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A site map: another thing that was due today.

WHAT DOES THIS PLACE PROJECTS LOOK LIKE ON THE INTERNET?

Three sections.

Frequently updated content that promotes and unites projects and facilitates discussion.

SECTION ONE: Blog
• Posts about existing projects that work within this realm of place-based.
• Artists, projects, books, writers, photographers, events, organizations, record labels, imprints.
• Interviews, reviews, comparisons.
• Photographic exploration of places. (TPP exclusives) (myself, my community, artists I approach,
photographers who look at place already)
• Interviews with TPP artists.
SECTION TWO: News/Releases/Updates/Events/Calendar
• News: grants, new project releases, promotional for events and releases.
• Call for entries: collaborative zine? Whole, independent projects?
• Exhibition for This Place Projects projects.
• Documentation of the project: photographed objects, photographed events.

 

SECTION THREE: Navigation/Information/About
• About This Place Projects
• List of This Place Projects artists and their relevant links.
• Blog bios, guest bloggers.
• Store to purchase releases

PERSONAS

October 29, 2009

3101856879_249e7d9a06_bUser research. Flickr.

This is a reading response to Personas: Practice and Theory by John Pruitt and Jonathan Grudin from the book Design Studies.

“Personas are a medium for communication; a conduit for information about users and work settings derived from ethnographies, market research, usability studies, interviews, observations and so on.”

Call it what you will: user archetypes, market segmentation, user role definition, user profiling, fictional charaters: this article hails the importance of all designers and developers having a detailed understanding of human behavior. Designers often have a vague or contradictory sense of intended users, and may base scenarios on themselves. I do this all the time. I often find myself making work that I’d use and like, but this only goes so far. Developing personas can “amplify the effectiveness of other research methods.” As designers, the act of creating personas can help us make our assumptions about our target audience more explicit.

550438755_29c4e3d16aLittle stand-up personas. Flickr.

Though there’s nothing more boring than reading about the development of MSN Explorer, this article was valuable to me. It encouraged me to think more critically about my audience. I must be more willing to take myself out of the picture from time to time and realize that not all consumers of my design are white, 20-something middle-class hipsters from Portland, Oregon.

SAGMEISTER AND EMOTION

October 29, 2009

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Picture 71Art Grandeur Nature, 2004, Stefan Sagmeister

This is a reading response to Stefan Sagmeister’s essay on emotion in graphic design.

I really liked this reading. I feel that designers, or at least design students, are always after Sagmeister’s secret–how does he make the amazing work he makes? It must be his sabbaticals. It must be his apt sculptural typography skills. It must be that he’s European. Wrong. This article smashes all of that. Like any other artist or designer, he is a living, breathing human being, and his strength comes in embracing that.

The secret to success? Make yourself feel your design. Really, really feel it. Inside, not with your fingers. If you don’t feel anything, maybe rethink the project.

This of course is only a certain kind of success, but a kind that I’m hoping to find.

I tried to choose a favorite part of this essay to focus on, but I couldn’t. Each section offered something new and refreshing. I appreciated the whole thing. The best part for me was that even though he listed a number of graphic design projects that touched him, a lot of them weren’t simply design. They were hybrid projects: art, graffiti, comics. I hold fast that what makes an interesting designer is a well-rounded interest in many things. As designers, we’re the mirrors of the world, in some sense. If we’re not actively watching, listening, feeling, our work will lack meaningful content.

“So ever since I got that black canvas bag at that conference in New Orleans, this touching thing has been on my mind, and  I’ve looked for design pieces that cut through to my heart.”

Picture 68I feel more when I look at this than when I look at most other things. Matokie Slaughter.

2852318316_4a0103619e_oThis moves me. More.

3017710596_569104d1d5_bSo does this. A global warming rug.

3023493753_5fef5e4d80And this: a homemade state seal for a rural secessionist movement. Two x’s=double crossed.

4029928066_23a21a1ab9_bAnd this. Elizabeth Jaeger took this in Berlin. Two bicycles at the same angle, two shopping carts at the same angle, two people wearing the exact same thing, two posters, there’s probably more.

“I suspect that in ten years time this touching kind of design is going to be the only kind of design that’s going to be done by actual designers.”

3926398482_9f822265fb_oThen there’s this kind of stuff. Hyper-meaningful graphic design. I try to love every piece of this I see, and for a long time I did. But it almost raises the bar on itself; now when I see this hyper-positivity I look at it way more critically, trying to decide if it does anything new, anything different, anything that elicits an emotional response.3671381510_2f5c913b21_o

4031333215_2d9f69edfa_oOlimpia Zagnoli

Picture 69Espo does it right. This makes me feel.  A Love Letter For You.

“I think it was Katherine McCoy who said that graphic design can never rise above its content. If I have nothing to say, the best design won’t help me.”

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I made this due for myself tomorrow. It’s harder to hate deadlines when you make them yourself. This is a plan for the This Place event that I’d like to have. What follows is the information, copy, and visual inspiration for the Hometown Lecture Series.

HOMETOWN LECTURE SERIES
Volume 1

Tagline: “We all come from somewhere.”

Copy: This Place Projects invites you to talk about what you know best: where you come from. Come give a five-minute presentation on your city of origin, your rural locale, or the international array of places you’ve called home.
Bring one image or object to share.

Location: MK Gallery
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 18, 12 noon to 2pm

Aesthetic direction for HOMETOWN LECTURE SERIES: faded photograph, vintage, place, street, landscape, etc. colors faded to appear old, maybe just an old photograph. map, washed out, polaroid or other similar edges of photo.

Picture 67

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WORDPRESS THEMES

October 27, 2009

I definitely didn’t find exactly what I wanted to find, but there are WordPress themes out there that almost fit my high expectations! Here are a few that I’m considering. These were all found on Best WordPress Themes. Many are considered “magazine” style themes. I think I might need to take Art 342.

Picture 10Top of the list. Would have to kill the orange if possible. Allows for categories.

Picture 11Another top contender. I like that it allows the images to be the main content, but there might be some trouble with navigation and people wanting to zip through posts like a regular blog.

Picture 14This is closest to what I had in mind, though it might be frustrating to have a whole column of navigation that I don’t have control over. (far right) I like that this has a place for a featured image. Futurosity Eos.

I would really love to have my site be a three-column, all-content site.

Navigation, links, information, etc on the far left.
Main blog in the middle.
Mini blog to the far right featuring new This Place Projects releases.

Can I do this with a WordPress theme? Does one exist? (IF YOU KNOW OF ONE PLEASE TELL ME.)
Can I make a beautiful site without COMPLETELY ripping off Public School and the Post Family?
I’m just so enamored with their pure content: there’s no flim flam filling up space, no weird navigation links overwhelming the content, the pictures speak for themselves.

Here are some snapshots of sites that I like. In descending order: ideal site layout comes first, and what is less ideal but more realistic comes last.

Picture 2The Post Family: Simple, white, pure goodness. Four columns, actually, one too many for my needs. But still my favorite in terms of simplicity. The structure fades to the background, the content does the talking. Developed by The Black Hole.

Picture 1Public School: One, two, three columns of goodness. POWERED by WordPress, which gives me hope. Designed by something/someone called Bossa Nova chips and salsa.

Picture 3Thinking for a Living: Not enough images for what I’m looking at, and too much color (gendered=no go for this place) but: “Navigation, Blog, Resources” is what I’m looking for.

Picture 4The people who made the Thinking for a living site. Many columns.

Picture 5Gavin Potenza’s portfolio site. Content is images, but is still in columns with headers. Seems like each is editable as a separate item, which I like.Picture 6A blog that came up when I searched for “Three Column blog” Not looking at it for its visual aesthetics but instead its organization. Looks more do-able for me with my limited tolerance of building site. Html freaks me out and I don’t know any of the other acronymns.

Picture 8Pikaland: Gemma Correll’s lovely site focusing on illustration. Now we’re getting more into blog territory, which is great, though these sorts of readymade templates just lack some of the simplicity i’m looking for.

Picture 9Stuart Hobday’s portfolio site/blog. Nice looking. Too dark for me but i like the really modular layout.

OKAY. Now, how do I create this magical perfect site that I’m dreaming of? Where are you, free wordpress theme?

I’ve been trolling the sites of my favorite shops/blogs/organizations/projects in search of inspiration for the organization of This Place Projects and its online presence. Here are some organizational approaches I’m considering:

Northwest of the Nation and Ore-gan Multimedia
These are sister projects used by the artist Adam Zeek to organize his makings, findings, musical and zine-related releases. Both entities exist entirely on blogs.

The Golden Age
This is a shop in Chicago run by some friends-of-a-friend. I like that their site functions as a simple, navigable homepage that includes links to a blog. Immediately we know it’s a shop, but upon further investigation you can tell it’s much more: art, music, media, publications, blog, events calendar, etc.

Coudal Partners
We all know about Coudal, but has anyone ever tried to say exactly what they are in one sentence? A blog, a resource, a hub, a… what, exactly? They hit the mark of community participation better than many sites. Layers upon layers of content and opportunities to participate.

Design for Mankind
What I love about DFM is that it’s a regularly updated blog with a great selection of content, images, regular giveaways, etc. Erin Loechner also publishes a PDF magazine. Love it. A great example of a blog diversifying into other media.

Newly added: Proximity Magazine has a really nice layout of their home page. It’s clean and lets the images of the projects/photography speak. Their logo is appropriately archetypal, fades into the background and functions more as a stamp or seal instead of overpowering the whole thing.

It’s hard because despite all of this great inspiration from entities that function very well online, I’m still at a loss for how exactly to structure my site. The feedback I’ve gotten is pretty evenly split. Many of my peers say having two separate sites is irritating, confusing, too many clicks. Professors have said that a homepage with a blog link is just fine. I’m torn. Is this beginning research showing me a split in generations of internet users? Are we computer-addicted youngfolk too busy to click through to a blog site? Do we need it all in one place?

Still scheming. Working on identity sketches in the meantime.

PLANNING A WEBSITE.

October 19, 2009

512512727_5044d028dc_bI feel like I’m stuck in this string web. Mine isn’t as beautiful, though. It’s grey and internet-colored. Borrowed from Flickr.

STRUCTURE OF SITE
I’m currently planning the structure of the website for This Place Projects.  This is hard.

I’m struggling to decide: Does the whole project function as a blog, or do I need both an exhibition site for This Place Projects projects, and a blog to highlight other peoples’ projects?

APPROACH ONE:
• The project consists of an exhibition website that links to a blog.
• On the website are the different projects TPP releases, documented beautifully and with links to the artist site. This will only be updated when new projects are released. The site features an “About” page. Will likely be indexhibit because it is beautiful and i hate html.
• The blog will be updated regularly with content. It will feature existing projects, reviews, interviews, guest posts, photo essays of place, and news of releases and events.

APPROACH TWO:
• The project is entirely contained in a blog format. All content is here. Reviews, interviews, news, etc. Releases of new projects will take the form of a blog post with all relevant information. “About This Place Projects” will be its own page on the blog.

What do you think?

I also have to consider the best way to integrate a store where TPP projects can be purchased.