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‘practical intellectual’

18 Mar


What do van Toorn (and Noble and Bestley, in their interpretation) mean by ‘practical intellectual’?

Practical intellectual indicates something about informed and engaged practie in general. Practical intellectual is someone who is actively engaged in critical reflection about the designer’s process of making. It is this activity of critical reflection that Van Toorn suggests is crucial to the designer’s research. This approach to graphic design is rooted both in the practice and a reflection upon that practice.



03/08/2011 what lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral

8 Mar

T 03.08 1, What does John Maeda mean by ‘enlightened shallowness’? 2, How does he apply the metaphor of white space to design and to life? 3, In this reading, what one sentence is most meaningful to you? Why? Again, in addition to answering this question in your reading response post, please add the quotation to your quotations page.


1,enlightened shallowness

“It is befitting that we start this trek by talking about nothing.” Enlightened shallowness is, before we started our design, what we scan through the internet or books. It is what offers us inspirations. It is “nothing is something”.


2, emptiness.

He talks about Zen in Japan–how white space is applied. The article offers a perspective ” Nothing is an important something.” The white space gained back attention on what remains. It encourages us to do less, but do better. “where there is so little of significance to feel, every minor sensation seems annoyingly amplified.” Example In life: sushi vs white room. Ear plug example.


3, meaningful sentence.

“Nothing is an important something.” It corresponds to some eastern philosophy. No matter in making design or art or in life, I enjoy the moment of rambling. It is aimlessness but it is a sort of meditation. Whereas what we did in class, free writing. I like this part best. It is giving a way of organizing my thoughts and my life.

Creative Block

3 Mar

Mar 3rd

Creative block

1. Do you experience creative block? If so, how do you deal with it? If not, how do you keep your momentum?

2.In this reading, what one sentence is most meaningful to you? Why? Again, in addition to answering this question in your reading response post, please add the quotation to your quotations page.

Yes, of course I did. My creative block not only records my instant ideas. I also have some absurd random writing, which I read from others blocks or articles.  As long as I like it, it will be showed in my blocks. In someway, there are more inspiration words in my blocks.

We should keep going until we feel some inkling of confidence that there will be a suitable outcome.

I like this most. Idea and concept need to be developed. The most important thing is “time”. If we can continue doing it every day, there will be a progress. For design, I can finish a project in one day, and I also can spend 1 month to develop my project. The different length of time you use, the different quality of your works hold.


Feb 24th, Aesthetics issue

24 Feb

R 02.24

1, What two camps do Shaughnessy (and Vignelli, cited) draw within graphic design with regards to aesthetics? Which side do you tend toward more, and why?

2, According to Shaughnessy, what is ‘the essential conundrum at the heart of graphic design?’ Do you agree with his statement? Why or why not?

For designers, aesthetics is a term that has became interchangeable with style and visual appearance. We see the appearance of something before we see the content. Two kinds of graphic designers: 1, STRUCTURED SIDE, rooted in history and semiotics and problem solving. 2, EMOTIONAL SIDE, rooted in the liberal arts, painting, figurative arts, advertising, trends, and fashions. I feel that I tend toward emotional side more. I would like to judge the look and feel first, then, I will go back to analyze the structure of the design.

There aren’t many designers who don’t have personal aesthetic reasons for their actions. The essential Conundrum at the heart of graphic design is: aesthetics are personal, yet design is not personal, design is about objectivity. As designers we can never have complete aesthetic freedom. We always challenge us and our clients in terms of aesthetic values. I agree with the statement. No doubt, we design for our clients not for ourselves. It is impossible to fully fulfill our own aesthetic value. There must be some point that we have to respect what our clients want.

insights for independent projects.

22 Feb

T 02.22 What insights can you draw from the processes outlined to apply to your independent project(s)? In this reading, what one sentence is most meaningful to you? Why?

There are lots of solutions for one problem. We need to identify the problem, widen the problem, imagine scenarios, field research. Before designers really start to design, we have much research to do. Afterwards, we need to brainstorm with materials, get inspired, sketch, and prototype/ test.  All those process is considered as a whole.

Sketching is an essential tool for visualizing concepts. Some designers use words and drawings interchangeably during the design process, making quick lists and simple drawing in a continuous cycle. ”

I felt like designer should do more sketches in order to properly interpret their ideas. Drawing sketches on the paper is a natural distinction of design.

Shaughnessy’s reading~

17 Feb


1.What relationship does Shaughnessy set up between empathy and egotism?

2.Do Shaughnessy’s theories on the generation and the development of ideas resonate with your own experience? Compare and contrast.


Empathy is an ability to identify with and understand another person’s feeling or difficulties. Designers are either empathizers or egotists. Most of designers are empathizers, but to be successful, a designer should be able to combine empathy with egotism, some stubborn inner conviction. On one side, our work will be richer and more effective. On the other hand, our design can fulfill our clients and the users.


Ideas are widely regarded as the mental building blocks of design. Shaughnessy believes that, if we want to have good ideas, we should constantly try to generate them, otherwise we would get stuck. The best way to drag ideas out is in a group brainstorming. Exchange ideas could produce better ideas. I agree with it. When every time I talk to someone about my ideas, they would generate some ideas based on my thoughts either additional or totally contradict. I am not necessary apply it into my ideas, but it is a good way to lead my thinking process.  It brings inspiration to me.


reading response to the methods of research

13 Feb

T 02.15

1,What is the difference between formative research and summative research?

2, Of the three process models highlighted (Big 6, AIGA, and Design Council), which one can you relate to the most? Why?

Formative research is done at the beginning of the research. It aids in problem identification and problem solving. Whereas summative research is done at the end of the research. It offers solutions and mostly it is conclusive. It was used to frame and decipher the result of an investigative process as well as answered such a questions like  “Am I success? Am I doing correctly?”

I feel that the different methods are used in different situations. If I am doing a project for myself or school assignment, I will choose the Big 6TM or AIGA’s Designing Framework. The two methods are more suitable for the self-development projects and individual work space. If I am dealing with my clients, definitely, I will choose the Design Council method. there are more interactions with the clients and information shares. It is more about building a relationships in terms of service instead of creating your own projects.