Tufte and stuffte

In my other class, ENGL 408C: The Rhetoric of Digital Design, we often talk about design principles and the effects of having a ‘noisy’ site vs. something simple.  This was reiterated by Tufte in today’s class with the 1+1=3 (or more) statement.  From what I gather, Tufte is asserting that what we don’t say is almost as important as what we do say, that is to mean whether something in a design is implicit or explicit.  Consider some websites for example. 

– Google has taken a lot of time into making a clear, clean design.  There are an abundance of things Google can be used for (more than looking at pictures of cats), things that are there if you want to access them.  For example, if I want to search for ‘jaguars’ but do not want to see any pictures of the car, I would enter ‘jaguar -car’ in the search field.  Now, this may seem abstract, but this is a function that the creators of Google chose to hide from the average viewer.  Why?  Because it creates space.  This is also seen through the fact that you have essentially two options from the main screen – search, or switch search fields (images, scholar, maps, etc.).  By omitting these advanced fields from the main screen, it creates an illusion of simplicity all the while offering complexity.

In contrast, a site like Yahoo does the opposite.  The amount of noise generated from ads, videos, graphics, and images detracts from it value, effectively decreasing its popularity and functionality.  I think this is the kind of thing Tufte was getting at when he gave the example of the air traffic controller.  The images with a black border were less appealing to look at than that with no background.  This is due to the visual noise – the idea that we skip over things that look confusing or cluttered.  Ironically, I think this is demonstrated in Alex White’s book, as I find it very hard to follow due to the amount of noise.  The mish-mashed images, awkward placement of text and interesting choice of textual hierarchy make it near impossible to read through a chapter without interruption. 

What do you guys think?


Gettin’ down to business

Hey guys,
1.  So O’Gorman kept making comments that we needed to make sure we included everything on the poster, or justify its omission.  With that in mind, I think that keeping the title of the company is important.
2.  As for colour coding, I agree that the pins looked a bit odd, but I think that colour coding the titles on the Polaroids has potential.  Note:  In the attached photo, I didn’t change the pin colour (laziness?)
3.  The corkboard texture used should be fine, it was just slightly smaller than the document size.  Keep in mind that the poster is only 11″x17″… zoomed-in views in PS will look low-res, but in actual size it will look fine (we could do a test page anyways).  Note that the ‘actual size’ option in Photoshop zoom function calculates it at 72px/in, meaning our 300px/in image will show up over 4x zoomed after hitting ‘actual size.’  Sounds confusing, but this link explains it:  http://www.keptlight.com/2011/03/photoshop-view-print-size/
4.  I modified the border, but it does look a bit cluttered… maybe a lighter colour will help fool the eye?  I tried moving some stuff around too.

Filling in the blanks

Here is my best guess at filling in the blanks.  Unfortunately, they are hard as hell to fix.  Here goes…

ALSO.  It appears I found all of these on Ads of the World.com.  To be honest, I found them all over, it just kept pointing me back to this site.  Cool eh?

Let me know what you think.  My only concern is that the replacement-opposition ones rely too heavily on ‘the abstract’ — not representing a product, but rather what the opposite of that product represents. 


http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/department_of_state_health_services_share_air_guests_0 (without text)

–          The negative connotations from the cigarettes make the food look gross; without that implication, the food looks great

–          The gross products together become a burger (fusion)

–          The burger is made of smokes and stuff (opposition)

  • You wouldn’t eat cigarettes, why inhale them


http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/hyper_batteries_green (without text)

–          The energy of the device is replaced by the guy sucking air

–          The product is missing (replacement)

–          The replacement shows the opposite of the product’s potential (opposition)


http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/vermont_department_of_health_smoke_baby (without text)

–          The clean air is replaced by dirty smoke (replaced)

–          The smoke is obviously not good for you, clean air is promoted (opposition)


http://adsoftheworld.com/files/images/MADD2.jpg (without text)

–          The sign to turn left is replaced by the right to turn right (replacement)

–          The sign is pointing in the opposite direction of where to go (opposition)



Martin Jay & scientific objectivity


Although this probably isn’t what Prof. O’Gorman had in mind, I think it still fits.  I’m working with Jay’s view of Cartesian perspectivalism as seeing a scientific view of things.  From my interpretation, modern-day examples include technical drawings (namely manuals), in the sense that it shows the steps to complete a task without an actual participant, implying the viewer’s participation.  This is why I chose to go with a minimalist approach, reducing the amount of detail (reflections, etc) and the amount of salient colours.

Let me know what you think.

Ads and such

To begin; a disclaimer.  I realize that this exercise uses primarily print advertisements, but I found these ads of mixed genres particularly interesting.  I can post more print ads later so we have plenty to choose from for our project.  Also, Quinn is right… this is a lot harder than it looks.

I’ll start with the difficult one for Mars bar.  Image

By definition, this is a juxtaposition (two images placed side-by-side). 

For this one, I’m going to say its a connection, seeing as the tongue guy’s billboard is directly interacting with the frozen Mars bar.  Without the Mars bar, the tongue makes no sense whatsoever.  It is also pretty clear that the implied temperature of the Mars bar justifies the reason why his tongue is stuck to the candy.  If there were no ice cubes or text in the Mars billboard, an argument could be made for replacement.

Next up:  FedEx (theme for today apparently)


This ad I would say is a replacement, seeing as the package being delivered is not seen, nor is a delivery person (however, is represented by the van).  The ladder leading to the sky represents a recipient of a package, implying that FedEx delivers everywhere, no matter where it is, AND they will go to lengths (get it?) to deliver to you.  In addition, the ladder into the sky in combination with the white colour scheme suggests a ‘heavenly’ feeling, suggesting that FedEx is good and nice and is someone you could introduce to your mom. 

Last up:  Some juice packaging (zipp?)


This is a fusion of the bottle’s container, suggesting that it is full of fruity goodness.  Note how the zip is barely opened, and how it is bulging so much that the zip cannot be closed (yes, I noted the joke here too).  I would say that this is a similarity in the Phillips/McQuarrie matrix, suggesting that this drink IS LIKE opening a zippered pouch full of fruit (although, that doesn’t really sound like a good time). 

Let me know what you think.