The parameters of the assignment were to make three different types of logos, using three different color schemes. They could be for any group/association/company, real or imagined.
I began by sketching out interesting combinations of letters, and quickly realized I didn’t have very many non-type symbols that came to mind. After a bit of googling, the obvious symbol of a coffee cup came up – I’m still a bit embarrassed that I hadn’t thought of that right away, but that’s why research is such an important part of design I suppose. From there I moved on to Illustrator.
Logo 1 – Typographic: This logo started as a line of code. I first selected the font for the code itself, Klint Std, a square sans font. It’s squared shape and tall-thin structure looked very nice as code, and contrasted well against the second font I used for the word “design”. For this I selected “Legacy Sans”, which came in some interesting thicker weights. I also thought the looped “g” looked particularly good, and overall the font contrasts well against the code to draw attention to the word. I used simple black and dark red, because I don’t want as much attention drawn to color.
Logo 2 – Shape and Letter: This idea came about because of the symmetrical nature of the initials “JS4D”. Once again I used “Legacy Sans” because of its ultra-bold weight. I used a complementary color scheme with blue and orange.
With that in mind, my favorite is probably the third, because of its use of symbol and overall simplicity. However, I have a strong attatchment to the top one because not only is it a logo, but a valid line of code – it may make a nice banner or t-shirt design at some point.
Those of us familiar with depression are familiar with many thoughts that, when said aloud, simply make no sense. But we think them anyway. Take this one, for example:
“Am I a horrible person?”
It is stupid because there is no answer to this question that is useful to anyone. There is no way to prove any given answer right or wrong, except by very strict parameters – and who is to say those are right or wrong except by opinion?
Once we establish some kind of strict set of parameters on what makes or does not make a person horrible, we would then have to question what makes a person perfect, and we would probably eventually find that no one fits the latter and that everyone meets the former.
So now that you know the answer – which is inevitably yes, you are a horrible person at some time and in some way, shape, or form – how does that help you?
I’ll tell you. It doesn’t.
Because as formerly stated, the question is stupid. It’s useless. It cannot help anything, and it certainly doesn’t serve to motivate.
We don’t ask the question because we really want an answer, we ask it because there’s a problem we want to solve. I know when I personally think this question, it’s indicative of the fact that I know I have done horrible things in the past, and don’t want to repeat them. I know that most horrible things are done by people who are blissfully unaware of the fact that they are doing something horrible until it’s over.
So I ask myself “Am I a horrible person?” as some kind of penance, or to make sure I’m not heading somewhere bad, or whether I have done something bad recently that I need to make restitution for. In that case, a simple rewording of the question is all that is necessary.
“Have I done something that I need to make restitution for?”
This is valid. The answer is either yes or no, and if the answer is yes, I can move onto further questions on what I can do to begin making restitution. Maybe grow a mustache, make a list of people I’ve hurt and start throwing the word “karma” around a lot.
“Am I doing something horrible right now?”
Again, yes or no. If the answer is no, then there’s nothing to worry about.
These questions actually have answers, and they lead to solutions. This makes them valid, something that can be acted upon, something that can actually be helpful to a person.
So you, depressed person, yes I’m pointing at you… are you asking yourself stupid questions? Maybe all they need is a little tweak.
This is my final for the Montage Project in my Visual Media class. The parameters were to use photoshop filters/brushes/masks to combine two images and a favored quote.
No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally… and often far more… worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond. (C.S. Lewis)
This is one of my favorite quotes to outline the value of children’s literature.
I selected the picture of the girl reading for the background because of its asymmetrical balance, leaving me plenty of space to work with on the right side and some promising dark foliage in the top right corner. The books were used to connect the author of the quote with the setting; They were perfect for my needs because they were slightly worn with age and use but attractive, matched the mood of classic children’s literature, and even prominently featured a red cover in the front – complementary to the green background. The books were faded into the background using a slightly opaque brush on a layer mask.
- Text – Egyptian Slate (Slab Serif)
- Accent – Avenir (Geometric Sans)
The main font selected for the text is Egyptian Slate, which I felt well-blended old-style structure and spine with a thick, modern stroke. It is simple and elegant in the way children’s literature ought to be. I predominantly used size and placement for variety, breaking up the quote (which is just long enough to be a bit unwieldly), into smaller pieces. I varied the placement and size in a way I thought would bring in visual interest and flow, using a different weight and color to highlight a few key words.
I used a sans-serif font for the author of the quote, C.S. Lewis. Avenir, a geometric font, contrasted well against the more traditional spine of the Slab-serifed font, and lent well to increased tracking in order to match alignment with the words above it.
I used a drop-shadow on all text, colored to match the dark green shadows of the trees, because I wanted to increase visibility and readability of text while covering as little of the background as possible.
A Complementary color scheme using red and green (in a variety of values).
Spring Semester ended just 1 1/2 weeks ago, and after braving the most intense credit load I’ve ever faced, I’ve come out stronger for it – whatever my grades may say. I got to flex my artistic muscles and design, flex my logical muscles in code, and now… I can flex my lazy-butt muscles sitting around watching X-files.
Well, not exactly. Back to work, summer school… but I was smart enough this time around to create a schedule that doesn’t involve work/schoolwork after 6pm.
And even after 1 1/2 weeks, it has made a HUGE difference. Don’t believe me? Ask my wife. Even though she may have to fight me for the remote now (not really, we can usually compromise on Psych or Phineas and Ferb), she’ll probably admit that I am around a lot more often – without running around like a headless barnyard egg-layer.
For my own benefit, a few accomplishments (in cheezburgarian):
- I haz poster (featured right) – my graphic design final, influenced by the philosophy and style of Milton Glaser.
- I haz mechanical composition in pen. Drawing mechanical objects is tough because I can’t just make messy sketchy lines and pick the best ones for emphasis (which works fine if you’re drawing a tree, by the way). They require confident lines, so I started practicing sketching simple, mechanical objects in pen on a regular basis. One of my final projects, though it won’t win any awards, showed great improvement in drawing my digital camera, macbook, phone, notepad, pen and keys in great detail and in ink – and the lines are mostly straight. ^_^
- I madez a CMS using PHP – not anything you’d use in the real world, admittedly (Chances are WordPress already does it), but it was a fantastic learning experience.
- I iz design literate. I would not call myself experienced, talented, promising, or good, but I can now analyze and give meaningful feedback on design projects. This is a good start, I am sure, from what I experienced with being able to critically analyze stories for my own creative writing.
Followed by some intense summer plans:
- Catch some sun with Sokka.
- Watch moar X-files.
- Play nostalgic video games.
- Keep drawing.
Now I’ll admit, I have still been working. Yes, I know… shaaaaame. But my “no work past 6″ rule comes with a slight addendum… that work must be excusable as a “hobby”. In other words since I spend most of my time on the clock coding for web front-end stuff, it’s best if I spend my “hobby” time writing, drawing, designing, or game-making. It’s still work, but it’s a change of pace.
This is part two of the series, “So You Want to Tutor?”
- Prove It
- Get Them Talking
Establishing rapport, in this case, isn’t about selling knives, makeup, or used cars. It’s about breaking the ice a bit, and establishing a common ground. A bit of rapport doesn’t mean finding out their favorite ice cream and their relationship status. You’re not here to be best friends, you’re here to help.
The primary aim is to get them talking and to find out what assignment they’re working on, what class it’s for, how much time they have to devote to the project before its due, what grade they’re shooting for, and other aspects that may be piling on the stress for them.
So besides getting them talking (which is very important), it’s about arming you with the bare minimum of knowledge you’ll need to actually help the student. Rather than charging into the assignment with a red pen, ready to bleed the page, find out a bit of background. This isn’t a novel, and you only have got an hour or less, so a chunk of exposition here does just fine.
Be Aware of Entitlement
As I learned during my tutor training, there are some who will come to tutoring expecting to be given the answers. Maybe this has something to do with our lecture/notetaking format in classes, but this is not your responsibility as a tutor. Your job isn’t to know and give all the answers, but to show them as a successful student how you find the answers when you need them.
Your training may go differently, but ours focused quite a bit on this – on fighting the attitude of entitlement. I believe it was valuable training, helping put up a wall to prevent you doing things you shouldn’t.
The main problem with this training is although it may be true, and it may be helpful to know that you should “teach them to fish” rather than just giving the answers, it ultimately doesn’t help to approach a student assuming that they’re just here to get test answers from you.
Some students may have an entitlement problem, sure, but it doesn’t help to assume this. This might just be a result of not knowing to expect – especially if they haven’t tutored before, or haven’t had a good one.
It’s best to keep a balance between the two perspectives. On your end, become solid in the idea that you are here to help the students learn how to be successful students, or in other words, learn how to find the answers they need. If you only have them for up to an hour, you can’t fix their grade for them – but you can give them some tools that allow them to do this for themselves. On the other end, the social side where you, as a student, are helping a fellow student – don’t get all defensive if they ask for answers, or sit back in their seat expecting you to move the session forward.
Keep Them Talking
Many if not most students will take on this passive attitude at the beginning of a session, especially if they’re not used to having you as a tutor yet. This may tempt you to talk a lot just to get the ball rolling, but refrain. In order to “teach them to fish”, we need their participation. In fact, if we were to weigh the entire session on a verbal scale, it would probably best if they were talking 90% of the time, with you only making small remarks to direct or advise. At worst, it should be 50/50. The thing to avoid is the opposite, with you talking 90% of the time and the student only speaking the other 10%. This most likely means they aren’t engaged in what’s going on, which means the session is not as effective as it could be (if not completely useless).
One of the tricks I would use when tutoring writing was to have the student read the paper out loud. I handed them a pencil (NOT a red one) and encouraged them to make notes of changes as they found things. As they read, I would never interrupt, but simply be marking awkward passages or wording with underlines or circles, just to make note of it for later. This was very important – You’re not making editing marks, showing exactly what’s wrong, but simply highlighting the areas that need attention.
Don’t interrupt. This is important so, DON’T INTERRUPT. Most students will be just a little embarrassed at reading their paper aloud, even in a private setting, so let them work through it. If they are allowed to keep fumbling through reading their paper aloud and eventually realize they aren’t being judged for anything (not the writing, not their articulation, nothing at all), they will relax. They’ll become comfortable with the situation. And best of all, they’ll be talking.
Talking leads to participation. Participation leads to engagement. Engagement leads to LEARNING…