Sunday, December 7

IDEA District

Some of the latest revisions for the IDEA district in the East Village. Few geometric patterning proposals and an idea for a large sculpture. 

Thursday, December 4

Mingei Museum Tour

Our tour of the Mingei Museum was dedicated to explore the realm of art as well as the design efforts that go behind creating an exhibit and a museum. Our tour guide and in-house graphic designer was Alexis O'Banion who has held the position for a number of years. Bennett Peji, fellow designer, is also a board member at the Mingei and was there to give us his insight and other handy tips. When it comes to designing for the Mingei specifically there is a group of people who decide what the exhibits will be and which pieces will go in there. Alexis' role then is to create a visual representation of the pieces to attract customers and to display information in the exhibits.

The outside of the museum is a glass window-type of display that holds boards with information. For whatever reason they are not lit up so the information needs to be simple and mostly white, to allow ease of readability. Personally this seems like an issue because there is little representation of what is inside the museum. In order to streamline the process for design requests she has a form with detailed questions such as "What is the budget? Do you need photography or illustrations? Who is the audience? What type of distribution is needed? Do you have a deadline?" -She says a lot of "headache" projects quickly end there because someone does not know the answers to these questions or realizes it is more work than it is worth. A program/project management tool called Trello is used to show everyones jobs and the deadlines due. This helps the entire team with requests view the overlap or load of work.

Alexis' advice:
Turn in a printed portfolio if company is accepting them.
If having a phone interview, turn the questions into a conversation.
Be self motivated and a self learner.
Many people will be happy to answer informational interviews and talk to people who want advice.
Don't be insecure about yourself, not everyone can do everything.
Be confident.

Bennett's advice:
Whatever you do, do not bring a portfolio.
Bring instead in mind what you are going to discuss.
With some clients he brings a plan as to how he will get them to their goal.
Once you have shown someone your work they are put in a position that is equal to you or where you are below them since it shows they have the same values or judgement as you (but more than likely they do not since they are hiring a designer).
People go out of business because they run out of money.
Choose your first branch carefully and continue on the path you to go on.
Realize that someone made a sacrifice for you to be where you are and do not forget it.

Wednesday, November 19

Tour of Signage

Went on a great tour of a 

Tuesday, November 4

MTH Degree

Toured Mth Degree in Downtown San Diego, CA. Seriously great tour (possibly one of my favorites). Steve Morris took time out of his busy schedule to sit down, relax, and discuss his career path and many life ventures. With a fine art background Steve was on course to become a painter. Though that never played out he now owns Mth Degree, owns the building he works in, and dabbles with product design and implementation. Heavily emphasized was strategy and the real thinking behind design. The story being told and finding the correct implementation is key. 

Saturday, October 18

Jacob Tyler Studio Tour

Thanks for the photo Koa!

Here is the shot I took in the previous photo. 

Jacob Tyler is location in Downtown San Diego on a high level of a historic building. The elevators are gold with intricate details depicting a forest and various flourishes. The security guard didn't allow us to take photos of the elevators and said that people may try to copy the design of these 80(ish) year old doors. Not sure about that. The entry level of Jacob Tyler was extremely impressive, their was a nice meeting room and office areas where the creative directors work. The actual designers (and only ones at work) were all in a seemingly smaller room that was on the cluttery side. It didn't seem to match the grand statement of the entrance or meeting area, but that is the nature of designing. Everything was very red with a hint of retro prints and artwork around the place. Our host Charlie was very nice and explained to us how he started his company and the hiring process of his employees. 

Monday, September 22

I.D.E.A. District Mood Board

i.d.e.a. visit in San Diego, CA

While visiting I.D.E.A, presenter and partner Jonathan said their company wants to “move people, products and culture” and ideally wants to help people different about the brand they are working on. 

Different roles/sections of his business include: Brand Partners, Brand Managers, Brand Strategy, Brand Purpose, Public Relations, Creative, Design Traditional/Digital, Social Media, and web. They are part of a bigger team called Taan Worldwide which is a global network that hosts many ad and communications agencies. They work together to help on projects when it comes to being politically correct or need help reaching an audience in a market. By having a contact person in those different countries they can run presentations in person and have a face to face interaction with a variety of clients. 

Most recently they have become a certified B Corporation which is achieved by being a company that “does god in the world” Etsy, Warby Parker, King Arthur Flour & Ben+Jerrys are a few in this category. To do so they had to eliminate a certain percentage of paper use, eliminated ALL plastics from their office, encouraged alternate forms of transportation (hence bikes in the office), and donate a certain percentage of money/time to charities. 

When presenting an option to a client they show three: easy or safe, a relatively standard/normal version, and a daring version, “we always hope they choose the daring one.” They get to do about two daring projects a year. They strive to reach out to new audiences while keeping the current. He then went into examples of the Harrah’s Resort “Adult Swim Saturdays” which transformed a typically older crowd into an off the wall raging pool party with a lazy river and swim up bar. Girls in bikinis passed out free passes at the local beach. They had airplane banners and planted graphics on the local busses. He kept emphasizing the need to attract “hard bodied” guests. 

He also covered the Del Mar Fair Horse Races and how they also tried to attract an untapped audience: the younger crowd. “Once the current crowd dies off, literally, there will be no one to go to these races.” So they hosted a type of “social media/fashion” event where they had drinks and a burlesque dancer. The whole point was to have fellow Instagram users attend, take pictures of themselves, and share their experiences. They tried to contact celebrities to attend the horse races, also. The emphasis was on this wild/fun party and “oh, there happens to be horses”-which would eventually lead to younger crowd getting into betting. 

John quotes “All the ideas in the world don’t mean shit if you can’t make it sell a product for your client”
He also emphasized to not lose your integrity. We asked him about taking on projects that were less desirable and he said “we aren’t assholes, we are just particular" about who they choose to do business with. 

Friday, September 5

Salk Institute

Took a tour of Salk Institute with in-house designer Maximo Escobedo. I have heard of him before and seen him a few times at many AIGA events, but have never had the chance to hear him speak. A very down to earth guy with a great story on his design ventures which led him to this position. I can see how working an in institution can be more stressful and can tell there are more people to please, lines to avoid crossing, and boundaries to be set. 

Aside from those challenges Maximo explained how he deals with them, and how much effort he puts into the work he does. He also goes above and beyond what he is asked to do and keeps sketches to remind himself of those ideas. For someone who has worked for many different companies (including running own business at one point) his idea of going above the required workload is the most admirable. 

We got a history of the building, the various details that went into it's creation and he mentioned that there is a strong bond between arts and science at the Salk Institute. They host charity and fundraising events that revolve around music through the year to continue funding. He also showed us the steps taken to create a quarterly publication and the trials and tribulations that he went through. One mistake can literally cause thousands of dollars, but found the best way to handle a difficult situation to help avoid it in the future. 

Wednesday, September 3

Background: Graphic Designer with 2-3 years experience working in a professional design studio. Previously a staff/band photographer for The Daily Aztec. Employed at various clothing stores since 2008, and currently a Specialist at Apple.

I am a graphic designer, but also have a strong interest and have some experience with planning events-parties, bridal showers, weddings, and galas. I enjoy creating signage and e-vites for friends, helping create centerpieces, creating favors for guests, etc. I also love gift wrap, I make a lot of handmade cards for birthdays, and love hand lettering. I try to stay on top of (design/fashion/makeup/decor) trends since I work at Apple and help a lot of really hip customers, and spend a lot of time looking through Pinterest and other social media sites.

Objective: To create a logo, business cards, and stationary that can be applied to a website and/or social media outlets. I have used a logo in the past, but am more interested in creating a new mark.

Desired outcome: Would like to be able to use my created pieces to network and create a functioning website that displays my work.

Target Audience: I am doing this for myself since I have lacked a solid site and brand since I have started designing. Would like to use these cards or information for friends to hand out to potentially gain freelance positions or help with event designing.

Keywords: Vibrant, colorful, hand lettered, folk, fresh, bold, fun.

This is my current logo. I had gone through a few rough sketches and Candice's husband Rafael helped sketch over my illustration to create this version. I may try to update it or scrap it, but love that it was a collaboration with an artist I highly admire. 

Tuesday, September 2


I have visited MiresBall in the past, but am always getting new information about their company or projects that is fresh and exciting. Though they work on "bigger" client projects they still have room for creativity. Our small class was led into a conference room filled with magnet boards and a few sample projects. Elisha Lutz, Director of Marketing led the chat as she discussed her previous work experience that led to the position she has today. Since the course is about the business of design, we talked about the effort put in when working with a client and the type of problem solving that needs to occur.

She discussed a recent project-the rebranding for The Brigantine and Miguel's Cantina, a family owned and operated set of restaurants that are all around San Diego. They initially were scoping out different firms and found they had "clicked" with MiresBall. Brigantine wanted a website originally, and knew they needed some sort of updated graphic presence but weren't sure what they needed. Miresball went back and forth negotiating prices regarding the amount of work that was going to be done, and created a solution that was current and applicable to their restaurants now, and easily adjustable-should their business expand. Elisha mentioned that it is hard to track how successful a brand refresh is, regardless of what company it is for. The one metric they have is checking out how reservations have increased or decreased since the refresh. MiresBall also comes up with a plan on how to release all of these items-new menu design, employee uniforms, outside signage, website, etc. so it isn't an overwhelming or overnight change.