Viva Colombia!

Last Friday, I attended my first Parapan Am, 5-a-side football (soccer) match. The series was played by the visually impaired—that’s another story.

Innovative lettering for the word Colombia on jacketTeam players for Colombia and Mexico were battling for the bronze medal. Since I was there for the experience, I was impartial and cheered for both teams!

I happened to sit next to a veteran fan and admired the fabulous lettering on his jacket; it was characteristic of his country’s Andes mountains.

Although I did not speak a word of Spanish, nor he English, we shared snacks and the international spirit of the games. He allowed me to snap a photo of the terrific logo on his jacket.

In the end, Colombia lost in a shoot-out—a heartbreaking loss for him. Nevertheless, the Colombia logo is a clear winner with me!

Have you been inspired by a cool logo?

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Seeing Clearly

Several things happened this past week that got me thinking.

eye examIt seems my vision is not what it used to be.

My optometrist sent me for a “glaucoma work up”. One of the tests—a field of vision test—required me to focus on a central spot and use a clicker to register quick flashes whenever they randomly appeared in my peripheral field. In exuberance, I was wildly clicking—apparently seeing sparks that were not there!

Life is like that. It is easy to get sidetracked by the flashy, shiny diversions that detract from the central focus—even to the point of pursuing distractions of no substance!

The Parapan Am Games in Toronto are coming to a close. Yesterday, I attended one of the medal games for 5-a-side football (soccer).

_DSC0602The fascinating aspect of this sport is that the players are visually-impaired; they wear eyeshades—blinders—to even the playing field. Only the goalie is sighted. The football is fitted with bells. Spectators watch in silence (silence!), enabling players to focus on the sound of the tumbling bells within the moving ball.

A sighted guide, confined to an area behind the net, directs his team by shouting directions. During a shoot-out, he also bangs on the goal posts. In the seeming chaos, goals are scored!

It takes intense concentration, timing, and coordination to detect the ball’s ever-changing location by its sound. Above all, the athletes are fearless.

The pain of stubbing my toe in the dark or walking into a wall reminds me to move slowly when I don’t see well. These athletes run at full speed during play. Running into obstacles, including each other, is a normal part of the game. They simply get up and keep playing.

eye chartFollowing Mexico’s bronze win, my husband and I celebrated over quesadillas at a downtown restaurant. On the subway ride home, he was remarking on various aspects of the transit system. He normally drives, so he was riding the new underground trains for the first time.

As he was commenting on the train’s articulated design, the dynamic subway map, announcements about station stops and door location exits, I was seeing my daily commute with fresh eyes.

This week’s incidents have me adjusting my lenses to stay my most creative self.

  1. Flashy distractions are just that—or not! Stayed focused.
  2. Fearless concentration. Never mind the obstacles—keep playing.
  3. Flags and sign-posts. Ball bells, coaching, and goalpost thumping—don’t see the goal? Use another sense—listen up.
  4. Fresh eyes on the world around me. My travelling companions see the same world I see, but with different eyes. Check out their viewpoint.

“The true voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having fresh eyes.” Marcel Proust

Yes, it seems my vision is not what it used to be…

Final Quest

As my Visual Design and Display of Information course draws to a conclusion, I reflect on learning outcomes.

  1. Design is as much about the presentation of text as the inclusion of quality and relevant graphics to complement the text.
  2. Design is not about decoration or ornamentation. Design is about making communication easy and clear for the reader.
  3. Learning the psychology behind the principles of design informs design choices and strengthens the impact of visual materials. It also helps me to articulate why a particular design choice might be successful.
  4. Use alignment as a simple, effective, and vital design principle to create a cohesive and unified page.
  5. Blogging is an effective way to share ideas, articulate a position, gain feedback, and connect with others interested in similar topics. Sharing ideas using both words and images, including photos, videos, and slides, facilitates communication.
  6. Lots more to learn!

I present my final assignment, the design blog DesignQuest, and answer a few questions posed in my earlier post.

Who is the audience for DesignQuest? This blog appeals to anyone who is curious about the concepts and issues related to visual design and display of information.

What is the purpose of this blog? As a student of visual design, I present design development concepts and best practices. As a newbie to blogging, I explore the reasons and basics of blogging. Since a blog is a personal journal, I share my thoughts on various topics.

What tone is used? Because I am curious and still learning, the posts reflect the tone of a writer who is learning, asking questions, and wanting to find out more. I do not present as an expert (yet!), but as a conduit of the information that I am gleaning and have uncovered in the process of searching.

Will this blog have an after-life following the class? Maybe. I could turn it into a forum for design techniques and artwork. Who knows?

Regardless, this has been a fabulous learning adventure!

Moraine Lake, Alberta

Moraine Lake, Alberta (photo: Gordon Sloan)

To close the chapter on my design blog, I attempted to find a relevant image. But none surfaced.

Sometimes life is like that. What you are looking for is not ready to be found.

However, I do have a favourite photo captured by my brother-in-law as he navigated the Canadian Rockies. (I enjoy the scenery’s calming biophilia effect.)

Thank you for joining me on the course of this  journey! Or the journey of this course!

Maybe our paths will lead us to meet here again.

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Hello visual design class! (Anyone out there?)

I am extroverted.

I enjoy relating to people face to face, and I am energized through human interaction and external stimuli. So I never pictured myself sitting at home alone taking an online class about communication. I much prefer to sit in an actual classroom with real people – talking in real time. You know, communicating about communication. However, here I am, registered in my second e-learning course.

Extroversion aside, I admit that learning online has its advantages. During the course, I can tune in and out on my own schedule. Because students connect virtually, I am studying with learners from abroad with global perspectives.  And no one is judging me when I show up on a bad hair day wearing pajamas.

This semester, I am studying Visual Design and Display of Information. Instructor Julian Hunt writes, “This course will allow students to think about online delivery with an emphasis on visual and non-visual communications.”

I am excited to unearth more about the strategy of visual communications, so I ventured online to investigate.

Hewlett-Packard offers a four-page PDF titled The Power of Visual Communication.

Formal research studies indicate that communication comprising a visual component is far more effective than oral or non-visual communication. However, visual combined with non-visual communication (oral and action) is even more effective.

“Psychologist Jerome Bruner of New York University has described studies that show that people only remember 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read, but about 80% of what they see and do.

Interestingly, while purely visual communication is more effective than solely verbal communication, the most compelling communication combines both visual and non-visual content. “

Presentation designer Chiara Ojeda explores visual thinking. She presents a thought-provoking slideshow and YouTube video that inspires presenters to rethink the approach of their next visual presentation.

So why am I telling you all this?

The final assignment for the Visual Design class is a design blog that captures my learning activity over the eight-week course. I have always wanted to blog. Here’s the perfect opportunity. In fact, you are reading my very first blog post!

During the course, through active research and learning activities, reading, and “listening”, I am hoping to retain much of that estimated 80% to which Bruner refers.

I invite you to audit Visual Design and Display of Information through the headset of my mindset. Listen in over the next several weeks. I’ll be blogging. Communicating. Maybe you will communicate back.

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