Oregon State University|blogs.oregonstate.edu

Procreate. Is It A Useful Program?  March 9th, 2021

When discussing technology in graphic design you are talking about thousands of devices, apps, and programs that designers around the world use to create their media. Something recently that I have been interested in is the application Procreate. I don’t have an iPad currently but on instagram and other sites I’ve seen more and more art and design created with this application. For this post I am going to focus on Procreate and if it is actually worth shelling out the cash for an iPad to use the program. 

What does Procreate do? Procreate is an application meant for illustrators and designers wanting to use hand drawn elements in their work without actually having to get out pen and paper. Why is this useful you might ask? Because it removes the need to draw an image, scan it into the computer, and trace it on Adobe applications such as Illustrator or Photoshop. When discussing this application with a colleague who’s worked in the graphic design field for many many years, she said that Procreate was something she didn’t quite understand how to use. For her it was just one more program she’d have to learn to stay up with the constant change in technology within our field. She had played around with it from time to time but hadn’t actually focused on if it was useful to her design practice. 

What might make Procreate useful to someone in the graphic design field? Procreate works a lot like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop because of its use of layers. You can export with transparent backgrounds, create brushes that are custom, and export final images as PSD. Having the ability to cross over from Procreate to other Adobe programs makes Procreate ideal for doing “hand drawings” compared to other programs such as Inkscape. 

Where Procreate would be useful to me is when I’m doing illustrations for brochures and posters. As someone who struggles to draw with a mouse on Adobe Illustrator, Procreate might be a better option. On the flipside there are also easier solutions to that problem like using a Wacom tablet. I think at the end of the day, it comes down to if you want to learn a whole new program or if you want to keep the ones you’ve always had. Procreate might go out of style in a few years, and iPads are expensive. I think it’s really up to the user about if Procreate is useful, or just another tool that you have to learn.

Chirping Crosswalks  March 1st, 2021

Designers often are told to think about their audiences when creating designs, but they don’t always think about minority groups within their audiences. What I mean by this is their disabled audience is often left out by designs. For this blog post I decided to look at the modern chirping crosswalk and why it is, and is not an effective design for blind people. 

How do blind people know when to cross the street? How do they know if there’s a crosswalk or a button to push to make a crosswalk change? These are all questions designers need to be thinking about when creating good crosswalk designs. The chirping crosswalk solves the problem of blind people knowing when to cross. The chirping has a different pitch for which crosswalk is green, left or right, and some even have a voice that says walk along with the chirping noise. This is an effective design, but parts of the design are also ineffective. Something i found ineffective about this design is hope does a blind person know the crosswalk has a button to push to make it change? How do they know where the button is? These parts of the design make it ineffective and hard for a blind person to use.

Pros of this design however is its versatility for non blinde users. In our digital age lots of people walk and talk on the phone or text and often don’t notice when lights change. The chirping crosswalk makes this aspect of the design useful for everyone except deaf people. In this way deaf people are excluded from this design. 

Making a good design for all groups of people is very hard. You can have the best intention, but there is always that one what if. What if someone is blind, deaf, or deaf and blind? I think overall this design is successful and a good example of a universal inclusive design that other designers could take as a benchmark for interactive and experience design. Design doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to engage positively with the target audience. What i’ve learned from this design is to have a successful design you always need to try and brainstorm who your target audience is, and how people with disabilities might interact with your design.

Week 6 Blog Post  February 15th, 2021

Environmental design is something up until recently I hadn’t really thought about. I have always been interested in the ecosystem and sustainability in the products I buy, but hadn’t looked at these issues from the side of the designer. Our environment is fucked. Fucked in every sense of the word unless people start figuring out ways to create sustainable products. Sustainability is something all designers should think about. Most if not all designers have larger target audiences than they realize and they have the power to  create change within not just the design field but within our world. The environment as we’ve learned isn’t just something that only scientists and hippies should care about, but everyone should care. We all live on this earth and need to protect it. 

How can designers be a positive change within our society to push people toward sustainability? Sustainability is something that is cheaper than most people realize. Most companies try to have the largest margins they can. They do this so they can have cheap packaging and make lots of money. Most companies don’t think about sustainability within their packaging or products because they view sustainable products as “expensive”; this is just wrong. As designers we have the power to lead companies in the direction of sustainability with the information we publish and the design choices we make. You can choose to use a biodegradable material other than plastic to encase products. You can choose to use recycled paper instead of plastics or new paper. You can choose to have recycling zones set up in the offices you work in. The point is you can choose. You can choose to be the change you want to see in the world and you should. I have often heard things like “well if I stop using plastic other people still will so there’s no point in stopping,” this is false. You might not be the main problem when it comes to our ecosystem but every little change has an impact on our world and should be taken seriously. 

The world is special. Our earth is one in a trillion and when the resources are gone we won’t get another change at it. Make the most of your voice as designers. Talk about hard things like sustainability. Bring sustainable packaging into your practices as a designer. Make designs that talk about how people can help in the fight against climate change. In short, do all you can because as a designer you have a louder voice than you think you do.

Annotated Bibliography  February 13th, 2021

Topic: Branding/Advertising in design 

Entry #4:

  1. Who’s Afraid of the Big Brand Wolf? By Marty Neumeier
  2. Marty Neumier is an american author and speaker who writes about the topics of brand, design, innovation, and creativity. 
  3. The article, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Brand Wolf?,” By Marty Neumeier discusses branding and why people have such a disdain toward the word. In the article Marty Neumeier goes over the fears people have with the word brand. The first being Brands are erected by evil companies to disguise their bad behavior. This idea by Marty was interesting because you really have to look at who makes a brand, a company or the people buying the products. The second fear he talked about was, branding is commercializing our lives, he looks at the difference of branding and advertising in this section. Branding as he describes it is the long term values that are recognized within a company, while advertising is about short term sales of products and delivering a message quickly and effectively. The difference between these two things is important and often forgotten. On one hand a brands identity is its values, recognition, and impact on society, but advertising uses those things to create good advertisements. The article then goes on to discuss two more points of branding fears such as Global brands are the Trojan horses of creeping cultural imperialism, and Brands will become more powerful than countries.
  4. Neumeier, Marty. “Who’s Afraid of the Big Brand Wolf?” AIGA, 22 Oct. 2004, www.aiga.org/aiga/content/inspiration/voice/whos-afraid-of-the-big-brand-wolf/

Annotated Bibliography  February 13th, 2021

Topic: Branding/Advertising in design 

Entry #3:

  1. Lippincott on What ‘Brand’ Really Means by Lipincott
  2. The article is by Lippincott which is a publishing conglomerate that discusses science, medicine, and advertising topics. This article was found on the AIGA website
  3. The article and video titles “Lippincott on What ‘Brand’ Really Means” discusses what makes a brand, and how branding is such a large umbrella topic. The video attached to the article makes good points along the lines of brands are everything. The idea of branding also is very contradicting. A brand can be both physical and digital, a name, color, sound, or style. A stamp on a product, or a mark of performance. Innovative, take you away or bring you back home. All of these things are brands, or can be included in your brand, but don’t have to be. The idea of a brand is often much broader than we make it out to be and the article discussed why brands are so important. The article’s main point is this, that brands are many parts, and each part needs to be carefully scrutinized and tweaked down to the DNA to perfect a brand. Large corporations do this and look at their brand  from all sides to make it perfect and so should every brand. Brands such as Campbell’s soup have had art made after them because their branding is so iconic. Branding is more than just a name but an identity with logs of faces. 
  4. Lippincott. “Lippincott on What ‘Brand’ Really Means.” AIGA, 21 Oct. 2014, www.aiga.org/aiga/content/inspiration/lippincott-on-what-brand-really-means/

Annotated Bibliography  February 13th, 2021

Topic: Branding/Advertising in design 

Entry #2

  1. Name brands, off brands, house brands, brand Nu? By Ralph Caplan 
  2. Ralph Caplan is an American designer that has written three books on design and why it’s important. His article was found on the national AIGA page.
  3. In the article “Name brands, off brands, house brands, brand Nu?”Ralph Caplin digests the idea of why you should rebrand and why rebranding often starts with the name. At the beginning of the article Ralph discusses how names can be the downfall of brands. An example he used in the article was the school Slipper Rock and how announcers always shared the scores of the football games not because the school was good, but because the name was the beginning of many jokes about the school. A quote from the article I found extremely interesting was, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, She was of course wrong.” He says this because a brand’s whole identity starts with the name. You wouldn’t buy an apple product if it was cold blue cheese because the name is important for recognition and identity. “Branding is more than naming, but the process of branding aims to burn the positive perception of a name into a product, a product line, a company, and public consciousness.” What Ralph means by this is everything starts with naming and the way a name or word is perceived can make or break your brand. 
  4. Caplan, Ralph. “Name Brands, off Brands, House Brands, Brand Nu?” AIGA, 4 Oct. 2005, www.aiga.org/aiga/content/inspiration/voice/name-brands-off-brands-house-brands-brand-nu/

Annotated Bibliography  February 13th, 2021

Topic: Branding/Advertising in design 

Entry #1

  1. The Anthropology of Advertising by Patrick Warner
  2. Patrick Warner is an anthropologist and businessman. I couldn’t find a lot about him online, but his article was featured on the national AIGA page. 
  3. The article “The anthropology of Advertising”, discussed the nature of how advertising and marketing came to be. In the article the author, Patrick Warner, talks a lot about how marketing and advertising is a language all on its own, and it’s something that was shown to you often visually first, before and other way. Patrick Warner points put in the article that sales, advertising, and marketing were born from a chain. The evolution of the chain happened naturally but quickly. It was born from first contact, visual cues, language barrier, communication, sharing, understanding, needing, and then using. He points out in the article that Sales was the beginning of the evolution to advertising and marketing. Sales created the drive to sell products, selling then lead to marketing, and marketing lead to advertising. He also points out in the article that advertising and marketing have changed in the last few decades. Originally people were getting their advertisements from the radio, then the tv but after the tv came out people started paying to remove ads from these services, but there was still a want to know what was happening in the world, so the internet was born. A way of advertising that was driven by the consumer when they wanted to see it. 
  4. Warner, Patrick. “The Anthropology of Advertising.” AIGA, 25 Nov. 2006, www.aiga.org/aiga/content/tools-and-resources/gain-journal/the-anthropology-of-advertising/.

Politics In Design  February 8th, 2021

Design and politics is something I had never really considered together. Politics to me is very important, but as of recently it’s something I dislike very much. Politics has felt like something that has divided the people that I know in recent years and caused pain in our nation when it doesn’t need to. When we talk about design in politics it makes me feel confused because as graphic designers we hold the power to send messages out to the world that are both positive and negative. In some ways this makes it feel like a game of morals. For a lot of people today politics is more than just who you vote for in the presidential election, but it’s become peoples whole identity. I’ve always been someone who believes that if you’re passionate about something to speak your mind and as graphic designers I believe we have a duty to do so, but it’s hard for me to look at politics and not consider the way messages people create target or attack opposing viewpoints. For this reason I’ve always had a hard time with politics not just related to design but in general. 

I think looking at design and the sub-meanings to campaign logos or branding is very interesting. Whether you like a candidate or not, a logo design can speak exponential volumes in the way a candidate wants to be seen or perceived. What interests me most about design in politics is the subconscious sway that designs can have. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is something most people would agree with, but it doesn’t mean people still don’t do it. People judge candidates based on the way they look visually, and design plays a huge role in that. In class we talked about candidates on both sides of the aisle and how their subconscious messages of God, agriculture, progressiveness, or boldness were expressed in different campaign logos. As designers we are taught to hyper criticize logos and subconscious meanings, so it’s interesting to me to think about how normal everyday people are affected by those messages in political designs. No matter which way you vote I think designers on both sides have an important job to fight for what they believe in and should express those messages in their designs. Part of what’s amazing about being a designer is the ability to speak your mind, and I believe everyone should use that power. 

My Thoughts On The New Diet Coke Logo…  January 30th, 2021

New Diet Coke flavors, including the new logo and can.

What makes Diet Coke delicious? Is it the flavor, addictive aspartame, or lack of sugar? Whatever it is it drives millions of people around the world each year to buy their favorite silver canned cola known as Diet Coke. Diet Coke was a secret mission only known by company execs till its launch in 1982. Since its debut it has become the number one diet soda brand in the US. “For aspirational adults, Diet Coke®  is the smart solution that helps keep them at the top of their game.”(Dietcoke.com). Diet Cokes mission is to help adults stay ahead of their game, so in 2017 the company hired Kenyon Weston from Huddersfield North England to redesign their logo and packaging so they too could stay ahead of the game. Diet Coke has had 14 logos over the last 39 years that have all been similar to follow their brand identity. I believe the new logo while similar to many before it brings a new fresh face to the beloved sodas identity. 

In 2017 Diet Coke executives sat down and looked at their sales numbers and noticed the diet soda wasn’t selling as well as they would like it to. Their target audience of adults was not selling well to millennials. They came up with the brilliant idea to hire a design firm that was out of house to redesign the logo and packaging for the brand. They decided to go with a small design firm of two men known as Kenyon Weston. I personally think the idea to go out of house was the best idea the Coca Cola Company made with this logo. The old logo (On the Left) reminds me of my grandmother’s house. The new logo (On the right) is slick, clean and minimalistic. 

Old Logo Left, New Logo Right

The new logo is hot. Red is a color that draws you in and makes you feel special. Red is sexy. By creating a logo that’s driven by a bright red color such as the one on the Diet Coke can, you are daring your target audience to buy it and drink it. Diet Coke is a diet soda, and the thin red stripe of the logo insinuates the cola is sleek and meant to keep you thin. I think the small changes from the original can/logo to the new one have elevated the drink into a status of more than just what your mother or grandmother buys for lunch, to now being what the cool hipsters in New York buy for an afternoon snack at a local bodega. 

The brand identity in the new logo is important. They may have changed the logo but it’s still the recognizable Diet Coke we’ve all grown up loving. If the logo had new typography, colors, or name the rebranding wouldn’t have worked. The logo would’ve been a waste of time, but by keeping the elements from the past 14 logos and reinventing it the classiness of the original logos stays and gets a nice revamping. Through these changes Diet Coke can now reach a younger generation and stay just as stylish as the millennials who are drinking it. 

Personally I grew up loving diet coke. My mother and grandmother always had it in their houses while I was growing up. I love the old logo and packaging but as a designer and a consumer the new logo and packaging has me rethinking what Diet Coke is, and that’s the whole reason to rebrand. Diet Coke is an icon to the soda industry because it’s refreshing, addictive, and has no sugar in it. The new logo for the company has elevated the soft drink to not just taste refreshing but look sexy. Now I kinda want a Diet Coke. Do you?

“The medium is the message.” -Marshall McLuhan  January 13th, 2021

Trying to understand this idea is easy, but the more you think about it the more it makes sense. What is a medium? A medium is defined as,”the material or form used by an artist, composer, or writer.” (Google). In the idea that the medium is the message, the media plays the biggest role. The example we watched in our learning this week talked about the different kinds of mediums messages can take on. Messages can be spoken, heard, seen, and felt. How a message is given to you can change how you feel about them or see them at all. So how have messages changed over time? 

Messages started off as oral tradition, hearing stories from an elder that was passed on. This kind of message medium was oral, you had to hear the messages to digest them. Next came written messages. This type of message was easier to share and became more of a personal experience. To understand this idea, think of a newspaper, only one or two people can read a newspaper at once but multiple people can hear a story at the same time. In this way messages became more personal and closed off from the rest of society. After the written word came the visual medium. The visual message is where our society lives now. This medium can be tv, advertisements, and much more. 

So how do these different types of mediums affect the way messages are interpreted, and perceived? At one point anything that was shared orally was taken as fact, today with visual messages people often are unbelieving of the messages they are seeing because they can be falsely shared. As our society has been able to connect closer with communication being so easy, it has created a sense of insecurity in the messages we receive and a huge [art of that is how our messages are derived to us. 

The importance of communication and the way we communicate is also something to think about as a designer. As a designer we have the ability to try different forms of mediums to create messages to distribute to our focus groups. We need to always think about the way messages are perceived and how many different ways we can show people our messages. It’s our job to create messages that are built for the medium.