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Art is a Legitimate Degree

Students seem pressured by the majority of parents and school counselors to guide them into choosing majors that appear more tangible in terms of being able to earn a living. More often than not, art does not fall into that category. Even though, most everything we touch, see, and hear was created with contribution from creative professionals—otherwise known as artists or designers. Art is a practical major that foster’s the growth of values such as employability, efficiency, and creativity.

Art majors have opportunities to try new forms of media, earn skills and techniques that will help them work efficiently and consistently, and complete original research projects. They  learn discipline and focus, to give and take criticism, to work collaboratively, and be resourceful. They are connected to a network of creators. They learn how to communicate and maintain long lasting relationships within our community. They must be critical thinkers and be knowledgeable on a variety of subjects. Art creates a solid foundation for personal success because our culture values originality and innovation. Art is a legitimate degree because you learn necessary career skills, you otherwise would not learn, that can be applied directly after graduation.

Discovering Design

I spent two years studying law until I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. From a young age I’ve always been more creatively inclined. I would take part in school art/photography competitions and shows though none of the work was computer based. Even though it was something I’ve always enjoyed I initially never thought about pursuing as a career for many reasons, mostly practical. Until one of my friends suggested I take an intro to Graphic Design course to cover my art gen-ed. It was the most bizarre feeling, to actually be excited to go to class. To genuinely want to do well because I just really wanted to be good at what I was doing. I had never before experienced such passion or felt so at ease knowing that I was truly doing what I love and haven’t looked back since.

The Mixture of Culture and Design


Culture always had a huge on influence on design throughout history. From architecture to advertisements, there is always a sense of distinction on how and where they are created. I feel the trend of incorporating culture into design has increased among graphic designers. Many designers are using cultures of their own and others to create their works of art. Everyone wants to create something different and new. People are using cross culture designs to form a new trend in art and functionality. For example, I have seen designs with a combination of Japanese and Russian impressions which are incredible and aesthetically pleasing. However, it is difficult to find the right balance of combining culture and design. Designers must be careful on how and when to fuse culture essence into their work. When is it appropriate to add culture influence? Who is your target audience for this artwork? These are important questions designers must ask themselves before trying to create a design that is both cultural and effective.

Logo Design

Logo design is all around us. Whether we walk outside and see a billboard of a particular brand that looks familiar or whether we shop at the grocery store and notice logos on food products, logos never cease to show up. They are everywhere. Even when surfing the web, logo designs may show up in a search, either intentionally or unintentionally. There is a big market for logo design and those who are apart of that business have so many opportunities to branch out and decide where to start their business. Either by working for a corporate company or choosing to do freelancing for clients or even committing to both sides of the field may be the right path to take.

The world would be a boring and sad place without logos. A logo represents a company, brand, product, idea and so on, because when a person sees a logo, they associate the logo with the brand or company that it is with. Many companies and organizations need logo designers to expand their company name and reputation by creating a design that is visually stimulating to the viewer in order to keep consumers wanting that specific company’s product and business. Without logos, the public would not understand a company and what it represents if it did not have a physical logo to associate it with.

I Hope It Was a Dream

We all know who Santa Claus is. And if you don’t, what rock have you been living under? Santa is a figure of Christmas and delivers gifts to all the children in the world. Going back into my childhood, I remembered a dream I had when I was 5. However when I think about this dream, I REALLY HOPE IT WAS A DREAM.

It was very vivid, it felt real. It was probably around midnight when I snuck down to the living room to see if there were any presents. Right behind the Christmas tree, Santa jumps out and appears in the living room. I was very excited to see him in my home and he was very cheerful. However some parts of the dream become hazy, but I remember what happens near the end.

Later in the dream, I was sitting in my room, my back leaning against my bed. Santa was sitting right in front of me. He had a look of worry on his face and constantly kept looking behind his back. He was moving his hands towards me. And then I woke up.

As a child, I may have been excited. But as an adult, I hope it wasn’t real.

Lost in the Imbalance of Text


Ironically, if there’s one word that could best describe this poster, “Hanging in the imbalance”, it’s ‘imbalanced.’ Although the designer’s risky move in creating such a wild poster can be applauded, there are a couple of key issues that really stand out and keep it from its true potential.


Simple yet Effective Design

First, the positives: the poster design succeeds in getting its central message out. The diagonal form helps draw the eye towards the globe in the lower-right corner, along with its message urging viewers to vote. Rising from the globe are cut-outs of the United States, playing along to the title of the poster as these forms humorously fly away from the earth; the color-scheme, plus the line variation, gives enough creative flavor that helps provide an entertaining style. With a strong white background and simplistic form, the overall design of the poster is easily approachable for most viewers. It gets its message across instantly with minimal amounts of eye-movement, ensuring that everything from the poster is appreciated. However the poster suffers from an imbalance caused by one main flaw: its text.


A Mismatch in Font

Although the imagery itself is effective and easily understood at a glance, the text that accompanies it unfortunately ends up becoming overly excited and wild. The use of two different fonts and placement styles work against each other. The “Vote” portion has a creative Art Deco style; the sharp angles of the font run well with the two black lines that converge upon the globe, which creates a decent artistic flow.

However, the placement of the “2016” cuts into the letter ‘V’, enough so that it’s difficult to tell what letter it was at first glance. Additionally the style of the “2016” has a cartoonishly simple use of depth, with added lines that make every number appear unflatteringly blocky; the lines received little consideration in how they’re built, and the lack of color to block off the background white further ruins the illusion of depth. This isn’t mentioning how drastically different it stylistically is from the “Vote” portion. Altogether there is a conflict of style that distracts the eye away from the illustrated design occurring around the text.


Closing Lessons

Thankfully this distracting blemish of a good design can be easily repaired. By simply keeping to a single font-style, and constructing the lettering to remain consistent with itself, a more effective design can be produced. No additional changes need to be made, and the rest of the work can remain the same. Much of the strength already lies in the illustrated parts. A re-working of the text doesn’t so much as saves the poster, but would be effective in making use of what is already working.


This poster shows that every aspect must be considered when relating back to the work as a whole, even when it comes to text.

Ambiguity of the Vote

When I first opened the link to my assigned design, I had almost no idea what it was I was looking at. I sat in my seat analyzing what it could possibly be. From the title, I assumed it had something to do with voting. From the shapes in the image, I drew an uncertain conclusion that it was a ballot box with the paper vote being inserted. The whole idea of the ballot box was somewhat forced, but it was the closest thing to accurate from what I gathered.

It turns out, however, that I was way off; after quite some time of doubting and head scratching, I came to realize that the shapes spelled out “vote.” Suddenly it clicked – it’s so simple! It’s right there! V-O-T-E. How could I have not seen this before? I must say in my defense that this design was a bit too puzzly; Two of the letters were clear – the “t” and the “e.” I could make those out, but the “v” and “o” were hiding from site, and I believe I can explain how.

With only two shades present in this image, one can infer that one color is the background and the other is the object, or vice versa. And to make it even more difficult for the viewer, the artist Tejas Soni used an effect called inversion. Inversion can be a tricky tool in design; as with many other aspects of design, it can make or break the image. In this case, I believe it breaks it. The issue here is that my eyes either focus on the “te” or the “vo” alone. I happened to notice the “te” off the bat and my eyes just stuck to that. The blacks suddenly became the objects and the whites are now the background. This is how I missed the “vo.” Now if someone were to view it vice versa, seeing the whites as objects with the blacks as the background, this can also be confusing. They may notice the “vo,” but now what are the white shapes below those two letters? If the artist wanted to make it more readable, a line should separate the “vo” from the “te.” For example, from “te” and below, the rest of the surrounding image should be white to help the letters become more visible in a composition that is rather “either or” between one part being visible over the other. Overall, this piece is not very well put together.

This in turn negatively effects the overall message that it’s trying to convey and its effectiveness. If you create an image that is hard to read, it will push the viewers away before they can even figure out what the image says. I don’t believe the artist did a great job in any way of creating a well designed image. In fact, it should be much clearer and if Tejas were to use abstract shapes, at least make it easier for the viewer to read.

There is one bright side to all the negativity I have said; I believe that, though the overall poor design will affect the effectiveness of this piece, Tejas did a good job of portraying the contrast in the presidential race. This year, the battle was so intense; it was either Donald or Hillary and there really was no middle ground; it was all or nothing. I think the difficult distinction between the “vo” and the “te” represents this very well in the sense that you are either with one side or another; that viewing both at once is unacceptable in the taboo of this past presidential race.

The Challenge of Being an Artist

Being an artist requires a constant creative mind; you need new ideas, inspiration, and refreshers to keep the blood flowing. Lacking any of these will put you behind the game. What separates the lives of artists from non-artists is that while the non-artists have a set duty to fulfill with not much creative input, artists must always come up with something new. For example, someone in the field of IT is told to code something for the company or a client. It’s pretty straight forward – either you know how to code it or you don’t. There’s no in between.  However, if a designer were requested to create a logo for an upcoming shoe brand, well, it’s all down to the creativity of the artist. This is the challenge that all artists must face; being creative, original, and keeping up with the times. But that’s just all part of the fun.

I Once Was Lost…

I never saw myself as a potential art student until I was a junior in high school. That was the first time I voluntarily added “Art 1” to my schedule. I proceeded into senior year with “Art 2” and developed an interest in it as a career. After high school, I realized art as a career might be easier said than done. While I attended Northern Virginia Community College, I found myself lost in where exactly I was going to take my learned art and design skills. Who was going to hire me? I had fleeting thoughts of an advertising job, but knew not how to go about obtaining one. I grew concerned about my future. When I learned about George Mason University’s SoA program and worked a paid internship last summer, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. The SoA so far has leveled me up from what I picked up during my NOVA years, and the company I interned at is looking like a great career opportunity. I now have a concrete idea of what I will potentially be doing after graduating GMU next year.

Use It or Lose It

man with color

Designers should have certain abilities in order to be successful. They must be creative, talented, patient, and love what they are doing. Also they should be confident, believe in their ideas, know how to plan, and to better use their imagination. However, designers may face obstacles such as, lack of ideas and imagination. Designers should use their senses and train themselves how to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Mastering all the senses will help enhance their design and make their work stand out between all designer’s work. In short, designers should use anything and everything to their advantage. Furthermore, without practicing all these techniques designers will lose their creativity over time. One solution for this, designers should design and practice every day. Designers should learn new tricks about design every week. This will help designers stay up to date and informative about design.