university

New Semester, new Post

Aloha!

I know, I know. It’s been a long while since my last post but I’ve been having a busy time, mostly work and life 😀

Last semester I dug into web-design with our gueast teacher from Cologne: Analysis, sketches, wireframes, mock-ups, style-tiles, usabilty, grids, responsive web-design, personas and prototypes – you get the idea. Now, I decided to go one step further and learn more about HTML and CSS (then I might finally redisign this blog and include a nice gallery). I don’t know why but I like the coding and the design part 🙂

At the same time I’m doing a lot of anatomy studying, sports, healthy cooking and meditation. I’ll try not to get a burn-out in my 30s 😀

So the next 5 months at the uni I’ll be learning coding, film-history and continue my 3D project “The General”. Mixing it up!

My Application Portfolio Part 1

Finally I will upload photos of my application portfolio as it was often requested ^^”

Here is a short description: The topic “motion” (Bewegung) was given by one of the universities and I settled for the subtopic “emotions”. I had 6 weeks time to finish it and wasn’t allowed to include more than 20 works of art. In this post I will give you the original explanations in German (!) I included in the portfolio’s index. If enough people show interest I’ll translate it for you in English (sorry, not enough time right now).

Because of some technical problems I will give you the first half this week and leave the second one for next week. Sorry!

So here we go!

acceptance_tolerance

Akzeptanz und Toleranz: Akzeptanz ist eine Grundemotion. Sie hat Ähnlichkeit mit der Toleranz, jedoch sind beide Begriffe keine Synonyme. Toleranz ist im allgemeinen Sinne die FĂ€higkeit, etwas zu akzeptieren, ohne damit einverstanden zu sein. Etwas wird geduldet, wobei die eigenen Standpunkte und Werte bewahrt werden. Diesen feinen Unterschied habe ich durch zwei HĂ€nde, die geschĂŒttelt werden dargestellt, wobei (oben) die eine einen Handschuh trĂ€gt, um nicht von der anderen „beschmutzt“ zu werden. Zudem ĂŒbt sie einen dominanteren Griff aus (Toleranz). Unten geben sich beide HĂ€nde gleichwertig und ohne Vorbehalte einen krĂ€ftigen HĂ€ndedruck (Akzeptanz). Der sattere gelbe Streifen unterstreicht die stĂ€rkere Beziehung der Akzeptanz und wird der abgeschwĂ€chten Bindung und gelben Farbe im Falle der Toleranz gegenĂŒbergestellt.

compassion

Mitleid: Um Mitleid empfinden zu können, muss Folgendes gelten: Irgendjemandem geht es schlecht und man muss fĂ€hig sein sich hineinversetzen zu können. Ich habe diese Voraussetzungen in einem Spiegel vereint. Der Spiegel ist voll von mitleidserregenden Bildern und in der Mitte ist eine Silhouette, die spiegelt (quasi die eigene Spiegelung). Wenn man den Spiegel betrachtet, kann man sich selbst unter all den schrecklichen Bildern wiedererkennen. Man hat sich hineinversetzt, im wahrsten Sinne. Farblich ist alles in dem Spiegel dunkel gehalten, außer in der NĂ€he des Kopfes der Silhouette. Dort ist alles rötlich. Das (Mit-)Leid besetzt den Geist des Betrachters.

confusion

Verwirrung: Verwirrung in der StrichfĂŒhrung, Verwirrung durch die optische Illusion der auftauchenden schwarzen Punkte, die Augen des Betrachters machen schnelle, kurze Bewegungen (typisch in einem verwirrten Zustand). Man sucht nach einem Anhaltspunkt im Bild und das mittlere graue Viereck bietet sich an (bedingt durch Eindellung und Position). Diese kann aber nicht zu lange betrachtet werden, weil ein unangenehmes GefĂŒhl durch die optische Illusion entsteht. Also hat man im Endeffekt keine Anhaltspunkte.

curiousity

Neugier und EnttĂ€uschung: Drei verschiedene Kisten, in jeder kann etwas anderes sein. Die Deckel werden geöffnet, aber in keiner der Kisten ist irgendetwas! Die angeregte Neugier bringt leider jedes Mal nichts als EnttĂ€uschung. Die Ă€ußeren Farben der Kisten sind hell (positive Neugierde), wogegen die inneren dunkel sind (negative EnttĂ€uschung).

disappointment

siehe oben

depression

Depression: Bei diesem Bild habe ich die psychologische und die geomorphologische Bedeutung (Senkung in der OberflĂ€che)des Wortes Depression vereint. Die mittlere von drei Sprossen befindet sich in einer Depression (psychologisch durch die schwarze Farbe bekrĂ€ftigt), die sich nach dem Regen mit Wasser gefĂŒllt hat. Leider ist die Sprosse daran zugrunde gegangen. Die anderen (nicht depressiven) Sprossen haben den Regen dagegen gut verkraftet und wachsen munter weiter.

disgust

Ekel: Ekel basiert allein auf Vorstellung! Um dies zu verdeutlichen, habe ich lauter eklige Objekte gezeichnet, die gemeinsam die Umrisse des menschlichen Gehirns (die Vorstellung) darstellen.

hatred

Hass: „Zerfressen von Hass“, das ist das Stichwort meiner Interpretation. Das menschliche Herz steht im Mittelpunkt. Es ist aus Holz, die Arterien aus Metall. Ein hartes, gefĂŒhlloses Herz ist die optimale Voraussetzung fĂŒr Hass, der in meinem Bild durch die HolzwĂŒrmer dargestellt wird. Sie zerfressen langsam, aber sicher das Herz, bis irgendwann nichts mehr ĂŒbrig bleibt.

hope

Hoffnung: Hoffnung ist eine Quelle der Kraft in dunklen Zeiten
Wenn man kurz davor ist aufzugeben, kann Hoffnung einen Schub geben weiter zu machen! Ich habe diese Eigenschaft hervorgehoben, indem ich sie als ein Energydrink namens „Last Hope“ dargestellt habe. Die dominante Farbe ist grĂŒn (Farbe der Hoffnung), das Symbol eine Sprosse. Die gelben Elemente machen nicht nur das Bild interessanter, sie reprĂ€sentiert zusĂ€tzlich die Energie, die von dem Drink ausgeht.

I know the images aren’t that good but as often mentioned by one of our professors “You don’t need to be a skilled drawing artist if you want to study design!” You can also work with photos, 3D computer graphic, sculpture etc. I just didn’t know enough about other art fields…It’s also important to state that some universities of applied science care for creativity and original ideas more than for skills (which can be acquired along the way).

So give it a shot!

Drawing Classes

Perhaps some of you wonder why I’m not posting anything on the first thing everyone thinks of when you mention design or art, namely drawing. Well I’ve planned on making a “skill-o-meter” 🙂 This means I’m going to collect the drawings for a while and then I’ll pick a few for every month and try to show you my improvements (hopefully).

But I guess I can already tell you what the topic of the course I picked is. Right now we are doing some character design and backgrounds (at which I REALLY suck) based on a little story where I and 3 other characters go on a university trip.  We still don’t know where we’re headed to… By the way I picked the illustration course (I hope I’ll survive!) and I have to admit I have A LOT of catching up to do if I want to become an illustrator but to be honest I really like media design too. Lucky me, I still have one year time to decide and a little hard work on my drawing skills can’t do any harm 🙂

On the Meaning of Design

In our first class in fine arts we tried to figure out what “design” actually means and what it’s good for.

First of all think about what the word “design” does when added to another word. Like in designer footwear, designer furniture, designer screw driver etc. Obviously it acts like a quality enhancement, meaning that designer clothes are better than normal or discounter clothes. But why do companies bother to produce designer couches or bottles? Aren’t the “normal” ones just as usable? The answer is yes, everything’s fine with most normal products and services BUT the market is immensely flooded with different providers so only the “special ones” get more attention. Design is the perfect way to make YOUR products stick out of the average and sell.

Therefore market research is crucial for every provider. With enough good information the product or service can be improved enough to sell better, though it might not be literally better than what the competition is offering. It’s only better adjusted to what the customers think they need. Advertisement is business worth millions!

There are some basic rules a good industrial design has to follow:

  • use people’s need to express individuality and prestige (social/cultural function)
  • keep costs as low as possible for the client (economy)
  • find the best and most inexpensive materials and ways of production (technology)
  • consider important ecological issues like energy balance, recycling and consumption of raw materials (ecology)
  • design an appealing form that at the same time integrates all the factors mentioned before (aesthetics)

As you can see there is a lot more to design than simply creating beautiful objects and images. That would be something free artists can consider an option 😉 If you want to read more on Art vs. Design click here.

More on Typography Basics

This week we’ve discussed what typography/font does and what it’s needed for.

First of all the most basic statement on typography: “Typography gives you access to information.”

But what exactly is typography? It’s not simply addressing to the letters in writing. It’s more like a letter-system including not only the different fonts  but also the structure defined by things like various heading-sizes (known in web-editors as H1,H2,H3 etc.) or the italic/bold adjustments. This is a very basic definition but for now it’ll do.

Furthermore typography does the following:

  • documents ideas and this way enables cultural development
  • passes culture down
  • gives orientation not only in a text (structure) but through pictograms (simple signs are also a part of typography, there are certain pictographically fonts in Word for example)
  • creates atmosphere and interprets the content (see “Venice”)

venice

looks like a picture in an educational book or a newspaper

venice

looks more dreamy, like a tourist postcard and only because I changed the font

And what is our relationship to typography? Well a good typographical work always pays out since the human eye prefers well structured, paragraphed text 😉 On the other hand, we are dependent on text. Have you ever been to y country where you cannot read any of the written signs? Did you feel the growing despair with time? See 🙂

Oh, and one more thing: If you are a designer you have to be able to convince your clients of why they should pick a certain font. And believe me you’re not going to achieve anything by reasoning your choice on whether the font looks good or bad! You’ll need some “invisible knowledge”. That’s what we are going to learn in our typography class 😉

Composition Game

As I promised in an earlier post here’s a simple game in order to train your eye to see if your composition is right:

  1. First of all you need a piece of cardboard (21 x 15 cm / 8 x 6 inch).
  2. Divide it into 4 equal parts.
  3. Additionally cut out at least 4 different shapes in various sizes and if possible colors.
  4. Try placing them on the cardboard in any order you can think of (you can also change the number) and try to portion the empty space the way I showed you to do.
  5. As a variation you can make many more papers, divide each in 4 different parts, lay the figures down and draw only their outlines. Now you can lift them up and get a better overview of the overall arrangement between empty space and occupied space as the different shapes now appear as one single shape vs. the background.

In my opinion it’s a more fun way to start dealing with the topic and it really can help you get an eye for this sort of things. You should definitely try it out and see for yourself 🙂

Oh, and here’s a quick pic on how my first “compo-game” looked like:

my composition game

Media and Communication 1

In our first lesson on Media and Communication we tried to find a definition of “media”. The discussion we had was really philosophical at times and we came to the conclusion that the term “media” is indeed very flexible.

I’ll give you a short summary on our findings anyway:

  • a medium is always a communication carrier ( here’s a little memory hook: medium is the middle value like in “small-medium-large”, so media is what stands between you and the communication (information) meaning it’s the bridge bringing the information someone gave to you)
  • The effect of media depends on the experiences and background knowledge one has (Let’s assume you show a documentary on steel factories to a tribe living in the jungle. They’ll probably take it as something one can see in a vision rather than information on steel working processes, since they do not know what steel is but they do know visions.)
  • Since everything communicates in a way we have to define media more precisely. Let’s take a doorknob for example: When you see it you know “Aha. I can open the door when I use this knob.” So basically the doorknob is a communication carrier giving you the information that you can open a door with it. But does that mean it’s a medium? Sure, the designer of the knob communicates with the user through a certain appearance he gave to it. Is it a knob one has to push or pull or turn? And what if it is old and rusty? It tells you exactly this: “I’m an old doorknob.” But see, it cannot give you any other information except about itself.  And that’s where media helps out. Its most basically defined as an object that has the ability to tell you more than just what it is. So if you buy a paper and every page is printed with “I’m a paper. You can buy me, you can read me, you can burn me etc.” than it would have no value as a medium anymore!

All points I gave you are of course still in the rough, since we only tried to find a definition 🙂 More on the topic, next week!

Oh right, we got our long-term homework: Pick a medium you like and give a presentation with a concluding discussion round. Additionally we have to document everything, writing about it on the internet is allowed, too 😉

Typography 1

Today I had my first typography lesson.

Basically we were showen different exam works, which were alltogether different, ranging from children’s books to animation and games.

Then the professor gave us two helpful links “every design/art student should visit on a daly basis”. But see for yourself: Fontblog and Slanted. As far as I can see there are no English versions available.

And finally we got our first 2 homeworks.

  1. Pick a favorite letter or number, find at least 25 versions in your everyday life and take photos. Organize the images on your computer, sort them in different categories and print them out. (3 weeks time)
  2. Write your name with an exceptional font the professor can remember 🙂 (1 week time)

Well that’s that. More from typography next week!