Tag Archives: communication

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Relationships Are Valuable.

Relationships are hard work, especially for introverts like me. By relationships, I mean the ones with friends, family, co-workers, strangers, and significant others, so pretty much everybody. I can get by in most relationships; I follow social norms, I can read enough nonverbal cues and subtexts to understand what other people want to say, and I can ask for help or make plans with others when I need to. But there is definitely room for improvement.

My natural introvert preference is to do as many things by myself as possible. It’s quite satisfying to be self-sufficient, especially when I accomplish major goals by myself. I also prefer this because it reduces risks and dependencies to just one person: me, and I can usually count on myself to make things happen and in the way that I want. From there, the only other thing I need is good internet access.

Benefits of Having Relationships

Still, there are many cases when I need other people to accomplish goals. In professional (and personal) settings, for example, the more people I meet and get to know, the more opportunities there are to advance the careers and lives of both the people I meet and me. Another benefit for having people in our lives is to be able to experience something together, whether it is working under intense pressure at work, traveling in a foreign place, fighting on the battlefield, or even just being stuck in an elevator for a short period of time. One can do these things by themselves, but having others with them can make the experience less stressful, less overwhelming, less painful, and less scary.

Personally, I must admit that even after long periods of staying in, being self-sufficient, taking care of my own stuff, and being in my own head, I inevitably need to take a break and socialize with other human beings. Being exposed to other people’s thoughts after hearing only my own for a long time can be refreshing and even inspiring. Even for introverts, there has to be a balance between internal and external stimuli.

Another benefit to having good relationships is the satisfaction of bringing joy to others through giving and being kind. I remember the warm and fuzzy feeling I got during the holiday season when I gave my friends presents without expecting anything in return; it just felt good to give and to make others happy. It sort of validates my subconscious desire to become a better person.

Much to Learn

I am far from having the perfect, most successful relationships. There is still so much for me to learn about communication and managing my connections, both professionally and personally. I still need to find a balance between having enough “me time” and being social. And I need to muster more energy in me to be kind to more people and more often. It’s a lot of work, but I believe it’s worth it.

See

5, 9, 23, 25, 29.

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.

Flush.