Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Promotional Poster | Ashley Fisher

Promotional poster (2013) © Ashley Fisher
Above Proposed promotional poster for the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences (CHAS) at the University of Northern Iowa, by graphic design student Ashley Fisher (2013).


Michael Wertheimer, "Musings of Max Wertheimer's Octogenarian Son" in Gestalt Theory. Vol 35 No 2 (2013), p. 118 (recalling a story told by his father)—

Part of the duty of certain officials in the Ministry of Education in the old Austrian empire was to make periodic inspections of the schools. An inspector arrives at a village schoolroom, and at the end of the hour of observing the class, he stands up and says, "I am happy to see you children doing so well in your studies. But before I leave, there is one question I would like to ask: How many hairs does a horse have?" To the astonishment of both teacher and inspector, a little nine-year-old boy raises his hand. He stands up and says, "The horse has 543,871,962 hairs." Bewildered, the inspector asks, "And how do you know that this is the correct number?" The boy replies, "If you don't believe me, you can count them yourself." The inspector laughs out loud, thoroughly enjoying the boy's remark. As the teacher escorts the inspector to the door, the inspector says, "What an amusing story! I must tell it to my colleagues when I return to Vienna. They enjoy nothing better than a good joke." And with that he takes his leave.

A year later the inspector is back again at the village school for his annual visit. The teacher asks the inspector how his colleagues liked the story of the horse and the number of hairs. The inspector, a bit chagrined, says, "You know, I was really eager to tell the story—and a fine story it is—but, you see, I couldn't. When I got back to Vienna, I couldn't for the life of me remember the number of hairs."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jorunn Musil | Juicebox Interactive

Book cover design (2008) Jorunn Musil
I have often wondered: what would I prefer to be, a teacher or a parent? Having taught for more than forty years without having been a parent, I think I prefer to be what I am. Parental commitments are never-ending, largely under-appreciated, and all too frequently painful (unbearably so at times, for sure).

In contrast, teachers are so fortunate. Our commitment to any one student is brief, while the illusion of having contributed to a young person's success—when and if a student excels—can remain in ones memory for decades, and in fact can even continue to grow, if a former student then moves on to other, greater accomplishments on his or her own.

I have so many memories of that kind. And in part they remain vivid because I also have thousands (thousands!) of slides, prints, publications, and digital image files of work that was made by my students in class.

Above is one example: it's the front cover (dust jacket) of a book by Geraldine Schwarz (pertaining to Norwegian immigration in Iowa) titled Our Natural Treasure: Genevieve Kroshus (South Bear Press, 2008). Not just the dust jacket, but the entire book (every aspect of it) was designed and prepared for printing by Jorunn Musil, who was at that time an undergraduate in one of my graphic design courses at the University of Northern Iowa.

There were twenty students in that class, each of whom submitted a proposal for how they might design the book, inside and out, and in the end, Jorunn's design was selected. Later, she went on to many more achievements (including a long list of student awards), earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2010, then embarked on a highly successful career as a web designer.

And now she has taken an even more ambitious step—earlier this year, she and a couple of partners launched their own, new digital design agency in downtown Des Moines, called Juicebox Interactive. Here is the company website, as well as a feature on Jorunn herself.