Sunday, April 29, 2007

Designing information at the very basic level is what we should seek to achieve as graphic designers. The more words we use to describe something the better information we get about it. If the system is not self explanatory or is confusing it's likely to lose attention of a potential audience. Some people have a short attention span and tend to get diverted when there is a lot of information put forth while others seek for more elaborate explanation. So as a designer what would be the most ideal way to design information such that everyone is happy and satisfied. Should we as designers accept the conventions and work accordingly or as artists thinkin outside the box and come up with a novelty? Looking at the examples in the book most of the posters did make sense to me or atleast after the book explained it. We are here to make information visually interesting by creating confections regardless of what it is. Although most of us may just end up working 9-5 in front of the computer I really hope that the confections we create as an attempt to most probably sell a'product'be created for a good cause. We are the future of capitalism.

Monday, April 9, 2007

I like this little blog.

I'm gonna miss it. It's fun.


"Ideally, structures that organize information should be transparent, straightforward, obvious, natural, ordinary, conventional - with no need for hesitation or question on the part of the reader."

When I stumbled across this passage early into the chapter, I couldn't help but think "boo-yah." And I never use the term "boo-yah," so this is pretty huge. If you go back to my very first post on this blog, you'll realize that this is an issue that has been nagging at me for the entire semester. What is our role as system designers? Is information design about inventing new, exciting ways to classify information in an attempt to capture an audience's attention to otherwise dull subject matter? Or are we simply to use existing, ever-too-familiar methods of classification to present information with extreme clarity? Just look at these past two sentences for example: I could have shortened them. I could have made them more direct and precise. I could have made them more understandable. But I chose to add small flourishes and rhetoric to add a heightened interest. However, this heightened interest is only accessible to those with a deeper level of education. Not someone with, say, a fifth-grade english background. Though they always win "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader," so who knows?

The Myth of Depth, by Mark Tansey, seems to divert slightly from pure information design into fine art theory; reminiscent of the stuff we discussed in Critical Frameworks, as well as the book "Ways of Seeing." I want that painting on my wall.

Babar is fantastic, by the way. I couldn't think of a more delightful way to end this intriguing textbook. Later.


Reading Response

This chapter was interesting. I uses very clear examples and metapohrs to define what designers do. Tufte uses candy as one example of a confection. Confections, as Tufte defines, are a collection of graphic images, and sometimes text that create a clear message or story. He uses candy as an example. Candy is delicious and often the packaging reflects that. When is the last time you saw a piece of candy wrapped in an unattractive, ugly, disfigurd package. You dont! You see bright colors, clean wrapping, and inviting texture. Designers, in comparison, create visual "dishes." We try to create visualy pleasing combinations of text and graphics to give a message, often selling something. So Tufte defining designers as creators of confection is right on the money. Overall the chapter wasn't very helpful, but gave me a few other perspectives on design.

Confectioneers in the Webworld

Confections and compartments. The first thing that Salman Rushdie's quote at the beginning of the chapter made me think of was the interface for Macromedia's Flash program. It was difficult for me to fully grasp the timeline aspect of Flash because there are so many layers that embed themselves into other layers, creating a dense strata of information that seems at times completely astounding. In the same vein, confectionary illustrations are sometimes so information-rich and context specific that, unless one understands the iconography, the implied language of the scene, a lot gets missed.

In this way, I am also reminded of the poetry that was written by the likes of T.S.Elliott, Keats, Yeats, and so many others who wrote, not for the masses, but rather made the assumption that their reader would be educated: would understand Latin, Greek mythology, Biblical references, the lives of the martyrs... In some ways, I think that it's harder to create a sophisticated 'confection' these days, though at the same time, it's easier through web-based technology, so long as the icongraphy is pop-culture based rather than based on an ideal classical education.

we all create confections

As a designer we create confections everday by using our design knowlege to relay messeages through out media. It was intresting to read that as designers we do create these things called confections. But after reading the section it was clear that every design we create we are making a confections by trying to tell our story in the design.

chapter 7 reaction

I feel that the anology of confections in relation to visual design is very relivant. To make confections pleasing to the consumer is basically the purpose of design also. I have previously made connection with design and confection any other time in my life. I have in the past used confections for art works but never thought of the similarites to them with my design work.


This chapter was peculiar. I found it odd and funny how Tufte used a language that is meant for something all together different. As some have mentioned, there are similarities. In both baking and design you bring together many flavors and elements to create something of great taste and aesthetic interest.

A couple of things I took note of, include that speech alone is sometimes inefficient in communicating. The addition of visuals and words make for a much easier understanding.

I was most drawn to; I believe it was called the Constructor. I thought the combination of 3D and 2D worked and blended together beautifully with interesting concepts behind it. I also took note of the text referring to bad confection ties closely with bad concepts.

The idea of confection to me was one of surrealism and seems to establish unreal worlds. This makes for interesting visuals in combination with real facts. I also enjoyed the diagram of the taproot with the different compartments making a very pleasing design.


I thought the book made the excellent analogy of collage is to art as confections are to information design. Collages are visually interesting with their many pieces, just like confections are intriguing, using compartments and imagined scenes to arrange and organize information. I liked the similarity this chapter made of confections being like miniature theaters (page 138), because bringing different materials, images, and text together in a confection is like bringing different people together in theater, and one gets information in an interesting way in both situations.

This chapter really made sense in why confections are used and how they can be very successful. We all want our pieces to stand out to people and make them memorable for someone. Information design doesn't have to be straightforward and cut-and-dry. When images and text enhance each other, and the confection is visually interesting, people will spend more time with a piece, thus making it more memorable. I thought it was interesting to learn that 17th-century law students used confections in their memorization, because (as the book mentions on page 125) recall is enhanced by allegory and bizarre situations. I find myself doing a version of this when trying to memorize art history. I also have used confections in other situations: using compartments for the poster project in this class, as well as making a collage of different parts of people's faces and making them as one face in my Critical Frameworks class. People tend to have a short attention span, so making a confection in information design helps people stay interested, since that makes the viewer in control of what he/she wants to view at what point (rather than giving the person step-by-step direction and not letting him/her view anything else at one time--as pointed out in the book). Confections give people options, and people like to know they have options.

HOLY "candy"

Confections and candies, visualization and design.

Variety of candies and likewise variety of design.

Candies are tempting from how they are designed and packaged and it fulfills the crave most of the times. They portray the meaning of successful visualization. They convey a clear message to the audience, confections as tufte calls them, the same when designers create something using text, graphics and more and are successfully able to convey and communicate.

The varieties of candies and confectioners can be compared with the variety of designs and designers. Just like some of us like jelly beans and gummy bears, while some only like m&m and skitties ... some of us like minimal, some vibrant, some "GRUNGY", some corporate and so on ...

It amazing how designers can relate to anything and everything and with a lot of sense.

Holy "candy"

We are confection makers

Now looking back at this reading, I think it’s sort of funny. Whoever thought graphic designers are confection makers? It really gives new lightings to our profession and makes us think differently—almost conventionally weird. As confection makers—I mean graphic designers, we use both text and graphic to convey a clear message to the viewers of what we want to sell.

It is the same as a piece of candy, it has to look good for people to buy and taste, and if they like what they see, of course the candy shop are going to profit from it. At the same time, it demands us to create something unique, something that have not already been in the candy store.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Confections! Candy and Graphic Design

I used to think of confections as candy, sweet, delicious candy, but after reading this chapter of Tufte I can no longer just think of candy as confection anymore, yet in a way confections in the sense of visual design can be considered to have several characteristics of candy. Candy tastes good, in most cases looks good, and leaves the one eating it craving more and as such one seeks to find or create more. Comparatively confections in visual design while not tasting good, or perhaps they do I've never tried eating them, have a nack of draw the interest of people, visual confections almost always look good, are well composed and thought out and are extremely good at organizing content, and last but not least once one has seen a good confection it leaves one wanting to find and or create their own candy, err I mean visual confections. I enjoyed this chapter as it dealt with a topic that has always been a part of design and especially illustration as it calls on both the artistic as well as the design aspects to produce an image that is literally worth 1,000 words.


Throughout Chapter 7 Tufte discusses what confections are. He starts off by describing them as visual elements that are assembled together to tell a story. If a mixture of images conveys a clear message to its audience then it becomes a successful confection. Also, when an artist incorporates text and image together that can be considered a confection because those visual elements placed together can make the message clearer to the viewer.
Then when Tufte started explaining how computers can quickly assemble confections by combining text and image together I realized that what Graphic Designers create can be considered confections. When we mix text and image together in posters, newsletters, brochures, websites, etc. we are using visual confections to relay a message to our viewers in a more appealing way. Therefore, our goal as Graphic Designers is to successfully create visual confections so they are easily understood and interpreted correctly by our targeted audiences.

Together on the Flatland of Paper

Each and every time I pick up this book, I am simply amazed at the complexity of it's contents. I seem to look through the pages of any chapter before I read it, but when looking through this book I seem to get so distracted by it's visual stimulation and wonderful text and image juxtapositions. This chapter speaks about the confection, which is the assembly of many visual events from various Streams of Story, then all brought together of the flatland of paper. These confections present visual comparisons, and combine both the real and the imagined to tell another story. I seem to be enthrawled by how complex the ideas are within this chapter and the book itself. The chapter then travels through what different times and different people have done with confection. However, even after reading the chapter I am still somewhat confused as to it's purpose and point. Of course I am constantly interested in the content that the book holds, but sometimes the ideas seem to go beyond my understanding.