November 16th, 2013
The Millersville Art Department held their first annual Interdisciplinary Interaction Design Conference to listen to current designers and hear about their experience through the design field and how they got to where they are today. Design is a field that has grown to become a huge interactive globe conference through web and other forms of interaction. The students in the Art Department put this conference together for the benefit of others to hear was designers had to say about design. There were only four speakers, Justin Kunkel, Robert Deraco, Joshua Buckwalter, and Aaron Chu. Each speaker talked about different concepts but they were all interrelated in a way.
The first speaker was Justin Kunkel who started out as an architecture student at Penn state then realized it wasn’t the path for him then got an English degree with a Philosophy minor. Having that as his background taught him how to write and argue. He learned how to interview people, which helped him learn to communicate with co-workers, managers, and clients. At one of the places he worked he picked up how to edit websites, and through his progression to becoming a user experience designer he learned about strategizing content and became the director of strategy. Justin talked about how there is no right way to get into the field of design but four key things to remember is first recognize design is a process and how it’s a why of thinking, document everything, analyze work and show your work. Secondly, think holistically by believing that there are no limitations, everything is marketable and the user must know how to get from step A to step B. Thirdly, learn consciously and apply constantly by taking everything you have learned in your lifetime and apply it to your work. And lastly, empathize always by putting yourself in the shoes of whom you’re designing for. Some also fields to look into to build knowledge and make it easier for you to build an argument when talking to a client like philosophy, aesthetics, behavioral economics, anthropology, statistics and linguistics.
The second speaker was Robert Deraco and he was the founder of Synapse and has worked there and built his experience and knowledge for 15 years. Synapse is a marketing service provider. Robert is a designer by accident since he has no degree but because he is good at talking to people and find solutions to problems he was able to go into the real world and be successful. Through trial and error he was able to take what he learn everyday to get better in design. He talked about how anyone who facilitates interactions can communicate through digital means. Some jobs that one can obtain through digital means are jobs like digital strategist, creative director, digital marketer, programmer, developer, web designer and interface designer. Some lessons that he talked about were never stop learning, data sells ideas, if you think hiring a professional is expensive try hiring an amateur, sell value, think code by understanding concepts, think your user is your mother and chaos is profitable. Robert explains that in order to solve problems that you don’t know how to complete is through learning and teaching yourself in order to get ahead.
The third speaker was Joshua Buckwalter. Buckwalter is a creative director at innovate, president of AIGA central PA and musician. In order to get to where he is today Joshua went some great and terrible jobs to build experience as a designer. It wasn’t till he came to AIGA where he started to learn about good design. The main points Joshua talked about what how research is most important and with out researching your final project will get hurt in the end. Other points were organizing by priority and take risks to make the clients happy.
The final speaker was one of our very own Aaron Chu from Millersville University. Aaron graduated from Millersville only 2 year ago and from that time he has made his journey in web design. Aaron works at HUGE a global advertising agency. In his design experience Aaron has come to the conclusion that everything has a connection and what might have inspired you when you were younger like Japanese Anime for Aaron can reflect your work later on. Aaron best research tool is Google and using this tool to constantly build his knowledge since everything is evolving so quickly and it’s hard to keep up with the industry. Aaron main points were about performance, accessibility, and craftsmanship.
From the speakers I learned a lot in a short amount of time. Main things I struck out to me were being organized, showing your research and process; keep gaining knowledge in any field you can to make your self seem more intelligent even if that’s not your main field. I always appreciate hearing how other designers reached their success through trial and error in order to get to where they want to be in life.
October 17, 2013
The Society of Design holds events throughout the year, all over the area and on October 17th there was one in Lancaster starring Brooke Shaden. Brooke graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, with degrees in both film and English. She didn’t come out of school with a degree in photography but she claims that she was “photographically born”. Currently she resides in Los Angeles, California as a fine art photographer. Brooke travels and conducts workshops throughout the United States and is recognized globally for her stunning, interpretive self-portraits. Brooke was able to get her name known by using social media and social networking to get her work out there for everyone to see. Besides all of her inspiring photographs, Brooke has written one book called “Inspiration in Photography: Training Your Mind to Make Great Art a Habit”. In her presentation Brooke mainly focused on creativity, inspiration, and manipulation.
Throughout Brooke’s lecture her main points always related by to inspiration. Brooke started out with an average camera with no flash and used what she couldn’t capture with the camera to later manipulate it in Photoshop. She described an artist as a problem solver and a creative thinker. Brooke was able to problem solve and think creatively since the space she started taking pictures was small and knew little information about Photoshop or how to take photographs. Although she was self-taught in her apartment, she still had the confident to call herself an artist. Brooke knew how she wanted her images to turn out and by problem solving she recreated her photos in Photoshop in order to produce what she was looking for. She talked about how it’s sometimes hard for artist to find inspiration. Even though inspiration can be found everywhere like but in things that interest you, things you love, relationships, yourself, and locations. Another thing that caught my attention was how Brooke said, “we think we want freedom to create art but when were confronted with that freedom we feel trapped”. Inspiration builds off of itself and when you learn to create something out of nothing, you learn to create everything else more easily. Some things that inspire Brooke are white walls, themes like fantasies, new things, few and failing. Failing is a good thing because when you try and make something but fail in the process it help you learn to make something even better in the future.
Brooke takes her inspiration and creates themes like darkness and beauty, life versus death, fairytales, decay, surrealism and daydreaming. After you find inspiration by thinking conceptually the steps in order to create art is to create a concept, plan out what your going to photograph, take as many shots till you get want you want, mess around with color, add or take away matter, edit till it’s done, receive feedback and edit it again. Photoshop allows you to manipulate photos to produce images the way you imagine them by using only a few tools. A piece may seem complex when you first look at the image but through little tools in Photoshop you can create amazing works of art by mastering the basics.
After her presentation she demonstrated how she works by taking a volunteer from the audience, photographed them and then uploaded the image into Photoshop and by using only the layer mask, crop, image resolution, pen tool and eraser tool she was able to produce a work of art, off the inspiration to create a fantasy from the ordinary. At the end of the event there was a Q&A part, one question I asked was about the technical side of Photoshop. I asked how she creates the same color tones in the same ending images if she using several different images that she captured with different exposures. Her answer simply was by using curves and adjustments on each layer then merge some layers to create the same tone for the overall photo to make everything come together compositionally. By the end of the event I felt like I learned a lot about learning how to create inspiration from nothing and use that to produce work that you love.