Archive for December, 2004

Student fundraising

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

According to this BBC News report (requires Real Video) students at a German university have posed naked for a calendar to raise funds to ‘save’ the university.

Mmm… an interesting moral dilemma for any member of staff. Do you buy it and be accused of letchery, or refuse to buy it and be accused of not supporting the cause? I think I’d just make a donation and walk away.

Fortunately the students I teach have a much more practical way of raising cash – they organise some (apparently quite successful) nightclub events in town. Despite constant invitations I haven’t yet gone to one of these – maybe when teaching’s finished and I can’t be blackmailed with photos of my attempts at dancing.

Talking of naked students (er, that phrase won’t look good in the Google searches!) in my first job the annual ‘design a poster for the end of year exhibition’ competition was won by a third year who photographed apparently naked students with strategically placed portfolios (I’m sure it’s been done to death everywhere).

The treatment of the idea was quite amusing and novel – but college management were very nervous and began to tinker so much with the idea that the student involved became completely disillusioned with graphic design, and I very nearly resigned!

Funny how what’s unaceptable in one institution hardly raises an eyebrow in others – I’ve been to a few end of year fashion shows where topless dresses always seem to make an appearance (possibly something to do with saving money on cloth), and my boss tells a very funny story about how a group of government inspectors were visiting the university and having coffee in the cafe when a completely naked and gold student walked past the window, with absolutley nobody taking any notice at all.

Even the inspectors were blasé about it, having quickly got used to ‘art and design ways of thinking’.

I remember another group of inspectors were visiting a fashion department once and heard how an increase in student numbers and a decline in space meant it was becoming impossible to make garments anymore.

“You could always specialise in baby clothes” one suggested…

Revitalizing Reason in Design Education

Monday, December 6th, 2004

I’m sure Tom Gleason is telepathically tuned in to me. I’ve just taken a break from the last section of my book in which I’m talking about design education and its ‘kidnapping’ by the art world (I’ll tone it down for publication!) and then I read Tom’s post on rationality in design.

On the one hand, it’s great because it says exactly what I’m saying and just at the moment I need that reassurance. On the other it’s bad because I now have to be careful I don’t appear to be plagiarising him. Damn you, Tom! I think this is the third time it’s happened…

Any design faculty that is prepared to accept challenging views should have someone like this on their payroll. Trouble is, as I’ve found, arguing for rationality in design education is the equivelant of stealing the duvet. Before long if you don’t roll back over and go to sleep you’ll be kicked out of bed altogether. People like to be cosy.

Point . Design: Revitalizing Reason in Design Education: “A true study of design inevitably requires the student to realize and come to terms with the connections between (a) design and rationality and (b) rationality and communication.

The most important first lesson for a designer, the one lesson which initiates him or her as a designer, is this: Every design decision is in principle justifiable. In other words, design is reasonable. The designer has reasons for his or her choice of a typeface, graphic style, means of reproduction, etc. A piece is considered to be highly designed or well-designed when, if asked, the designer is able to argue convincingly for all of his or her design decisions. (continued…)”

How to recognise an ambulance

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

Beginners’ Guide to Ambulance Spotting – not a book I thought might be worth proposing to a publisher before, but apparently there’s a market. A lesson for designers everywhere, here: you really can’t be too obvious…

BBC NEWS | England | Staffordshire | Toll motorway holds up ambulance: An emergency vehicle was delayed from responding to a 999 call when its paramedic driver was told to pay for using the M6 Toll motorway.

Staffordshire Ambulance Service said it would be meeting toll road bosses after the incident, at Weeford near Lichfield on Wednesday night.

An ambulance spokesman said such delays could put lives at risk.

The road’s operators say the car was not ‘clearly liveried’ and no warning was given.

Bob Lee, for the ambulance service, said the driver, wearing a paramedic uniform, was only allowed through the toll after turning on the car’s blue lights.

He was driving the Vauxhall estate from Cannock to Lichfield to provide emergency cover, when he was stopped at the exit of the M6 Toll and the booth operator refused to raise the barrier.

The white emergency response vehicle was marked with green chequered stripes with a blue light bar on top and blue lights on the grill.

It was displaying a large ‘star of life’ emblem on its bonnet and had the ambulance service’s crown badge on the two front doors.

Mr Lee said all the above had been agreed with the operator of the M6 Toll, Midland Expressway Limited, as being sufficient for recognition as an ambulance vehicle.