Posts Tagged ‘Nik Hafermaas’

Gute Geschenke

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Nicole Jacek, Sarah Staton catalog, 2009


I often tell others who are frustrated or angry with a co-worker or client, “People tell themselves stories to get through the day. Let them. Everyone wants to feel important.” Typically this works and helps alleviate an anger management issue. Now, this may seem typically optimistic and hopeful from me. Unfortunately, I worry about saying things like this lately. Last month Noreen and Nicole (Jacek) had dinner in New York with a good friend of mine (or so I thought). During the course of the evening someone suggested I emcee an AIGA conference (no I don’t want to). My “friend” said, “I love Sean, he’s always so happy and cheery, but he’s so simple.” This makes me seem like Forrest Gump. Granted the plaid shirts aren’t helping my image, but I’m not a doddering simpleton wandering the streets catching butterflies with a grin plastered on my face. Nicole came to my rescue and kindly stated, “You’re wrong. Sean could slice and dice you and you wouldn’t know you were bleeding.” I love her.

Last night I went to an AIGA/Art Center event, Nomads, Heretics, and Do-Gooders, with Nicole Jacek, Nik Hafermaas, and Matthew Manos. Nik Hafermaas reminded me, “If you want to be a designer, you have to know the world and be willing to leave your comfort zone,” Nicole Jacek gave me a publication I’ve often considered stealing, a beautiful catalog for artist, Sarah Staton. She also wisely stated, “Working in design is more than a job. As designers we get to be explorers or psychologists and it is amazing.” That one statement is so clear and remarkable, and reminded me that this is not about the endless emails about signage fabrication or cracking stock, it’s an adventure and can be whatever we want it to be.

Nicole Jacek, Sarah Staton catalog, 2009

Nicole Jacek, Sarah Staton catalog, 2009

Nicole Jacek, Sarah Staton catalog, detail, 2009

Nicole Jacek, Sarah Staton catalog, 2009

Nicole Jacek, Sarah Staton catalog, 2009

Nicole Jacek, Sarah Staton invitation, 2009

The Graduate

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Jiin Kim, 2011

Quite often, I receive notes from designers looking for freelancers or designers to hire. Since my mind is a sieve, I only recall the last person I saw. Typically, I send an email to Petrula Vrontikis and Nik Hafermaas and ask for any Art Center grads who are out there. Now here is the problem: I’m sure they are tired of my relentless harassment. I don’t know who has been hired, and who is looking. I don’t have anyone’s email address after they graduate. The solution is to create an interactive job bank for Art Center alumnus. But, I don’t want to be the person watching the doors to check the quality of employers, or graduates. And I have a full time job, so that’s not going to happen.

As a simpler approach, I’m using this post as a center for a list of recent graduates and their websites. If you are looking for a designer, feel free to peruse the amazing work on each website. If you are a recent grad and are contacted, I’ll let you be the judge about the person contacting you. A good tip: if you are asked to remove your shirt and send in bare chested photos, don’t. This is typically not required for design interviews.

Jim Bogenrief, 2011

Yerina Cha, 2011

Tracy Hung, 2011

Steve Ligatsa, 2011

Nico Sala, 2011

Jesse Merrell, 2011

Christina Nizar, 2011

Alexia Pellegrini, 2011

Eugene Seo, 2011

Adam Hale
Alexia Pellegrini
Andrea Lee
Paul Kim
Caroline Kim
Christina Nizar
Dominique Wu
Douglas Chang
Eugene Art Seo
Guea-Yea Lian
Gyum Heo
Jaime Lopez
James Bogenrief
Jeff Han
Jesse Merrell
Jiin Kim
Jinhee Jung
Jeong Youn Choi
Nico Sala
Randi Cheung
Sora Park
Steven Ligatsa
Tracy Hung
Winnie Yuen
Yerina Cha
Also the grad show (showing faces with names) can be seen at:

The Great Wall(s)

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Dawn Kim, Knott's Berry Farm rebranding poster, detail

This term, Nik Hafermaas, the chair of the graphic design program at Art Center, asked me to help curate the gallery. It seemed like an easy job. How hard could it be to choose some posters and hang them evenly spaced apart? The reality was more complicated, in a good way. In the end, I was faced with an enormous wealth of incredible projects. My first impulse was to put everything in the gallery. That, unfortunately, would lead to an episode of Hoarders. I didn’t want to be faced with a professional organizer, television crew, unhappy movers, and weeping family members while I tried to climb over mountains of design projects.

Let me define “incredible projects.” These aren’t the perfectly made and tasteful wine labels, or nice and tight simple logos. These are the projects that go beyond the assignment and ask fundamental questions about culture, how we read symbols, and what we make. And they are perfectly made. The high point of the gallery task was seeing the work and being endlessly energized and inspired. The low point was not being able to fit everything in our space. I need design a solution that allows for more projects and doesn’t point to a psychological disorder.

Below is one of my favorite projects from last term, Dawn Kim’s map poster for Knotts Berry Farm. First, it’s beautiful, like a Jackson Pollock painting. Dawn’s poster is so dense and multi-layered. It isn’t collage to solve a problem of filling space. It’s frenetic energy and possibility of discovery does the job of redefining the Knott’s experience beautifully. I would gladly show more great projects from the gallery if my students sent me their pdfs. Hint, here, guys.

Art Center gallery wall

Art Center gallery wall

Art Center gallery wall

Dawn Kim, Knott's Berry Farm rebranding poster

Dawn Kim, Knott's Berry Farm rebranding poster, detail