Archive for November, 2009
21 November, 2009 – 3:04 pm | Filed under school | 2 Comments »
My classmate Barbora just typed up a list of all her deadlines over the next few weeks, which inspired me to do the same.
The kanji to the left are the days of the week.
Here we go! I’m really glad today’s my last orchestra rehearsal of the semester.
Eventually I will upload the work I’ve done this term. I swear. I just have to get through all this first. See you all in mid-December. ;)
18 November, 2009 – 12:27 am | Filed under daily life, school | No Comments »
This is what my schedule for spring semester is looking like:
CPID Seminar II
Research Methods for Human-Centered Design
Communicating in the Global Marketplace
Rhetoric and Information Design (auditing)
Plus my assistantship: I’ll most likely be a TA again, since I think these are yearly posts, though it’ll be for a different class and different professors.
I’m fully prepared to drop Japanese if the going gets tough, and I suspect it will before long. Japanese at CMU is a lot more intensive than in my undergrad–like Georgia Tech’s classes, it meets 4 times a week, but unlike Georgia Tech, there are quizzes and essays due pretty much every week, and the students are already supposed to know 500 kanji (which is about on par with what I knew when I actually lived in Japan). Yikes!
If the JET Alumni Association Pittsburgh sub-chapter takes off next year, hopefully there’ll be meetings I can attend; one of our first proposed events is a ????? dinner, and I’ve learned there are intermediate conversation sessions at the Carnegie Library in Oakland a couple of times each month, so hopefully I can keep it up somehow. I haven’t practiced since moving to Pittsburgh, and my conversational skills have been impacted heavily these last few months.
I made the decision to audit the R&ID course just this afternoon, because I want to make the most of my rather limited time here. We’re already more or less 1/4 of the way through our grad school career, after all. Design Studio is supposed to be pretty intensive, but I did want to incorporate some visual design into my coursework somehow.
It’s hitting me that we really are in for two solid years of work. Both Thanksgiving and winter break are working holidays: with Thanksgiving, I have a paper, two projects, and a presentation due shortly after we reconvene, and with winter break, I have to hit the Japanese books hard-core and work on my resume and portfolio in anticipation of Confluence, a career fair hosted by the School of Design in February to put us in touch with employers for internships and full-time work.
And now, back to the grind…maybe with a break for meteor watching. Yay, Leonids!
16 November, 2009 – 1:40 am | Filed under Tags: assistantship, design seminar, design studio, letterpress, presentation & pitch design, typography assignments, design, school | 2 Comments »
I’m really behind on my work this evening, so what do I do instead of work? Turn to my poor, neglected blog to collect my thoughts.
My immediate goals are:
1. finish grading papers for the class I’m TAing
2. work on sketches and general information-gathering for my design studio course.
The second is the most interesting and the most nebulous. It’s our final project for studio, where we have to visualize information spaces. We each were assigned various topics, whether they’re books, movies, websites.
I received Design Observer.
I have conflicted feelings about this. For one, I’m lucky, because it’s a well designed and well organized website. For another, it’s freaking huge. There have been thousands of articles posted there over the last 6 years.
For a third, I’ve realized I’m not a big fan of the site. It’s a great resource and has some wonderful gems, to be sure, but…it just smacks of higher-level “glossy New York elitist” design to me. I don’t relate to the mentality of the contributors at all, and the tone and approach of a number of the articles just…kind of rubs at me awkwardly. It doesn’t feel “real” or “grounded” enough to me.
Well, anyway, tomorrow I have a meeting with Dan (Boyarski, the professor) to show my sketches of how I’ve mapped the site and its content out, and possible sketches and storyboards for how to visualize it. Obviously I want to do something creative, but…what can you truly do with what’s essentially the sitemap of a website? I’m toying with the idea of working with the actual articles instead, to show how interlinked they are within the structure of the site, but I kind of feel like the layout and usability flaws in the site exhibit themselves in how to navigate at such a granular level like that.
(It shouldn’t surprise me, though; I was present when William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand, two prominent designers and two of the major figures who run Design Observer, gave a talk to AIGA Atlanta at the Portfolio Center earlier this year, and Drenttel’s parting shot was something along the lines of, “We have to do usability testing. I hate it, but we do it anyway.” Considering I was working as a graphic and usability designer at the time, I had a real problem with that, and with him propagating the idea that usability is unnecessary and annoying to a bunch of students (who made up more than half the crowd)…if not for my having a pounding headache that night, I would have gone up to him and called him on it. (Dan offered to give me his e-mail address so I can tell him anyway. Heh!))
Anyway, that’s what I have due for tomorrow.
Otherwise, I am working on…
Design Seminar: a final paper, tying together a lot of our readings this semester to reflect on design from a theory and philosophy standpoint
Design Studio: see above. We finished up our motion graphics projects on reading; I will post a link to the video here when I’ve uploaded the final version.
Typography: doing some basic experiments with putting expressive text over images to free us up, before jumping into our final project. We just finished up a project where we studied type designers and fonts; I got Hermann Zapf and Palatino.
Presentation & Pitch Design: This is a mini (half-term) class I enrolled in just a few weeks ago, to fill the gap left by dropping Social Web. We’re studying rhetoric and effective presentation strategy all in one, to consider different ways to craft and frame arguments, presentations, and pitches.
Letterpress: I’m starting to suspect I won’t be able to typeset all 12 of the quotes I picked out for my booklet. So far I’ve hand-set four of them, and it’s taken weeks (and lots of digging around to find enough cast type, too).
The two orchestra groups I’m in just had a concert a couple of weeks back, which went pretty well. And spring registration kicks off tomorrow; grad students can register at 6 AM. I was going to wake up then to register and work, but now I’m not sure it’s going to happen.
Eventually I will post more of the work I’ve been doing. But for now, back to work.