Good Thinking

Daniel Skrok Design recently partnered with Good Thinking to develop a campaign for GreenLaw. GreenLaw is a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, GA that takes legal action in defense of our environment.

Good Thinking provides talent, time and expertise to qualified Atlanta nonprofit social service organizations. Their vision is to help client organizations meet their goals through better communication. Their mission is to achieve that through strategies, tactics and tools that make meaningful connections between clients and their audiences. The impact they desire is lasting, positive social change.

Good Thinking not only provides non-profits organizations with outstanding creative work, they afford Atlanta creatives the opportunity to gain experience, collaborate and build long-lasting friendships. I am proud to serve as a volunteer and member of the board at Good Thinking.

Target

Target is one of my favorite stores because they are affordable, convenient and organized. They provide a pleasant shopping experience for consumers by maintaining quality standards, providing a consistent store layout and offering a line of cost-effective Up & Up brand products.

Target's Up & Up brand provides its consumers with a quality, cost-effective alternative to name brand products. The simplistic design of the Up & Up brand packaging combined with the products low cost, in my opinion make it the best choice for consumers.

One of the challenges I believe Up & Up faced was differentiating itself from name brand competition. I feel creating a consistent, functional and simplistic package design solved this challenge. From a macro view, the product packaging is well designed. However from a micro view, improvements such as alignment, hierarchy and kerning would strengthen the design. In my opinion, addressing missed opportunities for alignment, establishing a more effective hierarchy, adjusting kerning and removing unnecessary photography would create a more potent design.

Marketing Trendz

Perception of Poverty was recently featured as a four-page spread in Marketing Trendz Magazine. Marketing Trendz is an international magazine based out of Vancouver, for the marketing and retail shopping industries.

Perception of Poverty raises awareness of poverty in the United States, explores the effects of the great recession and enables observers to digitally experience homelessness through multi-sensory integration. The intention is to give observers a new appreciation of life, inspire individuals to take action and stimulate change within their community.

The international exposure is a great opportunity to further socially responsible design and poverty related issues. Read the entire article entitled "Heightened Perceptions."

ScentWorld 2013

ScentWorld is the preeminent and largest scent and sensory marketing conference in the world. This year's conference was held in New York City and featured two days of innovative lectures, presentations and demonstrations. The conference brought together over 125 diverse attendees from 20 different countries around the world.

Among the speakers was ad man Jon Bond, co-founder of Kirshenbaum, Bond Senecal & Partners. Bond gave an insightful lecture with fellow speakers Ameena Meer and Francois Damide about the creation of scent advertising and messaging.

The conference featured renowned experts, authors and engaging speakers including Dr. Alan Hirsch, Professor Diana Derval, Dr. Michael Smith, Carmine Santandrea, Neal Harris, Andrew Kindfuller, Eric Albee, Eileen Hedrick, Dr. Maureen Morrin, Chandler Burr, Jim Joseph, Nicola Pozzani, Austyn Stevens, Andreas Ruggie, Matt Frost, Dr. Syed Shamil, Sue Philips, Christophe Laudamiel, Jon Bond, Ameena Meer, Karen Dubin, Karen Adams, Candice Sabatini and Mark Behnke.

The Art of Scent

I recently experienced an intriguing olfactory exhibit at The Museum of Arts and Design. MAD, located in New York City, explores the fields of art, design and craft. Exploring radical approaches to art and design, MAD is one of very few museums to feature olfactory art and artistic perfumery.

"The Art of Scent 1889-2012" is the first museum exhibition to recognize scent as a major medium of artistic creation. The exhibition focused on twelve fragrances created within the time period of 1889-2012. Some of the fragrances included "Jicky" by Aimé Guerlain in 1889, "Chanel N° 5" by Ernest Beaux in 1921, "Osmanthe Yunnan" by Jean-Claude Ellena in 2006 and "Untitled" by Daniela Andrier in 2010.

The installation allowed participants to experience the twelve works void of any marketing, packaging or visual design. The lack of visual distraction placed emphasis on the fragrance itself, allowing participants to truly experience the diverse fragrance notes and raw materials. Upon triggering the fragrance emission a backlight typographic image slowly appeared on the gallery wall. The image revealed detailed information about each fragrance such as title, creation date, artist, process and development.

Typographic Exercise

I recently created the above designs as a typographic exercise. My objective was to explore the boundaries and legibility of typography. Using simple design techniques yielded intriguing results. The designs were developed in vector format and kept as grayscale, in order to emphasize the use of line, shape, form, point and scale. I limited myself to classic typefaces such as Akzidenz Grotesk, Bondoni, Bell Gothic, Helvetica Neue, Univers, Franklin Gothic, Clarendon, Rockwell, and Sabon.

Screwjack

"Screwjack" by Hunter S. Thompson is a salacious, unsettling, and brutally lyrical book consisting of three short stories. The first story "Mescalito," is a chronicle of his first mescaline experience and the paranoia that sparked in him while alone in Los Angeles in February 1969. The second story "Death of a Poet," is a trailer-park confrontation with a dark side of a deservingly doomed friend. The third and final story "Screwjack," is an unnaturally poignant and romantic love story.

The simplistic redesign of the book demonstrates the use of typographic hierarchy, grids, detail, content, language, relationship between type and image, value and color which enable the book design to correlate with the overall theme. The use of Futura as a display text offers clean and concise messaging, while the use of Minion Pro as a prose text provides the reader with a clear and legible reading experience.

The stark white front and back covers mirror one another and contain a die-cut bullet hole that exposes the vibrant red interior page. The backward representation of the back cover is also reflective of the general madness that ensues throughout the book. As the reader dives further into the book, the story becomes increasingly mad, deranged and chaotic. The treatment of typography reflects this chaos by gradually changing its position on the page. The end of the book intentionally leaves entire page layouts blank, with a single paragraph or sentence. As legibility is extremely important, the chaotic treatment of type remains legible by following a grid design based on consistent style, size, color, baseline and vertical and horizontal alignment.

3D Process Art

Process art is concerned with action, which can be defined as the actual artwork and engages the audience to participate in the actual process. Above are images of a 3D process art installation that explored the meaning of minimalism.

Minimalism is an American movement in the visual arts and music originating in New York City in the late 1960s and characterized by extreme simplicity of form and a literal objective approach. Minimal art is the culmination of reductions in modern art and is often misunderstood by the general public.

The intention of this installation was to strengthen the argument that simplistic art and design is often the most difficult to create. In my opinion, minimalism has a profound depth and meaning. The process art was composed of two 3D renders, a simplistic black circle isolated on a starch white background and a sophisticated set of complex mechanical gears. The two renders were adhered to a foam core frame, allowing the simplistic render to cover the complex render. During the installation the audience participated in destroying the artwork by tearing back the simplistic render to reveal a complex render underneath. The process further solidified the complexity and meaning of minimalism within the context of art and design.

CGD Display Graphics

I am pleased to announce the completion of the display graphics for the Graduate Computer Graphics Design lab at RIT. The new display promotes the 2012 MFA thesis show and features current 3D digital design, interaction design and motion graphics student work.

My intention for the display was to create a simplistic, minimal design with concise messaging. The bright color palette was chosen to bring a sense of light to an otherwise windowless basement lab. The typeface Futura remains neutral and provides clear messaging.

The color fields, imagery and quick-response codes were printed on a matte paper and placed on the back display panels. The typography was die-cut on white vinyl and placed on the front display panels, in order to create a sense of depth.

The primary information is the CGD logotype, secondary information is the quick-response codes and tertiary information is the theses show dates. The quick-response codes are illustrated with elements that represent our programs three disciplines, 3D digital graphics, interaction design and motion graphics. The symmetrical die-cut LCD screens, allow for digital student work to be updated remotely.

Our CGD display design team consisted of Gabrielle Hewson, Matt Malo, Boyang Ma, Chien-Ju Peng and myself.

Tangible Media

Tangible Media gives physical form to digital information. It seamlessly merges the disciplines of visual design, interaction, programming and electronics. Tangible Media also acts as a tool for rapid-prototyping, allowing designers to realize their concepts and inventions in physical form.

The Tangible Media course at Rochester Institute of Technology has exposed me to new and innovative technology. Over the past several weeks I have experimented with the Arduino Chip, learned the basics of Processing and honed my soldering skills.

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on simplistic and intuitive hardware and software. Arduino essentially senses the environment by receiving input from a multitude of sensors that control lights, motors and actuators. The Arduino development environment is based on the programming language of Processing.

Processing is an open-source programming language that allows artists, designers and students to create images, interactions and animations.

I look forward to integrating Tangible Media into my design process, while utilizing it to realize my creative concepts and ideas.

MoMA: paraSITE & Parka

While on holiday in New York City, I found myself eagerly exploring the Museum of Modern Art. The museum's diverse collection kept me both intrigued and inspired. I was particularly inspired with the exhibit entitled paraSITE by American artist Michael Rakowitz.

The paraSITE homeless shelter is simplistic, functional and cost-effective. The shelter acts as a temporary and portable shelter, which allows the homeless to utilize a building's excess heating, ventilation and air conditioning as a source of heat. Rakowitz says that the paraSITE homless shelter is a conspicuous social protest, not a long-term solution to homelessness.

Another inspiring and inventive exhibit was Kosuke Tsumura's Final Home 44-pocket parka. The adjustable nylon parka features 44 individual pockets, which create storage for all your supplies, becoming a makeshift home.

These tangible solutions for helping homelessness are both inspiring and wonderfully inventive. However hopefully one day in the near future, there will be no need for them at all.

Homeless Meters

While attending the 2011 ScentWorld Expo, I came across an intriguing parking meter located on Ocean Drive in South Beach, Florida.

Upon further investigation I noticed the colorful parking meter was actually a collection for the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. The meters are just one of many initiatives of the Homeless Trust, whose mission to end homelessness in Miami-Dade County.

Miami based artist Romero Britto designed the colorful parking meters. Currently, 70 meters have been placed around Miami-Dade County, according to The Miami Herald.

ScentWorld Expo

I recently attended the 2011 ScentWorld Expo in Miami Beach, Florida. The expo was an enlightening experience, exposing me to the latest scent and sensory marketing research, strategy, technology and application. The expo featured over 125 people from 20 different countries from around the world.

During the expo I was exposed to interactive demos, product exhibitors, presentations and a closing awards ceremony. I had a wonderful experience networking with like-minded individuals whom share the same passion for olfactory integration.

The insightful presentations included Rachel Herz from Brown University, Skip Rosskam from David Michael & Company, Rene Morganthaler from Smart Fragrances, Simon Harrop from BRANDsense Agency, Joe Cronin from DDB Miami, Simon Faure-Field from Equal Strategy, Ladd Smith from RIFM, Kate Smith from Sensational Color, Bob Lorenz from Sun Chemical, Christophe Laudamiel from DreamAir, Zev Auerbach from Zimmerman Advertising, Jean Claude Chebat from HEC Montreal, Suzanne McCormick from Method, Steve Landau from ScentSational Technologies and Bill Wiles from Scent Sciences.

Skrok Trifft Sagmeister

I had the privilege of meeting Stefan Sagmeister at TypeCon2008 in Buffalo New York. Stefan is an influential graphic designer and owner of Sagmeister Inc., a design company based out of New York City.

Stefan gave an intriguing presentation outlining his recent published book, "Things I have learned in my Life so far." I found it difficult at first deciphering content, due to Stefan's heavy Austrian accent. However as time went on, I became familiar with his tone.

Following the presentation, I walked through the Karpeles Manuscript Library doors. I noticed a small, mahogany finished table to the right side of the library hallway. The table contained several markers, a TypeCon event invitation and a clear plastic cup of water. This set-up was very suspicious. It reminded me of a so called "book signing." Although I had never seen one before, my sharp intellect and Sherlock intuition told me that I should wait.

My patience was rewarded with an engaging conversation with Stefan. He was very kind, polite and genuinely interested in our dialogue. We talked about my education, career and future goals. I received valuable advice from Stefan, of which I am appreciative.

Bragging Rights

I made my international debut in the April 2009 edition of HOW Magazine's International Design Annual. HOW Magazine is a highly respected graphic design publication that features renowned designers and rising stars.

It was entirely euphoric walking into my local Barnes & Nobles, picking up the International Design Annual, carefully opening it, as not to bend the cover, turning to page 115 and seeing my name in print.

Perhaps I will start introducing myself as "internationally recognized graphic designer, Daniel Skrok."