ayana airakan-mance | design : speak

Spied 4.21.16

Posted in Commentary by ayanaairakan on 2016/04/21

And agreeing…



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Learning to Design a Cherokee Syllabary with Mark Jamra

Posted in Commentary, Design, Design Events, Design History, Design Matters, Typography by ayanaairakan on 2015/08/03

I just caught this very interesting talk on TypeCulture’s Facebook page on designing an indigenous American syllabary via the Cherokee language whose written language is almost 200 years old. Fascinated as my mother’s maternal grandfather was Cherokee.

I love looking at writing systems outside of the Western cultures. For this talk, Mark Jamra references the book The Cherokee Syllabary: Writing the People’s Perseverance by Ellen Cushman.

Also check out Afrikan Alphabets, The Story of Writing in Afrika by Mwalimu Saki Mafundikwa.

Check out TypeCulture on Facebook here: https://goo.gl/fISww4

Image: Courtesy Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_language

Video runtime: 59:42

Rise of Graphics for Social Justice Issues in the US

Posted in Commentary, Design, Design Matters by ayanaairakan on 2013/02/07

Though the production of graphics for social justice issues, primarily as posters or street art has not diminished much in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, it has lost its prominence in the US.

Given this fact, it was nice to read today’s The Daily Heller: Triggering Concern About Guns.

by Juana Medina

by Juana Medina

To see a full array of the posters, go here: The Gun Show: A Collection Of Posters Against Guns

Design is About Solving Problems | Design Informer

Posted in Commentary, Design, Design Matters, LinkedIn, Process by ayanaairakan on 2011/09/07

One of my Twitter colleagues, Jan Jursa of Information Architecture Television (@IATV on Twitter) shared this interesting post by James Young on Design Informer (See link below) and I thought I would share it.

It is always good to step back and reassess where one is in respect to the design process. This is a good post followed by good comments. Enjoy.

Recently, a couple of things happened in my design career that have made me sit down and reflect a bit on where I’m at and how I can improve what I deliver to my clients and their users. I’d noticed that my source of inspiration had changed and that I was being inspired more by clever solutions and ideas than by visual flourish.

Like many designers, my RSS feed of inspirational websites is full of great work and posts. I’m also active on Twitter, and I meet up with other designers regularly at local events. But I find that at a basic level, I actually don’t draw that much inspiration directly from these things anymore.

The full article can be read here or via the link below.

via Design is About Solving Problems | Design Informer.

Wim Crouwel in conversation

Posted in Commentary, Design, LinkedIn, Process, Typography by ayanaairakan on 2011/05/04

“I’m a little afraid of design as art, of moving away from the client and creating your own content. Rarely people are good at both. Design and art are in the same neighbourhood, but they should not be in bed together. But, I am also curious about this border crossing.”

Sharing an interview with one of the most influential (in my opinion most certainly) designers and typographers. Enjoy.


Nice pre-#w2e talk with Maria Giudice (@mgiudice) and Kaitlin Pike (@kcpike), sharing an overview of Maria’s 3/29 Web 2.0 Expo session.

Posted in Business, Commentary, Design, Design Matters, LinkedIn, New Media | Multimedia, Process by ayanaairakan on 2011/03/30

It’s my second day at the Web 2.0 Expo here is San Francisco, and while on break, I listened to a pre-Web 2.0 Expo interview by Web 2.0’s K. C. Pike of Hot Studio’s CEO and founder, Maria Giudice who is talking about her Web 2.0 Expo session called: Don’t Go It Alone: Using Collaboration to Solve Creative Design Problems. Her session will focus on building a creative culture in your organization.

Some gems from her insight:
Be a good listener and facilitator.
Build fun into your organization and a bit of spontaneity.
Treat everyone as a contributor
Make sure your company is iterating and evolving on a regular basis and that your employees are part of that evolution.
You want to turn your naysayers into your strongest advocates.

You can catch the full interview here: http://bit.ly/h6RlYG

Macworld SF Expo 2011: Disappointing, but . . . #apple #macworld #in

Posted in Commentary, LinkedIn, Macworld by ayanaairakan on 2011/01/31

Yes, it was that time of the year again, and I made it to the Macworld 2011 Expo here in San Francisco, albeit the very last day. I have yet to attend any of the conferences. Here are my thoughts and highlights of the Expo. My compatriots were Cherie Carter and Jeanne Hendrickson. And I also ran into Adam Helweh, and photographer extraordinaire, Duane Conliffe.

I was very pleased to see the new inventors space (can’t remember the actual title) where I met two men who created a collapsible, pocket-size stand for the iPhone and iPad using Kickstarter to raise venture capital to develop the product and get it to market. I thought this was pretty cool. The interactive tables and whiteboards by SMART, Inc. were interesting.

Another highlight, was meeting these four entrepreneurs who have created “Off the Chain,” for iPods, IPads, iPhones, mobile phones, and mp3 players. They were incredibly enthusiastic and working the expo floor quite well. You can check them out at: http://digitaltrendsetters.com.

I also found a great productivity mobile app (for iPhone/iPod  and IPad) made by Appigo, and a great remote clone tool made by thinkoptics, inc. I liked the thinkoptics, inc. app so well, that I’m finally going to update to the latest iPod Touch, so I can use it. I’m also purchasing MacKeeper a tool that has a great security feature in the event a computer is stolen. The Mac Geek Gab featuring Dave Hamilton and John Braun from The Mac Observer, Inc. was enjoyable and informative. It was good to see BusyMac who makes BusyCal as well, and I’m sorry I missed the OmniGroup booth. I didn’t see them. They make that great tool Omngraffle.

Although I did find these great products, talks and services, I will say that this year was a disappointment in that there were no products I could find that addressed my core interests as a Macintosh computer user in the areas of graphic design and photography on the Macintosh platform. Most vendors offered tools for the mobile platform. The fact that Macworld is having a mobile app conference and expo in Barcelona this year leaves me asking why did they dedicate 95% of the expo to mobile app developers.  Hewlett Packard, Xerox, Seagate were the only prominent vendors here this year. It would be great if Adobe, Quark (yes Quark), and Apple saw we who use their hardware and software as a valuable consumer market. By the looks of this year’s Macworld, it is quite clear that this is not the case. See my addendum below.

It also seems that the focus of Macworld is only on the conferences and the expo is an afterthought. I think I’m finally at the point where I am seriously looking at not attending next year. I don’t do the conferences, as they are quite pricey.

Feeling a bit sad about the direction Macworld is taking. Maybe I’m too old-school. I miss the Geekdom of the Macworld of yore. Love to know your thoughts.

Just finished having a nice talk with my neighbor David Morgenstern, a blogger at The Apple Core on ZDnet and definitely one of my go to people for anything Apple, and he shared his thoughts about how many vendors who would like to show at Macworld could not do so due to the high cost of the exhibitors price. He also felt that companies like Adobe could not justify the cost in regard to their ROI (Return on Investment). Maybe Macworld needs to look at lowering its exhibitor’s fee or move the event to less costly venue. I think his point is well taken, and I thank him for sharing it.

Again, love to know your thoughts.

Addendum: Gap Bows to Outcry – Nixes New Logo and Crowdsourcing. Design Still May Have Lost Out.

Posted in Branding, Commentary, Design, Design Matters, LinkedIn by ayanaairakan on 2010/10/12

It was wonderful to see the outpouring of concern over the Gap’s brand redesign and the impact it had in ultimately getting the company to back away from the poorly designed new mark, and ultimately, it seems the practice of crowd-sourcing. (Please see link at the bottom of this post for the article concerning this.)

I do feel a bit sad though, that while the Gap has  publicly stated that they would not out source the design work again, and that this event has given many companies pause to think before engaging in this practice, the value that designers and design bring has been greatly compromised. Much of the dialogue missed a lot of the salient points that apply to design and the process. Is this because of the “instant information” culture in which we are living? Is it because we are in an economic depression? I don’t know. I see a lack of trying to understand the design process, or maybe even a resistance to doing the work entailed in developing the process, in more and more students.

How do designers sell the value of design in these times? Love to know your thoughts.

Gap Bows to Outcry – Nixes New Logo and #Crowdsourcinghttp://bit.ly/cdb5xg

Is The Design Process (Strategic Design) Going The Way Of The Dinosaur?

Posted in Branding, Commentary, Design, Design Matters, LinkedIn, Process by ayanaairakan on 2010/10/11

Tom’s of Maine new logo:

In my last post, I added the newly designed Tom’s of Maine logo and packaging to the discussion of poorly designed branding speared by the newly designed GAP logo.

In both cases, I sincerely feel the design process, and strategic design have completely been left out of the equation in the development of these brands. What is going on? As a design educator I find what I see as becoming a trend exemplified by these two examples quite disconcerting.

During project critiques, the design process that looks at the targeted audience and what it has already bought into in respect to a company’s brand and product or service, is always at the forefront of the design choices of color, typography, imagery, layout, etc. I just don’t see this consideration given in the case of the Tom’s of Maine and GAP redesigns.

What am I missing? Love to know your thoughts.

Graham Smith of ImJustCreative offers a nice perspective on the outcry about the GAP logo redesign. In his post, The Gap Logo – Is the outcry and criticism justified. In his followup post, The GAP Logo Design Revisited, he, in good fun, offers his reworking of the logo.

New GAP Logo

Previous GAP Logo

Tom’s Of Maine Changes Their Brand Also | Filed Under #disappointing.

Posted in Branding, Commentary, Design, Design Matters, LinkedIn by ayanaairakan on 2010/10/10

So about a month or so before all this hoopla about GAP changing is classic, modern brand to, what I consider a mundane, nondescript one, I needed to buy toothpaste. Off I went to Trader Joe’s to purchase my Tom’s of Maine Natural Antiplaque & Whitening Gel. To my surprise and chagrin, I noticed that they had changed THEIR BRAND!

I buy the spearmint flavored paste and felt the leaves illustration at the head of the container visually conveyed what flavor I was purchasing. The new package has no illustration and is using a color palette purple, dull green, aquamarine blue, and blue (I think) used as the logo, which doesn’t visually relate at all the the product.The only element that may visually relate is the flavor name that is written in this horrible font. What were they thinking?

In addition, the logo has been redesigned in a way that has no connection what-so-ever to Tom’s of Maine’s long-standing brand. The typography is weak, and as a consumer, I have no idea what they are attempting to convey as their brand with this new design. I wonder if they crowdsourced this redesign.

Love to know your thoughts.