Design as a Change Agent: New Orleans 10 Years Later

Having recently passed the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it’s evident that New Orleans is still recovering from the devastation caused by the storm. Although the city has come a long way in rebuilding, there are still so many underserved areas in the city with infrastructure problems and a lack of available resources. But one group that’s actively working with community groups to provide design solutions to areas in need is Tulane City Center (TCC), led by Suzanne-Juliette Mobley, who will be part of a panel at the AIGA Design Conference in New Orleans called “Central City by Design: Community-Driven Change in Action.”

As TCC’s community engagement manager, Mobley does a little bit of everything. “I help identify potential community-based and university partners, develop our strategy on projects, work with students on research techniques, manage events hosted in our storefront, develop panels on critical issues facing our city, and right now, I’m working on an exhibit that will be up during the AIGA Design Conference.” Read full story here.

 

Eight and a Half Creates Memorable Movie Trailers

Design studio Eight and a Half, has been creating some of the most memorable television title graphics in the past five years including The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, followed by The Late Show with Seth Meyers, HBO’s Saving My Tomorrow, and many others. Founded by Bonnie Siegler (formerly the partner at Number 17), the firm, which does branding, logo design, editorial, websites and more, also boasts clients like Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, The Daily Beast, Participant Media, The Brooklyn Public Library, among many more.

The work the firm has been doing for Criterion Collection for the past four years, is some of their best. They create theatrical release trailers, as well as short promotional pieces that advocate Criterion’s DVDs. These 90 second trailers are called “Three Reasons.” Siegler explains, “Criterion has incredible DVDs with unbelievable extras. People collect them. So they asked us to come up with a way to promote them, without showing old trailers. I thought it would be cool to come up with three reasons why this movie is in the Criterion Collection.” Read the rest of the article here.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=V_gIfR5lFhM

Design Links, An Ongoing Series for HOW Design

I have been managing a biweekly column for HOW Design called “Design Links,” which features three artists every other week. Each artist chooses the next link in the creative cog, and talks about how they inspire them. We also show two projects from each artist, so readers can get a taste of their work. So far the links have taken us from New York to Berlin and Sweden, to Hong Kong and beyond. Tune in every Wednesday to see where the links take us next.

Here’s a snippet of part nine in the series.

Jonas Williamsson is inspired by …

Emma Åkerman

She is working between fine art, commissioned work, and self-initiated projects. Emma’s visual language constantly develops through experimentation with new techniques, but always in line with her distinct expression. I read the quietness in her images as something of a reversed strategy, when everything around us is getting overblown and bold, to make place for critical reflection and afterthought.

fake-portrait-2

Boost Your Creative Brainpower

Searching for inspiration? Here’s how four accomplished creative professionals come up with all-star ideas.

Generating ideas for new projects can seem daunting, and getting started is frequently a huge part of the battle. Feeling stuck? We talked to Gail Anderson (cofounder of Anderson Newton Design), Will Miller (partner and creative director at Firebelly Design), Andrea Pippins (founder of Fly and adjunct faculty member at the Maryland Institute College of Art) and Ron Thompson (cofounder of Italic Studio) about how they tackle the idea generation process. Based on a wealth of experience, here are their tips:

When it comes to idea generation, beginning is often the hardest part. How do you kick-start yourself?

Anderson: I collaborate with my partner, Joe Newton. It’s great to have someone to commiserate with. He is probably more polite than he needs to be, but it’s good to know that there’s someone there to shoot down my bad ideas as needed. We do a lot of pencil sketches and have copious notes scrawled everywhere, so we typically don’t rush to the computer right away. Both Joe and I really enjoy dissecting a project together, so it’s fun to just sit at our desks and talk about all the possibilities.

Miller: Many times, we push ahead by looking back. Past projects provide many opportunities for good ideas that began to take shape but might not have come to fruition. We also ask ourselves what we’ve seen out in the world that’s exciting — a special print process, a certain type of binding or an interaction we weren’t expecting. If it’s something of interest to the studio and makes good sense for a project, we’ll try and find a way to explore it and make it unique.

Pippins: I typically start writing down words that come to mind when thinking of the topic at hand. It’s usually in a list form or a mind map. I use those words to refine my research for inspirational imagery. I love going to the library to do research, but I also use online resources. I build private mood boards on Pinterest for projects, and collect images that I can use as inspiration and reference throughout the process. Then I start sketching. Most times, those thumbnails are scanned in and used as a base where I build the final design or illustration.

Thompson: Luckily, we don’t begin any project in a vacuum. We have a starting point that is spelled out in the client brief. After listening to our clients talk about the problem they’re trying to solve, we’ll do a deep dive with them to learn all about their industry and their product. This initial research gets us in the right frame of mind for developing our concepts, from which all other ideas and visuals will flow.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Visual Note-Taking: An Exercise in Fluidity & Beauty

Artists and designers are typically great visual notetakers.

Some jot images, while others capture important talking points. Carolyn Sewell is one of those people who has elevated her visual notes into a form of art. Her quick-thinking, mark-making skills are not for the faint of heart—it takes skill and focus. Here, she talks about her note-taking process and the evolution of her craft.

Q. Have you always been a visual note-taker? i.e., even before you became an illustrator?

Carolyn: “I’ve always had a terrible memory, so at a young age I started sketching notes and doodles in my books to help me visualize the information.”

“I doubt I would’ve graduated high school or college, without this technique. And since my memory hasn’t improved, I continue to take visual notes at design lectures and conferences. There’s just something about hearing, processing, and drawing the content that cements it to my memory. The pen is my hearing aid. I can’t listen without it!” Read the rest here.

2014_UUDDConf_Sktch1

Expert Tips on How to Create a Killer Digital Portfolio

Online portfolios are of the utmost importance for creative professionals today. If you’re in the process of developing a digital portfolio, you can’t afford to view it as a mere collection of work samples; you need to think of it as your preeminent marketing piece. Following are expert tips on strategically developing a digital portfolio that pops.

Ram Castillo is an award-winning designer and art director, and author of How to Get a Job as a Designer, Guaranteed. He’s also the instructor of a CreativeLive course titled Create a Knockout Design Portfolio. Here, Castillo walks us through his top digital portfolio tips — what to include, what not to include, and how to put it all together to land that next creative job. Read the article, here.

Sharp, Sharper, Sharpiest: Timothy Goodman

Timothy Goodman is the author of Sharpie Art Workshop, a creative exploration of drawing anywhere, any time, on any surface using a Sharpie™ marker.

Co-designed by Dan Blackman, Goodman shares EZ exercises and steps that can bring out the creative artist in anyone.

The book includes the work of 22 talented artists and designers, especially women, a deliberate choice that Goodman explains: “I highlighted more women because I am inspired by creative risk taking among women around the world.” Goodman believes that for too long, talented women are overlooked and undervalued at creative conferences, award shows, and blogs. His book is a response to this.

Goodman says communication artists should  “approach creativity as a practice, not a profession,” a philosophy he brings to his classes at  the School of Visual Arts in New York. “Personally, I never wanted to be a professional. I wanted to make stuff I love. Some stuff you get paid to make and some stuff you make for yourself, but all of it is a useful exercise in creativity.” Read the rest of the article, here.

ace_hotel-6
Goodman doing a mural for the Ace Hotel in New York.