It has been a tough semester. Learning how to accomplish proper research, and doing my first Literature review made me question my decision to go back to Graduate School. But, knowing that I have accomplished what I thought was once impossible makes me appreciate not giving up. As a designer we will always be put into positions where we have to go beyond our comfort zone. If we aren’t getting frustrated, then we aren’t reaching far enough. As I write this, I still have to re-do my thesis for my argumentative paper. I think that I won’t be able to come up with something and blow it so close to the end. But then I realize I have done it before and I will do it again. It is this feeling I want to leave everyone with. Knowing that things are going to be difficult is only part of Grad school, the rest is knowing how you will handle yourself when presented with a challenge. It is how you react that will determine whether you will become a master or just another designer.
As designers we are constantly striving for good ideas. Once we have ideas we need to get them out. Anyway we can get them out we do it. After looking at past students process books, there are many things to be gained from them. For one, Jane Dorn does an amazing job of getting so much information out. She is very detailed in her process to complete her piece as well. Every idea she has whether it relates or not is written down. This is a perfect example of getting ideas out there whether they are used or not. It does however, become confusing and overwhelming to look at. This is one flaw I find with Jane’s book, there is just so much that someone looking at it for the first time becomes overwhelmed.
Next, we look at the process book of April Bliss. Bliss’ book is extremely well organized and is almost a piece of art in itself. What truly works for April’s book is the way she went about gathering information. Instead of doing normal research and getting information through the internet, she goes out and talks to the target audience. She created a questionnaire to ask the teenagers specific things related to her project. She also went to Facebook to acquire additional information needed.
Bliss questioning friends on Facebook
Finally, we come to the book of Jamie Turpin. Their book is again very organized and laid out in a very easy to read manner. What I really appreciate about Turpin’s book is the very detailed illustrations of different ideas. It gives the idea of design concept before the actual final product. Jamie also does a fantastic job walking the viewer through every step in a very concise and easy to understand manner.
A diagram straight from Turpin's book
After reflecting on these process books, there are a few things I would like to begin incorporating in my process books. The first being to stop restricting what I write in my book. Like Dorn, I would like my books to be filled with random thoughts and ideas so I have things to take from everywhere. Finally, I love the very detailed illustrations of Turpin. I think I will start incorporating more of these practices into my own books. It’s important that as designers we respect our process books because these are windows into our own mind and can help in future work.
Since this is a free post and it’s almost Halloween, I would like to spread the festivities. Halloween is probably the greatest holiday next to thanksgiving. Who doesn’t love getting free candy and to have the crap scared out of them. Anyway, I would like to share some famous cartoons turned into zombies by artist André de Freitas. Freitas is a Peruvian illustrator whose work is down right dreadful (in a good Halloween sort of way). Take a look and be sure to check out more of André’s work HERE.
The idea of “flow” is an interesting one. Being in the one spot where everything is going perfect is the Utopia we all strive for. Many people never achieve such “enlightenment,” but I would like to think I have come close. I think the closest I have ever come is playing music. When you are on stage playing songs that you wrote, for complete strangers and looking out to see they are actually enjoying it is a feeling like no other. I think of it almost like muscle memory. You get into the flow and you can’t afford to think about anything else. You have to trust yourself and trust that the other guys in the band will play their part so everything comes together. When you find yourself worrying about making sure everything is perfect, then the flow is gone.
In design I am not sure I have achieved this flow, but I feel that it works exactly the same. You have to learn to trust yourself and what you know.
Although my brain has been fried for much of this week, I did happen to come across a very lovely article on Smashing Magazine. The article discusses the problems with Responsive Design, How to fix the broken system of client participation, and how to deal with a client of lesser intelligence. I figured this would be a great article to link to seeing as how we are discussing responsive design and previously discussed the client designer dynamic.
I would like to discuss something that has been on my mind for a while. Back in 2010, on Rodger Ebert’s Blog on the Sun Times website, he discussed his idea the video games would never be considered a form of art. “Video games can never be art…Having once made the statement above, I have declined all opportunities to enlarge upon it or defend it. That seemed to be a fool’s errand, especially given the volume of messages I receive urging me to play this game or that and recant the error of my ways. Nevertheless, I remain convinced that in principle, video games cannot be art. Perhaps it is foolish of me to say “never,” because never, as Rick Wakeman informs us, is a long, long time. Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form. (Ebert). As an avid gamer, I would like to strongly disagree with this statement.
I am a gamer (if you didn’t catch that last part). Have been all my life. It started when my father gave me his old Atari 2600 when I was but a we lad. I have watched games grow from 2 color pixels on a screen to media that resembles big Hollywood movies. First, I would like to raise the question, what is art? Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form. That right there makes video games art by default. Video games creators imagine whole worlds, with stories, missions, and characters from scratch. It takes concept artists to draw roughs of what everything will look like even before it is brought to the computer.
Skyrim was one of the most ambitious games to hit store shelves.
Films are considered art today. But what is the difference between films and art? How does one get the honor of being a celebrated artistic medium, while the other is a scapegoat for fat kids, and good for nothing teenagers? It’s the fact that many people don’t understand video games or the amount of heart and soul designers and artists (yes I said artists) put into these projects. Take a look at 2 examples. One is from the game Okami. The whole design is based around Japanese woodblock art. It is a beautiful game that won up to 15 awards in the video game design community, but most people have no idea what it is.
The other example is a very popular children’s cartoon that has won awards from Emmys to Golden Reels.
I love Spongebob Squarepants. I think the cartoon is hilarious and great for kids, but you can’t tell me that Okami is not fun to look at and just loose yourself in. That is what art is to me, anything that you can lose yourself in and just enjoy everything it has to offer.
While Roger Ebert may not feel that video games are an art form, I have to strongly oppose. Then again, I guess it’s is up to the viewer what they reprieve as art. All I know is that I will be enjoying the emotional roller coaster that is video games, and I hope someday to allow my kids the same opportunity.