You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Education’ category.

I finished this book awhile back and finally had the chance to post something on the blog. Tom Kelley’s “The Ten Faces of Innovation” talks about IDEO’s design methodology by breaking it up into easy to understand archetypes. The book essentially explains how the company is big on user research (the anthropologist), rapid prototypes (the experimenter) and collaboration (collaborator). For the most part, this book is chock full of good info on how the company functions and is a good read for those interested in design thinking.


I just finished reading this book in just a couple of hours. Actually I power skimmed it since I”m familiar with the majority of the concepts covered in the book. So what do I think of Designing with Type? Well it’s a book for beginners and an excellent reference for those who are a bit rusty with typography. As a matter of fact, I think this is one of the best books on introductory typography out there in the market. And on Amazon, it’s only $16.47!

The book is easy reading and can be finished in a couple of days. The book covers all the important basics of typography such as type terminology, historical classification systems, designing with text type and designing with display type.

What makes this book so great is that they when describing the historical classifications, the authors provide a specimen sheet for each of the historical categories. Thus, it’s nice to be able to compare the difference between an old style typeface like Garamond to a modern typeface like Bodoni. Other bonuses in this book is section on type projects and a short but useful type specimen sheet. The only thing I would complain about this book are the chapters on color and traditional skills like copyfitting. Granted the subject matter for these chapters aren’t normally covered in an introductory type book, but still, it would have been nice to have a bit more in-depth coverage on the subject matter. But aside from these minor negatives, this books is full of typographic goodness.

Here is the fourth assignment from Intro to Graphic Design. For this assignment, we had to demonstrate our understanding of gestalt principles of closure, figure goodness and figure ground through the distortion of letterforms. The challenge here was that we had to push our distortions to the limit and yet these letterforms must still be readable.

For closure, I distorted the word “panda” by omitting certain strokes. My rational here was that I had to keep the ascenders and descenders of the p and d since they were the defining characteristics of these letterforms. For the n, I had to keep the top portion of the shoulder since that was the n’s defining characteristics. Lastly, the a was the toughest. Honestly, I think I showed too much of the a and could have distorted it more. As a matter of fact, people saw panda right away which shows that I could have pushed it a bit more. Oh well maybe next time.


For figure goodness, I had to take my initials and literally distort the letterforms to the point that it no longer looks like the letter but yet, it has to be readable. I have to say, this one was the toughest simply because if it is readable, then I wasn’t distorting the letters enough. However, if it couldn’t be read, then I went to far with my distortion. So for my piece, I took my initials which is jl and distorted the l so that it looked like a lung. Then I created a mirror image of that l and it then represented the j. I thought I had a pretty good idea but sadly no one got it except for Glen our mentor. So I redid it a bit by flattening the bottom and reducing the curve within the stems of the letterform.


For figure ground, we had to take two letters and combine them through a figure ground relationship. Honestly, I thought this one was going to be the hardest one to do but as it turns out, it was pretty easy. So for my piece, I kept it simple. I combined the uppercase H with the lowercase i. I have to say, of the three pieces I had to make for this assignment, this one is my favorite since it demonstrates the figure ground relationship so well (is it an H or is it an i in a black square).


So here is the 2nd assignment from my Intro to Graphic Design class. The assignment was to communicate a kid’s personality through the composition and design of his/her notebook. The challenge was that we were only allowed to use the visual elements of the notebook page and these elements could not look representational.

As you can see, with my piece, I decided to use color to articulate my kid’s personality/attribute. Can you guess what it is?


So lately, I’ve been a bad design student. Being sick with the flu, I’ve been doing nothing but lying in bed and watching reruns of Total Drama Action. Hence, I”m somewhat behind all my work and have been playing catch up since then.

One of my assignments that I have been neglecting is a logo that I have to crank out in the next couple of weeks. The logo I have to create is for the Japanese Restaurant Ebisu. So for the past couple of days, I”ve sketched 100 thumbnails, and sadly, 98 of those sketches were utter crap. Thus leaves me with only 3 ideas to work with. So now I”m in the process of turning those thumbnails into roughs and I’m starting to feel better about the project since I feel that I have some direction.


So this is my favorite rough so far. The idea here is that I wanted to give the logo a more contemporary appeal. Hence, I chose a calligraphic script called Harabara Hand which has an elegant yet casual feel. Also, the flow of the letterforms and the thick/thins of the strokes has a small semblance to East Asian calligraphy. In the eye of the letter e, I stuck a dot in there, hoping that people would see the eye as an abstract fish. I’m not 100% sure if it works. Maybe  I need to look for another e?

Here is my grid assignment from Design 101. The objective was to divide a 9×9 piece of paper into 9 squares. With these squares,  I cut out images from magazines and arranged them into a unified composition.

The challenge with this project was that most photos you find will share little in common with each other. Thus, its difficult to create a unified composition. To remedy this, I used a catalog from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and cut squares with the most abstract shapes. At the end I think I had to go to YBCA at least 5 times and each time I had to grab more and more of the same catalog.

At the end, I was pretty satisfied. The only thing problem people had with my piece was that it lacked variety. But in trying to add more variety, I would have ruined the unity of my piece which is the objective of this assignment.


Every time I go to Utrecht on Montgomery, I have to walk by the Academy of Art’s student gallery. Of all the art schools in San Francisco, the Academy is known as a for-profit school.  Hence anyone can apply and get in as long as they can afford the tuition.

In many ways, I like their policy because a portfolio entrance requirement may deter many potential candidates (like me). However, the Academy is notorious for having a high attrition rate because many students didn’t know that art/design school is actually a lot of work.  Hence, after a year or two of an intense art education, many students begin to drop out once they realize art/design isn’t for them.

So I always question the quality of the education at the Academy. However, whenever I walk by the student gallery, I usually notice a student or two whose work really stand out. I guess those students are the stars of the school.

It seems to me that Daniel Ochoa is one of those students. His figure paintings remind me of the drawing style that is typical of the Academy (academic realism). However, his style,  leans towards figurative expressionism. I love his loose, painterly brush strokes; I find them evocative, expressive and haunting. And his color palate, with the warm browns and oranges remind of Lucian Freud and Jenny Saville.


Abluelo Portriat


Cara and Face


Here and There en el Cuarto



Seated in El Noche

Today in my Intro to Graphic Design class, we talked about symbols, signs and logos. It was interesting learning about the different types of logos out and how a corporation can form/claim and identity through repeatedly exposing their logo to the masses.

The most interesting part of our discussion was when we had to look at some award-winning logos and figure out what was being communicated. I actually had a lot of trouble discerning what the logo communicated and learned that design decisions such as the choice of typeface, the quality of the line and other design elements did communicate a particular meaning. Also, by the end of the exercise, I found out right away that there is a lot of bad logos out there and that this is an area where I can shine.

So our next assignment is to write a creative brief and design a logo either for yourself or for an organization. We were also given the option of redesigning an existing logo but Patricia advised against that because that would be  extremely difficult to pull off since most well-known logos are already over saturated in American culture.

Anyways, here is an image of one of the logos we had to analyze. I bet we can all guess what brand the logo represents.


I just got back my first project from my design 101 class. The objective of the assignment was to create an abstract composition using nothing but line. I didn’t want to do something that most beginning design students would do. Hence, I decided to draw layers of delicate squiggly lines that would build up into an abstract form.  I think I’m pretty happy with it.


Yay, yesterday afternoon I finished my first self-initiated processing project. For all of you in the dark, Processing is a computer language for artists and designers and was started up by Casey Reas and Ben Fry while they were students at the MIT Media Lab.

So here it is! The goal for the project was to recreate a section of Stuart Davis’ New York Waterfront in processing code.  It isn’t all that impressive and it’s actually quite inaccurate. But who gives a hoot. I finished the damn thing and I’m happy. On to my next project
The Original


My Processing Version