Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category


13 Feb

The Superbowl is the one time a year when people actually look forward to the commercials.  As a designer, or a producer, your goal is to create a commercial that will stick in the viewers heads.  Not a very simple task considering everyone’s likes and dislikes are different.  It seems like the commercial that became the buzz of the town this year was the  Volkswagen Darth Vader Kid.  Everyone was talking about how cute and funny it was, including myself.  But was it really the most successful commercial?  Everyone remembered the commercial, but very few people actually remembered who the commercial was for.

A successful commercial concept not only makes the commercial memorable, but also the company.  Isn’t that the point of a commercial?  Get the consumers to know and love the company, not just the commercial.  This is why I found the Bud Light Product Placement commercial to be the most successful.  The concept was clever and humorous, like the Darth Vader Commercial, but there was no forgetting what company the commercial was for because their logo was everywhere!  That is what I call a successful commercial.


Keep It Simple Stupid

31 Jan

“Simplicity is difficult.”Lisa M. Nichols

Whether it is writing a paper, creating a design, or following directions, just because something is simple does not mean it is easy.  I have sat in front of a computer for hours just trying to come up with a concept before even starting the “hard part” of designing something.

The difficulty is often created by our pride and our egos that have been trained to believe figuring things out on our own and creating something brilliant makes you stand out above the rest.  In reality it tends to be the simplistic pieces that are deemed “brilliant”, but to create these pieces we first have to eliminate all the extras and just go with the bare essentials.

The piece that has stood out most in my portfolio has the simplest concept and design out of all my work.  I took the poem that was given to me, which was very repetitive, got down to the bare bones of the writing and created a piece that expressed what was being said.  The simplicity of it all is what makes it.

Screen shot 2011-01-31 at 9.27.48 PM


Bio with a Twist

30 Jan

“I trust that everything happens for a reason, even when we’re not wise enough to see it.”Oprah Winfrey

All my life I have been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  Although I may not understand why at the time, when the pieces fall into place and the reasons behind the successes and struggles in life are revealed, you become a stronger person with greater understanding of life as a result.  This belief has reaffirmed itself this year.  To get the full story we need to start from the beginning.

The Beginning

About two years ago one of my best friends had a Grand Mal seizure 15 minutes before her 45 minute drive home, while sitting next to a classmate who had experience dealing with seizures.  Eventually her doctors came to the conclusion that it was most likely a one-time event that happened as a result of lack of sleep and took her off all medications. Since then she has been fine with no other issues.

Around that time, I told my doctor about these weird wave feelings that were hard for me to describe, only lasted about a minute, and happen once every few months or so but had been increasing to a few times a month since college.  My doctor suspected that these ‘feelings’ were most likely anxiety or food allergies so she had me keep track of everything around when I had them.  I can normally do everything fine while having these ‘feelings’ but in this case I tried to type what I was feeling in my iCal where I had been keeping track of my feelings while it was happening and I realized it was not making sense.  After erasing what I had typed I started again and figured I would just let whatever came out come out.  Turns out that was …

“reset you’ll support my shake that I need to win.  Switching real dark skin load is making me sweat realll old hard video of scart couldt press my han to touch the scheet and play for it.  Design calendar came to me and then brought the file and help.”

Yeah. So I graduated, moved back home, and brought this new information back to my doctor who suddenly became a little more curious and sent me to a neurologist.  The neurologist she sent me to suspected seizures.  He said my EEG was abnormal but MRI was normal and I could drive no problem.  So I drove ten hours to visit Camo2my brother and came back with a new puppy. After just ending up more confused with the first neurologist, I decided to get a second opinion with the neurologist my friend highly recommended from her experience with seizures. He has been a blessing. He looked more closely at my MRI and my past history and found that it was actually abnormal and my ‘feelings’ were complex partial seizures that were happening in my left temporal lobe.  Although I usually function normally during these seizures, he informed me that according to state law I couldn’t drive for a year.  After making the 5 hour round trip drive numerous times back and forth to school having one of my ‘feelings’ almost every time without any problems, this came as quite a shock.  Those of you who have moved back home after graduating college already know how much freedom it feels like you lose.  Now add on top of it the sudden inability to drive and along with everything else that was going on I went from age 23 back to age 12.

“High School Intern”

The first medication that my doctor tried me on was a disaster so I called the doctor, still not believing what I felt were seizures and assuming there was a wrong diagnosis.  The doctor listened to me completely, understood my fears, and set me up to stay in the hospital for the week hooked up to the EEG machine to try and catch one of my ‘seizures’ in action.  On the third day of my hospital stay I got an e-mail from the manager at a company I had interned at over a year ago, asking if I could come in tomorrow to train to fill in for him the week after.  Initially he said that this could be done no other day, but after I explained the situation plans were made to train me the next week, while he was gone, to fill in for him a few weeks later.  My fifth sleep deprived day I finally had one of my ‘feelings’ a little stronger than usual, and the EEG confirmed it was a seizure.  The doctors started me on new medication that has since been working very well with no other issues.

I started freelancing at the company the next week and have been there for almost three months now.  They are about to hire someone in my department and with my foot in the door I have a good shot at getting it.  Luckily, I have loving parents that completely rearranged their schedules so they could drive me to and from work whenever I need it.  Everything seems to be on track.

Umm What?

truth,words,fotografia,frases,paisagens,life-80a8e10969342b8c172e209aab5511f0_hSo how exactly did everything happen for a reason?  Well, I started the ICM program as an undergrad, but was not sure if I was going to continue it or not.  After learning that I could take the entire program online I re-enrolled in the program.  Allowing me to get a Masters degree without the commute and keep my insurance under my parents, something that would come to be very necessary.  The first doctor said I could drive allowing me to visit my brother and unexpectedly come home with a puppy who would be one of the very few things making me truly happy in the next few months.  My good friend was able to recommend a great secondary doctor, allowing me to understand exactly what was going on with me, how to fix it, and how it will effect my future.  I was able to obtain a job that may very well lead to a full-time position, with benefits, doing exactly what I want to do.  And I have only been made stronger by this whole experience, the love of my friends and family, and the understanding that even when things seem to be going awful, there is always a reason whether we will come to understand it or not, that will make a difference to someone in the future.


Having the Right Components

02 Mar

“More is better as long as the designer feels confident about each piece.” – Sara Eisenman

Coming from college, many students all have similar projects.  They may have some variety depending upon personal style and talent, but all come from the same generic design brief.  This means that graduating with a portfolio based portfolioentirely on the work created in the courses that are required for your major means there are numerous portfolios out there that are all, in some way, similar.  So how do you create dissimilarity between your work and the work of your fellow graduating classmates?  In Work? What Work? I discussed that a few of the design books I had read stated that clients tended to prefer work that came from a job or assignment and had a brief to projects that were created entirely from your imagination.  This originally differed me from my plans to create projects independently from my own design concepts, but Sara Eisenman made some good point about projects and concepts created on your own including the statement that “extra work shows enthusiasm and initiative”.  Internships and freelance work as well as independent studies are other ways that I have personally created variation in my portfolio in comparison to other students.

The Process

Another important suggestion that Sara Eisenman made in ‘The Components of a Great Portfolio’ section in her book Building Design Portfolios was the idea of creating a “process book” of all the work leading up to the final project for, if  possible, all of the work in your portfolio.  This book will show the client the thought and design process that you have followed to create each project as well as help to demonstrate your reliability, hard work, and competence as a designer.


Gotta Spend Money to Make Money…

16 Feb

I think I consider myself a rather conservative person when it comes to money.  Sales are my best friends, I try not to buy too many things I do not need, and I never understood the point of joining clubs or sororities that required paying money in order to be a part of them  in the form of dues.

cashI am currently reading Designing a Digital Portfolio by Cynthia Baron which suggests joining professional associations  in your field such as the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) in order to discover personal contacts and learn all sorts of useful information about design in your area.  I have a decent amount of legitimate contacts as of right now but a lot of them are leading me to careers in locations that I would rather not be.  As a result I am stuck scouring the web for job postings in both the field and the area that I am hoping to be located in.  As much as the web seems to have, it is there for everyone else as well so the question of whether you are actually able to  acquire a career  as a designer from an online job posting that is open to every one is answered – if you are lucky.

I was scrolling these sites tonight when I found job postings on the AIGA site which are only available in their entirety to those who are current members.  After already reading that it may help in building a career to be a member of AIGA to begin with I decided to look into what it would take to become a member and was hit with a cost that I was unsure if I was willing to pay.  So in the end I am looking for opinions.  Is it worth the money?  Will it help me achieve my goals in life to buy a membership and pay to become a part of it?  I honestly do not know, but I know I will not shoot down suggestions!


Not Quite What I Had in Mind..

15 Nov

As a designer, a good deal of your work comes from inspiration, even if the final outcome is nothing like what originally inspired you.  But in today’s world you have to be careful about what material you use and the extent you use it, even if it is just for inspiration or you are going to break copyright laws. These laws are becoming more and more strict each day with new sites and programs allowing for individuals to create and display their own work.

For the past three years I have created a motivational video for the Quinnipiac University Cheer team before their final performance at NCA Nationals in Daytona. The video is a normally a compilation of photos and videos that are primarily our own with an overlay of music that has been cut together to be one continuous track. I would then post these videos on YouTube solely for the purpose of allowing the rest of the team and their family members to view it. There was no profit being made from this, it was strictly for entertainment and a means of motivating the team. This always worked out fine until the past year or two when YouTube removed the music track as a result of the video containing “an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG” and thus “the audio has been disabled”.  As you can see by the file below, a motivational video without the music behind it just is not quite as motivational.

Now I understand the concerns of the artists, but as I mentioned before it is not like we were in any way profiting from the video, I just used some of their work to enhance the intensity of the video I created purely for the entertainment of my team.

What does bother me, as all three of the audio tracks behind the videos I have made have been removed and I have instead taken them down altogether, is the amount of videos out there with extremely obvious copyright issues and often times no content that is their own other than the editing work such as the video below that are still surviving in the world of YouTube.

In my opinion, copyright is just increasingly becoming to much and does not seem to be coming to a halt anytime soon.  There needs to be a line that allows for creativity and supports the artists.  For instance, I would understand  if in the notes on the side of the video YouTube required anyone who used outside sources to give them credit, like citing in a paper, but I think the material should still be allowed to use.  Scientists are allowed to use other scientists research to support what they do as long as credit is given, why shouldn’t designers be allowed to use other designers or performers work under the same rules?


An Experience Economy to Make People Better?

10 Oct

In Some Like it Hot.. Some Like it Cold.. Some Just Like it! I discussed more about an experience economy, but I wanted to share a few videos of an experiment  done by Volkswagen that demonstrates the power that the experience economy has.  In the video below it is the exciting new experience that causes people to choose the more physical option that they would normally skip over if possible.  A new way to encourage fitness?  Quite possibly,  see for yourself!

As Volkswagen says, “Fun can obviously change behavior for the better.” What a great way to use the interest and curiosity that having a unique and pleasant experience at something which is normally mundane creates!


Some Like it Hot.. Some Like it Cold.. Some Just Like it!

03 Oct

Doors to enter Hampton Inn

We are in an experience economy.  Where services are used as a stage but the experience become the driving sell of the service. In the Pine & Gilmore Article, the authors discuss how “today the concept of selling experiences is spreading beyond theaters and theme parks”.  They discuss how “even the smallest cues can aid in creating a unique experience” and then go on to discuss the abundance of negative cues are scattered throughout a trip to a hotel and how to make this an experience worth remembering the negative cues must be replaced with positive cues.


"...sometimes annoying cues like 'CAUTION: HOT' on your coffee cup became a fun tribute to Marilyn Monroe stating 'Some like it hot'"

6415_521014995536_92501280_30940557_6522530_nThis exact technique was used by the Hampton Inn after they decided to renovate all of their hotels.  My friends and I suddenly enjoyed discovering all the little quotes and images that were scattered around that were often times necessary, but were presented in a way to make the experience more memorable. Simple necessary, but sometimes annoying cues like “CAUTION: HOT” on your coffee cup became a fun tribute to Marilyn Monroe stating ”Some like it hot”.  They also took on a consistent use of creative black and white pictures that went along with whatever they were representing but in a creative way.  And I am not the only one to notice this change, while searching for other images, in addition to the ones my friends and I took, I found another blog post dedicated to the same subject matter with an example of the image and saying used in the elevator. Take a look!  What I also discovered from this post, having only been subject to the Hampton Inn in Vermont, was that each state has a slight difference that reflects the state you are in. This makes each experience unique, as long as you are visiting a different state.

It is amazing how changing simple cues as the Hampton Inn did, and as Pine & Gilmore said had to be done for success in an Experience Economy, truly made a slightly unique hotel experience than ever before making it that much more memorable from the start!


Gaming+Education=Success! (Audio entry in response to this week’s lecture)

28 Sep

Thoughts on Gaming and Education

Above is a link to my thoughts on gaming and education and how they could interact with each other.  Below are examples of the Nintendo DS Brain Training game that I discuss in the above link.


Change Sucks!

10 Sep

Find more videos like this on Hollywood East TV

As illustrated in the reading about the changes in technology over the years it is evident that change is continually occurring at an increasing rate.  From the price of things, like the price of lemonade at a child-run lemonade stand or the price of gas and milk, to when updated versions of programs come out, it is all changing faster and faster each year.  Yes I’m talking about Adobe!  Granted I love their programs, I have most of them, but the problem is they update pretty much every single year!  Meaning I have most of their programs, but I have Dreamweaver 8, Photoshop, Illustrator, and In Design CS2, Flash CS3, and After Effects CS4.  Why so sporadic?  Because sadly, I’m not a millionaire.  I can’t afford to pay over $300 per program every year.  When student discounts come around I try my best to take advantage of them, but I still don’t have enough cash in the bank to take advantage of every offer, especially since there will be a new one next year!  So, my question to all of you.  JourneyEd is currently doing a student discount where I can get the CS4 version of all of the programs I have random versions of now for only $389.98.  Wicked good deal right?  But the same deal will probably come around again next year considering that the reason they are offering this deal is that CS5 is rumored to be not too far away! So help! What do I do?

John Nack, who writes for an Adobe Blog, updated a post on August 29th in response to the difficulties people were having using CS3 and Snow Leopard. The comments already below his blog post reflect similar opinions to what I have discussed above including a comment from Pål Elnan made on August 26th at 4:26pm stating:

“A few more points:

- CS4 came surprisingly early after CS3.
- I assume Adobe knows the OS X roadmap pretty well.
- I also assume Adobe knows Adobe’s roadmap pretty well.

Put together, this whole thing looks like a deliberate action to push people to buy (old) CS4 software, which they did not plan to do.

Maybe it is not. Probably, it is not. But it really, really looks like it.”

So, I suppose that may help to answer the question I posed above.  It seems as if I should not fall into the Adobe trap that they have created because something else will only change next year. And as I have already experienced through trying to use After Effects files between CS3 and CS4, compatibility which often times results in usability is not their primary focus.