Explorations in Design

Art 366
Explorations in Design
Spring 2019

VAC 115
Section 001
M/W 2–550pm

Jake Dugard

Office No. B17
OH: M/W/F: 8–11:20am
or by appointment



Great job on assembling the zine and getting this thing out there. It’s crazy how quickly this zine went. There was a whole bench of copies left when I walked in and after my morning class, they were all gone. If you run into anyone that got one, ask them what they thought.
     Next class we will move on to our last project. Hint: music.

Ok, let’s get this zine finished. Monday will be about outputting this thing. I will help get things printed, but each person will need to find some role to play in the production. Below are a few tasks that need to get finished.

  1. Finish the artwork and send to Jake (I need this before class)

  2. Print the cover 

  3. Print the inside spreads

  4. Laser cut cover

  5. Fold

  6. Staple

  7. Trim

  8. Distribute zine

This process is going to be loosey goosey so be flexible and adaptive. Everyone will have 4 spreads to work on throughout this project. Each spread is 8.5” wide by 5.5” tall. We only be using the color black for costs and to more closely associate with the roots of zines. Also, the aesthetic will mimic that of zine culture and the textures from excessive photocopying. The cover stock will be French’s Grout Gray and the inside pages will be French’s Glo-Tone Orange Light. I love the idea that this will have a wear on people’s eyes similarly to excessive phone usage.
     Be sure to sketch out your ideas and follow up on research if you need to. I attempted to send out our survey to everyone’s email at Tech, but it was rejected because it was for a class project which apparently is not allowed. Anyway, we can share that survey through other means. Here is the link if you want to share.


The packaging project had some successful aspects to it. Like I mentioned in the critique, that each had some parts to it that needed to be addressed. If you do decide to come back to this project, I think each one of you learned something to help future packaging projects.
     I am really excited about the next project. We can really make this zine/publication whatever we want it to be. So dream up some wild things over the weekend and be ready to present your findings. I want everyone to literally make a presentation using the TV next class. You can show videos, play interviews or other audio stuff, show articles, sketches. This part of the project needs to be thorough so I expect this research and brainstorming to be more than in past projects.

1. Project 02
— Reflection questions
— Take photos
— Critique work
2. Print shirts
— Go to Thingery
— Take group photo
3. Assign Project 03
4. Homework:
— Research social media, tech/device addiction
— Conduct some form of brainstorming/research from Graphic Design Thinking
— Create presentation for next class

Welp, despite the shirts not getting here and the laser cutter being booked up, I hope the time in the Thingery was still worth it. It’s an amazing studio space with a ton of equipment in such a small space. The possibilities are limitless.
Anyway, we will critique the packaging project next class so let’s meet in room 115 in the VAC. We will also, hopefully, have our uniforms ready to reveal to the world.

1. Check-in on Project 02
2. Work session
3. Homework: finish Project 02

Starting next week, we will have access to The Thingery during class times. My hope is that being there will give us the chance to learn and implement new tools and technologies to make work. Do not get lazy in how you make. 
     There was a lot of experimentation in the last project we did and there is a tendency with later projects to get sucked right back into a familiar way of working. That is ok, but I want to encourage you with this class and the projects we do, that you would explore different tools, materials, and processes. I also noticed that there has not been as much progress as I hoped. Please don’t mistake the casualness and flexibility of the class with it being ok to not do work. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a studio that is empowering each of you to pursue your passions within the context of certain projects. Don’t stop making.
     We will meet at The Thingery at 2pm on Monday, April 8. We will check-in, print our class shirts, and work on Project 02. The deadline for that project is Wednesday, April 10 and then we will move on to the next.

1. Discussion of Michael McCune lecture
2. Discuss reading
3. Check-in on Project 02
4. Work session
5. Closing check-in on Project 02
6. Homework
— Work on Project 02 (deadline moved to 4.10)
— Printing shirts next class

This class moves quickly. We are attempting to explore a lot of materials and processes. Take note of the things you like and don’t like. What materials and/or tools do you want to come back to? What are methods of working that fill you with life? Always take a step back to see what and how you like making.
     Michael McCune’s talk was magical to say the least. I think the beginning of his talk could have been truncated for more time on Disney, but I think it’s a beautiful picture of the connections I want you all to make. Michael observed what he enjoyed doing and slowly shifted into that position. He said he didn’t enjoy the designing side of things as much as the technical and project management side. Now he is problem solving how different teams can communicate more efficiently.
     We will continue to look at Project 02 progress. So we will check-in at the beginning and the end of the class. What happens in the middle is sort of free game. We will also discuss the reading so make sure you finish that.

1. Review Project 02 packaging
2. Work session
3. Do walkthrough of Thingery (4pm) 
— So we can get clearance
4. Go to Michael McCune’s lecture (4:30pm in Wiley)
— Read excerpt from Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming
— Work on Project 02

I loved the reflections from Project 01 that we discussed in the hallway. I would encourage you all to explore those freedoms to problem solve while making. I understand some projects, clients, etc. will not allow for that freedom to explore, but inject when you can. It will keep you interested in what you are doing. Graphic design can sometimes, maybe even often, turn into this expected formula. A logo is supposed to look like this so I have to do it this way. Or a gig poster looks like this so I guess I have to do it that way. The fun in designing can become monotonous…if we let it.

— Find or construct rough versions of your packages
— Create digital or physical roughs of the designs going on the package
— Read excerpt from Beyond Brainstorming 


Frank Hamrick 1.png

I am proud in how the type specimen posters turned out. It was awesome to have Professor Frank Hamrick give us a basic understanding when approaching any kind of fine art printing. (I learned some things!) 
     Keep in mind that design is one of those things that will take as long as time allows. Next time get me roughs sooner so I can give feedback so we’re not making enormous changes right before it’s due. Despite working to the last minute, I loved the outcome of this project and would like to see everyone to continue to explore processes and materials for future projects; even outside of this class.

For next class, we will discuss in more detail Project 01 and hear out your 3+ proposals for Project 02. Make sure you read Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming. Highlight, jot down notes and questions. Be ready to answer with 3+ things you didn’t know or found interesting, bizarre, wrong, etc. We will have a discussion on that Monday, April 01.

The new weights of Helvetica are coming along nicely. Looking at the range of them as a group, they all have a heavy bit of texture. I love seeing how the different processes are leading to different results. Again, make sure you are documenting each stage for your Process Book. Also, because we have complex steps to making this work, it’s good to document for future use. Like I said in class today, the hope is that this form of making will lead to more interesting and unique results in work outside of the class.
Stay tuned for information on the printing of the posters. I will let you all know pricing as soon as I find out.

Although the initial ideas were interesting, I think the research and presentations could use more work. Thank you to those who tested your ideas and had visuals. How you present an idea is as important as the idea itself.
For future classes, we will do a show & tell at the beginning and end of each class period. This will allow us to see what work has happened between classes and to see the work that happened during the class period. This will be informal but will act as a way to check-in and see the progress that each of us is making.
Also, make sure you are keeping process screenshots and photos for your process book. As part of doing this project with y’all, I will continue to build out what I’m tentatively calling Graffitica. I plan on doing a distorted and non-distorted version.

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— Presentations
— Gather materials and work session
— Homework: continue to work on Project 01


I hope y’all are excited despite the smaller class setting. I think this will just give us more flexibility with what we make, how we make, and how the class functions in general.
Wasting no time, we started our first project New Helvetica Neue where using both analog and digital methods, we will create our own weights of Helvetica Neue. After creating at least one version of A–Z (or a–z or some combination of), we will create a specimen poster.

As a rudimentary demonstration, I used spray paint and an ink brayer. For the spray paint one, I printed out a large A. I then used an x-acto to cut out the stencil making sure to leave a piece so the counter wouldn’t completely fall out. I then spray painted the letterform onto paper experimenting with pressure and distance to create an uneven texture. After drying, I used the scanner (at 600 dpi) and brought that into Photoshop. I then adjusted the levels and used the threshold feature to make it pure black and pure white. I then made it into a bitmap and saved it out as a TIFF. (You can place TIFF’s in Illustrator and InDesign and be able to change the color.)

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For the brayer, the process is similar. I printed out an A. Put a sheet of white paper on top so I could see the outline of the letterform underneath. I inked up the brayer and rolled the left half of the letterform playing with texture, direction, and ink coverage. I then folded the paper in half to form the right side of the paper. The process then follows the one above where I scanned, adjusted in Photoshop and outputted as a TIFF.

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In starting to generate ideas, explore, explore, explore (😑it’s in the name of the class). Is there something meaningful to you that you can inject into this project? Is there a material you love or hate? Bring it. How can you make marks? What’s a mark-making tool that you would never think to use? Is there a material that has a cool texture that could be incorporated? Have fun.

— Syllabus and course introduction
— Assign Project 01: New Helvetica Neue
Homework: gather supplies and make presentation of 3+ ideas for next class