Project Completion

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hey gang,

 

Its been one fast moving semester.  A lot has been learned by all of us I am sure.  I hope that each of you are enjoying your experience, I know that I am.  I could go into a long rant about all of things that goes on in freelance work. However what I think might be imperative to us all is the rhetorical training we have received within our department. ( the rhetoric side of the degree)

As this senior project started out as just an idea to improve a business website, as design and business  was something I was personally looking into over the summer break. I reasoned that every step of this project would take rhetorical appeals to be persuasive. What do I mean?  Clearly, I had to select the arguments of each step to make this project work.  For instance. Approaching the shop owners to build them a new website had its own set of implications. For example what if they really liked the website they already had, as one of the owners did; and, would they be insulted by the idea of a new and more up-to-date website.  Would my suggestion to build them a new website and media package put them off, and leave me without this opportunity?  So I reflected on the skills that we learned in working in collaborative group projects. Some of you might remember peer tutoring, or classes where we had to give feedback without throwing stones, or collaborating with people with varying ideas.  The trick, or skill, was to listen carefully and to try to take a multitude of perspectives before considering on over arching idea. I approached the shop owners with a mutual interest to increase business, and to create a site that was more inline with what the competitors had.  How could they argue with the logos that other tattoo shops had modern websites that where pulling in more customers.

Not to go on and on, but each design choice each change would have to be backed by some type of logos appeal, that extended my ethos as a frellance designer, and also extended their buisness ethos as I am attempting to build brand idenity for the compant as I have shortly explained in other blog postings.

I plan on posting the abridged version of my proposal and reflection near the end of the semester for more detailed and lucid explanations. The only portion that I will leave out is my process and work flow. In my opinion that is insider information that makes me marketable and is something you will have to develop on your own.  To say the least I have gained enough clients over the last ten weeks to keep me busy for a while. I have three websites that I am going to build, a media/press package for a hip hop artist, and a local and up coming band that is currently touring the east coast.

All in all, this project is near completion.

WORK IN MOTION

Posted: October 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Let’s put it this way, designing a website, a logo, or anything else related to business can be as easy as using a template, stock vector images, or generic typeface. However to really design with brand identity in mind—the ethos of a company—one has to think about brand identity ideals. Here is a list of ideals to consider as you are designing a brand identity.  

 

Vision

Meaning

Authenticity

Differentiation

Durability

Coherence

Flexibility

Commitment

Value

 

Simply as I design this media package for the tattoo studio I have to consider much more than the composition of images and lines. I must think beyond just making it look “cool”. The fact of the matter is designing really cool things is just a part of what needs to go into producing a media package that represents all of the ideals of a company, as listed above. 

 

Much of my time spent on this project has been doing research.  I spend as much time looking at the culture of the tattoo industry as I do gathering information about how this tattoo studio is different from its competition.   The idea is to create a position, or a niche that the tattoo studio can fill within its business industry, this is differentiation.  It is no different than wanting to have a prom dress that is unmatched by any other. To have the same dress pulls the direct attention away from one particular person and divides attention between two similar icons. The idea is to be unique but still within the fashion of the time.

 

Where I am at with this project is in the conceptualization process of creating the exact brand identity that will capture this company. Although I am doing my “homework before getting to the actual visual designing I am spending a lot of time within the new media art learning Dream Weaver, Illustrator, Java Script, Photoshop, html, CSS.  I also am getting heavily involved in art. The principles of fine art can be applied, just like rhetoric to just about anything visual that you are creating. All in all I am a busy dude

Designing Brand Idenity

Posted: September 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hey gang. I am not a very crafty writer when it comes to this kinda of stuff, hang with me. However I want to get better so I am going to attempt to blog each week to describe some of the many steps that I am going through to create a great media package. This week it’s all about creating brand identity.

This week my goal is to sit down and do some round table discussion on the values and visions  of the company.  This is similar to a process in ethnography where the observer gets to learn as much as possible about what makes this culture distinctly different.  Essentially open-ended interviews with guiding questions to reach a general thesis. This is a form of  inductive reasoning where specifics are generalized and create a more or less an over arching picture of what the culture looks like. This is the staple in creating brand identity. For example look at Target. There company is a big box retail outlet, similar to Walmart. However the difference between their two companies  is “positioning”.  As Walmart offers the lowest prices, Target offers something distinctly different. Both companies share the retail market but each have a different position as mentioned earlier. Clever as this may sound positioning is offering something that separates you from your competitor. Target offers a designer look at an affordable price. Target gets some of the worlds  best designers to create for them and mass produces items that are functional and esthetically pleasing.  In general people don’t go to Walmart looking for designer goods, but rather lowest prices, and on the other hand people do go to target looking for something with a little more “bling” and style to them. And in short both are considered big box retail outlets. However each has branded themselves with different values and work cultures.

So this week I am going to be jamming out on this process. I just finished reading a book on the topic so I am hoping that guides me well.

 

Good luck to my school mates working on your stuff. I am excited for all of us. Graduation is approaching faster and faster.

 

 

Nuts and Bolts

Posted: September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Early in the summer I had been introduced through a mutual friend to the three artist of a small tattoo shop, Lucky Devil Tattoos.  Over the summer months our friendship grew and we became close; close enough I was able to voice my concern to them that there media presentation was behind the times.  They asked what I thought could be better.  I mentioned that there website was out of date (This is their old site: www.luckydeviltattoomi.com). I proposed that I build them a new website that could support a multi platform user experience, one that was more in line with the conventions of the times. For those of you unfamiliar to what multi platform means, it is simply a site that displays and functions on handheld devices, like smart phones, tablets, etc. as it does on the standard desk top. This also means functionality between operating systems like Windows, Macs and Linux.  They were persuaded to hand over the reins and let me do my thing. This is where the opportunity to turn this into a senior project made the most sense.

Let us get right down to the nuts and bolts of my project.  My project is a hybrid between an internship and a thesis.  Because I am a student in the new media track I was prepared to take my education on a bit of a test drive. This is where the internship becomes a thesis. Although I am creating a new and improved website that I will unveil toward the end of the semester, I will also continue to synthesize a thesis that describes how a broad liberal education supports the ability to learn new literacy efficiently and independently.  Essentially I ration that my education did not provide all of the skills I need to work with new media directly, but it did however train me to learn and adapt independently to gain many other literacies (i.e. Java script, adobe creative suite, consumer behavior, Google analytics etc. to name a few). My education thus goes far beyond the limited scope of training for today’s tools and technologies. Rather it sets me up to be versatile and adaptive for all the shifts in technology for years to come.

I often have been bitter about my education at Oakland University thinking that it has not offered me the skills to compete. Like sitting in ethnography class wondering what this had to do with anything I would eventually do. However as I design the new website I have to dive in and understand the culture of the tattoo industry, so that the site reflects them and not me. In short as I engage in creating a new media package for my friends at lucky devil it has never been so clear to me that my education has provided me with a type of meta literacy in which all other literacies can be learned (learning to learn).