January 22, 2012

Deconstrucion of the Graphic

You may have noticed that I added a little colorful graphic to my blog title. It's nothing special and I primarily did it because I was frustrated trying to work the spacing out in blogger (the web world is a mystery to me) but I thought I'd share my process.

I went to graduate school for architecture at MIT. This experience scarred me in a number of ways but one of the leftover injuries is that I can't look at anything with a simple aesthetic objective. Everything has to have meaning and be rationalized in some way. In the old days I would have gotten out my watercolors and just painted some streaks (ooh, fun!) but now everything involves a thesis and some head scratching, regardless of how silly.

My idea here was that I wanted to do something with children's blocks (corny symbolism about transitioning from architecture to raising my kid) but I didn't want the end result to look too literal so that this corny symbolism wasn't so obvious. I also love color so I picked some of my favorites from Little Smith's block collection. These ones are made by Djeco.

I tried out a bunch of ideas but decided to keep it simple and set them up in a line on Little Smith's high chair since that was where the light was best. He's helping me out as you can see.

After shooting the blocks from a bunch of angles I settled on an overhead view that I liked best.

I thought I might want to keep the shadows so I used Photoshop to crop, adjust, skew, and erase bits of the image. I also obviously flipped it upside down.

The shadows weren't doing much for me so I ended up just clipping around each of the blocks to give me a clean outline. I also didn't love the colors so I modified them a little by adjusting the hue and bringing down the Saturation.

This result was "chunkier" than I wanted and still was too clearly blocks so I squished and stretched the image, still in Photoshop.

Then I sat around for a while copy and pasting the individual blocks to make the image wider. There was no rhyme or reason here (luckily graduate school didn't cook all of the fun out of me) and I just played with the composition until I liked it. Here is what I ended up with.

It's kind of an elaborate process for something so simple but the process is my favorite part of any project and Big Smith was brewing a batch of beer so I had some time to waste. Enjoy the rest of your week-end. We did get out in the snow finally but when I post the pictures you'll see that it really wasn't a big hit :(


  1. The new graphic is great! Such an inventive idea to use blocks and I think it turned out quite sleek. Nice work!
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  2. Brilliant! I love the colors. And MIT? Wowsa, momma!