a) What was the most interesting weekly topic we covered in this subject this semester and why?
I think the standout for me this semester was week 4, covering Helvetica design and Typography. I know that previous to computers, an old printing specialist was a dedicated skill, so in the past 50 years or so, since the introduction of a number of standard fonts such as Helvetica or serif Times New Roman, I think it is something that has become undervalued. People don’t tend to recognise the subliminal effect it can have on consumers. An awkwardly placed font can make more of an impact then you realise and may shape views on the design/format/product. For instance the recent introduction of iOS9 has brought in a new font for iPhone, the type feels weird and and does not suit the product in my opinion. I like the power that something so small and seemingly insignificant can have.
b) Would you say that this was the topic about which you learned the most, or was that another week? Please explain your view.
I did have some prior knowledge in the field of Typography so I wouldn’t say I learnt the most during that week. I think a bit more recently there were a number of concepts during week 10 that I found engaging. Cradle-to-Cradle design is something that interests me although many of the ideas it entails involves a lot of blue-sky thinking, I’ve always wondered what happens to the things I recycle, and for me it is interesting to hear that recycling isn’t the best we can do; there is potential to ‘up-cycle’ materials and create something better in its second life. I’ve never been quite sure how much of a benefit recycling was as to me it seemed that the material was always going to go through some sort of deterioration from stage to stage. This is why thinking outside the box can help in these situations, as explained by the set reading, there is potential to create more from less.
c) Which set text or weekly reading did you find most interesting in this unit? Can you see yourself seeking out more of the author/s work or by other authors on the topic?
Throughout the unit I found I enjoyed some of the readings and not others. I loved the thought process and ideas within McDonough’s and Braungart’s book and it furthered my enjoyment of that topic. However I believe that Paul Polak’s Design for the other ninety percent also raised some good points and opened my mind to the ideas of creating ruthlessly simple but functional pieces for the masses. Previous to this, whenever I tried to think about designing something creatively, my mind always turned to potentially complicated, abstract or expensive pieces of design. I would consider going through some further reading materials by Polak.
d) Which activity/task did you enjoy the most? Which activity/task was the most useful in building your academic skills?
During week 6 we focused on lo-fi aesthetics in film and how this related to early camera techniques. I watched a number of documentaries and feature films by Michel Gondry in preparation for this topic. It is fun to watch films that can challenge perceptions of reality and ones that have the potential to broaden your horizons through new concepts and techniques. Gondry certainly has a unique way of conveying his ideas so it was very fun to relax and watch his material all the while trying to recognise his inspiration and what he was attempting. Ultimately, finding something fun and creative such as a quirky Gondry movie and translating his humour into an academic review is something I enjoy, so I have based my assessment 3 on his work. It will provide interesting material for me to analyse in an academic sense.
Polak, P. (2007). ‘Design for the Other Ninety Percent’, in C. Smith (Ed), Design for the Other Ninety Percent (pp.19-25). New York: Cooper Hewitt/National Design Museum/Smithsonian.
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McDonough, W. & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things. New York: North Point Press. (Chapter 6: Putting Eco-effectiveness into practice)
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Hustwit, G. (2007). Helvetica. [film].
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Gondry, M [Director]. (2013). Mood Indigo.
Gondry, M [Director]. (2004). Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Gondry, M [Director]. (2008). Be Kind Rewind.