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Monday, August 3, 2015 | Last updated: 4:01pm

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5 Ds in a Pod

Infographic shows effect internet usage has on world

By Becca Guajardo          Last updated: 04/23/12 5:28pm         

Earth Day brings awareness and activities to help citizens reflect on how simple daily tasks can have a substantial effect on the environment. Citizens tend to plant trees, recycle or make a positive environmental influence.

Consumption facts and new ways to be environmentally friendly are constantly being translated in several different visual ways. Photographs, videos and news articles are common ways that environmental awareness is spread. Word Stream created an infographic to visually display how much internet usage affects the Earth.

It breaks down how usage has rose and includes comparisons to other countries and other activities that are equivalent to a simple Google search. Along with the downfalls, the graphic provides information on alternatives like working from home. Although the graphic is a bit too colorful and could be simpler in design, the graphic brings awareness.

It brings into perspective how being sidetracked at work by looking at cat pictures on Google, or procrastinating on Facebook instead of finishing that paper that’s due tomorrow is hurting more than just yourself.

Photo blogs become "visual crack for the ocular fiend"

By Keenan Cronyn          Last updated: 04/12/12 9:14pm         

It was a few months ago when I randomly stumbled across Yimmy Yayo. Perusing the internet for cool and interesting photos, I suddenly got caught up in the variety and depth of the images on the blog.

Yimmy Yayo is described as “Visual crack for the ocular fiend” and posts various photos that irk very different reactions. Choosing from vintage photos, altered images and some of the most baffling, mind-blowing images on the web, the blog boasts a deep collection of visual odysseys.

Updated daily and home to seemingly endless pages, it’s a great once-a-day read.

Another visual blog that caught my interest recently was American Photo. This blog chronicles daily happenings in America with an extremely selective group of photographs. The photos range from portraits to shots of wordly happenings from American photographers. The blog also features quite a few pieces of photojournalism, allowing the reader to gain a better worldview.

The blog is fairly inconsistent with its posting, but a great read nonetheless. 

Creative director Julia Hoffmann brings consistency, simplicity back to MoMA's design

By Kayley Sopel          Last updated: 04/11/12 7:52pm         

From a design perspective, Julia Hoffmann was a breath of fresh air. Too often, designers get locked into this mindset they know everything about a particular kind of design and everything in life should be completely and totally devoted to it. Hoffmann couldn’t be more different. As the creative director for the Museum of Modern Art (or MoMA), Hoffmann has learned to take a step back and look at the big picture as she works daily with a team of designers to brand one of New York’s most famous museums.

In a presentation last night, Hoffmann showed that there are many facets to design. She advised students to step away from specializations and keep themselves open to creating a wide portfolio by utilizing various types of design. Originally a print designer, Hoffmann was first hired in interactive design, a field she knew next to nothing about. When she later asked her employer why they took a chance on her, he replied that knowing good design in any medium was more important than knowing all the mechanics.

Consistency was another point Hoffmann really drove home in her presentation. As an in-house organization, all of the museum’s branding comes from within, which has its pros and cons. In-house design can be difficult because you are your own client, but design is able to live longer because the people who create the templates are more willing and able to continue implementing them. One of Hoffmann’s biggest goals when beginning her new position with MoMA’s design team was to create visual consistency within MoMA’s ad campaigns, flyers, signage and exhibit title walls.  She achieved this by simply reducing MoMA’s look to include one all-purpose font. Hoffmann said that she was surprised to see that limited typography did not limit her designers in any way.

After viewing the designers’ archived work, I saw that Hoffmann was absolutely right. Their work is phenomenal. If anyone didn’t believe it before, Julia Hoffmann’s approach to MoMA’s branding proves that simplicity is often the key to achieving maximum design potential.      

How to make Easter cascarones

By Becca Guajardo          Last updated: 04/08/12 6:58pm         

Easter can be celebrated many different ways depending on a family’s traditions and values. It’s always nice to get a chocolate bunny and various gifts in your Easter basket, but usually once you figure out the Easter Bunny is none other than Mom and Dad, the thrill of Easter can be diminished. Unless you just really enjoy chocolate, like me.

The best part of Easter, for me at least, always has been the Easter egg hunt. My family always has made cascarones, a Mexican Easter tradition. Cascarones are colorful, confetti-filled eggs that are hidden during the Easter egg hunt. Once the eggs are found, they then are broken on each others’ heads for good luck. It’s always been a fun, creative and memorable experience every year. It’s a great way to be creative and make a mess without getting yelled at by the parents.

Here’s a simple step-by-step way to make cascarones.

Easter egg color kit
Vinegar (optional for vibrant-colored eggs)
Tissue paper, cut into small squares
Paper confetti or hole-punched construction paper
Gently tap the top of an egg.
Peel away a small 1/2 inch hole.
Empty contents of the egg out into a bowl.
Thoroughly rinse the eggshell and shake out excess water. Let the eggshell air-dry upside down in an empty egg carton.
Dye the egg shells using an egg coloring kit.
When the eggshells are dry, fill with confetti.
Once filled, apply glue around the outside of the hole and cover with tissue paper.
Make a dozen or more and celebrate Easter by breaking your cascarones over your friends’ or family members’ heads. 

Typographer mixes type with imagery

By Keenan Cronyn          Last updated: 04/05/12 9:28pm         

Ji Lee, a typographic artist, recently released a book depicting words that perfectly describe an image. The book is filled with colors and distorted letters that aid the reader in quickly depicting an image from letters.

Simple words like “moon” and “pirate” are depicted in orthodox patterns that effortlessly define their subject in a visual fashion. Though some words are a puzzle at first, they come together through careful concentration. Lee’s project “Word as Image” has nearly 100 images based on simple rules and one simple challenge. The rule is to only use the graphic elements of the letters without adding outside parts. The challenge was to create an image out of the word by using only the letters in the word itself.

Even with such strict guidelines, Lee creates a terribly interesting piece that’s relatively cheap. If you are interested in purchasing Lee’s book, see Amazon.com. 

Nike releases NFL uniform makeovers, few changes made

By Liam Zanyk McLean          Last updated: 04/03/12 6:14pm         

Nike released its brand new NFL uniforms April 3 after taking over the rights to design and produce NFL uniforms from Reebok.

Back in September, when the new deal between the NFL and Nike was announced, there was much excitement among football fans, particularly after the work Nike has done with the University of Oregon’s jerseys, as well as the MSU jerseys for the game against Michigan on Oct. 15, 2011.

Fans will be disappointed, however, that 31 of the 32 NFL teams have uniforms almost identical to the previous Reebok ones. Only the Seattle Seahawks have decided to go for a major jersey makeover.

Nike’s relationship with the NFL, however, is only just beginning. It is likely that more uniform makeovers could be implemented in the near future. 

Obama's website design shows personality, Santorum's lacks

By Drew Dzwonkowski          Last updated: 04/02/12 7:47pm         

The presidential campaign season is reaching its boiling point, and Internet presence matters more than ever. President Barack Obama has been king of social media since he utilized Facebook in 2008 to corral young voters. In the four years since, he hasn’t slacked off.

His current site is a beautiful example of how good design can send a message. I’ve had a love affair with Obama’s site since I first visited it back in 2008. It’s put together so well, it makes the sites of the other presidential candidates seem weak and derivative. His use of what seems to be a serif-ized Gotham font gives his 2012 campaign a sense of sturdiness and maturity that his 2008 identity, sans-serif Gotham and all, lacked.

His (I say “his,” as if Obama himself is slaving away on Dreamweaver) subdued red and blue colors communicate down-to-earth patriotism. Some of the tints and filters on his photos would seem to recall the faux-vintage content on Instagram. The site has consistency. It feels all of one piece.

In contrast, Rick Santorum’s official site is an example of how well-intentioned design, even when it’s just slightly off, can qualify as bad design. Santorum has obviously followed some of Obama’s cues. The use of Gotham, the mixture of bold sans serifs with italicized serifs. But his overall presentation lacks the humanity and personality of Obama’s. Santorum’s site features a border that feels claustrophobic and gives the site an overall dark appearance. The border on Obama’s site is comprised of candid close-ups of the Obama family that give visitors something warm to connect with. Santorum uses alarming red text that communicates anger or panic. Again, Santorum’s site is not all-out ugly, but in comparison with who is supposed to be his main competition, it comes up short. 

Google takes advantage of April Fools' Day to prank viewers

By Becca Guajardo          Last updated: 04/01/12 9:08pm         

April Fools’ Day gives people a chance to prank others and possibly be pranked. Large companies also join in the fun to prank its users. Google is one of several sites that takes part in the annual holiday.

Instead of Google’s usual real time Google Maps, a quest feature is an option to view areas in a Nintendo style theme. Google streetview is also altered due to the quest feature. The White House is in animated form along with trees and other landmarks. It’s interesting to view areas in a completely different style from a past time versus an innovative way of looking at areas. It reminded me of the classic game Oregon Trail and my old Gameboy Pokémon games I used to play.

Along with changing the aspect of Google Maps, Google introduced a Chrome Multitask Mode by adding additional cursors to computer screens to help users do more on the web. The supposed new feature also had a video to go along with the prank. A Google Chrome designer introduces the new feature to heighten the false factuality of the feature.

These two jokes brought together new design and a classic old design to prank the masses.  

Draw Something app "Pictionary" perfect

By Becca Guajardo          Last updated: 03/28/12 9:43pm         

There are so many apps out on the market, and I rarely tend to fully experience the App Store due to my lack of owning a smartphone or any type of touch screen phone. I always have to beg my friends to play back various people in Words with Friends or drain their battery to play Angry Birds.

While waiting in line waiting to watch the Hunger Games premiere on Thursday night, I noticed my friend using a new app. Draw Something is an interactive game that lets users draw various pictures and the other has to guess. It’s the app version of Pictionary. Users can buy colors or bombs depending on how many coins they gain. Coins are rewarded based on what picture the user attempts.

One of the features that I enjoyed the most was the ability to see what the opponent is drawing in real time. It’s also a great way to see how certain people interpret things and what aspect of the item they tend to emphasize on.

Although people can cheat and give away the word by just drawing the letters out, it’s a lot more entertaining when I see my friends try to draw items ranging from Nicki Minaj to a picnic table.  

New blog captures attention with photo manipulation

By Keenan Cronyn          Last updated: 03/22/12 5:55pm         

In the age of creative Tumblrs popping up daily and websites spawning into overnight sensations, I bring you One Tiny Hand. Onetinyhand.com highlights a cleverly comical manipulation of famous peoples’ hands via Photoshop.

By choosing just one hand to shrink, the website illustrates how one subtle change completely changes a photo. The unexpected humor comes from the imbalance created by the shrinking of one of the subject’s hands. When looking at the photo, the change is almost unnoticed, but upon finding it, it’s impossible to take your eyes off of it.

The website was birthed on March 11 with the inaugural post showing a photo of pregnant Beyoncé. With her hand on her baby bump, you can tell something’s off immediately. The scale of her hand is laughable, and the blog has been consistent in keeping a smile on my face throughout most of their posts. Already an early favorite for many “Best blogs of the year” lists, Onetinyhand.com cleverly uses Photoshop to play with celebrities’ hands and keeps readers entertained for pages.