Archive for the 'Jennie Nusbaum' Category

Jennie Nusbaum

March 15, 2011

Thesis issues have been narrowed down to being focused on college problems. By putting emphasis on college related issues, the message will be clearly directed towards an audience. My ultimate goal is to post these messages around town in the hopes that they will impact viewers. Issues such as drinking and driving, cost of tuition, and eating disorders are of interest. The hard part is incorporating the interactive aspect of ad making into these ideas. Here are some inspirational examples,


Jennie Nusbaum

February 22, 2011

Textural reveal.

Jennie Nusbaum

February 22, 2011

backlit reveal

Jennie Nusbaum

February 10, 2011

Case Study 1– Exploring the boundaries of just what a posters can be. In this study I would like to see a poster extending off the wall encouraging viewers to interact with it. I want to explore the element of shock to which people think the poster has one function, when suddenly it’s intentions change entirely. It is at this point when the real message is communicated.

Case study 2– People are often drawn to the word “free”. I want to explore how this word can quickly attract viewer attention. People are often quick to snag the free-bees anyone has to offer but what if what you were getting was nothing what you expected. Much like cast study 1, this element of shock is what will really drill the message home.

Cast study 3- We see the typical “looking for roommate” or “drummer needed” posters all the time with tear off info strips. I would like to expand on this idea by addressing issues that connect with the bits you tear off. Perhaps those bits could have a double function, information and solution? This exploration is quite gray at this point.

Case study 4– I would like to explore the process in discovering a message. At first glance a poster should be suspicious in its quietness begging to be investigated further. During this period of curiosity people will begin to figure out what they need to do to uncover the message based on the information/materials given. This interactive curiosity will draw other people in, making the final message contagious.



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Jennie Nusbaum

February 3, 2011

*Combining the two previous ideas of purchasing for a cause and creating a poster beyond the wall, there is a middle ground that has yet to be further explored. The concept of having a poster that is tactile and has function apart from the obvious, interacting with the viewer. There must be something the viewer can take away to remind them of the piece long after they encounter it. Although there is no purchasing involved, this give away of something simple and powerful will bring the mind back to the initial intent of the piece itself.


Social awareness through design is more effective when thought of in retrospect, in the hopes that this reawakening of ideas will cause the viewer to act upon the initial message.

Jennie Nusbaum

February 1, 2011

so rad!

Jennie Nusbaum

January 27, 2011


Tibor Kalman said “Design is just language and the real issue is what you use that language to do.” I would like to use my thesis as an opportunity to use design in a way that addresses social issues that often times slip under the radar. We as designers have the necessary tools to communicate these ideas to large audiences through powerful and smart imagery. Publications such as COLOR magazine and Good magazine are prime examples of design being put to positive use. These publications are influential not only in their content but also in their global interaction. The spreading of these ideas becomes the most vital but difficult part of awareness design. Whether it’s passing by a poster, reading it on a t-shirt, seeing a sticker, or downloading a PDF (Guerilla Poster Project) getting the chance to plant that seed is when the design is fulfilling its purpose.

Using design as a means to bring awareness to global issues is not a new idea. Some examples are The Haiti Poster project, The Graphic Imperative exhibition, AIGA’s, and All these organizations use design as a means to wake people up to social truths. I am also interested in seeing how these methods of communication can reach an international audience. One genre of social consciousness I would like to steer away from is this idea of purchasing for a cause. Often times you’ll see companies like Gap(red) or Breast Cancer Awareness that create a sub-category of products to support these ideas. Not to say there is anything wrong with that but I would like my designs to speak for themselves without the persuasion of an exchange for a good conscious.

I think designs with a cause have a harder time trying to get their message out there due that the fact that there is nothing being offered back to the viewer other than an idea, a nudge to say ‘hey, chew on this’. Sometimes strong design is seldom seen in awareness posters because many of these issues are addressed to us in such black and white terms that people would rather pretend they aren’t happening rather than do something about it. Maybe if awareness posters were as well designed as Apple campaigns people would be more motivated to act upon it.

Thinking about the role of a poster as the easiest way to pitch your ideas to the public brings about some questions. Can a poster be more than just a 2-d printed piece? What if the poster let viewers walk away with something to hold onto beyond a mental state. Perhaps you have an AIDS poster constructed with condoms, a Republic of Congo poster with rip-away dye cuts of eating utensils with information to donate food, or a poster made with dirt and mud to acknowledge the death and destruction of the landslide in the Philippines this past month. Posters can educate and offer aid if designed beyond the wall.



HENCE! Social awareness through design needs to be publicly engaging in order to impact the viewer on an insightful level, in the hopes they will act upon the message.



cause: a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect

social responsibility: Acting with concern and sensitivity, aware of the impact of your actions on others

globalization: describes the process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through a global network of political ideas through communication, transportation, and trade

Retrospect: contemplation of the past, upon reflection

phenomenology: “the process of letting things manifest themselves.” Phenomenology attempts to enable people to see clearly something that is right before their eyes but obscured; things that are so taken for granted that they are muted by abstract observation.

influence: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others

insight: penetrating mental vision or discernment; faculty of seeing into inner character or underlying truth.

Contextualization: is the process of assigning meaning, either linguistic or as a means of interpreting the environment within which an expression or action is executed

engage: to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons)



Tibor Kalman (July 6, 1949- May 2, 1999) influential graphic designer well known for his work as editor-in-chief of COLOR magazine. Started firm M&Co with Carol Bokuniewicz and Liz Trovato doing work for the Limited Corporation and the Talking Heads. Kalman was also the creative director of Interview magazine in the early 1990’s and also founded Smith & Milton in London. Known for being a graphic design rebel.

Finn Magee is a young designer who I would consider an underground artist. There is not much information about him online and his website is a collection of work and the explanation rather than the ego of the artist which I can appreciate. Nevertheless, Magee creates innovative posters with elements that come to life. Many of his designs use surprise, humor, and juxtaposition to engage the viewer. Finn does commercial as well as promotional awareness pieces.

Frank Baseman works at Baseman Design Associates. Co-chair of “Revolution:Philadelphia”. Co-Currator of The Graphic Imperative: International posters for peace, social justice and the environment.

Nicholas Blechman works at the New York Times book review by night run Knickerbocker design. Blechman edits and designs underground political  magazine NOZONE. He’s a member of Alliance Graphique International. He is author of “Fresh Dialogue One: New Voices in Graphic Design”,”Nozone IX: EMPIRE” and, “100% EVIL”.

Chris Hacker works for Johnson & Johnson developing it’s strong brand identity and sustainable package design. He is active in “green” awareness.

Randy Hunt is the founder of Citizen Scholar inc. a design consultancy that works with nonprofit organizations. Randy is also the founder and director of The Amazing Project: “a non-profit organization which publicizes and promotes the actions of amazing people and connects them with supporters & volunteers.” He also contributes to Speak Up, AIGA’S VOICE, Lemon magazine, DESIGNY, and Massive Change.

Alan Jacobson head the environmental graphic design firm AGS. Alan is known for being a pioneer in innovative sustainable design. He has won the SEGD (Society for Environmental Graphic Design) for his help with community-organization in Rwanda. “The goal is to pioneer new understanding and new thinking about how humans react and communicate in their surroundings, and to manifest the ideas in people centric solutions.”

Kristin Johnson worked with non-profits dealing with solar power as a catalyst for new health. She worked as an intern for Milton Glaser. Johnson has worked with Pentagram, Graphis and Workshop. Kristin became emersed in the green sustainability movement using her skills of design to make a statement.

Lara McCormick is the creator of Stop and Start Over which is a program that helps addicts recover from addiction.

Seymour Chwast , Mark Randall, Scott Stowell, Lisa Strausfeld, Seth Labenz & Roy Rub


“AIGA Cause and Effect.” Cause/affect. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. cause and effect AIGA

COLORS MAGAZINE. Web. 27 Jan. 2011.

Designgive : Cause for Design. Web. 27 Jan. 2011.

GOOD Home Page – GOOD. Web. 27 Jan. 2011.

Heller, Steven. “Tibor Kalman — AIGA | the Professional Association for Design.” AIGA | the Professional Association for Design. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. medalist-tiborkalman

“Sdposters.” Cargo. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. sdposters

Lupton, Ellen. Why Design Now?: National Design Triennial. New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 2010. Print.

CMYK volume 48 “The Power of a Poster” Vol. 48. Special poster Issue.

The Graphic Imperative. Web. 27 Jan. 2011.

P R O J E C T  M  :  T H I N K  W R O N G. Web. 27 Jan. 2011.

Bierut, Michael, William Drenttel, and Steven Heller. Looking Closer. New York: Allworth, 2002. Print.

Finn Magee 2010. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. Off the wall examples

CAUSE/EFFECT. Web. 27 Jan. 2011.speakers.html#alt Daily updated, downloadable PDF posters


Reading Log

“The Power of a Poster.” CMYK Volume 48 Special Poster Issue: (74-75). Print.     January/23

Lupton, Ellen. Why Design Now?: National Design Triennial. New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 2010. Print.  January/25

Mark Sinclair. This Book Was Designed to Help. Design fund raising collaboration. Forward (pg 3)     January/25

Bierut, Michael, William Drenttel, and Steven Heller. Looking Closer. New York: Allworth, 2002. Print.(230-232)    January/27

(4 following background history of Sudanese conflicts)

Case Study

1.) When Tibor Kalman was the editor for COLOR magazine he published an article in Michael Bierut’s Looking Closer book. He says “Color takes outside advertising and it’s format change from issue to issue. One of it’s fundamental aims is to challenge assumptions about what a magazine can be.” He talks about the first issue of COLOR where they show a photo of a newborn baby on the cover. There was heavy controversy over this primarily because of the appearance of the infant. ” If we had been photographing this baby for a pretty moms’ magazine , we would have cleaned the baby with retouching. Instead we chose not to.” (Looking Closer 231). Kalman continues to explain that this is an example of contextualization. COLOR magazine is breaking a social norm by showing an image of a raw newborn, which in many ways is a metaphor for what the publication does. COLOR uses photography to get a point across, although shocking, what better way to make people look. To cause a reaction is to plant an idea. Getting people to consider these truths in all their natural flaws is the true beauty of designing for awareness.
COLOR baby cover

2.) Finn Magee is a designer who began as a product designer but has strayed into the world of advertising. He is interested in how we consume objects and ideas. Magee is known for his innovative poster design often using humor and juxtaposition to get a point across. Finn Magee’s aim is to promote awareness about the actual needs of the consumer and citizen. Although the content does not exhibit the depth of which my social based topic goes, the way in which Finn makes his posters come to life is something I would like to explore in my thesis.
designing beyond the wall

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3.) AIGA’s cause/effect website is very helpful giving me resources of designers who have explored similar topics to this. Many of these designers focus on social issues of their interest and use their tools to create awareness for it often time by teaming up with a non-profit or specialized organization. Many of the artists were exhibited in The Graphic Imperative which is a huge influence in this thesis. My goal is to find a way to blend this mission of social communicate with a new engaging presentation. Because there are many topics which are of urgent attention I want to chose maybe 5 to 10 to focus on in my thesis exploration.

AIGA cause/effect event explanation

4.) Apparently someone has already thought and executed the idea of creating a large AIDS campaign posters made solely out of condoms. Check it out!
promotional-condoms-fight-against-aids This is almost exactly what I would like to do with this thesis. How can an ad interact with the viewer? What can they take away from it, What will make people marinade in these ideas instead of shrugging them off? Ideas like this are a good way to engage the audience.

Jennie Nusbaum

January 25, 2011

(this was a post from January 18)

Thesis two

My previous thesis was dealing with handmade typography, I’ve come to realize that this is a quiet general topic that can easily find its way into some of my other solid thesis ideas. In replacement of this topic I have decided to focus on package design. Package design is also a broad topic but I have yet to zero in on what it is I’m looking for. Niche brand package design is of interest. “Nitch brands exemplify the power of packaging to communicate a highly differentiated personality that enriches the product experience.” Says Nicolas Aparicio, executive creative director at Landor. Because niche brands focus on zeroing in on a target audience their personality and persona is more unique. This relationship between consumer and brand creates strong brand loyalty. I would like to explore how these markets can product appropriate and exciting package design to compliment their brand values.

Thesis three

Zeroing in on this social based proposal I have decided to explore ways to communicate world issues that are often times left too quiet in the media. The graphic imperative show was a big influence on this topic as well as the projects that come out of it (Michigan & Haiti posters). I don’t want to limit myself to just poster design, keeping in mind other ways people can wake up to these truths. Publications such as Color Magazine and Good Magazine are prime examples of good design put to good use. “COLORS’ expressive medium: a method that is universal and reaches the greatest number of people with a strong, immediate impact. Young adults also read COLOR across the world which relates back to my original third thesis. When Tibor Kalman was editor of COLOR his premise was “that diversity is positive and all cultures have equal value.” This idea that news should be of equal importance no matter where it’s coming from. Other important designers in this field of interest are Leif Steiner who works at Moxie Sozo who designed Hurricane relief posters, and headed the Haiti poster project. Josh Higgins, a designer who focused on California Wildfires and Joe Scorsone & Alice Drueding who are known for their powerful poster collaborations (see CMYK artice)

Jennie Nusbaum

January 13, 2011

Lately it’s been making more sense to me to design for a cause. A cause doesn’t exactly have an endpoint because things will constantly be in struggle. My first two proposals (process & handmade type) are general topics that can easy find their way into a more specific idea. My third and most developed proposal is about designing for youth education. In this topic I wanted to focus on getting across worldly issues to the youth community. In research I’ve realized that yea, most people including teens get their dose of current events via internet and since web design isn’t exactly my forte, out sprang another idea…

Thinking back on projects that most peaked my interest I come back to the Haiti poster project we did in Brian’s class. What was so great about this assignment was the research and expansion of knowledge of such a catastrophic world event which until the project, didn’t exactly affect my daily life. The poster project was especially inspirational because of the gallery show The Graphic Imperative going on that the time. The show was powerful and I know the designers who created the posters must have felt a sense of empowerment from creating them knowing the reaction they receive. I’m intrested in expanding on this project. What are other world issues that I feel strongly about? How can I, as a designer do my part to get an idea out there. How do other countries get their messages across? In my resent trip to Thailand over break you realize that most people in the world cant afford to pay for their daily newspaper, magazine, or have access to the web. Information is more widely distributed via billboards, posters, packaging, tv and radio. I would like to explore the world of communication outside of the US, international size posters, etc.. anyways, how the proposal will be executed is pending, but the idea is most solid.

Jennie Nusbaum

December 11, 2010


Over the past three years in the Design Program I have learned to embrace the process of everything. When I look over a process binder I have a sense of completion and wholeness. What I enjoy most about this feeling is being able to see every bit of thought that is filtered through to reach an endpoint. Every jot down, every doodle, print out, found object, all stepping-stones to the next level. Sometimes I wish there was a way to include these things into the final piece so that the viewer can see how many ideas were grinded down and re-invented. The sketch process for me is the most exciting part. I try to spend as much time here as possible. This is where my passion for it all began and though I try to keep the integrity of my hand-done work in my design it often times gets lost in the technical hype. What I would like to explore for this thesis proposal is the process in which an idea is translated, and how do you balance the hand vs. the computer?


I have always been a crafty person so the idea of creating design with new and exciting material definitely sparks my interests. I would like to use my current knowledge of typography and explore how different materials can lend themselves to different typefaces. To me, handmade type is something (when used appropriately) that can speak to a viewer on a humanistic level. Not only do you connect with the word content, but also the element of medium, which then begs the question.. who made this? what is their story? I would like to explore this thesis through numerous type applications focusing on different identities of moods. The imperfection and perfection of handmade type vs. regular type is also of interest in this thesis proposal.


Back in high school I use to work at a teen center back in Ann Arbor called “The Neutral Zone”. The place was a hole-in-the-wall non-profit organization dedicated to providing a space for teens to essentially hang out, play pool, make art, record music, or just chill after school instead of being out on the street doing whatever else. This organization pushed youth expression through creativity, which is a concept that has stuck, as well as built me. Because of this experience I have collected a wide spectrum of creative people many of whom I still keep in touch with. This network is essential for an aspiring artist to have and lean on. I would like to explore the concept of pushing youth development through graphic art. I’m not sure exactly what this would include yet perhaps event posters, club fliers, creative opportunities, etc. This thesis offers a wide variety of ideas to explore while focusing on the social elevation of future designers.