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Graphic Design and Religion

Okay, maybe it's the Holiday season, but I cannot get Steve Hahn's project out of my head. Why is it that graphic designers never talk about/write about communication design and religion? According to his bibliography, he had not come across Daniel Kantor's Graphic Design and Religion: a Call for Renewal (Gia Press 2007). I will have to purchase it now that my interest is peaked.


AD418 Research Methods Final Presentations 2007

On December 7th, seventeen students from my Research Methods for Art and Design gave their final presentations. From Facebook to green design, it seems that the students and myself were struck by their transformations over the semester. Perhaps, the reason this class is "transformative" is best expressed by one of my students who took the course last year, "It is the first time as designers that we were asked to think." Perhaps an over-exaggeration, but I think the sentiment the student expresses is how in the class one is treated as a thinker as much as a maker.

In the Research Methods class, I introduce them to processes, possibilities, and framing concepts, but they own the process and the content knowledge themselves. In the end, they are the only experts in their topic in the class. Thus, the confidence that students show at the end of the course is not just due to the fact that we practice their presentation skills three times during the course, but that they can speak the language of "academic" content and knowledge as well as their well-developed formal design vocabularies.

Interestingly, when I attended the Graphic Design MFA thesis presentations, two of the students had used the structure of the Visual Annotated-Bibliography to organize some of their thesis research. It is a coming back full circle, because I got the idea for the VA-Bib from a graphic design exercise on shape and texture.

Trendwise, the social responsibility of designers is now beyond the tipping point. Of course with the lectures on ethics, the students are primed to address their own social responsibility of creative people, but it proves a genuine topic of concern for students.

So I include the visual presentations of this year's class. The presentation ideas are not expressed to the same depth as the paper proposals, but it is important to showcase the visual communication of their knowledge. Please do not cite or circulate the student's work without giving them credit, a shout out, or even better, getting in touch with them. They agreed to provide their materials as a way to share their ideas in a copyleft kind of way.  We ask you not to abuse our generosity.

Professor Dori Tunstall, Intro to Presentations 
Download AD418research07_finals_intro.pdf (PDF 352 kb)
This gives the intentions, objectives, structure, and outcomes of the course. Each presentation must answer these five basic questions:

  1. What are your project’s questions and/or intentions?
  2. How does it fit within existing art and design knowledge?
  3. What evidence do you need to collect and your methods?
  4. What are your qualifications to do the project?
  5. What is its contribution to fields of art and design?

Shilan Afshani, MFA Student Industrial Design, The Kitchen Project 
Download AD418research07_finals_afshani.pdf (PDF 324 kb)
The project explores family interaction through emotional meaning of the kitchen and kitchen objects in order to enhance the quality of those interactions. 

Banan Al-Ansari, MFA Student Graphic Design, Public Art
Download AD418research07_finals_alansari.pdf (PDF 1 Mb)
The project studies the impact of public arts on people's behavior, their effectiveness on people's everyday life, and how people understand and react to them.

Joyce Epolito, MFA Student Graphic Design, US Designers in Uganda
Download AD418researchmethods_final_epolito.pdf (PDF 1.8 Mb)
The project addresses how US graphic designers are alturistically involevd in design and design education in Uganda.

Steve Hahn, BFA Student Graphic Design, Church Design/Media/Marketing
Download AD418research07_finals_hahn.pdf (PDF 5.3 Mb)
The project seeks to determine the importance and effectiveness of professional quality graphic design and media in churches.  Dori Note: This is the most original project that I've ever come upon in graphic design. I have not seen this topic addressed anywhere.

Christine Hightower, BFA Student Graphic Design, Facebook
Download AD418research07_finals_hightower.pdf (PDF 296 kb)
The project investigates how the interaction design of Facebook has made it one of the most popular Internet sites as well as one of the most popular social networks today.

Leslie Johnson, MFA Student Industrial Design, the Communication of Furniture Production Methods
Download AD418research07_finals_johnson.pdf (PDF 616 kb )
The project explores the production methods behind the transformation of raw materials into finished furniture pieces. It is also interested in the reasons why it is difficult to get information about production methods from designers and manufacturers.

Brett Jones, BFA Student Graphic Design, Expensive Sneakers in the Hip Hop Community
Download AD418research07_finals_jones.pdf (PDF 9.8 Mb)
This project studies the role of the marketing of African-American hip-hop rappers and athletes in making expensive sneakers a necessity and obsession in the African-American hip-hop community. Dori Note: I want Brett to do a Ph.D. in Design Anthropology, so that he can explore this as his doctoral thesis. That is how important this topic is.

Hannah Kim, BFA Student Graphic Design, Design and Fear
Download AD418research07_finals_hkim.pdf  (PDF 15.5 Mb)
This project aims to study the psychological impact design has and how the government induces the culture of fear to the public. Dori Note: Hannah is fierce. As part of her project, she contacted Steve Heller for an interview to talk about his writings just like that.

JungJin Kim, MFA Student Graphic Design, The Visual Language of Color
Download AD418research07_finals_jjkim.pdf (PDF 2.3 MB)
The project studies the facts and theories of the colors as it relates to people’s physical and/or
psychological reaction to the colors. It seeks to use this analysis in commercial design to get immediate attraction and give clearer messages to the audience without adding too much unnecessary elements in design.

Anna Leithauser, MFA Student Graphic Design, the Art of Bookspines
Download AD418research07_finals_leithauser.pdf (PDF 19.8 Mb)
The project investigates the use of bookspines as designed objects, as consumer items, and as decorative art. The goal is to study both how bookspines have impacted the design, sales, and evolution of books and how changes in the book industry have affected bookspine design.

Maciek Niedorezo, MFA Student Industrial Design, Aesthetic Value in Mobile Devices
Download AD418research07_finals_niedorezo.pdf (PDF 9.3 Mb)
The project seeks to understand the role product aesthetics plays which young people select a mobile communication device.

Russ Powers, BFA Student Graphic Design, Guerrilla Marketing and Social Responsibility
Download AD418research07_finals_powers.pdf (PDF 1.3 Mb)
The project explores the social ethics and business effectiveness of guerrilla marketing techniques.

Michael Ruberto, MFA Student Graphic Design,  Improving Tactile Way-Finding Systems
Download AD418research07_finals_ruberto.pdf (PDF 6.4 Mb)
The project addresses the need to improve tactile wayfinding systems for the blind and visually-impaired by understanding the effectiveness of braille, moon type, tactile graphics, visual symbol systems for wayfinding,
and ADA Signage Standards as communication methods related to graphic design. Dori note: You have to check out the moon type. Super cool.

Eden Sabala, BFA Student Industrial Design, Medical Design and People with Disabilities
Download AD418research07_finals_sabala.pdf (PDF 592 kb)
The project seeks to understand how a designers role in the medical field is just as important as an engineers, and to have a better understanding of how the human factor should be used while designing for the disabled.

Josh Webb, MFA Student Graphic Design, Photography Versus Illustration
Download AD418research07_finals_webb.pdf (PDF 3.9 Mb)
The project explores the relationship between illustration and photography as it relates to design and the audience it targets.

Jennifer Webster, BFA Student Graphic Design, Graphic Design Going Green
Download AD418research07_finals_webster.pdf (PDF 15.4 Mb)
The project addresses the question “what is green design” by showing examples of ways graphic design has turned green and been used to promote sustainability solutions in product promotions.

Aysha Zayyad
, BFA Student Graphic Design, Art and Design Branding and the Marketing of Fashion
Download AD418research07_finals_zayyad.pdf (PDF 1.8 Mb)
The project investigates the methods that are used and the ideas that are established to consumers and their decision making processes in applying branding to their individual styles.






 



Will the NSF be the death of anthropology?

A NSF workshop proposal by Allen Batteau, Kritzman, and myself was rejected. It was rejected for interesting reasons. The reviewers loved the proposal and thought it was timely and important, the panel had placed it in a mid-level fund category, but it was ultimately rejected because it was "applied" based as oppose to "basic science" based.

This decision made by the most prestigious funding body for anthropology raises serious questions about the future of anthropology as a field. At the AAA meetings, a non-binding resolution was passed to censure anthropologists whose research is not publicly available including those in industry, whose work often happens under NDAs. Although non-binding, it points to a denial by both the major funding and institutional bodies of anthropology about where the field is not just heading but where is is now. Anthropology is "applied" based or what I like to say anthropology exists "in practice."

According to the 1995 Survey of Anthropology PhD (which by now is completely dated), the statistics show that 50% of PhD graduates in anthropology find positions outside of academia. Once you include MA students that number increases. Somehow it seems the NSF is missing the boat when it says that "applied" proposals are a lower priority when applied represents the half of the current and more of the future of the entire field. There will be less and less PhDs in academia and mechanisms need to be put in place to  bring back  their applied knowledge into the academy to prepare the next generation of PhDs and MAs.

But if those projects do not get funded, then that work will cease to happen or will only happen with corporate sponsorship. As students want to do more and more anthropology in practice, than traditional notions of scientific anthropology are no longer sustainable. With exotica in the age of Discovery Channel is no longer  the driver that it used to be, the numbers of anthropologists will drop as young people find the field less compelling because it is out of alignment with their values of progressive worldly engagement.

So I am really disappointed in the NSF because it has deprioritized anthropology's present and future for a scientific  idea that is no longer sustainable from both post-modern critiques of scientific objectivity and social responsibility  for engaged research perspectives. Yes, it is the National Science Foundation, but there are no other funding bodies to support this kind of interdisciplinary knowledge creation. So you'd hope that the NSF would support the emerging sub-fields of the discipline.