First year of grad school complete, how did that happen?
I never predicted I’d be in Raleigh working on my Master’s degree. Weird how life happens.
The first year is done. I don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished much, but maybe it’s because I’m still in the grad school bubble and it hasn’t really sunk in that my first year is complete.
I’m glad this process only lasts two years, because if it was any longer I would probably go nutty. Working 40 hours a week is way easier.
Approaching my thesis year, I am scared, anxious, excited, and kind of terrified. I’m not sure why I’m so scared, and it’s not necessarily of failing but of not being able to do what I envision, or not being able to complete what I want to do. I’m not even sure what I really want to do yet.
Now I understand why people put off grad school.
The summer is a time to refresh and prepare.
Where do I go from here? Hopefully onward and upward…
“As designers, our job is not to come in and say this is how things should be organized, our job is to ask whether organizing is what really needs to be done.” insight from Denise Gonzales Crisp
MGD Class of 2013 presentations, streaming live at http://ustre.am/XxPz
April 6, 2013 at 9:30pm
Hand is lagging behind my brain
During my midterm review, I was told that it seems my skill level can hold me back. I can talk about my ideas and sketch them out, but when it comes to visualizing a convincing case, I usually if not always fall short.
I’m a very green, fresh designer. I’ve only been practicing design for about 4-ish years, which counts my undergrad education. I am nowhere near the 10,000 hours it takes to be an expert, so it’s logical that my skill level is not at the same pace as what my brain can imagine.
This is probably the most frustrating thing about school. Throughout the semester my ideas have been accepted and show potential for interesting interactions or user experiences within the content we are dealing with. However, between the ideation phase and the production phase, something goes missing. The presentation of my ideas, the clear, beautiful story of what I had envisioned is more like a finger painting. I struggle with form, typography, animation, and creating interactive works.
Instead of beating myself up about my lack of technical ability or formal skills, I just need to work a little harder. Also, maybe take it a little easy on myself. If only I would’ve waited and gone to grad school a littler later…but I couldn’t wait!
This has also taught me the value of being around people who are really good at what you aren’t. Being in their presence allows some of their expertise to rub off on you, or you can ask them a question and chances are they know the answer and might even be willing to show you how.
In a few years my hand will catch up to my brain, and then the cycle will most likely start over again. Tis the cycle of evolving and growing as a designer!
Subway Map of Your Brain
Stand clear of the closing synapses.
This is insanely accurate. Props to Hallie for concept, and Ross for design.
I did the design for this!
“My interests as a designer are to find out what other people’s interests are and design for them.”
We as first year students are starting to reach the point in the two year process of figuring out the realm of our thesis or what things we might be interested in pursuing further. The next projects we are working on involve diving deeper into a particular focus that is informed by the first 9 things we made. This involves analyzing patterns or trends in our work; seeing what our subconcsious is telling us, like quit using circles just because you like them (I used circles in my first 5 projects).
This analysis has led me to a few things I’m intersted in, but I still have a hard time picking out specific subjects or areas I am passionate about–enough to spend a lot of time reseraching and developing ideas around.
I was talking with a classmate and he explained that it can be difficiult for designers to pick personal interests because we are trained to find out a user’s needs and interests and cater the design to them. In the professional world it is not uncommon to design a product, service, experience for a specific target user. If you are not that user, than you are designing unselfishly, hence the popular term user-centered design.
So I guess for my thesis I need to find my interests and work on some “Kezra-centered” design. I’ll worry about my end user and audience when I conduct some research. I wish there was some quiz I could take to figure out my interests…
Paola Antonelli redefining design and the designer’s role in the exhibit “Applied Design” at MoMA:
One of design’s fundamental tasks is to help people deal with change. Designers stand between revolutions and everyday life: they make innovations mangeable and approachable, so that they can be…
Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Web Design, _________ Design
Titles can be completely inaccurate. When I tell people I’m in grad school for Graphic Design they assume I am making posters or logos. They associate print works with Graphic Design. Now maybe the title of my program is dated and there’s probably too much paperwork and bullshit to go through to change it, so it’s called Graphic Design to be encompassing umbrella of what actually goes on.
Design is a young profession and has a relatively short history. We have been greatly affected by advancements in technology. Our field adapts and evolves because if we didn’t we’d be out of work. We embrace that challenge, and I think quite successfully.
In the past 10 years lots of new job titles related to design have been introduced. This is great, because it means more jobs for designers, but it’s also hard to keep up with. When I was in undergrad, I didn’t even know there was interaction design and user experience design. Not to blame the school I went to, but we didn’t have resources to accomodate the rapid changes in the industry.
Titles can be confusing especially if you are not familiar with the latest design lingo and new technologies. I’m proposing that I’ll be a “fill in the blank” designer until I figure out what I want to do and what I am good at. I know what kind of designer I don’t want to be, but putting the latest buzz word in front of designer is not how I want to approach my next career move, at least I don’t think so.
It’s an exciting time for design, but finding your way as a designer can be difficult as the type of work we do is constantly in flux. Designers are trained to adapt to different situations and challenges. We embrace technology and are needed in the expansion and imagining of the future.
Why are people so afraid to share? I understand the concerns of privacy, but when its in an educational setting, I do not see the value in keeping your ideas and thoughts to yourself. If you are only in dialogue with your own thoughts you are undoubtedly missing out.
We become personally attached to our work. We invest so much time and so much of “ourselves” into projects that we form an intimate bond with them. We indentify with the thing as if it represents who we are in some way. This is silly as the things we make are only a visual representation of what we are thinking about, struggling with, or trying to communicate at one point in time in our lives or careers. It’s more of a collection of projects than saying that single project defines you.
In my limited experience, I’ve noticed a strong hesitation with sharing in process work–whether we are self-conscious or fearful someone will steal our ideas. The fears we associate with sharing our ideas or concepts inhibits us form growing and learning.
The exploding trend of social media is starting to overcome some of those fears, but many are still hesitant at sharing anything online, or anymore than they have to. I’m not advocating for everyone to share what they’re eating, or how they’re feeling, but for more openness and willingness to share ideas in a safe place. I understand in professional circumstances this openness is not always allowed, but I see great value in having designers, artists, technologists, staticicans, writers, etc. share their in-process work to create dialogue about ideas.
I’ve learned that keeping my ideas and thoughts to myself does not help me at all. By externalizing those concepts I grow, progress, and learn. Having a brainstorming session by yourself can be counterproductive; usually these things work better with more than one mind.
Well, on Monday Thing 8 is due. This is the last of our Things that we are making. The studio this semester has been structured to have one project (Thing) due a week, a research and development day, as well as a student lead workshop almost every week. It’s been a lot of making, which is good. The area we are working in is digital humanities. We can take content from pretty much anywhere, but NCSU’s digital archives are a great place to start.
We also had our midterm review this week, which in a way adds extra pressure to do well, or better than before.
I am thinking about investigating the traditional spreadsheet. I’m currently working on a side project that involves taking physical artifacts and preparing them to become digital. This involves selecting pages to scan and entering metadata about each artifact. I understand the importance of metadata, but the process of taking a phsycial object and entering it into a digital database is tedious, monotonous, and taxing. It is not very fun to enter this information into a spreadsheet, especially when there will be about 400 items in the sheet. Most of the data is inputted through copying and pasting, but even that can be cumbersome at times.
Here’s some thoughts I’ve had about the traditional spreadsheet:
- coded by labels at top and bottom —- would be helpful if these were visible at all times when scrolling
- coded by color, text, column or row (usually linear tables)
- the rectangular, table format makes sense and is logical; it may be a waste of time to investigate alternatives to this
- only numeric data can really be counted easily — what about counting frequency of textual data?
I’ve also thought about the language of a spreadsheet–cell, row, column, table, data, formula, etc. What if the coding took on it’s own language? I’m inspired by Twitter’s own language, using symbols to code and differentiate the context of words that could be the same. This is interesting, but I’m not sure how the use of special characters would help the organization of data.
Another thought I had was adding some type of changelog to spreadsheets. I’m sure Google has figured this out already, but I could investigate how this would behave or recognized within the spreadsheet.
Speaking with my classmates today, they pointed out that textual data isn’t really meant for spreadsheets, and spreadsheets actually function pretty well for their purposes. Sure, some behaviors of scrolling could be better, but maybe a more interesting investigation is the entry of data and how that affects the larger system involved within the spreadsheet. They also saw value in exploring how the data looks, does it always have to be the vertical and horizontal relationships of tables or could it look differently.
This helped me frame the experience I want to create, so I’m headed in a clear direction.
Any insight, feedback or words are welcome.