Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What do you expect from a designer worth hiring?

“Small Talk #1” design professional panelists

AIGA Nebraska presented a design education-focused “Small Talk #1” last Saturday afternoon, June 26, 2010 at the Strategic Air & Space Museum. This impressive museum is located just west of the beautiful Platte River near Ashland, Nebraska. The next conversation—“Small Talk #2”—will be on July 9 in Norfolk, Nebraska. “Small Talk” discussed some “big issues” in design education. The AIGA is the professional association for design.

Nebraska design educators were asked to participate in a discussion group with a panel of invited design professionals, talking about the skills current employers expect design graduates to possess. An outcome of this conversation helps design educators identify what the design field currently expects from a well-trained design student. Potentially, the discussion could guide curricular development and reinforce, enhance the insight and information we give to students.

When hiring a designer we look for the following skills:
  1. Humility—there is more to learn once on the job; possess a willingness to learn.
  2. Personality—just as important.
  3. Having the right “fit” within the company—interaction with others.
  4. Communicating well with others in both writing and speaking is as important as having talent.
  5. The ability to draw by hand (sketching out ideas).
  6. Proficiency in newer social media.
  7. The tangible skills of Adobe Creative Suite.
  8. Creative problem-solving skills.
  9. Thinking and understanding the design process (listening, understanding the audience, concept and process).
  10. Culturally aware and knowing about current events.
  11. Convey confidence (work hard at being well prepared).
  12. Typographically astute (take time to kern and spelling error free) — detailed and clean, not sloppy.
The design practitioner panelists included:
Moderator: Paul Berkbigler, AIGA Nebraska, director of education
Bennett Holzworth – Nebraska Book Company in Lincoln, Nebraska
Justin Kemerling – Swanson Russell in Lincoln
Craig Hughes – Ervin and Smith Advertising in Omaha, Nebraska
Jeff ReinerTurnpost Creative Group in Omaha

Read More......

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reverse camouflage design?

Daniel Boon of Sioux Center, Iowa restored this 1957 Chevrolet police car. (Photograph by Versluis)

As a twist on camouflage principles of concealment through displaying disruptive confusion by applying dazzle painting (Camoupedia/Behrens, p. 110) —we noticed an interesting article recently in the Sioux City Journal. Apparently, the Sioux City Police Department is going back to an earlier era and painting some of their squad cars black and white. Like a throwback to police vehicles of the 1950s, the black and white police cars are making a small comeback as a way to make them stand out and become more visible to the community. Visual design principles, such as figure and ground contrasts, are at work in the black and white painted cars.

Currently, at a distance, most police vehicles blend in with surrounding traffic. This was an issue in Sioux City neighborhoods in which people believed that police were not on patrol, not visible, thus concluding that their area was less protected and secure. Obviously this is not the case—as police are patrolling the streets as much as they ever have. Perhaps the main question citizens were asking is, “Where are our tax dollars at work?”

Here’s the full article from the Sioux City Journal:
Zerschling: No gray area in choice of cruiser color scheme

By Lynn Zerschling | Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 10:15 pm

Prowling Sioux City streets is a type of vehicle people have not spotted for at least 40 years — a black and white squad car.

“It’s been in service about a week,” Police Lt. Rex Mueller said Friday.

The car marks a return to the traditional black and white police cruisers, which the Sioux City Police Department abandoned around 1970, by most reports.

A photograph of my dad, Capt. Les Zerschling, shows him standing by an all-white cruiser in front of the police station at Fifth and Water streets. As I recall, dad liked the black-and-whites better.

So do many police officers of this era, Mueller and Chief Doug Young said.

“This was a test, and it’s been accepted real well by the community,” Young said. “People like it.”

Additionally, “It was a trial to see how they (officers) liked it,” Curt Miller, city purchasing/fleet/airport director, said.

“I’ve always liked black and whites,” Young explained. “At one of our town hall meetings, one of the citizens mentioned he seldom sees a police car in his neighborhood. We thought these would be more visible.”

In addition to visibility, Young said the new squad cars will reflect departmental tradition.

“When I looked back at some old police history back in the early ’50s, Sioux City had black police cars with white doors. I’ve been on the department since 1980, and we had all-white police cars then,” Young recalled. “You always played with black-and-whites as a kid.”

Apparently, not all squad cars in the Sioux City Police Department were of the all-white or black-and-white variety. In 1970, the force’s paddy wagon was painted blue and white. From at least 1972-74; the units were painted a robin’s egg blue and white, according to a departmental history book.

I don’t remember seeing the bird's-egg-colored squad cars.

The new black-and-white model, which is assigned to the traffic unit, is a Chevy Impala and cost around $22,000.

Miller said plans call for ordering nine more black-and-whites this year and nine the following year as part of the department's vehicle replacement program.

“We will have to wait until the new pricing comes out after September and then will place them out for bid,” he said. “Delivery will be in the spring. ... We run them over 100,000 miles before we replace them.”

The cars will be delivered as all-black, and a local body shop will paint the doors white and apply the decals and name.

Mueller, an accomplished artist, noted, “I designed the graphics for the car and designed the badges on the car,” which will be the same on the newly acquired cruisers.

From what he has heard around the department, Mueller said, “The officers are excited about it. The only problem is that it’s going to be a slow transition.”

Read More......

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Illuminating the Word—The St. John’s Bible and Marcel Breuer

Essentially, Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer’s buildings are recognized as a response to life. This is expressed in the church he designed for Saint John’s Abbey (a Benedictine monastery) and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, which was completed in 1961. Breuer and his design team built this church with all poured reinforced concrete in molds and the bell tower is freestanding. When you are inside, the interior space feels like one is surrounded and enfolded by a large shell, which seems very intimate and very sculptural.

photographs by Versluis

Some pages of the Saint John’s Bible are on display in another campus building also designed by Breuer. The building, part of which is shown here, is associated with the library (notice the mold marks on the concrete).

Viewing this Bible will renew and inspire one’s Christian faith and is certainly well worth traveling to see. Information from the exhibition states, “This exhibition is devoted to a single work of art, an illuminated, handwritten Bible commissioned by Saint John's University and Abbey in Minnesota” —Library of Congress

The Saint John’s Bible (photograph from the Library of Congress)
John Frontispiece: The Word Made Flesh (John 1:1-14)
Donald Jackson, artistic director

“Stepping out of darkness, which alludes to the chaos that precedes Creation in the Bible, the golden figure of Christ brings light and order. Words in golden script, from Colossians 1:15-20, link the figure of Christ with the words ‘And lived among us’ at the upper right. A keyhole jutting into the left margin recalls the tradition of locked and hinged manuscripts in securing, protecting, and holding the ‘key’ to the Word of God.” —Library of Congress

Read More......

Saturday, June 19, 2010

“in celebration of ideas” — final installment

Brochure Cover – “glass water spot” for the cocktail napkin collection.

This is a continuation of our previous posts from “the word” project. These are the last several pieces from the (ACD) American Center for Design 1993 “Napkin Collection,” which was an fund raiser for education projects.

We realize that for some of you the last two pieces in this sequence by Scott Burns and Joe Duffy could be controversial. However, through much internal discussion, we have included them because they are in the “Collection” and represent the perspective of the designers.

Michael Manwaring NEXT

Nancy Skolos SELF

Michael Patrick Cronan JOY

Aubrey Balkind TIME

Steve Copeland SPIRIT

Robert Sirko IT

Scott Burns GOD

Joe Duffy BEFORE

Read More......

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

“in celebration of ideas” — installment four

The (ACD) American Center for Design 1993 “Napkin Collection” Fund Raiser.
(package design: Anthony Ma)

It’s ironic that the thoughtful visual designs included in the ACD “1993 Napkin Collection” are ultimately used as utilitarian placemats to catch condensation from a cocktail glass. Actually, we couldn’t bring ourselves to use them as napkins but rather keep them as a collectible.

Interesting that many of “the word” ideas rely on iconography and metaphor for impact.

Todd Lief LIES

Henk Elenga SPACE

Michael McCoy HUMAN

Dana Arnett COUNTRY

Michael Vanderbyl HEAT


Steff Geissbuhler WIT

Read More......

Sunday, June 13, 2010

“in celebration of ideas” — installment three

ACD 1993 Napkin Collection, brochure inside cover

Again, as a continuation of the previous two posts we’ve been featuring the American Center for Design Napkin Collection produced in 1993. At that time, Rick Valicenti asked designers to respond to “the word”. Thinking of the title, BLAH-TEAU, the idea of the Collection reminded us of the film “The Cool School” in which a scene discusses the work of Ed Ruscha. Here’s a quote from the movie:

Narrator: “Ed Ruscha picked-up on [Marcel] Duchamp’s concept that, primarily, art was in the mind rather than in the eye. Ruscha expanded this idea to suggest that in art—language could be a visual experience.”

Shirley Nielson Blum: “Ed Ruscha would paint the words, so that ‘Hollywood,’ or ‘Standard,’ or ‘Noise’ would become the image. So it put together the experience of the word ‘written’ and the experience of the word ‘heard’ within the picture itself. And it has that very—sort of—sudden brash quality, which was Pop Art.”

The Cool School” is a film that documents the story of the Ferus Gallery between 1957 and 1966 in Los Angeles, highlighting the work of several cutting-edge West Coast artists. Film credits are: director/writer/producer, Morgan Neville and co-writer/co-producer, Kristine Mckenna. The film was produced in 2007.

Read More......

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

“in celebration of ideas” — installment two

Brochure cover / back cover. The copyright for all artwork belongs to the designers.

This post continues from the previous post in which we are showing another seven pieces from the ACD (Chicago) 1993 Designer Cocktail Napkin Collection. As the title (BLAH–TEAU) of the collection suggests, depending on how you look at it, is it a paradox or perhaps ambiguity? In other words, is the phrase “designed on a napkin” a figure of speech or a cliché? We think each piece acknowledges an interesting irony in a very personal way.

As the brochure says: “A wordly collection of inspired dribble!!”

Brochure inside page “roster” and credits

Read More......

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The (ACD) American Center for Design Napkin Collection, 1993 — “in celebration of ideas” presents: BLAH–TEAU

(pronounced BLATTO or BLA-TOE). Package design: inside cover brochure spread. Credits: project coordination by Rob Dewey, package design by Anthony Ma, and fabrication by Fraser.

The (ACD) American Center for Design Napkin Collection, 1993.

In 1993,
in order to raise funds for ACD design education projects, Rick Valicenti of Thirst 3st, assigned the napkin project. Rick invited contributions from thirty-six internationally recognized designers, writers, thinkers, friends to interpret “the word” as artwork, which would be produced on cocktail napkins and packaged as a “boxed” set. At the time, the collection was sold through ACD as well as select art museums.

We’ll show select pieces from the “Napkin Collection” over the next few weeks, please stay tuned. The collection is shown with permission from Rick Valicenti. As Rick says, “what a great roster of that time!” 

(The pieces are from Versluis’s design collection) The copyright for all artwork belongs to the designers.

Read More......

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Letter by Gene Masselink

Leelanau County, Michigan, near Northport. —Photograph © 2010 David Versluis

Eugene Masselink, known as Gene to people affiliated with Taliesin, was Frank Lloyd Wright’s secretary as well as a very fine painter and designer. He came to Taliesin in 1933 and worked there until his death in 1962.

We’ve attached the video featuring Effi Casey, of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, as she reads one of Gene’s letters to an audience at the Taliesin Fellowship Apprentice reunion in 1992.

On a recent trip to northern Michigan we tried to find the specific view that Gene Masselink was referring to when writing the letter in c.1937. We could not locate the exact site that inspired Masselink, however, we did find a view that seems to come close and it’s pictured above. By now most of the farms are gone having been subdivided into smaller acreages for residential and water front properties. Orchards, vineyards, excellent wineries and small dairies, making great Raclette cheese, still exist and are actually making a small comeback.

Ms. Casey’s introduction:
Gene Masselink wrote this column upon his return from vacationing at the bluffs on Garthrie’s farm near Northport, Michigan.

Masselink’s letter begins with:
I stood upon the hill where four years before I had first stood and saw far beyond me and below me. The endless blue depth of water made patterns upon the undulating strips of land. In perspective, I saw clearer then I had ever seen before how the parts of my thinking and working and dreaming were at that time as separated from the whole of my life as the buildings of that small farm below are separated from each other.

Masselink’s letter ends with:
I stood upon the hill with all the blue of the world in my eyes and longed to immediately rejoin the endless work for organic creative life at Taliesin.

Read More......