Thursday, June 30, 2011

High-Fashion Design

The image below was included in an advertisement for the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. This location houses over 130 pieces of Haute Couture clothing created by the late Yves Saint Laurent. His creations were known to blend art with pop culture and an innovative touch.

My initial thought after looking at this design was who in their right mind would wear something like that and where are they going in it!  A notation explained that this piece was actually created as a wedding dress. I think the idea is very inventive and cool for a gasp effect from an audience when it’s going down a runway. But, how would that translate into real life if you wore it walking down the street. I think most people might think you were crazy. Whereas in a fashion setting, it would be considered high-level wearable art.

On Project Runway a few years ago, the designers were presented with a challenge to create clothing made solely out of materials from a gardening store. One interesting thing I remembered about that episode was that three designers chose to work mostly with grass and purple flowers. After reading Reynolds notes on simple color combinations, I wonder if they took the complementary color scheme into consideration to show off a strong presentation.

The creations were amazing to look at because of the effort and imagination that went into producing them. Would you wear it out in public? That’s questionable, but the concept is truly fascinating.

What’s your opinion? Take part in the poll at the top of this page!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Restroom Signage

I came across an interesting design when I was in a restaurant and went to use the restroom. As opposed to the regular signs, lighthearted images with text were placed above the doors to the restrooms. The image of Bettie Page along with the quote “I was never the girl next door” was hanging over the ladies room. I laughed really hard at first, then thought about how this was an effective use of differentiation among what the norms and standards are. 
It’s a bit of a risk, but it exemplifies the power of the photograph. The picture itself could have been placed above or on the door and people would have understood it was the ladies room. However, I might not have realized that the image was in fact Bettie Page on its own.
The idea was taken a step further by adding “other imagery that support the narrative and illuminate the story on a visceral level, thereby making the experience richer and more memorable” (Reynolds, 2010, p. 98). That little bit of text really enhanced the image and made for a good laugh. Maybe others may find it pointless or childish, but when I came out of the men’s room I noticed other people taking pictures and enjoying it as well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Complementary Colors

When I was at the pool, I noticed an interesting use of complementary colors. The tents used at this location are a combination of yellow and blue, which are directly across from each other on the color wheel. Reynolds states that “because they are so different, they tend to work well together” (2010, p. 74). While this may be a good representation for some designs, I don’t know if it is fully effective in this situation.

The colors are very distinct, but possibly too strong together in this association. I don’t see a need for a tent of this sort to really stand out since they are used all over the pool together. If an individual (or group of individuals together) was going to the beach or area on their own and used this, I could see how it would be helpful for finding your location and setting it apart from the rest of the groups there. This environment is ideal for a more laid back and calm setting. The complementary colors used here appear a bit harsh.

I think the use of a monochromatic color scheme would have been a better design choice for this situation. Replacing the yellow with a different shade of blue may have created a more harmonious look.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Color Caution

I came across this advertisement last week and decided to use it for our class discussion. Coca-cola is a prominent worldwide brand that has presented a great variety in advertising throughout the years. The image below is part of a series of ads with the inscription live on the Coke side of life.  

The most notable feature of Coke is its use of the color red which is assertive, powerful, bold, and intense. However, in this image the overuse of color immediately drew my attention away from the traditional presence of red in Coca-Cola, which is used as a background element. Reynolds notes in Presentation Zen Design that warm colors are used more often for foreground elements as they tend to pop out. The red aspect of this design isn’t particularly effective for emphasis. 

The type of the Coca-cola brand is classic and remains unchanged. The case of the live on the Coke side of life message is a bit strange and could be larger for better readability.

I would say all in all its an attractive ad for a younger audience who would be drawn in by the bright array of color choices. It’s visually appealing at first glance, but closer examination does uncover a few flaws that could definitely be corrected.

I included another image below from the series that illustrates a similar effect.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tropical Design

I was in Florida over the Memorial Day weekend with this assignment in mind. It made me contemplate the process that goes into designing things I wouldn’t normally think about. The hotel I was staying at featured a beautiful open area right outside the lobby leading to the beach. One of the perks of this design is that it can accommodate events and daily activities in the hotel. I took the picture below on my first day. The two staircases leading to the grass are beautifully arranged with plants and pottery. The palm trees line the pathway creating a tropical setting that complements the ocean background.

The open grassy circular area made me think of Reynold’s reference to empty space in Presentation Zen Design. “Designers see empty space not as nothing but as a powerful something” (2010, p. 21). The effect may appear simple to some, but the avoidance of clutter offers a breathtaking quality that accentuates the ocean and greenery. I personally think that the designer who came up with this concept did an excellent job. Every element appears to mesh together perfectly. I only wish I was still there right now!

On a side note, I was able to get a peek at a setup for a wedding that was taking place the second day of my trip. I included a photo below just to show how striking the effect of this design could be when other elements are added in moderation.