Big Changes

I’m coming to an interesting juncture in my teaching, so it looks like My Open Door will be closing soon. Last spring I accepted a teaching post at Spring Hill College, a 4-year liberal arts college offering unique academic experiences, that’s also the oldest institution of higher education in Alabama. As I prepare for my first semester here on the post-BP Gulf Coast I’m thinking it’s time to start a new chapter blogging about graphic design and teaching as well. I plan to get more student projects up, keep in touch with my former students back in Tennessee, and reach out for new people and ideas. Here are a few creative projects I have in the works:

  • Text Under the Trees will instal human-scale typography on Spring Hill’s beautiful campus. Our text will come from Harper Lee’s Southern fiction novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which turned fifty this year.
  • A Day of Design will have my students interview working designers and post the results on our new blog. I’m looking for designers interested who can answer a few simple questions about their day-to-day life for this project.
  • Type Face is a set of researched posters based on type designers from William Caslon to Jos Buivenga. These full color posters will be installed on special panels in the lobby of the Fine Art Building.
  • Me, Myself, and I is a web design project where students will design custom autobiographical web sites to tell their story and show their studio work. Please comment below with links to great portfolio sites.
  • After the Crash, a music CD compiled popular music from the Great Depression, when To Kill a Mockingbird is set. The music will come from recordings in the Library of Congress.
  • Creative Days is a 16-month calendar with full color art from Spring Hill students. I hope this high-quality publication will be available for orders sometime around Thanksgiving.

Lots of creative things are happening right now, so stay tuned for frequent updates as the semester kicks into gear August 23.

Places to Visit in the Netherlands

I would like to visit the following places if we have time while studying abroad in the Netherlands.
1.Mike’s Bike Tours:
We can save money by saying that we saw ads online. Also it’s a great way to see the city, enjoy an easy ride, and a great way for the group to stay in shape will in the Netherlands.
2. st. Nicolass Boat Club:
St. Nicolass Boat Club is known to have the best boats in Amsterdam. St. Nicolass Bat Club also have smaller boats that can hold up to 15 people so I am sure that they will have a boat that can hold our group members.
3. The Resistance Museum (Amasterdams Verzess Museum): It is a history museum. It is also a museum where we will be able to see some of the wonderful history that is founded in the Netherlands.
4. Red Light District:
I have always heard about the famous Red Light District and i feel that since I will be in Amsterdam why not visit.
5. Vondespark:
I read that it is suppose to be one of Amsterdams most famous parks. Vondespark was built in 1850 and has now became a popular tour attaction for tourists and residents.

Westerkerk Tower

For the most amazing view in Amsterdam, climb the steep steps inside the tower of Westerkerk, the church with the blue-and gold crown on top. Last year I climbed it with my wife Karen and several students, and it was one of the highlights of the trip. On the way up you first climb steeply spiraled stone steps with a rope to hold onto. Later we climbed wooden stars that were more like a steep ladder. From the balcony at the top you can look down on the whole city room 85 meters up, feel the wind in your face, and imagine what the city looked like in 1638 when the tower was built and Delaware was just being founded as a British Colony. Cost is 6 Euros, open 11:00 to 15:00, or 11am to 3pm. Map.

Color Wheel

Here’s a nifty set of color wheel explanations and graphics sent by former student Josh Buchanan. the whole color wheel thing was developed by Albert Munsell, and here’s more about him. Since we talked about using Kulor last week in my Design Fundamentals course, I thought this might help with the basics. I’m still looking for a good graphic online showing warm/cool color. Anybody want to post a link?

American Screen Art Tour

When: Thursday, February 25th at 1:30PM
Where: American Screen Art; 1801 Midpark Road; Knoxville, TN 37921 | Map

To carpool from Pellissipppi, Meet at 1:00 in BA 202

Ever wonder how the huge graphics that you see on the sides of semi trucks and buildings get printed? Go behind the scenes to see how they’re made this Thursday at American Screen Art.

With clients such as Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, McDonald’s, and Pepsi, American Screen Art is a leader in supplying large-format megagraphics for the masses. Specializing in reflective graphics, fleet graphics, retail graphics, and lenticular graphics among others, ASA offers both digital and screen printing processes. Design, manufacturing, warehousing, and installation round out the full services ASA extends to their clients.

Environmentally conscious, they led the industry by switching to an enviro-friendly UV ink system, eliminating harmful solvents from its products and processes. And historically, they were the first national large format screen printer to utilize in-line multi-color press technology thereby reducing increasing production speeds, reducing costs, and improving product quality.

With such an impressive list of services and working processes we are excited to view inside their base of operations.

Admission is free. Sign up to attend on our AIGA Knoxville facebook group page.

CSS Zen Garden

OK, so I’m learning CSS, and I need some inspiration to keep slogging through the travails of code toward the enlightenment of beautiful pages. CSS Zen Garden has been around for a long time, and it has nice examples of how different designers organize and present identical content. The examples run the gamut of styles from the WWII retro of Make ’em Proud to the saturated color and clarity of Oceanscape. Need web inspiration, Grasshopper? Take a walk in the garden.

What Type Are You?

Pellissippi student Sharon Dowdy posted a link to What Type Are You, an online greeting card from Pentagram. The interactive video offers an insightful “clinical analysis” of the user’s typographic personality, delivered by a therapist complete with corduroy trousers and a european accent. The site is also an entertaining example of how type lends personality to a message. It turns out I’m a “dot matrix” and I have unresolved issues with my fonts. Hmm. Maybe I should get into therapy and work on that.

Fontstruct: A new DIY type design tool

The other day I ran across a newish link on Elllen Lupton’s Thinking With Type, and thought I would check it out. Fontstruct is a free tool by FontShop for designing modular typefaces set in in a social network-ish type geek community. I’m assigning my typography students to design a typeface in Fontstruct, and I’d recommend it to any designer or design student who wants to try designing a typeface. It uses a simple grid and geometric “bricks” to build each letter. You can copy, paste, and edit to make a Q from an O, and the results can be shared or downloaded in TrueType format. Try it out—you know you want to!