ayana airakan-mance | design : speak

Long live the great Sylvia Harris

Posted in Black Designers, Design, Design Education, Design Matters, Process, Social Good, Video by ayanaairakan on 2011/08/01

I just found out late last night about the 24 July 2011, untimely passing of Sylvia Harris. Although we didn’t know each other personally, I was always inspired by and in awe of her wonderful and vital work in the field of design for social good and as a design educator. I’m blessed to share some very special friends with her, so I feel I have lost a friend in her. Thanking Michelle Washington for letting me know and for a wonderful tribute on her Cultural Boundaries blog. A link to her tribute is shown below. Sending love to her, Ricardo Gomes, Steve Jones, and Saki Mafundikwa, the dear friends Sylvia and I share.

Blessings to Sylvia’s family and community at this difficult time.

Citizen Research and Design

And a few of the tributes shared on Citizen Research and Design:

Cultural Boundaries



The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher

Posted in Assigned Video, Design, Video by ayanaairakan on 2010/08/06

Great insight from one of the design profession’s lions.

David Carson on design + discovery

Posted in Assigned Video, Business, Design, Design Education, LinkedIn, Process, Teaching, Video by ayanaairakan on 2010/07/27

As I move into another semester of teaching design students, I am continuing to chronicle here design resources and sources of inspiration to share with them and expand my arsenal of great resources. In my research, I have logged a myriad of great Ted Talks given on the subjects of design and creativity.

I’m starting off my new quest in this vain with a 2003 Ted Talk by David Carson on design and discovery, What I like about Carson is the fact that he came into graphic design from a background in sociology and secondary education. (I taught high school government.) For me, having come to the design field without following the traditional training route gave him a clean slate with which to approach his work.

In this talk, he shares his process of discovery and its relationship to design. I will continue to feature talks by great designers as time goes on.


La Mission

Posted in Art, Design, LinkedIn, New Media | Multimedia, Video by ayanaairakan on 2009/11/10

I had the great pleasure of seeing Peter and Benjamin Bratt’s latest movie and collaboration, La Mission this past Saturday, 7 November 2009 at the American Indian Film Festival (See link at the end of this post). I highly recommend that you see this film wherever it is playing. The film actually premiered at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival in April, and continues to run the film festival circuit. It really needs to get shown in the mainstream theaters; so let’s see if we can make this happen.

I found myself wondering if I connected with the film so much because I lived many aspects covered in the film-La Mission, la cultura, and if that’s the case, how would those who didn’t be able to relate.

My answer: it’s a universal story in many respects. Everyone, if they connect with their human/humane side can find something in this film with which to connect. Peter Bratt is brilliant at drawing his characters in such a sympathetic yet truly human manner. Nobody’s perfect, yet even the flaws in his characters are drawn beautifully.

See the film. Buy the DVD when it comes out, buy the soundtrack when it comes out, buy the t-shirt now, and call Oprah and insist she have the Bratt brothers on her show to discuss the film. Call Ellen Degeneres,  George Lopez, and Jay Leno, and insist the same.

Because my blog is primarily about design, I have elected to briefly discuss the poster shown below and comment on the artwork done on the “lowriders/cruisers” featured in the film as well:

The poster, designed by Florencia Garcia, has a graphically strong visual hierarchy, bringing the viewer in from top center by an up close shot of the lead charachter, Che Rivera, played by Benjamin Bratt decorated in his “life medals.” We then are guided down the poster by Che’s downward position of his head and eyes to the film title, rendered beautifully and appropriately (to the subject matter), and a beautiful photo illustration of one of the “lowriders/cruisers.” The artwork on the “cruisers” is riveting. Both the poster and car artwork represent so realistically “The Mission” District here in San Francisco while paying homage to the multitude of incredible artists that came from this neighborhood. The murals are also well represented in the film. Here’s the poster and a short video from this year’s 52nd SF International Film Festival with the film’s renowned cinematographer, Hiro Narita talking briefly about the film. Also, artists Mike McArdle and Jesse Campillo, who did the artwork on many of the “lowriders” seen in the film share their part in creating these incredible masterpieces.


La Mission: http://bit.ly/2Xrl5l
American Indian Film Festival: http://www.aifisf.com/ 6-14 November 2009, San Francisco, CA

Noted: Eggs and Sausage by Jackie Lay

Posted in Art, Design, Experimental, Noted, Typography, Video by ayanaairakan on 2009/09/26

Sharing a great find from the mehallo blog. Big thanks to Steve Mehallo

Eggs and Sausage by Jackie Lay