AIB Design: Visual Research


Chair of the Boston Green Academy Design Team critiques Final Presentations
March 18, 2010, 4:15 am
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Chair of the Boston Green Academy Design Team participating in Final Presentation critiques for the second section of the Visual Research course.



AIB: Visual Research on Flicker!
March 4, 2010, 5:18 pm
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Checkout the AIB Visual Research photostream on Flicker to see all of the photo-documentation

of student work,  critiques, and studio time from the semester. Please feel free to give your comments

and feedback.



Final Presentations, vol 3
March 4, 2010, 1:29 pm
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On December 16, 2009 the Visual Research Course began their final presentations for proposed designs that would promote the Boston Green Academy. In each critique Professor Sansone invited a group of critics represented various professional fields on marketing, design, and education as well as Boston Public School high school students to give their feedback on the student’s designs.Each section of the visual research course was broken up into groups of student presenters who presented the visual research strategies that lead them to their final outcomes.

Each student was instructed to present their research focus  through color, style, and material and two applications: one to excite and the other to inform about the Boston Green Academy. The presentations should also be self-explanatory and a maximum of 10 minutes.

For the Presentation Day 2 the professional critics for section 1  was Matt Holtzer, member of the Boston Green Academy team, Kristen Eichleay, member of the BGA Design team,  and Julie Bernson, Director of Education at the Addison Gallery of American Art. There were also three Boston Public School high school students and one former BPS student present to critique the designs based on the target audience of potential students of the Boston Green Academy.

Critique

In the second day of critiques for the visual research course presentations the guest critics were again asked to pick the projects that they were drawn to,  from both research and conceptual points. In this critique the projects that stood out were those with academic purposes for students such as notebooks, and  catchy messages and statements that prompted intellectual thought such as “You decide” and “Grow intellectually.” These works seem to have parallels between the mission of the Boston Green Academy and what the school wants the students to achieve.

Each student was given a chance to articulate the conceptual foundation behind both their research and their final design decisions. It was at this time that students were able to defend their design strategies, and it also allowed the critics to make comments and suggestions based on their ideas. The overall response to the work was very positive. It was later determined by the critics that each students’ work in this group had contributed successful ideas that could potentially work well if used in appropriate places.  Matt Holtzer concluded that  each of their promotional tools whether it be video, notebooks, or t-shirts, could be merged together as one unit and make a very successful promotional campaign.

Observation

During the second day of critiques students seem to show great passion behind their work, and support for one another. The designs in this particular group had a great connection with one another, and a common thread of in the concept. In each of the students ways, they seemed to focus on ways to get the interest of potential Boston Green Academy students. Though in some cases to educate about green technologies was a part of the concept, it was a sub-context. Some work had a very polished look and feel, while others had a very tactile presence. Some projects even had a comical component. I agree strongly with Mr. Holtzer that there were segments of each campaign that would be majorly affective if merged together. It would allow for different levels of engagement, based on the tone of each piece.

–Lauren Cross, Graduate Assistant



Final Presentations, volume 2
February 20, 2010, 4:56 pm
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On December 14, 2009 the Visual Research Course began their final presentations for proposed designs that would promote the Boston Green Academy. In each critique Professor Sansone invited a group of critics represented various professional fields on marketing, design, and education as well as Boston Public School high school students to give their feedback on the student’s designs.Each section of the visual research course was broken up into groups of student presenters who presented the visual research strategies that lead them to their final outcomes.

Each student was instructed to present their research focus  through color, style, and material and two applications: one to excite and the other to inform about the Boston Green Academy. The presentations should also be self-explanatory and a maximum of 10 minutes.

For the Presentation Day 1 the professional critic for section 2  was Eileen Shakespear, who is over Program and Teacher Development at Fenway High School. In her role she brings in people to Fenway to teach dance and arts. There were also three Boston Public School high school students and one former BPS student present to critique the designs based on the target audience of potential students of the Boston Green Academy.

Critique

In the second section of  the visual research course presentations the guest critics were asked to pick the projects that they were drawn to,  from both research and conceptual points. In this critique the projects that stood out were those with catchy phrases and images with high contrast urban designs.

Each student was given a chance to articulate the conceptual foundation behind both their research and their final design decisions. It was at this time that students were able to defend their design strategies, and it also allowed the critics to make comments and suggestions based on their ideas. Many students discovered during critique that there were areas of their campaign that had some gaps in communication for the viewer. There were a few campaigns that included an interactive component through video, to  help create interest and inspiration for the Boston Green Academy.

Observation

During the section 2 critique an interesting observation was made by a student who had previewed the section 1  critique, they felt that the projects were stronger and more conceptually sound during the section 1 presentations. In looking at the energy that the students exhibited in the section 1 critique I would agree, though I felt that there were some strong work in section 2. I think the challenge in this particular critique is that the designs were stronger aesthetic pieces but in some cases not the right connections to tie in the concepts within the campaign. There was one student who had a great strategy to create designs that connect to Boston Public School students, however, the “green” component was not as prevalent. Another student had a great urban/graffiti design ,however, I think that graffiti is often assumed to be an interest to certain demographics of students which I think is perhaps not always correct. This particular student’s design would only appeal to students who were interested in more of a “street art” aesthetic. I think what separates the section 1 students is that their research seemed to reflect a broader audience of students who could appreciate green technology in their own neighborhoods. Section 2 projects were more targeted towards the audience but now encouraging about green technology.

–Lauren Cross, Graduate Assistant



Final Presentations, volume 1
February 18, 2010, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

On December 14, 2009 the Visual Research Course began their final presentations for proposed designs to promoted the Boston Green Academy. In each critique Professor Sansone invited a group of critics represented various professional fields on marketing, design, and education as well as Boston Public School high school students to give their feedback on the student’s designs.Each section of the visual research course was broken up into groups of student presenters who presented the visual research strategies that lead them to their final outcomes.

Each student was instructed to present their research focus  through color, style, and material and two applications: one to excite and the other to inform about the Boston Green Academy. The presentations should also be self-explanatory and a maximum of 10 minutes.

For the Presentation Day 1 the professional critics present were Michele Grohe, Director of Education and Student Programs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (http://www.gardnermuseum.com); and Susan Battista, Marketing Research Consultant over Boston based marketing research firm, Topic 101 (http://www.topic101.com). Three Boston Public School high school students and  one former BPS student were present to critic the designs based on the target audience of potential students of the Boston Green Academy.

Critique

In the beginning of the critique the guest critics were asked to pick the projects that they were drawn to,  from both research and conceptual points. The projects that stood out the most were those that included specific promotional products that would appeal to the things that students are interested in, such as sneakers and t-shirts; the use of recognizable symbols; and the references of cultural gestures through language that is identifyable to the demographics of students.

Then each student was given a chance to articulate the conceptual foundation behind both their research and their final design decisions. It was at this time that students were able to defend their design strategies, and it also allowed the critics to make comments and suggestions based on their ideas. Many students discovered during critique that there were areas of their campaign that had some gaps in communication for the viewer.

There were also campaigns that included a primary interactive component through video, electronic devices, and websites that helped to  create interest and inspiration for the Boston Green Academy, using today’s emerging technology. This was a strategy that received great feedback from the guest critics in its ability to inform and excite in a new media format that has now become a popular tool for marketing.

Observation

One of the main questions that arose during today’s discussion was the need to provide design models that could excite students on the pipeline for dropout to be interested in attending the Boston Green Academy. In addition to Susan Battista’s discussions about the outcomes of marketing research for students, it was especially important to hear the feedback from the Boston Public School students to identify the campaign that identified most with them. Each of the projects seemed to carry components that as a whole could be used to promote the effort, however, those projects that were clear and understandable yet appealed to the interests of BPS students through promotional models like skateboards, sneakers, and video were more successful in this group critique.

–Lauren Cross, Graduate Assistant



Student Interviews
January 22, 2010, 7:04 pm
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During the December 2nd class I sat down with 7 students: Dylan Store, Sam Reaume, Gerald Hastings, Katie Door, Cody Ward, Beth Frost-Bennett, and Ryan L’Italin, to ask them detailed questions about their development and experiences in the Visual Research course.

Here were their responses:

1. Now that your in the final stages of the process, what tools are you know using for your project?

Dylan: Fooling around with stuff in Photoshop. I don’t feel like I have a solid campaign yet but I’m using images that I’ve collected to build off of.

Sam: My work is more grungy, so I did litter studies where I looked at the marks they made to see how they could communicate.

Gerald: Video and since last class I’ve been using screen overlays to my advantage, even in my presentation.

Katie: Keeping the research in mind.

Cody: Right now, mainly Illustrator, Photoshop and perhaps Flash in the future. Possibly even iMovie. I also look at resources to get as much information as possible, I think its good to see how other designers and illustrators produce their work.

Beth: Everything is transfered to the computer and is less hand touched. I started with paints and photographs.

Ryan: Well I guess for technical tools, I’m using Adobe programs and the Wacom tablet to make it.

2. In the beginning of the course, the class was engaged in more research-intensive work. How has this project been a benefit to you?

Dylan: It helped me to learn more about to go green movement and how to be more responsible.

Sam: It helped me to become connected with the work and get a better grasp on what to expect and what to use.

Gerald: I think everything I’m doing now is based out of the old research.

Katie: Its given me more information about what I’m doing, so you’re not winging it and have more credibility.

Cody: I’d say it gives me a lot to draw from. I’m not usually one to slow things down but its helped me to slow things down. Although its frustrated me at the same time, I probably wouldn’t have reached this point had I not.

Beth: Just the ability to explore whatever you wanted was a little overwhelming sometimes but it was good to know you could bring anything to get there.

Ryan: I think its made me more thoughtful. I really hadn’t considered the outcome in the process. I would come up with a couple ideas that I liked and would approach them. Now I’m thinking more about different methods and tying it together.

3. What are the most important tools from your research right now? How has that changed over time?

Dylan: First, I went into skateboarding and biking, then into the school idea and lost the first idea. Now Then later bringing the first idea back.

Sam: It pretty much stayed the same, though it developed more clean and less vague.

Gerald: Video and technology is going to help draw from the mood board, research helping all together in every way. The fashion references I’m drawing from the interviews. For a time I was only using certain parts of my research and now I’m using a different part. I’m hoping that I’m not reaching to far out. The main thing for me is getting hands on the technology to articulate my ideas.

Katie: At first I thought about pop culture references and now I’m referencing images that I’ve taken around Boston.

Cody: Initially music video studies was the major part of my research(color palette) asing the texture by photography that was taken by high school students. I took typography references from the t-shirts in street wear.

Beth: Photos and color. Its what held my attention and its easy to work on something when you have a personal connection to it.

Ryan: Well, I guess for right now definitely the color and the texture. After a really good critque that got me for being intentional, I felt broken down and took pictures of everything that conveyed urban environment. I took advantage of noticing not as much the pictures but the idea of going back to high school, like tie-die.

4. How are you remaining focsed on the mission at hand, to promote and excite students about the Boston Green Academy and green technology? How do you keep from getting off-track from your goal?

Dylan: I tried to work with images that excited me but also other people, so that I could get other people involved.

Sam: (Laughs) I don’t know. I guess not allowing yourself to think of others stuff and trying to stay excited about it.

Gerald: I think that what I’m doing is trying to excited and inform in one go. It excites in looking but as you look deeper you get something from it. I’m using this strategy instead of separating it.

Katie: I live behind Fenway High School, and when I look out the window I think about the reasons that I’m designing this project for. Its for the kids, and that motivates me.

Cody: I’d say its just apart o everyday routine. I try to incorporate it into a majority of what I’m doing. Into everyday things like noticing more branding done by different companies using packaging design. It’s very popular. I don’t know if its prevalent but I’m just noticing it more.

Beth: I tend to keep it in my head all the time. When I’m doing other things it keeps recycling the ideas.

Ryan: I guess its part organizing, sitting down, and thinking about it, being in that state of mind.

5. What was the most valuable advice you recieved from a critique?

Dylan: I received it in the last one. They liked my idea and I got alot of ideas from it. I thought I was going in the wrong direction at first but people liked it. I feel more comfortable now using the images.

Sam: Not making it so digitized, which took awhile to do. Putting in more marks.

Gerald: I had a personal critique with Professor Sansone that really helped me. I used to try to work things out in my head, and because of that I was not getting the message across visually so people can understand. And now that I’ve tried a new approach I think my works getting better.

Katie: To branch out and keep loose.

Cody: Probably when we first finished the research aspect of the course. There was a two week period where we discussed visual identities and it really impacted my view of identity and now its expanded.

Beth: Just getting it outside of me and getting feedback. Sometimes someone looking at your work sees it different than you.

Ryan: Honestly, it was this devastating moment when I had a talk with Professor Sansone about the controversy that could be interpreted in my eco-sapien concept, that dealt with evolution, Darwin, a monkey, and the banana. We were given like 5 days to get the next phase of the project done and had to come up with a new concept.

6. What do you feel you’ve gained the most out over the course of the class.

Dylan: I learned to get an idea you have to keep going at it, keep doing iterations.

Sam: Patience. I didn’t realize so much work went into it, as well as time management.

Gerald: I think its gotta be that when you stop and slow down you come up with better solutions using research to help as a problem solving tool.

Katie: Can’t be enough research.

Cody: Just being able to do an actual campaign. This is the first time I’ve had to design an advertising campaign. My first year it was more foundations design.

Beth: Just more experience with this process. It was more broken down in Language and Form(graphic design course).

Ryan: Humility, whan I had her(Professor Sansone) last year  I ended pretty strong but when I started in this class I kind of got kicked down a couple pegs and basically never accepted anything as done.I started to not just go on design websites or look at magazines for a certain look and started going back into my binder to use those references.

7. What are you the most excited about for this project?

Dylan: To get a finished product that really excites me, and bringing in objects like a shirt of skateboard, something solid.

Sam: Being over and showing off  the work.

Gerald: I will be excited to get what I want to happen.

Katie: Seeing everybody elses final and seeing the process of where they began to where we came to.

Cody: I’m excited for the end, not in a “I don’t wanna be doing this” kind of way but to see other students work and the jury. I don’t know how its going to be so I’m looking forward to it.

Beth: Being done with it and being able to look back at this for reference for future projects.

Ryan: The presentation. Id like to present to the jury for thwo reasons 1.) To get a feel for a environement of presenting to a real committee 2) If someone’s design is chosen for the campaign it would present the ability to see it exist outside of the classroom.

8. What are you least excited about for the project?

Dylan: Trying to get this all finished up.

Sam: Getting there, having to finish everything and anticipating the hours of work. Its like a marathon you know its going to be hard work.

Gerald: The work to do. I have a feeling its just going to be mentally taxing.

Katie: The presentation. I have anxiety but I am excited with anticipation.

Cody: I would say being done. I’ll probably be able to create a funtional deadline that was my goal. The deadline was rough.

Beth: I worry that mine isn’t as “campaigny” than others rather it’s more decorative and I’m just using the schools name while some others are using catch phrases. I don’t want to risk being offensive, it’s not like I’m selling ipods.

Ryan: If the project didn’t receive any feedback at all,  positive or negative.

9. What was the most challenging obstacle that you had to get over to get to where you are now, or do you feel your still engaging with that obstacle?

Dylan: I’m still trying to get over doing the iterations, and staying on the iterations so I can have something to show.

Sam: Trying to connect my research to my final project.

Gerald: My obstacle would be to let people into my head, now I just need to move forward with that.

Katie: Me. Knowing about work and being okay, I still feel a little stingy but its lessened a little.

Cody: Getting out of the whole overly designed structure of producing work and how to explore more and do more things.

Beth: Sometimes its easy for me to get tired of what I’m working on, and sit down and say “No, I’m not working on this” even though when I’d sit down and be motivated to work.

Ryan: I’m still engaging with letting go of producing tight work, and sometimes the time management factor as well. Sometimes you can get really into a certain part of the project and not focus on others. I find that I’m working against my own need to design and still create work that I can respect and that other people can respect.

10. How has making 50 iterations in this class give you a wealth of resources to choose from?

Dylan: I played around a lot with different textures. I wanted to incorporate some of that and I took a lot of good pictures.

Sam: It was a little bit of a stretch using trial & error and combing them into a final piece.

Gerald: Yes, but I don’t think I went with just one, its been a combination of iterations blowing up into one. But I think they helped a lot.

Katie: It showed me how many ideas can come up, and you can see your own process.

Cody: I guess it gave me the chance to toy with different ideas. 50 is such a random number, but it did help me. I wouldn’t have the stuff I have now without that.

Beth:Yeah definitely, it mad me realize that there can be slight changes and still be a different iteration. It sounds difficult but its not such a big deal.

Ryan: It was a challenge but I did enjoy  the iterations. It was a mix of research/explore and doing what things that I had been wanting to do. And it basically gave us freedom. I feel I work the best in that situation because it was nice to think of different ideas and show variations. Being able to be broad but slightly cohesive. It was easy to then see a probable campaign from that. That’s how I ended up coming up with my final visual identity, I saw one representation from the 50.

Observation: After interviewing each of the students it’s evident that they have gained a significant amount of confidence and understanding of design through visual research and through developing design strategies that reflect the content that they’ve collected. It’s also certain that as these students prepare for their final project presentations they will also have a wealth of references to draw from to discuss the relevance of their design decisions.

–Lauren Cross, Graduate Assistant



Sketching for clarity!
December 9, 2009, 10:21 pm
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Part 8: A focus on craft

Refine the visual quality of your visual identity, and designs. Create presentation boards for your designs.

Critique

Students conducted a group critique based on the works that they brought to class. The group critique format allows fellow classmates to comment on the strengths and weakness of the work versus the big critique which is head by the instructor. The critiques were focused on a particular subject matter and also allowed each student to see where they had advanced from the previous meeting.

Studio Time

Professor Sansone introduced the students to the book Sketchbook by Tim O’Donnell(here is a link to his website) which shows the conceptual drawings from the sketchbooks of very popular designers. Inspired by these sketches the students were assigned to produce a concrete sketch on a 11×17 sheet of paper displaying what the plan for their project would be.

Before the students began Professor Sansone described how the map of the sketch should be constructed with A- the major applicators on the left, B- the sketches that informs, and C- the part that excites.

She discussed the following criteria of making a good sketch:

1. Considering first what the finish product will be.

2. Ensuring the quality of the drawing/presentation, which means that the drawing should be visible with darker lines.

3. Accessing the best tools from your past works.

4. Using the sketch as a tool to show the true potential of the concept.

5. The sketch should be in essence the student making a commitment to a plan, and how they intend to bring it to pass.

Student viewing sketches

After the sketches were completed, they were evaluated by the class as well as an outside faculty member. He was assigned to look for the most successful sketch  that was both clear as well as the strength of concept informing the sketch. Here were some of the results of this evaluation:

The following image was praised based on it’s overall concept of the slogan, though it  lacked the B and C components.

This sketch was praised as well for it’s innovativeness and the introduction to technology into the sketch. It was concluded that this could possibly be a great way of presenting.

The following two sketches were the top picks for the class, as being the most clear and attractive sketches that also included great informative and exciting elements as well.

If I were to include another top sketch for consideration it would be this last sketch. I felt as a sketch it was very strong and clear, some of it’s critiques were the ability for the information to follow through in the end of the sketch.