Saturday, May 17, 2008

Last Post

I passed a couple of ads in a McDonald's window that were absolutely ghastly. Huge tomato. Lopsided apple. Half an eggshell with the yolk inside. The yolk was an odd color. Lots of green somethings...lettuce, leaves, not very clear what was in the background. As I looked at the ad I wondered who did the ad and who signed off on the ad. The ad was terrible. No hierarchy as every item was practically the same size. Odd colors made nutritious foods look oddly unappetizing. I cannot find the ad, but here is a link to McDonald's website:

Now the website does a good job of highlighting each type of nutritious food and listing the ingredients. So, I am puzzled at the amateurishness of the print ads.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Levy's Jewish Rye

I read a blog everyday called: I found it through another blog...coincindentally written by her daughter:

I opened it up yesterday and saw this staring back at me. The person in the ad is Buster Keaton. I thought it was funny to see an ad that we had discussed in class embedded in a post from a blog that I read. The blog post is about rye bread, so I can see how the blogger came up with this image.

Buster Keaton was an actor in the 1920s known for his blank expression. He was called "Stone Face."

Girls v. Boys

This poster reminds me of the McQuade chapter, which highlighted symbols designating male and female bathrooms throughout the world. I like a funny poster.

An Oldie, But Goodie

This Honda Accord commercial has been out for a year or two, but I think it is amazing. The commercial shows all parts used to construct a Honda Accord set up in a domino formation, where one cog starts a chain reaction. Just think about the logistics of coordinating all the parts used in this commercial. The commercial cost $6 million and took 600 takes to get right. What patience.

And, then there is this parody...not hysterical, but humorous.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Go Speed Racer, Go

It was a rainy yesterday today...the perfect day to catch a movie. We saw a matinee of Speed Racer. There was a time when I saw a movie a month with my husband. Those days are a distant memory since having children. We are down to a movie every 6 months, if that. When we do see a movie it is a kiddie film. Last month my husband took the children to see Horton Hears a Who. I did not join them as I was doing projects for this class. It is difficult to find a movie that a 12-year-old girl, a 9-year-old girl, and a 5-year-old boy want to see. The 12-year-old thinks she should be able to see PG-13 movies...uh, no, I don't think so. Speed Racer appealed to everyone in our family.

Speed Racer is a fast-paced movie. The car race scenes are dramatic and eye-catching. The Wachowski brothers, known for originating unique film techniques in movies such as The Matrix, based their movie on the original Speed Racer TV show, but added a couple of extra characters and expanded the backstory of the behind the scenes plot of intrigue and espionage between the different racing teams. One film technique, in particular, is the technique of having two actors in a scene with a previous scene shown in the background. The closeup shot of the actors talking is interspersed with a dramatization of what the actors are talking about. The viewer is drawn in to the action of the scene by watching the actors talking about a car crash and seeing the car crash unfold behind them. It is an example of showing and telling. The Wachowski brothers also used many closeup shots of actors.

The film sets are visually appealing as well. Many colors. Costumes are bright and garish--yellow Chuck taylors, bright red walls, brightly hued race track, etc. I don't recall the TV series very well, but the use of color works well in this film.

It was a long film, but kept my 5-year-olds attention for over 2 hours.

Here's a review from the New York Times:

Many of us who grew up watching television in the 1960s and ’70s have fond if vague memories of “Speed Racer.” Those big-eyed characters (Trixie! Speed! Racer X!), their mouths never quite moving in sync with the dialogue; those bright colors and semiabstract backgrounds; those endless, episodic story lines. Whether we knew it or not, the series was a primer in the aesthetics of Japanese animation, the love of which we could later pass along to our children. Failing that, I suppose we could subject them to Warner Brothers’ new live-action feature film, also called “Speed Racer,” which was written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, the maestros of “The Matrix.” Like so many other expensive, technologically elaborate big-screen adaptations of venerable pop-culture staples, this movie sets out to honor and refresh a youthful enthusiasm from the past and winds up smothering the fun in self-conscious grandiosity. — A. O. Scott, The New York Times

Why Didn't I Think of This?!?

I found this promotional ad for Post-It Education notes at my daughter's school. Post-It has created a range of flash cards for ABCs, numbers, sight words, and Spanish. I am in my third go-round of teaching a child to read. This product would be a good addition to my education basket. I have flash cards purchased from WalMart or educational stores. The added bonus of these cards is that the cards can be stuck to a wall or fridge. I generally write sight words on index cards and tape them to the walls/door. I saw a product display at Staples.

The blue and yellow on the front cover is eye-catching. The ad is a trifold displaying different representations of the product: a photo of the product in use on a wall, a photo of the product in its packaging, etc. The back of the product shows photos of the other products in the series.

A small set of sight words is included with the ad. For me the addition of the product is a slam dunk. The potential consumer does not need to wonder what the product looks like in the flesh. Once I tore of the first card I was sold on the product.

Catchy Design

My 4-year-old turned 5 on April 3. He received mostly action figure toys. This is new to me since I am used to the world of Disney princesses and American Girl dolls. His favorite toy was a Mr. Potato Head--Spider Spud Collector Set for Spider-Man 3. He knows that Spider Man is an action hero, but has never seen any of the films or the cartoons.
The design of this box is unique. The product contains two Spider Man potato heads in two boxes connected in the middle. The two boxes are connected by plastic in front and velcro in the back. The velcro pieces when split apart reveal a comic entitled "The Amazing Spider Spud Proudly Presents: Back in Black or In the Red?" The front of the box shows the two products, while the back shows the individual potato head parts and photos of the product dressed in the "red" or "black" versions.

The packaging is eye-catching for parents and children. Kids love velcro--the feel and sound of it. My son liked looking at the comic. He stored his toy in the box for a few days.

The comic is quite funny. It tells the story of good and evil in a kid-friendly manner. Spider Spud must decide which suit to wear. Both the red suit and the black suit "talk" to him. He finally decides to wear both suits. The story is sugar-coated for kids, which works in the context of a product for kids.
The product was purchased from Costco. The toy aisle at Costco is stacked with many toys and games at Christmas and Easter. An eye-catching product such as this one is sure to have curb appeal.

Call to Action

I found three ads for local institutions of higher education. Each ad has a call to action.

The main focus of the UMUC ad is the photo of the group of people. The grouping reminds me of the old Sesame Street song..."One of these things is not like the other." The two women and the one man are all in business attire, while the male firefighter is in turnout gear. I realize that UMUC is appealing to local adults in a wide range of careers, but the photo makes me think that the university is trying too hard to appeal to everyone. The ad would work better if there was another person in a uniform of some sort or drop the "dress code" and simply have four people dressed in everyday clothese. The text of the ad is informative. There is too much white space, which could be minimized by increasing the typesize of the text of the ad.

The head profile with "Great Minds Think KOGOD" is ugly. The symbols surrounding the profile are too small and hard to read. The ad is cluttered with the name of the business school, a huge opaque "AU," information session dates, etc. It is hard to tell what is the most important element of the ad since there is so much listed in different sizes and styles of type. The ad would work better in a 2 column format since the single column leads to short, chopped lines.

The UMBC ad is colorful. The photo (even if it is possibly a stock university photo) is a more representative grouping of prospective students than UMUC. The older students are tucked in the back, which I don't like. I am the demographic that universities could be appealing to...woman, second career, returning to the workplace after raising children, available money to attend graduate school, etc. The placing of the three older people in the back seems to minimize these students. The focus is on the four younger students. The use of color is good. The eye is drawn to the name of the graduate programs due to the use of red. The orange border encloses the information.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The 80s Were Good to Me

So after much deliberation I have decided to bring in my collection of 80s junk. I Loved the 80s...high school, college, first job, post-graduate program, traveling, met my husband, got engaged, applied for U.S. citizenship, bought my first house, and the list goes on. Looking back I had no responsibilities except getting myself from point A to point B. All in all a fun time for me.

Here is an 80s ipod...mine is the one on the right...very clunky. I wore it on a strap across my shoulders. The constant banging of the Walkman on my hip was annoying as I exercised. I found the Walkman at:

At beginning of the 80s I was in England, then I moved with my family to Italy, and then I moved to Pennsylvania for college. A common thread was pun intended. I discovered Benetton in Italy, quite some time before my American classmates had discovered it. Clothing at Benetton ranged from V-neck sweaters in bright colors with matching scarves and gloves to rugby shirts and blazers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Graphic Design Blogs

I found these two graphic design blogs:


The author of the first one is a guy called Gino. He is a graphic design student. He will graduate soon and hopes to find work in NYC. His blog seems informative.

The second one is English. I feel connected to this one for nostalgic reasons, but it does have entries from various designers on a wide variety of subjects.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Collectors Anonymous

I'm a bit like Mike ( when it comes to collecting. I like to have the whole set of whatever it is I decide to collect.

As a child I would obsess over not having a certain stamp for my stamp collection. I really wanted this really rare stamp called the "Penny Black"--I did not know at 9 years old that this stamp was so rare it could only be found at the British Museum. I also collected sticker cards for a book of U.K. soccer teams. The cards were sold in a pack of 5, very much like baseball cards. I remember purchasing dozens of packs of soccer stickers for the cards needed to finish my collection. I needed to have a sticker card for each soccer player on each Division 1 team plus the team logo and the full team photo. I had many duplicate cards. I have done the same thing recently when trying to get the entire set of Happy Meal toys for a particular series, like all the cars from Cars the Movie. I even went so far as to purchase one car from e-bay. I was thrilled to have the whole collection. My son loves cars, so he appreciated the effort...I think!?!?

My favorite collection would be a series of wooden houses from Sheilia Co. featuring buildings found in the Amish Country of Lancaster, PA. The houses and other pieces are less than 5 inches tall. I found them at Christmas Tree Hill at the Rehoboth Outlets...phew, no need to go on e-bay.

I have several collections of Hallmark Christmas ornaments--the tin houses, the kitchen appliances, and Winnie the Pooh. My fave collection would have to be framed sheets of stamps...a childhood passion come full circle to adulthood...I have a varied selection of sheets from stamps commemorating 9/11 to Jane Austen to baseball legends to Jim Henson to Super Heroes. I often go to the post office to check out what is new. I don't get every new sheet of stamps, but when one catches my eye I buy it.

Not sure what I will bring on Saturday...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Me and My Blogs

I first started reading blogs about 4 years ago. A preschool friend of my daughter developed leukemia, was in remission, relapsed, and then had a bone marrow transplant. I followed this boy's journey to good health through his mom's blog. I left messages of encouragement for them on the blog guestbook. I joined the bone marrow donor registry in honor of this boy. I did my campaign on bone marrow donation. This cause means a great deal to me.

Reading one blog leads to another and another. I read quite a number of mommy blogs on a daily basis. Some are entertaining to read, some are not. I stick with the entertaining ones. I have my own mommy blog, but don't post very often. I prefer reading other people's blogs. Two of my favorites are:

This blog is all about a mom of 4 children who lives on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. She homeschools her children. The kids all participate in the workings of the ranch...branding, rounding up cattle, etc. Ree's life is so different from my own, yet I love to check in on her.

This blog is written by a person who was home with her children for short period, but is now back teaching high school. She grew up in the East and is now living in Texas. She is a very good writer.

I am enjoying writing/posting to my class blog more than my other blog. I like the instant feedback from the comment section. I feel validated when someone makes a comment on one of my posts. I have found that I get very few comments on my other blog.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Graphic Designer Friend

Several years ago I met a new friend. Our second born children were both at the same preschool. We talked at pickup and dropoff times. We would get together for playdates with the children during the day. We were both in a scrapbooking group one night a month. She mentioned that her husband worked at home as a graphic designer. I was working from home as a freelance editor at the time, so I could definitely relate to his work-at-home situation. I remember talking to her husband about his business and his clients. Here is his website:

Over the years I have thought about what to do once I rejoin the workforce. The freelance editorial production work I did is now mostly handled in house. I began to think about other areas of the publications business. I started to develop an interest in graphics. After investigating UB's program, I realized that this is the business I want to be in. I like the combination of writing and design. My friend's husband's work is inspirational to me. He is a talented designer.

You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover

My last years as a cubicle dweller, I worked for a health care publisher. I was in charge of the production cycles for 4 quarterly journals, 3 monthly newsletters, 10 annually supplemented manuals, and several books. I also wrote and edited the company newsletter. In my spare time (kidding), I managed a database of freelance copyeditors. My job consisted of overseeing the production cycle from an editorial perspective only. My only involvement with graphics, other than using Pagemaker to typeset the 3 newsletters, was supervising the creation of the covers for each of the manuals and books. The journals used the same cover for each issue, with the addition of a listing of articles within that issue of the journal.

The process for creating a cover involved researching the subject matter of the publication, talking to the author(s) about their preferences, and meeting with our inhouse production department. The cover would then be sent out to a graphic designer or an illustrator. I would next see a rough draft of the cover. I would then send it out to the author and our inhouse editorial acquisitions staff for approval. Sometimes the draft covers were a hit and sometimes the covers were universally detested.

I was looking through my collection of publications from my last job. The covers are overall O.K. Some are good--see the cover for Integrated Women's Health (top right). The cover for Pediatric Home Care (see top left) is just awful. The authors' names are not even aligned with the second block! I can't believe everyone signed off on this one. I can't believe we actually paid a graphic designer (?) to do this cover.

These publications usually sold for over $100 each. The company line was that our audience did not care what was on the cover...they were more interested in the content. The publications were only sold online and at trade shows, not in stores. Several years later the company was merged with its parent company. I can only hope that the book covers have improved.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Field Trips Are Not for the Meek

Stained glass window from the Saint-Germain-des-Pres monastery in Paris commemorating the life of St. Vincent

It is springtime, which means that schools across the country are heading out for field trips. My sixth grader went to NYC last week to visit Ellis Island as part of her English unit on immigration. This week it was my 4th graders' turn. I volunteered for and was chosen to chaperone her class field trip to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

The bus ride up deserves its own post. Suffice it to say I sat on a school bus with 40 9/10-year-olds in different states of excitement. I had the back seat of the bus, which meant I had a front row seat on the madness. On the bus ride to the Walters a handful of kids were loud, but most stayed in their seats. The ride back was noisy and I pitied the teachers that had to teach these kids in the afternoon. I think kids in general do not do well with a change in routine. These kids were in fun mode not learning mode by the time we got back to school.

The museum field trip was a mixture of a docent-led tour of the museum preceded by a visit to the Family Art Center to do a craft. The students were given a circular piece of styrofoam and craft supplies. They were asked to create a scene on the styrofoam. All the kids enjoyed this activity.

Our group spent quite some time in front of a stained glass window devoted to St. Vincent (see above). The docent explained the story of St. Vincent to the students in great detail. The window was originally in the Lady Chapel at the monastery of Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris. Each panel of the window had a part of the story of St. Vincent, who was tortured and his body eventually ascended in to heaven. For me the most interesting aspect was the fourth panel from the top on the left. This panel does not depict a scene as it is just a collage of broken stained glass. The docent explained that art historians do not know what scene should be there, so the collage was added to fill the empty space.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Do We Really Need This Direction?

I found several things in my children's bathroom for this week's show and tell. First, I found a box for 3 ounce Dixie cups with the helpful direction "LIFT HERE" on top of the box. Once you open the box, there is another direction "TO CLOSE INSERT TAB HERE." Not really all that necessary. The directions are also in two other languages.

I found two other items:

- A bottle of Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath with the direction "SQUEEZE BUBBLE BATH INTO STREAM OF WATER AS TUB FILLS"

- A Bubblicious Savage Sour Apple Lip Balm with the direction "APPLY SMOOTHLY AND EVENLY ON LIPS"

Monday, April 21, 2008

The End of The Far Side

I chose the 2002 The Far Side Last Impressions calendar as my Show and Tell item for a product with a story to tell. I miss the humor of Gary Larson. I purchased The Far Side calendars for over 10 years. I would often hold off on reading the daily pages until I had a stack and then I would read them all at once. Some were hysterical, some not, and some just bizarre.

The story is in the form of a letter from Gary Larson to his fans at the end of The Far Side calendar series. The first paragraph reads:

To whom it may concern:

Someone once said you should always leave a party ten minutes early. Of course, that leaves you with the predicament of no matter when you leave, it's ten minutes too late. Before long, you're sucked into a black hole that makes you want to just stay home and feed chicken giblets to the piranha. (Or is that just me?) Well, what I'm trying to say here, in my usual confusing manner, is that it's time for me to take my calendar and go home....

The Story of Tazo Tea

My cupboard was bare...literally. None of the packages in my pantry had a story to tell. All packages are major, well-known brands. There is no need to sell these products. Just place on shelf and customers will pick up.

I did find a box of Tazo tea manufactured by Starbucks. The text reads as follows:

At various times throughout history, Tazo has surfaced among the more advanced cultures of the day as a calming and centering influence. While teaologists will diasgree about how Tazo came into being, recent research has provided evidence that the famous Ming Dynasty vases were originally created to store Tazo.

A side panel goes on to say:

TAZO ZEN is made with full-flavored, pan-fired Chinese green tea. Long known for its legendary properties, this aromatic tea is combined with lemon verbena leaves from Eastern Europe, lemon-grass from Guatemala, spearmint leaves from Oregon and a hint of sweet lemon essence. That, and a few mumbled chants from a certified tea shaman.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 1

I have revised Project 4, Phase 4--Classification. I am posting it in 4 different posts. I made significant changes from Phase 3. I think most work. What do you think?

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 2

Here is Page 2 of Project 4, Phase 4.

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 3

Here is Page 3 of Project 4, Phase 4.

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 4

Here is Page 4 of Project 4, Phase 4.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pat the Bunny

In class on Saturday I was unable to remember the author of Pat the Bunny. I hate not being able to remember things like that. This is especially embarrassing as we have 3 copies of this book, which I have read hundreds of times to my children. It is also funny because when I read to my children I always start by reading the title, the author, the illustrator, and the publisher...I am a book geek.

Dorothy Kunhardt's daughter, Edith Kunhardt Davis, wrote two followup books Pat the Puppy and Pat the Cat. Pat the Bunny is the type of book I buy as a baby present/baby shower gift. I think every new parents needs a copy. Children love these books as the books include scratch and sniff, velcro, fabric, mirrors, etc. Each of my children loved these books to death...and I mean that literally as the books fell apart through much use and reading.

I Could Do This Job

I found a news story on a guy called "The Road Scholar" who is traveling around the U.S. correcting signs--street signs, road signs, store signs, any signs --for typos. When he sees a sign with a misspelled word he will politely ask the store owner if he can correct the sign. He carries whiteout, markers, and paint.
I cannot count the number of times that I have seen a sign with a typo and desperately wanted to correct it. My recent typo sighting: "Mink's Sports Tanvern."

Here is the link:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Play as Narrative

I discovered a copy of Pygmalion by G.B. Shaw on my bookshelf. I have not looked at it in quite some time. My Fair Lady (both the movie and the Broadway and West End musical) was based on this play. As I was reading the play, the introductory notes to each act caught my attention. These introductory notes set the stage (no pun intended) for each act. Shaw describes in great detail the appearance of Henry Higgins' elocution room from the color of the room to the instruments on his desk. These introductory notes are not spoken by the actors, but they are used by the director and the set director to construct a stage set that conveys what the play is about. The intro notes tell the story of the play by giving details of each of the character's personalities. Before we read an act of the play, we have a specific idea of what will happen when the characters start talking to each other.

The above excerpt is from:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Project 3, Phase 4--Any and All Comments Welcome!

So, here is Project 3, Phase 4--the poster. I liked this photo as I thought it conveyed the relationship of bone marrow donor and donee. However, the resolution of the photo is not good enough and the headline is centered. There is too much text. So, I revised it...

Here's my revision of Project 3, Phase 4--the poster. The text needs to be darkened, but I like the overall look, color scheme, and photo placement:

Any comments are welcome! Does it convery the message that donating bone marrow not only saves lives, but allows people to live their life? I'm not a designer and sometimes I have a hard time knowing what works and what does not work. Do you think the design on this poster works?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Project 3--Feedback Needed

I have revised my Project 3 campaign quite a few times. I am still not happy with it. I need to work on it. If anyone has any suggestions, please post to comments section. Thanks!

Anyway, here's the progression--Project 3, Phase 3:

Phase 4 is in next post.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Storytelling Then and Now

My daughters (4th and 6th grades) spent the week doing the MSA--the Maryland state assessment tests. The tests are lengthy. The verbal tests requires students to complete BCRs...brief constructed written responses. From 3rd grade on the format for writing a BCR is drummed into their heads. The BCR written responses must be answered in a certain way and of course students must write within a black box in their test booklets. There is no creativity involved, just answer the question and move on to the next BCR.

With this in mind I stumbled upon a website on storytelling via imovie:

Tom Babaszewski discusses how imovie is an essential tool for teaching kids how to tell stories. He mentioned how he surveyed his 4th and 5th grade students to find out which students considered themselves writers. He posed the question "Are you a writer?" About 60 % of his students said "yes." After a year of using imovie as a storytelling device he asked the same students the question "Are you a writer?" This time 99 % said "yes."

I can see that imovie would help a child who struggles with writing. The computer would allow the child to tell a story through images, music, and words. A child with a handwriting issue may see imovie as a form a freedom of expression. Ban the pencil and click up the mouse!

I am looking forward to the project. I have wanted to learn how to make is my chance. As for inspiration I am pondering rooting in our toybox to find stuffed animals. I have an idea about a gang of bears confronting a gang of monkeys. I wonder who will win. I wonder if the bears would be outsmarted by the monkeys. I think it might be funny to have different sizes of animals. Also, a gang composed of Curious George, a monkey glove puppet, and a gorilla might have some internal strife. I wonder how they would get along with each other? Curious George is sneaky, but not aggressive. George might not be that effective in a fight.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I bought a book for my son for Easter. The book is on Dinosaurs--his favorite subject. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant. The text seems well-written. However, the typography bothers me. Whenever a word is boldfaced for emphasis, the type changes from a serif type to a Courier-like type. Also, the kerning is off, which makes the words really jammed together and a little hard to read (see page on T-rex, line 3, boldfaced Tyrannoasaurus). This problem occurs on every page. I'm sorry the scan is a little hard to read--the pages of the book are quite shiny. Perhaps, I should contact the publisher and offer my editing/design services!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I have avoided posting this week. I did not think I had anything to say about typography.

I have been told that I have been "designing with type." I spent some time this week looking at the design book and the sample magazines to find other ways to design that do not include "designing with type." However, I need to post this week...

I found this website:

On the site you can type in any word and see the word typeset in numerous different fonts. I spent some time testing it out. There are over 41,558 fonts included on the website.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I like words. I like using words that sound interesting to me. Here is my list. I will have more by Saturday.

burnt sienna (retired Crayola color)

More to come...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sketch Pad

I have never had a sketch pad. As I looked at the selection of sketch pads at Plaza Art store a month ago. I was a little intimidated by the selection...big or small, this brand or that brand, etc. I had no idea. I chose one. I did not know what to do with it. I'm not an artist. I like art, but have not drawn much since school days. However, over the past few weeks I have used the pad to sketch out layouts and to brainstorm my ideas for projects. I am beginning to think of my self as an "artist" in the sense that I design layouts, etc. I think that the sketch pad is helping my layouts as I now have a way to figure out what my treatment will be instead of sitting staring at the computer screen and waiting for the inspiration to come. I am saving time by sketching my ideas.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


A classification system well known to all is the Dewey Decimal System for sorting library books. This system divides subjects in to 4 main chapters. Each chapter has 10 main classes. Each class has 10 divisions. Each division has 10 sections. Hence, the use of the title "decimal." Here is the classification by subject:

000 – Computer science, information, and general works
100 – Philosophy and psychology
200 – Religion
300 – Social sciences
400 – Languages
500 – Science
600 – Technology applied science
700 – Arts and recreation
800 – Literature
900 – History and geography

This system has been around for so long that I rarely think about it. Two years ago, I applied for, interviewed for, and was chosen for a job at my local library system as a part-time assistant librarian. In the end I turned down the job partly for reasons of my inability to coordinate my new work schedule with the school bus schedules for two children and preschool schedule for one child and partly because I could not see myself shelfing books all day. I also looked in to getting a master's degree in library science. Now that I am in this program I am glad I did not accept that job.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

got soy?

For nonmilk lovers...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

got milk?

I have always loved these ads. The got milk? campaign can't lose. Milk is a beverage for people aged one year and up. It is a healthy drink. Milk is appealing to everyone, except of course the lactose intolerant.
The ads feature well-known actors and athletes sporting the famous milk moustache. The stark white background complements the milk moustache and glass of milk. The celebrities chosen tend to lead wholesome and noncontroversial lives.
The ad above does not feature someone who is a household name. The man in this ad was the winner of NBC's The Biggest Loser. This cross marketed ad looks like an ad for a diet supplement with the before photo in the left-hand corner. The wording next to the man touts the healthful qualities of milk. The ad serves a dual purpose of promoting milk and a TV show. I examined the show's website and was not surprised to find that got milk? was a show sponsor.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Something New

During the first class Amy presented a call to action--do something different each day to change the way you think about design and life in general. Well, for me graphic design, and especially Indesign, is so new that I had no problem following through with this call. Each day I pore over my reference books and figure out a new graphic design trick. Monday--writing on a circle, Tuesday--creating a pie chart... But, this change seemed small in the grand scheme of things. I started looking beyond my computer/dining room and realized that for the last couple of years my reading materials have primarily consisted of children's books, parenting magazines, and books chosen by members of the book club I belong to. Clearly my reading habits need to change. I won't stop reading to my children, so the children's books can stay. The book club books are a fun distraction. Which leaves...the parenting magazines. I have always looked at parenting magazines as kind of a "read it in one sitting/tear out coupons/clip information about activities/recycle" kind of publication. This throwaway type of publication is a far cry from the magazines recommended in Project 1. I found many interesting articles on new and familiar subjects, not to mention thought-provoking ads. One thing is for certain...I won't be recycling any of these magazines any time soon.

I find the ads to be powerful. I found this ad "You don't always die from tobacco" on YouTube. The image of the cowboy riding through a crowded city street towards a campfire is oddly humorous since we don't expect to see a cowboy in this setting. The humor stops as we hear the cowboy sing through a device placed against his neck, which amplifies his voice. The reality of throat cancer is in contrast to the "mock" cheerfulness of the song. The ad focuses on the premise that not everyone dies from tobacco--this rationale is cruel and unrealistic.'s ads make me wonder how anyone would still smoke in 2008.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Project 2, New Item

I struggled with what to write about for this project.

Late Monday afternoon at the pediatrician's office, I saw a brief news item in Wonder magazine for shoes specifically designed for a treadmill and an elliptical training machine. I loved the idea of these shoes. I recently joined a health club and the treadmill and elliptical are my favorite machines...O.K., I should clarify that I hate all forms of exercise and by extension all exercise machines. But, I liked the concept of a product-specific shoe, at least. There are volleyball shoes, football shoes, soccer shoes, so why not an exercise machine-specific shoe

The shoes are by asics and adidas. I checked the websites for both companies and found brief writeups about each. Hmmm... what I saw did not seem like much to go on. I checked out local sports shops for the shoes...Dick's Sporting Goods, Modell's. I wanted to see the shoe in person. No go on that front as well. The shoes were only available in downtown D.C. and Baltimore. No, not going to drive all the way to the city to check out a pair of shoes.

It may sound strange that I needed to see the shoe before writing about it, but I did not want to rely on website descriptions and other people's experiences of the shoe, especially since the information on the web was fairly brief. I wanted to write my own description of the product...experience it for myself if you will.

So, I moved from the shoe to Rockband. I love, love, love the idea of this software. We do not have it. I know my kids would love it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Puzzle as Story

Another example of description is a puzzle I recently completed--all 1500 pieces. I have a tradition of starting a puzzle the day after Christmas. I get mildly obsessed about finishing it almost as soon as I start. My family does not share/understand my hobby.

The puzzle I completed reminds me of small town America in the 50s. I thought about the slower pace of life in a small town. No computers, wifi, cell phones, GPS in this town.

I had a hard time completing the road as the colors on the box did not match the colors on the actual puzzle pieces. Look at the reflection of the gas station sign and the blue car on the newly rained on street--you can see the water on the road from a recent rainstorm.

The author of the puzzle--I'm using the word author rather than artist as I believe he is telling a story about this town--uses various products to set the puzzle in time...Pepsi, John Deere, Budweiser, Good Year, to name just a few.


One example of visual description is my voting sticker. I chose this image as it describes the act of voting. I saw people at Best Buy, Plaza Art Supplies, and my polling place with this sticker--we all had one thing in common...we voted. As a naturalized American citizen I take pride in being able to vote in any and all elections. I won't tell you who I voted for, but I will let you know I voted. The sticker is a simplistic, yet effective description of the voting process. The American flag symbolizes pride in our nation and what it stands for.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What Inspires Me

Well, it is hard for me to find just one thing that inspires me...

One source of inspiration... I was introduced to this poem by my mother. She found great comfort in this poem as she dealt with her grief over the death of my uncle. She gave my sister and me a copy of this book. What I like about this poem is the wide range of ideas covered, from how to live your life to your career.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantmentit is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Another... I am inspired by a good idea or concept. It could be something as mundane as an organizational device for my home office or as complex as the heroism of the 9/11 rescue workers. When I find an idea or concept that I am passionate about, I will do my best to apply it to my life and make it work for me.

Finally... I find my family a source of inspiration. Any decision I make is governed by how it will affect my husband and children. I find myself inspired to work harder on a project because of them.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Inspirational item

I am not sure about this one. I need to give this one a little more thought. Interestingly my son has Show and Tell this morning at preschool. He is bringing an orange book for O day. I am having a harder time finding my item.