Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Final Blog Post

1. What seminar readings, exercises, or assignments were most challenging, interesting, or rewarding for you? Why?

The most interesting and rewarding exercise for me definitely has to be when we had to build a chair in under 30 minutes on the first day of class. I really enjoyed this exercise because it truly depicted what we were going to learn, but most importantly it really made us think on our feet, and made us collaborate with each other. It was also interesting to see what ideas our other classmates had when building the chair and there methodology.

2. What are the most important things you learned in this seminar?

The most important things that I learned in this seminar has to be how design is an important element in our society, and even the smallest thing has some sort of design and reasoning behind that design. Throughout this seminar I have also learned to recognize both positive and negative types of design and how they can improve. It has also made me questioned some types of design, especially when it comes to doors.

3. How might you use this learning in the future?

I will use this learning in the future just to keep in consideration all the things I learned that I learned in this class.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wiki Post

Behavioral Architecture

1. What are examples of architectural design that you consider to be epic failures?

An example that I consider to be an epic failure has to be a small store in Downtown Oakland that has absolutely no visceral appeal. The building itself, doesn't too have a clear structure, making it a not-so visceral building.

2. Good, Bad, and Ugly. Choose a building on K's campus and analyze its behavioral and visceral usability.

The Hicks Center definitely has to be the one of K's best buildings. With its large white columns, to the "glowing K" at night, the Hicks Center is designed pretty well. Once you enter Hicks, everything seems easy to access and has a great visceral appeal both inside and outside.

3. What is the flaw in the current design process? How could this problem be fixed?

A current flaw in the design process has to be the lack of substantial feedback. When an architect builds something, there's has to be a good amount of feedback that can prevent future problems. The fact that its not so easy to "correct" an architectural mishap, makes it more crucial to have a legitimate feedback process to avoid making corrections at a late stage.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture

1. Select a brief passage from the reading and post it on your blog. Explain why you thought it was interesting.

"Given this situation, when the media were seen as weak, advertisers could argue that advertising was relatively trivial- a service to inform or entertain the public, but little more than that. Yet at the macro level, when we look at collective behavior, it seems that advertising does have power. It is advertising's role as a cultural and political force that is significant. We may lack tools in the social sciences to show how advertising affects specific individuals or small groups of people in tests, but when we look at advertising as a social and cultural phenomenon, the situation is strikingly different."

I thought this passage was interesting because it makes a strong point about how advertisement plays an important role in society when successful. If the ad isn't catchy, it will not be as successful as other intriguing ads. This passage also highlights the fact how people are strongly influenced by the media even though it can't actually be proven.

2. What do you think were the author's key points?

The author's key point included how the main advertising influences are through television and commercials. He refers to this as teleculture. The psychology behind this is that people in our society are easily manipulated by intriguing ads. For example, during the presidential campaign, both candidates aired commercials to persuade voters and to get their message across in 3 minutes.

3. Why is it important to have a psychological understanding when it comes to advertising?

It is highly important to have a psychological understanding when it comes to advertising in order to manipulate the audience into buying that specific product. When knowing how to induce tht specific demographic, one can be able to use that to their advantage to gain success.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fashion Design by Sue Jenkyn Jones

1. Why is fashion so reflective, when it could be purely functional and behavioral? (Why do people feel an impulse to express and redefine themselves through their clothes?)

Fashion can be very reflective because clothes can clearly depict ones personality. From wearing a simple t-shirt to wearing designer jeans, clothing can significantly express a lot about someone. People through out time have chosen reflective fashion versus functional/behavioral fashion as early as the 16th century. During this era, it was very common for Elizabethan women to wear extremely uncomfortable iron corsets to flatten their bodies, given them a slimmer figure and an "ideal silhouette". Although wearing intensely heavy iron corsets were not the most enjoyable thing, they reflected class, status, but most importantly the fact that they were in vogue with the latest trends.

2. Jones discusses the importance of time as it relates to fashion- why does fashion change and evolve, instead of remaining static and functional?

Fashion tends to change and evolve through time due to changes in pop culture. As pop culture progresses, many things develop creating new trends. Although this is true for the most part, sometimes fashion may actually just stay dormant due to the fact that it successfully met all the requirements, consumer needs, and most importantly the essence of timelessness. For example, a fashion trend that has clearly not faded throughout the years has to be Coco Chanel's "Little Black Dress" (LBD). Its arrival clearly revolutionized the fashion world by being very versatile and affordable. As this essential trend still remains ubiquitous, it has ultimately become an essential item for women to have in their closet.

3. Based on the reading, make a checklist of principles to consider when designing a garment.

  • Aesthetics
  • Quality
  • Production
  • Pricing
  • Consumer

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Taste for Makers" by Paul Graham

1. Identify the thesis statement of this essay.

"Instead of treating beauty as an airy abstraction, to be either blathered about or avoided depending on how one feels about airy abstractions, let's try considering it as a practical question: how do you make good stuff? "

2. Identify at least 3 points the author uses to support that thesis.

  • Good design is timeless- Aiming at timelessness is a way to make yourself find the best answer: if you can imagine someone surpassing you, you should do it yourself.
  • Good design solves the right problem- The typical stove has four burners arranged in square, and a dial to control each. How do you arrange the dials? The simplest answer is to put them in a row. But this is a simple answer to the wrong question. The dials are for humans to use, and if you put them in a row, the unlucky human will have to stop and think each time about which dial matches which burner.
  • Good design is suggestive-Jane Austen's novels contain almost no description; instead of telling you how everything looks, she tells her story so well that you envision the scene for yourself.

3. If you were to write an essay on the same topic, but with an opposing argument, what would your thesis be?

Design doesn't entail multiple aspects to be considered a successful design.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Downtown Kalamazoo

1. Write a short evaluation of Downtown Kalamazoo's business area using specific examples from Friday's observations.
Downtown Kalamazoo had a wide variety of businesses that a attracted a pretty wide range of people. The Kalamazoo Mall Plaza is a perfect example. From yoga studios, hair salons, or jewelry store, the Kalamazoo Mall Plaza had a wide selection. Although there was a lot of variety throughout the plaza, one thing that the plaza lacked significantly were shoppers. Once we entered the plaza, the atmosphere was very vacant.

2. Give at least three recommendations to improve the downtown.
  • Store displays- Some stores lacked the ability to display their name clearly; or just didn't have a name displayed outside
  • One way streets- One way streets can turn out to be a hassle when finding parking, confusing for some people which could possibly affect people to shop downtown
  • More recognizable businesses- A way downtown could significantly improve is by adding more recognizable stores to bring in more people. Once people are familiar with those types of stores, they will be more inclined to "shop around"

3. Select a brief passage from the article Robert Gibbs ("What Main Street Can Learn from the Mall" by Steven Lagerfield) or the reading on public spaces (from City by William Whyte) and relate it to Kalamazoo's downtown. Use specific observations from Kalamazoo to illustrate the point.

What Main Street Can Learn from the Mall
By: Steven Lagerfield

"The mall is a machine for shopping. In contrast, the pieces of the downtown shopping machine lie about unassembled, and in all likelihood they will never be put together in the way that they can be in a mall, with its single corporate owner. Main Street will always retain a certain redeeming randomness. But if it does not learn the ways of the shopping mall, it will not retain much economic vitality. People who care about cities, Gibbs says, should be outraged that mom-and-pop shoe-store owners renting space in a mall or a strip center enjoy the benefits of the latest thinking in retailing, while those who open for business downtown get virtually no help at all."

Although the stores that are often found downtown are not necessarily well known, they obtain a "mystery" element that may draw a shopper into the store. It is pretty obvious that the downtown atmosphere in Kalamazoo doesn't compare to the typical "mall" atmosphere. It can be said that Kalamazoo offers a lot, yet it doesn't have as many shoppers as an average mall would.