MFA Candidates Have Something to Prove

Just What is a Design Master’s Thesis?

I’m often asked to clarify exactly what a graphic design thesis is for frustrated Master students. A few examples will hopefully be of some use.

A “thesis,” literally, is something you propose is true. Comparing the advertising styles of Burma with those of the Netherlands is not a valid thesis, but demonstrating they have some sort of common graphic ancestry or influences would be. Demonstrating they don’t wouldn’t beā€¦unless the world thought they did. You want to prove something previously unrecognized or presumed false, or disprove something previously held true.

As a Master’s degree candidate, you’re expected to have sufficient experience and interest in design to have some well-founded opinions and suppositions about the field. What could be improved in design? What are designers overlooking? Anyone can have an opinion, but you get a Master’s degree because you’ve successfully defended yours. It becomes a well-supported, academic contribution to the field of graphic design. Continue reading

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Medieval Help Desk

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Can Design Save the Newspaper? Jacek Utko

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A Site About Something

[imagebrowser id=1]

I’m approaching the release of a project that I’ve had the enormous pleasure of working on with author and composer Richard Geller and 3D artist Silvia Sayas for two years. It hasn’t been a full-time endeavor but has involved many, many hours of discussion and planning as well as production work. I’m not going to reveal yet what A Site About Something is about, but wanted to share a few preview images.

I’ll be writing quite a bit about the site both here and in A Blog About because the work illustrates a number of philosophies I’ve developed about the nature of engaging web experiences, some bold new marketing strategies, a new vision for user interface design, and some techniques I’d like to share pertaining to digital illustration and the actionscript that brings it to life.

For now, enjoy the preview images. More to come soon.

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PALO! website image

PALO! website image

My latest project – a website for Miami’s “Cuban Funk” band PALO! that borrows heavily from old Havana and Miami ephemera. The “store” is an old Cuban ration book. Explore and enjoy and their excellent music, too. There are a few easter eggs hidden in the site to watch for.

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Check Out Dipity

What a cool tool for timelines, presentations, etc.

Free to set up at

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The Font Conference

Typefaces debate whether Zapf Dingbats should be allowed into the Font Conference.

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America is F*cked (Graphically at least)

America Is F*cked…….(Graphically at least) from Jess Gibson on Vimeo.

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Strange Maps

I found this one quite by accident; a blog with articles and images of wonderful maps. This is real design geek stuff here. These maps provide a very interesting look at how information has been organized, prioritized and presented through history.

Check out Strange Maps

Japanese Air Raid Map 1938

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BOOM! Student Interactive Advertising

I usually teach at a college level, but was asked to teach a 3 1/2 day course in “interactive advertising” to high school students between quarters. I wasn’t sure what skill levels I’d have, and there was a mix of interest between advertising strategy and production across the seven students. We decided to create a mock interactivity agency and that path took us through discussions of branding, technology and a few hours spent looking at what other agencies were doing.

I’d like to share what a group of very clever high school students can do in a half-week with a bit of technical help, project management and scheduling support.

Continue reading

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