Out With The Old…year.


On my last day on campus in late December, I ran into these two obstacles within seconds of each other.

A pink Christmas tree is something you do not run into very often in a small midwestern town and it is even less common to find a vacuum cleaner sitting the in the middle of the sidewalk. At the time the two items made me laugh so I took photos of them.

Now that I find myself writing this in the new year of 2017, it occurs to me that this is somewhat symbolic. How? The pink tree reminds me of all the trappings of the holidays and the vacuum cleaner is poised to tidy the whole mess up. Maybe this is what New Year’s resolutions are: a way to clean up our messes and move on.

I’m on the fence about resolutions, I like the idea of starting anew  however:

According to Wikipedia: “The most common reason for participants failing their New Years’ Resolutions was setting themselves unrealistic goals (35%), while 33% didn’t keep track of their progress and a further 23% forgot about it. About one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.

Rather than focus on resolutions this year, I am trying to tell myself to focus on the clean up idea represented by the vacuum and will aim for cleaning up some of the messy parts of my own life.

The giant elephant in the room (wish I could find one of those on the sidewalk sometime), is the political upheaval that will take place with the inauguration later this month. Given that anyone arriving here is probably not looking for political commentary, I will keep my comments short. However,  as may be evidenced by work in my book Residential Interior Design, I am committed to inclusive design, and sustainable design so it is not a stretch to imagine that I am troubled that recent progress on climate change and creating a more inclusive society are threatened by the incoming administration. I am deeply troubled by the lack of civility, and the corrosion of fact-based-decision making. So how to proceed?

Keep focused, stay informed and be ready to clean up messes!

For my international readers all I can say for now is that not all Americans agree with the orange one and we are going to do what we can to keep things moving forward.

Presentation Composition and the Rule of Three

Rule of 3 Boards

In thinking about sample board and presentation organization, it may be helpful to consider the rule of three. The rule of three is a compositional tool used in photography and the visual arts. This rule can help with the organization design presentations especially where items of differing sizes or scales/points of view are employed.

One absolute compositional rule I follow is the idea of creating a consistent visual border in design presentations as illustrated in the following:

1, Lets say you have a sample board or digital presentation sheet as shown

2.  At the very least create an imaginary border of at least ½” around the sides and top and maybe leave a larger open border space at the bottom (this works best if you are going to have a title or title block there). OR rather than using a bottom open space for the title, just use the same dimension you have on the top and bottom and insert the title inside that imaginary border.

Presentations will be more well-composed looking if you follow this step (2).

3.  Consider using an imaginary grid that divides the board into a 3 column by 3-row grid and use this grid to lay out samples or drawings (this works whether samples are real or digital).

4.  When using the 3 by 3 grid, you can imbed the title into one of the grid sections or include it in a title block along the bottom or side. But in all cases leave that open border of space to serve as a visual border controlling the composition of the board!

More on the rule of three in photography: