A Little Bit About Everything

Overview

Our class has been very productive and has achieved and learned so much in a rather short amount of time. For this reason, I want to use this blog post to touch on a lot of different topics, issues, and ideas. To keep everything organized, I will divide the post into five parts:

  1. Project Proposal
  2. Rethinking the Individual Project
  3. Initial Thoughts About the Brief
  4. Take-Aways from Roberto Casati’s 2/15 Lecture
  5. Highlights from Class Readings

(1) Project Proposal

I first want to simply document and publish my project proposal on this site, so that a) others can review it, critique it, or look back to it more easily throughout the semester, and b) to simply have an online, dated record of the very (very) beginning of this journey to complete my first every wayfinding project.

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I also really appreciated the fact that we had to make a proposal via a presentation so soon after we came up with our project ideas. By doing so, we were forced to quickly think through all the steps that are needed in order to implement our ideas, and the feedback following the presentation was particularly helpful. I include the feedback I received below.

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(2) Rethinking the Individual Project

I next wanted to quickly talk about a new approach I am considering taking to my individual project (which is adding signage to the residence halls on the second floor of the campus). If done correctly, the signs should be extremely large (at least four square meters by four square meters) and should be made out of a high quality, durable, desert-appropriate material that will most likely be expensive. On top of that, securing them to the buildings (at various heights) will also be difficult.

I initially proposed making the signs out of a cheaper, but relatively desert-appropriate fabric material, such as canvas. I may definitely still do this (perhaps with a different material, but still most likely a fabric, affordable material). However, I am also considering taking a different route.

It might be better to simply make one sign, of an extremely high quality, as a realistic, “life-size” example of what a residence hall sign should like. Along with that, I could use projectors and other methods to test and map where all of the signs should be placed, if they were made. In this way, my project would be focused on developing a sophisticated, extremely-detailed, highly-technical proposal to NYUAD regarding residence hall signs, with a ready-to-implement sign prepared. This might be a better way to go with the project than to create 12 signs out of a less-than-ideal material, that might not be durable enough, nor aesthetically-pleasing enough, to be permitted to stay on the buildings.

Most importantly, this method (producing one high-quality sign and a proposal to NYUAD) might better respect the designer/architect’s vision, because I would not be disturbing the intended aesthetics of the campus without the proper process and approval beforehand.

I am not saying for certain whether this is the way I will go (in fact, I am not sure if this is even permitted considering that this way my project would not be fully implemented this semester like the other projects), but it is something I have been thinking about since receiving feedback following the project presentations last week.


(3) Initial Thoughts About the Brief

I know that we have only just received the brief, but I wanted to record a couple of my thoughts so far. This is especially because after hearing the brief I went to take a look at the space under consideration, and I could not help but be struck by several details. These observations are what lead me to want to include this section in this post.

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(4) Take-Aways from Roberto Casati’s 2/15 Lecture

It was a great honor to be able to attend Roberto Casati’s lecture this afternoon. I took some notes, and wanted to include some of the take-aways from the talk regarding the definition of design (or, more specifically, the lack of necessity for such a definition). The key points that really stuck with me are included below.

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(5) Highlights From Class Readings

I have been taking notes of the daily/weekly class readings, and wanted to note two concepts/details that I have found particularly interesting and important.

  • First, from The Wayfinding Handbook by David Gibson (2009), in Section 1.2 The Spectrum of Projects, he notes that successful wayfinding necessitates that designers fully understand three things: 1) the nature of the client organization, 2) the people with whom the organization communicates (i.e. the people that the wayfinding project is supposed to help), and 3) the type of environment in which the system will be installed. I found this particularly important because it shows how complex, dynamic, and multi-faceted the wayfinding designer’s job is, and how important lots of research, surveys, effective communication, and competence about environments and materials is to a designer in order to have a truly complete picture of the situation. I will take this three-part approach to addressing wayfinding issues as I continue to develop my individual wayfinding project (and, now, the class project as well).
  • Second, from Wayshowing > Wayfinding by Per Mollerup (2013), in the chapter titled Sign Contents and in the subsection “Pictograms” (pages 106-111), Mollerup explains that there are two essential conceptual requirements for pictograms. These are: 1) the concept of motivation, which is that a pictogram must depict a concept in an easily-understandable way, and 2) convention, which is that the pictogram must be standarized through being publicized widely and used consistently. Importantly, he notes that any time a pictogram is lacking in one of these two areas, the other area becomes more that much more important (e.g. if one cannot easily read/understand a pictogram, then it must be so standardized/widespread that one is able to remember what it means anyway). I really enjoyed learning about these terms because I am very interested in graphic design, and now that I know the proper terminology and concepts regarding what makes a pictogram effective, I can apply them in practice. More importantly for this class specifically, I can now judge pictograms on signs in a more professional way, and use these two criteria to rate their efficacy.
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