theory

  • #TBT: creative spaces edition

    A look back at my desk from senior year of college at Kansas City Art Institute. That was a good time, and a good space; a lot of late nights and creative binges happened there.

    Looking at their website, it doesn’t look like they still use those desks (or even exist in the same building anymore), and all the professors are different than when I was there. I wonder what the space looks like today, where those desks are, and who has possibly sat there and created since I was there. It feels like a long time since I was there (I moved away from Kansas City shortly after graduation) and I sometimes miss the atmosphere that develops in such an environment—with like minded people working to better their skills for the enjoyment of it more than to make a paycheck. Not to say that my new environment isn’t proving to be just as exciting and enriching as that as, but the memories from KCAI will always be dear to me.

  • Site update

    Dear viewers,

    It is long past due for this site update. The old theme just no longer fit with my evolving personal brand and it was time for some revisions. Unfortunately, read more

  • The Failure of Etiquette On Pinterest (and Tumblr)

    Given the popularity (and quick growth) of sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, they obviously have something to offer the internet community. However, one thing none of them do (or truly can do themselves) is guarantee proper citation and attribution to the work that gets shared. That’s where users need to be diligent and respectful of the intellectual property of others, not just the source of discovery. Which is much easier than observed practice would suggest.

    Both Pinterest and Tumblr have built-in UI elements that attribute the source of discovery (e.g. via) which gives credit to where the user found the image, and Pinterest goes a step further by linking to the original source (followed by clicking on the image itself). This constant link along the lifespan of a single pin shows an attempt at proper citation, and is all they can realistically do, but it still has loopholes. As an example, let’s use the typographic image I found pinned to someone else’s board today. It had no reference to where the work had come from, nor did the source they found it on, nor the next one, nor did any of the thirteen boards all the way back to the original pin. That’s sixteen pins without attribution to the original creator. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse, but several of the shares were merely using the illustrated words to promote a separate unrelated topic, not the art itself — but that’s a different discussion.

    The Failure of Pinterest and Tumblr: A Case Study
    So what about the original source link we mentioned earlier? That led to a Tumblr blog, which once again offered attribution to the source of discovery but nothing to the original source or creator. Following the thread of shares leads back through ten more Tumblr blogs before terminating at an account that was deactivated in 2011. All told, that’s twenty-eight points of sharing where no one bothered to give credit to the artist who drew the original work. And that’s only a single thread. There are easily more divulging branches at each of the twenty-eight points, as each one in turn was repinned & reblogged by more than the user I followed back.

    Was it really that hard for any of those people to use Google Image search (even here, our sought for result was three pages back, buried by all the reposts of the image) to trace the image back to the Flickr  account of justlucky, who’s user profile conveniently linked to his personal website, wherein was his name — Drew Melton — the original creator of the now twenty-nine times shared image.

    Curator's Code

     

  • SOPA, PIPA, and the Inability to Share Music

    So, yesterday was eventful, right? Parts of the internet ‘blacked out’ when people, businesses, and organizations shut down or otherwise altered their website viewing experience in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Google kept it simple, donning black in protest, but after Wikipedia closed off it’s site Twitter exploded as students everywhere realized they no longer knew where the library was or how to find the reference section, and common outlets for distraction couldn’t be counted on either as they too were blacked out for 24 hours. I won’t bother pointing out all the reasons and arguments against these two bills (or argue in favor of them) as the information is all across the internet right now, but I will go on record and say that I oppose SOPA and I oppose PIPA.

    zselter.com was censored for January 18, 2012zselter.com was censored for January 18, 2012My post yesterday was ironically well-timed as one of the main reasons I had not posted it sooner was because I was hoping to find a simple and safe means of allowing you to actually listen to the music without infringing on copyright laws. If I were to post tracks, and offer them for download even though they were not mine to give, I could be reprimanded, and rightly so. But the issue many people have with this bill is the vague way in which it is written. If someone were to post links in the comments as a misguided attempt to help, many people fear that the vague way that SOPA is worded would allow the government (or the entertainment industry) to effectively shut my entire site down. So, in the end I put the responsibility on someone else and resorted to using Spotify, even though it requires registration and doesn’t actually offer all the tracks I used. I would love to find a safe way to host music on my site, so if anyone has a suggestion for doing so, sound off in the comments.

  • Creating Jobs…Without Paychecks

    Art Works. A poster contest to support American jobsThe United States is experiencing the worst recession since the Great Depression (1929), and unemployment is among the highest and longest lasting it’s ever been — people are protesting in the streets because a lot of them are scrapping by from month to month. In this time of crisis many individuals turn to our government to be actively working to rectify this situation; and the current administration has begun work to turn things around with the American Jobs Act, but to help kick off this initiative they have fallen to one of the worst vendor/client relationship clichés ever. read more

  • What’s your favorite color?

    Paula Scher answers the question 'What is your favorite color?'
    I use to have a favorite color. It was purple.
    And then my favorite colored changed, and it was green, then blue, then back to green, a brief stint in red, so on and so forth.

    At one point during college when I was actually meeting better known designers from time to time I thought it would be fun to collect their favorite colors. By which I mean I planned to ask them when I met them what their favorite color was. I thought it was a simple enough exercise, never intending to be anything more than a brief return to younger days when things were simple and you had a favorite color. So when a few friends and I took a 500 mile road trip to visit Chicago and attend a small design conference in Dekalb I took the opportunity to ask Paula Scher what her favorite color was, and was somewhat frustrated with her answer.

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  • DING!

    Business First - On The Move, September 26, 2011.I was in Business First today as part of their ‘On The Move’ section, for getting promoted to Senior Designer at work. I haven’t been able to get my hands on a physical copy of the paper yet, but it’s still kind of cool to be in there; even if I know it was set up, so to speak. I was part of the promotion process, in that I was informed beforehand at least, and it led me to looking at design job titles — which are decidedly limited in their scope.

    From what I can tell, the basic progression is thus:
    Junior Designer  > Designer  > Senior Designer  > Art Director  > Chief Design Officer  > Partner/Principal

    Maybe I’m misinformed on the standards in other fields but that really doesn’t seem like much to me. There’s not much room for incremental growth. You could put Intern at the beginning if you want, throw in Production Artist somewhere, put Creative Director either with or somewhere around Art Director, but CDO is not something I’ve ever come across in actual conversation (though maybe that’s more indicative of my professional networking than the field itself). You can also choose titles much more specialized in an area of your choice such as Interactive Designer, Graphic Designer, or Web Designer.

    Maybe I’m completely naive for wanting something more incremental (I blame video games for conditioning me to expect immediate leveling up), and I’m not sure what you would even call a position between Designer and Senior Designer, so it’s probably good that one has to be in a single title for several years through numerous challenges before they get a new title. Truly pay your dues and familiarize yourself as much as possible with the tasks at hand before you achieve that next rank. Because I’m still relatively new to the industry compared to a lot of people and I know I don’t have the experience to be a good Director of anything yet. Right now I’m just happy to have leveled to Senior Designer, even if it makes me sound a little geriatric.

     

  • ‘Support’ can mean many different things

    I like to do good deeds.

    I may not always be the best at it — I might tell the guy on the corner I don’t have any change before I take the time to actually check, and I don’t volunteer for community services nearly as much as I arguably should, but we don’t always have to be the absolute best at something to make a difference.

    This February, my colleagues and I will be participating in Bowl for Kids Sake 2011 which helps support Big Brothers Big Sisters: whose mission is “to help children reach their potential through one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth.”

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