iPad Pro: The new pen and paper?

Among the limitless amounts of technology being introduced, I believe a massive force in design lies within quite a simple concept: a tablet for which you can draw on as we all did as children. For me, in particular, this would be the Apple iPad Pro, along with the relatively new and overpriced Apple Pencil.

This device has freed up much of my design work into just simple drawings as I used to when I was growing up. This function is enhanced with apps such as Procreate, Adobe Draw, Adobe Sketch, Adobe Fresco, and good ole Photoshop, among countless other apps for creativity and art. I feel that with this tool, graphic design is more natural to me and less technical button shortcuts and complicating steps on the Adobe Suite. If it were not for this humble piece of glass and metal, I would not be able to draw an illustrated logo design and place it right into Illustrator as a vector object within seconds. The Apple pencil actually lets me press into the glass of the tablet and feel what I am really trying to create. While I am always enjoying this, I often think to myself: Is this $1000 piece of tech worth it? Or should we artists just stick to pencil and paper?

It is hard to think about how technology like this can possibly advance even further. Perhaps somehow the glass of an iPad will eventually be able to emulate the texture of different types of papers or surfaces? Who knows, I am not in the tech business, I am in the design business. I believe that no matter how advanced and expensive technology gets for us designers (and people in general), we will always find a way to create something that is truly original. I think I will always be sketching ideas and scribbles on a piece of paper or my trusty Field Notes.

My big worry of course with all this advancing technology (especially Apple products) is the always increasing prices. The higher these device prices go, the more out of reach they will become for younger designers who cannot afford a $2500 MacBook Pro, or a $1000 iPad Pro, and yes a $100 Apple Pencil. Hopefully one day, truly every kid who wants to become a designer (for some reason) will be able to acquire the proper supplies to create the next generation of amazing graphic design.


Sneakers for All

Earlier this month, sportswear giant Nike announced the arrival of a shoe that is for an untapped audience: disabled people who are not able to bend down or tie their own shoes. The Nike FlyEase was welcomed with great cheers all over social media, and of course the occasional social media jeers, which we will get into later.

Does it attempt to fix the person or the problem?
Nike attempted to fix the problem of people not being able to put on their own shoes or tie them. This does not exclude anybody, as able-bodied people can also purchase the Nike FlyEase for $120.

Was this the best use of resources?
I would say yes, it was about time such a huge company like Nike has embraced the problems the disabled face every day. This also is a good move for Nike, since they are known for their outspoken activism for all types of athletes and normal people alike.

Is anyone excluded from this design?
I would say the only people who are excluded from this design are the portion of disabled/able-bodied people who cannot afford a $120 pair of sneakers. A majority of disabled people live in poverty, so the price is worrying. I believe the $120 price tag is too high for “a shoe for everybody”.

Was there a better way to do this?
The only way I could see the Nike FlyEase could’ve been done better would make it more accessible to people, which means making it cheaper. The goal would be to make the shoe less expensive without sacrificing the quality of the materials and design.

When the unveiling of the FlyEase made it to Twitter, praise from able-bodied and disabled spewed in for Nike. However, a valid point was brought up by many: the modern “sneakerhead” culture will probably buy these shoes until they are sold out, and possibly resell them for cash. This would ruin the point of the shoe, as there would not be shoes for the target audience to buy. I hate to say it, but I feel this is exactly what is going to happen. I hate the “grailed” culture and how streetwear/sportswear brand’s releases are followed more intently than any religion I have ever seen. Hopefully, sneakerheads will recognize this problem and let the disabled enjoy these amazing sneakers.

Overall, I believe the Nike FlyEase is a huge step (literally) for designing attractive-looking sneakers and sportswear for the disabled. Again, my biggest problem with the FlyEase is the sort-of-hefty price tag. My hope is that Nike can keep diving into designing for the disabled community, refining their processes, and eventually making an even more accessible and affordable “shoe for everybody”.


Annotated Bibliography

My essay is about how Native American’s are represented through graphic design with the design of logos, colors, and team names for American sports teams, and how it is wrong to paint a picture of a people that is not genuine to what the mascot represents. 

Source 1:

Title: The Native American Mascot Controversy: A Handbook

Author: C. Richard King 

Author Bio: 

C. Richard King is a professor at Washington State University where he teaches Cultural Anthropology as well as Critical Race Studies. He graduated from the University of Kansas where he earned a B.A. and an M.A. in cultural anthropology. King has written extensively on the topic of Native American struggles in modern America and struggles over “Indianness” in public culture. He has written multiple books on the topic of Native American mascots in American sports, especially about the formerly-named Washington Redskins. This is key since my topic is Racism in Design as in offensive logos of teams such as Washington or the Cleveland Indians. 

Content Summary: 

The Native American Mascot Controversy by C. Richard King gives an overview of how racist and Anti-Indian logos, team names, and mascots have come to be and stuck around for the past 40 years. King links the history of these mascots with the ongoing struggles of Native American activism, as well as challenges the “honor” that the team names and logos of such teams as the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians represent with their offensive image. The text includes additional sources on the topic, such as Jay Rosenstein’s 2015 film “In Whose Honor?” which I have since watched and took notes on. King drives home the way these mascots are represented, usually as villainous males clad in comically red skin and are seen as a savage beast that should be beaten by their opponents like the Dallas Cowboys for example. King directs these opinions towards the reader as if he is calling the youth to action to fight against these racist athletic organizations. Overall, the text gave a nice overview of the controversy but did not go into enough detail for my liking. The additional sources that King provides to support his reasonings were one of the most helpful aspects of this book.

MLA Citation: 

King, C. Richard. The Native American Mascot Controversy: a Handbook. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. 

Source 2:

Title: Redskins?: Sports Mascots, Indian Nations, and White Racism

Author: James V. Fenelon 

Author Bio:

James Fenelon is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies at California State University. Fenelon has written on the ethical and racial issues that have come about with how the representation of Native Americans in pop-culture has developed over the years. Fenelon is Lakota/Dakota from Standing Rock (Nation) and has taught internationally to various indigenous peoples about their history and the history of other indigenous peoples. 

Content Summary:

Fenelon goes into great detail about the Washington Redskins team name, more detail than C. Richard King. Fenelon goes in-depth about the origins of the names of various professional and college sports teams around the country but especially that of the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians. He suggests that the fact that these logos and mascots have been accepted is tied to the fact that most Americans are denying the impact of four centuries of colonial domination and indigenous genocide. In addition to his hot-button writing, Fenelon provides statements and direct quotes from multiple interviews he has done with people about the “Redskins” and “Indians” names. Just like C. Richard King, Fenelon also goes into detail about how a majority of media portray these mascots: as savage opponents that must be defeated. Fenelon suggests that these teams and leagues should actually portray Native Americans as warriors and as symbols of a most-forgotten people. This would go along with my topic well as I feel if sports teams use Native Americans as mascots, the design and execution of their portrayal should be done by an Indigenous designer to provide a tribute to their heritage instead of a racist cartoon figure like Cleveland’s “Chief Wahoo”.

MLA Citation: 

Fenelon, James V. Redskins?: Sports Mascots, Indian Nations and White Racism. Routledge, 2017. 

Source 3:

Title: Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots

Author: Carol Spindel

Author Bio: 

Carol Spindel is a writer and activist from Urbana, Illinois. She has lived, worked for, and written about the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Peankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. She has accepted that she lives on a land that was stolen from innocent people and continues to find and tell the stories of those ancient peoples. Spindel has also taught creative nonfiction to undergraduates at the University of Illinois. She is a longtime ACLU activist and has worked with Native and civil rights organizations  to urge schools and universities to retire mascots, logos, and team names based on stereotypes of American Indians.

Content Summary: 

Spindel goes to great lengths to paint a picture of how Native Americans are perceived and shaped by the average American’s imagination. She writes about how some stereotypes of Native culture were completely fabricated by American cinema and other media, as well as how racist sports logos and team names shape a narrative of the Native American people that damages their true identity. Spindel, in particular, explores her own college, the University of Illinois, and the institution’s odd fixation on Chief Illiniwek, the school’s longtime mascot. She looks into artifacts of the university that paint an even worse picture for Native Americans, such as old football programs, yearbooks, as well as old wild west-style photographs. She interviews various lawyers, linguists, and university alumni on their perception of the U of I’s mascot and what it represents. I found this book to be unique in the fact that it highlights the aspect of college mascots over professional ones, as the college mascot controversies do not make the press as much as the NFL and MLB team names. Spindel shows that in the US, Native Americans are painted as “symbolic servants” and can be a cheap way to represent and “honor” a culture of damaged people. 

MLA Citation: 

Spindel, Carol. Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots. New York University Press, 2002. 

Source 4:

Title: The Demise of Native American Mascots: It’s time to do the right thing

Author: Joyce M Wolburg

Author Bio:

Dr. Joyce M. Wolburg is the Associate Dean and a Professor of Strategic Communication at the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. Wolburg has written on a wide range of topics such as issues associated with the advertising of alcohol and tobacco; public service announcements; risk communication; historical issues in advertising and public relations, and the validity of racial representation in American media. She earned a B.S in Psychology at Old Dominion University, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Tennessee.

Content Summary:

Joyce M. Wolburg’s The Demise of Native American Mascots: It’s time to do the right thing shows the reader the Native American people’s outlook and opinion on the names, logos, and mascots of American sports teams that have been called racist over the past 80 years. This article actually contains essays by Native Americans that try to teach Non-Natives about how these mascots should be perceived by the media and public. Wolburg also examines the meaning of a Native American “warrior” and what it symbolizes for the culture. She directs this article towards the many sports team owners, marketers, and average fans to show what a jersey of a team such as the Washington Redskins truly represents. Wolburg drives home the fact that the Native culture’s voice needs to be heard in a flood of the “American Dream” mindset and how we need to accept the fact that we single-handedly destroyed a people to make the land we stand on “ours”. This article jumped out to me since it includes the viewpoint on the controversy by those who are targeted by these logos and team names, I feel that the voice of Native Americans needs to be heard in my essay, so I hold this article in high regard amongst my long list of sources.

MLA Citation:

Wolburg, Joyce M. “The Demise of Native American Mascots: It’s Time to Do the Right Thing.” Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 4–5., doi:10.1108/07363760610641109.


Design in a Failing Planet

Personally, I do not know how to design with an environmental mindset yet. I feel that every single way we live is somehow damaging a part of the environment. Everything from using the internet, printing, painting, anything that has to do with my methods of coming up with little doo-dads and logos are going to kill a minuscule part of our beloved planet. Hopefully, in the coming times, I will learn of various ways to better help my designs ethically. If I worked for myself I would make sure all of my paper is approved to be environmentally grown, cut, and manufactured, I would also use inks that are approved and would not be dumped into our beautiful waters, stuff like that would add up and hopefully my “design footprint” would be less than it is now.

Designers can also spread awareness about climate change and sustainability through social design. I feel that designers have a great deal of responsibility in spreading awareness on environmental issues as well as taking these challenges head-on with various methods of design and manufacturing. Designers have the power to spread awareness about these topics through many mediums, such as social media, posters, blogs, videos, and many other mediums.

I guess something that can be considered a piece of design is the work of Patagonia. I love their outlooks on sustainability and that they are always checking themselves on their past mistakes. I remember one year they ran an ad (which they rarely do) in a huge national paper with a picture of one of their jackets and in huge bold letters saying “Don’t buy this jacket”. They were trying to urge the average American consumer to only buy Patagonia products (and probably other products) when they are absolutely needed. They also champion reliability, repairing old items, and ethical manufacturing methods. They introduced these nearly 30 years ago and were immediately criticized by the media and other clothing brands, but Patagonia stuck through the possible financial struggles of more expensive manufacturing progress and eventually made a perfect name for themselves in the name of quality gear and clothing.

Overall, I feel that the human race will somehow come through the problems of climate change. I mean, who doesn’t love a Cinderella story? I love an underdog, and I feel that it is a huge privilege to be alive when we possibly can accomplish the biggest upset of all: saving our asses.


Design in Politics

Eventually, design and the ever-changing topic of politics were bound to collide at some point. I feel that this can be a good thing. I feel like designers/artists can be ignored, embraced, or patronized depending on how a political movement or political party reacts to them. When I think about it, I feel that in the US liberal parties and movements are much more dedicated to the arts than more conservative movements. Which would make sense, since most of us designers and artists just so happen to be of a liberal background.

For example, when you look at Republican vs. Democratic design for running for office, promoting an agenda, or just simple branding, the Democratic designs tend to be… a lot better. Now, I am not saying that conservative design is bad, but in my opinion, it is definitely boring. In the grand scheme of things, I feel that liberal design will always be more artful, bold, and successful than a conservative party.

The simple fact is we were embraced by the left and dismissed by the right. Maybe Deann is right in saying that there needs to be more conservative designers, even though the words “more conservative” makes me a bit nervous.

Looking back on the past, I feel like some of the greatest impacts in design history were a product of politics. Just look at the two World Wars, amazing movements like the Bauhaus, De Stijl, Art Nouveau, Modernism, Futurism, Cubism, and many others came out of that short span of time. Some of these movements were even embraced by countries and used as a branding of their heritage (Constructivism, Futurism).

Moving stateside, we look at great movements like the WPA. This gave the struggling artists of the Great Depression jobs that created some of the greatest landmarks in this country (looking at you Timberline Lodge, you sweet bastard). I believe there should be more government programs to employ the weirdos a.k.a. artists, musicians, designers, writers, and hell even sculptors to have a good job so we can afford an $1800 studio apartment in lowly Portland, Oregon.

I feel that the world is in need of us artists right now, everything is so depressing in the media. Without art and design, the world would be one hell of a boring place. No matter if your candidate is wearing a red or blue tie, art needs to be embraced by both. You would be surprised by how much power an artist can wield at the end of their paintbrush, or the Pen Tool in their Adobe Illustrator. Personally, the initial thought of art fused with politics made me grimace. After the past few years however, I actually do see a need for it now and whole-heartedly believe that we represent the people more than our beloved politicians who are running for office.


“Release the Kraken!”

Earlier last year, the new name, logo, and uniforms of the NHL’s newest team in Seattle were finally unveiled. The Seattle Kraken, to the joy of many fans, was the chosen name for the new team. The Kraken’s design of their name, logos, and uniforms was extremely speculated in the sports logo and uniform design community (yes, that’s a thing, and I am a part of it). Luckily, the unveiling of the team name, logo, and uniforms was well-received. I thought it was well fit to do a thorough evaluation of what I believe the biggest piece of design for the Pacific Northwest in recent memory.

Primary Logo

The primary logo is a giant “S” the conceals the curvaceous tentacle of a Kraken, as well as a menacing red eye. Overall, the logo is actually quite clean and simple compared to most logos around the National Hockey League. I believe simplicity was the right way to go for this, as this is the maiden identity for the organization and will most likely slowly be modified over the course of the next few years. Without the red eye, I fear the logo would’ve been too bland and forgettable, so I love the touch of contrast in the primary logo. For those of you who do not know, this large “S” logo is most likely a nod to the history of professional hockey in Seattle. The Seattle Metropolitans, The Emerald City’s first NHL hockey team, won the first modern Stanley Cup in 1917. The team also had a large “S” in the middle of their sweaters, and I have to believe that gave some inspiration to the Kraken with their primary logo. The primary logo is the perfect balance of simplicity, but it still has a meaning and character lurking in the shadows. The simplified tentacle and contrasting red eye make for something interesting that could go on to be one of the many iconic logos in the NHL’s history. 

Secondary Logo

Now the secondary “anchor” logo is the sneaky hero of this whole rebranding. The combination of the Space Needle and an anchor is so simple, yet elegant. It was a move that was waiting right there to happen, and I love that they went with it. However, the logo in some respects can seem to look a bit plain and unsuspecting. I believe that there needs to be an extra element to the logo. Possibly another tentacle wrapping around the anchor? Or even just a dash of red to harmonize with the primary logo more effectively. However, I feel that this logo works extremely well as a secondary logo. It should not be so busy and distracting to the point where it overshadows the primary mark. For example, when looking at the Kraken’s uniform, the secondary logo is perfect how it is on the shoulders of the sweater, but I still feel that overall it is at about 85%.

Script Logo

The script logo displays “Seattle Kraken” in a sans serif font and a blackletter-type serif font that gives the feel of a gloomy maritime scene on the Puget Sound. I most of all appreciate the variety of both words, “Seattle” being in a more sans serif understated typeface and a larger “Kraken” being in a beautiful two-tone calligraphic design. There is not much else to say about this logo, I feel it fits well overall with the rest of the brand. It looks like the Kraken are really going for this maritime feel, which I appreciate… even though most of Seattle is just a bunch of coffee-drinking employees of the tech industry.

Color Palette

The Kraken’s color palette has the maritime feel that the overall design is going for. The different tones of blue and teal are very nice that gives a dark and disturbing oceanic feel, and the red brings a fire to all that darkness that can be seen as bold and courageous. I do feel though that there are too many colors on the official team color palette. Look at the most iconic sports teams of all time, usually, they only have 2-3 colors. I believe a more simplified color palette would work much better instead of a 5-color selection.

I believe that the design is one of the best pieces of sports design of 2020. The branding represents a city of history that needs a new team to cheer on, and a new sport to spread through the Pacific Northwest. Overall, I feel that this new identity will have a lasting impression on Hockey in the PNW and will be easily adaptable to the decades to come. I cannot wait to go to Seattle, buy an $11 Coors Light, and see those colors, logos, and uniforms for the Kraken’s maiden season in the winter of 2021.


“Hot & Cold”

Marshall McLuhan was one of the first modern examples of an electronic media theorist. His ideologies on the impact media have on society were extremely jarring to the public, which led to some of his thoughts being met with great scrutiny, especially from those in radio and television. McLuhan died in 1980 as a man who had fallen out of fashion and was often criticized for his polarizing takes on media and how it is seen through the eyes of people.

One of McLuhan’s most controversial theories was called hot and cold media. This was a scale in which McLuhan put many types of media such as radio, television, movies, newspapers, etc, on a scale of hot and cool. Hot meaning it takes less involvement to understand such as TV since it uses pictures and sound and easily communicates the point of what you are watching. Cool would take more involvement and more brainpower for one to process and understand, examples being radio and newspapers. This theory was criticized heavily, as the public thought was that different types of media could not be set in separate concrete categories, especially with advances in technology ramping up to light-speed with new tech being introduced every day.

After reading more about McLuhan’s theory, I have to say I would have been part of the angry mob that criticized him throughout his career. With today’s multi-faceted attack of media with TV news, social media, blogs, radio, and overall clickbait, I feel that there are simply too many different types of media to put in these two vague categories. Maybe if McLuhan had expanded his categories and gave more criteria for media, these arguments would not have taken place, and maybe we would even see McLuhan in a better light.

Actually, my first thought when understanding the hot and cold media theory was my main argument against this theory. That argument would be that every person who engages with media will engage and interpret it in a different way. Some may read the results of the 2020 US Presidential Election and just shrug their shoulders and move on, some may embark on a V for Vendetta-style terrorist attack on our own Capital, and yes, of course, there are about a million different reactions between those two. In the grand scheme of things, I believe McLuhan generalized the average media consumer of the time, which I believe to be one of his biggest mistakes.

Now, I do believe Marshall McLuhan meant well his hot and cold media ideology, he just executed it horribly. If he was alive today, I think we would revise his idea ten-fold. I understand what the man was trying to accomplish and show, and I believe with some tweaks and possibly more criteria, hot and cold media would be a heavily debated idea for generations to come.


An Introduction

Hello, my name is Johnny Malcom, and I’m the creator and author of this blog. I’m a Junior in the Oregon State GD Program, and I have a love (or an obsession) for art that can often get in the way of my daily life. I was born in Portland, Oregon but raised in the small town of Pendleton, Oregon.

I am of the belief that design should be timeless, simple, and relevant. What most people deem “boring” in today’s world is actually amazing in my eyes. The design should be needed, not forced. Rebrandings these days seem out of touch and make no sense (just look at the new General Motors logo, God help us). I often look to those of the past who did it best for motivation and inspiration, like the works of heroes like Saul Bass or Massimo Vignelli

People outside of the design world tend to disregard the past when it comes to a logo here or a typeface there, but I treasure it. That is why I’m so excited for my GD History class, it really is some nerd shit that is right up my alley.


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