Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Final Post

1. - Challenging = One of the most challenging things that I had to do in Design Intelligence was working in a group on the fashion design presentation. Usually group work goes well because I am an agreeable person who likes to contribute to the group's efforts, however this group did not function well. Certain people did not want to do their share of work, while others were manipulative (which I just cannot understand because they were only hurting the group as a whole).
- Rewarding = One of the most rewarding things that I did this quarter was mentioning 'pipes' on my blog. At the time I wrote this it seemed like nothing to me, just an example, something simple. This however led to a few different class discussions, including the first discussion about pipes where I was able to argue my point that some people go to Home Depot just to browse. Was this point relevant? No, but many of the points that the other person involved in this debate makes daily are not relevant either. It was just nice to get a chance to refute a certain person and prove my point even though what was being said did not matter.
- Interesting = The most interesting reading this semester was the one about Paco Underhill and his observations of retail shopping. I think that it is amazing how strong the patterns of human behavior really are. This reading helped me to fully understand how manipulative the shopping experience can really be.

2. In Design Intelligence I learned a ton about group discussions; including how they should work, and how they actually progress. The only classes in high school where we would ever have discussions similar to the ones we always had in seminar were in AP English senior year, and in some art classes (although the art discussions weren't really that similar). I think seminar was a good class because I learned a lot about design in regards to things that I deal with almost everyday, and along the way I got to know a certain group of people quite well.

3. In the future I will definitely take a more through look at a product's design and function before purchasing it.
For the people aspect, I think I have now gotten a feel for they mix of students who go to K College and what types of personalities they have. This hopefully will help me in the future when I need to decide who I want to work with for a group project.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Behavioral Architecture

1. One architectural flaw (I wouldn't call it an 'epic failure') is the fireplace in my house. Instead of being located along an outside wall the fireplace is in the middle of the house. This is nice because there is extra window space along the outside walls. However the fireplace being in the middle of the house completely ruins the basement. There is a huge cement support in the middle of my basement so you can literally only walk around the perimeter of the basement. Along with the giant support block someone decided to also group the furnace and hot water heater in the middle. Because of this only small sections of my basement can be used, and no one area can function well as a room or normal living space.

2. Hoben Hall (where I live) functions much better than most of the other residence halls. The design of the floor levels that don't totally match up seems weird however they are this way because of the cathedral ceiling in the lounge. I like that Hoben is basically laid out in a straight line (this way it is not confusing). This is the main architectural reason that makes it better than most other residence halls on campus.
From a visual standpoint, Hoben's red brick and white window exterior looks wonderful. The big windows that face the outside porches on either side add a lot of appeal to the building itself (at least for me).

3. The biggest flaw currently in the design process is the architects lack of feedback. What I found most interesting about the reading was the statement about a review board going into a building to see if they like it and want to commission the architect to work for them. Instead of analyzing the functionality of the building itself or looking at how often space becomes available, the people on the review board look for cracks in the ceiling that they then blame the architect for. It wouldn't matter how great a job the architect did designing the building, if one of the construction workers shingling the roof did a poor job, the architect will not be used.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ads Fads & Consumer Culture

1. "Others are brainwashed by ads and commercials, but not us, we think- as we find ourselves purchasing products we feel, somehow, we must have. Thus, we play into the hands of advertisers who use our illusion that we are not affected by advertising against us."
I find this passage interesting because it is based on manipulation of the everyday consumer. I like to think that I am not extremely influenced by commercials but I have come to terms with the fact that I am in fact influenced. I think that most educated people, such as myself, like to think that they are not influenced by ads, however realistic people know deep down that they really are influenced.

2. The author's key points were that advertising plays a large role in the socialization of people young and old, advertising is used because it is effective in multiple ways, and that TV plays a large role in our teaching/learning experience as Americans.
The author mentioned a lot about TV commercials and how when he was analyzing commercials he felt the opposite of how he did when he was watching a program. Instead of there being too many commercials that took up way to much time, there were extremely long gaps of time between commercial breaks and it was frustrating. This was almost hard to believe but it makes sense that if a person is to change the way they watch TV that they would in fact feel impatient waiting for the commercials.

3. Having a psychological understanding is important when making an advertisement. If the person making the ad knows how to influence people they will most likely have a higher success rate. I found what the author wrote about people responding positively to commercials that avoid logical decision making to be interesting. After thinking about this for a moment I could easily agree with the statement. I thought about commercials run during the Superbowl (some of the most expensive air time throughout the year). Many of the commercials involve everyday people taking part in superhuman activities, or going on extraordinary spy missions. These anti-rational commercials always seem to be the most popular in water-cooler discussions and the products advertised also tend to be quite popular ones.

*The link to my Wikipedia paper page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_for_Environment

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fashion Design

1. Fashion design is reflective because people are constantly judging and being judged based on their clothing choices. Having 'cool' or 'different' taste in clothing is the same as having indie cred. And since fashion is visceral, an individual will not have to convince others that they in fact knew of a band first, the just have to walk around in their 'cool' clothes and people will see that they are not main stream.

2. Fashion trends change because people change. A new generation does not want to wear anything that looks remotely similar to what the generation before (their parents) wore. However this is not always the case because fashion cycles and things that were once in style come back in again. The trend of vintage clothing is something that seems to frequently be popular.
Another way that time relates to fashion is in regards to what is going on in the world. During WWII when women started seeing images of Rosie the Riveter and participating in the war efforts pants started becoming much more popular for women. Women's fashion changing so dramatically in this time period was strictly functional.

3. Things to consider when designing a garment:
a) The consumer
b) The fabric used
c) Pricing
d) Aesthetics
e) Timing

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Atlanta: Does Edge City Have a Future

1. I feel that the thesis of this article is not as clear as it should be. The thesis is something along the lines of Atlanta being not only economically reckless, but just reckless in general.

2. All the information states that Atlanta is not economically sound, and that its residents are not doing anything to help the matters at hand.
a) Kunstler mentions that Atlanta was "out of compliance with the 1990 Clean Air Act," and because of this the city itself was going to lose out on over 1.5 billion dollars that going to be provided to fix roadways that were in need of some severe help. Did the people of Atlanta decide they needed to stop polluting in order to improve the quality of life and also make it possible to keep the funding that was being provided to fix the road system? No, the people of Atlanta sat back and did nothing. The driving/transportation system was just as bad as ever and the people of Atlanta were waiting around (most likely stuck in traffic and polluting the environment) for 'someone' to come up with a plan.
b) The government of the state of Georgia implemented a new plan (because they no longer had transportation funding) with the establishment of the Georgia Regional Transportation Agency. This sounds like it may be a good plan, but it in fact ends with the Georgia legislation giving total control to their Governor and basically deciding to cut off areas that don't want to pay for their own method of public transportation in and out of the city.
c) Fed up with all of the traffic and roadway problems in Atlanta, a local man who got tired of waiting at a red light simply took out his gun and "shot out" the signal.

3. If I were writing an opposing argument I would most definitely include something that argues that the people of Atlanta should not have to think of an idea to reduce their pollution while the government has now taken away all of its money that could have potentially helped said problem. I would also include facts about people from other states that are in much better shape and the crazy things that these people are doing, and how they are far worse than shooting out a traffic light.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Downtown Field Trip Analysis

1. The downtown Kalamazoo business area is planned out in a typical yet functional manner. Burdick Street, the main shopping avenue, is ascetically pleasing to shoppers who stroll down the street. The sidewalks are paved with red brick in a nice pattern, and there are just the right amount of trees, trash cans, and places to sit.
Having limited traffic on Burdick Street as well as a few parallel parking spots is a good idea, however since downtown Kalamazoo is filled with one way streets it is extremely hard to navigate even if you kind of know where you are going; meaning a lot of people have probably never driven down Burdick street.

2. a) Burdick Street should have two lanes of traffic, one in each direction, as well as some parallel parking along the street. This is probably no possible or at least logical because the sides walks would be pretty narrow if this was to happen. By having a larger amount of traffic flow down the street the shops would get more publicity and attention from potential customers.
b) All buildings that are in use should have signs. There was one store that I saw on Burdick Street that had no signs. When our class was downtown the store was also closed. From looking in the windows I could tell that the store was in fact a nice restaurant that was still in business, it just didn't open until dinner time. I figured that when 4 o'clock rolls around the restaurant probably puts one of those folding signs in the middle of the sidewalk outside of their business, but that is not as beneficial as having a sign visible at all times.
c) If something looks like a door yet a person can not exit through it they should somehow know this. When inside a building on Burdick Street, that has alot of store inside of one building, I went into a market type store. I don't remember the name of this store but I remember that it had a deli and cafe where people could get lunch, as well as a smaller upscale looking grocery store attached. Since this building was old and the current store was larger than the original store in the building, many of the original doors that would have been to separate stores were visible along the length of the wall. There was only one functional entrance to the store, however it looked like there were about 5 other places to enter and exit. Obviously the store isn't going to have doors in the back where there are no registers and where no one is; this would encourage theft. My idea is that where the original doors are along the length of one wall there should be some type of display that is somewhat in front of each door. There was always a clear path leading up to the doors and a shopper could not tell that they could not use them until pushing against the locked door.

3. In Whyte's chapter about the design of the street he writes about "pedestrian flow itself coming in bunches. "The traffic light at the corner is a key factor..." In downtown Kalamazoo, especially walking down Michigan, I have noticed that the traffic lights seem to be in time with a normal walking pace. Once I stop at the first light I will not have to stop again because just as I am reaching the next corner to cross the street the light turns green in the direction that I am walking and I do not have to pause. This along with pedestrians stopping or slowing down in front of window displays does create bunching of people as they walk down the street.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Egg Container Process

1. When designing our egg container Caleb and I wanted to make something that was compact and looked visually appealing. Apparently our container was a little too small because it did not have enough padding inside to throughly protect our egg. I think if we had put a plastic bag parachute on our container (like many other groups did) that our egg's chances of survival would have improved tremendously.

2. Building our container was simple enough, we grabbed a box out of the recycling, the fake spiderwebs that were going to be thrown away in the bookstore, and were given some play-dou by my RA. Once we compiled these materials into one, with the help of some tape of course, we printed out a funny and appealing label to put on our container. Our most creative aspect was the coloring and design of the lettering on our package. We made the words "Egg-Saver" into and arc and colored in the letters of the word "saver" in the order red, yellow, green, magenta, red. This is the same as the coloring of the font on the Life-Saver candy packaging. I liked this idea, but i guess we should have spent more time thinking of a better way to keep our egg safe. =(

Here is the link to Caleb's blog: