Category: Essays

Memory Palaces: on Remembering

Memory Palaces: on Remembering

| June 2, 2017 | Reply

This last year I have faced some $24,000-question-type problems: the question of when to respond with practicality, and when to respond with the heart. It’s been a year of tricky problems: human problems, daughter problems, sister problems, caregiver problems, mother problems. These have proven difficult to navigate with the tools I have honed through my profession, as it seems to me that design prides itself on the practical, and is suspicious of the whiff of sentimentality

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An Interesting NPR Article about Autism and Motion Perception

An Interesting NPR Article about Autism and Motion Perception

| February 28, 2017 | Reply

One of my new fascinations is the idea of Neuro Diversity, which basically states that the idea of categorizing brain as normal and abnormal is limiting. Neuro Diversity sets forth that there are many brains, and each are better at some tasks, worse at others. This article  from NPR about Autism and perception of motion fits […]

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2017 AIGA St. Louis Student Conference: Lecturers with a Conscience

2017 AIGA St. Louis Student Conference: Lecturers with a Conscience

| February 26, 2017 | Reply

This year’s student conference was an especially thoughtful one. Set in what one could call one of the more earnest parts of town, This year’s conference chairs Audra Hubbell and Anna Heinze lined up a number of nice surprises for us. There was an inspiring talk about time and making sure to use it wisely […]

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Creating the Spark: Design and Creative Writing

Creating the Spark: Design and Creative Writing

| July 5, 2014 | Reply

A percentage of designers, more than you might suspect, have a second life writing essays, poetry and fiction. For some reason, most of them elect to keep it a secret. My own writing seems to make my design work more vivid and lyrical: not just conceptually, but visually as well. As a culture we are somewhat suspicious of creative writing; at the same time, design’s incorporation of visual poetry, as we can witness from flipping through design annuals, seems to become more complex and sublime with each year. Today on reality TV the idea oft thought and ne’er so well expressed seems rare. Are we chasing other ideals these days? While mass culture seems to become less interested in wit, design is pursuing ingenious ideas, expressed to surprise, inform, delight. Much of the passion for exquisite ideas exquisitely expressed, once the territory of bibliophiles, now seems to be what the public looks for in design and advertising. Those complicated ideas, expressive oddness, artifacts of literacy and appetite for the unusual seem to reside even more in design’s amalgams of image and idea.

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Cross-Disciplinary Projects: How Blended Disciplines Activate Change

Cross-Disciplinary Projects: How Blended Disciplines Activate Change

| July 5, 2014 | Reply

In “Impressive: Printmaking, Letterpress and Graphic Design,” it is noted that there is a movement of graphic designers looking to hand printing to recapture the sense of the human, unique, quirky, visceral mark that makes printing come alive. When designers incorporate printing techniques in their design solutions, the results resonate deeply and when educators encourage interdisciplinary investigations in the classroom, the solutions richer, and students find this hybrid learning experience life-changing.

Printmaking, design, education, and advocacy are historically linked in the work and collaborative teaching of Sister Corita Kent in Los Angeles in the 1960’s and 70’s. Her spirited work and inspirational teaching style creates a long-lived poster tradition in California. This link between cultural advocacy, printmaking and design is on the rise again in a small press movement in the US: in St. Louis, there is a street of such small presses thriving as community hubs of activity and exchange.

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Stripped/Teased: Declined Design’s Future

Stripped/Teased: Declined Design’s Future

| July 5, 2014 | Reply

I tend to be a bleeding-heart pillow-crying nihilist when it comes to where we, Graphic Designers, or for that matter, we the United States, will be in ten years.

Let’s face it, I listen to too much NPR and am too, too easily led to despair.
How I long for the eighties, when I had my first experience as a style maker. I used to sell costume jewelry surreptitiously out of a cigar box to my classmates, who were hungry to achieve the “Madonna” look. They were simpler times: our economy was growing, and design was experiencing one of its most interesting blossoming phases. What happens when a country founded on “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,”an admittedly adolescent set of pursuits on which to found a country, grows old without growing up? An impressive set of D-T’s is what: distopia, and a period of high-decadence that will end eventually with our fall from grace. How does anyone stay in this country? How does anyone, with such gloomy forecasts, ever go into design?

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