Assignment 5: Colour

This week, we had a pretty free-form assignment: do something cool that involved changing some aspect of colour (hue, saturation or brightness) in a predictable way.

I wrestled with ideas for mathematical patterns and free-form designs… Should I have a busy screen with lots of colours or a minimalist image with only a few coloured elements?
Finally, I decided to do something a little different…

Now I really like food, and some of my poop research involved some analysis into how colours affect the perception of food. So I decided to cook up a channa masala (Smitten Kitchen is my favourite cooking blog) and experiment with its colour.

This is what it looked liked when it was done cooking:

Good pot

Would it still look appetizing if I changed its colour? Which colours look good and which don’t?

So here’s when I tried changing the saturation:

Next, I played with brightness. Changing the brightness too much gave the photo an artificial quality, so I constrained my brightness changes to a small range:

With saturation and brightness, the aesthetic quality of the food doesn’t seem to be vastly affected (though this might be an effect of using photographs).  When I played with hue, however, we get hugely different results (predictably). I modifed the hues in increments of 20:

Some of the hues definitely look more appetizing than others! but maybe that’s because I know the context of the food, and exactly what ingredients went in. Perhaps someone unfamiliar with Indian food, with chickpeas (and maybe potatoes) would have different opinions?


Assignment 4B: ITP Logo

For the second half of our Logos assignment, Katherine asked us to redesign the ITP logo. Which is hard. Just saying.

At first, I was thinking mainly of illustrations, and cutesy icons and things:

Notebook p1

Then I tried for a simpler, more “elegant” look:

Notebook p2

I decided that the cutesy, illustrated look didn’t really fit the “academic institution” idea, and I ended up picking from my second page of notes. Et Voila:

Waves logo

ITP is written in the form of sound waves (or EM waves or whatevs) to give a “techy” feel, while Tisch, as an art school, gets a script font (“Dancing Script”, from SquirrelFonts). I tried “School of the Arts” in the same script, and it looked a bit cluttered, so I opted for the classic and simple Gill Sans MT. The colour choice was easy: I used adobe kuler to find which colour was used by NYU’s website and blam.

Logos… they are hard…

Assignment 4A: Logo Love

This week, we discussed logos and logo design. What makes a good logo? Does it need an image, or is typography enough? Do we need both?

As part of our homework, we were to pick a logo that we liked and talk about it.  As my previous Harry Potter post may have indicated, I try and take every opportunity to insert some fantasy into my assignments. So this week, we explore the ultimate geekery: Dungeons & Dragons!

For the uninitiated, Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D, is a fantasy role-playing game. Players create fantasy or mythology-inspired characters, and go on adventurous romps, helped by a Dungeon Master, a kind of storyteller. Think World of Warcraft, but without the technology, and with limitless possibilities. And also that you actually talk to other humans (just saying…).

D&D products have gone through 4 major editions, each with a redesign (a fifth edition is currently being finalised). Here’s a look at the 4 versions of the logo:

D&D logo 1

So let’s take a look:

1) The first edition of D&D was released in the 70’s. I couldn’t find who the logo-designer was, but I imagine that not too much thought was put into the logo: the game was an amateur production and focussed mainly on content, not design.

D&D 1st edition book

It’s a simple design, just the name, set in fancy typography. I actually dislike this choice of font: it suggests Wild West Saloon, more than Medieval Fantasy.

2) The late 80’s saw the release of the second edition of the game. Again, it was hard to pin down the designer.

D&D 2nd edition book

It does, however, look like more thought went into the logo design. The type was simplified to remove the cheesy cowboy look (though I’m still not a fan of the font choice), and the ampersand was stylized to personalise it a little more. Now the logo ITSELF was a dragon.

3) Edition 3 and 3.5 (more of a rules update to patch some glaring hole in plain old edition 3) came with a vastly different art style. Images took on a more realistic, gritty, feel as compared to the mythic look of the the 2nd edition. The rulebooks themselves (of which there were many), took on a unified aesthetic of ancient, jewelled, leather-bound volumes. The logo, consequently, become much more complex. Also, by this time, the brand had been acquired by Wizards of the Coast (who also make the widely-played card-game Magic: the Gathering), with an in-house art-team dedicated to fleshing out the look and feel of their imaginary worlds.

D&D 3rd edition book

D&D 3rd edition book 2

The logo’s not bad. The dragon ampersand was maintained but modified (into some weird, vaguely draconic gold thing, though), a much nicer font was chosen, and a “medieval-fantasy-ish” colour palette was implemented. However, it’s a bit TOO busy. You sort-of have to squint to see the dragon, and the sword is cool, but adds clutter.

4) Finally we have the current logo, which came with the fourth edition. The art style in this edition, while maintaining the realism of the third, ditched the dark, quality for more light and luminous colours. I think the idea was to present more “heroic-looking” art.

D&D 4th edition book

Out of the four logos, this is my favourite (though I prefer the art-style of edition 3.5). The writing is not obscured by any extraneous elements, the font is cool (notice the almost-sword points on the capital E and G) with nicely shaded colouring, and the ampersand is interestng (though it could be better. Check out this article about the design of the ampersand!). The underlining of the “Dungeons” is much better and cleaner than the clunky sword of the third edition. All-in-all, a great improvement.

And now that the fifth edition is on the horizon, we can look forward to another logo change!

Yay logos!

Assignment 4: Business Cards

How do you define yourself in a 3.5″ x 2″ piece of card? With difficulty…

But that was our assignment, and after agonising over 27 preliminary sketches, I came up with these 2. I must confess that one or two of my sketches were eliminated due to in no small part to my lack of skill with the Creative Suite…

Also, I used the fonts outlined in my previous post. Can you identify them?

Oh, and the images show the front AND the back, and are of fairly low quality…

1) Fairly simple. It doesn’t really SAY anything though, except that I’m loud. Which people tend to get after the first meeting…

Sharang card

2) A little more elaborate. Tries to tell a story of Art + Tech meeting…. also uses the saucy font from my old post!

Sharang Card2 front

I think I prefer the second one…

Assignment 3B: Portrait of a Student as Six Fonts

WARNING: this will probably appear to be the most narcissistic post ever. Just saying.

The second part of this week’s assignment was to write my name in six fonts that seem to say something about me. Not being terrible self-aware, I naturally turned to the internet for help. I posted the following message on Facebook: “Freinds on the interwebs: Gimme two-three words that you think describe me. I need it for a project and I’m not feeling terribly self-aware.”Facebook

Of course, this was revealing even before someone posted a comment: it demonstrated my lack of ability to spell basic words… but I digress…

I got a bunch of responses, summarised here:

Adjective Graph

With “Other” being:Table

Using this as a guide, I chose 2 Serif Fonts, 2 Sans-Serif Fonts, one script and one decorative font:


This one was easy: “exotic” and “foreign”. This font is modelled after the Devanagari alphabet, giving it a decidedly Indian look. Interesting to note that the first two glyphs are actually Hindi letters with the [approximate and non-IPA] phone values of “I” and “Th”

2) MathildeMathilde

I wanted a script font and ended up choosing Mathilde. I think it covers “smooth” and “charming”, but the lack of excess frills and the open quality of the lower case”h” the the bowls of the “a” and “g” prevent it from becoming overly fussy (like some script fonts are), keeping it “sincere” and “personable”

3) Diavlo


I picked this font as soon as I saw it.. The gracefully tapering tails and finials,  and the slightly wavy shoulders scream SAUCY. Smooth and fun also come into play…

4) MegalopolisMegalopolis

So the name of this font sounds kinda maniacal, but I think this Sans Serif has a loud, exuberant feel.  The  small capital “s”, and teardrop-shaped counter in the “a” also lends it a playful or “humourous” air (ironically, perhaps).

5) AlegreyaAlegreya

I think Alegreya conveys charismatic, charming an intelligent all at once. As a Serif typeface, I has a more formal air, with an almost chiselled quality about it, but the gentle thick-thin contrasts in the shoulders and bowls, the unusually-shaped counter in the “a”, I feel, give it character without being too stuffy.


Finally, we have Permian. Its similar to Alegreya in feel, but the lower contrast between thick and thin and the less rounded bracket make it “amicable” rather than charming.

So here you go, all the fonts together:SamarkanMathildeDiavloMegalopolisAlegreyaPermian

Assignment 3A: Expressive Words

The first half of our third  assignment was to create “expressive words”, conveying meaning using a sort of “word art”. I decided to use this assignment as a platform for queer issues, especially the plight of many queer teens. It’s a little dark, but here’s what I came up with:

Poster1 Archivo

Poster2 Candela

Fag poster

They’re not perfect, but I think they fulfill the assignment quite nicely. Improvements would be to improve the composition, spacing and kerning, but apart from that, I’m pretty happy with my work. As happy as you can be working on suicide issues, that is…

Assignment 2: Signage

For our second assignment Katherine Dillon asked us to record three examples of bad  and one example of good signage.

The Good

1) I was heading to the NYU library, when this wonderful signage system at the NYU Bursar’s  and Financial Aid Office caught my eye (pardon the photos, but I had to take the photos from the outside:


So yeah this is decently cool. Bold, contrasting colours to differentiate departments, and indentation to show which department (of the same bureaucratic system) the entrance leads you to, but inside, we see this:056

The same colour-scheme is maintained throughout the different offices, with large, helpful signs pointing you to all the other offices! Yay for clarity AND aesthetics!

The Bad

2) Cheap restaurant should’t necessarily mean ugly-signage. And this isn’t cute-ugly, or ugly-with a purpose, it’s just silly:052

The emote and the exclamations, I can live with, if they want to cultivate a cheery, laid-back atmosphere, but the main issue I have with this sign is the unnecessary use of colour. Seemingly random letters are brightly-coloured, for no particular reason: they neither add to the aesthetic value (quite the opposite, in fact), nor to the meaning (Unless EOAEBBAE is meaningful in a language I do not speak).

3) Here’s a glowing neon sign close to my apartment in Manhattan:signs tryptich

That’s the same sign three times; the point is that the sign changes colour FAR to quickly: in the 2 seconds I filmed, I counted 11 colour changes…

The Ugly-but-Salvaged

4) So this a sign right by NYU, in Washington Square Park


A sign should tell you something with a quick glance. You shouldn’t have to plod through reams of text: that’s not a sign, it’s an instructions manual. So here’s a rough proposed change (click on it for a larger view):Updated park signA summary of the proposed changes:

a) Make the icons larger, and in a more prominent position. This makes it easier to understand the main intent of the sign at first glance, and also from a greater distance

b) Replace the negative messages of what you SHOULDN’T do, with more positive messages of what you SHOULD do. Also cut down on the text here.

c) Move the extra text (further details about regulations) to a less important location below the icons

d) Use only one language per sign. Signs would then be smaller, and more than one sign, each with a different language, can be used!

Yay signs!