Making Design Out of Nothing At All

♪ Making design out of nothing at all
Out of nothing at all, out of nothing at all
Out of nothing at all, out of nothing at all
Out of nothing at all
Making design out of nothing at all ♪

Air ‘Melody’ Supply

Design is a challenging field, mostly because a lot of the time you have very little to go on. Clients will tell you to make a thing, but they don’t know what that thing should look like. They also have no content to give you, you just have to pretend like you have content and make the thing! (Latin text for placeholders are a designer’s best friend).


Design is about creative problem-solving, moving elements around until they look ‘right,’ (by using design principles) and adding details with purpose. It’s about creating an object that’s functional, and hopefully cool-looking. This week, we had to solve some design challenges and think about what makes design, design.

Design Thoughts

To kick off design week, we read and reflected on, The Vignelli Canon, by Massimo Vignelli, and Brain Picking’s article about A Kid’s Guide to Graphic Design, by Chip Kidd. I liked Vignelli’s summation of design concepts and it was a big refresher for me in thinking about design. His main concepts had to do with Semantics, Syntactics, and Pragmatics, which is just a way of saying that meaning, form, and function make up design. Function is especially important, and I wanted to highlight function by giving a couple of examples of my own.

Chip Kidd also mentioned design concepts, but what I liked most about Kidd’s take on design was how he highlighted the fact that design is everywhere you look. Everything man-made is by design (and even non-man made things are design), you just have to notice your surroundings. Even something as simple as a juice container is designed.


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Freshly Squeezed design

Design Assignments

I did 4 Design Assignments this week: Two 4 ½ stars, one 3 ½ stars, and one 3 star assignment to equal 15 ½ stars total. My favorite assignment was probably ‘A STORY TOLD IN 4 ICONS.’ It was tough thinking up icons to represent an entire story, but I had fun conceptualizing the icons and placing them in an appropriate setting. I really wanted to talk about the movie itself (it is an 80’s movie), but I had to leave the post ambiguous so that people could guess. I think I was successful in representing the movie though, as ds106-ers seemed to enjoy how the icons were manipulated to look like chalk on a chalkboard. I wanted to show that icons can be viewed as a whole instead of as separate elements, and in fact our eyes naturally take in all elements on a page at once. I think I achieved a pretty good design with this assignment.

My other assignments were, ‘DESIGN IS RISKY BUSINESS,’ ‘PSA: We are all Animals,’ and ‘HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF (For Design).’ The PSA billboard was challenging because I had a hard time making the type readable on the busy background. Had I more time, I think I would’ve played with the image more and simplified some of the elements. The minimal movie poster was challenging because I picked an 80’s movie that I hadn’t seen, so I wasn’t sure what best represented it. I decided on the iconic rock ‘n’ roll scene, but turning that into a minimal design was difficult (mostly because Illustrator kept crashing). And the ‘Wolf in Sheeps’ clothing was fun because I got to analyze some well-known logos! I already knew a fair amount about the FedEx and UPS logos, but I also learned some fun facts that I hadn’t known before.

Design Assignment #4


Stars: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

From Assignment: A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing

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Design Assignment #3

Post: PSA: We are all Animals

Stars: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

From Assignment: PSA Billboard

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Design Assignment #2


Stars: ★ ★ ★ ½

From Assignment: Minimalist TV/Movie Poster

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Design Assignment #1


Stars: ★ ★ ★

From Assignment: One Story / Four Icons

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Community Building

Everyone’ll be a designer in no time with this week’s design assignments! I enjoyed looking at everyone’s designblitz’s, and I think that there were some very creative examples of design on these posts! I liked LIFE THROUGH THE 80’S TODAY’s example of balance with the plate of sushi- I never would’ve thought of sushi as being a design example! And Mckayla Washington’s example of typography with the magazine cover showed great observation of type and layout! She even noticed the wide leading on one of headings.

It was fun trying to guess movies with the four icons/one story task, and CALM DOWN had some great icon picks for her 80’s movie! I also liked seeing all of the minimalist designs, and MEGGS AND BACON had a great flyer design for her creative writing club (which everyone should check out). And DIGITAL STUDIES 106’s cipher design blew my mind because it showed how math and art can combine to create a cool design type thing (and it flips design on its head by creating a problem for users to solve, rather than solving a problem for users! WhOa)!

Here’s my community building breakdown:

Commented on:

MEGGS AND BACON: Creative Writing Club Plug
Mckayla Washington: My DesignBlitz!
DIGITAL STUDIES 106: A cool cipher
CALM DOWN: Four Icons, One 80s Movie

Design Blitz

It’s It’s another blitz! Only this time we snapped pics of design, and that wasn’t too hard to do because design is everywhere! From umbrella stands to food trucks, design exists in every object. Whether it’s 2D or 3D, someone thought about what problem needed solving and they designed a solution.

The Nino’s food truck is one of my favorite examples of design because it shows both good elements and bad elements. The color is good- we tend to associate red with food, and red and dark green with Italian food. The truck also conveys important information, so in that sense, the design is functional. The image isn’t the best though, and the design’s unity is somewhat lacking. The only thing that really grabbed my attention was the color.

I found a ton of designblitz examples though, and I’ve shared a handful of them in my post- ‘IT’S IT’S A DESIGN BLITZ.’


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Daily Creates

The daily creates were a blast this week as we got to do a collaborative whiteboard draw! Doodling on whiteboards is one of my favorite creative activities, so I couldn’t wait to jump right in and add to the mishmash of ducks, balloons, and creatures. I can only imagine how crazy the scene would’ve gotten if we had had everyone in ds106 get in on the drawing action!

I also liked doing the latest daily create: coming up with a picture or poem that represents the word GUMPTION. Well, there’s no character out there that fits that description more than Punk from ‘Elf & Warrior!’ He’s full o’ gumption, and I was happy to have thought of the example.

Here’s all my daily creates for the week in the link below:

Post: DAILY CREATE: Week 6

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Bonus Create!

And with that, design week is over already. Didn’t even break a sweat!

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