Guerilla Beautification

I haven't blogged bout this in so long! So here's to a huge blog post.

So since the brainstorming of ideas, I researched everything and found that I was geared towards the beautification of the neighborhood involving teens. A little keynote presentation I did about my whole idea so you can get a better picture of it.

Now I'm kind of looking into details and notes I've done: 

Desired outcomes

·      Teen involvement
·      Beautification of existing/vacant lots that have been outgrown
·      Plant pretty things
·      Clean up yards
·      Grown up volunteers help

Systematic approach
·      Go in and clean someone’s yard
·      “Leader” asks the owner first and notify the neighbors so kids are safe
·      Leave behind a “You just got guerrilla” (or something similar)
·      Make sure owner of the yard is ok with it first before just doing it
·      One day activity
·      Small groups
·      How will plants live if people just cut over them?
·      Ask owners what they want from their yard (how much can be changed, how much effort they will put into keeping it clean, etc.)

Basic components
·      Cutting tools (lawn mower, gardening shears, etc.)
·      Planting tools (shovel, extra dirt, plants, etc.)
·      Getting teens participation

·      Graphic stickers to spark interest in teens (links back to the council to find more information)
·      Graphic posters with one word (also links back)
·      Postcard sized information
·      How do they keep it underground but still spread information with no texting/phones/emails

I've also talked to Soil Service people and asked which plants would be really good and are perennials. The lady I spoke with was super nice and I approached her more with like I'm interested in planting rather than I'm doing a project. She was super nice and helpful and told me mums, asters, and pansies were really low maintenance and you don't have to plant them every year and they come back on their own (as long as they have enough sun). She also gave me lots of good edible plants that you can put in your lawn like kale, cabbage, blueberry bushes, and raspberry vines. She said it was good to plant during the fall because the ground is warm so the roots latch on better. All these plants will stand winter and come back during the spring so that's good. I also walked around the perennials section and wrote down some pretty looking plants that I saw common in other people's yard that takes little effort to maintain. The price in general was pretty cheap. If you want to start from seeds, it's only like $2 a packet. And they have already grown 6" pots that are $4. The biggest ones I saw that were reasonable were only $10.

I've also tried getting in contact with the Master Gardeners of Greater KC and they refuse to pick up their phones and I've left messages. Gonna keep trying.

I've also emailed the lady who is head of the teen programs and I'm going to go talk to her today about how to get teens involved.

I'm also going to email the beautification people at Ivanhoe to get more of what they do and how many tools they have available for the teens to work with.


Windows and Mirrors

Transparency is everything in interface design. Perhaps not everything but it's majority of everything. Designers want the users to look through the interface and really experience it. They want the magic codes and operating systems to be hidden. Transparency isn't the only way we could work though. The Wooden Mirror was a good example of how opaque designs could be. I think that we do take technology for granted and we don't really understand how much controlling it takes to even spell check your essay. I have a love-hate relationship with GPS systems and how slow they are and how they keep "recalculating". One time I was getting frustrated with it for being so slow and my friend reminded me that this little piece of metal is sending data to outer space (millions of miles away from where we are), into a satellite (rotating somewhere around the earth), and sending it back to us at this exact location. Pretty amazing. I, of course, stopped complaining after this. The point is, making technology invisible to us allows us to fully experience the systems but it makes us unaware of all the effort put into giving us what we need.


Readings 09.28.11

Economy, Ecology, and Equity:
In order for something to be vital, it has to have growth, a free form of energy, and an open system of chemicals. Materials should be able to produce and reproduce itself without hurting the environment. We aim to doing the right thing, not doing something less bad. That means we have to design with positivity. All the articles for today was linked together in so many ways. A couple of articles used the quote, "If brute force isn't working, you are not using enough of it." We as designers need to push ourselves to create ways of being eco-efficient but still send our message. One thing I liked about this article was when he talked about cradle-to-cradle cycling where you reuse things for other things. I was looking at ways to create gardening tools using old household items like milk cartons and yogurt cartons. It's not as world changing as using milk jugs to make a park bench but it's a start.

Sustainable Business:
This was an interesting article to see how different companies are trying to become more eco-friendly. The Natural Step is a huge company that educates other companies. It's good that they are across the world tackling issues specific to that country. Reading about them working with big corporations like Home Depot, Nike, and McDonald's and really changing the way these companies produce and manufacture their products. I want an organic McDonald's here. In general, it took a lot of research to get things to change and that's something that we have to do too. Research, research, research.

Thinking about different ways a book could be was a good opening to this article. Technology has advanced enough where there are things like the Kindle and the iPad where you can travel with an electronic book. This reduces the effect books has on our environment but it doesn't solve the problem. Not just with books but with other things, how can we rethink what things are made of and the relationship it has with nature? Can it be both good for us and the environment? This ties back to the first article and eco-efficiency. I liked the example of ants because they use everything they found and recycles it back into nature. This is something we should try to achieve and even through our designs, it could be possible.

Why Being Less Bad is No Good:
Being less bad is still being bad and being bad isn't being good, so we aim to just be good. This idea goes back to the first article as well with the idea of being 100% good. I thought it was interesting when the article kind of contradicted all the other three by saying that eco-efficiency isn't the strategy for success over long term. It can only take us so far before it stops being influential. We need to think of something to keep what we have right now the way it is but still have our resources. Our goal is to have zero waste, zero emissions, and zero footprints. This won't be achieved in years but if we start now, it will be possible in the very future.


Readings 09.21.11

He Might Be Giant: Shepard Fairey:
"The world is full of contradictions." I loved this article. It showed how much design can last if it talks to the public. I thought that writing about art that already exist is extremely helpful and just the way it was written was captivating. I loved reading about the company Black Market Inc. They are doing something different in the advertising world and really changing what the word "advertising" means. They do "guerrilla marketing on a corporate scale," which in itself is awesome. It really changes how I feel going about my own guerrilla idea. The article talked a lot about a striking graphic with just one word. Can I send my message with just an image and no words? That was something I thought about during presentation day last week. That's something I can work on. Another thing I loved was that mass communication can be outside of technology and still work and move a community. Something else I should work more into my idea.

Guerrilla Street Postering:
So much guerrilla readings! On top of my own guerrilla thinking idea. Guerrilla street postering is the most direct, unmediated form of public expression. I love the idea of doing something wrong with the chance of being caught. It might not be lawfully right but it can change so much if people just start noticing. Which is something I've noticed about most guerrilla ads, people need to notice them first to really start changing, which is unfortunate. I also like the idea that they talked about with making art with the intention of changing people's minds about issues. They said it in the context that it is hard to change people's mind but I don't think it's impossible. You might not catch everyone's attention but you will catch SOMEONE's attention, which is a start. Our design solutions in Ivanhoe might not reach the entire community but we could start with just a few people.

Adbuster Interview:
This was a good read to sum up everything. Not sure if I read it in the right order but it was still good. Kalle Lasn talked about designing with the code of true-cost design. This idea means that when we start designing, we should consider the ecological and psychological consequences of what our product will do. There's also two kinds of products. One that sits on the table and one where people interact with everyday like phones, toothbrushes, cars, and so forth. There's a ton of possibilities as soon as we break out of the box. I liked that he thought of our own set of codes to go by, especially with the green movement. It's really up to us to define what "green" means. We shouldn't just make a label but REALLY make our products eco friendly and REALLY define what being green is.



Need: I want to write with other people.
Solution: Pass it on notebook. One person can get a notebook, get information about other writers online, write a narrative, and then mail it off to the next person. Could be done online or off.

Need: I can never learn the dance steps even though I watch it over and over again.
Solution: Step by step translator by a program watching the video. Person upload could also type in notes and feelings.

Need: I can't find any inspiration anywhere.
Solution: Idea bouncer. A space created where people can take photos (or other medias) and share and "bounce" off ideas.

Need: I want to share work with others.
Solution: Online galleries by individual profiles, group/department, whole community.

Need: I want to start my collection of other people's work.
Solution: Collecting space where users can "grab" art/writing/videos. Somehow can't copy or save though because of rights.

Need: I don't know what equipment to use.
Solution: Place where people can suggest, rate, review, etc. equipment.

Need: I don't have any tools or materials to start anything.
Solution: Exchange place with a no money system (trading post). Perhaps suggest places you can get cheap supplies.

Need: I want critique from other people.
Solution: Place for interactive commenting by keywords or ideas or even writing on.

Need: Where do I even start learning a skill?
Solution: Beginner's section where there are tutorials in various medias.

Need: I want to draw with others.
Solution: Interactive canvas online that detects by mouse or by camera movements and allows users to draw on screen using unconventional tools. No need for a pad.

Need: I need help remembering choreography.
Solution: Dance in front of the camera and a program records what happens through text using dance terminology.

Need: I want to choreograph a dance involving a group of people.
Solution: Meet other people who wants to learn new choreograph, post choreographed dance and let them learn, come back together and "dance" together.

Need: I'm too advanced for any additional learning.
Solution: Contribute by becoming a "mentor" and teach/guide younger/inexperienced members provided through a "help hotline" with one on one live video chat.

Need: I don't understand the culture/language behind this.
Solution: Group of "translators" (through a program or volunteer) deciphers for people who are lost.

Need: I want to incorporate another person with a different culture's work into my work.
Solution: Get person's info and collaborate through posting own work and working together online to blend together using live chat with sharing screens.


Need: Ways to easily collaborate.
Solution:  Community members can virtually build (with analogue, digital, multimedia components) in a space provided with through live webcams or just mouse movement. They can link notes, videos, inspirational artifacts, photos, etc. to the virtual project. Some virtual projects can actually be made physically somewhere if so desired.

Need: Way to let people of different talents collaborate. (i.e. dance meets writing, music meets fine arts, etc.)
Solution: Use virtual multimedia tools/interface to allow members to collaborate remotely, or if they meet up, the tool can easily facilitate their physical collaborations by using audio/video/recording devices/etc.

Need: I want to visualize my music.
Solution: Program takes music and converts it into a drawing/painting, and even a dance, based on rhythm and tones. Users can also take the clip and make their own interpretations of it.

Need: How can I get music onto my work?
Solution: Program where people draw onto the canvas and each point that is touch creates a note, so each drawing would create different melodies depending on where it is touched.


Readings 09.14.11

I decided I should probably try to blog more so here's an attempt to do so.

The Designer as Catalyst:
There are two strategies of a designer, one to sedate customers and one to activate citizens. To sedate customers is to have a client-designer relationship with the design and to activate citizens is to have an agency-catalyst relationship, where the design becomes the agency and us as designers are the catalyst. In the catalyst mindset, the design needs to argue, not just to state. It allows the recipients to talk back, ask questions, and even disagree. I really like the idea of design being invoking. I think that's what we all aim to do with our work. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way but we should aim for it. With the idea of agency/catalyst, we would be able to see so much change in the world just through design, one step at a time.

Now That We Can Do Anything:
"The twentieth century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of
political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to
think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective."
- Arnold J. Toynbee.
Love that quote and what a great way to start an article. Design is changing its place in things. It is evolving from a small aspect of businesses to the biggest project. Design is no longer bout "one", it is about being collaborative, plural, and distributed. It is evolving into something bigger than ourselves probably. The term "designer" could be applied in many different areas now and essentially, everyone can become a "designer" if they have a good idea or product of any kind. I feel like this is the time to really differentiate between a learned/taught designer and a self-proclaimed/self-learned designer. It is still our roles to direct them to better designs but we should still be open to their ideas.

Towards Critical Autonomy:
Organizations, companies, businesses, places, and competitions used to be distinct. If they aren't defunct, they can be interchangeable. The critical edge to design has disappeared. With the resources out there today, everyone and anyone can create something and put it out into the world, no matter if it is good or not. This is where graphic design comes in. Graphic design should be seen as a discipline capable of generating meaning out of its resources without reliance on other means. We as designers are responsible for good designs. I don't know if there was an order to read the articles but this one basically contradicts the previous one I read. This one was all about being critical with design and how it is important to have good design made by designers. The previous one was open to all kinds of ideas. Between the two, I like the previous article more.

Quantum Leap:
I think we take design for granted. We see it everyday and interact with it everyday but we never really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the designer when we use it or read it. I love the part of this reading that talked about viewing a thing as a "space" instead of as a "page". With this idea, the world opens up to many design elements. I think that we constrain ourselves to the norm and not really think outside the box when designing artifacts. We should break out of the conventions and really create a memorable piece. I feel like I never really consider white space when I design and I feel like when the writer was talking about it, it plays a big part in the design even if I knew it or not.


F+S: Dissent!

Interesting article when things could go terribly wrong: Dissent Run Awry

Rebrand Objectives

I aim to create a sophisticated, contemporary, and encompassing brand identity to reflect floral and interior designs, as well as showcase other services provided, such as event planning and gifts through their logo with imagery and type choices.


Mood Board and Visual Audit (high school)

Mood board:

Visual audit for high school kids:
Joseph's blog has more mood board images and the visual audit for college kids.


Ivanhoe Brainstorm

  • No schools
  • Food desert
  • Beautification of community (needs help/make more appealing)
  • Bringing life to the neighborhood
  • Childhood obesity (ways to prevent: through healthy eating - awareness needed)
  • Younger age group involvement
  • Great homes but no one wants to buy (just need to fix up)
  • Drop out rates in school (affects college/job)
  • High rate of single mothers (perhaps needs help)
  • More community involvement
  • Safety (bad sidewalks, no lighting, etc.)
  • No hang out place for teens
  • Wants small businesses to start in community
  • Teens have no guidance (in terms of careers and school)
  • Wants to be seen as a good neighborhood
Possible solutions
  • Provide resources for teens to gain knowledge in career development, why stay in school, financial advice, list of people and places to contact, what to do for a future, peer guidance help, etc.
  • Educate residents about benefits, how to, health benefits, etc. of a urban garden (get them more involved somehow)
  • Create something/somewhere that people can go and learn home fixing skills, beautification of their house, "handy work", etc.

MX Project Sentence

We aim to design a system that allows students to teach and inspire each other, through a tailorable experience, extracurricular activities, such as art, music, and dance, by using unconventional teaching tools.