Ellen Weinstein

Ellen Weinstein is a designer and illustrator working out of new york. her distinctive style mixes the storytelling of illustration with the crispness and iconographical immediacies of design work. She describes her work as trying to tell an entire story in one moment, in one snapshot. She often writes out the narrative in full and searches for a single line to boil it down to, to capture the essence of the story and the emotion in one line. It is a challenging way to approach illustration but is successful because of her masterful understanding and execution of composition and color theory to narrate a much grander story than the one immediately recognized. She has done work for the New Yorker, her illustrations capturing a sense of whimsy and lightheartedness with animals hodgepodged together in crazy and delightful new creatures symbolic of the fragmenting and rejoining of the human identity as our worlds become increasingly interconnected and globalized. 

Her more serious editorial designs are haunting in their ability to mix environmental clues and figures to denote the struggles of race and sex throughout history. It is a mixing of techniques and executions that make them stand out in contrast to many other illustrators. She is unafraid to confront delicate topics and brings them to light with a creative and esoteric development of figure ground relationship and colors.


Design Thinking Movie

The movie Design and Thinking explored new ideas about how to create and think about design. It is a way to think about making products and experiences for consumers. I loved the reality of the film and its way to show that there is a way to fail successfully because of Design thinking, not accepting the status quo but always seeking out new designs and ways of creating to make the products better. The ability to do many quick ideas with low cost so that you can fail without sacrificing millions. 

The methodology of moving through hundreds of sketches and ideas, moving and working with brainstorming until they have ways to enact the prototypes without spending a fortune. Design thinking is translating the methodologies of design problem solving is applied to business and government projects. The ability to try new things with a risk of failure is an important part of design. Not being afraid to take risks and learn from failures is part of what makes kids in garages beat out large corporations.

Skype is a good example of how the business world could learn from Design Thinking concepts. Skype was using design thinking to rethink the way to make phone calls without the traditional restrictions of cell phone and home phone carriers. Using the internet in a new and exploitive manner to make a business model that was different than the traditional. They were going to give the program away for free. Free text and video chatting with anyone in the world using your home wifi. When the owners of Skype tried to sell it, they were laughed at and ignored because the cooperate world could not imagine a system where this could work and make money. Now Skype is a household name and making a significant shift in the future of phone calls and long distance communication. It will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years as more of the world gets high speed and reliable internet connections. Because Skype was not afraid to fail by trying something new, and being flexible through the process and designing the user inner face with the consumer in mind, they have succeeded in an ever evolving world of business. 

Agency Work

During class, we had the opportunity to hear from two professionals working in agencies. I found it to be a very informative and interesting presentation. The atmosphere of working in the agency world is a dynamic and high energy. You have to be married to your job and be willing to work long hours, pull all nighters and work with clients. The importance of self discipline and creative thinking is part of what makes the job demanding and so rewarding. The presenters were both working in the position of
Art Directors more than doing the nitty gritty of the design as much as collaborating and orchestrating communication between clients, administrative, business and art professionals to shepherd the project through from beginning to end.

I found it interesting that they both focused on the burning love of design as their main motivation in being in the agency setting, having the team environment and getting to round out their knowledge with a bit of everything. The larger salary and earning potential wasn’t a key motivator and is good to take into consideration when deciding what type of job to apply for.  The importance of being a well rounded person was also key, being someone that has a lot of knowledge about a lot of subjects focuses on the importance of a never ending curiosity.

The need for a creative environment and how that is catered to in the agency world was a refreshing idea after working in a small office bullpen space with no interior design considerations. It is a stagnant and stifling place to create and sketch but getting to work with fellow creatives in a team setting is appealing about the agency setting. Having a good connection to the team is huge, being able to work and happily coexist and feed off each other’s energy is a large part of being creative. When the days are long and nights are powered by caffeine, needing coworkers you can have a pot of coffee with and a nerf gun war is part of the culture of ad agencies. High achievers working together to creative projects and pieces that have a far longer and farther reach than in house and more structure than freelancing.

Working in an agency allows for more campaign and long running projects. Working with the air craft industry is a prime example, needing products and print media for the new lines and updates for different series of airplanes requires a broad sweep of applications. The ability to explore and push boundaries of a campaign or idea throughout an advertising series with digital and print media with enough funding to make it nation and international impact.