Week 5: My Digital Diary

There are certain media that I use on a daily basis, without fail. For example, I mindlessly scroll down my Facebook newsfeed in a way to procrastinate whatever I have to do. I also do the same with Tumblr, but its effect is much better than the effect of scrolling through Facebook. My phone is practically attached to my phone 24/7; I’m always in contact with at least one person online through apps like FB Messenger or Whatsapp or Viber.

And then there are media I use less often, but still significantly. On a regular weekday like today, I’ll wake up and read my twitter feed, realize how many people new tweets there are each day, give up, and get out of bed. That’s right, I’m on social media before I get out from under the covers. I’ll read the daily Metro on my morning commute – background music downloaded from Spotify plays from my phone. By the time I hit Davisville Station, I’ll be texting someone (why is there no signal underground? It’s not that hard to achieve). When I get to school, I’m usually a little early so I can talk to my new friends about my day. In-person, verbal storytelling: it’s truly irreplaceable.

Especially on sites like Twitter and Tumblr, people are willing to share a lot about their personal lives. On Twitter we’ve collectively outgrown the “I’m pooping now” tweets, and have started sharing more general things such as things we learn from our classes, quotes from real life that we have to immortalize, funny things we think about to show everyone how hilarious/thought-provoking we are. For example, everything I post on Twitter is for other people because I personally know most of the people who follow me, and I know that my tweets can make/break their impression of me. On the other hand Tumblr is very different. For the most part, I don’t know any of the people who follow me. They’re mostly strangers from around the world, and because of that, I feel more comfortable to share deeply personal thoughts – the kinds of things I wouldn’t want people who know me to see.

Sharing things online is relieving in a sense. When you’re happy, excited, sad, or angry, a natural response is to want to share those things with our friends so they can be happy, excited, sad, or angry with us. When the people you want to share things with aren’t available (all my friends from high school go to schools outside Toronto), you post your feelings online so that others, even strangers, can come along for the emotional ride with you.

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Week 3: What’s Your Type?

This is the poster for the novel Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (my favourite book that has an equally amazing movie!) The premise of the novel is wonderfully woven into the typography as one perspective of this novel is takes place in the form of letters sent from one character to another. The typography matches one of the novel’s themes (nostalgia) because it looks handwritten. Although several letters are repeated throughout the text, no two letters look identical. For example, the R in “Everything” has a larger counter than the Rs in “Safran Foer”. This is an effective way to make the handwritten aspect of the novel come alive from the front page.


20150924_163656When I went to Kripsy Kreme recently, I saw this glass divider. Because I’m not tall enough to look over it, I couldn’t help but notice the various words written in different typefaces. It seems that the fonts were chosen randomly because there seems to be little connection between the font and the word. For example, “dark roast” is written in capital letters but “hot” only has the first letter capitalized. Had I designed this, I would have also switched the kerning of the two words. “Hot” would have larger spacing between words and “Dark Roast” would have less.

“Savoury” (bottom right corner of the picture) has a font that doesn’t remind me of salivating at the thought of doughnuts (although the choice of sans serif was smart). It’s very plain and boring. Perhaps, this divider is still up because most people don’t analyze typography on a daily basis. All people notice at first glance is the coffee/doughnut related words written using different fonts. Maybe that’s enough for the customers of Krispy Kreme.


Walt_disney_pictures

One of my favourite typefaces is from Walt Disney. The font in the picture is called Waltograph. Walt Disney Company has made other typefaces but Waltograph is the best representation of the company. It’s an easily recognizable typeface which is important because the audience is mostly children.

One thing I love about this typeface is that there is a difference between lowercase letters and their uppercase counterparts, but lowercase letters still look like uppercase letters. This, to me, makes for easy reading despite the many loops and quirks the font has. The font is childish (you wouldn’t want this font for a title on a document), but even as a young adult, it’s not irritating to look at. It reminds me of the magic that was my childhood. What’s not to love there?


Everyone judges books by covers – it’s hard not to. When you’re faced with thousands of images per day, every tiny little detail plays an important part to get your attention. I never consciously noticed typography before, unless it was illegible or awful, but now I’m realizing how much influence it has on the decisions I’ve made. In fact, I found my favourite book simply because I liked the cover. Yes, a lot of it had to do with the design (alignment of text, no background picture, etc…) but had the typeface been anything other than handwritten, I would not have been so taken with it as I was. Now, I see typography everywhere. As I type, I notice that my keyboards show letters in Helvetica, and my box of Smarties is in bubble letters, the I is lower case and the tittle is in the shape of a smartie. Blessing or curse? Who knows.

CRAP! Week 2

Task 1:

cheerios

This advertisement for Cheerioes effectively demonstrates one particular aspect of CRAP – contrast. The stark colour differences is almost identical to the poster for The Shining that we saw in the lecture. With only two colours in the image, it’s quite clear what the design is showing. There’s nothing else in the advertisement to distract from the message Cheerios is sending: “Cheerios is about family. It’s an integral part of your home and family life. Cheerios will make you happy.”

electric foreswt

This poster is for an electronic music festival in a forest where there are lots of light-based art installations (hence the name Electric Forest). Every detail in the poster is in very close proximity to each other. This poster isn’t very comprehensible to the eye. There is so much data that it becomes difficult to process, however, this ties in well with the eclectic spirit of the festival.

Understanding the CRAP design principles is useful when creating images, but it is merely a tool to be used. It, alone, is not what creates the image. The principles can be used to enhance a design but if the image idea is crap to start from then CRAP won’t be able to fix it by much.


Task 2: In recent years, there has been an expansion in organic foods. Fair trade foods are close behind as more and more companies switch to fairly traded source materials. One such company is Steaz, an iced green tea company.

steazSteaz incorporates the Tibetan Art style to its logo very well. The logo is a 12-petal, green lotus flower – which is the symbol for the Heart chakra. Steaz’s mission includes making healthy beverages while supporting organic farmers and paying them fair wages. Had Steaz used a logo inspired by the Light Painting style, there would not be any inherent cohesion between the graphic design and the intent of the company.

Week 1: Who are you? Who will you be?

“Digital media is everywhere” is what I used to think. I still think it’s true – I simply have a slightly more complex understanding now of what that generic phrase means. Before my first lecture, when I thought of digital media, key words such as “social media” and “Photoshop” would come to mind, but being able to grasp the extent to which digital media exists in our world today was difficult.  Without realizing, I’ve been surrounded by digital media my entire life. It’s in the way I choose to communicate with my friends; it’s why I choose David’s Tea over Lipton; it’s something my mom chastises even though she’s surrounded by it too. It’s huge, and it is, quite literally, everywhere.

As Dr. Richard Lachman reminded us in the first lecture of RTA 102, “media is the plural of mediums.” Although digital media feels new and fresh, it’s an established form of media just as TV, broadcast journalism, radio, and film are. Students in RTA are here to learn about it all (especially in the first year). It doesn’t make sense to ignore a media that has become, and will continue to be, so fundamental in all our lives. The understanding of digital media is a gateway to the understanding of all the other mediums because digital media has become intertwined with everything we do. My professors in RTA 101 say that without theory there is no deep appreciation of media, and I’d like to say the same thing about digital media.

I’m looking forward to finally learn how to use Photoshop. I never took a communication technologies course in high school, so I feel as though I’m a bit behind everyone else. To overcome that, I’ll probably be spending many hours in one of the labs trying to hone the skills that I’ll learn. One thing I really want to try is to scan the photos I have taken on film and alter them in a digital format. Perhaps, they could even be used in my projects so I don’t have to worry about copyright issues. By the end of the semester, I want to be able to effectively convince my mom that digital media isn’t as bad as she thinks it is. I can’t wait to learn more about it myself!