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HOW TO RUN A DESIGN CRITIQUE - DP Graphics

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01
I
S
S
U
E
JANUARY 2010
HOW TO
RUN A DESIGN
CRITIQUE
A look at the classic
poem: The Raven
Lichtenstein: Original
or Plagiariser
www.criticamag.com
JANUARY 2010
$5.99
Critica Issue 1
Table of
ontents
3 Editorial
4 The Raven
8 How to run a
design critique
15 Critica Poll
16 Lichtenstein:
The Plagiarism
3
Editorial
AIW Students
Welcome to the world of Critica. This magazine is for AIW students, by AIW students and is
determined to develop you as an artist.
Many students overlook the value of a good critique and as a result, are limited in their
progress. In most critiques, students tend to "sugarcoat" their opinions of their peers work
because they simple do not want to create enemies or hurt anyone's feelings among many other
reasons. This lack of participation hinders the growth
of a designer.
The first issue of Critica will explore one of the most under appreciated aspects
of design—the importance of critique and how to run a critique session. The charter
of Critica is simple: to develop design students here at the Art Institute of Washington by
making them more understanding of the values of critique so that they may take advantage of
the process, growing not only their graphic eye, but their graphic
mind as well.
The road ahead promises to be exciting, fascinating and fun. Welcome aboard
—Dillon Powell
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Copyright В© 2009 HTC Corporation. All rights reserved.
Published in the USA
by the DP Graphics
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Copyright В© 2009 by DP Graphics except where noted.
All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form or by electronic
or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without written
permission from DP Graphics, except reviewers who may quote brief passages to be published.
Administrative Director Project Director
Anthony Julien
Barry Wilson
Managing Editor
Dillon Powell
Cover Design
Dillon Powell
President
Dillon Powell
Art Direction
Dillon Powell
Copy editor
Dillon Powell
Project Consultant
Micheal Sierra
Printing & binding
Fed Ex Office
Critica Issue 1
5
by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“'Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door—
Darkness there and nothing more.
Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my sour within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
'Tis the wind and nothing more.
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered: “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never—nevermore.'”
But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
Critica Issue 1
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting-"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!
7
Critica Issue 1
In the early and middle
phases of a project, teams
need a way to understand
and explore the current
direction of the design.
The challenge is to create
the openness needed for
good ideas to surface,
while simultaneously
cultivating the feedback
and criticism necessary
to resolve open issues.
9
COVER STORY
DESIGN
How to Run a
Critique
Part 1
by Scott BerkunI
{GOALS OF A DESIGN
CRITIQUE} A design critique meeting
usually involves a small group of 3–7 to discuss a set
of design sketches or prototypes. For a website or
software design, there are many different attributes
or constraints that might be worth discussing. You
could focus purely on branding elements, ease of use
concepts, or even engineering feasibility. It’s really
up to whoever is running the meeting and what the
most pressing issues for the project currently are.
However, what’s most important, is that the goals
of the meeting are stated at its beginning. If there
are 3 or 4 specific lines of thought you want to make
sure get critiqued, define them. Without goals or a
basic framework for the kinds of design questions
you want to explore, everyone will work from different
assumptions, making for a frustrating meeting. It’s
also worth clarifying any kinds of issues or questions
that you’re not ready to answer, and when you expect
to have answers for them.
If you are early in a project, critique meetings
should emphasize the higher level user, customer and
business goals, and minimize the focus on specific
engineering constraints. It will be worth flagging
design ideas that engineers or business managers
have large concerns about, but hold off on
completely eliminating them from the discussion.
There may be opportunities to ask for more
resources or make other adjustments to a
project, if a stellar design concept or idea
is championed successfully (e.g. perhaps
a design idea exposes a new business
plan that has more opportunities than
the current one, and would justify a
change in the project goals).
But as the project timeline progresses, and the
end of the planning or design phase approaches,
the tone of critique discussions should change.
There should be increasing pressure to have
definite answers or solutions to issues, and the bar
for considering new ideas or directions should get
continually higher. If managed well throughout the
project timeline, the scope of critique discussions
should peak during planning, and then continually
decrease until specifications are written, and final
decisions are made. (Shepherding the creative phase
of a project is a significant challenge, and it’s rare to
find a project manager than can manage it as well
as the more production oriented implementation
and release phases. Often there is a key leadership
role for designers to play to fill this gap. Overall, the
tone, content and quality of critique meetings is one
indicator to how well the creative process is
being managed).
Typical goals for critique meetings might include:
1.Obtain specific kinds of feedback from those in the
room about a set of different design approaches for
one feature or area of a website.
2.Compare how several different components of the
same product are designed. (Are there elements
that should be reused more? Do things that look
similar behavior similarly? Etc.)
3.Discuss the user flow through a design, by
examining each screen in the sequence that users
would go through to complete a task. (Similar to a
cognitive walkthrough).
4.Explore the designs of competing products, or
designs of other products that have elements or
qualities that you want to achieve.
5.Allow teammates with different job functions
to provide feedback from their expertise. (QA
might raising testing issues, development might
ask feasibility questions, marketing might ask
questions about advertising or partnerships, etc.)
These goals listed are mostly mutually exclusive.
You might be able to manage two of these at the
same time, if you’re a great meeting facilitator, but I
wouldn’t recommend it.
Secondary goals often include:
“
1.Provide some structure to the creative
process of a project.
2.Improve your team’s ability to think about
and discuss design ideas.
3.Teach non–designers about the design
critique technique, so they can apply it to
other kinds of problem solving situations.
what’s most
important, is that the
goals of the meeting
are stated at its
beginning.
Independent of the specific critique
goals: If there are questions from your teammates
about your design that don’t fit your intent for the
meeting, make sure you come up with some way
to address them outside of the meeting. During
the meeting, write them down on a whiteboard or
notepad, and take them with you when you leave.
The more inclusive your design thinking is, the
more influence and authority you’ll have over how
project decisions are made. Even if the issues you
are confronted with arise from decisions out of your
control (a demand from the marketing team, or a new
constraint from engineering) you want your designs,
and your design process, to work with these issues,
not around them. (Unless you feel confident that your
superior design and skills of persuasion will convince
someone with authority to change their mind.)
{WHO IS IN THE ROOM} A critique
should allow a small group of people to review and
discuss many ideas quickly and informally. You can’t
”
be informal and intimate about ideas with more than
5 or 6 people in the room. Instead, you must narrow
down your invite list to the people most critical to
the design process. Try to forget about job titles or
hierarchy, and instead, focus on the people who are
most likely to understand the creative process, and
give useful and meaningful feedback, both positive
and negative.
Depending on the personalities of your
teammates, make adjustments as necessary. For
anyone on your team that isn’t invited to the meeting,
allow them to look at any handouts or pictures, and
give you their feedback. Or even better, make sure to
forward them any of the notes you send out following
the meeting. In most cases, they’ll see the quality
of the dialog and kinds of discussions points that
were raised, and ease up on their complaints about
not being in the room. And even in the absolute
worst case, make yourself available to listen to their
feedback independent of the critique session. You can
diffuse difficult teammates, appeasing them without
derailing the critique meeting, and the creative
momentum of the team.
One alternative for designers in larger
organizations: you might be able to do design
critiques with the other designers in your
organization, even if each of you works on different
projects. This can be a great way to build a sense
of design community in your organization, and give
you the benefit of other well trained design eyes, that
are fresh to the problems your trying to solve. The
downside to this is that you miss on the opportunity
to build better design relationships with the nondesigners on your team. In the best possible world,
you might have time to do both kinds of critiques, at
different times in your project.
Critica Issue 1
Unlike a brainstorming meeting, where the
exclusive goal is to come up with new ideas, a
critique meeting is focused on evaluating a set of
existing ideas, and possibly identify future directions
or changes. Instead of hoping that hallway and email
discussions will lead the team in a good direction,
it’s generally worth investing time to set up critique
meetings to drive the design forward.
11
your working with, and the goals you have, you might
arrange the room differently, and bring different kinds
of materials.
examine them. If you’ve never done this before, I
guarantee you’ll hear a few people gasp.
Critica Issue 1
“
{MATERIALS AND
ROOMS} Depending on the kinds of designs
3.If the room has a television or monitor, use your
A critique should
allow a small group
of people to review
laptop to show each of the sketches or designs. If
you’ve made prototypes, demo them. Personally,
I find this is the most convenient way to work.
It usually requires little preparation beyond the
prototypes themselves, and if I’m facilitating the
meeting, it gives me additional control over
what we discuss and how the discussion goes.
Typically, what’s on the monitor is what
we’re going to talk about.
and discuss many
ideas quickly
”
and informally
In the simplest kind of
critique, where you have several
alternatives to the same design problem, make it easy
for everyone to see each design approach.
If you are working on a long project,
there is value in reusing the same room for
critiques. You may be able to leave certain
screenshots up on the walls ,or in the hallway
outside. Plus you have the psychological advantage
of identifying a single physical place with the kind of
thinking and dialog you want for a critique.
13
There are several ways to do this:
1.Print a stapled handout of the 5 or 6 pictures and
give each person a copy. This works fine, unless
you have prototypes for each design approach
—the printouts won’t capture that :) It might be
fine to have rough hand drawn sketches, if the
folks in the room are capable of working with
rough representations, or you might need to have
more complete visual presentations of the design
ideas. (I once made the mistake of showing some
high powered marketing folks some hand drawn
sketches: it was a disaster. Unfamiliar with design
work, or design process, they naturally confused
the low fidelity of the sketch, with the quality of the
ideas. Learn from this :)
2.Use wall space in the room to display each of the
designs. This is by far the best way to examine
branding or compare/contrast different areas of
the same website. If you’re new to a project, and
want to illustrate how inconsistent certain design
elements are, there is nothing better than putting
them all up on the wall together, and asking
everyone in the critique to walk the room and
How to run a
Design Critique: Part 2
will be in the Critica issue 2
PROJECT NATAL
COMING 2010
Critica Issue 1
Art toda
y is drive
by many
n
things, b
ut perha
most co
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mmon fo
r
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is
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that tru
s
ly an acc
eptable
ideal?
15
H
eavily influenced by both popular advertising and the
comic book style, Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923–
September 29, 1997) was a prominent American pop
artist. I will establish the true definition of plagiarism
as the overall basis to warrant the claim for either side
of the argument, as well as present qualifiers for both
sides of the argument.
Lichtenstein:
Original o r
Plagiariser
By Dillon Powell
Lichtenstein, in 1961, began his first Pop Art
paintings using cartoon images and techniques derived
from the appearance of commercial printing. His first
work to feature the large-scale use of hard-edged figures
and Benday Dots was Look Mickey, which came from a
challenge from one of his sons, who pointed to a Mickey
Mouse comic book and jokingly dared him to recreate
it. He later produced six other works with recognizable
characters from gum wrappers and cartoons that same
year. Lichtenstein would continue this style of “replicating”
published art throughout the mid 60s, painting works such
as Whaam (painted in 1963), one of the earliest known
examples of pop art, and Drowning Girl (painted in 1963).
Critica Issue 1
Lifting comic-book panels was his primary focus
before he abandoned such style and subject in 1966. Comics
artists such as Jack Kirby, Tony Abruzzo, Russ Heath, Jerry
Grandenetti, and Irv Novick were rarely credited.
In Alex Beams article Lichtenstein: creator or copycat?
which was published in the Boston Globe in 2006, Jack
Cowart, executive director of the Lichtenstein Foundation,
argued that because Lichtenstein’s lifted panels were
“changed
in scale, color, treatment, and
in their implications. There is no exact copy.”(Beam).
However, an argument can be made against that claim.
Definition
According to the
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to plagiarize
means “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words
of another) as one’s own , to use (another’s
production) without crediting the source, to commit
literary theft, to present as new and original an
idea or product derived from an existing source.”
Plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing
someone else’s work and lying about it afterward
(Learning Center : Plagiarism Definitions).
Although plagiarism is often loosely referred to
as theft or stealing (primarily theft of intellectual
property), it has not been set as a criminal matter in
the courts and has no standing as a criminal offense
in the common law. Instead, claims of plagiarism are
a civil law matter, which an aggrieved person can
resolve by launching a lawsuit.
SIDE A: THE
FACTS Fact. Lichtenstein’s lifted
panels were directly influenced by
published artwork, whether it be candy
wrappers or comic books. Fact. As noted
above, the original artist rarely received credit
for Lichtenstein’s creations. Even though
they were dramatically altered in scale,
color and implication, they are still copies
regardless. As a matter of fact, some of the
original creators were not even aware that
their works were created. Dorothy Tuska,
wife of George Tuska who originally created
a 1961 Buck Rogers, stated that “they had
no idea” Lichtenstein copied the piece and
created Emeralds, which was sold to an
anonymous buyer in 1999 for $1.6 million.
One can pose an argument that
because the original artist was not
aware Lichtenstein’s piece, that
in this particular instance,
as w i t h m a n y o t h e r s ,
constitutes plagiarism.
Fact:
Lichtenstein’s
lifted panels were
directly influenced by
published artwork,
whether it be
candy wrappers or
comic books.
SIDE B:
THE
ARGUMENT
On the other side of the
argument, scholars have
argued that Roy Lichtenstein’s
work does not constitute
plagiarism. One reason for such claim that Roy merely
used the previously published work as a “template”
in which he created an entirely new piece of art. As
noted above, the finished piece was dramatically
altered and the use of Benday Dots presented and
entirely new dimension. An important question to
consider is why, if Lichtenstein’s work qualified as
plagiarism, were there no action taken again him,
neither civil nor criminal? In the case of Lichtenstein’s
use of comic book artwork, the artists who feel as
though their works are being plagiarized have no
grounds in which to pursue legal action as they
never owned the artwork. So what can they be suing
for? Their artistic style? Though they style could be
considered an intellectual proper, there is not legal
precedent for such a case. Couldn’t that warrant his
style of improving on an artist’s previous work as
originality in itself?
CONCLUSION Roy Lichtenstein
blurred the line of plagiarism in the era of popular
art. It is my opinion that, based on the warrants and
qualifiers presented in this paper, that Lichtenstein’s
lifted panels does not constitute plagiarism. Based
on the definition of plagiarism and the premise that
he never once hid the fact that his panels were
derivatives from the originals pieces, it is hard to
present a valid argument that he plagiarized. Even
though it is easy for one to present a sound invalid
argument begging to differ, it is my belief that if he or
she rationally analyzed the facts of the situation, the
fact that the pieces were altered
dramatically, and the fact that
the recreated pieces were
original in their own rights,
they will no doubt arrive at
the same conclusion.
THE END
17
Mac or PC?
A recent poll was conducted among
the Art Institute of Washington design
community to determine their preference
for operating systems. The results are as
shown below
Mac
59%
PC 41%
Credits
THE RAVEN
Author : Edar Allen Poe
Typeset: Dillon Powell
Imagery:Dillon Powell, Kevin
Dooley (http://www.flickr.
com/photos/pagedooley)
HOW TO RUN A DESIGN
CRITIQUE PART 1
Author : Scott Berkun
Edited by: Dillon Powell
Typeset: Dillon Powell
Imagery: Dillon Powell,
LICHTENSTEIN: ORIGINAL
OR PLAGIARISER
Author : Dillon Powell
Typeset: Dillon Powell
Imagery: Dillon Powell, Roy
Lictenstein, Artwork's Gallery
(http://www.artworksgallery.
com/images/2077.jpg), The
Roy Lichtenstein Foundation
{ABOUT THE AUTHOR} In my
{ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS}
capacity as a student designer, I have had the
opportunity to take on challenges that are usually
available only to those already in the work force. I
present a strong strategic and aesthetic approach
to print and digital media. I have designed and
produced a wide range of graphics on demand,
including print publications, web media, corporate
branding, typography, illustrations, and photo
manipulations. My most noteworthy work is the
design selected for the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon
mile marker.
Assembling material for a magazine of this kind
depends on the good will of so many busy people.
My sincere thanks to all the designers who collected
examples of their work for consideration, for their
great encouragement, and for the critique. In that
regard I extend a special thanks to Anthony Julien
and Barry Wilson, whose investment of time and
helpful advice greatly exceeded my expectations.
If I am asked to find one word to describe myself, it
would be “dedicated”. I am dedicated to advancing
my understanding of graphic arts and building my
skills; I consistently go the extra mile to find solutions
that are both suitable and creative. I am proficient
on both Mac and PC with a variety of softwares
including; Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign,
Dreamweaver and Flash, as well as exposure to
HTML and CSS. I have adequate experience in
communicating with vendors, and printers in order to
assure that the client’s needs were met and that they
were fully satisfied. My works always demonstrate
the highest level of commitment and often sets the
standard for excellence among peers. I am quick to
grasp new ideas, and always welcome challenges.
Both as a student and personally, I am very
dependable and straightforward in dealing with
peers, clients and coworkers alike. As my expertise
grew, my advice is often solicited by others. I have
the ability to work collaborative in a team setting in
order to successfully fulfill given objectives and the
ability to also lead a team towards completing the
task at hand. I am detail-oriented with strong project
management skills and able to multi-task in a fastpaced environment.
Critica Issue 1
Poll
I am grateful to Yolanda Glass, who unexpectedly and
very graciously gave me six hours out of her buys day
to meet with me and help to make sure that I had
typeset all of my body copy.
My thanks also to Zanaba Hudson, at Howard
University, who extensively critiqued the progress
of this magazine. Without her help, Critica would not
have been what is now.
An last, but certainly not least, to my classmate in
GD231 Intermediate Layout, for their patience and
support throughout the entire process
19
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