Friday, June 12, 2009

More about drawing ... and ideas


Here is one of the page spreads from David Macauley's book, Rome Antics. The block of text in the lower right says, "Sun-warmed terra-cotta rooftops are tempting places to land. But a pigeon must be careful." You'll see why when you enlarge the photo.

Macauley's idea is to show views of Rome, which is not in itself very new, but to do it through the eyes of a carrier pigeon ... now that's clever.


Yesterday my design colleagues and I made a presentation to the staff in our office. We talked about the most important part of graphic design which is ideas. In the process we made people laugh. I hope we made our point well too.

The title of the presentation was "Strategies for creative design." 

The strategy is very simple and can be described with one slide and it's this: Before you begin any assignment have the client work on a creative brief, which comprises these 6 questions:

1) What is the business challenge?

2) What are the marketing / communication objectives?

3) Who is the target audience? (demographics, psychographics, mindset)

4) What is the key message?

5) What are the important copy points?

6) What are the mandatory inclusions? (phone URL legal disclaimer)

Imagine going to a tailor and saying "Make me a suit." And if you're polite you say please, but then you dash out of the shop without letting him take your measurements. It's unlikely the suit will fit. And if it does it'll probably be the wrong color. And without a good creative design brief what you're likely to get from a designer is a poorly made piece of graphic design that doesn't fit your needs.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Uncanny coincidence

I'm reading a book by Milton Glaser called Drawing is Thinking.

It's a collection of Glaser's drawings, and there is an interview with him. There are no captions to the illustrations, you are meant to make connections yourself. He has a lot of interesting things to say. Here is one I like:
What is most important to me about the act of drawing is that you become aware or conscious of what you are looking at, only through the mechanism of trying to draw it. When I look at something, I do not see it unless I make an internal decision to draw it. Drawing it, in a state of humility provides a way for truth to emerge.
I finish reading the introduction to the book. I then go to my computer and visit, a Website I just learned about. There are thousands of videos on this site and I select one at random. It's a presentation by David Macaulay whose name is familiar, but I'm not certain why.

The video begins with Macaulay saying this:
I draw to better understand things. Sometimes I make a lot of drawings and still don't understand what it is I'm drawing.

Two books. Both about illustration. Both about how drawing influences the way we see and think.

I enjoy coincidence. This is one of the more interesting and meaninful ones. In the video Macaulay talks about how he went about designing a book of illustrations entitled Rome Antics.

I will certainly buy the book, but Macaulay also gave me an idea that relates to my first post on the SyQuest and iPod. But for that I'll need to do more thinking ... and drawing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The surprise of tidying up

Last week I was about to throw away a large square box. 

I have a lot of boxes in my study with nothing inside them. I like packaging, especially Apple products which are so well done. When I took a look inside the box, I found an old iPod. On the back of the iPod was the inscription 10GB. 

Interestingly the box was next to eight SyQuest disks that have been collecting dust for years. These relics of early computer technology hold a laughable 88MB. I'd need 111 SyQuests to store the same amount of music as this antiquated iPod.

I got to thinking: What does this comparison look like visually. And so I started drawing.

The graphic shows how many SyQuests are needed to hold the music in the iPod (the little orange shape at the top). They are all to scale.

And for the record, I took a photo of the two pieces of technology.

Perhaps I'll take the iPod to the Apple store to see if I can get a discount on a new one. 

Most likely, I'll just keep it ... and the SyQuests.

[click the images to enlarge]