Post-Spring Break Project

Ok all you people. dan needs your help. sort of. i am brainstorming a graphic design project for my last couple months at ND. here goes:

i plan to wear a nametag saying “dan” every day, everywhere i go.

that’s it. now, here’s where your thoughts and ideas come into play. i want something to come out of this foolishness. i plan on documenting reactions, taking pictures of people, changing the font/design of my nametag, writing thoughts about design, etc. somehow i want the final output to be a multimedia (web/flash) format. how can i do that? i will (i hope) have pictures of people and nametags, words, essays, and what else? corporate sponsorship?

i’d like to start this project monday. one week. i am very interested in your thoughts about this project and how i can make it better. this is a ludicrous idea, and my professor says that i’m the only one he knows that can pull it off. i agree. join me in this project, show your interest or disinterest. critique me. make fun of me. just know that your brother/son will go the final couple months of his career with a nametag on his chest. i’m going to be famous.


DanIdeas03/10/03 5 comments


Patrick • 03/10/03 4:10 PM:

Sounds cool. Couple of ideas:

It’s sometimes better to have a purpose before you design your scenario. You’ve got a scenario and are looking for a purpose to fit it. That’s tough. But I won’t say I haven’t done it. When I was a missionary, Elder Kalu and I were bored with the same old ways of teaching. Concurrently, he remembered that wand-in-rings puzzle and made one. Coincidentally, Mom and Dad had recently sent me those two bent nails that you have to separate. From there we retrofit gospel lessons to the puzzles. They were a big hit, and that revelation was a big influence on the rest of my mission and, I like to think, on other missionaries and regular folks (because I became a zone leader, then assistant to the president, and I shared the ideas a lot, and expanded them).

Okay. So that’s your challenge.

One thing would be to have a friend shadow you taking digital pictures and movies. Or you could do them yourself, but that’d give another perspective. And you still don’t have a purpose.

Consider, perhaps, the lesson of The Naked Guy, a Berkeley student when I was at Notre Dame. He refused to wear clothes. What happened there? I don’t remember. It was just basically shock value, but there might also be a lesson there.

What about wearing a tee-shirt with your name on it? Different shirts every day? Or the same shirt? Might not be so unusual, or easy to notice though, since many people won’t read it. But if it’s a nametag, that little patch of white will call their attention.

OH! You should see:

You may have seen these stickers around somewhere (I have) and asked “What do they mean?” Well, they don’t “mean” anything really. They’re just meant to make people ask “What do they mean?” Read about it on the site. That might help you get some ideas too.

As for site design and stuff, there are some collection/travel sites that might give you some ideas for how to present all this. Check out:

Loyola-Chicago Signage Project

Please do this as awesome as you can. I think it has super potential.

Patrick • 03/10/03 4:16 PM:

By the way, both and are taken (so is But, just says “It’s coming…” and doesn’t really load. So maybe if you do a whois search on them and contact them, you could get one of those domains. They’d be great for your project, I think.

Dan • 03/10/03 10:28 PM:

father j, my rector, was at berkeley when the naked guy was walking around. we talked briefly about it last year. i’ll try to find out more.

my professor, robert, lent me a book and told me to read an article/essay in it. it was a big thing about the dude who made the “Andre the Giant has a posse” stickers years ago and stuck them all around providence RI (or somewhere). and now it’s all this huge stuff. pretty fun. maybe robert thought i was capable of such a thing. so here i am trying. interesting.

Dad • 03/11/03 11:09 AM:

First, the websites referred to in comments open up in the small comments box, which can’t be re-sized, and has no “back” button. Hence, it’s difficult to check out the websites and then get back to the comment. I did look at the Loyola-Chicago site and have only one question. Why did they decide to do their website in a color scheme that makes it extremely difficult to read? Here they are documenting (for what purpose?) assorted messed-up signs in Chicago, and you can hardly read their website! By the way, since my dad was a sign painter, I have a strong interest in old, hand-painted signs because they bring back memmories of that old sign shop I visited as a small child. Anyway, interesting that Patrick, who so aptly pointed out Dan’s lack of expressed purpose for his project, would recommend a website with a similar lack of purpose behind it. (Maybe if I had spent more time there, I would have discovered it.)

On to the real subject. Dan, Patrick’s point about purpose is a very good one. Having a purpose implies a framework in which to evaluate your results (or at least a place to “hang” them). Given that you are in a graphic design class, one purpose (albeit a trite one) might be to document how design impacts perception, which is kind of like how first impressions shape relationships.

One thought is how students tend to dress in ways that show their individuality within certain bounds. That is, it’s OK to have a different look about you as long as you still look like a student, or at least enough like everybody else that you don’t draw too much attention. Wearing a name tag is one way of drawing attention to yourseld and generating possibly interesting interactions. There may be other ways, such as wearing a suit everywhere (and looking like a professor or member of the administration?) Is there some other change of style or norm you could explore?

You have pointed out in the past how members of our family have a sense of design that others don’t have. What is this esthetic that allows us to agree on what is ugly or out of proportion and what is beautiful? The bigger question is how much does it matter in the larger world? As you said the other day, people read ugly posters too. Where does content offset or overcome form? To what extent can form enhance and color communication? What about art, where, arguably, form IS the communication?

Communication is always done in context. Mother Theresa could never communicate with anyone outside the context of her well-documented saintly life. How we dress and act communicates our role and our feelings in strong ways we may be unaware of. Your project is a subtle attempt to change the norm and note how it affects the people around you. Are you going to say, “Hi, my name is Dan” or just, “Dan”?

I just had a flash of a thought about the guy in the fairy tale (what was he, a baker?) who killed 7 flies with one swipe of the swatter, and fashioned a belt buckle that stated, “Seven with one blow.” Everyone thought he meant 7 men, and from then on treated him as a tough guy. Maybe you could do something like that? You could say, “Ask me about my vertical leap.” What about military medals of valor, purple hearts, etc. that are worn routinely by soldiers? What about your presidential fitness award? What about the rose worn by pro-life supporters? Our society is filled with “awareness raising” signs that various activists use. THey all have a purpose. What is yours?

Kathleen • 03/13/03 12:37 PM:

I think you could make a ton of different types of name tags, being an artistic guy and stuff. I like the t-shirt idea too, and since you’re such a fashionable guy, that would make sense for you.

What exactly are you doing it for? It’s a project, right? You’re not just doing it for kicks, are you?

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