Number 51

Originally posted July 5, 2011, edited June 25, 2017

51States-2.jpg

Yesterday, we, as a nation, celebrated our 235th birthday. Through this short, but wonderful history we have seen our national banner/flag change. We have seen our country divided, celebrate our bicentennial, but for all of my life the flag has had 50 stars.

This past Sunday, I read an article in the Houston Chronicle: Puerto Rico gain as a state could be loss for Texas. Along with considering the facts laid out in the article, I began to think what this would mean for our country’s flag. To help celebrate the 4th of July weekend I proudly hung the flag from my apartment balcony.  As it gently moved with the wind, I realized that if we were to add only one state, the design of our flag would once again have to be reconsidered. 

Over the next hour or so, I quickly created a solution that included 51 stars, each representing a single state in the union and one central larger star to represent a the Union itself. The single star, however, is a lighter blue to symbolize that without the states the country we call the United States would not exist.

I used the circle form from the bicentennial flag to help organize the 51 stars as is works much better with odd numbers than does the current arrangement. There are 24 stars on the outer band, 16 on the middle and 11 on the inner most circle. The blue field has grown in size taking up about half of the entire flags area. A single vertical white bar has been added as padding between the blue and red stripes—the number of which did not change. 

My design is certainly more traditional and pulls from elements from the flags of our past, it could very well use refinement. How would you redesign our nation’s flag if the country adds a new state?

 

It’s called a process book.

It’s called a process book. So make it one. Books have introductions, captions, notes, and most importantly, a narrative—a beginning, a middle and an end. A 60-page collage of outtakes with no text is not a process book. It’s an artist’s book and it tells me nothing.

Joshua Hardisty Designer at Latitude, teacher at MCAD

From Joshua Hardisty’s full article on Medium

So if you’re going to produce process books here’s what I want to see:

  1. A story: It’s called a process book. So make it one. Books have introductions, captions, notes, and most importantly, a narrative—a beginning, a middle and an end. A 60-page collage of outtakes with no text is not a process book. It’s an artist’s book and it tells me nothing.
  2. Research: I want to know everything: what did you read, listen to and go look at? Who did you talk to? What do your notes look like? How did you decide what was most important? How did you know when you were done? And how do you organize your research—is it in folders, on a bulletin board or digital?
  3. Ideation: How did the research turn into actionable ideas? How many ideas did you come up? Are they lists or sketches? How did you decide what ideas to go forward with?
  4. Methodology: How do you actually design? Do you sketch out first or build up type and images digitally? Do you have a single idea or web of references? How do you decide what to kill? How are you getting feedback and what is the criteria for paying attention to it or ignoring it?
  5. Final appraisal: Why is the final result good? Not what you would change or do differently but why is it totally fucking great? I want to know that you recognize when something is good and can articulate why it’s good. Your process book is ultimately an argument for your end result. It says “After all this work there is no other place that I could have ended up.” I know you were raised to be humble but I need to know that you not only have confidence in your work but that you love it. If we end up working together you will never hear me say to a client “Well, we really learned a lot on this project and if we could do it all over again we would change this, this, and this.” No way. I’m going to say “We made this for you and here’s why it’s awesome.” If you can’t say that (or at least the safe but boring “Here’s why it works”) then you are not done with the project and you should not be showing it to me.