Monday, April 30, 2012

AHA! April :)

April 2nd, 2012

Today we saved the world!  My group did an awesome job at creating a PSA about what we think is important in the world today.  When we made our Save the World project, we thought about what was most important aspects to successful humanity.  We took the follow seven aspects: conservation, respect, inquiry, peace, community, welfare, and equality.  We thought that these were the most important because the are all part of creating a better humanity and allowing a successful (unharmed in a way) world.  Here is the link to our Google Doc where we pooled all of our ideas and images and what we thought was important in this project.  I think that this project was the beginning of creative thinking about what we would do for our final project.

April 9th, 2012
Used with permission from

In class we did a creative assignment to create images that are out of the box (figuratively) while staying in the box (literally).  We began by looking at barcodes like the one to the right and looked at how the barcodes can be changed to look like other things, but still serve a purpose of being a barcode.  I think that this creative assignment was a great example of how we, as humans, create things that serve two purposes.  These purposes are entertainment/visual appeal while still standing as a barcode.  Here is the link to the Japanese examples we found of how to be creative with the barcodes and express lots of meaning, while being whimsical.

April 16th, 2012

Used with permission from Lauren Fontaine.
Today we did an another fun activity that allowed us to create billboards with certain values that we thought were most important to us.  I designed one about Dance Marathon and how important it is for kids in the Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.  It was interesting to see all the unique designs that the class came up with.  I think that the one I enjoyed the most was done by Lauren Fontaine.  The image at left is her billboard and how courage is so important in changing times.  The photo was taken during UNI Proud's annual Drag Show, which is run by LGBTQ students.  This billboard spoke to me because having courage to stand up to something that is not the "norm" takes so much out of you.  It helps that the saying is hilarious as well!

April 23rd, 2012

Used with permission from
Today we talked about the most memorable moments in our movie viewing experiences.  I have to say that the movie that always comes to my mind is The 10 Commandments.  This is because the movie was a breakthrough in special effects and it allowed us to see what was going to be possible in the future.  The one scene that resonates with me is the parting of the Red Sea.  This is because it is so iconic.  Everyone, disregarding their religion, can identify this scene because of what was portrayed.  The image at right is what I find so iconic.  We feel the pain of the slaves being freed from the Pharoh; we know the compassion that Moses has for his people; we anticipate that the Pharoh and his soldiers will get the slaves before they get across to the promise land.  Every emotion that the audience had while viewing this film comes back up in this scene because this is what they were waiting for. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Helvetica-The Font for Change

Used with permission from
After I watched Helvetica (2007), I feel as though this movie dove itno how much we take for granted. The opening statement that typeface is giving statements color is very true. When looking at a word, it has substance, it has a presence, it has depth. People do not realize that the way we see something (color, breadth, or substance) is going to affect how we view everything linked to the original word. Before watching this documentary, I did not realize that helvetica was the most popular type of font used in the United States.

I believe that the director was trying to say that helvetica has the most versatile use within our country. As Americans, we use it for better legibility, to say "I love you" or "I hate you", or to give directions on the subways of our big cities. This is important in the movie because it allows each entity to define itself. I think that the director did a great job in signifying how important helvetica really is in our world. He showed real life examples, he used when introducing new places and people, and he showed how it was developed. The real life examples consisted of Bloomingdale's, the subways of New York City, and different places in Time Square. When Gary Hustwit introduced the Netherlands, specifically Amsterdam, the typeface was helvetica; also, when he was showing us 1950s paintings and describing them off to the side, the typeface was helvetica. When he introduced Matthew Carter, he used helvetica. I think that Gary Hustwit did an excellent job of portraying how important typeface, specifically helvetica, is in our everyday life.

I am sure that there are other minorities that design type face, but I do not remember them being depicted in the movie. I know that there are other typefaces that are common, but nothing as common as helvetica.  I do not think that Hustwist intended on not including them, but since the focus of the movie was on helvetica, that he only interviewed those important to the development of this typeface.  To me, the lack of other minorities was situational because they were not important in the developing the typeface, therefore they were not portrayed in the film.  Also, I do believe that Hustwist's background did play a role in the movie.  The fact that helvetica is used in almost everyhing we see, then it has to play some sort of role in how this movie was made.  At about 25 minutes in, they were talking about how helvetica is used in campaigns, which is a huge part of our nation this year.  It makes everything clear, clean, and easily read.  Each of these thing plays a part in how Hustwist may have filmed the documentary.  It may not have been a huge, life changing, part; but the fact that we see it everyday, then it has an influence on how the movie would have been filmed.

I do not think that many groups of people would be offended by this movie.  I think that it can be misinterpreted by other cultures, such as people who do not use helvetica regularly, may not understand why it is so important to Americans and many other cultures.  Also, it could be misinterepreted by the Asian culture because they use charcaters in their words, but rather we use letters (in the helvetica font) everyday.  For example, at about 41 minutes, Hustwist ran through popular shows and ads in which helvetica was used.  Shows such as Jackass, The Office, and tv channels such as CourtTV all use helvetica.  Not once during these sections did I see how other cultures use their typefaces in their everyday culture.

This movie added to my visual literacy because it offered up a new view on how on small thing influences such an important part of my life.  As I walk around campus and I look at buildings and the signs on campus, I realize how much helvetica is used in my day to day life.  I look at my cell phone and see helvetica, I look at posters and see helvetica, I look at my drivers license and see helvetica; the fact that something that was designed in the 1950s has changed the lives of so many people is ridiculous.  Gary Hustwist used many techniques to focus our attention, but I think the most impactful one was using the examples of ads, signs, and things that I would see.  I know that after I saw a little section of those, I would look around the room and see how much helvetica typeface I could see.  Hustwist did a great job of incorporating many types of people as well, so the fact that I had to strain to listen and understand some people made me focus more on what was being said.  The constant change of what was going on in the movie also focused the audience.

Overall, I thought this movie was a great documentary because it allowed me to see past what I see and develop what I think something means.  The basis that everything I see can be changed by a typeface baffles me; I know that the thought of how the spacing from one letter to the next can change how I feel about a product is mind boggling.