Monday, January 31, 2011


Do you think the Helvetica typeface is good or bad? Why?

Personally, I quite like the Helvetica typeface. Helvetica is something I never even had any knowledge of until my (graphic designer) girlfriend dragged me to see the movie at SIFF Cinema some years ago. However, after leaving the theater, now knowing what Helvetica is, I started to notice it everywhere! This typeface is such a commonplace everywhere you look. From Crate and Barrell to American Apparel...everyone seems to use it and for all the same reasons. It's a great typeface.
In the film you really learn the anatomy of the typeface and finally understand the ridiculous simplicity in it. Classical shape inspired characters, no serifs, smooth and clean lines. Its tracking and kerning is so even and consistent, It's so easy on the eyes, and it just simply looks good.
Being quite minimalist and simple myself, I appreciate the no frills attitude and basic form.

Who was your favorite type or graphic designer interviewed in the movie, and why?

I would have to say that my favorite type designer was Rick Poynor, as seen towards the beginning of the film. While there were a lot of designers interviewed, this man caught my attention because of his simple explanation of the typeface and how it came to be. He explained the roots of Helvetica akin to the art movement at that point in time and so proficiently made connections between the popular artistic styles of that time and their relation to the typeface. Granted that this is all purely opinion, and could essentially be seen as turning lead into gold, but he had a reason better than the simple "I like it, its simple and looks good".

Movie Review:

All in all, I found the film to be quite fun and interesting. Typeface is one of those things that you  are surrounded with, but never really give a second glance or thought. Hell, until I saw this film for the first time I never knew what typeface was. But this film makes it interesting by diving into the anatomy and dissecting it from every angle. It really makes you understand what typeface is, how it came to be, how it is created, and how it is effectively used.
While the film, admittedly, was quite long, it retained my attention for far longer than I thought by presenting a hundred and one different viewpoints from many industry designers. These interviews injected an element of fun as all of these people were enthusiastic characters that each had a theory on how Helvetica came to be, what inspired its creation, etc.
I give this film two thumbs up, a must see for any design or art student. Now typeface may not be my shtick, that's why I bought its sister film, Objectified! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Assignment #8

Haha, all I have to say is ouch! 99 (Low color acuity).

Assignment #7

First and foremost, you have to understand that I am colorblind. Like, really, really, colorblind. So more than likely you will get a laugh at what I perceive the colors to be.
For this first one, I kinda banged my head on the desk trying to work it out, but I almost feel like it's a tetradic color scheme because of the range of colors used, along with their basic use. I feel would be a generally cool color temperature because of how the sky and water use most of the space.

Now emotion is going to vary greatly from person to person, and I don't know that you can necessarily establish an emotion in one word. I look at this image and see the same feeling that you might get before undertaking a large project. The excitement of the potential final result with a slight pinch of disdain. The feeling of work ahead.

For this painting I felt like even a colorblind kid could see what's going on! The artist uses a triadic color scheme to convey the "sun breaking through the fog". The use of the cold color temperature for the fog is broken up by the bursts of warm red and yellow hues, it really gives a sense of "visual tension" or "pushing and pulling" as the book would say.

For some reason I find this image comforting, in a way. The idea of the sun breaking through a thick fog and rolling out a beautiful range of colors conveys to me a feeling of rejuvenation, a new day.

Analogous is the initial thought when looking at this particular piece...Its very cold and limited color palette that, for some reason, does not bode well with me.

I'm thinking that perhaps this piece does not sit well with me is because I feel that it is lonely. As if the artist was having a bade day, was in a slump, etc. I mean come on, the guy was sitting in the damn fog where you could hardly see anything painting. Its lonely.

I've sat here staring at this piece for about fifteen minutes now, and I'm just not exactly sure. My best guess would be a complementary color scheme because of the strong use of the opposing cool, darker blues with the warm temperature colors. Of all of the pieces I feel like this on in particular stands out over the others as it is so different. While all of the others use a soft dabbing and blending, this has a very strong use of straight lines and brush strokes. It's almost as if the artist was angry and aggressive with his painting technique here. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Time for reflection and careful thought...
To be honest, this wasnt so much a learning experience as it was an opportunity to share a little about my job and my line of work. Most people really have no idea what goes on behind the big bay doors of the Boeing factory.
I think I was in a bit of a different position than anyone else for this portion of the class as I am already pursuing my career in my field of interest and am well on my way. To say I didnt learn anything would be a lie, as I learned quite a lot about the average salaries of people in my line of work as well as which specific fields of engineering pay more and have more growth, but I would already consider myself well directed and on the right path.
Will I change any aspect of my career in the near future? Absolutely. To think about being a "Boeing lifer" does not sit well with me, and to be honest sounds quite stale. You know, like those Saltines that have been in your cupboard for over a year. I will continue to educate myself and grow as a professional and, hopefully, some day find myself in my ideal job.  

For the time being though, I will continue to work at Boeing and expand my abilities as a designer as well as consume absurd amounts of coffee and get angry at my Dell laptop.

Photo courtesy of Penman96's photobucket.

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For my interview I was able to have a friend of mine, Nick, answer some questions for me. Now wait, you may immediately point a finger and accuse me of cheating, as he is my friend, but he is employed in my area of interest and is well respected in his company.
Now, without further ado!

Who is your employer and what is your position?

Employer: Triumph Aerospace Systems
Position: Systems Engineer

What are the necessary qualifications for this job?
I believe the only necessary qualifications are a BS as a Mechanical or Aerospace Engineer.

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelors of Sceince from Colorado State University.  I began my engineering studies at the University of Washington, but finished them at CSU

Does your job/type of work require continuing education/training of any type?
There is no formal requirement for continuing education, however it is encouraged.  Also, there are a number of courses that are offered through Triumph Group and are called “Triumph University”.  These cover everything from business and marketing, to machining and manufacturing, to hydraulic design.  These are free as a Triumph employee.
Furthermore, because of the diversity in my position, I am always forced to be learning about multiple arenas of engineering (i.e. LabView Data Acquisition, Solid Modeling, Hydraulics, Mechanics, Kinematic Modeling, Finite Element Analysis, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Dynamic modelilng, Etc.).
If I am interested (or have time) in formal training in any of these areas, Triumph will typically pay for the education.

What are the pros and/or cons to this job?


    * ·         Extensive exposure to the process of design and manufacturing from proposal concept, to testing, to production.
    * ·         Flexible hours and schedule.  Laissez-faire management style enables us to effectively micro-manage our given projects
    * ·         Creativity, innovation, and thinking outside the box is encouraged
    * ·         Pretty relaxed work environment.
    * ·         We are a Triumph “Family”.  Small business feel in a large corporation
    * ·         However, this is beginning to change as we grow!


    * ·         Workload
    * ·         Aerospace is often very tedious and frustrating
    * ·         Not currently paid adequately for given responsibilities and contribution
    * ·         Commute and location.  Seattle to the far East-Side
    * ·         Not a distinguished hierarchy or escalation avenue.
    * ·         There is a large gap between Engineers/Designer and Directors and Technical leads.
    * ·         The pay reflects this.

Is there opportunity for creativity? Does it have limitations? Please explain.
One huge benefit to working in our Seattle branch is the opportunity for creativity.  We are encouraged and supported to think outside the box.  We are always pushing for innovation!
The only limitations are demand for a given technology and cost.  Basically, the economy and industry is responsible for the only limitations that I see. 

Have you personally experienced or noticed any type of growth in this job type or industry? What about changes?

I have experienced growth in both my Job and the industry.  New technologies that are being brought to the table are becoming more accepted as the norm in the industry (i.e. composites, electric actuation, innovative materials and processes)

There is a large gap between our generation (20-30 somethings) and the older Engineers that are retired or close there too.  The older generations are pretty stubborn and stick to what they know works.  This retards innovation and growth.  However, the older generations are starting to leave the industry and also except the future of where it’s going.  The outcome is growth in the industry.

Being at the brink of so much new technology, the younger work-force is forced to learn from the past designs and standards and incorporate lessons learned with the new ideas.  With the experience and efficiencies using computers and other common technologies, the skie’s the limit!!

Do you see yourself remaining in this position or industry?

I plan on continuing to grow within Triumph for a few more years.  I am already beginning to move into more of a leadership/project management roll.  This will require more management and a little less detailed engineering.  At this time, I would rather be a technical lead or manager than I would a full-fledged engineer.

I don’t particularly want to stay in aerospace for too much longer.  Although aspects of it are ground-breaking and upper echelon engineering, I would prefer to be in an industry that has more impact in helping people and bettering lives.  The results of mistakes I may make here could be catastrophic.  I would rather do more tangible engineering.

Ultimately my goal is to be a successful entrepreneur.  Isn’t that the case for everyone??

How do you feel about Boeing airplanes? They're the best, huh?

I think that they are the BEST!!  My grandpa was a long-time Boeing employee.  He was the head of HR prior to retiring.  So I am very partial to Boeing and it’s success.  Also, I want my BA stock to go up!  Get back to work Cale!

Are there opportunities for travel or relocation?

Yes, we work with customers in multiple states as well as internationally.  I would love to go work internationally at some point.  There are no immediate opportunities available, because I am needed here (at least I would like to think that is the case) but as we grow and the world gets smaller, I suspect opportunities will arise!

Is this your ideal job?
No, I would prefer to have my own business!  My time will come.

Are you happy?
Is that a rhetorical question???  I am happy, but the grass is always greener on the other side unfortunately.  I am very blessed with the job I have and I plan on keeping it for quite some time, but when/if the opportunity arises for something new and growth, I will most likely take it.

Also, this Seattle winter weather is killing me!!!!  Get me outta here!

Interview and photo provided by Nick Boone and The Nick Boon Band. 

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011


5 Jobs that interest the field of Design/Drafting. Go!
Now please note that these jobs are not in an order or preference or anything of that sort, just a good old fashioned list of jobs that I would love to have (and a little bit of seriousness).

Job Title: Commercial and Industrial Designer

Salary: Median - $57,350
Job Prospects: "Competition for jobs will be keen because many talented individuals are attracted to the design field. The best job opportunities will be in specialized design firms which are used by manufacturers to design products or parts of products. Increasingly, manufacturers have been outsourcing design work to these design services firms to cut costs and to find the most qualified design talent, creating more opportunities in these firms."
Outlook: Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average (Increase 7 to 13 percent). Keen competition for jobs is expected; those with strong backgrounds in engineering and computer-aided design and business knowledge will have the best prospects.

Job Title: Interior Designer
Salary: Median - $44,950
Job Prospects: "Interior designers are expected to face keen competition for available positions because many talented individuals are attracted to this profession. Individuals with little or no formal training in interior design, as well as those lacking creativity and perseverance, will find it very difficult to establish and maintain a career in this occupation. Designers with formal training or experience in green or energy efficient-design in particular are expected to have better job prospects due to increased interest in this area."
Outlook: "Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations."

Job Title: Architect
Salary: Median - $70,320
Job Prospects: " Besides employment growth, additional job openings will arise from the need to replace architects who transfer to other occupations or stop working for other reasons. A growing number of students are graduating with architectural degrees and some competition for entry-level jobs can be anticipated. Competition will be especially keen for jobs at the most prestigious architectural firms as prospective architects try to build their reputation. Prospective architects who have had internships while in school will have an advantage in obtaining positions after graduation. Opportunities will be best for those architects who are able to distinguish themselves from others with their creativity."
Outlook: "Employment of architects is expected to increase by 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations."

Job Title: Mechanical Engineer
Salary: Median - $74,920
Job Prospects: "Mechanical engineers are expected to have employment growth of 6 percent over the projections decade, slower than the average for all occupations. Mechanical engineers are involved in the production of a wide range of products, and continued efforts to improve those products will create continued demand for their services. In addition, some new job opportunities will be created through the effects of emerging technologies in biotechnology, materials science, and nanotechnology. Additional opportunities outside of mechanical engineering will exist because the skills acquired through earning a degree in mechanical engineering often can be applied in other engineering specialties." 

Job Title: Aerospace Engineering Technician
Salary: Median - $52,150
Job Prospects: "Job prospects will vary by specialty and location, as employment is influenced by economic conditions similar to those which affect engineers. In general, opportunities will be best for individuals with an associate degree or other post secondary training in engineering technology. As technology becomes more sophisticated, employers will continue to look for technicians who are skilled in new technology and who require little additional training. Even in specialties that are expected to experience job declines, there will still be job openings resulting from the need to replace technicians who retire or leave the labor force for any other reason."
Outlook: "Mechanical engineering technicians are expected to decline by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018, which represents little or no change." 



The question of my ideal job just out of school is a bit of a funny one to me as I have already begun a career in my field of interest.  So maybe I'll switch this up a bit and tell you about what I envisioned, what I am currently doing, and where I would like to be.

While in school, with not much knowledge of the actual field I was getting into, I has some interesting ideas about what I would be doing as a designer. I was being taught how to create machines and objects with a large emphasis on function. I wanted to make mechanical things work; engines, wheels, computing, consumer products, etc. I wanted to work with a team of creative people to bash our minds together to develop products and take them from an idea to a computer model to a physical object. Although now I'm finding that this ideal job is much harder to come by than previously thought.  

About four years back I completed my AA degree in Mechanical Design, and as luck would have it, I became an employee at The Boeing Company as a Technical Designer thanks to Boeing's relationship with LWTC. This job was right up my alley and for a first job fresh out of school, and I thought this had to be my ideal job. After all, I would be working on some of the most advanced passenger aircraft in the world, what could be more fun?!
After the obligatory training and orientation, I was placed into an engineering group that provides production support to the 777 airplane in it's final position on the assembly line. Essentially I am a firefighter of engineering problems.
Think of building an airplane as you would custom build a car online, and then multiply the options and configurations by one-thousand! There is such a multitude of parts that need to come together, in such different configurations, some that have never been used before, that you will always find parts that do not want to work together. Things from the plastic covers on the floor that protect wiring to whole galley's (airplane kitchen) that simply will not fit in place; if there is an issue inside the airplane, it is my job to fix it and make sure that the airplane is delivered to the customer on time and complete.
I enjoy my job, especially for a first job and in a time where any job that can be found fresh out of school is a good job. I am not chained to a cubicle drawing lines or processing documents, I spend almost 50% of my day crawling around the inside of an airplane investigating issues, researching these parts and issues, and ultimately deciding and implementing the ideal solution.
It is a fun job, as my time is divided between my desk and climbing around an airplane, but over the past few years I have realized that no, this is not my ideal job. There is far too much politics and too much a disconnect between the management ave everyone else, professional working relationships are scant, and all too often I feel like I am just a warm body to churn out work until I become cold.
 I have a great job that has afforded me opportunities that I could not be more thankful for. I work hard so that I can support a comfortable lifestyle for myself. But in the end, I will spend the majority of our life working, so why not at least enjoy you work? I mean really enjoy your job.

So what is ideal? What is my dream job that will leave me perpetually happy? By now I like to think that I know, or that I at least have a damn good idea. This is what my dream looks like.
I want to be a product/industrial designer. Most product design firms are relatively small with <200 employees, only a handful of which being the actual designers. This type of job would fit my personality perfectly because it allows for a dynamic group creative process where designers who all have different styles and specializations, but all of equal value, bounce ideas off of each other like a racquetball court! They get to have their hands all over the process and the product every step of the way from proof of concept to drafting the design, to beta testing. A completely hands on, creative environment that encourages teamwork and respects the creative process of an individual. If your desk needs to be decorated like an airplane cockpit to activate the spigot of creativity, then by all means, start building.
One thing that is not certain in regards to this field though, is pay. These types of designers seem to make anywhere from $50K+, but can you really put a price on waking up every morning with a smile on your way to work? 

Here's a little video to give you an idea. Its old, I know, but IDEO is a hugely successful firm that takes great pride in their work and their work environment.

Sources: All information is derived from industry experience and the knowledge gained therein. 


Thursday, January 6, 2011


I'm a O53-C46-E15-A57-N22 Big Five!!

Openness to Experience/Intellect:
You typically don't seek out new experiences.(Your percentile: 53)

I had to put a little thought into this result and its applicability to me and my lifestyle, as my initial reaction to the result was mixed. I think that I can both agree and disagree with this result.
I agree with the result as I am not a hugely active person, not a go-getter, if you will. You won't find me searching for the next big thrill or new activity in town. I simply don't seek them out on my own.
However, I would like to argue the point and state that I am largely open to new experiences. Hell, I welcome new experiences! Let me explain.
While I may not necessarily seek out new experiences on my own, I've found over the years that I tend to surround myself with the type of people that do, so I tend to fall into them. Hijinks, shenanigans, peer pressure, call them what you will, but all have lead me to new experiences in culture, art, language, and adventure.      

You are neither organized or disorganized. (Your percentile: 46)

Spot. On. I really am smack-dab in the middle when it comes to general organization as I am very selective about it. For example, if you were to open my filing cabinet at work, you would see a jumbled mess of paperwork, fasteners, and sample parts.
However, my desk top and work space is the spitting image of an ideal employee.  The space is clean, organized for optimum performance while maintaining a level of comfort with an accent of personal items (desk chotchkies. Every desk has to have them!).
What it comes down to is that you're not going to be searching through my filing cabinets. I know exactly what is in that pile and can locate it quickly. On my desk top though, organization and cleanliness is top notch as it leads to a positive perception of professionalism in the eyes of others. After all, if you have to push an arm full of crap aside to see the surface of my desk, you have then.

You probably enjoy spending quiet time alone. (Your percentile: 15)

This is also fairly spot on for me and helps describe my work personality well.
Quite simply, I enjoy my alone time! Over the years I have found that I am most productive when left alone. I can put on my headphones at work and dive into The Zone where concentration and productivity is through the roof. Without the headphones I find that there is far to much background noise and the movement of my peers around me becomes horribly distracting.
Don't get me wrong though, I also love working and interacting with my coworkers, I'm no cubicle recluse!

You are neither extremely forgiving nor irritable. (Your percentile: 57)

Again, this test is fairly accurate, huh? My middle of the road agreeableness really ties into my neuroticism result seen below. I'm simply too relaxed and patient to be easily irritated, but dont think that I will easily forget, either. Now I'm not one to hold a grudge or count cards, but if someone burns me, I'm not going to forget. 

You are generally relaxed.(Your percentile: 22)

Generally relaxed is the story of my life. I avoid drama like the plague, don't see any purpose in the act of worrying, possess incredible patience, and approach all tasks with a mellow demeanor. I prefer the term 'Keeping it real'.

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