Graphics critique

J. W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School

This week the Graphics team presented our current status in the development of our exhibit. We presented selected layouts, color themes, fonts, title treatment, and adjectives we wanted to relate to our exhibit. After a while of discussion, we came to the conclusion that our exhibit is more related to social sciences so our title treatment should show the aspect of humanity and community in it. We also discussed possible marketing ideas to get the word out about SFI! such as creating a Facebook page, school announcements and flyers, hand-outs (stickers, origami, etc) and other possible ideas.

We received a great amount of useful feedback that helped speed up our process in solidifying all designs. I am glad to say that our exhibit will be something you can look forward to seeing at the Science Festival next month!

Visual identity

J. W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School

The graphics team was put in the charge of designing the aesthetic and vibe of this year’s exhibition about home. Personally, the goal developed by the development team–leaving with a deeper understanding for others–is thoughtful and almost spiritual. It’s very inspiring and gives the graphics team a better understanding of what the rest of the team wants, because after all, we’re all working toward the same goal!

The graphics team criticizes different color and font palettes to better understand and pin-point what would work best for SFI’s message. It’s been very interesting constructing and analyzing how people could interpret an entire message through a simple visual construction, and we intend on conversing what the development team has set as our core message. I know, as a team, we will all make an impactful and powerful exhibition.

Development crit

J. W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School

Last week, SFI met together for a critique review for our common theme of the exhibition. This was an important day for me as part of the development team, especially as we cover the content portion of our project. As we gathered all our scattered massive thoughts, we were able to condense our main points into a powerpoint and presented in front of the rest of the team.

Our theme for the exhibition is “Discovering and celebrating ourselves through our common connections with others.” We often feel quite divided as there’s such diversity among people and communities. This being said, our mission is to have participants walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for ourselves and for others.

Happily, we were able to receive great feedback from our peers and leaders. This spurred on new ideas for the design, as well as narrow down specific ways to accomplish our goals. We plan for our exhibit to be quite interactive, having people who may not know each other find common ground. Going forth, we will continue to work together in shaping our thoughts to make the exhibit the best it can be.

Second start

Alexander and Tyrone
Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber

For the Space Team in SFI!, we’ve been discussing new ideas about how we can take  advantage of the current space we have at the Science Festival. So far, we know that the current space we have is at least 9 by 10 feet, which is not a lot of space. We wanted to make the space given to us creative by using the ideas that we’ve gathered as a team.

Over the year, we had some great ideas. Some were excellent and some needed a little back-up. However some of those ideas were selected and expanded  to make the best one yet. A few of those were the map and game idea. That’s when we decided to combine both and make a big carpet in the floor acting as a map. That way we are playing a game in Philadelphia and at home. Another idea was combing all of the different communities in Philly and adding that somehow to the finished project or the game. Because we recently started, and there are spatial challenges, there is not much developed yet, but we hope to do a lot more soon enough!

Testing, testing, testing

Sarah Rosenkrans
1st year grad student, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design
University of the Arts

This weekend was very busy for us. We finished designing our prototypes on Friday, Saturday we tested at a block party with Mighty Writer, Sunday we tested at the Franklin Institute, and this coming Tuesday we will be testing at the Scottish Rite Towers. It has been very busy, but so far we have gotten a lot of great feedback on how we can improve our prototypes. I was only able to make the event at the Franklin Institute, so that is what I will be covering in this post.

We had five prototypes set up on Sunday: one where visitors created their own patch, one where they were asked to write a letter, one where they assigned a color to their family, one where they wrote down a title of a song that reminded them about their family, and one where they played a board game.

My group’s was a giant game board. Every time a player landed on a space they were asked to recall a specific memory about their family and the post it onto one of the boards. The way we built ours, we couldn’t really change anything there, but we did find a couple of things to try out later. It became obvious pretty early on that it was mostly young kids who were attracted to the prototype, mostly we think because of the neon colors. This was really good except for a couple of the questions (such as “who was your first crush?”) didn’t really apply to a lot of them, so we will have to change that in the future. We also made our game board a tall rectangle and many of the kids could not physically reach the finish line. In the future we hope to make it either a circle, half-circle, or line, so that everyone can reach all of the spaces.

I observed a couple of things about the other groups as well. On the one about songs, they originally had music playing, which attracted people, but then they couldn’t think of a song to write down because of the background music. They then took the music away, but had a harder time attracting people to the prototype. The write a letter and assign a color prototypes were also having a hard time attracting people until someone went to stand behind the tables they were placed on. I guess visitor just wanted to be reassured that that they could interact with our things.

Over all, the event at the Franklin Institute was a success! We received lots of good feedback and know how to make our designs better in the future!

Attracting an audience

Holly Mutascio
1st year graduate student
Museum Exhibition Planning + Design University of the Arts

Last Friday, we brought our prototypes over to Art Sanctuary with the hopes of meeting people from South of South and engaging with them through our designs. Prior to this night, we revised our prototypes based on feedback and observations we received from our Design Philly reception. Some of us even came up with new ideas to test. My group worked on changing the prompts to our talkback “family tree.” We also created a large map of the South of South neighborhood where people could indicate with color-coded stickers where they live, work, go to school, and spend their free time. We also provided them with post-it notes to write down their memories of these places.

We started off the evening inside Art Sanctuary’s gallery (surrounded by breath-taking artwork by Danny Simmons!). A couple of guests trickled in and they seemed to be drawn to the map. We quickly learned that one of our guests lived somewhere just outside of the boundaries of the map. We had based the boundaries of our map off of came from the South of South Neighborhood Association’s website, but we realized that the spirit of a neighborhood defies what is charted on a map. South of South extends beyond where we originally thought, and this is something we need to consider in the next iteration of our prototypes and in where we need to focus our outreach in the future.

As the evening progressed, we did not have many guests stopping by. One of our professors, Dana Schloss, came up with an excellent idea to move the prototypes outside, on the sidewalk, and on a patio in the back of Art Sanctuary. She also cut up some paper grocery bags, taped them onto a sandwich board, and created a sign inviting passersby to check out the event. One of my group members, Laura, also had a great idea to further color code the directions for a map to not only clarify what we were asking, but also to make the exhibit pop and hopefully attract people’s attention. Despite these efforts, we did not have any more guests that evening. Even though we only had as many guests as we could count of one hand, we still gained some feedback on our map prototype and we certainly learned a lot about how difficult it can be to attract an audience!

Instant iteration

Sam Nemazie
1st year grad student, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design
University of the Arts

The week of October 10th-14th, SFI worked with Design Philly and showcased our prototypes. There was a large crowd drawn of design enthusiasts to try out our prototypes. We had many different activities and prompts to do while interacting with our prototypes. One of the prompts that visitors were asked to contemplate on was “How would you explain this prototype to a family member?” The prompts were then written on sticky notes and placed nearby the prototyping pieces. We later used the sticky notes to change our prototypes to make them more user friendly.

One of the prototypes we changed was a “piñata” prototype. Originally our prototype was supposed to hang and visitors were asked to pull a string on the prototype to release a fact about family traditions. Because of the feedback from the event, we changed our prototype to be sitting on a table and you have to shake the piece to release a fact. We also added a hole at the top and asked visitors to add their own family traditions. Due to these add ons, visitors moderate the box and have a give and take relationship with the piece to share information about themselves and learn more about others.


Design Philadephia

Sarah Aman
2nd year grad student, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design
University of the Arts

Last Thursday we had our first public prototyping session as part of the SFI exhibition for Design Philadelphia. We displayed our cardboard creations and tested our ideas in the gallery with fellow students and visitors. It was exciting to see the progress everyone had made from last Friday and interact with prototypes from other groups. The atmosphere was relaxed and fun, and we mingled with the visitors to the gallery as they experienced our work. It was great to have our in-progress prototypes displayed next to the final exhibition from last year’s SFI program, which provided context for the prototyping process. It gave everyone an idea of what we were working toward and how these cardboard and duct-tape contraptions would evolve into a polished exhibition – eventually!

Our group had a relatively straightforward concept that was based on the idea of voting booths. We gave a prompt – “What does family mean to you?” – and provided notecards, markers, and tape for visitors to leave their responses on the walls of the cardboard booth. We got a good range of responses, though nearly all of which were on the ‘warm and fuzzy’ end of the spectrum such as “people who love and support you no matter what” or “food, fun, and laughter”. In our previous discussions we had hoped that the relative privacy of the booth would encourage people who perhaps didn’t have quite as ‘warm and fuzzy’ a concept of family to leave their responses as well. However, we soon realized that the way we set up the booth was still exposed and didn’t provide the privacy we were aiming for. This informed our thought process for the next iteration of our prototype, which will be on display at Art Sanctuary this Friday!

Constructing memories

Laura Frick
1st year grad student, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design
University of the Arts

On Monday of last week we primarily focused on developing materials to get the word out about our event at Art Sanctuary on October 21st. We worked on both print and electronic invitations to reach a broader audience. We also brainstormed a title, and decided on Your South of South. We thought this title would spark personal memories for our guests, therefore prepping them with material to share at the event!

On Friday we had our second meeting with the high schoolers. We got into our groups, and talked about our thoughts on the concept of family. With these thoughts in mind, we developed prototypes for our events on the 13th and 21st that would elicit meaningful responses from attendees. We came up with three great ideas, and everyone had a great time doing it!

Our group is prototyping a three-dimensional tree made from cardboard, paint, foam, paper and lots of glitter! We are asking visitors to write down their favorite family memories, and what the word family means to them on pre-cut leaves, and then to post those responses on the tree. We feel a multitude of these responses will give us a more rounded view of different family experiences within Philadelphia. We are also predicting that this prototype is an activity that all ages can enjoy, and that its aesthetic value will draw in many users. We are hoping the structure of the tree is robust enough that it can withstand a lot of visitor interaction! We are excited to see how these prototypes go over at the Design Philadelphia Open House on the 21st, and how they develop in the coming weeks!

Early prototyping lessons

Carly Hossler
1st year grad student, Museum Communication
University of the Arts

The intention of our prototype was to give students the opportunity to respond to a prompt about memory in an anonymous way. We created this poster with multiple “answer bubbles” to allow students and/or facility members to respond to the prompt “What is your favorite UARTS memory?”. We wanted to see that by having this sign easily accessible to students if this would be a good way to collect memories from members of the community once we begin our actual project. We thought this may be a good way to collect memories so that if we tried this for real with the South of South community, people would not feel pressured to answer by our presence.

Unfortunately, this idea did not go as planned. As I checked up on our large poster throughout the week, we seemed to be collecting more drawings of butts, poop and negative comments than actual memory related comments. I definitely learned that maybe (no offense to undergrads but..) leaving it unattended on a college campus wasn’t the best idea. Something I would change would be having this poster present at a community event and having someone constantly standing next to it to keep people from drawing butts on it.


Common interests, shared spaces, and communal activities

Over the next year, the SFI! team will submit blog posts sharing their thoughts on process, challenges, and excitement working with the South of South neighborhood in Philadelphia (west of Broad Street, north of Washington Avenue). Lead by Erin Bernard and Dana Schloss, the SFI! crew will focus on building community connections and prototyping in and with the neighborhood.

Sophie Strachan
2nd year grad student, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design
University of the Arts
In preparation for the upcoming prototyping events in the South of South neighborhood, our class has been having conversations about community, and our role in this project as designers and communicators. Our first day of class we all shared our ideas about what community means and it was interesting to find that there are so many ways to define it. A few ways communities are brought together is through common interests, shared spaces, and communal activities.
We had a RIG (Rapid Idea Generation) session with Dana Schloss in which we used an assortment of junk to articulate ideas to solve a particular problem. We came up with some really fun interactives! One interactive experience that my group thought of was a game in which the visitor controlled a blimp that had to maneuver through a maze to complete a secret mission during WWII. To illustrate this idea to the rest of the class we used a ball with an old cell phone taped to it to represent the blimp and an upside down teacup as the controller.
Our understanding of this semesters project has been developing, and soon we will meet with potential community partners to discuss it and more importantly to learn more about them. On October 21st, Arts Sanctuary will be hosting our first prototyping event in the neighborhood. At this event we hope to work closely with the high school students and the neighbors to start generating ideas, building things, and having great conversations.

Sharing ideas using “junk” encourages ideas without getting stuck in the details.