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Communication Design

Adobe Design Achievement Awards Strive to Prepare Students for the Real World

Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 12, 2016

ADAA 2016 logo image

Adobe’s annual contest of student work, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, is in full swing, with students entering to meet the June 19 deadline. Adobe partners with ico-D, the International Association of Design, in producing a unique competition that strives to assist registrants in navigating the transition from student to full professional. A full slate of benefits and prizes reinforces the educational aspect of the competition:

  • All registrants are eligible to be chosen for a mentorship with a creative professional, and are subscribed to tips emails from 99U, as well as the 99U Quarterly print magazine.
  • Semifinalists are also invited to join the online ADAA community, attend for free an Adobe Career Bootcamp, have their entries appear in the ADAA live gallery, and can display ADAA online badge on their LinkedIn and Facebook pages.
  • Finalists additionally receive comments on their work from the judges, are invited to partnered events with local design firms, will be nominated for three years for an Adobe Creative Residency, receive a one-year subscription (or extension) to Adobe Creative Cloud, and have their work appear permanently in the ADAA Showcase.
  • Winners have their expenses (travel, hotel, and conference pass) paid for a trip to San Diego to attend Adobe MAX: The Creativity Conference, and receive a trophy.

The ico-D Mentorship Program is uniquely geared to assisting students in bridging the career gap. Mentors select students from all ADAA entrants for either a portfolio review or a mentorship. The mentorship is described as a 5-5-5 – five virtual meetings (online or by telephone), over five months, devised to address five predetermined goals that will either improve the student’s design skills, or assist the student in launching a career. Since mentors are pulled from ico-D and Adobe’s global networks, they represent a broad range of professional activity and locations.

Students are encouraged to enter up to three examples of existing work in different categories, from fine art, to commercial, to social impact. (That last category reflects ico-D and the design community’s concern with sustainability, and encompasses work created for social or environmental causes.) Entrants must be older than 18, and must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education. To accommodate larger scale projects, such as video work, groups may also submit entries, so long as one individual is listed as the team leader. (The competitions rules are posted online.)

While the final submission deadline is June 19, early bird semifinalists will be announced on May 24. Final semifinalists will be announced on July 18, with finalists and category winners projected to be announced in August and September.

Marking World Design Day, April 27

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 30, 2016

World Design Day is on April 27, and ico-D, the International Council of Design, is marking the occasion by celebrating how design has improved everyday life in local communities through their Design in Action! campaign:
“One of the great things about design is that it can make such a big impact on everyday life. From the bike paths that make zipping around the city safer and faster, to the telephone that connects you to your friends and families, to the way-finding that helps you not get lost and the high-tech gear that helps you do the sports you like, good Design, meaningful Design, is constantly in Action!—helping, directing, improving, creating. We want to see Design in Action! where you are—in your region, and in your life.”

ico-D WDD 2016 grapic

The organization has invited designers worldwide to share their examples of great design via Instagram and on ico-D's Facebook page, using the hashtags #WDD2016 and #Designinaction and tagging @theicod. All design disciplines are invited to participate, so the projects that are being shared can include wayfaring signage, bicycle paths, public spaces – anything which impacts the local community for the greater good. The Guild is participating via our brand-new Instagram account, and would love to have our community join us. Please share the design that brings you joy and ease, or addresses real problems in your community. Be sure to use #WDD2016 and #Designinaction and tag @theicod, and tag us too: @graphic_artists_guild.

Examples of Design in Action in New York City: the High Line park, which converted unused elevated rail into a much-needed public park, and interactive subway signage, which reports on track conditions, provides information for wheelchair accessibility, and permits visitors to map their routes, among other features.

The WDD2016 visuals were designed by the multi- talented Russian poster designer Peter Bankov.  www.bankovposters.com 

Katie Lane’s Low-down on Work-for-Hire versus Assigning Your Copyrights

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 21, 2016

Katie Lane illustrationAttorney Katie Lane recently addressed a question she often hears from her creative clients: what’s the difference between work-for-hire and assigning copyrights? Work-for-hire is a term which is frequently misunderstood, and confused with an all-rights buyout. Lane explains that a work-for-hire agreement means the client owns the copyright to whatever the artist creates: “From the very moment the thing is created, it’s owned by the client or your employer.” In contrast, when an artist assigns the copyright, the artist owns the copyright, and is selling that copyright to the client.

Lane further explains that for a work to qualify as work-for-hire, it has to either be created by an employee within the scope of that individual’s job (in which case the copyright belongs to the employer or firm), or it must meet one of nine categories, such as contributing to a collective work. Lane also points out that the agreement between the artist and client must stipulate that the work is work-for-hire.

Lane concludes by cautioning artists on the real limits work-for-hire agreements place on artists, such as prohibiting them from displaying the work in their portfolios. If a contract stipulates a project is work-for-hire, and the artist thinks it may not meet one of the nine qualifications, Lane’s advice is to negotiate before signing to see if the terms can be changed to assigning copyrights.

Lane’s full article, Work for Hire or Copyright Assignment?, can be read on her blog. The Work Made for Hire blog features articles written from a legal perspective for creatives, and includes tips on negotiating, reading contracts, and a comprehensive article on orphan works.

Illustration of Katie Lane © Dylan Meconis 2016. Used with permission.

Graphic Means: Film Project Explores Pre-Digital Design Production

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 18, 2016

Graphic Means film promotional artworkA film trailer released in early March has received a lot of attention, particularly among designers of a certain age (and with the Xacto knife scars to show). The trailer is for a film currently in production: Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production. The film is the labor of love of designer and educator Briar Lovit, and explores the pre-digital era of graphic design, when design tools included T-squares, Letraset, amberlith, and a good relationship with a typesetting studio. Recently, Lovit talked with us about how the project came about.  

Lovit never intended to produce a film. Her background is in book design, and she came of age as a designer in the mid-1990s, well after design schools had migrated their programs to be primarily digital. However, as she collected old design manuals from the 1970s and 80s – Lovit is an avid thrift shopper – she became fascinated by the step-by-step processes described in the books. Doug Wilson’s film Linotype gave her the inspiration to pursue a film about pre-digital design production. (Wilson is more than just a role model; he’s been actively mentoring her on the Graphic Means film.)

The timing is perfect for such a film. The revolution from manual production to digital design is fairly recent, and many of the people who made the transition are still around. She’s pulled together an impressive list of interviewees for the film, luminaries such as Steven Heller, Ellen Lupton, Tobias Frere-Jones, Ken Garland (creator of the iconic peace sign), and James Craig (author of Designing with Type). But what will give the film texture and weight are the unsung production heros she dug up: Gene Gable, who for many years ran the pre-press trade show Seybold Seminars; Frank Romano, the design historian and former editor of International Paper Pocket Pro (an indispensible resource for designers preparing print files); and a group of former cold typesetters in New York City, among others.

While young designers will be amused by the unrecognizable artifacts of a bygone era, Lovit feels there’s a larger story about how the creative process has been altered, and not necessarily for the good. She by no means rejects the ease that digital tools bring to design. However, as she put it, there has been a loss in contemplation, and inexperienced designers skip steps to rush to a final product. In her design classes (Lovit is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State), she asks her students to ideate on paper before proceeding to the computer. The skill and labor that the manual techniques required, from creating comps on board to preparing color separations with amberlith film, meant that designers had to make much more deliberate, well-considered choices – something she hopes to impart to her students.

The film got its initial funding through a successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised one quarter of the total budget required for completion. Currently the film is in post-production, and Lovit is enjoying the collaborative process with Dawn Jones Redstone, her director of photography, and editor Emily VonW. Gilbert. She’s also been getting a lot of positive press, and was invited to run a session at the Portland Design Week on April 20th. Participants will be able to view “live paste-up demos” (mechanical artists would roll their eyes), rub their own Letraset letters, and view the Graphic Means trailer. Lovit is also actively fundraising, in part by selling calendars, buttons, and a pre-order for the film’s DVD off the film’s online shop.

 

Graphic Means (Official Trailer) from Briar Levit on Vimeo.

NYPL Adds Public Domain Images to Digital Collections for Reuse by Artists

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 02, 2016

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has added over 674,000 public domain images to their on online database of digital collections. The public domain database includes prints, photographs, maps, video, and manuscripts, which can be downloaded in high resolution. The NYPL statements on the collection indicate that the materials are out-of-copyright, and the public is invited to “go forth and reuse!”. However, a closer look at the NYPL selection process indicates that some images may not be public domain, or may have additional rights assigned, and artists are cautioned to proceed carefully before using the images.

The collection was developed with the NYPL Labs, an interdisciplinary team within the library with the mission of positioning the Library’s collections for the digital age. The NYPL Digital Collections overall provide a great resource of research, educational, and reference material for designers and illustrators. Visitors to the Collections can search by keyword, scroll through recently uploaded items, or browse collections such as Fashion, Nature, For Designers, or Book Arts and Illustrations. For illustrators needing reference material for historic projects, for example, illustrations of 1930s era farm life, the search features and collections can be a tremendous aid. To select for public domain images within a collection, the user checks the “Show Only Public Domain” filter selection. This filters for only images the NYPL believes are out-of-copyright.

NYPL Public Domain filter selection

Above: When in a collection, be sure to select for only public domain images to view images the NYPL has flagged as available for reuse.

While the newly added materials are described as “public domain” (items for which the coyright has expired or doesn't exist), the Library doesn’t commit to that legal designation. The Library legal team utilizes services such as reverse image searches and the Catalog of Copyright Entries to research the copyright status of items before release. However, because of changes in US copyright law, and the lack of provenance on many images (in particular photos), the NYPL demurs to definitively state the items are public domain. Instead, their blog post on the public domain additions clarifies that the legal team was unable to find copyrights to the items, and states that the Library is unable “to guarantee that we have not made a mistake in either the facts or the law.” The rights statement on the public domain images reads “We believe that this item has no known US copyright restrictions.” The statement also warns that the items may be additionally restricted: “The item may be subject to rights of privacy, rights of publicity and other restrictions.”

NYPL public domain image rights statement

In celebration of the release, the Library is inviting the public to apply for a “Remix Residency.” The NYPL Labs is accepting proposals to reuse and remix from the collection to create “transformative, interesting, beautiful new uses of our digital collections.” As examples of such uses, they’ve provided links to sample NYPL public domain remixes, such as “Navigating the Green Book,” an exploration of travel guides that showed restaurants, hotels, and other establishments open to African Americans during the age of segregation. NYPL Labs is accepting proposals through the end of February. Recipients of the residency will receive a $2,000 stipend, consultation with the Lab’s staff and curators, and workspace in the NYPL research rooms.

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