. Saving CeeCee Honecutt is her first novel. 

Other books by Beth HoffmanL
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is Beth Hoffman's first novel. 

Short synopsis:
Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when tragedy strikes, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell. In her vintage Packard convertible, Tottie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who skinny-dips in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapon, to Tootie's all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer. 

Feeling of book:

Message of the book:
This is the story of transforming a young girls' life. She grew up without proper care and guidance.

Protagonist does:
CeeCee's Aunt Tootie provides a wonderful new life for her, away from her neglecting father after her mother dies. 

Antagonist does:
CeeCee's mother and father, her father is constantly leaving CeeCee to deal with her crazy and unstable mother. 

Quotes from a character:
"Mama left her red satin shoes in the middle of the road." Page 1
"The truth fell on me like a piano. Though I had no idea what lay ahead, there was one thing I knew for sure: wherever I was going, it had to be better than where I was." Page 38

Why did I pick this book to redesign?
The story revolves around strong women that positively influence a young girls' life. The book is full of vivid descriptions and a fun read.

The Virgin Suicides 
by Jeffrey Eugenides

Author bio:
Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and received an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1986. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published to acclaim in 1993. It has been translated into 34 different languages and made into a feature film. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories, The Gettysberg Review, and Granta's "Best Young American Novelists." Eugenides is the recipient of many awards. After several years in Berlin, Eugenides now lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife and daughter. 

Short synopsis: 
In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighbor boys - commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family's fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. 

Other books by Jeffrey Eugenides:
Middlesex (2002)

Feeling of the book:
family tragedy
suburban America

Message of the book:
The message of this book is that not everything that appears to be "normal" truly is. Everyone has their own stories and secrets behind closed doors. Jeffrey Eugenides achieves this message through his strong use of symbolism. 

Protagonists are:
The Lisbon girls, as well as the neighbor boys. The boys are nosy but Eugenides still makes them likeable. The Lisbon girls are portrayed as outcasts due to their unique lifestyles.

Antagonists are:
The antagonists are the Lisbon parents, they suppress the girls from living a normal teenage life. 

Quotes from a character:
"We knew that Cecelia had killed herself because she was a misfit" Page 98
"The colors of their eyes were fading, the location of moles, dimples, centipeded scars. It had been so long since the Lisbon girls had smiled we could no longer picture their crowded teeth." Page 180

Why did I pick this book to redesign?
This book is very dramatic, and a successful cover would really serve it well. There is a very distinct "feeling" of the book that needs to be captured.