Whatever Happened to the Instruction Manual?

Today I’m talking about a kind of Information Design that has affected me in my life. I love to play Video games, and it’s always been that when you buy a new game, it comes with instructions to tell you how to play the game. Instruction Manuals sure have changed over the years. Allow me to elaborate.

When I was a kid I had a Super Nintendo, I remember the instruction manuals for these games having a lot of pages, which were colourful and many of which had illustrations of the characters in the game. The illustrations helped show you how the controls worked and told you important information about things in the game, but they were also just fun to look at.

Mario world instructions

super mario instructions 2

super-mario-land-article

Then something started to happen with later game consoles. The instruction manuals were starting to change. Perhaps it was a cost cutting measure for some companies, but many of the manuals starting in the PS2 era were much shorter, only around ten pages, and in black and white with maybe a few screen shots and no illustrations. The only exception seemed to be Nintendo. Up until games on the Wii the instruction manuals were still quite thick and plenty colourful, but for many games instead of using illustrations they just used screen shots and character models from the game.

Instruction Manual 1

Instruction Manual 2

Now with the current games things have changed even more.When I buy a new game and open the box instead of finding an instruction manual, instead I find a fold out telling me how to access the electronic manual. I really don’t care for these electronic manuals for a number of reasons. If I want to access the manual I have to suspend or close my game. Gone are the colourful illustrations. The designs now are very uniform and rigid looking with almost no colour and few screen shots, it’s mostly just text. I also feel like with some games these manuals just don’t give enough information. For the last Animal Crossing game there was so much information I wanted to know, so I bought the official game guide, which is over 500 pages.

Instruction Manual 3

Instruction Manual 4

Instruction Manual 5

Unfortunately I feel like instruction manuals aren’t really fun to look at anymore. I feel like it’s more of a chore just to read them with the way their layed out and the fact that their on a screen. I wish they could bring back the kind of instruction manuals I had when I was a kid.

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My Favourite three Typography Blogs

Today I’m taking a look at some Typography blogs I would like to share. As a Graphic Design student, Typography is a big part of the course and understanding how to design with type is such an important skill for a graphic designer to have.

The first blog I would like to share is called Typography Served:

www.typographyserved.com

First, I like the colours used in the design of this site. The black and yellow is really eye popping and grabs my attention. The site is laid out like a gallery, similar to something like Deviant Art. You can quickly see thumbnails for all of these designs people have shared. You can then click on a design to see a bigger version and read a post by the designers talking about the piece. Let me share one design I found on this site I really like.

Type design 1

I like that the design reminds me of a video game. They also put a bunch of pop cultural icons in this little city. See if you can spot Batman, Winnie the Pooh, Ryu from Street Fighter, Mario, Darth Vader, and Waldo of the Where’s Waldo books.
The second blog I would like to share is called Ministry of Type:

www.ministryoftype.co.uk/words/index/

What I like about this blog is there seems to be all kinds of cool design related things the writer will share especially things related to type, typography, lettering and calligraphy. The writer also tags his posts with different category’s such as advertising, type & typography, pictures found online, and lettering making the blog fairly easy to search to find things that may peak your interest. If I may share something cool I saw on this blog.

flying-cars

Look at the cars in the lower left picture. It looks like a lower case b. I like it because it reminded me of an assignment we did for photography last year where we had to go out and find letters among things like architecture.
The third blog I would like to share is The Font Feed:

fontfeed.com

The reason I like this blog is because they have posts talking about fonts they recommend, they also talk about type tips and have tutorials, which is great for anyone learning typography. And they also give all kinds of examples of fonts that are in use. For example the fonts used in the main title designs of certain tv shows as they talk about in this post:

http://fontfeed.com/archives/true-detective-wins-2014-emmy-award-for-outstanding-main-title-design/
Well, I hope these blogs get your creative juices flowing. Hopefully there’s something that catches your interest or there’s something that you find useful. Remember there’s a whole world of creative people out there and we can all inspire each other.

Citations:

Sale la primavera, salimos todos by Jose Alvarez Carratala and Alberto J. Saorin
http://www.typographyserved.com/gallery/Sale-la-primavera-salimos-todos/4037475

Flying Cars photos from http://www.judah.co.uk by Gerry Judah

Last Week of School

This will be my final post of the school year. I’m asking myself what you may be asking, how was the school year? Well, let me tell you, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve been through school once before.

The school year was very challenging from an academic standpoint. The work itself wasn’t always difficult, although some of the assignments really made me pull out my hair, it was difficult because this course has a very heavy workload. Most of my school year consisted of going to class and doing home work. Pretty boring, right? I did manage to find some club’s to join in my second semester and had some fun that way. However I was hoping that school would be a bit more fun.

Next year I intend to push myself harder and challenge myself. Not from an academic standpoint but from a personal standpoint. Next year I’m hoping I can have a more active social life and have some fun. And since I’ve been through school before and experienced more of the former than the latter that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back to school, and why I want things to be different next year. All work and no play makes for a dull life.

My Ideal Job

Presumably we go to school so we can get a good education, which will lead to us getting a good job. What is my ideal job? where do I want to be in five years? Well seeing as how I’m currently a graphic design student you would assume that my ideal job would be working as a graphic designer and that’s where I’ll be in five years, right?

Well, maybe. Once I finish the course I’m currently taking I think I’d like to do some traveling. I know that when I finish this course I have the options to pursue further studies in Ireland or Australia and I think that would be pretty cool. I’ve also thought about taking a business course. why? well our school offers a program to business students. You can spend six months living and working in Walt Disney World. Now I find that really interesting because if you do that you may be able to get a job working on one of their cruise ships, or you could apply to work as an ambassador at their Epcot center.

As for my ideal job. Well the things I really have a passion for are public speaking and acting. My ideal job, would be to be a successful actor. I really do love it and there are so many parts I’d love to play in theater like, Ash in the Evil Dead musical, a character in Avenue Q or Sir Percy Blakney in The Scarlet Pimpernel. And parts I’d love to play in television and film like, Batman or perhaps a character on Agents of shield. Really I’m up for almost anything. Oh the characters I could be, the people I could meet, the places I could go, if I could find some success as an actor.

Looking at a Second Year Students Work

Within the Graphic Design program I’m taking there are three years, and I’m currently in my first year. Well in the past week the second and third year students had their end of the year show, at the school here, to show off all their hard work. I talked with a second year student, named Abbie, about her work as there was something about her work that really drew my eye.

I asked Abbie about her creative process and she told me:

“I find I draw blanks on paper. To get the best ideas normally I have to be physically doing something or just be somewhere comfortable distracted by something unrelated (video games, pinterest, watching cartoons). In the bath funnily enough is when I’ve had some really random enlightenments to designs that were giving me trouble. But once I’ve researched the topic and have a firm understanding of it, I’ll just have it in the back of my mind and think about solutions when I’m doing mindless tasks, and sadly; when I’m trying to sleep.”

That’s pretty interesting since I have a similar creative process, I need to be doing something else and I’ll get things stuck in my mind.

Since I really like Abbie’s style I also asked her what she thinks about her style. And well, she told me:

” As for my work style. I don’t think I have a specific style for my design work. I’m more of a chameleon in the way that I’ll work with styles suiting to the specific design.

Though when I’m designing things in my spare time/for myself, there is probably a ‘Retro’/’vintage’ influence on my work. And I’ve always tried to work in humor, the darker and more sarcastic the better. (Though sadly clients are never keen on this option)” 

I think that’s interesting since I think a lot of artists have their own style that sets them apart, but they don’t always realize that they have a style.

And finally I got some great insight into a particular piece that Abbie drew.

“We, as you probably know, had to design a poster that featured our own illustration work, and had to have a fact reflecting a charities cause. I get a lot of opportunity in real life to design for serious causes. So if I get a chance to throw some humor in there, I will seize it. I managed to find while researching a charity called ‘Humanity+’ which stands for, and this isn’t a direct quote obviously, “pimping out the human body with technological enhancements”. I’m sure what Humanity+ does is a serious cause, But I couldn’t help but giggle at the idea. To which I remember then thinking to myself ‘Abbie, you won’t be giggling when it’s a war induced apocalypse and those humanity+ guys have radiation proof skin, and you’re burning up in the mushroom cloud’. And bam. That image appeared, pretty much exactly in my mind, as it did on paper. The layout and content were tweaked and edited a bunch. But the main concept was created pretty much immediately thanks to sarcasm; Which was running high in this project, since I’m normally not someone that enjoys drawing by hand.”

Often when looking at a piece of art we can only guess what the artist was thinking when they created this piece. Except in this case I got to talk to the artist and hear what they had to say about their work. Pretty cool.

Interpersonal communication

Well, last time I had to talk about public speaking and this time I have to talk about interpersonal communication. I mentioned last time that I’m very confident when it comes to public speaking, but when it comes to interpersonal communication I’m not so strong. Which is something that makes me very frustrated and disappointed. I feel Interpersonal communication is much more important than public speaking because it makes up so much more of our communication. How often do you even half to speak in front of an audience. I do it all the time because I’m a Toastmaster, other people may have to do it often for school or their job. But most people probably won’t have to worry about public speaking all too often. Interpersonal communication on the other hand we do all the time, and it’s important to be a strong interpersonal communicator, otherwise you may not be able to ace a job interview, make friends or find dates, among other things. Some people may even suffer from anxiety issues and can’t even do the simplest of things. I feel that If your a strong interpersonal communicator your life will be so much richer than someone who’s not. 

Public Speaking

This week in our communications class we were talking about public speaking. We looked at a few different public speakers, such as presidents, and examined their strengths and weakness. We also talked a bit about our own thoughts and experiences with public speaking.

Now I know many people have a fear of public speaking. But I personally enjoy it. Sure, I sometimes get nervous. But it also gives me a rush and a sense of empowerment. It’s one of the few things that I do in my life where I receive praise and respect. It’s also one of the few things in my life where I feel like I’m better at it than other people. But public speaking takes a lot of practice. I’ve been doing it once a week every week for four years. And while I may be a great public speaker, I’m still not a great communicator. I constantly stumble with interpersonal communication, and I’m much more afraid of approaching someone and starting a conversation, then speaking in front of a big crowd. Strange. When talking in front of an audience I’m all alone up there. But when I have to talk to another person I have problems. Maybe it’s because they talk back and it’s harder to keep a conversation flowing than it is to recite a speech.