Graduate Application: Statement of Purpose (2016)

At the age of 21, after truly discovering my passion for design, I applied to the highly selective visual communication program at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.  Thrilled at my acceptance, I continued to work hard and research religiously. As I progressed through the program, I realized the drive behind our field was being applied through each assignment, but the concept of problem solving was consistently overlooked. Though “pretty” projects earned passing grades, the ideology of our field was consistently disregarded. I believe, as a bachelor’s of fine arts, the visual communication program is flawed because the most valuable aspect in the process of design is creating a piece that is more efficient. This frustration has become a source of motivation for me, a reason to continue to pursue a resolution.
 

One unique aspect Ball State offers is the immersive learning experience. Professors write proposals for grants on their choice of a research project and assemble a team of selected students. Dr. Paul Gestwicki, my advisor for an immersive learning project, described it as “A sabbatical with the benefit of choosing students for assistance.” The goal of this immersive learning experience was to create a game for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, but at first everything else was to be determined by the team he assembled.
 

Gestwicki, a professor in the School of Computer Science, operated the entire semester by the fundamentals of Scrum methodology of agile software development.  Scrum focused on product management for a task of little direction, which benefits from consistently providing feedback for the structure of organization of process as well as productivity on the final goal. Ultimately, our thirteen member team had not one, but roughly a hundred games created, three formal proposals and digital prototypes for games, and one fully generated game consisting of several levels, digitally produced and included playful sound effects. Our final game teaches children the principles of building a valuable collection through the perspective of a museum curator. Our play testers loved it and so did the curators of Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Communication between different “languages” of fields is no longer unfamiliar, but growing increasingly comfortable. Beyond a real world simulation of teamwork, the immersive learning experience taught me how to critically analyze a process from an outside perspective.

Helping others in shaping products or services to resolve dysfunction and maximize organization would be my ideal professional future. Branding and digital media are imperative in generating a social presence. However, the fluidity of conceptual inspirations to creation through post-production must be seamless and maximize efficiency. My vision is to network to build a team. This team, forming a studio, would assist companies, organizations, and institutions in streamlining productivity by focusing on design systems. As a visual communicator, it is my goal to assist my client in resolving the unknown complications as well as minimize unforeseen impediments. Focusing on the research process through my graduate study will prepare me to perform at my best in all my future endeavors, but ultimately assist others in becoming more efficient in sustainable social design.
 

"What do you LOVE about Design?"

Rick Poyer said in the documentary Helvetica: "Graphic Design is the communication framework through which these messages about what the world is now, and what we should aspire to. It's the way they reach us. The designer has an enormous responsibility. Those are the people, you know, putting their wires into our heads." As a visual designer and an end-user advocate, I understand the "responsibility" of which Poyer is speaking. I respect the impact design has on our lives, our community, and our footprint. Design dictates our habits and shapes our character individually, our routine, how we consume everything from the news to a cup of coffee. 

Successful products have a subconscious, emotion-evoking draw balanced with a cognitive interest of some thing simultaneously unique, eccentric, and distinctive, yet relative, efficient, purposeful, identifiable, and relatable to a wide audience. Design is deeper than aesthetic, artisanal craft; it is a foundation of principles and heuristics creating little moments that guide product users through their lives in confidence, connecting them to their interests and exploring and experiencing life in authentic, meaningful, smooth interactions. I LOVE the challenge of finding a flow of functionality, shaping the notoriety of a brand, and value the messages we communicate to a user when cultivating design.

Designer Statement

I recently was asked "what do you LOVE about design?" and I was reminded of a designer statement I wrote 4 years ago.  I find myself continually modifying this, year to year, as I get deeper into the industry, grow as a designer, and have my perspective widened through conversations with other designers.  If anything has been steadfast in my career, it has been my hunger to better myself as a designer through the study of the art of design, research the cognitive physiology of consumer behavioralism and human-computer interaction. My best learned lesson is that all things designed can be simultaneously resolved and incomplete for design is a organic, fluid, and ever changing.

 

Designer Statement

“Every object tells a story if you know how to read it.”

-Henry Ford

Creating art has allowed me to develop my values in life. It has shaped my character. Studying the works of others has allowed me to discover my means of meditation. Through creating and studying art, my peace, joy, hope, encouragement, anger, frustration, and fears are embraced and energized into a source of productivity and motivation. Without creating art for myself, friends, family, commissioners and clients, my mind grows distracted. Art keeps me grounded and pushes me to enhance my knowledge and skill in my field.

As a designer I utilize my skills of the fine arts to create a design with which companies or individuals can identify and appreciate. I value the principles and theories presented by fine art. I believe the knowledge and appreciation of the arts is vital to creating good designs. Throughout my undergraduate study I have worked with a variety of mediums. In two dimensional art I have most enjoyed drawing, painting, print, and watercolor. Three dimensionally I have worked with glass, plaster, and wood. I work digitally by utilizing After Effects, InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.

I am a firm believer in creating a design more elegant and functional for the consumer. A world without designers would be confused and unproductive. When I am confident a piece is strong in composition, contrast, repetition, harmony, and unity, I believe it follows my core beliefs and I consider in each design align my personal style.

As a designer, I enjoy creating work that has a clean appearance. My designs focus on utilizing solid positive and negative space; design should live in a powerful matrix. My work appears strong independently and fit the other elements within my portfolio. It includes the fundamental principles of fine art. All of my design work clearly projects the theories of my personal design practice. Because of my love for design research, I feel it best to quote the documentary Objectified, which has guided my design direction:

Good design should be innovative.

Good design should make a product useful.

Good design should make a product understandable.

Good design should be aesthetically pleasing.

Good design should be honest.

Good design should be unobstructive.

Good design should be consistent in every detail.

Good design should be environmentally friendly.

Good design should be as little design as possible.
 

Hustwit, Gary, Objectified, Film, Geissbühler, Luke (2009; Detroit: Plexifilm, 2009.) DVD.