Tag Archives: career

Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together | Video on TED.com

Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together | Video on TED.com.

(Testing WordPress’s “Press This” bookmarklet app.)

Today I watched a TED presentation (link above) of Ms. Jemison speaking about art and science as two seemingly opposite fields that stem from one human characteristic: creativity. Basically both involve thinking and using our minds to arrive at certain outcomes.

That’s a really interesting way of looking at these two fields, as it makes me feel more comfortable about my interests and passions in design and science. The video is worth the watch if you’re interested in both.

Incomparable Comparison of Life Accomplishments

During the presentation, she mentions her academic experience in college, where she was studying all these physics courses with complicated sounding names while putting together a dance show that she was also passionate about. After that she mentioned that she went to space, which made her super impressive in my book.

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Career Routes: Web Developing and “Green” Companies

In the past few weeks, as I have been working on my portfolio site and learning PHP and Ajax, I re-found my excitement and fascination in coding, and I could imagine myself working on it as a full-time gig, despite the hairsplitting troubleshooting (but when it works, it works beautifully!) At the same time, my interest in environmentalism and sustainability still exists. Not so much, though, is visual design, at least as a career. Therefore, I now have narrowed my choices down to two: web developing and “green” jobs.

I don’t know which is more correct, web “developing” or web “programming,” but I know what I want to do. The problem is that a quick job search online shows that most of those jobs require multiple years of experience, which I don’t have professionally.

And with green jobs, I still don’t know where to start, because I don’t know what my education in (mostly visual) design can contribute to the organizations. But I’m sure there is a future and potential for growth for the entire industry, so I’m not too worried; there’s something to do for everyone.

Therefore, the perfect job right now would be to combine both: to code the website or whatever for a “green” company, letting me contribute to my passion of changing/saving the world by doing what I enjoy doing.

This is not too far-fetched of a dream, compared to my other ones. If I have to pay more dues by working for a year or two somewhere to get there, I just might do it.


Dream Project of My Career

I just watched some On Demand programs promoting the Summer Olympics next month, and I was reminded of how much I am infatuated with the Olympics and the ideals and the visual branding campaigns that they’ve had (yes, including the London 2012 campaign by Wolff Olins).

I have long since dreamed to be a part of an Olympic Games visual branding team, preferably where the host city is in the States (although anywhere is totally fine with me; that way I get to take on the challenge and learn about other cultures). The Chicago 2016 campaign is too soon, and it seems like they’ve got it covered already, although they had to redesign their bid logo. So hopefully, 2024 or 2028, since 2020 is probably still too soon in my career.


Design: e²

Sometime last week, while surfing hulu.com for new shows I can watch, I stumbled upon a television series by PBS called Design: e2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious. I thought it was a show about graphic design, but it turned out to be about architecture. It only had six episodes; I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a mini-series or if it was cancelled because topics like this could bore people (not me).

I noticed that every time I watch an episode, I get completely inspired, lifted, and motivated to do something green with my back-burnered design career. I imagine working for an environmentally conscious company as my first design job right off the bat, and continue to pursue a career of socially responsible design and to help solve this global climate crisis that seems to be very apparent lately.

It amazes me how the PBS program was released in 2006, because a lot of the projects and ideas mentioned on the program were unheard of (at least by me); it seems that the projects that were completed since then certainly would have been mentioned on some newspaper or blog, but they weren’t. Shows how much (little) awareness this has with the general public.

I feel that with all the “natural” disasters that have been happening lately, the issues of global warming, environmental consciousness, sustainability, etc. will not go away any time soon, and a career devoted to these issues certainly will not only be profitable, but will also have room for exciting discoveries and growth.

I don’t know why, how, or when I started becoming so passionate (though passively) about sustainability, but I like it. I gradually noticed within the last few years that, compared to my friends and family, I’ve become more and more concerned about the environment. It’s probably because of my gullible nature, having watched those TV shows and movies about global warming, convinced that we must act now to save ourselves.

In any case, I now drive a Prius, even though I would much rather not drive at all since it still uses gas, unless it’s one of those new concept hydrogen cars or whatever, which supposedly only farts out water and heat. I also bought those grocery-store-branded fabric bags so I could use them every time I buy groceries and get those three measly cents off my purchase.

But in the end, I wanted to do more, more than what I can do alone. I want to see sustainability principles applied beyond my circle and make a real, lasting impact on others and the community. That said, I believe a career in sustainable design may achieve just that.

Communication, Visual, Design

As I constantly try to refine the definition of “graphic design” for myself and for my career—because the phrase is becoming more and more vague these days—I recently came up with a more specific phrase to describe what I (want to) do: Communication and Visual Design.

The Reasoning

Over the past few months, I’ve learned more about design by myself via the design blogosphere and podcastland and sans the individual biases and influences of my design friends, I realize that I’m really interested in information design. I mean, I kind of already knew that in school, when I saw and fell in love with Josef Müller-Brockmann’s work. He used only data (information) and turned them into pieces of design that emitted its own formal aesthetic radiance, which completely fascinates me and causes me to ecstasize in the multiplicative product of pure simplicity and beauty—it’s the ultimate, perfect design, at least where communication is concerned.

These days, information graphic design seems to have more exposure in the mainstream, especially online, where data visualization has grown beyond bar graphs and pie charts. The advances in programming and data analysis yields infographics that exhibit three-dimensional displays, millions-hue color gradation, viewer interaction, and/or continuous construction of visualization through live import of data from all over the world, all the while still presenting the original information collected.

That is very exciting. Pure and initially styleless data have a chance to shine now. I cringe when I see too much “pretty” design for the sake of audience attraction and for the sake of being “pretty.” However, I don’t want that part of design to completely disappear, because it’s part of aesthetics, and we need aesthetics. I don’t want to look at tables of black-ink data on bleach-white paper or screen for the rest of my life. Style is important in playing a role to enhance the experience of reading the data. Colors, shapes, photographs, and illustrations can fill that role.

So there originated my defense for coining “Communication and visual design.” I am aware that it’s similar to the emphasis of my major in Davis, “Visual Communication (and Presentation),” but that phrase is not specific enough. Also, it doesn’t say “design”; I don’t want people to get more confused when I tell them I’m a “visual communicator.” I want something that says that I (want to) do communication design, and I (want to) do visual design (which is the aesthetics).

Now, I looked up both terms on Wikipedia (I know it’s not completely a legitimate source, but it’s not about the exact definition), and “Communication design” came up, but “Visual design” didn’t. Communication design was basically said to be similar to graphic design, except it involves more of the message, or the information.

Since I want to participate in both areas of design, and that I value the communication and information part more, I put that term first: Communication and Visual Design. Of course, I’ll still tell people I’m a graphic designer because it’s easier to tell people, but on websites and identity stuff and what not, I want to use “Communication and Visual Design,” at least for this point in my career.

Topic Revisited

While thinking about this topic, I remember that I had two discussions (one on No Name Designers Guild and one on The Collablog) with my design friends earlier this year when Bruce Nussbaum wrote a Businessweek article bashing designers, and I reacted with a claim that maybe he misunderstood the word “design,” which was not surprising since the word’s being thrown around constantly these days. So I suggested calling ourselves something else, something other than “designers.” However, I ended up with a combination of both the clarification and the existing word: “visual communication designers.”

The controversy of this whole shabub (I know, I just made it up) probably won’t go anywhere beyond this blog, but I’m doing this for my own sanity so I know what I do for a living exactly. I know that “communication” and “visual” are just as confusing as “graphic,” so replacing one confusing word with two isn’t that economical and efficient. At least I’ve split up that one word into two manageable categories: data and style, allowing me to get a clearer picture of what I’m for (lots of data with appropriate style) and what I’m not for (lots of fluff and little substance), which ironically is probably the quality of this post.