Tag Archives: Design

Where Are They Now? Interview with former WIC staffer turned illustrator, Sarah Jacoby

jacoby photo

© Sarah Jacoby 2015

Hello, PennWIC readers! My name is Elizabeth Crowder and I’m a new(ish) graduate intern at the Weigle Information Commons. Our inaugural post in the “Where Are They Now?” blog series features former Vitale Digital Media Lab consultant (2007-2011) Sarah Jacoby who resides in Brooklyn, NY. She currently works as a production designer with the creative team at Tinybop, an educational children’s app and media company. You might be wondering what a production designer does. According to Jacoby, her job as a production designer involves anything from creating art for Tinybop’s apps to helping prepare art for the apps as well as myriad miscellaneous design-oriented things.

In addition to her work at Tinybop, Jacoby works as a freelance illustrator and designer. Current exciting projects include working on a children’s book for a UK publisher and a line of wedding invitations for friends. She has also contributed to books about illustration, shown art internationally and throughout the United States, published with folks like The New York Times, and won awards in fancy places.


© Sarah Jacoby 2015

Sarah was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to discuss how she landed her job as a production designer and all the hard work that went into propelling her from a lab consultant at the Vitale Digital Media Lab to where she is today. Continue reading Where Are They Now? Interview with former WIC staffer turned illustrator, Sarah Jacoby

‘R’ from a Design Perspective

RStudio-BallHi! I’m Oforiwaa Pee Agyei-Boakye. I’ve been an intern at the Weigle Information Commons since last fall but this is my first blog post. So far, the internship has been exciting as my involvement with educational technology at the Weigle Information Commons connects with my work at the School of Design. The Weigle Information Commons and the Vitale Digital Media Lab support students with their visuals (which is of grave importance to me as a designer) and assist students with up-to-date statistical software programs.

Coming from the School of Design, specifically the City and Regional Planning department, I have explored software including PhotoShop, Illustrator, AutoCad, Indesign, ArcGIS, and R for my projects. Although projects in the School of Design sound like they may be only visual, we engage with statistical data analysis as well.

Over the years, data analysis has evolved through various stages as the volume of data has increased. Technology kept pace with that and developed R; in fact, most data analytics have switched from Excel to R. R is a free open source statistical program with a steep learning curve, and it is getting increasingly popular. It has Mac, Windows and Linux operating system versions. Students and professionals whose work involves lots of data use it extensively. An advantage of R is the fact that it can be used to do increasingly complex models.

In city planning, R is mostly used for data correlation, regression modeling and logit modeling. I used it in my Quantitative Methods classes, Introduction to Transportation Planning last fall, and currently am using it for a Planning by Numbers class this spring. A basic familiarity with descriptive and inferential statistics helps to make better and more effective use of R.

City Planners use it to assess planning and urban policy data in order to address a planning problem or question. Applications of R in City Planning include: (i) analyzing population, economic, and settlement patterns across Metropolitan and Statistical Areas; (ii) understanding the determinants of housing and real estate prices; (iii) understanding mortgage foreclosure patterns; (iv) identifying the characteristics that explain travel behavior and mode choice; (v) identifying the factors contributing to Presidential election wins; and (vi) understanding the determinants of homelessness by metro area.

For example, to analyze Philadelphia housing, rental and real estate demand, R studio will be used to analyze housing and census data. Housing census datasets such as how many Philadelphia residents live more than one person per room, how many structures are dilapidated, or what rent prices run these days, can predict that.

R used to analyze average number of trips across counties in Philadelphia Delaware Region for the various income groups.
R used to analyze average number of trips across counties in Philadelphia – Delaware Region for various income groups.

The R language is not easy to learn initially, but once you grasp it data analysis is simple. R also integrates nicely with other visual design programs that WIC provides assistance with – from poster creation to PhotoShop and Illustrator, and general help in the Media Lab. The Commons can help with R software support (see library guide!), and custom workshops – or stop by to see our statistics tutor, Doug Allen, for specific questions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this semester. Be on the lookout for more about R at the Commons this semester!

H+U+D: Humanities, Urbanism, and Design Project

H+U+DThe School of Arts and Sciences, PennDesign, and the Penn Institute of Urban Research are putting forth a joint call for research proposals for the 2014-2015 academic year. The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism, and Design (H+U+D) Project is aimed at interdisciplinary design/humanities projects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The maximum award is $2000 per proposal to be spent on travel, archival charges, and photography. The project is made possible through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a five-year collaborative initiative at Penn called Fulfilling and Liveable Cities: Design, Urban Life and the Humanities, as described in an Almanac article from last year. Project proposals are due by April 14, 2014, and can be submitted according to instructions on the CURF website

Fulfilling and Livable Cities: Design, Urban Life and the Humanities – See more at: http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v59/n31/mellon.html#sthash.YCk5cHIq.dpuf

The H+U+D Project provides a rich opportunity for students of all levels to engage in work that impacts multiple fields of study. It’s also a great chance to explore new media while researching, a topic that is near and dear to all of us here at WIC. If your research involves digital scholarship or design, or if you would like to learn more about these topics, please stop by WIC (especially the Vitale Digital Media Lab) or drop us a line at wic1@pobox.upenn.edu.

WIC iPads in Action @ PennDesign

Each semester, participants in the WIC iPads in the Classroom Project wow us with new and exciting ways to use iPads for teaching and learning. This spring, several courses in Fine Arts, Visual Studies and Architecture used our iPads to display innovative student work in exhibitions. Professor Carla Diana borrowed two of our iPads for students in her course Design of Contemporary Products: Smart Objects, which challenged students to design everyday goods enhanced by information technology. I attended her students’ show and was very impressed by their work. Below are a few images of “ReVITALize: Corrective Gym Assist,” which was the project that incorporated the two WIC iPads. Students Mia Kim and Matthew Schultz used the two tablets to display video content within their prototype. ReVITALize is a device designed to help gym-goers prevent injury by analyzing their movements.


Continue reading WIC iPads in Action @ PennDesign

Character Styles panelWhether you’re trying to maintain a consistent brand identity across a number of documents, or simply hoping to try out a number of different looks for your new project, the Character Styles panel can save you time and energy. Instead of having to manually change the typeface, the font size, the color, and the alignment of one text box after another, Character Styles let you choose a look for all of your type, and apply it any time you want with a single click.

Later on, if you decide all of your type needs to be a little bit smaller, you can reduce font size in the Character Style panel and watch as an entire document’s worth of text is all adjusted at once.

To find the Character Style panel, go to Type > Character Styles. Once it’s open, you can create your first style by hitting the Create New Style button on the bottom of the window. Double click on the new style named “Character Style 1” and you can start choosing options for your style.

Character Style AppliedOnce you’ve finished defining your Character Style, you can click on any text box in your document, click on the name of your new Character Style, and it will be applied!

Continue reading Character Styles in InDesign

Using Swatches in InDesign

ImageIf you’re working on a document in InDesign and want to be able to change large portions of the color scheme all at once, you’ll definitely want to familiarize yourself with the Swatches panel.

For complicated designs with many distinct elements, it can be extremely tedious to individually color every box and frame and piece of text. Once you’ve set up some swatches, any change you make to a given swatch will affect every item it’s been applied to. That means that a 16-page newsletter you’ve painstakingly set up in shades of blue and green can, at the drop of a hat, be redesigned in reds and yellows, or muted earth tones. If you want your restaurant’s menu to match your paint job, but the interior decorator is still on vacation, swatches can be a real time-saver. Continue reading Using Swatches in InDesign

Exemplary Poster Design

Our poster printer has been humming along all year, and we have enjoyed helping students learn how to improve layout and design. This spring, we identified two exemplary posters from a large set shown at the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) Undergraduate Research Symposium. Rick Laurent Feely gives prominence to jarring images and uses a mellow color palette to convey mood in his poster “Madhouse Messiah” about the early years of poet Allen Ginsberg.

Madhouse Messiah poster

Ollin Venegas neatly organizes the elements in his presentation to fit the narrative of his research in “Notions of Health and Manhood in a Guatemalan Gym: Patterns Contra to Machismo.”

Notions of Health and Manhood in a Guatemalan Gym poster

For more on designing research posters, consider attending our upcoming Photoshop for Research Posters workshop, which will be held on June 14th in the WIC Seminar Room.