Why make your website interactive?

Making your website interactive is simply giving people something to do besides just reading or looking at pictures. It’s so easy for users to click on your page and then click off to something else. The point is to limit the “bounce rate” as much as possible.

Giving people a “call to action” button- something that invites them to click here to do this helps keep them clicking through your website vs going somewhere else because they are bored. We are so used to jumping around. If you can keep the user engaged, they are much more likely to stay on your site.

That’s really the point isn’t it? Keep people on your site and make it hard for them to leave.


Why I’m going Hawaiian with coffee

I want to address a bit of sustainability right now. I, like many Seattleites, drink my fair share of coffee. Coffee has become big business. I can’t find fault in companies making money selling something people want. I do however feel a responsibility to understand how my money plays a role in the use of natural resources.

Agriculture is taxing on soil and water resources. Irresponsible agriculture can destroy the land. Hawaii has a reputation of always being respectful of their lands. By reputation alone I can support Hawaiian coffee farmers over other parts of the world where coffee is produced and profits are revered above respect for sustainability (like Indonesia, Africa, South America).

Secondly, it costs a lot of energy to ship commodities all over the world. Hawaii is the closest place to get coffee. It is as local as I can get. So it is more energy efficient to get coffee from Hawaii.

3rd, Hawaii is part of the United States. So I’m keeping jobs at home.

Last but not least, I think it tastes better. It’s a sweeter bean. That is why I’m choosing to buy and drink Hawaiian coffee as often as possible.

Why is DESIGN so important?

Welcome to the Information Age! These days, we are inundated with tons of information. Recent studies report the average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of information everyday. 24 hr TV, radio, printed materials and the internet all contribute to the information we see and hear. To compensate for this river of knowledge, our brains deem (very quickly) what is important and what is irrelevant. When information is not designed effectively, important messages can be skipped over.

Good design is more than just making something look pretty. Designers collect and organize information producing an effect that compels the user to seek, receive and utilize information. Design touches every aspect of our lives from the way our homes and offices operate to the way a webpage functions. Good design can shift behavior by presenting new processes and innovations to procedures. Good design can make our lives easier. The major shift towards User Experience Design (UX/UI) soul purpose is to make products and applications more enjoyable and easier to use.

Good design makes information easier to find and more trustworthy. Have you ever landed on a webpage through a google search, only to find disorganized information presented grotesquely? Did your opinion of the webpage then extend to the company presenting the information? Did you click off to find a better “looking” company to go with? Just as we humans don’t want to go to an important meeting wearing dirty, wrinkled clothes, presentation goes a long way. With so much information at our fingertips, effective delivery through good design, is just as important as the message itself.

Difference between artist and designer

Many designers are artists and many artists are designers. But there is a major distinction between the artist and the designer.

The artist creates what the artist wants and what the artist feels. The artist expresses the artist’s emotions and desires. When I am the artist, I create for me. It is from me. If others like it, even better.

Art serves an aesthetic purpose. To represent beauty. To express emotion. To evoke emotion. Design serves a functional purpose beyond aesthetics.

The designer creates for the client and for the audience. Emerging from an infrastructure of technology, business, art and design, the designer expresses the message. Good design means understanding. It means the user doesn’t have to question how or when or why to use the design. When I am the designer, I ask the questions. Who is this for? Why is it needed? What is the purpose? What message needs to be received from it? How does it feel emotionally & physically? After those questions are understood and answered, the form can emerge.

Let Them Eat Cake- Propaganda in the French Revolution

During the reign of Louis VIX & Marie Antoinette (1774 – 1792) much debt incurred due to the War with Great Brittan. When the price of flour sky rocketed, the people (peasants) of France became outraged and resentment of the royal extravagance hit its volatile peak. Three Estates (classes) existed consisting of the Nobility, the Clergy & the People. Two of the three estates (Nobility & Clergy) could always beat out (out vote) the last (the People). Lawyer Maxamillion Robes Pierre and activist, Jean-Paul Marat rose to become powerful, vociferous leaders in the French Revolution. Besides rallies, speeches and demonstrations along with posters, cartoons and paintings to propagate the crusade, the Guillotine and the Bastille came to symbolize the strength of the movement.

From A Tale of Two Cities (1859) by Charles Dickens

“It was the popular theme for jests; it was the best cure for headache, it infallibly prevented the hair from turning grey, it imparted a peculiar delicacy to the complexion, it was the National Razor which shaved close: who kissed La Guillotine, looked through the little window and sneezed into the sack. It was the sign of the regeneration of the human race. It superseded the Cross. Models of it were worn on breasts from which the Cross was discarded, and it was bowed down to and believed in where the Cross was denied.”

“Liberty Leading the People” – a grand depiction of forging ahead, over enemies, and leading others who depend on you into victory. It encourages fighting on through death to carry on with the revolution. Liberty becomes the symbol/figure head of the fight for freedom against oppression. She eventually finds her way to Ellis Island in the United States as a gift from France, however this time she is fully clothed.

Eugene Delacroix painted “Liberty Leading the People” in 1863 to celebrate the French Revolution as well as to act as a propaganda poster for the revolution. “Liberty Leading the People” is an oil on canvas painting, by Eugene Delacroix in 1863. Delacroix used vivid colors in painting which brightened the hues and darkened the shades. This provides a contrast that emphasizes the main subject and draws your eye to Liberty as a goddess with a robust figure holding the iconic flag of the revolution. The goddess is raised by a pedestal of dead and wounded on the ground, further giving the figure prominence. In the background, figures represent the classes. The upper class is represented by the man in the top hat pointing his musket at her, and the peasants represented by the boy holding the pistols fighting along side her.

The Death of Marat (La Mort de Marat) is a 1793 painting in the Neoclassic style by Jacques-Louis David and is one of the most famous images of the French Revolution. It is referring to the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat, killed on the 13th of July 1793 by Charlotte Corday.

Despite the haste in which David painted this portrait of Marat (the work was completed and presented to the National Convention less than four months after Marat’s death), it is generally considered David’s best work, a definite step towards modernity, an inspiring political statement. At the time of its creation, all contemporary sources clearly indicate that the painting was not to be dissociated, neither in its exhibition nor in its evaluation, from The Death of Lepeletier. The two were to function as a pair if not properly as a “diptych”. Until David’s death in 1825, the two paintings remained together. The unfortunate disappearance of The Death of Lepeletier prevents modern viewers from observing the The Death of Marat the way David had planned it.

These two paintings were deeply personal for the artist who was friends of both the subjects. As the fires of revolution burned hotter in the hearts of the French people, the first martyrs of the cause lit a fuse when they were murdered. Putting these events into something visual and tangible helped stir the emotion in the people that was already present.

The painter Jacques-Louis David represented the death of Louis-Michel le Peletier, marquis de Saint-Fargeau in a famous painting, Les Derniers moments de Michel Lepeletier or Lepelletier de Saint-Fargeau sur son lit de mort. David described his painting of Le Peletier’s face as “Serene, that is because when one dies for one’s country, one has nothing with which to reproach oneself.” This painting, only known by a drawing made by a pupil of David, is considered by scholars the first official painting of the French Revolution, a rehearsal for David’s The Death of Marat later achieved. As effective dictator of the arts, Jacques-Louis David staged many festivals, called fêtes, celebrating the French Revolution and the newly founded religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being. These massive propaganda events sought social cohesion. Some see David as the first minister of propaganda.

In this painting, the First and Second Estates (Nobility and Clergy) are standing over the dead body of one of the Third Estate (a peasant). 


(propaganda through gossip)

We chose to include this bit of information because it shows a different medium for propaganda besides visual media. Gossip, or “word of mouth”, is also effective in furthering a cause –

The Myth
Upon being informed that the citizens of France had no bread to eat, Marie Antoinette , Queen-consort of Louis XVI of France, exclaimed “let them eat cake”, or “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”.

The Truth
She almost certainly never said this. Critics of the Queen claimed she had in order to make her look insensitive and undermine her position.

The History of the Phrase
There has been some discussion about how “brioche” doesn’t translate exactly to cake, but was a different foodstuff (quite what is also disputed), and how Marie has simply been misinterpreted, but the truth is most historians don’t believe Marie uttered the phrase at all.

One reason for this is that variations of the phrase had been in use for decades. Examples of the callousness and detachment of the aristocracy to the needs of the peasants that people claimed Marie had uttered it. Jean-Jacques Rousseau mentions a variation in his autobiographical ‘Confessions’, where he relates the story of how he, on trying to find food, remembered the words of a great princess who, upon hearing that the country peasants had no bread, coldly said “let them eat cake…”