Lecture: Graphic Design Is…

Posted June 26, 2016 by worksightdesign
Categories: Chinese Graphic Design, design writing, graphic design, Graphic Design Education

A quickly snapped photo of the screen during a lecture on graphic design featuring Pratt student work—presented live to students in Beijing and Shanghai, China, with Xiaoren Liu (Catherine) per ANO Art China, and their subsidiary, Sphinx.


The YOU in Your Work

Posted June 11, 2016 by worksightdesign
Categories: graphic design, Graphic Design Education

When other people recognize your work, it is a great compliment. They may recognize your humorous attitude coming through the work or see a visual treatment that you have brought to many of your solutions in the past. These distinguishing characteristics reflect your style, which can come through you unconsciously. In fact, your style is you.

The places we’ve been and things we’ve seen, felt, or heard all broaden our vision as designers. They also define us. For example, a trip to Vermont to see the foliage could add to your color pallet; an unfortunate visit to a hospital’s emergency room could shock you into realizing how efficient people can be under pressure. In either case, both experiences will be internalized: you will realize that a recent design has a color you never thought about using before, or it has an energized immediacy about it. These influences can come from everywhere. Can you trace them back? The fact that some place or thing might feed your work is, in effect, acknowledging connections with your larger culture, community, and environment. A good example of this dynamic is a visual series on the impact of the Iraq war by Maria Uroos. She grew up in the Middle East and felt a need to create a visual dialogue about the changes in life, culture, and religion that she saw there. Her tools include text and image, metaphors and analogies, elements and principles. All convey thoughts about the region where she lived, fleshed out into a form that is meant to extend conversations. Each piece begins with her.


In a design experiment by Janet Lee, whose family is in retail fashion, two activities are merged into one composition. She created a montage of typography with a dress form, color chips with fabric swatches, and single-edge cutting blades with scissors. The art historian E. H. Gombrich (1909–2001) wrote, “Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread which is not there.” The connection this designer makes to retail fashion isn’t necessarily there either, but is more a myth that forges a connection to something more personal and perhaps more meaningful to her. She uses that same ability to tell stories and making connections when creating works for her clients.


In another piece, Rick Valicenti examines his own future role as a graphic designer. The poster’s purpose is to announce a design lecture in Vancouver, Canada, and the character pictured—a jester that is full of remorse—is a portrait of Valicenti himself. Hanging off his hat is a flickering sign that reads “HUGE.” The ghostlike, wispy image of an old man beside his own face hints at his later life. Together, the images make a social comment about whether this effort is all there is in Valicenti’s future, and for that matter, in the profession as a whole. In other words, designers can be practical problem-solvers (such as finding a way to announce an event), but also passionate artists whose work also matters in terms of making a positive difference in the world.


From Guide to Graphic Design, by Scott W. Santoro, Pearson Education

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Pierre Bernard Memorial

Posted February 26, 2016 by worksightdesign
Categories: Uncategorized

A Thursday night event at the Fashion Institute of Technology remembering Parisian graphic designer, Pierre Bernard, with (LtoR) Leslie Blum (chair and moderator), and speakers, Scott Stowell, Scott Santoro, and Keith Godard.

Cooper Union’s Lubalin Center 30 over 30 Exhibit

Posted September 11, 2015 by worksightdesign
Categories: Uncategorized


Photographed from an exhibit wall at the Lubalin Center in NYC in which designers were asked to comment on various iconic designs as part of the center’s collection. Jessica Helfand and I both wrote about art Director/Designer Lou Dorfsman’s ad, circa 1961, for CBS. The text under the largest “ha” reads, “He laughs best who laughs last”—an ad explaining the broadcasting company’s success in focusing on comedy television.

Bronx-Lebanon Hospital report design

Posted January 27, 2015 by worksightdesign
Categories: Uncategorized


From Cave to Code

Posted July 30, 2013 by worksightdesign
Categories: Uncategorized


eyeFrom Cave to Code

This Eye Magazine blog offered the chance to write about what I learned in writing (and designing) a graphic design textbook.

Guide to Graphic Design

Posted April 11, 2013 by worksightdesign
Categories: Uncategorized


Guide to Graphic Design

A five-year writing and design project. The last word in the book is, “whew.” Check it out on the Pearson site, or through Amazon.