Posted in Creative Enagement

Three times as hard

After reading every single challenge box, I picked challenge 13: Three in One.


So here I am on a Saturday sketching and thinking and stumbling but enjoying myself.  The first problem with this project wasn’t the creative aspect but the examples given in the book.  After reading a challenge I would look at the example and find that the example is either something I would have thought of eventually (like challenge 48, 53, or 57) or now anything I come up with looks like I just copied the example.


I was tasked with designing three print ads of an object I use daily and showing it in three different ways: positive, negative, and metaphorical.  Again, the example messed with me.  Dang it! I really would have been able to come up with those USB ads.  In addition, I found myself comparing my ads with those of the example.  DAMN, the examples are good and I can’t help but try to reproduce the style in my own ad somehow.

I sat down with my laptop, blank sheets of paper, a pen, a sharpie, and water.  Turned on Netflix and watched a new Netflix series: 13 reasons why.  (Really liked the show, recommend it if interested in deep shows that talk about not so comfortable topics)

13 Reasons Why

Back on topic

After some major brain storming I chose my wrist watch because I always wear it.  The easiest ad was by far the metaphorical one, I knew I wanted the ad to show a clock with numbers falling off the clock face – to represent how every second is important or how 24 hours in a day isn’t enough.  I went about sketching a clock face with the numbers 1-24 to represent the hours in a day, and then hours overflowing onto a pile on the ground.  Added some text and I was ready create a digital ad. I made the choice to digitally reproduce my idea because it was the only way I knew how to create my idea from paper to computer.


My first step was to find the right font type.  I wanted it to be similar to the way I wrote the text because I felt it would be more eye grabbing.  I went through all the fonts and picked four fonts that I thought were close to my sketch and found that Mistral was very close to how I sketched it.

20170401_114036 Finished up with creating a simple clock face and numbers spilling off the clock face.  Metaphorical ad done and done.  Only 45 minutes in and still needed to complete two other ads.

LUNCH BREAK be back in 20

And I was.

After my quick lunch break I had to figure out how represent a watch in a negative and positive way.  The book said you could give a glowing review for the positive and use another company for the negative.  It turns out the hardest part of this project was coming up with a positive and negative ad.   Negative I just ended up using my watch as a “crappy” style of watch compared to a fancier watch that was going on sale.

First thing I thought of for the positive, “what was the benefits of a watch versus a phone”.  Let’s face it why even have a watch when your phone can tell time and so much more.  This calls for a pros and cons list of watch vs phone! Yay

Watch Phone
longer battery


Cheaper (usually)

I like them


Games/Social Media


I need it …my whole life (sorta)

The list was mostly to devise a positive ad for the watch.  A phone can give you the time all while playing angry birds or candy crush.  That’s the point!  You go to check the time and then get distracted by checking social media, playing video games, or texting people.  3 hours later, you realize that you just spent too much time on your phone and not your homework because you went to check the time.  Here is where a wrist watch would prevent all that wasted time from being wasted.

So yeah, that was my whole process, sorry this was so long but I’m proud of my work.

This was really fun! But it was hard to come up with three different designs for the same product, it also didn’t help that my Photoshop skills are pretty much level 0 so I was pretty much left with using straight pictures.  Even with its difficulties, I learned that looking at an object and coming up with three different views can be challenge.   That how you spin something changes how you approach the task, similar to how you use rhetoric can change how the discussion goes.


Posted in Discussion Questions

Usability 1O1

Reading assignment: read “User Experience Basics”, “User-Centered Design Basics”, “Visual Design Basics”, and “Accessibility Basics” + at least 2 other articles.

User Experience (UX) is a relatively new and growing field but it is a very important field.  Focusing on the importance of the user interface, the experience, and ease of navigation.  UX is only as important as the relevance of the information and the value that the user finds in what you are providing.  Peter Morville describes the values through a easy to understand UX Honeycomb.

User-Centered Design (UCD) is the phases throughout a design while getting an understanding the target audience of the product.  The goal for a “team” of UCD balance the need of the users, tasks, environments, and the employer.  This process involves identifying the needs of the people using the product and the business requirements.  Then hopefully after the designing stage, testing it with actual users.

The visual design portion is the eye-popping, audience captivating  component of any memorable site.  The lines, shapes, color palette, texture, typography, and form are all are important aspects to creating a successful site.  Some of the most important principles for visual design “pulling” it all together.  I believe the top three principles would be unity, space, and contrast.

Accessibility focuses on how disabled people interact with a site, system, or application.  Implementing accessibility increases the audience that can be reached.  Some key points

  1. not relying on color
  2. the ability to alt text such as magnifying text
  3. functionality
  4. In-sync captioning

My additional readings:

User-Centered Deign Map (not part of my additional reading)-  just a nifty chart that can help the design process

Interaction: The focus of this is the interaction between user and the technology.  Something I believe is very important to understand to help all potential audience.   The interaction chart/table asks question that help lead the programmer, employer, or designer down the proper path.

Content Strategy: Can be applied to many fields, not just design.  This is focused on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content.  Not just the text but the visual components.   One of the most important components is the ease of navigation.  Kristina Halvorson reiterates the importance of identifying what already exists, what should be increased, and why it should be created.


  1. What other readings did people choose? Random or something that peaked your interest?
  2. Like I stated earlier, I believe the top three principles of visual design are unity, space and contrast.  Example: PSSSSSSTT CAN YOU READ THIS NOW?  I bet you won’t be able to read what I wrote before this without highlighting the space.  This isn’t much better, this is slightly better,  and this is readable but an odd choice of color perhaps. If you could only use three of the principles (unity, gestalt, space, hierarchy, balance, contrast, scale, dominance, or similarity) which combination would you use to make a successful site? Why?
  3. Do you think there is anything else that can influence UX besides the ones mentioned?
  4. Can we apply this info outside of designing?


Posted in Discussion Questions

“Our Unstable Artistry” Cushman’s Problem Setting: February 1st

Jeremy Cushman discusses in this article his reaction to Donald Schön’s definition of problem setting, the use of vignette, and not supplying us with tools to help us execute problem setting ourselves.  What I mean by the last part, is that problem setting has no “distinct moves or tools we employ” (329).  It is not a list of things that must be done to get from point A to point B.

Schön states that “professional practice is characterized by indeterminate situations..”(328), which to me is like being given a math equation and asked to solve it without all the information needed to actually come to an answer.  It seems impossible and something that the teacher should just give us full credit for and cross out, but then maybe you start to inquire a bit more, start sketching out equations and shapes and you start seeing information that was not explicitly given but implied.  By the end, you have gathered all the information needed to solve what seemed like an incomplete problem.  Problem setting, in a sense, is our ability to act according to constant changes in a situation.  

Problem setting is creating a problem from nothing so that you have a problem to solve.  It seems contradictory.  How does one solve a problem, if the problem you are solving is not there because it needs to be created?  Cushman  answers this question through his vignette of the DMD firm with Marcie and Charles.

Marcie and Charles are presented a job that has specific requirements that must be present but the job itself is so ambiguous that Marcie and Charles cannot immediately attempt to solve the problem.  Largely because there is no problem to solve, just a vague RFP, that they use to come up with “entry points”.  They use these entry points as the problems that need to be solved or in their case, to “create a document that they can present to the prospective client that captures what kind of story this Web site will best tell…” (337).

Questions to ponder (in silence or aloud)

  1. In Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist, chapter five discusses side projects and hobbies.  Kleon says ” Stuff that’s just play.  That’s actually the good stuff” (65).  How does Kleon’s thought on side projects relate to problem setting?
  2. How is problem setting similar to Jenny Edbauer’s reference of city as a verb  (11)?
  3. What are different examples of problem setting in your specific field? How would you go about identifying the problem?
  4. How does your definition of rhetoric reflect in problem setting?
Posted in Rhetorcial Ecologies

Profit$ Over Live$



Medicine and insurance companies don’t mix well. When it seems that big insurance companies value “Profit over lives”.  One of the most recent examples of this is the cost of  the Epinephrine auto-injector devices.  These devices are most commonly known by the brand name EpiPen, which is owned by a Mylan.

Within four years the price of EpiPens has increased by 500%. This led to a social media outcry of rage, disgust, and call for change. 

In 2007, a pack of EpiPens cost less than $100 by 2016 EpiPens cost ~$600 for a 2 pack.  $600 for something that can be made for a few dollars.  Something that people need to be safe – to stay alive.  People who need EpiPens don’t need them for sport or because they enjoy stabbing themselves.  If needing an Epinephrine auto-injector device isn’t enough; people need multiple pens and then on top of that the medicine only is effective for a year. 

 The amount of discussion that has been prompted by the drastic increase in price of EpiPens has gotten the attention of adults, parents, social media, Congress, and other pharmaceutical companies.  

Bellini Kantayya is a mother from Brooklyn, New York who created a petition under the title “Stop the EpiPen Price Gouging”.  She went to social media for support and within days found herself with a petition that had 80,000 signatures and more than 121,000 letters to Congress.  

Proof that taking to social media about something important can lead to change.  People do have the power to cause change with the help of the Internet, to reach masses in seconds is a powerful tool that has changed the makeup of rhetorical ecology from even 5 years ago.