Tuesday, 5 June 2007

UPDATE- Finalized script that is beeing used in the animation.


We´re the collective off all the experiences we’ve had so far! All of them!

Of course each event has different level of importance to the narrative of our own lives.

But the main thought here is that ALL happenings play their role in the continuous definition of WHO WE ARE!

We define ourselves continuously!

This organic development is common to many aspects of our lives including most fields of practice.

So … in our case…

If graphic design is defined by those that make part of it,


And it is happening in a continuous rate… one question naturally arises.


Many books have been written about it and many theories have been formed on how Design is defining itself over time.

But above everything else what I believe it is pertinent TODAY, is to:


So that we promote THOUGHT that then generate IDEAS,

So that we interact with the outcomes and redefine ourselves and Design,

in the process.

Newton started thinking about gravity when an apple fell onto his head.

Instead of accepting that fact and just eat the fruit, he processed the information in another way.

This is a great example on how can we react when something is presented to us and how we can either accept or question information.

In many cases the instant acceptance of facts may be reductive of what just happened.

Plain acceptance within the industry is an ever growing phenomenon and it has directly undermined the natural development of Graphic Design…

The general feeling that we don’t have a word in what we are doing is completely FALSE and together with the idea that us as individuals cannot change anything is completely DECEIVING, since it shapes our behavior, what we do and how we do it.

If you ever felt that your

… Thoughts, opinions or beliefs

Play no part on the reshaping of the world.

Think again.

Like Newton

I ask you to look at the bigger picture, and try do understand WHY are these occurrences taking place.

Don’t just eat the apple!

Think WHY it fell, so that next time it happens, you know that there are more options than just total acceptance of what just happened.


DEMAND ANSWERS! (Timothy Leary)


Friday, 1 June 2007


Live discussion of subjects is an essential part of a field of practice that develops in a sustainable way. SUSTAINABILITY is the first word to memorise.

I wish Graphic Design would develop in a more organic way.

I believe that the average level of discussion is low, there are not academical publications being published (at least it’s not a standard procedure in most faculties), promotion of individual thought is addressed but in many cases not in a totally effective way, the level of critical writing is actually going down, while the visual part is getting more attention within specialized publications.

Above everything else I believe that Graphic Design lives in a limbo, if in one way it answers direct communicational needs on another it may be jeopardising its true value when most of its attention is focused on the marketing side of life.

The market plays too much of a role in the development of Design itself. It influences everything, reshaping and redefining Graphic Design itself. With this I don’t intend to say that the market is somehow an artificially imposed system that undermines the potentiality of Design, instead I embrace it as something natural, an Era that we are living, just like any other.

And it is also natural as obstacles come across our destinies, for us to understand them and assimilate their presence and ACT ACCORDINGLY.

What I believe that is happening in Graphic Design is a TOTAL ACCEPTANCE (on average) of the current state of things WITHOUT MAKING THE NECESSARY GLOBAL ASSIMILATION and CHANGE accordingly.

Let’s promote talk! Let’s promote thought! Let’s promote talk!

So that intrinsically we change Design.

We as individuals are a collective of all the experiences that we’ve had so far. So everything we do defines us continuously.

If communication is triggered in a vast scale, within the field, it gets easier for Design to develop fundamental principals that are coherent with the designers themselves.


This is a portuguese publication called "A Comuna"- visual examples

"A Comuna" is a Portuguese publication of independent communication, mostly focused on politics and subjects that are being discussed in a global scale.

I consider it a good, consistent use of type. Specially bearing in mind that the type of articles in this magazine, most of the times, have already over flooded everyday news.

But the fact that it has a different position from the start, the visual way to communicate naturally goes along with that difference, creating a unique look throughout the magazine.

(I have been noticing that sans serif typefaces and monochromatic backgrounds are more common regarding politic issues)

TELL THE TRUTH - Mos Def - Visual research for the final outcome

An animated example of the use of type with speech.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Visual research for the final outcome - Mos Def video, example of use of typography with speech

Visual research for the final outcome, Mos Defs video : "Tell the truth"

OBJECTIVES for the next and final stage.

After all the learning i had over the pass weeks my biggest concern was to find out the most suitable outcome to all the experience i had since this project started.

The answer came quite fast. And once more it felt logical.

My intention for the final stage of the brief is to PUBLISH ON LINE (on the blog probably) the reasons why i believe it is not only PERTINENT but also URGENT to promote critical thought in a young designers career.
We shouldn't even be in the stage of "promotion" of such natural practice, we should be already enduring it.

I want to produce an outcome that answers all the questions that were left to answer.
A result that provides all the background that missed before in the project and that will help creating the idea that question making is in fact the most productive way to develop ourselves as Designers and Citizens.

A manifesto? I don't know.
But definitely a text well written, that contextualizes my beliefs with my research material and that will allow me to pass the core of my intentions and beliefs that the Survey raised, which are : "the importance of question making, today!"

Final form?
I have been thinking on the possibility of an animation, together with well applied typography.
To create those ideals, well expressed, and post it on the net on a site of its own. Letting it available to everyone.

The other weapons a designer has...

Here is a list of another material, from books to web sites, that i have been surrounding myself with for the last weeks and LEARNED A LOT FROM.
These sources os information tend to vary constantly, but the list that I provide is consistent, because not only some of the issues were also part of the Bibliogarphy from the previous essay but they will be, for sure, part of the future 3rd year essay as well.

AIGA Journal Online, www.journal.aiga.org

Bierut, M., Drenttel, W., Heller, S. and Holland, D.K. Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design. Vols., 2 & 4 New York: Allworth Press.

Design Observer, www.designobserver.com

Drenttel, W. and Helfand, J. (2003) ‘ Culture is not always popular’. AIGA National Design Conference.

Garland, K. (1963) “First things First” Manifesto(2000)

Poynor, R. (2001) ‘ The Time For Being Against’. Looking Closer:AIGA Conference on Design History and Criticism.

Poynor, R. (2001) ‘First things First, a brief history’. Looking Closer volume 4

Soar, M. (2002) ‘The First Things First Manifesto and the Politics of Culture Jamming: Towards a Cultural Economy of Graphic Design and Advertising

Speak Up, www.underconsideration.com/speakup

Shaughnessy , Adrian ´ How to Be a Graphic Designer: Without Losing Your Soul, Laurence King Publishing (Oct 2005)

Limited language, www.limitedlanguage.org

Drenttel, W. and Helfand, J. (2003) ‘ Culture is not always popular’. AIGA National Design Conference.

(Dentrell´s opening statement that inspired my 2nd year essay)
William Drenttel : "Designers talk about creating a body of work, but they seldom talk about acquiring a body of knowledge. They take pride in being makers, but seldom identify themselves as thinkers. They claim to be emissaries of communication — to give form to ideas. And while we would like to believe this is true, it seems to us that all too often, we, as designers, are called upon merely to make things look good — rather than contributing to the evolution and articulation of ideas themselves. This is an age-old criticism of design, but it seems especially relevant this morning as we talk about the Culture of Design.

Finally got it on the mail today!
3£ online!

"The End"

Final issue of Emigre magazine

This is Rudy VanderLans measuring 21 years of Emigre magazine in 13 inches on publications


... i am given the choice, i go for content first! Meaning!

The Looking Closer series as accompanied me since i discovered it, around April.
Vol. 4 has been most consistently within my reading habits. It has been the book that i have consumed the most. ( i don't normally read non-fictional books in a row, i like to pick up information whenever i feel like )

What attracted me the most was its contemporary views of the ways that the Discipline of Graphic Design as been thought, taught, discussed and written, having as a ever present background our consumer based society. And above all, the issues that are born from the insertion in that very same context.

Such overview of the discipline and its effects on ourselves (really) is something that no designer/student should be unaware off.

There a vast number of ALL IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, that in my opinion are NOT being discussed with the intensity that deserves.

Steven Heller´s introduction do the Vol. 4

In this volume these are some of the essays that somehow reflect a bit of my concerns and thoughts that i consider appropriate to our times.

"First Things First Manifesto 2000"

by Kevin Garland

"First things First : Now more than Ever"
by Matt Soar

"Telling the Truth"
by Milton Glaser

These and much more have raised a variety of questions that in all humbleness , i consider urgent to address.

Specially because WE DESIGN DESIGN constantly.

"Can Designers Save the World?
(and should they try?)"

by Nico Macdonald

My bathroom reading for almost a year now.

"Content" by the dutch architect Rem Koolhaas it´s an intensive mix between pertinent information and an impactfull, almost "acid" way to transmit it.

It is also an example on how critical and INDIVIDUAL thought transformed itself into a piece with such an unique visual layout.

"I´m not sure if this is a book or a magazine"

"Actually, i find the tension between the two super-interesting"

"Content" has always opened a precedent in my head:

"Content in it self, is the cornerstone of Communication!"

And i have always believed that:

"Graphic Design in its essence is Communication in its purest form."

Century of the Self - intro - Andre

These are the first 60 seconds of the first episode.

The Century of the Self.

At Easter i rediscovered Adam Curtis´s Documentary "The Century of the Self ", it gave me some hints on how i could approach the subject of Mass Consumerism ,in a sociological level, on my essay for Frank. It was quite revealing in it´s own way.

The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism and its implications in our culture.
How it began?
Who were the people behind it?
Who was the target?
To what porpoise?

It also raises questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion and superficiality, and HOW CONSUMERISM HAS INFLUENCED AND DETERMINE WHO WE ARE.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

What about its shape?

About the outcomes final shape, i know one simple truth.
It will be cast from my intentions, beliefs and ideas of what role does Graphic Design have for me, and within its context, our society.

In times of agitation a metamorphosis occurs!

"Depois da tempestade a bonança", is a Portuguese expression that fits like a glove to the current status of my project. The expression basically says: "After a storm good times arise".

My project has developed into a different outcome.
As i found out that a survey on these matters needs much more support than the one that i provided, i decided to change the outcome.
A questionnaire in these matters is something that needs a theoretical background that is always present.
Without it, it is nothing but some questions, with or without importance it´s not the issue, but it becomes harder to take it as factual and valid information.

That is why a new outcome is born. Ending the project basically where it should have started, but hopefully opening a precedent on Why it is important to place questions to the group of people that will become the future practitioners of this Discipline.

Pertinence is the keyword for this change.
The process inspired it.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Friday, 25 May 2007

Updated Survey

Monday, 14 May 2007

Elements that contribute to a successful survey

The web site www.surveysystem.com provided me a lot of info regarding how to make a successful survey. And it has a lot of tips on styles of questions, and specificalities of types of emails.


  1. Establish the goals of the project - DONE
  2. Determine your sample ( target audience) - DONE
  3. Choose interviewing methodology - DONE
  4. Create your questionnaire - DONE ( needs approval)
  5. Pre-test the questionnaire, if practical - HAVEN´T DONE
  6. Conduct interviews and enter data - HAVEN´T DONE
  7. Analyze the data - HAVEN´T DONE

1 - Speed. An email questionnaire can gather several thousand responses within a day or two.
2 - There is practically no cost involved once the set up has been completed.
3 - You can attach pictures and sound files.
4 - The novelty element of an email survey often stimulates higher response levels than ordinary “snail” mail surveys.

1 - You must possess a list of email addresses. (Started already, first thoughts: the hardest task so far)

2- Some people will respond several times or pass questionnaires along to friends to answer. Many programs have no check to eliminate people responding multiple times to bias the results. (this wont be a problem, the problem may even be the opposite, people not answering)

3- Many people dislike unsolicited email even more than unsolicited regular mail. You may want to send email questionnaires only to people who expect to get email from you. ( considering this fact, but still got to define the whole "approach" strategy, after the approval of the questions)

4- You cannot use email surveys to generalize findings to the whole populations. People who have email are different from those who do not, even when matched on demographic characteristics, such as age and gender. ( my audience is already defined, and i also a expect to send the survey only to defined emails)

5- Email surveys cannot automatically skip questions or randomize question or answer choice order or use other automatic techniques that can enhance surveys the way Web page surveys can. ( not a problem here)

Possible FREE web surveys ( even tough i prefer to do my own design)

These are the 2 sites i found that allow me to do free surveys, with multiple answers (most of the others that i found, including SurveyMonkey are limited to 100 answers per survey).
These are Zoomerang and surveypopups.com.

I must say that i prefer to make my own survey and send it by email to the students.
But still, it´s always good to search for possibilities, if anything goes wrong,

Friday, 11 May 2007

Contacts gathered so far...


MA Graphic Design
Course Director
Russell Bestley

Course Director
Tony Credland

Area of Study Leader
BA Honours Graphic and Media Design
Paul Bowman


BA (Hons) Graphic Design
Course Director
Contact: Alan Baines
Tel: 020 7514 7305
Fax: 020 7514 7337
Email: a.baines@csm.arts.ac.uk

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The survey is out!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Critical Survey starts!

My objective is to do a survey where I ask all the students of communication design from the university of the arts, about their beliefs, critics and expectations of the world of design in our society.

It is my objective to communicate something that allready exists, in this case the opinions on Design of those that will be the practitioners of our future.

And then present the results graphically.

I want to create something that is usefull to all those which Design is important, something that will sustain it self thsought time.

Ultimatly the perfect scenario would be a website where all students from the university of the Arts would answer on line, loging in with each individual password.

Even the questions themselves could be apointed by students, which would become an organic movement, where OPINION, CRITIC and THOUGHT are celebrated.

Of course this would be the perfect scenario.

For this brief as the final outcome I would prepose the first results of the first ever

Critical Survey on Design.

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