GDE710 W1 | Task Two: The Quadtriptych

This was a really fun challenge. I admit, I went through numerous emotions as I worked on this…

  • Am I good enough? Will I do a good job?

  • What will be interesting? To me? To others?

  • How can I sum all of this up in four panels?

  • How can I apply what I learned from the studio vignettes to this exercise?

I went through three stages: storming which was a rough concept brainstorm that pulled in all of my ideas (good or bad), then forming, which helped to narrow my ideas down to a more concise approach and rationale, and then refining, which is the final version that I arrived at.

The exercise asks: who, what, where, and why as it applies to the intersection of myself and design.

In words:

Who I am is a self-taught designer and creative director. I am influenced by the greats of our industry as well as those that like me, are self-taught and everywhere in between. I agree and disagree a bit with what Adrian from INTRO said regarding being a designer. I think you can be taught to be good, but I also do believe that you need to innately have an appreciation for the aesthetic and visual communication aspect of what design offers. I’ve worked all my adult life at getting better and more “whole” as a designer. That is a process and endeavour that will never end. Always be learning.

What I do is lead a team of designers, animators, photographers, videographers, and production managers in my daily work to help tell my organization’s stories. More specifically, I aim to create a culture that is safe, special, exciting, curious, worthy, and challenging and one in which people can do their best work.

Where I am is the beautiful city of San Francisco. I moved here in 2015 to take the creative director position at the University of San Francisco. I live within walking distance of campus with my partner (also named, Chris), and our two pups: Woody and Charlie. This city is a rich, visual feast with endless opportunity to engage with design both formally and informally. There are numerous museums (SFMOMA, the deYoung, Palace of Fine Arts, Musuem of Craft…and so on) as well as entire neighborhoods that are adorned with hand-painted murals, street after street. There are hidden staircases that lead to wondrous vistas via tiled steps giving way to a scene or story. This city is steeped in design. And I love it.

Why design is a fascinating question. For me, it is a means to bring people together: through understanding, commonality, differences, feeling, translation, diffusion, and shared experience.

In even fewer words:

I am: a brave, curious wanderer of this world. I chose the blue whale as a symbol of my lifelong migratory ways and reliant curiosity of the world around me.

I do: like lifting others up and am reliable, and at the same time look at my design practice as a place of ongoing exploration and light. I chose the sun as my symbol here, shining a light onto others and a light within to keep me seeing and believing.

I live: in one of the best places to be a creative. on. the. planet: San Francisco. I chose the Golden Gate bridge as my (albeit cliche) symbol of my location. It’s instantly recognizable as San Francisco and it is a feat of design and engineering.

I believe: while at even at the most challenging times, good design can change the world and bring us together.

So all that jabbering to say… here is my quadtriptych in three stages of expansion and ultimate contraction.

Up first, expansion:

I wanted to include a quadtriptych that played off of Fibonacci. Also, I love to layer and find it an important part of my process to add in as much as I can so I can begin to strip away what works. It also helps me to play, check myself, and experiment. What you see are things that make up other things. I also wanted to include illustration as I’ve begun to lean on that skill more heavily in my design work in the last few years with more practice and confidence. It’s messy and clunky. Too much going on here. Abandon ship….er, I mean, try some other things…

I wanted to include a quadtriptych that played off of Fibonacci. Also, I love to layer and find it an important part of my process to add in as much as I can so I can begin to strip away what works. It also helps me to play, check myself, and experiment. What you see are things that make up other things. I also wanted to include illustration as I’ve begun to lean on that skill more heavily in my design work in the last few years with more practice and confidence. It’s messy and clunky. Too much going on here. Abandon ship….er, I mean, try some other things…

Now for some contraction and simplification:

For this next version, I let go of trying Fibonacci as well as opted to lean solely on my illustrations to express the meanings of my who, what, where, and why. I opted to use a tiled square to illustrate to me that these are not linear and just stop. It’s more of a continuum. Each panel informs and inspires the next. Again, you see a whale, my wanderer. I then created a sunburst from illustrations that make me happy and fill out a vibrant palette. The third panel is a slice from the opening spread in our alumni magazine that illustrates an alumna’s love of San Francisco (my “where”). The fourth is an illustration of diverse critters to express community. Still not quite there…

For this next version, I let go of trying Fibonacci as well as opted to lean solely on my illustrations to express the meanings of my who, what, where, and why. I opted to use a tiled square to illustrate to me that these are not linear and just stop. It’s more of a continuum. Each panel informs and inspires the next. Again, you see a whale, my wanderer. I then created a sunburst from illustrations that make me happy and fill out a vibrant palette. The third panel is a slice from the opening spread in our alumni magazine that illustrates an alumna’s love of San Francisco (my “where”). The fourth is an illustration of diverse critters to express community. Still not quite there…

And final contraction and simplification of my concept…

I opted to create a circular presentation to further the more symbiotic relationship these questions meant to me. I also chose to break the boundary of the circle as I see design as a way to break the rules or to upend the expected. Again, I chose illustration to convey the individual question’s symbology: whale (who), sun (what), San Francisco (where), and community (why).  What do you think?

I opted to create a circular presentation to further the more symbiotic relationship these questions meant to me. I also chose to break the boundary of the circle as I see design as a way to break the rules or to upend the expected. Again, I chose illustration to convey the individual question’s symbology: whale (who), sun (what), San Francisco (where), and community (why).

What do you think?

Here is a little time lapse video of the illustration process. I complete the design in Procreate on my iPad Pro.