care-tags design coalition

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care-tags design coalition

Postby schiaparelli » Sun May 11, 2014 6:43 pm

hello everyone,

care-tags has a lot of design-interested people. graphic design, fashion design, industrial design, media design, interaction design, &c. we need a thread to be our open-door clubhouse for design discussions. here is one.

it would be cool if you could introduce yourself by saying a bit about your relationship with design. what areas of design are you interested in? what does design mean to you? is design art? is design a trade? is design a career for you or just an interest? what is well-designed? what is poorly designed? can design fail? where does design succeed? can design change the world?*

this would also be a good place to recommend good design books to other people, ask for design book recommendations, show off your work, speculate on interesting design projects, opine forcefully about good and bad products, post intriguing articles, make dorky jokes about kerning, and say things like "vignelli is my homeboy".

* one of my design professors put this question on a slide and posed it to our class. after 5min of discussion he went to the next slide, which said, "design won't change the world. go volunteer in a soup kitchen, you pretentious fuck" and then asked us to discuss that.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby oucho » Sun May 11, 2014 6:51 pm

does working in a soup kitchen change the world???
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby parastexis » Sun May 11, 2014 7:01 pm

what's keming?
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby sparkyoriental » Sun May 11, 2014 7:02 pm

I'm interested in human computer interaction design, though the key word is interested. I'm going to be doing a couple co-design workshops in August for my job so I need to start learning and reading soon.

Any resource recommendations for HCID?
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby silvaeri » Sun May 11, 2014 7:06 pm

woooo yay design!

i just finished up my 3rd year in a graphic design program (4th year at school, yay super seniorness)! i'll write a more detailed introduction answering some of the OP question prompts when I'm feeling less lazy. Currently I'm interested in web design/front end development, and that's probably what i'll be doing once i get out of school. i current do some minor front end dev and a lot of website upkeep for my current job. design is fun and cool, it design can be art and art can be designed and it's basically just an overlap imo, like a venn diagram, some art is design some isn't, some design is art and some isn't.

on a personal level right now, i'm feeling a little fed up with the whole design education i've been going through, i've done 4 years of design school and this point and the prospect of another year is sucky. there's a weird level of pretentiousness that pervades a lot of my design classes and classmates (unfortunately) and it's really bumming me out. a lot of my courses feel like the same class it's not so much learning new things anymore as it is just doing work and refining your craft and designing ability. i dunno i'm rambling at this point. i'd love to hear what others think of design school.


@sparkyoriental - Universal Methods of Design and Universal Principles of Design are great beginning sources for HCID/UX/UI things. Designing for Emotion is also a key read for that sort of thing. I can go back through my UX course notes/readings and find more recommendations if you'd like. But these three readings are a great jumping off point that I think any designer (especially within the HCID/UX area) should read.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby zayg » Sun May 11, 2014 7:14 pm

Wish I knew more about design, messing around with indesign and illustrator in high school were the jam. I sometimes wish I took more classes. Last three girls I've seen, including the current girlfriend, were graphic designers so I apparently get along with people in the field. I made a point to check out the RISD museum's graphic design exhibit they currently have and I suggest anyone who can see it to take a look.

As I said, I don't have much experience myself but I'm going to be producing a book of my photography soon and I am recruiting my girlfriend to help with the design. I'm going to try and do some myself though and at least offer some creative input.

Designers are cool though as you guys tend to be the least pretentious folk in the art world...also the most employable.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby exprof » Sun May 11, 2014 7:19 pm

Ahhh! So I start design school in the fall, I'm really excited. Everything I've done thus far has been self-taught, so it'll be nice to finally have some guidance.

If anyone wants to recommend books, that would be great ^-^
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby silvaeri » Sun May 11, 2014 7:22 pm

@zayg - I'm at the University of Minnesota. Our design school is it's own little self contained "college" within the University. All the art majors are in the College of Liberal Arts so I don't interact with them at all so I don't have a level of their pretentiousness to compare against. And it's not like the pretentiousness is extreme or anything, it's just something i've notice as i've gotten farther along in the program. there's one or two professors that have the pretentiousness and there's a small group of my classmates that have that same pretentiousness. and i think it's because i'm a pretty chill person to begin with that i just don't understand why they feel the need to be pretentious, it's like we're all designers, we're all doing cool things. just simmer down a bit and let's have fun. i think part of it too might be that i'm just sick of being in school at this point.

Thanks for thinking we're cool though, I think we definitely do neat stuff. Let us know how your photography book turns out, I'm interested in seeing it! I think as long as you can recognize what bad design is, you'll be fine when it comes to making your book.


@exprof - congrats! enjoy your time in school! for books see my response to sparkyoriental above for a few good starting points. other good reads are Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton (typography handbook), Megg's History of Graphic Design is a great overview of design and it's evolution.



If anyone has any good reads/articles/websites about web design or development they'd like to recommend i'm open to anything. always on the look out for new things to read pertaining to that field.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby bikesarecool » Sun May 11, 2014 7:26 pm

I don't have a design background really, but sometimes stuff just bothers me -- like when something is a few pixels off, or a degree off-center, or spaced in a way that doesn't 'feel' right/good. I guess I obsess over details a little bit too much sometimes; it's probably something I picked up from my photography days.

It's not really a technical skill but more of a 'feel' thing, if you get what i mean? Say you're moving something in photoshop or illustrator pixel-by-pixel and you can just FEEL it when it's at the most aesthetically appealing spot.


.. or i have ocd
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby schiaparelli » Sun May 11, 2014 7:28 pm

kerning is to adjust the space between specific letter pairings. this is necessary because you want letters in words/sentences/paragraphs to be arranged in a relatively uniform and harmonious way in conventional typesetting. if you look at the letters "I K", because the inner edges of the letters are straight, that requires a certain amount of space. but if you spaced out "V A" in the same way, it might look overly spaced, because the V and A letters have some negative space between them. their inner edges aren't a straight up-and-down vertical line, but slanted lines, so you need to have the space between them be of a diff. size than the space between "I K" in order to make it feel uniform.

"VA" is a pretty common example of a letterform requiring special kerning. usually typeface designers will figure out kerning for nearly all of the hundreds of thousands of symbol pairings possible, but often designers may have to manually adjust kerning in places like logos and large headline text.

the term keming is sometimes used on the internet to describe bad kerning. (here's the origin of the term.) here's a blog of hilarious kerning mistakes.

x x x

wait i guess that was a joke question but i got excited and just answered it anyway ; n ; i'm a dork sorry
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby exprof » Sun May 11, 2014 7:51 pm

Taking about design mistakes: I hate the shift key in ios 7
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby g2x222 » Sun May 11, 2014 8:03 pm

exprof wrote:Taking about design mistakes: I hate the shift key in ios 7


holy moly, it's unusable. I'm always making mistakes and second-guessing whether or not it's active or not
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby oucho » Sun May 11, 2014 8:49 pm

discussion point: are macs better than PCs for design??? ! ?

I use a PC, I have used macs, but only for very short periods of time, as far as I can tell it doesn't really make any difference at all, so where the fuk did the whole macs are good for design thing come from? cos they look cool? I know they normally have good screens but you can get good screens for PCs too

what do y'all dudes use?
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby donut_milk » Sun May 11, 2014 9:30 pm

I guess I am a professional designer but I also do some front-end development as well. Sooo...hybrid? Anyway, I went to design school 5 years ago (whoa). But before that when I was younger I focused on fine art such as painting and drawing. It wasn't until the dot com era (late 90s-early 2000s) when I found BBS forums talking about graphic/web design and making your first site. That really piqued my interest and I took it upon myself teach myself some basic Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and really early HTML/JS. While it wasn't great I still had fun with it all throughout high school while still pursuing my fine arts interest. Blah blah blah, I graduate and decided to apply to design school.

Here I am 5 years later and have had lots of jobs in many different industries - a fine art company selling Chinese art supplies, then one in fashion doing development work while also helping designers who weren't familiar with web design, to startups, a toy company, a media company, and now in the journalism field doing interaction/web design/dev with data which I've never done before. So it's been a long trip for me!

I think as a designer, whatever field you're in, is to never to stop learning and to always keep pursuing being better at your craft or taking interest in other fields. There have been some designers I've known and worked with who were just so narrow minded and didn't want anything to do with understanding certain things (i.e. web designers who don't know some basic programming terminology or just don't want to deal with talking with developers and can't explain how their product/design works). You also shouldn't be afraid to take constructive criticism or ask for it; it's always great to get a new set of eyes on your work to notice something you may not have seen before and get a new perspective.

And for the budding designers still in college keep pushing through it even though it probably sucks sometimes.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby rjbman » Sun May 11, 2014 10:21 pm

What exactly is the difference between design and front-end development?

On a semi-related note, this summer I'm interning at a website development company, but I'll be mainly doing back-end MVC stuff.

Most of the stuff I do is on a functional level, not much design right now. What's the best way to get feedback on design? Got a portfolio site in progress but I'd like to have it looked at once I deem it semi-complete.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby sparkyoriental » Sun May 11, 2014 10:35 pm

To the person who recommended UX crash course on irc (http://thehipperelement.com/post/754767 ... ign=buffer) to me...THANK YOU!!! Incredible resource.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby silvaeri » Sun May 11, 2014 10:42 pm

Who was it that I was talking to on IRC about giving them a PDF version of Megg's History? Whoever you are here's a download: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1b503yrif9t7m ... 012%29.pdf you all should be able to download from there, if not let me know and i'll fix the permissions.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby donut_milk » Sun May 11, 2014 10:44 pm

@rjbman Front-End development deals with HTML, CSS, JS mostly and no design whatsoever. Design is, as it is, design whether it's graphic, web, interaction, etc. Some designers (if you're web) know a little bit of front-end development. It's not necessary but it's nice to know a little bit so you can converse with developers who will be making your design "come to life" on the screen.

To get feedback, I would suggest just posting on design related forums, ask your design colleagues at the company you'll be interning at to look at your work, ask design professors at a school to look at your stuff, or even go to a meetup where you'll be able to share your work.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby silvaeri » Sun May 11, 2014 10:46 pm

@rjbman - feel free to hit me up whenever for design crit, i'll be available all summer. i'm also doing front end design/dev this summer so i'll be the opposite side of what you're working on.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby schiaparelli » Mon May 12, 2014 8:53 am

@silvaeri—i'm sort of in "design school" (taking some but not all of the traditional design major curriculum here, but i still have a desk in studio). the professors run the gamut from pragmatically humble to snobby aesthetes. i guess i came into design from this very applied low-key understanding of design as making nice posters and whatnot. i'm happy that my school is expanding my horizons to consider things like…designing for greater social problems, designing for reform, &c. there's this interesting tension between d-schools that do the craft vs. the philosophy vs. a bit of both.

relevant terminology: big-D versus little-d design (big-D design is usually "design that can change the world", "design thinking to solve wicked problems in society", little-d design is posters, tea kettles, t-shirts, logos kinda thing), "design thinking" which is what about half of my classes seem to push—this holistic way of viewing design in everyday life and seeing the world as a designed environment (e.g. considering things like processes and sequences of actions and community dynamics as things that can be designed).

there's an interesting article that's been making its way around the internet called "designer duds: losing our seat at the table", and it kind of addresses how design has come into vogue and how current design culture may (from the author's perspective) fail to really solve problems. i think it's a great read.

x x x

the shift key in iOS 7 is the absolute worst. i always think it's on when it's not, and then i turn it off when i want it on because i got so horribly confused…trying to figure out exactly what's wrong. i think in older versions of iOS 7/in general with keyboard design you expect all keys to be the same color, and previously if you hit the shift key it would change bg color to show it was on. now what they seem to have done is make the main keys a white bg and everything else grey to use some kind of visual prominence thing to isolate keys people will use most often (characters + space + dictation) but it's confusing because the convention we expect is different bg = toggled shift. i think?

x x x

@oucho—fair warning, i'm a very typography-centric person, but the typography-centric perspective provides to me the clearest difference between using macs vs. PCs for (largely graphic) design, at least.

apple and microsoft employ different type rendering engines in their operating systems. here's an exhaustive read with some pictures to show the difference, but i'll summarize it briefly:

OS X prefers to render type so that it's true to the design of it, so small details will remain intact and more faithfully depicted. the downside is that type renders a bit blurry and delicate (due to how the subpixel antialiasing operates, to fool you into seeing certain shapes when there isn't enough pixel density to perfectly display a shape's contours).

windows prefers to render type so that it is sharp, clear, and readable, so legibility is hindered as little as possible. the downside is that the type renders a bit jaggedy and with less character (because less subpixel antialiasing is used).

windows has made available a slightly better rendering system in the past few years called cleartype, but i think it still requires users to explicitly enable it.

there's also some interesting history/drama about how apple at the beginning paid a lot of money to license nice, professional, widely respected typefaces from type foundries (helvetica, hoefler text) whereas microsoft felt too cheap to pay some licensing fees so instead commissioned knockoffs (arial is a knockoff of helvetica—most people would say an inferior knockoff). and to this day OS X has a better set of typefaces than windows, although microsoft has also done some nice things in commissioning really lovely web typefaces (e.g. georgia, verdana, and the C typefaces that were the only good thing to come out of windows vista—calibri, constantina, consolas, &c).

aside from that i can't really think of clear reasons, except that some people say that OS X is better designed and has a better overall eye to design, and designers prefer to work with pretty things.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby ramseames » Mon May 12, 2014 9:19 am

Ultimately it's all about 3rd party software availability and they're largely even in that regard. Anyone who claims there's any significant difference but uses multi platform software for their work is pretty much full of shit.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby silvaeri » Mon May 12, 2014 5:53 pm

@schiaparelli - you're doing a hybrid CS/Design program correct? interesting to hear your professors run the gamut as well. do you feel like the "design(ed) thinking" approach their pushing is beneficial? we have the same sort of M.O. at my program, and I like it in that it's teaching us more than just how to be Pixel-pushers/CAD monkeys, but at a point it gets a little repetative to me and I wish that we got a bit more technical instruction than we do. My program pretty much expects you to teach the technical stuff yourself, because let's face it, there's a lot of great tutorials on how to do everything out there (lynda.com anyone?) but sometimes it's frustrating not being at the technical level to develop your ideas to where you wish they were. Which is something I'm struggling with at the moment. I can conceptualize, but my execution struggles on a lower level.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby agvs » Tue May 13, 2014 9:40 am

I'm a web designer. I have been so for about 12 years now. I can also do some front end development. My career path is not a typical one. I did not go to school for anything design related. I was a psychology major who had no idea what to do after college and not many job opportunities. I took some classes to learn photoshop, illustrator, flash, html, etc and really loved it. I landed an internship doing flash animations with a small company right after 9/11 and they eventually hired me full time. This was my real design education. I had the greatest mentor you could ever hope for. Seriously, he was the smartest dude I've met and one of the best designers I've ever worked with. I had a real interest in design at some point but that's pretty much gone now. Now it's just a job and it's one I don't mind and I get paid decently enough. I'm technically a freelancer but I have a steady gig with the same company a few days a week. I used to work there full time (same co. I started with). It's very rare to stay with the same company for 12 years these days but I have no plans on leaving and I don't think they have any plans on getting rid of me.

I've worked with tons of people with design educations and backgrounds throughout my career. Almost without fail most of them try to put their design aesthetic ahead of what a client wants or a project needs. What I mean by that is they want something to look a certain way sometimes in spite of what would be the most useful solution. Of course over time the good ones learn to design for the project instead of designing for themselves but keep that in mind if you're a design student. It's not about you.

I firmly look at design as a trade/job and not art. To me it's all about problem solving and finding a solution to whatever has been put in front of you. I tend to go for simplicity at first but I don't subscribe to any one aesthetic. Every project is different and you need to do whatever you have to do. I don't believe in having a style that you force on whatever it is you're designing (at least in my field). You need to serve the project, not your ego. That will vary wildly from design field to design field and project to project though. There are people who make their living based on having an established aesthetic that people want and pay for. I'm rambling now.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby schiaparelli » Sun May 18, 2014 1:25 pm

@silvaeri: i'm doing a design & CS program, yes, and i call it interdisciplinary, but the ugly truth about interdisciplinary programs is that it's hard to do & often you either get a shallow knowledge of how to integrate two domains but don't learn things in great depth, or you learn two domains in great depth but your education is highly polarized and separated. there are a handful of professors that bridge the CS + art/design gap, though.

i think the design thinking approach is helpful because to me it's along the lines of a liberal-arts educational mindset that i appreciate: teaching people to think and learn and critique and explore. CS and design both have this tension between highly applied, current-industry-specific stuff (think people who learn to be java developers, who learn ruby on rails in college & people who design posters and logos) versus more theoretical (CS that's all about discrete math and algorithms, and the design thinking stuff i described above). i agree that i don't want to be a pixelpusher and i have this faint snobbery i try to tamp down on about people who want to become code monkeys/pixelpushers. i guess i'm all about learning a way of thinking and not a trade. but at a certain point you do need to learn the practical stuff and it sucks when your design program throws fresh grads out into a world and doesn't teach them the minutiae of printing and color spaces.

i also feel that my execution is really shoddy, there are a lot of small details i don't know. i have a good mechanical knowledge of typesetting (down to setting acronyms in small-caps and considering different margin proportions) but that was largely self-taught.

i kind of think a good way to do it is to have a program that gives you technical/execution basics (enough to get your feet wet, enough to get you comfortable pursuing on your own) and then start focusing on the high-level stuff (assuming that you'll continue your photoshop 101 course and learn all the nitty-gritty as needed).

@agvs, your point about putting aesthetic over a client/project need is really interesting. i honestly think that's the biggest downfall of people educated in a design-thinking way, because that mindset also sells this designer-as-hero designer-as-decision-maker kind of mentality and you stop realizing that at the end of the day, most of the time, you're designing not for a higher cause but to someone's specs and desires and needs and constraints. it's definitely something i have a problem with. i tend to try to solve problems using techniques/skills i like using. ty for the advice.

i'm interning and doing UX design (starting tomorrow!) and really hoping for a mentorship along the lines that you're describing. i feel i have a lot of abstract ideas about what design is and what i want to design and how i want to interact with design and it'll be interesting to see, more concretely, the day-to-day about what people do. i think i have this hope that i'll be in the typical "do what you love, love what you do" situation when i graduate and do design work, but i think i've become more pragmatic recently in realizing that sometimes things are just jobs. fun jobs, but just jobs. i wonder if/when i'll make that transition in how i think about design
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby RomanEmpire » Sun May 18, 2014 10:13 pm

My high school offers a fashion design class that I was considering taking but I have no idea what the class is actually about. Plus I don't think I could ever do anything design related because I'm not very creative at all.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby trav » Fri May 23, 2014 8:20 am

I didn't know this thread existed!

I'm a UI designer/front end designer, plus a bit of other stuff like illustration, icon work, identity design.I freaking love it. The start of my career had me in some very terrible jobs but I've been seriously blessed in the last 6ish years working for some really awesome companies & people.

Anyone hang out on Dribbble? here's mine: https://dribbble.com/trav

@oucho - To me, there are lots of layers to the PC vs. Mac debate. While I do largely agree that in the end it comes down to personal preference—I will say that the creative industry has seemed to bias toward macs, perhaps due to their own reputation as a leader in industrial design. If you're looking into working at a small design-focused agency, there's a good chance they're using macs.
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby rjbman » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:18 pm

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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby silvaeri » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:06 am

After (quite vocally) hating on the Apple Magic Mouse for years. (I even wrote a paper for class about redesigning it), I've started using it at work because my roommate has run off my normal mouse and I'm starting to really fall in love with it. The gestures aspect of the "scroll" wheel is something I'm finding to be amazing and I'm not sure what has changed in my style of mouse usage but I'm really loving this mouse and the design of it.

Anyone have similar experiences where they've absolutely detested the design of something, left it alone for a while, then come back and really enjoyed it?
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby blanket » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:19 am

things to do on a lazy day

Kerning Game
Image

My more mathematically minded friends actually really enjoy this - oddly, they seem to like it a lot more than the friends who are into art

Cheese or font
Image

Surprisingly difficult
All my games have ended in utter failure

Patatap
Image

Screenshots don't do patatap justice
Not really a design game but still very neat

maybe this thread is too serious for this
if so please tut at me reproachfully and redirect me to a more appropriate thread
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Re: care-tags design coalition

Postby jrisk » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:24 pm

Image

talk from Aaron Draplin (59:26) is pretty cool. a bit braggadocious but fascinating stuff and the passion is contagious.
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