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Think Beyond the Box

Activity Book for Designers


Introduction My name is Gretchen and I’m a senior student designer at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. I created this activity book during my thesis research on the design process. I learned a lot about the topic and am eager to share what I have learned through this booklet. One thing I realized is that some designers must be able to recognize and stop themselves from practicing repeated and mundane steps. Although it seems like the design process can be time and energy consuming, its results can be very rewarding. Many of us are aware that hard work takes you far. By breaking away from the norm, designers can learn so much more. Even mistakes are good because they either help spawn new ideas or teach us what to avoid. It is important to address the issues that weaken the design profession and help designers become aware of mistakes they may be making in their own work. This interactive book was created to encourage designers to recognize these flaws and practice better process habits. I hope that in sharing this booklet, designers can enjoy solving some puzzles while learning something new. If I could summarize what I have learned through my research in one sentence, it would be this: Never hesitate to experiment and improve!

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Process Lessons

Check Point Logo

The next five examples explain a project and what went wrong. After each one, it’s your turn! Using the information provided, identify what is wrong with each design and explain what could have been done in the design process to avoid errors.

Example 1: Tree Doctor Logo

There are plenty of examples of terrible logo design. This is the reason why logos shouldn’t cost $30 to make. What the consumer doesn’t understand is when designers say “I’ll make you a logo for $5,” they should run for the hills. In this instance, the owner of Tree Doctor might as well have designed his own logo. According to its website, the Tree Doctor is an arborist who specializes in maintaining the health of shrubs and trees through injections, fertilization and spraying.

Believe it or not, Check Point is a real corporation that claims to be the leader in internet security. It provides software and hardware products for IT, network, endpoint, and data security. The Lesson:

The Lesson: This logo fails in so many different aspects. Its message is somewhat quickly recognizeable, implying health to trees. However, there is no cleverness in forming an identity for the business. Whoever made the logo, seriously skipped out on the sketching and mindmapping process. Instant recognizeable elements were aligned together as an attempt to communicate the logo’s idea. The medical symbol is used in place of the letter T, the flower is meaningless and misplaced, and the tree collides with the legibility of the letter R.

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Example 2: Fire Escape Semiotics

Adapter Semiotics

Everyone knows that in case of fire, you must escape to the safest exit. Many buildings also warn people to take the stairs instead of the elevator. These images are poor examples of communicating the idea. The first image makes the person look almost like a dancer or waiter, rather than a runner. The second image places a static figure before the fire, as if it were watching and headed no where. Although both signs clearly state not to use the elevator, it does not consider those who can not read or understand a different language.

This icon was found without additional text on an Auto/ Air adapter packaging box. Auto/Air adapters are used as portable power inverters that can be used in planes and vehicles. The Lesson:

The Lesson: Don’t assume that just because you created a simplified picture it can easily be interpreted by everyone else. Otto Neurath studied and perfected the isotype’s stance as a visual language. When creating new icons, consider other cultures, languages and ages. Refer to isotype research, view similar icons and test their meaning with others before finalizing the design.

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Example 3: Apple USB Mouse

Reef Sandals

Apple’s departure from its consistent trend of mouses was released through its first USB mouse in 1998. Its round shape became a problem and quickly became known by consumers as a disaster. The problem its shape entails is its size, comfort and flexibility. Not to mention, the chord was also too short. Third-party products such as iCatch were introduced to solve its round shapre by creating an elliptical shell.

Reef sells a variety of comfortable sandals. As an add-on, they include an attached bottle-opener to the bottom of the sole (as pictured above.) The Lesson:

The Lesson: When designing products, one of the first factors that must be considered is its interactivity. Are you making the user think or work more than they have to? Can its functionality be simplified? It should be realized that the job of the product designer is to make it easy for the user to interact with the product. Failure to do so is like standing next to an infographic you designed and having to explain it to each viewer. What might look cool doesn’t mean it will be cool with others.

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Example 4: Sunkist Typography

Zonies Logo

The complementary colors of the soda’s label attracts consumer attention. At first glance, Sunkist’s branding seems energetic, fresh and bright. It’s probably safe to assume that Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. invested a lot of money to make it the popular orange soda it is today. However, if you were to view the soda’s name from an outsider’s perspective, you may read it as “Sinkist.” It is not known whether this typography was intentional or not. Luckily, the sun behind the type somewhat saves its legibility by implying the word sun. Thus, the reader can make out the two letters.

This is a photo of the Zonies logo on a black and white takeout menu. Zonies is a restaurant that started out in New York and caters mainly to a young crowd. The Lesson:

The Lesson: It is common for designers to make typos. After all, they are not English majors and they focus more on communicating through images. However, letters and words will always be a major part of design and must be proofread. If not, readers will eventually notice the errors and receive a bad impression. It quickly jeopardizes the credibility and professionalism of the design.

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Example 5: Yale’s Art Program Website

Remote Control Packaging

One would think that Yale University’s Art program would have at least a decent website. However, multiple pages are composed of moving gif backgrounds and sometimes overlapping blocks of text. Near the bottom of each page, a notification reads that the “website is a wiki,” and that Yale students and staff can change most of the site’s content.

Like many products we encounter, this General Electric remote control was custom packaged in plastic. To open, a sharp object like scissors or a knife must be used. The Lesson:

The Lesson: An online and collaborative sketchbook is not the best solution to represent an educational institution. Although the design process can be flexible, there must be some basic order and rules established for the website. Upon exploring the website, one can find major typography dont’s such as rainbow, overlapping, and highlighted text. The repetition and movement of background images is also a big no.

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Design Habits

Reasons for Rejection

Design articles and books have mentioned plenty of reoccuring errors and habits that designers make every day. Fill in the blanks to complete the phrases related to popular mistakes.

Author Sharon Pogghenpohl argues several reasons for why disciplinary development is rejected in the design field. Substitute the correct letters from the chart below to decipher each reason.

1. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ out on critiques

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2. Ignorance to design _ _ _ _ _ _ and updates

2. Pab lebvmimpz con wbllmobll hi pab nblmdo

3. Not _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ out ideas

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4. Procrastinating on _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

3. Sblbcsva ml lbbo cl nsz con tomwcdmocpmjb

5. Lack of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

4. Nblmdobsl csb mlhgcpmod pabwlbgjbl ishw hob

6. Not accepting new _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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7. Carelessness (uninterest in _ _ _ _ _ _)

5. Pabsb ml nmlvhoobvpbn moihswcpmho

8. Self _ _ _

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9. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ others work

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10. Not Using the Correct _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

7. Pab ghvcpmho hi csp lvahhgl con tomjbslmpmbl

11. Lack of Color _ _ _ _ _ _

8. Nblmdobsl csb ohp mopbscvpmod fmpa hpabs

12. Unprofessional _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 13. Relying on 12pt _ _ _ _

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14. Using all capital _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 15. Not reviewing _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and spelling 16. Using hyphens as _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 17. Half-inch _ _ _ _ _ _ _ instead of 1 em 18. Over-using the font _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 19. Relying on _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 20. Dependence on _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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Notes

Use this page to write down the answers from Reasons for Rejection on the previous page.

Scrambled Vocabulary Read the clues to unscramble the words. Then read the enclosed letters in order to reveal a word that pertains to design collaboration

_ _ _ (_) _ CAITT A type of knowledge that explains why some designers can not provide a clear explanation to their work. _ (_) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ITTNIOUNI Paul Rand’s definition claims that it is a “flash of insight conditioned by experience, culture, and imagination.” ___ I R L A T D A N R O R E R (_) _ _ _ _ Experimenting until a solution is found.

(_)_ _ _ _

_ _ _ (_) LGBO A type of journal that helps a designer process their work and ideas. OYERHT _ _ _ _ (_) _ A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something. Based on general principles. _ _ _ (_ _) _ _ (_) _ _ YTICRVEITA Using imagination or ideas to make unique relationships. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (_ _) IIRAONNTPSI Research should spur this mental stimulation. Special Word:

           14

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Design Steps

Color Wheel

The design process should be fluid, although some designers have practiced a rigid and static structure. It can even repeat itself. However, there are some basic common steps that should be implemented in almost every design. Place them in order.

Designers should have a knowledge of color theory. Colors within a design must be considered and tested because they have an effect on various aspects such as mood, hierarchy, attraction and legibility. Color the shapes according to an HTML Color Picker. Afterwards, circle the correct fact for each combination on the left.

Critique Improve Brainstorm and Sketch Ideas

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Bad background and type combo Good contrast Fully saturated colors

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Bad contrast Evokes dark mood Complementary colors

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Great type combination Monotone achromatic scheme Warm colors

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Analogous colors Good luck in chinese culture Good contrast

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Shows Value Good contrast Neutral colors

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Finalize Review Creative Brief Create Design Identify the Key Points and Goal

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Cut and Paste Cut out the squares above and paste them in the squares below by matching the numbers. The image will answer the following question:

Not every design has to be finalized through what tool?

Search and Scramble Read the article to locate all 27 scrambled words. Use surrounding text as clues to unscramble them. Jot the words down on page 23.

An article on “Design Research, Experimentation, Collaboration and Creativity” During the 1980s, April Greinman was one of the first designers to use a Macintosh orpctuem. She saw the computer as an ideal tool that would contribute to experimentation and open new avenues. Her issue Design Quarterly revealed a timeline of technology’s history, ending with the invention of the Macintosh computer. Ironically today, it is a question whether the invention of the computer and design software has negatively impacted the creation and hesrraec process. In fact, various factors have immobilized the design practice. The design field is confused on how to advance its discipline as well as maintain, build and share knowledge. Some critics argue that American schools are producing weak undergraduate designers. Effective designs depend on proper research, experimentation, bcoooalltanri, critiques, creativity and even teaching. Gadi Amit, president of NewDealDesign LLC., views thousands of portfolios a year. He claims he has noticed ooplstrifo becoming weaker; showing two separate categories of skills and process work instead of integrating both. He articulates several assumptions. Academic design programs have cloudy standards that are not constant with one another. Because of this, students have no real design process education. Many have an idea of “Design thinking,” but lack the lnwgdeeok of cultural, aesthetic, or form intelligence.

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Ultimately, fewer understand what design integration is. Most importantly, the key to all creative process, handsketching, is dying. Sharon Poggohpohl believes that students primarily in undergraduate schools don’t know what research is. This may be in part of her argument that undergraduates are prepared for oesopirlnasf practice, while higher degrees come with the responsibility of research and teaching. Good research is certainly not looking through trade magazines, asking people for their opinions on your design, nor fooling around with design forms to achieve better results. True research contributes to a discipline’s development. Instructor Micah Barrett at the Rhode Island School of Design also agrees that cniuleffn from trade magazines and internet blogs is apt. It transforms designers into decorators, lacking geeanemgtn in the story they’re telling. Jeanne Verdoux, teaches incoming freshmen Process and Skills at Parsons New School for Design in New York. She agrees that the computer impacts rpscsoe and that students must know what they are doing before they get on the computer (even if they will branch out from their initial ideas.) Development before drupnctoio is key so she requests proof of process for course assignments. Her method includes: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Research and image references Sketches and initial visual concept Development of concept and production Revisions

Outside the school setting, working designers are constrained by time and finances. I have witnessed

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how easy it is for designers to skip some methods and or transfer them to the computer. For instance, rough compositions are quickly created on Adobe Illustrator, allowing quicker changes later by shifting design forms and elements to the client’s request. Deadlines are of pioarmntnec for firms, but I do think that with a proper method, time and quality can merge. For instance, Matt Cooke developed a systematic aoaphrpc to design when working for the World Cancer Research Fund. The organization wanted to alert the public of the link between obesity and cancer. Required to make a leaflet, Cooke developed a design thmooeolygd by researching several theorists and practitioners. He drafted his own methodology composed of all their ideas, also allowing for changes that could be modified to his convenience. He claims that the benefit of his systematic approach is that it is a clear, quick and progressive apln that accounts for every stage in the design process. It also enhances creativity because it allowed for his tmae to interpret the findings in imaginative ways. Although the leaflet was successful, Cooke admits that the strengths of methodologies continually must feed back on suggestions for improvement. This realization is another factor that designers fail to ignore. Ego is a big problem designers face when it comes down to their work. It discourages a designer in considering strategies to vmirpeo. Instead, they fall victim to what Poggehnpohl calls “tacit knowledge,” a term that explains why some designers can not provide a clear explanation to their work. Tacit knowledge is related to Paul Rand’s definition of intuition, which is a “flash of insight conditioned by experience, culture,

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and imagination.” Poggehnpohl encourages explicit knowledge, which doesn’t necessarily rule out tacit, but requires a ondftuonai in theory, principles, methods, and/or teamwork to provide developmental design. The generation of oehryt, development, testing and creating tools is an explicit activity based on analysis and trial and error. Poggehnpohl and Amit both agree that universities are a muddled mess. However, I believe that it is reinstated in Poggehnpohl’s factors that design is a messy yet specific irtpaecc. There is no defined step-by-step method to creating a pamphlet, poster, or book. I don’t think design can be an algebraic otiluons because the possibilities are always endless. Thomas Ockerse from the Rhode Island School of Design believes that the design process is not mechanical. Like life itself, it is a living, dynamic, and changing human experience. However, designers can positively use their intuition to determine what proper steps see fit for a certain design. Ultimately, designers need to be able to ujfstyi themselves and have the ability to argue, question and discover. Not being able to do so is just an act of faith. Nevertheless, quantifiable research, or justifying why particular designs are produced should be practiced with caution (especially in marketing.) As Poggehnpohl mentioned, asking others for their opinions can be harmful, and in the case of consumers, should always be avoided. Debbie Millman explains that qualitative and quantitative research has a bad reputation because consumers are uncomfortable with change. Consultants and anthropologists do believe that research is not the problem, but how it is used incorrectly. Research should not interfere with creativity and should give

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designers inspiration and cfuos. As a result, a consumer should never be asked how to improve a design. Market research is about their trend of perceptions and reactions, but not their preferences. Although there are various research types such as Ethnographic research, quantitative eye tracking, online testing and focus groups, Millman agrees there is not one correct way to stte design. I believe there is no wrong way, as long as a designer has truly committed themself to improvement by utilizing isllks approved by educational standards. Although designers can practice relevant steps to complete a design, the option of trial and reorr never goes wrong. Mistakes always allow for improvement and reconsideration. Sometimes, even good mistakes happen and open new avenues. Ockerse’s opinion hits the nail on the head with his interview statement, “personally I place SEARCH (to discover what is not known) far above RESEARCH (to collect what is known.)” After all, design research should be xfibleel and allow trial and error for results. Revealing the unknown opens new doors. It’s when designers become comfortable and don’t question their methods that the advancement of design becomes stuck. Designers must remove themselves from the computer, and explore outside their boundaries and norms. Critiques and collaboration with other disciplines is linked to why we talk, and ultimately communicate edisa. Design, best known for communication, should always reflect those actions.

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Notes

Jot down the words you unscrambled from Search and Scramble. Locate them in the Word Find on the next page.

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Word Find

Find the words you wrote down from the previous page in the box below. N

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Mindmapping

Doodle

A mindmap is better than writing a list. It is proven that the way information is structured in a mindmap is related to how the brain actually works. Branching ideas is a cognitive excercise that engages your thinking. How can you branch off these words starting with one in the middle?

Sketch and write what comes to your mind. Do you have a sketchbook? Carry one with you and spend more time using it!

Parsons Illustrator

InDesign

Flyers Flash Designer Illustrator

Software Photoshop Products Art Director

CalArts

Graphic Design Posters Yale Logos Institutions Careers

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Answers

Some images and information came from these sources.

Design Habits

Reasons for Rejection

1. Skipping 2. Trends 3. Sketching 4. Deadlines 5. Organization 6. Challenges 7. Design 8. Ego 9. Copying 10. Software 11. Theory 12. Behavior 13. Type 14. Letters 15. Grammar 16. Bullets 17. Indents 18. Helvetica 19. Intuition 20. Technology

1. There is little value placed on creativity 2. The specifity and messiness of the design practice 3. Research is seen as dry and unimaginative 4. Designers are isolating themselves from one another 5. There is disconnected information 6. Traditional craft education is neglecting contemporary challenges 7. The location of art schools and universities 8. Designers are not interacting with other disciplines because they are intimidated by their language (such as science) 9. Varieties of research are unknown Scrambled Vocabulary

Design Steps

Tacit Intuition Trial and Error Blog Theory Creativity Inspiration Integration

Review Creative Brief Identify the Key Points and Goal Brainstorm and Sketch Ideas Create Design Finalize Critique Improve

Color Wheel

Word Find

Bad background and type combo Complementary colors Monotone achromatic scheme Good luck in chinese culture Shows value Search and Scramble computer team research improve collaboration foundation portfolios theory knowledge practice professional solution influence justify engagement focus process test production skills importance error approach flexible methodology ideas plan

Bibliography Devine, Matt. “The Dangers of Bad Graphic Design.” Thought Catalog. 31 January 2013. Web. 16 March 2013. <http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/the-dangers-of-bad-graphic-design/>. admin. “10 Worst Product Designs – Good Ideas Gone Bad.” The Idea Desk. 21 November 2011. Web. 16 March 2013. <http://www.theideadesk.com/blog/10-worst-product-designs-good-ideas-gonebad/>. “Bad Logo Designs.” Logo Designer Blog. 21 April 2009. Web. 16 March 2013. <http://logodesignerblog.com/bad-ugly-worst-logo-designs/>. “Yale University School of Art .” Yale University School of Art. 2012. Web. 17 March 2013. <http://art.yale.edu/>. “Company Information.” Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. 2013. Web. 17 March 2013. <http://www.checkpoint.com/corporate/company.html>. Hurst, Mark. “Product Design.” This is Broken. 29 June 2007. Web. 18 March 2013. <http://www.goodexperience.com/tib/archives/product_design/>. rbhitzig. “The Greatest GRA 217 Class Blog.” WordPress. 07 September 2012. Web. 18 March 2013. <http://thegreatestgra217blog.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/good-and-badtypography/>.

Mindmapping

Ljena, Gretchen. “Design Research, Experimentation, Collaboration and Creativity.” Specky Boy Design Magazine. 19 March 2013. Web. 21 March 2013. <http://speckyboy.com/2013/03/19/design-research-experimentationcollaboration-and-creativity-2/>. If you are interested in design research and process, I highly recommend the University of Portsmouth’s Graphic Design Research webpage: <http://www.houghtos.myweb.port.ac.uk/research/>

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Design Activity Book