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Creative Research
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Creative Research

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© Stephan Saaltink, Rotterdam

© Stephan Saaltink, Rotterdam

Published in: Design, Technology, Education
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  • 1. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attachment Creative Research ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- EDUCATION the brain Recent neuro scientific insights seem to confirm not only the eye and the hand need training. Should n’t we update Art & Design education re- introducing manual exercise and experiment, if ‘the artists & designers brain 1 needs manual feed to keep in optimum condition’, and if ‘the key concept 2 to grasp is that of neural plasticity’? design sketching Design sketching can be traced back to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), and 3, 12, 13 is researched more recently at Stanford University by Barbara Tversky, and 4 others. The difference between sketching and prototyping is highlighted by 5 Bill Buxton. Most tutors realize design students currently are swapping prototyping while – with a little help of Adobe and Apple – they are consequently skipping sketching in early project phases. What are the effects? And if negative, what should we restore? How? updated design curriculum 6 Let’s think opposite: our foundation is rather progressive. (We are training hand, eye, and mind to feed the brain.) The updated first year program is generic to all designers: only ‘drawing’ & ‘thinking’. DRAWING: conceptual drawing, mind mapping, storytelling, drawing the human body, drawing type, digital drawing (Illustrator & Vector Works), mapping & routing, notating, technical drawing & constructing, Postscript. THINKING: coding (programming), listing (vertical thinking), Logic (Carnap), Lateral thinking (De Bono). team Design is described mostly as a linear process from analyzing and de-briefing to presenting and finalizing a product or service. When multidisciplinary (or interdisciplinary) teams are working on a assignment the design process is 7 much more complex and for sure non-linear. 8 What are the key moments of decision making in time? And why do we keep training students as if individual designers?
  • 2. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IN PARTICULAR lists 9 Recently I discovered I share a fascination concerning lists with Umberto 10 Eco. (For instance I even started to learn LISP because Lisp programs are 11 expressed as lists). But while Eco connects the list with ‘the infinite’, to me a list is a simple procedure which enables me to order, to structure, to control. In fact, most of the time, the origin of my designs are marked by some kind of list. 12 Now, because I have been studying the research of Goldschmidt and 13 Tversky, I am wondering: does ‘listing’ – the procedure of creating a list – resemble design sketching? (Are my colleagues ‘listing’? Does the procedure provoke ‘design moves’? Et cetera.) color mysterie 14 Josef Albers introduced, and studied the Goethe Triangle in the first edition of Interaction with Color (1971). But he deleted his ‘nine-part color triangle’ 15, 16 studies in the next edition after an intervention of Rudolf Arnheim. 17 Seems the mystic Goethe Triangle does not exist at all, which is confirmed by the Goethe Schiller Archive in Weimar. 18 Still the Goethe Triangle and its receipts are all over the web. I started investigating . . . color in sequence 19 I again started programming & writing code, this time using LOGO. I am researching the color palette and language. (Or maybe what are conventions in color communication . . . ) First pieces, first titles: 1.1. I m blue, 1.2. Me too, and 2.1. I m rgb, 2.2. I m confused. innovation © justification I have been thinking for quite some time Gutenberg in 1452 used different characters (for each latin letter) while composing, to copy The Manually Written Script as accurate as possible, introducing a kind of randomness and irregularity . . . 20 But recently, thanks to Otl Aicher, I understand the use of some 290 (!) 21 characters is actually meant to improve justification. Regarding contemporary digital technology: it must be possible to design and implement type which will discard all hyphens while justifying text, because of minimal modifications in width.
  • 3. innovation © hierarchy The representation of a journalistic hierarchy on a newspaper page by displaying only headings in different point size is not really effective and rather ‘old fashioned’ when we keep current digital tools in mind. If we accept the definition of typographic parameters as a relative scale, it must be possible to decrease and differ, for instance, the point size of body text per article and ‘color’ the page quite differently. Some research and experiment might fresh insights concerning structuring and communicating information. innovation © lay-out All page lay-out is recurrent. If the identity of a newspaper is described (styles, tags etcetera); and if – this is a Bolean – the hierarchy and the length of all articles are determined; and if – oops, one more – the volume of all ads can be expressed; then the actual page can be generated by up to date software and will be presented and transferred on request without intervention of a lay-out editor or designer.
  • 4. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NOTES 1 ‘What guides the designer’ hand? Inside the ultimate design studio: the brain’ a lecture by Art Historian John Onians. 2 ‘Neuro ways of seeing’ John Onians and Eric Fernie on Neuroarthistory via http://www.tate.org.uk/tateetc/issue13/neuroarthistory.htm 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Tversky Also look at 12 and 13. 4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Buxton 5 ‘What Skectches (and Prototypes) Are and Are Not’, Bill Buxton, via http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam/uicourse/Buxton-SketchesPrototypes.pdf ‘Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies)’, Bill Buxton, 2007 6 ‘The Use of Lateral Thinking’, Edward de Bono, Penguin, 1967. 7 Look at http://designcollaboration.org/ 8 ‘To an increasing degree, design is being recognized and thought as a team process with multiple socio-technological dimensions. Design is defined as a social process in which teams define and negotiate decisions’, and: ‘Results indicated that student design teams that challenged assumptions throughout the designproces, with clynical semantic coherence, performed better than teams that had little variation over the designprocess. These results support the hypothesis that high performing designteams cycle between divergent and convergent patterns of thinking & questioning.’, in ‘Engineering Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning’, Alice M. Agogino, Department of Mechanical Engineering University of California at Berkeley, and others. 9 ‘Lists are a facinating way to name the infinite. [. . .] You can not arrive to the end so you make a list. But the list stops by an etcetera. [. . .] We make lists because we do not want to die. The list is a reaction upon our unability to name the infinite. [. . .] Lists are a way to say informaly what can not be said by a formal and precize definition. [. . .] Lists are a way to name the world.’ Umberto Eco talking to Wim Brands (in Boeken, VPRO television, 2011.3.6). 10 ‘The Infinity of Lists’, Umberto Eco, Rizzoli, 2009. 11 We are now in a position to appreciate one of the most remarkable features of Lisp. Lips programs are expressed as lists. If the argumenst of flexibility and elegance did not convince you that Lisp notation is a valuable tool, this point should. It means that Lisp programs can generate Lisp code.’, ANSI Common Lisp, Paul Graham, Pentice Hall,1996. 12 ‘The Dialectics of Sketching’, Gabriela Goldschmidt in the Creativity Journal.
  • 5. 13 ‘Thinking with sketches’, Barbara Tversky and Masaki Suwo, and ‘Sketches for design and design of sketches’, Barbara Tversky and others. 14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Albers 15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Arnheim 16 Rudolf Arnheim, A critical account of some of Joseph Albers concepts of color, Leonardo, vol 15, #2, 1982. 17 In a letter of Gisela Maul (Kustodin Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen, Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Goethe-Nationalmuseum) dated 2011 December 8. 18 Look for instance at http://cs.brown.edu/courses/cs092/VA10/HTML/ GoethesTriangle.html or http://www.colorsystem.com/?page_id=766&lang=en 19 http://www.alancsmith.co.uk/logo/ 20 ‘typographie’, otl aicher, verlag herman schmidt, 1989. 21 ‘Gutenberg’s solution to the problem was painstaking in the extrem: he cut and cast each letter in differing widths. The 42-line Bible made use of 290 characters. It was a work that not only fulfilled Gutenberg’s declared aim of emulating the best written scripts of his age but that, with its all-pervading quality of visual harmony, has yet to be surpassed.’ (page 229)

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