Dealing with Design

April 1, 2007

We're hit, Skipper!The next hurdle for the intrepid students of the HI697 class is the Design Assignment.  After being damned with faint (if any) praise on the Image Assignment, I feel like I need to come up with a major save to salvage any sort of a grade out of this class.  In keeping with the rest of this course, our design assignments have to show our abilities in information architecture, aesthetics and scholarship.  While being ostensibly the least important of the three, aesthetics ends up taking the most time and receiving the most emphasis.  We are to “recreate a historical period through color, font and other attributes of design.”  My period is December 7th 1941, my setting is Hawaii and my event is the Pearl harbor attack.  Accordingly, I’ve found and downloaded a font called 1942 Report.  I’ve redone my banner / masthead to include the profile of Diamond Head and a washed out Japanese flag behind it.  I’ve revised my color scheme to use the Kam Zero’s original color, but I still have a lot of work to do.  My laundry list includes trying to find some menu “buttons” that reflect the period (good luck with that one), changing the main content font to look more 40-ish, and oh yeah trying to develop an architecture that presents the information logically and compellingly.  In that respect, I’ve been playing with the project information in other sites for a while and I know what I want to do…now it’s simply a matter of ramming that intent through the Dreamweaver barrier in the fast-dwindling time remaining in the semester.


7 Responses to “Dealing with Design”

  1. jennyreeder Says:

    You know, the more I think about the aesthetics of web design, the more convinced I am that it’s very subjective. I do appreciate the guidelines offered by Robin Williams and John Tollett with regards to Alignment, Contrast, Proximity, and Repetition. However, these ideas make science out of art, and I’m not sure I still understand the connection.

    I am intrigued by the idea that it’s all about representing the time period. For you, then, it’s all about understanding Pearl Harbor–Hawaii, the year, the Japanese–and finding that in fonts and colors, then applying the scientific principles.

    Good luck! I think you do great work, and I appreciate your comments on my work.

  2. Jenny Reeder Says:

    […] the Art-Science connection. Jon raises an important question about aesthetics in his blog. I think it’s a blend of sound principles–as outlined by Robin Williams and John […]

  3. Bill Says:

    John, Where’s the link to your work in progress? We might be able to make some helpful comments.


  4. […] I suggested to John that we should provide links to works in progress, so that we can make helpful comments. My design project has been posted for a few days and I’ve already incorporated great ideas from Jenny (see my comments to her here) and Maureen.   […]

  5. Laura Says:


    First of all let me say that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You’re on the right track, and it sounds like you’ve made good progress, with some good ideas, already with your design project. Let me offer a couple of thoughts. First, remember to keep it simple. You don’t need too much, and you don’t need to represent every aspect of WWII and Pearl Harbor. If your site is about a particular type of American experience then maybe the design should evoke that sentiment. If it is about the horrors of the attack and Japanese bombing tactics, then maybe more of a Japanese aesthetic would make sense. These things, of course, can be achieved with font choice for your headings, color, and imagery. Try the brainstorming exercise that Douglas Bowman talks about in “A Design Process Revealed.” I think it will help. Also, you don’t need, nor do you probably want, to change the main body text into something from the 1940s. Not only would it not be possible for every viewer’s browser to display that font (unless you made it an image, which would not be a good idea), it would likely be more distracting than effective. Your main body text should just be readable. Your headings and images should provide the guide and visual interest to the reader as he navigates through your text. And, finally, I think your choice and placement of image in your post works really well! Interesting photo, plane is pointing into your text. I like it.

  6. […] it is also a great way to begin gaining familiarity with the abundance of fonts available to us. I suggested to John on his blog that he try to incorporate this method, especially the early brainstorming stage, into […]

  7. Jennifer Levasseur Says:

    John – I’ve been talking alot to the pilots/museum professionals here about your site, and the interim head of the museum down in Pearl Harbor was particularly interested. I’ll give you his information when I get back from San Diego and perhaps you can take either some inspiration from their site, or inspire them (more likely) to improve theirs.

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