Reflect on the three process books shared during this unit. In your post, assess how each book design successfully and/or unsuccessfully communicates the designer’s ideation process and guides the reader through the creative process. Are there specific communication tactics that any of the designers use that you may want to integrate into how you present your own process?
Process #1: Jane A. Dorn’s Methodology Book
Overall, this methodology is thorough and easy to follow from beginning to end. The file begins with the project description (literally the very first step for every designer – receiving the information). From there, she addresses the target audience, which is defined as potential designers that are 18 years old approximately that want to learn more about graphic design as a profession and process. She shows the initial brainstorming session of some objects with structured sequence that repeats. I chuckled at the myth list of where strong ideas come from – Santa, first idea (unless you’re Paula Scher), etc… I think the brainstorming of opposites (the crazies) is also a great avenue that was considered. It allows more of the out-of-the-box thinking to occur early on in the process. The very distracted audience described by Dorn makes me think of Jessica Helfand and the Short Attention Span Theater audience she describes as “today’s viewers.” I think it is valuable to social media took prominence in this consideration especially as it is one of the main forms of writing and communication for this age group. The overall approach to future graphic designers being so hard to reach in order to convince to become communicators is sort of scary to me. Isn’t it damning to think that we can’t even get the visual communicators of the future to listen to the message of how they can become effective? Thankfully, I think by approaching the “least approachable” audience is a good tactic, as it is going to attempt to reign in as many listeners as possible. The two concepts that Dorn toys with are the eBook and then the Not-Your-Average Book. The eBook is interesting as an approach as more people are reading via the screen. Even for potential students to be able to access this information digitally says a lot about the current of our culture. It makes me think of this format of eLearning and how we are so dependent on being able to learn through screen information, even the more virtually tangible elements. The Not-Your-Average Book takes the audience away from the screen for awhile and Dorn reflects that this is a nice change for the screen-addicted generation. From this, she goes on to consider a trip to Disney World to ride the roller coasters for a very crazy, yet very cool vantage on the cyclical design experience. She discovers that the parks are limited in hours during the winter and has to abandon the idea (she does go forward and present the exploration quite far and effectively, though!) She is honest that the brainstorming session did not get her to any major breakthroughs and reminds herself to not stop too soon and mull it over. I nodded in agreement to this I’m quite sure as designers, we’ve all been guilty of doing this at one point or another. Dorn then goes back to the circular book idea and says she is inspired by Ken Leslie’s Space and Time. The interactive element of this book is brilliant as it is like the digital realm of interactivity reinterpreted onto the older form (the printed piece). The folded shape of the prototype makes me think of a paper coffee cup. The first stages of the collages actualized onto the screen were very overwhelming in the abrupt transition of pages. I understood that these were the concepts and did not let it distract me too much from the point of seeing them in that way. The naming of the project Quest seems very appropriate as designers do often take on quests in the same style of King Arthur to make chaos into clarity. The mockup is very clean on the outside but intensely chaotic inside (especially those first few pages). It is nearly impossible to read the initial process though I am thinking that was part of the point. It goes from super clean to really really messy to clean again as a piece, which feels a little disjointed to me. I want to see a little of the mess on the front as well to make it feel less sterilized. I wish that Jane had shown more in the beginning process as her inspiration (like she did with the roller coaster). Maybe by showing the Space and Time concepts. I think that the idea is beautiful, but there are some steps in both the methodology and the execution that are missing in order to fully grasp the cyclical process.
Process Book #2: April Bliss’ Design Brief and Final Process Book
I looked over her process book for dog leashes as well. It is incredible. It has to be my favorite piece of the examples that were shown in the unit. For this particular discussion, I chose to focus on the process book for design methodologies as a general subject to align with my discussion of the other two books.
The file opened and as soon as I saw that the PDF was 113 pages, I abandoned ship to take a temporary break from homework. Once I returned and took on this tome of a process, I noticed how very clean the introduction is. The left side of the spreads are clear photographs of the actual defined terms that are elaborated upon on the right side of the page. The stated target audience is for 15-18 year old high school students. Initial resources shown are teen-geared magazines (Teen Vogue, J14) and I worry that these not only greatly leaned toward the female audience, but also in a fictionalized way. I remember those angst-heavy years wishing that someone would see me as more than doodles, shopping, and fragmented phrases. The magazines generally give the mental perception of an audience of 13-14. The interviews conducted on the twin 13 year olds was not a very effective sampling of the population. What should have been done was to randomly survey a large group of both genders that were within the target age range. Beyond that, I do think that the target imagery explored says something interesting about the design that is going out to teenagers today. The DIY, sketchbook approach to magazine ads and articles makes me think about the sister revolution of networks like Pinterest where everyone wants to have some degree of self-sufficiency in their otherwise heavily vended daily life. The thumbnails sketched by Bliss do an excellent job of addressing this trend and consider ways to express the audience. The energy drink is definitely a staple of the later teens. Healthy or not, it is something that I remember seeing scattered at every football game and often in my own car’s upholder as I carried about my daily activity in the world of high school. The purse concept once again was geared toward the female audience only and it was a good decision to move forward with the energy drink. I like most the consideration of the water bottle. What is cool about that approach is the reusable nature of the product and less waste. It is also encouraging a choice of drink, but encouraging something healthier than carbonated crack. The mind map examples are also very strong. I like the bubble concept on page 37. It gives a visual sense to the bottle/can approach with the circles. Bliss even included her weekend hot air balloon ride in the process, which definitely accents the premise that this is supposed to be the entire process. I can appreciate the break half way through this gigantic PDF as well. The sleeve mockups look good, but some of the ideas feel like they were not carefully executed in the technical craft aspect, which I think is distracting from “selling” the idea to move it forward. Of the wraps, I thought the spiral was really neat. I could see that sufficing as a funnel shape for the design process funneling down into a result like some of the ideation models we recently explored as a class in Dubberly’s article. The mobile approach and final can approach are both extremely well-crafted and answer to the need for an effective product for the message. I was happy to see the can was explored in yellow rather than the original black paint in the earlier concept. All of the final photographs of the product are great. It allows a real intimacy with the product and how it works. This process book did a good job of visually taking the viewer through the entire process, even if some parts were dead ends.
Process Book #3: Jamie Turpin’s Experimental Panel Design
Like the other two process books, Turpin’s book begins with a process that feels generic enough, but it also doubles as the table of contents for this PDF. Turpin contacted Helen Armstrong to ask for permission to use her article and book and I thought that this was a very wise inclusion in the process, as it shows the lengths that designers go to get something approved. It is also just a cool thing to brag about, if you’re into that kind of thing. The process book then focuses on the audience considerations and then Turpin’s own experience with technology as a designer as a reflection of Helen Armstrong’s article. Following the article and reflection are a brief brainstorming word session and then transition into images. The research is very thorough as Turpin explores visually masters of these typographic styles and approaches. There are studies done on nearly every lens of interpretation for this project. There is a very smooth transition between the images and context in the research and then the product being executed. The thumbnails for this process are carefully and very technically drawn. They are easy to understand for the process and each concept is accompanied by its original source of inspiration for comparison. The mockup of concept 4 is very similar to the explored typographic styles from earlier in the process. I wish there were more images of this final process though as it feels like i cannot closely connect with the treatments in the way that I can with some of the research imagery. Overall, this approach to the process visually is powerful and well thought out.
From these three process books, I have quite a bit of information to take in regarding my own process and how I would even begin to visualize it. I know that I currently lack the thorough nature of photographing each step like these designers did in their work and could benefit from doing so. I like how there were a lot of “research” elements directly applied into the process that may not always make it into mine. If a direction doesn’t work entirely, I often don’t bother to include it, which could be hindering me from repurposing it in a good way. Another lesson I can take from these books is that the process book is how we can intimately tell the behind-the-scenes story of our design. No moment should be left out, even if it is a hot air balloon ride. I think of the success of TED speeches and it is not a rigid process. It is a fluid moving through the raw encounters experienced from the beginning to the solution and as an audience member viewing these books, I appreciated all of the small considerations that were described or sketched.