When I first arrived in Toronto about six years ago, I never expected myself to actually settle into the city…but it quickly grew on me. Today, I call ‘Toronto the Great’ my home.
I’ve made some observations about living in the Big Smoke since I moved here. A few months ago, I started to write these observations down so I could pass them along to visiting friends and those who have decided to settle into the downtown core — you could call them tid bits about Toronto that someone new to the city might find helpful or interesting. I have since sketched out some of these tid bits and thought I would share them here because…why not? Maybe you can relate or add your own.
Assignment 2 for my typography class: Create a Google Doodle.
In order to explore and experiment with type, I’ve created a few Google Doodles for class that I thought I’d share here, just for fun. There’s a whole archive of Google Doodles here for inspiration, but my goal was to come up with my own Doodle that would commemorate or recognize someone or something of meaning to me.
Lots of ideas came to mind (many of which cannot be pursued because of time constraints):
The winners were Banksy, Where’s Waldo? and ASL as you can see here, above and below. I had fun with the types here, particularly maintaining the spray paint aesthetic for Banksy’s doodle and drawing the hands for the ASL doodle – simple but works. And giving credit where credit is due: Here is Banksy’s piece (original here). I traced an image of Waldo for the Waldo Doodle.
Crit is tomorrow…wish me luck!
I have problems falling asleep.
Usually my mind is racing at bedtime. I think about the day that passed…what’s to come…ideas that are percolating in my head.
And what doesn’t help is that I don’t do a very good job of maintaining a strict sleep schedule. As you might be able to tell through the timing of my blog posts, I tend to stay awake at funny hours.
While out and about and traveling from conference to conference over the past while (AIGA, DMI and Design Thinkers…yes, I will be posting about my experiences at these events very soon!), a good friend of mine has tried to help remedy my inability to fall asleep at a reasonable hour. From this, the unintentional bedtime story was born.
The unintentional bedtime story can be anything from a “terms of agreement” policy to a dry journal article to a train schedule. These aren’t your typical bedtime stories: They tend not to convey highly engaging content because they tend to serve a very particular (often practical) purpose, for a particular audience, at a particular time. When pulled out of context, they can make for stellar sleep material.
Take for instance the example I use of an Apple Terms of Agreement document: I’m sure people actually read these documents through at some point in their lives (I have once but now just opt for the “Agree” button) but really, I’m not sure how much the average Apple user gets really excited about reading this legalese. Same goes for the example of the excerpt from a journal article: The example I include is completely fictional (and content-wise doesn’t offer much) but it does make me think about the language and audience that most research publications are targeted to and how this may not always be overly exciting to read, particularly by non-academics/researchers.
Anyways, I thought I might throw together some short bedtime stories that may also help you fall asleep. These are shortened versions, but I think it’d be fun to imagine what an illustrated policy/article may look like if turned into a full, beautiful storybook.
And if you’re the kind person who is reading these stories to someone else, hopefully the visuals help you avoid falling asleep at the same time.
InDesign note: I am starting to use a Wacom graphics tablet for some of the illustrations on the blog. Still trying to learn how to optimize this for InDesign, but in the meantime, expect more hand drawn content to come.
On Mez Dispenser, Dave Meslin shared a really interesting point about the design of public notices from the City of Toronto. Meslin talks about civic engagement and participation, and notes that public notices are not designed to be very friendly or enticing to the average citizen (or anyone, really). So Meslin’s challenge to Torontonians was to re-imagine the public notice.
Above is my submission.
I was intrigued by the idea of redesigning something that was meant to engage and spark interest and participation among my fellow Torontonians. I thought about what I (and probably others) would want to see in a design. There were no guidelines outlined, but Meslin points out a few things he’s looking for:
- Friendly design. Colourful, attractive, inviting.
- Plain language text, that is useful and simple to understand.
- A call to action! “We want to hear from you”… “Your voice matters”…. “This is your chance to be heard”…. etc.
In taking up this challenge, I started thinking about how to best design a notice for the Toronto that I have come to know.
I’ve been a Torontonian for four years now. My relationship with the city has deepened in the time that I’ve lived here and what I love about Toronto is that I feel like it’s always in conversation with me through the signage, people, architecture, services and artwork that flourishes its streets. It’s stimulating to be engaged in this dialogue, and in particular, I always enjoy pausing on the streets to take a look at the new posters plastered on the lamp posts and bulletin boards around the city. I also started thinking about the diverse people and services in the city that are near and dear to me. One of the first things that came to my mind and has been on the mind of many Torontonians lately: libraries. Libraries bring different people together and are a place of learning, enlightenment, and community.
So with some of these thoughts in mind, I started thinking about the different ways I could reshape public notices so that they would look a bit different than your average poster and be able to fit onto public objects and be made accessible in public spaces.
The notice I created above is designed to be a bookmark. I thought a bookmark was an accessible and convenient way of sharing information that could be made available in stores, offices, and most of all, libraries! A bookmark is light, easy to take away and pass on, and useful for someone doing some reading on say, her/his favorite civic issues. Using this concept, I imagine differently designed bookmark series that could represent different types of public notices…and what might be a fun idea would be to have various designers/artists/citizens to illustrate the front face of the bookmark. This might be a creative and participatory way to help people get involved in the issues being addressed. The bookmark would also double as a narrow poster that could fit nicely onto lamp posts, bulletin boards, and window spaces.
What do you think?
Whatever gets designed, I think it will be important to get citizens involved in evaluating and generating feedback to ensure that designs are relevant, usable, and attractive to Torontonians.
Anyways, those are just some of my thoughts. I’m really curious to see the other submitted designs.
Thanks for the design Challenge, Dave.
UPDATE: I have updated my submission so that it better reflects a development proposal (see below)…