GDE710 W7 | Research Object


Growing up, coffee was a big part of my life. My Aunt Mary, my mom’s baby sister joined the Peace Corps out of college and was stationed in Colombia, South America. This is where she would meet and marry her husband and spend the rest of her life.

My Colombian family would visit the states almost every summer and we’d get to enjoy the rich coffee that they’d bring with them each trip. They’d explain to us that while Juan Valdez isn’t real, the coffee industry surely was a big part of Colombian culture, not only from an industrial and socio-economical standpoint, but from a social one. Coffee was what started and ended every day in my family. It brought people together in good times and those of sorrow.


So for this week’s challenge, I chose to pose a statement that coffee brings people together and choose the mighty coffee bean as my object to gather research around.

I looked to published works on the study of coffee and culture and learned that coffee was discovered in 800 AD in Ethiopia. As the story goes, a farmer noticed his goats were behaving a bit erratic and highly animated. He noticed that they were eating the fruits of what would be known as the coffee fruit. He took the fruit back to the village and shared with his friends. They used the coffee fruit as a drink to extend their energies as they prayed. (5)

Between 1865 and 1970, machines are made to make coffee: taste even better, become more popular in homes, dehydrated to keep soldiers warm on the front lines and be made in an instant. (5)

In Sweden, people partake in Fika, which is a cultural morning and afternoon coffee break that's seemingly more about socializing than drinking coffee. Gevalia coffee brand capitalized on its country’s social culture to advertise its special blends of coffee to the world. (2)

In 1971, coffee becomes a global phenomenon when the first of 17,000 Starbucks coffeehouses open. People gather often spending hours chatting, studying, and hatching the next big idea. The Starbucks generation rings in a new wave of coffee appreciation and social dynamics. People can project aspects of their identity based on how they take their coffee. (3,4)

By 2012, coffee becomes the 2nd most traded commodity in the world. (5)



I chose to illustrate my object so I could show the power of the coffee bean. I wanted to capture the ritual and the social component. The illustration uses a giant coffee bean as a monolith similar to a Stonehenge or Devil’s Tower (shown in the cult classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind). This was done with a 6B pencil.

For my layout, I wanted to create a piece that leveraged my illustration as well as all of the great imagery I’d sourced during my research. I connected the two pages together using the illustrations of people running towards the giant coffee bean. The headline typography chosen is Saturn V, a face designed by Lost Type and inspired by the monumental Saturn V rocket that carried men from the earth to the moon. This was my way to honor the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, to unique shape of the coffee bean, and to be playful with the physiological aspects of coffee as rocket fuel. The body type is also a Lost Type face called Klinic Slab. I felt is as a nice complement to the curves of the Saturn V headline as well as how its description was so similar to how I see coffee, “Klinic is a workhorse that marries personality and functionality.”

The color palette was chosen to reflect the various hues of not only coffee but the various skin colors of people.

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Editorial Spread.jpg


[1] Birsen Yilmaz, Nilüfer Acar-tek and Saniye Sözlü. 2017. ‘Turkish Cultural Heritage: a Cup of Coffee’. Journal of Ethnic Foods, 213–20.
[2] Paulsrud, B. 2017. ‘You, Your Supervisor, and the Importance of Fika’. In Nordic Phd: Surviving And Succeeding. 103–10.
[3] Ruzich, Constance and Canan, Joanne. 2010. ‘Computers, Coffee Shops, and Classrooms: Promoting Partnerships and Fostering Authentic Discussion’.
[4] Squinkifer, Dietrich. 2017. ‘Conferences, Conventions, Conversations, and Coffee’. Camera Obscura (95),
[5] Whipps, Heather. “How Coffee Changed the World.” Livescience, Purch, 19 May 2008,

GDE710 W6 | Studio Practice: Noticing the Ignored


I chose to explore my neighborhood, Lower Pacific Heights during several walks over the last week. I've come to find that there are NINE cleaners in my little neighborhood.

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Lower Pacific Heights sits just below Pacific Heights, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in San Francisco.

I spent the afternoon photographing the exteriors of these banal, unnoticed service providers of Lower Pacific Heights looking for connections...

I originally thought I'd draw a comparison from the number of cleaners in such a small area to the affluence. Given the vintage nature of many of the buildings, I thought to use commercial jingles to score my film.

During my research on jingles, I found a much greater social commentary: sexism and gendering in advertising. I spend numerous hours watching laundry soap commercial after laundry soap commercial from the 1950s through present day. One common thread was revealed: women are the cleaners. Women do the laundry. Below are a few of the more sexist commercials I’d discovered, but needless to say, they all hit upon some aspect of the societal trope of housework being deemed for women only.

And just in case you might find that these commercials are relics of previous generations, gender stereotypes, and that somehow we’ve certainly moved on to a more progressive approach to marketing the household chore of doing laundry, think again. These commercials were made in the last ten years…

The Clorox commercial doubles down on the sexism leveraging the legacy of laundry of being women’s work as a “laundry through the ages” retrospective.


Sexism in advertising does not just apply to television commercials, but to print advertising as well…

And there is much scientific study on the topic of gendering and sexist stereotyping through advertising. A study of print advertisements conducted early in the 1970s by Courteny and Lockeretz showed very rarely showed women in working roles. About 33% of the full-time workers in the United States are women: however, only 12% of the workers shown in the ads were female. Moreover, if professional entertainers of both sexes are excluded, the proportion of women workers pictured drops to just seven percent. Almost half of the men (45%) were shown in working roles: in contrast, less than one-tenth of the women (9%) were shown in working roles. (Courteny and Lockeretz, 1971).

More recent study and commentary on the topic, researchers, Ferguson, Kreshel, and Tinkham revealed that a fifteen-year review of Ms. magazine print advertisement were in fact counter to their stated policy against “harmful” advertisements that project gender stereotypes or are offensive to women. Their study concluded that while the publication may have started out with strict policy in service to their target demographic within short order it became subservient to the advertisers. Their conclusion presented a commentary on the power of advertising, “to create and transmit cultural meaning, the presence of stereotypes which are inaccurate, offensive, and confining is particularly troubling. Such stereotypes provide a limited "vocabulary of interaction," encouraging people to think and speak of women primarily in terms of their relationship to men, family, or their sexuality, (Fergusen, Kreshel, and Tinkham, (Tuchman, 1990).

Portraying women as less than, as objects, and as stereotypes of gender tropes that have place in contemporary advertising — let alone all advertising — is troubling . Yet it remains.

Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director, reports on the sexist advertising used in the 2017 Super Bowl, specifically the selling of products using gender stereotypes, sexual exploitation, objectified women and gratuitous violence. She summarizes an Audi ad’s message ”not only nonsense, it’s dangerous. Sorry, Audi, but women’s bodies are not the proving ground for men’s machismo, their self-esteem. This ad perpetuates an age-old myth that needs to be put to rest. No, men are not entitled to “take” women as a prize or as solace. It is not “brave” to steal a kiss from an unsuspecting woman or girl. And it’s outrageous to produce a commercial that cheers on such an act. (Bennett, 2013).


My final piece, a film, brings together the overlooked, ignored storefront locations of the cleaners in my neighborhood and a commentary on the gender stereotyping of advertising as juxtaposed against the soundtrack of laundry commercials spanning the last sixty years. Even the imagery in the cleaners’ windows used for promotion is gendered furthering the commentary: women are the cleaners.



Bennet, L. 2013.“Super Bowl Ads Promote Sexist Attitudes, Offensive Behavior.” National Organization for Women,
Courtney, A. and Lockeretz, S. 1971. ‘A Woman’s Place: An Analysis of the Roles Portrayed by Women in Magazine Advertisements’. Journal of Marketing Research 8(1), 92–5.
Ferguson, J., Kreshel, P., and Tinkham, S. 1990. ‘In the Pages of Ms.: Sex Role Portrayals of Women in Advertising’. Journal of Advertising 19(1), 40–51.

GDE710 W6 | Lecture Reflection & Research


This week’s lecture explores the practice of observation and its impact on design. What can we see that we typically overlook? What is revealed or discovered when we look longer, dig deeper, and widen our perspective?

We are introduced to nearly twenty artists, sociologists, psychologists, and relative methodologies — ways of seeing, thinking, and observing. The following is my reflection of the four standout contributors noted in this week’s lecture: John Berger, The International Situationists, John Smith, and Alistair Hall.


Beginning with John Berger, artist, researcher, writer, and television journalist and host, who produced the popular BBC program and book of the same title, “Ways of Seeing.” Berger invites the viewer to see and know the world differently, with art and all things. “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled,” he wrote. He shows us how meaning is influenced by the context of its surroundings.

Berger presents Caravaggio’s   Supper at Emmaus  , while two very different pieces of music play yielding a different emotional impact on the viewer respectively.

Berger presents Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus, while two very different pieces of music play yielding a different emotional impact on the viewer respectively.


The Situationists International was an organization of social revolutionaries made up of avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and political theorists, prominent in Europe from its formation in 1957 to its dissolution in 1972.

The Dérive was an approach to seeing and experiencing the world differently and the refusal of original creation — locomotion without a goal.

Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, sought to devalue everything, to negate art and realize art simultaneously through the exploration of evaluating the imagery that is served to society and the refusal of that capitalism-driven imagery to form individualistic or anti-populism.

Andy Warhol’s  Campbell's Soup Cans  can be seen as an example of Debord’s reflection on the spectacle via taking the mundane object and creating art and ultimately a capitalistic demand by way of society’s response and assessment of its value — this piece in particular, $11.7 million.

Andy Warhol’s Campbell's Soup Cans can be seen as an example of Debord’s reflection on the spectacle via taking the mundane object and creating art and ultimately a capitalistic demand by way of society’s response and assessment of its value — this piece in particular, $11.7 million.

Debord’s  The Naked City  map provides a “choose your own adventure approach” to navigating and exploring Paris in a whole new way.

Debord’s The Naked City map provides a “choose your own adventure approach” to navigating and exploring Paris in a whole new way.


Structionalist filmmaker, John Smith’s piece “Girl Chewing Gum” depicts a simple London street yet narration that presents as if the documented passersby are actual cast members being directed through a crafted scene. Further, the director is seemingly present in location itself yet revealed to be miles away in a field, “by using a voice-over to subvert the reading of the image, marking the beginnings of my ongoing love/hate relationship with the power of the word,” (Smith, 2007).


Designer and professor, Kenya Hara, teaches his students to grow as creatives through the art of the Ex-formation Communication Method by Making Things Unknown. Examples of his students works include observation and documentation techniques as well finding new ways of seeing.


Commercial artist, lecturer, and author, Ed Fella, describes his approach to documentation via the use of sketchbooks as a release or detachment as well as a continuation of form and text studies. He finds this approach “rich in possibilities for reworking”and aids in fueling his creativity.


London designer, Alistair Hall, takes us on a typographic journey via a seemingly banal pathway of London street nameplates. His observation and reflection reveals a bountiful archive of type, craftsmanship, and historical references.


Brereton, R. (2009) Sketchbooks; The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators and Creatives. Lawrence King: London.
Hara, K. (2015) Ex-Formation. Lars Muller: Zurich.
“London Street Nameplates.” (2019) We Made This,
Ways of Seeing, Episode 1, BBC, 28 Sept. 2008,

GDE710 W5 | Workshop Challenge: Line Drawing


Applied Empathy

For my line drawing exercise, I chose to explore the Applied Empathy model by studio SubRosa and their founder, Michael Ventura, and author of the book, Applied Empathy. This process looks at seven different archetypes that we all embody - some more prevalent than others -- and how a greater understanding of these archetypes can inform how we generate ideas and solve problems.

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I chose to do an abstract drawing and "take my line for a walk" like in the Paul Klee example from our lecture.

The seven archetypes outlined in Applied Empathy include:

Sage: Be present; inhabit the here and now

Inquirer: Question; interrogate assumed truths

Convener: Host; anticipate the needs of others

Alchemist: Experiment; test and learn at all costs

Confidant: Listen; summon the ability to observe and absorb

Seeker: Dare; be confident and fearless

Cultivator: Commit; nurture and intentionally grow

The idea is that by slipping into the personas of one or more of the Empathic Archetypes you can get out of the subjectivity of your own head, role, or organizational hierarchy, and get into the subjectivity of the other and ultimately be able to generate more effective ideas or approaches to solving problems.

I was inspired by the design used by the author that shows the interconnectivity of the seven archetypes as shown in the beautiful rose gold foil debossed packaging of their correlative Q&E Questions and Empathy: Provocations for Applied Empathy deck of cards.


In addition to Klee, I was also inspired by this seemingly continuous line piece by artist and screenprinter, John Knoerl. I loved the subtle form of the faces and thought this approach would work really well for how much humanity is involved with empathy and the process of Applied Empathy.

So, I set about creating my line drawing by first establishing the overall shape it was to inhabit and marking the boundaries for each of my archetypes:

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I then practiced the basic pathways I wanted to use to create the abstract shape overall as well as each archetype’s individual symbologies:

After two attempts, I was able to land on this final piece (see below) using a continuous line approach. I chose symbols to represent each archetype as follows:

Sage: a Celtic symbol for wisdom

Inquirer: a looking glass

Convener: a candle

Alchemist: universal symbol for alchemy

Confidant: a key

Seeker: the four directions

Cultivator: a heart

Can you see them in my drawing?

line drawing applied empathy final.jpg


Ventura, M. P. (2019). Applied empathy: The new language of leadership. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

GDE710 W5 | Lecture Reflection


This week’s lecture kicks off our next phase of the course: PROCESS. We will be taking stock of our experience today and introduced to new methods of thinking and ideation.

Through the lecture we learn that there is not only a historical genesis of ideation starting back with the Bauhaus, but numerous ways to generate ideas and models of design process.


The Bauhaus design era rang in a prominent place not only in the design but also the global community as its methodologies were taken more seriously and seen as more scientific. The Bauhaus revolutionized design process methodologies by introducing multidisciplinary approaches to learning as shown in the diagram below.

Bauhaus visionaries such as Bruce Archer and Brian Lawson introduced additional design process that attempted to identify design best practice through linear methodologies seen below respectively:

The post-Bauhaus era of design introduces the idea that design processes are difficult to standardize and that non-linear, adaptable, flexible, and responsive design methods including loops and iteration allowed for time and various pathways to solve problems including the Six Hats and Double-Diamond design process



With the Six Hats approach, Edward de Bono proposes a method wherein all angles of a given problem at the same time are examined through six unique lenses or hats. No single view is to dominate the process. This provides opportunities to examine a problem and ideate on probable solutions ideally without single-channel or biased outcomes.

White Hat focuses on available data (facts and figures) while remaining neutral. Participants are encouraged to review existing information, search for gaps in knowledge, analyze past trends, and extrapolate key learnings from historical data.

Red Hat uses intuition, gut reaction, and robust emotion. Encourages participants to think about how other people will react emotionally and try to understand the responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning. Participants do not need to explain or justify individual expressions of feelings.

Yellow Hat is a deliberate search for the positive (optimistic viewpoint) through exploration and speculation defining the benefits of the decision and the value in it. 

Green Hat stands for energy and creativity. This is where you generate new, innovative ideas and develop creative solutions to a problem. 

Blue Hat is process control “thinking about thinking”. This is the hat worn by people chairing or facilitating the session. Blue Hat focuses on questioning and provides the structure for use of other hats and other thinking and problem-solving tools. 

Black Hat is the basis of logical, critical thinking offering careful, cautious, and defensive insights. Try to see what is wrong; why it might not work; what are the dangers, problems, and obstacles; what are the deficiencies in the thinking process. It allows you to eliminate the negatives, alter plans, or prepare contingency plans to counter any problems.


The Double Diamond approach covers four major process areas: discover, define, develop, and deliver.

Discover is a period of divergent or expansive thought done at the start of a project. Perspectives are intentionally kept wide as questions are asked and problems are posed.

Define is the phase where information is interpreted, meaning is found, stories are articulated and opportunities are framed.

Develop is the refining phase where one or more concepts are honed to address the problem or issue.

Deliver is where the final concept is tested, approved, launched, and feedback is provided.

Evolve identifies a fifth phase which proposes that design is really completely final as the human experience is ever evolving, fluid, not fixed.


Kahneman’s text, Thinking Fast and Slow, explores the idea that our thinking is in two parts: fast and slow.

Fast thinking is instantaneous and automatic, instinctive and emotional, and a remnant from our evolutionary past.

Slow thinking is deliberate, effortful, complex, calculated, conscious, aware, and considerate. It is the newer portion of our thinking process coming online in the last few thousand years.

These two systems of thinking can be at odds and do not always work collaboratively.


The animated RSA video of Iain McGilchrist’s talk on The Divided Brain illustrates how the human brain’s left and right brains while are both required for thinking, are often in opposition. He summarizes the differences as, “the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, it yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless. The right hemisphere by contrast yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings in the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, never perfectly known.”

McGilchrist outlines a list of tensions that exist between right and left brain respectively:

  • The new vs. the known

  • Possibility vs. certainty

  • Flow vs. fixity

  • The whole vs. parts

  • Integration vs. division

  • Implicit vs. explicit

  • Context vs. abstraction

  • Qualification vs. quantification

  • Animate vs. inanimate

  • Realistic vs. optimistic

  • Presence vs. representation

It might then be that the division of the human brain is also the result of the need to bring to bear two incompatible types of attention on the world at the same time, one narrow, focused, and directed by our needs, and the other broad, open, and directed towards whatever else is going on in the world apart from ourselves.
— Iain McGilchrist

It was both a bit depressing and inspiring to be presented with the ending statement from McGilchrist by reading Einstein’s quote reflecting on our hemispheric brains, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We live in a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” 


The School of Life video, Thinking Too Much; and Thinking Too Little, exposes the viewer to two habits of human thought: too much and too little.

Two much involves filling our brains and lives with so much information and thought that we don’t allow room for reflection, reality, emotion, and feeling.

Two little in opposition demands so little of thought that the inclination of knowing in and of itself is overwhelming and thus denying a true sense of self.

Seems like balance of thought and a willingness to recognize our capability of falling two keenly on one side or the other is to be human.


11 lessons: Managing design in global brands. (2017, November 03). Retrieved from

Cotton, J. (2019, March 08). Thinking Too Much; and Thinking Too Little. Retrieved from

De Bono, E. (1999). Six Thinking HatsRevised Edition. Little, Brown and Co: London.

Kahneman, D. (2015). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

RSA, T. (2011, October 21). RSA ANIMATE: The Divided Brain. Retrieved from