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As a part of my teaching practice, through the blog Drawing Connections, I share with my students a variety of references from the field. Creativity, communication, invention, and design innovation are the broad thematic blog categories.

Entries in design (3)


Hand-Drawn Lettering and Experimental Typography

This beautifully hand drawn alphabet is by Blake E. Marquis.

Graphic designers take note, there is an interesting traveling exhibition, titled Alphabet: An Exhibition of Hand-Drawn Lettering and Experimental Typography, which can be viewed now in Orlando, coinciding with the AIGA Conference.

“Focusing on an ordinary subject that we see each day, often in the hundreds of thousands, Alphabet presents 26 letters as more than just shapes for conveying information. The 48 artists and designers in this show conceive and interpret the alphabet in surprising and inventive ways, ranging from graceful and polished to witty and unconventional. The 60 alphabets featured in Alphabet were created by artists in North America, Europe, and Asia, and represent work from well-known typographers and designers as well as rising artists and design students.” – excerpt from the exhibition website.

Below are selected samples of some of the alphabets shown in the exhibition. Complete character sets (A-Z) of each alphabet in the show can be seen in the exhibition catalog or at one of the exhibition venues.

A set of 26 table and chair frames built from steel tubing, Interiors forms a lowercase alphabet when viewed from certain angles. While some of the letters such as the h, m, and b look like basic chairs or tables, others like the e, t, and x become abstract, rather than functional, furniture.
Fabrication: Joel Wolter

Representing the pair's first collaboration, Hyper Type's obsessively detailed letterforms were created by Ramsey and Purdy in two marathon, ten-hour days.

Constructed with Chinese Tangram puzzle tiles, Seven Board of Cunning takes the concept of Tangrams--that the tiles may be arranged into a variety of shapes--and applies it to typography, creating multiple versions of each letter.

Pushing the limits of legibility, Imageability is a series of five fonts based on ideas from the book of the same title by Kevin Lynch. By reducing each letter to a minimal set of forms, Imageability explores the identifiers we use to navigate our landscape and language.

Exhibition info:

Travel information
Alphabet will be traveling through 2008. Upcoming and past shows include:
October-November 2008 / Southern Illinois University / Edwardsville, IL
December 2007 / Ohio Northern University / Ada, OH
October 2007 / Cooper Union / New York, NY
July 2007 / AIGA Orlando / Orlando, FL
February-March 2007 / Minneapolis College of Art & Design / Minneapolis, MN
January 2007 / Pennsylvania College of Art & Design / Lancaster, PA
November 2006 / Northern Illinois University / DeKalb, IL
March 2006 / Workhorse Gallery / Los Angeles, CA
January-February 2006 / M-80 / Milwaukee, WI
November 2005 / Heaven Gallery / Chicago, IL
August 2005 / Lump Gallery / Raleigh, NC
July 2005 / Maryland Institute College of Art / Baltimore, MD

Select list of artists, designers and students, who are featured in the exhibit:
Andrew Byrom
Danielle Foushee
Arjen Noordeman
Paul Nudd
C.W. Roelle


100 Visualization Methods

Visual literacy, or the ability to evaluate, apply, or create conceptual visual representations, is an invaluable skill for business, art, design and engineering students and professionals.

Most are familiar with visual diagrams such as maps, charts, diagrams, matrixes, lenses, tables, and coordinates. Some examples include, mind maps, histograms, timelines, flow charts, cognitive maps, cartoons, and synergy maps.

See one hundred visualization methods illustrated in an online interactive diagram, whimsically represented in a
Periodic Table of Visualization Methods.

Credit: Kudos to Prof. Dr. Ralph Lengler and Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler, faculty of Communication Sciences Università della Svizzera italiana, and Partners of Visual Literacy, as well as all partners of Visual Literacy.

Fine tune your conceptual visualization competence. Check out these resources:
Visual Literacy’s online tutorials: Visual Literacy
Reference book, titled, Information Graphics: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference, By Robert Harris
Edward Tufte, Everything Edward Tufte


Brainstorming 101: A Basic Introduction

Brainstorming is a rapid, spontaneous idea-generating activity in which one or more people participate. It is a great tool for quickly amassing many possible solutions to a problem or issue.

Anyone can brainstorm. It is fun work.

How to conduct a brainstorming session – Begin with a comfortable space and all necessary tools, including large sheets of paper or flip chart pads (3-M makes a pad of large Post-It Notes pads, which are nice to work with because they don’t damage the wall and they can be moved around easily), a set of colored markers like the thick Sanford Super Sharpie permanent markers, tape, digital camera, small multi-colored Post-It Notes, and open wall surfaces.

When brainstorming in a group setting, assign one person to document the session. Ideally, this person should be able to easily visualize ideas in drawings, diagrams and words. Designers and Graphic Facilitators excell at this activity. It’s an additional luxury to ask a second person to lead the group. Their primary responsibilities include initial introduction and activity launch, keeping the group focused, redirecting the group (if necessary), and keeping time.

Tasks for the solo idea-generator are combined.

Basic ground rules:
1. Begin with a clearly stated problem statement. Create a sentence that defines the problem. For example, “Provide better customer service for families with young children.”
2. Have fun. Be outrageous and silly in the ideas. Reserve critical, analytical and negative thinking for another time. Think expansively. Freely associate. Build upon other ideas.
3. Freely, quickly and clearly document ideas. Use exact descriptors, avoiding general statements or one-word responses.
4. Stay on-topic and focused on the problem.
5. Strive to generate a lot of ideas – 100 ideas is not an unreasonable goal. Rapidly document ALL ideas in words and sketches, displaying them so all participants can see. Number the ideas.
6. During the ideation, think about the problem in different ways, including various viewpoints, scenarios, and conditions.
7. Brainstorm for 30-40 minutes.

Using this concept-generating technique alone or in a group setting is a productive way of loosening-up and amassing large quantities of ideas.

Further explore Brainstorming and creativity references at Amazon.

Want some random inspiration from the masses? Check out the tags , and at Technorati.