My Friend Goes To Parsons

I have a very talented friend who goes to Parsons…you know, the prestigious design school in New York City? Well she has always had an eye for design, something that I do not necessarily have. This unit has been harder than the photography unit because I have not practiced design as I have practiced photography.  Vignelli’s booklet gave me continued insight into the world of a designer.

The first tools given were semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. I have only heard these words in terms of English class, so it was interesting to learn new contexts for them. Searching for the meaning and importance of a project is a key part of design (semantics). Without it, final designs would lose their purpose. The syntax of design refers to the details and consistency of a design. This made the most sense to me out of the three terms used because it reminded me of the syntax of language that I am used to hearing about. Lastly, pragmatics is all about the final design and clarity of it. If the final design of something is not clear, then it was obviously poorly designed.

The portion on ambiguity surprised me because Vignelli made a good point for it, saying that ambiguity can be goo by suggesting a plurality of meanings. I had never thought of ambiguity that way, and I can see how that could really enhance a design. Creating something that can mean different things to different people is a powerful part of design. I can also see how ambiguity can lead to a muddled mess of a composition, so like all elements of design, being careful not to overwhelm the design with one aspect is important.

One of the sections that stood out to me the most was the equity portion. I had just completed the Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing design assignment, which was working with logos. I had never thought extensively about the strategy and meaning behind changing or enhancing a logo. It makes perfect sense that long standing companies with recognizable logos shouldn’t change their logos. This reminded me of my design assignment because I was working with the Starbucks logo and I saw the transitions from the original logo up to now. It was interesting to compare the Starbucks logo transition to Vignelli’s thoughts, in that established companies shouldn’t change their logos much. Although the Starbucks logo has changed, the basic concept of the mermaid and the color green has remained the same. Starbucks has been smart by updating their logo to look more modern, but keeping the classic concept.

Vignelli’s booklet was eye opening on many different design concepts and showed a lot of great examples of magazines, logos, and everyday objects. I liked the examples for every concept that was talked about because it helped to reinforce Vignelli’s points. This is a great resource for budding and veteran designers alike.

Designers…Make it Work!

While listening to the “We Are All Artists” broadcast I picked up some design tips I hadn’t thought of before. The first one that stuck with me was get uncomfortable. If you are playing it safe and not taking risks, the designs created won’t be anything spectacular. Along with that, thinking outside the box is important too. Either creating something completely new or updating a classic design is what keeps designers of all kinds employed.

One topic that stood out to me during the broadcast was about the design of everyday things. In the context of this class I was thinking only about how things look, and not necessarily how things function. The broadcast made me realize how much design affects everyday activities as simple as making coffee. One of my favorite tips from the broadcast was to take something boring and make it interesting. This personally reminds me of things like graffiti and street art that take a wall or an otherwise drab area and bring it to life.

My favorite tools that were linked were Kuler, The Noun Project, and Stock Exchange. I liked Kuler a lot because of its simplicity and practicality. It is hard for a person who isn’t well versed in color theory to choose the right colors in their designs, and Kuler makes this so much easier and the end design more successful. The Noun Project is another favorite because it provides very well designed icons for free. I would use these icons in a blog post or while making an infographic or invitation. The wide range and quality of designs that are available there make it a great resource. Stock Exchange is also a great free resource for stock photos that you are guaranteed to be able to use. This is important to anyone, especially people with an online presence. I would use those photos as featured images on a blog post.

My biggest takeaway from this lesson was how design is used in real life. Not just in artwork or websites, but in everyday objects. This had made me realize there is so much more to photograph for my design blitz! Some of the examples I found of design being really important in real life were: business cards, movie posters, and book covers. Without good design principles in practice, our world would be a whole lot uglier (and less functional).

Week One in a Mirror (get it…like a reflection)

This week’s visual assignments each posed their own challenges and triumphs. The spubble was easy enough, but I forgot to screenshot my steps, so I had to go back and recreate each step after I had already finished the modifications. That was just an annoying oversight on my part. When I was making the blog post about the spubble I had so much trouble inserting two pictures next to each other. I eventually gave up and just put one on top of the other.


For the Can You See What I See assignment, GIMP was being really finicky and the control panels disappeared (I still haven’t been able to bring them back). It is also really hard to manipulate specific parts of a photo without a mouse (I’m just using the trackpad on my Mac). The final product isn’t as good as I had hoped, but I think it yielded good results for my first time really using the tools in GIMP.


I didn’t really have any problems with That’s Not What I Expected. It was only a little tricky to find something that would focus and still look interesting. The last assignment I completed didn’t have any problems either, it was just simple color adjustments in GIMP.

Watch Me Climb This Mountain

Creating a blog is the easy part. Customizing it is a whole other ball game.


I had a blog for another class last semester and we had to blog once a week. For this class I have blogged at least fifteen times this week, probably more. So, when I truly realized how much time would be spent looking at and editing this blog, I really wanted it to look good.


I started with this twenty seventeen theme, but this is the theme of my other blog and I wanted to go a different direction, so I switched to the twenty fifteen theme. I liked the simplicity of it, but as I blogged more and was adding a lot of photos I wanted my posts to be able to spread out more, and the twenty fifteen theme didn’t give me a lot of width. I then switched back to the twenty seventeen theme, and with the help of other people in this class I have successfully created a blog with a nice flow and aesthetic.


I interacted through my twitter with  a few people, but nothing of great importance.


Here are my comments from this week that helped me format my blog:


And a comment on a post I found funny:

Call Me Ansel Adams

My first tip is accredited to the article by Maria Popova. I was inspired by the story she told and how close the world was to not receiving this iconic photo at all. One of the best points I took out of this article is that photography can be used to help others, especially those in less fortunate positions. Applied to today’s world, photography helping others brings to mind pictures taken at rallies and protests, trying to show different points of view and attempting to bring people closer together. I did not have a chance this week to take a photo that could help someone else, but this is a picture I immediately thought of when writing this post. I feel that one day this will be an iconic picture of our time, embodying the essence of today; our society’s flaws, triumphs, and diversity.

Jonathan Bachman/Reuters


While watching the video on visual literacy, I realized that we are not taught enough about it, because I had never even heard of that phrase. I had heard of literacy in general, digital literacy (through intro to digital studies), and math literacy (through my job as a math tutor). The visual elements portion of the video really stood out to me. By using the painting as an example and showing each individual element helped me to understand the concepts better, and they really stuck. Every image shown after that I could see the visual elements, especially line, shape, and color.


While going on my photo safari I focused a lot on the lines of things, which I had never noticed before watching the video and learning about the visual elements. Being able to clearly see lines and shapes made my pictures better composed. One of my favorite photos this week was during my photo safari. I like the color of it and the lines are very interesting to me.

Unusual Angle


The third tip I tried was from the handbook, and I used “pay attention to the moment”. This also helped me capture my favorite photo (above). During my photo safari I was trying to go quickly to capture as many pictures as possible, but when I was attempting to take this picture from an unusual angle I took several quick shots and almost left. I looked back at the photos I had taken and thought “these will do” but I didn’t want my photos to be just fine, I wanted them to be good. So I took the handbook’s advice: I slowed down and waited for the perfect moment of wind to blow the flag just like this. I’m glad I waited.

NOT Doing it for the ‘Gram

For my photo safari I just took pictures in my house and some on the front porch. I chose these areas because it was convenient and I figured there would be lots of material to capture. I read the list of photo ideas before starting and immediately thought of a few things that I could photograph that would represent the task. This experience was a little exhilarating once I started. I found that although I kept wanting  to check the clock, I knew it would slow down my picture taking process. I checked the clock twice throughout the fifteen minutes.


I don’t have a camera, so I just took the pictures with my iPhone. I liked taking the more abstract or interestingly angled pictures the best. I found them really fun to take and fascinating to look at. My favorite picture from this safari was the bright light photo. I knew I wanted to point the camera at my kitchen lights (which are very bright) but the end result was not what I had imagined at all. When the camera focused, the filament of the lightbulb came into focus and the background went completely black, except for the two other bulbs in the background of the shot. This took me by surprise and I took the photo without even thinking; I didn’t want the camera to refocus and lose this cool shot!


A few photographs aren’t as self explanatory as the rest, so I wanted to take some time to explain the meaning and process behind those. For my Futuristic photo the subject is the water spout on my fridge. It has an autofill capability where you can just put your cup down, press the button, and walk away while it fills up your cup perfectly. That is by far the most futuristic thing in my house and I am always awed by it. Just don’t put ice in the cup before autofill, or else it will overflow (you only make that mistake once…or twice). For my Joy photo I took a picture of my favorite beach towel. I love the beach and my favorite color is pink, and it just reminds me of happy days. The Through an Opening photo was taken through one of the three holes in a one subject notebook. It actually gave me a nice frame around the otherwise boring photo of my kitchen table that day. In my Converging Lines photo the chair rails in the dining room of my house served a perfect purpose, except I had no other subject for the photo to focus on. I asked my sister to come be in the picture for one second, but she yelled “NO I’M WATCHING NETFLIX!” So I had to settle for a lesser photo.

First Impressions

Week one of DS106 and I am slightly overwhelmed with the amount of work it seems to be. Setting up each account was kind of a pain because I wanted new accounts specifically for this class, and navigating new sites like Flickr and Soundcloud were more time consuming than I thought they would be. Luckily, I already had a domain set up and another blog, so creating my blog was more of a fun pastime than a frustrating endeavor. It seems to me that this week will be more difficult than the rest because of the sheer amount of setting up that is required. At least, that is my hope.


On a more relaxed note, I really enjoy photography so I am excited about week one’s lessons. I can also already tell this class is going to push me outside of my comfort zone in terms of my digital presence, which I am really excited about. I have been wanting to start a blog and Youtube channel for a while, and this class has forced me to make that first jump. I’m very excited to see where this class takes me.