Technology in Design

Fiverr – Client/Designer Marketplace


Fiverr is an online marketplace that was originally released in 2010, it allows users to connect with freelance businesses, which can then complete work for them. This is used for all kinds of work and types of businesses looking for clients, but it has a large focus in the design industry. The site is well known for designing logos, packaging, promotional items, company branding, etc. It is also a great place for all skill levels of designers to be able to get freelance work without knowing people personally. Another great aspect to the application/website is that it allows customers (clients) to find a designer who best fits their situation, price, and style choices. 

To get started, Fiverr allows the freelance user (designer) to create a profile and apply to users posts who are looking for someone to create work for them. This can also be done the other way around, where clients approach the freelance artists by looking through their portfolio of work. This site allows people from all over the world to connect and create a working relationship between clients and designers without having physical contact, which is a great aspect during these times of COVID we face today. 

Once a contract is found Fiverr allows the client to pay ahead of time for the service that they have worked out with the freelance designer. 80% of the total fee is then sent to the freelance artist/designer so that they can begin working on a project. Contracts range from whatever price depending on what the client wants, how many draft rounds they will go through etc.

I personally know a friend who used Fiverr to find a person to brand his natural deodorant company. It took several rounds of drafts, but eventually they came to a consensus on what was wanted by the client. I feel like a site like this will continue to be used and benefited for many years to come. As mentioned before we are moving more towards online interfacing and away from in person contact, which is what the site is all about. It is also a great marketplace for designers to make a little money on the side while the clients can get better discounts than working for a professional firm. One issue is that inside the app I do not believe there is the ability to video chat. If this were a feature I think that it would be a huge benefit for people being able to be more trusting with the people they are meeting as well as giving the ability to collaborate on different aspects of the project without waiting for a response. All in all Fiverr has been a trusted marketplace for various skill leveled designers to share their skills with clients that they don’t know and will continue to as we move into the future.


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Accessibility In Design

OXO POP Containers


Many people around the world have different strengths in their hands and fingers. This might be due to old age or overall mobility issues. One of the toughest things to deal with when having this issue is opening various types of products and containers. OXO, which is a universal design brand has come up with a way to surpass this issue with their POP Containers. OXO’s Pop Containers are an airtight Tupperware-like storage container that uses a push button opening system instead of relying on hand strength. 

The design is extremely simple to use and can be opened by anyone regardless of age or disability. To open the product you would just push down on the large button on the top of the container. This releases the lock and allows you to get to whatever you are storing inside. To reseal an item, you would just place the lid on top of the container and push the button. This then creates an air tight seal, while closing the product. Originally OXO had only a few sizes of this container, but as years went on they redesigned to create more shapes and volumes, which now allows for a greater variety of products that you can store. 

I think this product is extremely intuitive and solves the issue of hand dexterity. Even if you do not have a disability, the product is effective, easy to use, and has a sleek design. Due to its overall inclusion I believe that this product is more focused on fixing the problem of hand strength versus just trying to fix the individual person.

One problem with the product design is that it does not account for people who are visibility impaired. The button that releases/seals the container as well as the lid of the container is all white. It would be easy for the team at OXO to design the button to be a strong contrasting color This would help the button to be much more visible for people who don’t have the best eyesight. Another issue is that the button when closed is flush with the lid. This is a problem, because it prohibits someone who is blind to finding the button. You are still able to feel the impression of the button, but it could be more noticeable. To fix this they could design the button to be a bit more concave, which would help someone find it by using their tactile sensations instead of relying on eyesight. However, I think overall the product is well designed. Not only does it focus on the aspects of disability, but is conscious of space by allowing the product to stack on top of one another.


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Cultural Appropriation In Design

Urban Outfitters – Navajo Collection


Urban Outfitters is a brand that is focused on young to middle aged people, but over the years they have made several mistakes when it comes to cultural appropriation. Some of these include the “Irish I Was Drunk” tee, which aimed at St. Patricks Day, but was helping fuel harmful stereotypes towards Irish people. Another example was the Kent State sweater that was dyed pink and splattered with a red ink ,which looked very similar to blood. This was incredibly disrespectful, because it was pointing to the Kent State Massacre, where several people died protesting the Vietnam war. However, the designs that I would like to focus on today is the “Navajo” line of clothing that was released in 2012. This line appropriated Native American graphics, which were specifically created by the Navajo tribe. Some of the clothing and items that used these graphics included sweaters, pullovers, t-shirts, underwear, earrings, socks, tunic’s, flasks, totes, and dresses. Basically anything Urban Outfitters could slap a design on, they did. They also used the name Navajo as the descriptor for these items. The problem with all of this and where the company went wrong is that they are using a stereotypical Native American designs to profit off of, without any care or consideration for some of the tribes that produce them.

When the Navajo tribe found out about this collection they decided to take Urban Outfitters to court for “trademark dilution”. Trademark dilution is when a person or company uses someone else’s trademark designs, which dilute the market for the company/person who created the item. This makes it much harder for the original artist/creator to be able to profit, because it is much easier to receive the item through other means, which in this case was Urban Outfitters. With trademark dilution it also makes it harder for the viewer to know what product is authentic, which might “cheapen” the original designers work. On top of this lawsuit the Navajo tribe believed it was unethical to use the term “Navajo” to describe the Urban Outfitters products. They also filed a claim in court against UO (urban outfitters) on the terms that they were violating the Indian Arts and Crafts act of 1990. This act keeps people from selling crafts under the premise that they are native.


Urban Outfitters claimed that the designs and name Navajo was fair use, but once the suits were filed in court UO and the Navajo tribe reached an agreement for licensing and supply. The new agreement allowed the tribe to collect a small amount of compensation for items sold as well as opening an agreement to allow Navajo jewelry and other designs to be sold in stores when the time comes. Once the dust had settled an Urban Outfitter representative mentioned that “As a company, URBN has long been inspired by the style of Navajo and other American Indian artists and looks forward to the opportunity to work with them on future collaborations.”

All of this appropriation could have been easily avoided by contacting the tribe early on in the design process. It would have made much more sense to hire the tribe or artists from the tribe to create designs for the large clothing company. This would allow the designs to be original and not ripped off for a “for profit” scheme. I do think in the end it is great that UO will be selling authentic native designs in their stores, but it is almost a too little too late approach. This just shows that cultures who create authentic and memorable designs need to have a way to protect themselves. Some of these arts and crafts are a major way that these tribes support themselves as well as keep their culture alive for future generations.



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Sustainability in Design

Moving forward In the 21st century has caused many problems for our world. Some of these include racial/class inequalities, environmental collapse, as well as trying to create a sustainable world to live in before we reach extinction. These are such large issues, that at times it can be hard to face them head on. However, as designers we do have the power to influence change on the planet. The best avenue to make change starts with political figures and people that run some of the largest businesses in the world, but at times it seems as though they don’t listen. Designers are the second rung to this equation, because we are the mouth piece of these companies/leaders. This gives us the ability to create strong impact and influence through the spreading of products, images, and communications to the people.

I personally would like to take on the torch of environmental sustainability in my design so that us as a species (as well as millions of other species) can survive. It is my duty as a human and being of the planet to continue to progress the world into a place that doesn’t equal annihilation. This is such a monumental task, but knowing that you are not the only one in the fight can help you maintain better spirits. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and for things to seem like your are only making a tiny drop in the bucket, but as you drop water into the bucket it ripples and helps invoke change in others as well.

 Ways that we can influence people of the world through design would be to focus on supporting companies that have sustainable goals of creating change on our planet. Another would be to continue to produce uplifting and hopeful messages, which will help get people engaged to want to change their behavior. As designers we can also advocate for materials that are sustainable such as paper, ink, reusable materials, etc. When designing a product or graphic for the purpose of a product ( ex: packaging) you can always remember to think about the “life cycle analysis” of that item. Too often we don’t think about the impact a product or type of packaging has on our environment. Instead we can imagine what might happen to that package or product when it is no longer functioning its original purpose. Most people might want to just throw it away, but if thought was put into the design maybe the packaging or product could be used in a new inventive way such as being biodegradable or to have a second purpose or utility. I believe that most people in the world want to do good, so if they had a directed way that they could do that, then people would line up at the opportunity. If we had the majority of designers focusing on these problems that face us today, then I truly think that change could occur. We have a long and hard road ahead of us, but together we can make a difference.

Annotated Bibliography: Propaganda + Design

Graphic Design: A Concise History – Richard Hollis

Richard Hollis is a graphic designer who has also worked as a printer, art editor, production manager, teacher and lecturer. Hollis has written several books focused on graphic design such as the book mentioned above, which is Graphic Design: A Concise History. Other prominent books by R. Hollis are About Graphic Design, Swiss Graphic Design, as well as others. His work consistently connects graphic design to the cultural and social conditions that inspire it. It is for these reasons that I believe that he would be a good source for this paper.

This publication is focused on all of graphic design, but I zoomed in on propaganda and its impacts in the 20th century. Graphic design is visual communication based on using signs, symbols, words, composition, and color to express an idea or communicate a message. Graphic design is mainly a 20th century phenomena as modernism and new methods of communication and advertising were released. There were several sections of the book that stood out such as when he spoke about WW1, Russian Revolution, and WW2 propaganda. Early propaganda was inspired by Lucian Bernhardt’s style of the “object poster”, which had characteristics that included flat color, simple images/illustrations of objects, and solid shadows. Many of the posters during WWI were representational, which used symbolism and metaphor to help get a message across. The book also went into Russian art during the time of and after the revolution of 1917. At the time Russia was a semi literate country, so images and symbols became the main source of information, which supported the revolution. These were primarily focused on posters, which ranged from political cartoons, constructivism, and woodblock prints. One common poster style of the early 20th century was known as the Rosta poster. These were single sided bulletins that were illustrated in a comic style. These posters were designed and printed overnight, which helped spread their influence into the streets of Russia. Several artists helped push this style such as Vladimir Mayayakovsky, Vladimir Kolinsky, and Vladimir Lebedev. Over time a new style known as Constructivism became more popular as the Rosta poster started to decline. Constructivism was a style that rejected art as belonging to the high society and instead brought it to use for the service of the people. This design focused on revolution and wanted to help establish socialism at the time. Qualities of this art included photomontage, abstract principles, minimal colors, and geometric and dynamic shapes. Many of these designs were focused on posters, but then expanded when publications such as USSR in Construction were released. As time went on this style was stomped out by Stalin, when he suppressed this method of design. The last important section of this book was about World War 2 and the propaganda of the time. By this time graphic design was incredibly important and influential in wartime information. Several countries created government offices that were focused on the production of propaganda of the time. These include the Ministry of Information in Britain as well as the US Office of War Information. Many of these posters used similar techniques of World War 1, but photography started to take over as the main method to express ideas and messages. Towards the end of the war color photography started to become popular and was also used in the creation of propaganda. New techniques to get information out started around WW2, such as showering pamphlets and informational articles over enemy territory using airplanes. This helped with the psychological operations that the Allied forces were using at the time. Overtime the poster became less popular as the main method to express propaganda and instead things such as art exhibits and magazines begin to take over.

Hollis, Richard. Graphic Design: A Concise History, Second Edition (World of Art). Second, Thames & Hudson, 2002.

Graphic Arts and Advertising as War Propaganda – James Aulich

James/Jim Aulich is a Professor in visual culture at the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design. His research and focus is on propaganda as well as the history of posters and war in Europe and Vietnam. In his area of focus he has written 8 books, several articles, as well as producing various exhibitions on the graphic design of war and propaganda posters. 

The overall theme of this article was to discuss propaganda and the posters that were created during WW1. This is when propaganda really took off and was implemented throughout Europe, America, and Russia. These posters were created to maintain morale at home and on the warfront. They also were used to promote interest in supporting the war effort such as savings, bonds, war work, and conservation of resources. Graphic designers, printing house’s, and advertising firms were specifically used to pump out these posters during a time of turmoil. There were a handful of types of posters, but the two main categories were focused on “the patriotic poster” and the “atrocity” poster. Patriotic posters were targeted towards subjects that would empower its viewers that are based on heroism, national identity (flags), and personification/symbolism of things such as peace, victory, liberty. Atrocity propaganda was the opposite of this and were based on images that are meant to illicit fear. These had subjects such as starvation, massacres, and other graphic scenes of battle that don’t give you warm and fuzzy feelings like the patriotic posters do. Many of these posters used psychological appeals that were aimed towards peoples desire and other idealism. The majority of posters were based on the “object poster”, which focused on an object on a stark background that was usually accompanied with typography. Posters were placed in high traffic areas such as banks, train stations, city streets, and the post office so that as many people could see them as possible. Different posters had different objectives as mentioned above. Some posters were used to point towards men who would be serving on the front lines, while others were focused on getting women to buy bonds or support the war effort with their time and work. One highlight of all of this was that after the war, America and other nations realized the importance of directing the hearts and minds of their citizens to keep them focused on their overall objective, which is something we are still being directed towards today.

Aulich, James. “Graphic Arts and Advertising as War Propaganda.” International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1), 8 Oct. 2014,

The Art of Influence – A Propaganda Primer – Ben Weiss and MFA Boston

Ben Weiss is a Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Visual Culture , director of collections and board member at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Weiss graduated with a bachelors at Harvard, but gained an MFA from Princeton. Recently in 2019 he curated the large exhibit “The art of influence”, which was about propaganda posters and postcards throughout the World Wars as well as their impacts on society. Ben Weiss has also spent seven years working for the MFA’s (Museum of Fine Art – Boston) Education department as Head of Interpretation. At one time he was also chair member of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the MFA in Boston.

Throughout the talk Weiss discussed many facets of propaganda and how they repeat across nations and cultures. Propaganda is mainly a 20th century phenomena that has taken part to help gain an emotional response from the viewer. This was done for many reasons such as gaining morale, support, and recruitment as well as other avenues associated with war and revolution. Not all political art is considered propaganda. Propaganda was made possible by new successes throughout the countries in mass media, industrialization, advertising,  and literacy. It also was helpful that more people at the time were being involved in the political processes. The reasons for which propaganda came about when the first world war hit, was due to it being long lasting and expensive when it came to soldiers and supplies. The talk mentioned many of the famous posters/postcards that came out in the world wars, but mentioned that the same patterns repeat across countries. One was heroism, which showed leaders of their countries standing tall while looking off into the distance, which would point towards moving forward or looking to the future. Historical reference was another common form. These posters focused on the countries leader inheriting and taking on the country as previous leaders had. Sometimes these historical reference propaganda pieces would also focus on specific battles and historical moments that were necessary to highlight. Another key genre of propaganda poster was of soldiers running off to the front lines. They were always charging forward and were focused on advancement, heroism, defending the country, and showing their patriotic duty. Many of these posters are insidiously guilt inducing, which is why they worked so well. Another key to some of these posters was the non individualized aspect, which allowed viewers to project themselves into the poster so that they could see themselves in action. Many times propaganda creators used cartoons to express themselves. Cartoons take out the human aspect of the topic, which can be a dark way to get people on board with killing, or other dark activities etc. Sometimes posters would silhouette the victims, which would add less personalization to who was being killed. Propaganda posters had so much influence, because of the artists and advertising agencies that were used at the time. These people were chosen, because of their previous knowledge of psychology and how people interact with ads. Once the propaganda was made it was pumped out using avenues that capitalism already had in place. Things such as newspapers, magazines, postcards, posters, stamps, as well as various photographs or images.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “The Art of Influence: A Propaganda Primer.” YouTube, 15 Jan. 2019,

Graphic Design: A New History –  Stephen J. Eskilson

Stephen Eskilson is a professor of art history at Eastern Illinois University. He has coauthored several books, as well as writing The Age of Glass: A Cultural History of Glass in Modern and Contemporary Architecture. However, his most important achievement was writing Graphic Design: A New History, which is what this reference is based on. There is not much information out about Eskilson, but the book which I pulled information from is 460+ pages and is used as a design history textbook for art students. The third edition of this large textbook was recently released in 2019. This has been one of the most informative graphic design texts I have read to date.


This book was incredibly detailed and informative for the subject of how propaganda is tied to design. Propaganda when it began around WW1 was used due to the need to influence citizens, political recruits, and financial backers. There was no journalist perspective during the war so the only information that was released was through propaganda.  Britain was one of the first to use propaganda to recruit their citizens. Emasculation, was one of the most common tactics used. This was directly aimed at psychology and can be incredibly guilt inducing for the viewer. The best example of this are the “Daddy, what did you do during the great war” and “women of Britain say go!” posters. These have a strong sense of emotional blackmail, which bully the viewer into joining the armed forces. After years of wartime and as citizens began to lose hope new propaganda was focused on the citizens to get them behind the war effort. This is when atrocity posters were created. These were targeted at creating a false vision of the enemy by creating violent and cruel images (Red Cross or iron cross 1917). Once the US caught on to Britains methods of propaganda they also followed suit. The US joined the war shortly after Lusitania was attacked in 1915. To help their propaganda effort America hired magazine illustrators, artists, advertisers, and graphic designers. The American style was based on conservative paintings and illustrations, which were similar to Britain. James M Flag and Howard Christy were some of the most famous producers of United States Propaganda. On the opposite side of the battle was the “central powers”. Many of their posters focused on the object poster style, which was popularized by Lucian Bernhardt. This style helped keep the distance between the viewers and the grim details and truths of war, due to its simplified design. Adopting the national style of German typography, many posters used blackletter. Besides Bernhardt, Julius Klinger was one of the other famous designers of the central powers. After the war Germany criticized the abstract style of the posters they created claiming that it did not communicate their message clearly to the general population, which they believed was a large reason they lost the war.


Propaganda was used in Russia mainly to spread political messages, which supported the communist revolution. The propaganda that was produced during the time (1917 – ) was known as agitation propaganda or agitprop. This was revolution based, and state sponsored. Posters and propaganda was posted on trains, boats, and other transportation services that would travel the countryside to inform viewers. Propaganda was extremely important to the communist uprising, and without it might not have been as successful. Many of these posters used heroism,  and symbolism such as colors and in subject ( red communist state, white (counter revolution). Around this time is also when the red star and hammer and scythe iconography was created. A key participant in the creation of this propaganda was the modern movement known as Constructivism.  Constructivism fit well with ideological goals of new government so were used in service of the people. This led to a movement known as productivity in which art is used to serve a political purpose.

Eskilson, Stephen. Graphic Design: A New History. Third, Yale University Press, 2019.

Political Design and Impacts on Society

Recently design and politics have collided more than ever before. These designs can include and are not limited to creating political campaign graphics, posters, satire (cartoons), social media news, and propaganda. We are bombarded by design everywhere we turn, so many of these avenues are subliminal and go unnoticed. However, when you start to think about the relationship between politics and design you can see the power that design is playing in our everyday lives.

It is fascinating to me that graphic design in politics are used just like branding and advertising when you go to a store. Designed images can impact how you think, which can influence what product you choose in your day to day life. Let’s say you go to a store and can’t decide what beer you want from type A to type B. Besides price, one thing that might influence your final decision is the colors, graphics, or “vibes” that are used on the can. You might not notice this when making your decision, but deep down this is impacting you in a handful of ways. The same can go for design in the political scene. Graphic design can always be used to make things look good, but there is also a deeper layer to this. It is actually done to influence you one way or another. 

With that in mind, political design can be another way to recruit voters to a specific stance on an issue. This can be done by creating a scorning cartoon focused on critiquing a political figure or creating posters that are meant to inspire activism on specific subjects. These objects wave a flag that might go unnoticed, but can also allow the viewer to dig more into the subject being highlighted. Impact and power like this can have great benefits to society, but can also be used for insidious reasons. It is our job as graphic designers to focus on uplifting and progressing society versus allowing it to deteriorate.

Reasons above is why when I think about the intersection between design and politics I am afraid of the power that it has over people. After viewing graphics It is easy to fall into a trap if you don’t understand the strength they have. This can be seen when looking back at the 2016 election of president Trump. I think this was one of the most influential periods to look at when thinking about political graphics and the impacts they have. Social media was targeted and hit hard, which swayed many voters by the graphics and messages that were produced. Specific messages or images can produce a sense of false trust by painting candidates in a certain light, when that might not be true to reality at all. I think we all need to pay strict attention to these things as we move forward, because politics has more of an impact over our daily lives than most of the systems that are in place. I think in some way it would be good to get a message out to the public about the power of graphics in our daily lives. This would be jarring to advertising and political marketing, but would be beneficial to society so that people don’t fall prey to tactics that have been used for generations. I am afraid to see where things go from here, but I am also hopeful that some of these tactics might be used for good and the benefit of the world.

Pfizer’s Future

Critique on New 2021 Brand Identity Unveiling


Various corporations and companies rollout new branding identities for their businesses regularly. This can include logos, word marks, specific colors, as well as guidelines for how the brand is represented. As a designer it’s important to recognize the changes that are made and critique them to see if the branding message is effective or not. This year in 2021, Pfizer released a new brand identity, so due to their leading status in the pharmaceutical industry I wanted to see if they were successful or not.

Since its birth in 1849, Pfizer has been one of the largest American pharmaceutical companies around. They focus on the creation of various medicines and vaccines, which include hundreds of prescription medications.The current brand stands for creating innovative pharmaceutical products, including cutting edge scientific research and development. Recently Pfizer has became one of the leading manufacturers for the COVID-19 vaccine, which might have prompted their new brand identity.


Besides small changes to typography or shape of their oval logo, their branding has been almost unchanged for 70 years. Pfizer’s logo evolution has been minimal, which helps to continue recognizability in the marketplace, but at what point does this become stagnant? In the past, the logo has focused on a light blue oval that envelops the word Pfizer. The oval most likely represent a pill, which connects to what continues to gain the majority of revenue for the company.

With that said, Pfizer’s new brand identity is a breath of fresh air compared to the stale logo that has been used for many decades. Instead of continuing with the same design, their team focused on the strengths of the old brand, while also creating an entirely new logo. On first glance, I was very happy with their new identity The first thing that I noticed was the typography (wordmark). The type has not been changed very dramatically at all, but instead it was cleaned up. The z and r have been straightened out, which adds to an overall crispness in the design. Even though the change is small, it still seems to have made great strides to becoming a mark that can stand alone on its own. I think the main reason behind this is because instead of having Pfizer be composed of negative space (inside the oval), it is now positive. This allows the word mark to pop, which creates a stronger contrast. This effect will help how it is shown on different mediums such as prescription bottles, advertisements, and various media platforms.


Unlike the minor changes on the word-mark, the logo was completely revamped and created from scratch. Pfizer’s new logo focuses on an image that is based on DNA and its double helix. This is where the idea of breakthroughs in innovation and progress ties in with their new identity. On first glance, I was a big fan of the new logo. It is clean and has an interesting interaction with the word-mark. However, as I looked at it overtime I was a bit confused on how the double helix is represented. I think it’s an issue of the two tone colors that are used. They make it hard to tell what is the inside versus the outside of the helix. The logo almost reminds me of an M.C Escher drawing, where you don’t know where it starts or where it ends. The more you look at it the less the 3D effect is successful. This is especially the case, when Pfizer uses the logo with one color versus their main two tone focus. From far away, the logo looks incredibly flat, which does not translate the idea of DNA at all. However, up close this problem is much less recognizable. Although my critique grew stronger the more I looked at the logo, I considered this to be a problem when looking at anything too long. Images start to breakdown and don’t communicate as well, so it is important to think about what my first impressions were, which viewed the branding as an overall success.


The last change Pfizer made to their new identity was their color palette. Pfizer has continued to keep their light blue for many years, but recently changed to more of a royal “true” blue. The original light blue seemed to of been chosen for no other reason than to continue their recognizability in the pharmaceutical market. With that in mind, them changing blues, threw me off a bit. However, the new color is more understandable when thinking about their overall brand message, which is to lead in not only pharmaceuticals, but in scientific research and innovation. Pfizer’s new dark blue commands more presence and adds a professional dynamic to the overall design. I think their new color palette pushes the identity to being much more futuristic, which expands the mind to all of the possibilities that Pfizer will be focusing on as time passes.

Overall, Pfizer’s new brand rollout seems to be a successful one. This is much more clear when thinking about how it connects to their ideals of innovation, research and development, and a bright scientific future. Their word mark and logo stand alone as an impressive mark, while the chosen colors push toward their dream of the company they want to represent. On the few advertisements and brand in use documents they produced when dropping their new identity, things seem to be working very well. With this in mind, it is obvious that they are focusing on a new direction for their company, which not only includes medications, but also on future prospects and innovation in the bio-pharmaceutical realm.


Consumption of Media


Marshall McLuhan was a visionary thinker who was able to be far ahead of his time. His ideas of media theory were not only relevant to his era (1960’s), but can still be applied today. One of his most famous ideas mentions that the message that is given can be received more or less depending on the medium that it is processed through. When you start to think about this idea deeply you can definitely see that it is true. For example, if someone told you a story about how the White House just got attacked by terrorist, it might be hard to believe. However, if the way you received the message changed and you heard about that story on a credible news channel or through your local newspaper, then the message might hold more credibility, thus being absorbed. This topic is holding much more weight today, because we are constantly being bombarded by information. To be able to stand out and allow people to notice what you are trying to say, it will be important to focus on how the message is delivered so that it can be plausible by being heard above others. This is incredibly paramount when thinking about graphic design, because sometimes it is not just enough to create a poster or graphic to put on a wall. Instead you might need to create a video to make the information more digestible. 

Various types of media are much more participatory and accessible than others. This leads to another one of McLuhan’s theories, which has to do with a scale in which media is digested.  His second theory is also known as “hot and cold media”. Hot media is something that takes little to no participation from the user and is the most immersive. A great example would be movies, where you just need to sit down and show up. Cold media on the other hand would be something like reading. With reading you have to put in effort by participating to get information out of the book. The basic principal of McLuhan’s theory is that the more participation that is required to digest information, the “hotter” it is. This is still very relevant today, but as technology grows and changes, their label on this scale will also change. Television in McLuhan’s time period was more participatory and was considered cool media. However, today this is not the case. Television is a lot like movies where you don’t need to be using your brain much to watch. This also depends on the type of program you are watching. A documentary takes more thought than reality TV and so on. Speech for example is one of the most participatory media (cool), because it takes language and background of understanding to be able to communicate back and forth. You also have to continue to think about what you will say next by responding. However, McLuhan’s black and white scale is not always going to hold up. There can always be outliers, but the overall idea can still be relevant today. The point to all of this hot and cold stuff is that the more immersive a media is helps a message become easier to get across.

As the human race moves forward in social and technological evolution we will need to keep these theories in mind. Of course the scale of hot and cool media will change, but how information is digested will be a constant question. This will be important for us as designers to focus on as we need to make sure that our message is received to its full capability.

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Who am I?


I’m Kevin Reynolds and am a junior at Oregon State University in the Graphic Design program. I got into design as an artist/painter, but wanted to expand my creative knowledge and start to focus my study in a field that was more professionally desired. There are all kinds of things that interest me in design such as video editing, illustration, logo/branding creation, typography, and poster design. I am very bold and color oriented in my work and love to use those means to help deliver a message. A dream of mine would be to design bold packaging for breweries or other various companies. Another option is to focus on video development as this is where a lot of information is heading these days.