Learning about design!

Well, it’s undoubtedly a late start to the week. But with two exams worth 20% each in those classes I think ds106 was worth putting off. Just makes this weekend a little hectic, but do-able! So here we go, the first assignment of the week was to read the booklet, The Vignelli Canon by Massimo Vignelli. I have had zero experience with design so I’m trying to keep with three main ideas he mentioned for the next less than 48 hours: semantics (the meaning), syntatics (the details), and pragmatics (the ability to communicate our intent).

The main thing this booklet got me thinking about, however, is how design is in everything. It reminds me of a discussion in Theory of Knowledge I had in high school. We had a unit on art (which is incredibly difficult to define especially amongst a group). We discussed Steve Jobs and how his devices (the macbook, the iPhone, the iPad, the iPod, etc.) needed not only utility but also beauty. It almost seems to be part of human nature that if we are to create even for practical purposes, beauty is important.

My research advisor and I have been working on developing a new method for our research so we’ve had to build this whole apparatus. It needed a water bath that would be continuously refilled with cold water and hold a series of filters and under the filters hold the test tubes to be hit with light. The water bath was build to be rectangular with one end that let out the water. But we also spray painted black the water bath, despite this being unnecessary. The piece that holds the filters and test tubes was also spray painted black which gives the two items a sense of unity. The piece the holds the filters is symmetrical partially for practical application but also adds to aesthetic appeal.

Our apparatus we designed for research purposes.

Our apparatus we designed for research purposes.

It was also interesting to see how design was applied to written works. Spacing is huge in appealing to the eye. One of the last things I always do when writing a paper, particularly one with figures is check the spacing and alignment of the figures within the text. Every week I have to write a lab report for analytical I often am frustrated because the spacing for the margins is 1.25 inches, which makes it difficult to make clear figures and additionally the double spacing makes all text look awkward. I understand the necessity but it still irks me a little simply because I feel like the final product is somewhat incomplete.

One thought on “Learning about design!

  1. Making choices like this for #ds106 is a good thing, and with weekly assignments amounting to 4 points, you can sometimes afford to only do portions of it, just be sure to recognize that in the weekly summary. #ds106 is a bear, but when you rule like you do, it’s all possible ;)

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