Nerd Process Book

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As first-year graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design, we were only beginning to get to know one another. Hence, our first Studio assignment with Dan Boyarski was to introduce ourselves through a self-portrait. The only requirements were to organize our information using at least two of Richard Saul Wurman's five hatracks, also known as LATCH (Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, Hierarchy).

Text of Nerd Process Book

  • I am always learning that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. Pablo Picasso

  • 2 Project Brief3 Brainstorming5 Research7 Organizing9 Implementing11 Refining13 Finalizing15 Insights

  • 2Asfirst-yeargraduatestudentsinCarnegieMellonUniversitysSchoolof Design,wewereonlybeginningtogettoknowoneanother.Hence,ourfirststudioassignmentwastointroduceourselvestoourclassmateswithaself-portrait.Theonlyrequirementsweretoorganizeourinformationusingatleasttwoof RichardSaulWurmansfive hatracks, alsoknownasLATCH. WurmansLATCHconceptisusedtoorganizeinfor-mationanditisespeciallyusefulfortechnicaldocumentation.

    L ocationA lphabet T imeC ategoryH ierarchy

  • 4AsIwalkedhomefromschoolthatafternoon,Iwascluelessonwheretostart.WhoamI?IknowwhoIam,buthowshouldIexpressthistomyclassmates?Iunrolledagiantsheetof paperandstaredatit.Itwasoverwhelminglyblank.Ineededtostartsmall.Ibeganwritingoutlistsof informationaboutmyself (a & b).IlistedinchronologicalordereachplaceIvelived,inhierarchicalorderhowIspendmyday,andinalphabeticalorderthecomputerprogramsIusedfromchildhood.Icreatedalist of possible categories.

    Ithenmovedtovisualization(c),whichwasmuchmoredifficult.IdidntreallyknowwhatIwastryingtosayorhowtopresentit.Ievencreatedavenndiagramthatwassupposedtoillustratethebalanceof mylife,withfunactivitiesontheleftandlesssatisfyingactivitiesontheright.

    (a) (b) (c)

  • 6Atthispoint,Iwasveryunsatisfied.Isentoutasurveytofriendsandfamily,gatheringdataaboutmyself (d).Ireceived10responses.Inoticedaspecifictrend:Ivealwaysbeenahugenerdinvolvedinnerdyactivities(e).

    Whilereflectingonmyexperiences,manylife-changingeventscametomind,butIfeltthesedidntdefinewhoIam.WhatdefinedmewashowIhaddealtwiththesesituations,howIhadpushedthroughthem,andhowthemanypeopleIlovedhelpedmealongtheway.InoticedIoftenusedhumortocopewiththeseevents.Therefore,IdecidedtohumorouslymapthemanynerdyactivitiesthatIhavebeenintosincebirth.Throughthesenerdyitems,Idemonstratehowtheyhelpedmecope,ledmetomybestfriends,andallowedmetofigureoutwhatIwantedtodoinlife.Anditwouldbedonewithhumor.

    1.Whatismyfavoriteanimal?Color?Season?

    2.WhatdidIwanttobewhenIwas9?

    3.Whatisonefavoritememoryyouhaveof us?

    4.Whatismyfavoritequote?

    5.Howwouldyoudescribeme?

    6.Whataremyfavoriteactivities/thingstodo?

    7.Whatismostimportanttome?Whataremyvalues?

    8.HowdoyouthinkIhavechangedoverthepastyearorso?

    (d)

    Your cat chewing on my hair when I would sleep over at your house. Getting boba in Carmel Mountain and sitting around, talking. Or throwing the boba at random pedestrians.

    A lot of great Halloween parties, and the other more nerdy ones too! DDR was the thing back then, along with karaoke and pool parties.

    Gumbands. That is all. Oh, and writing fanfiction! OMG, nerdettes for the win!

    LONG facebook messages that took us hours to write.

    We hadnt talked for a while, and then I heard you were in the hospital. I called every day for a while. Even though we may not talk every day, youre one of those special people that the world would be a little less sunny without.

    I remember freezing your underwear too.

    (e) Answers to #3

  • 8(f)

    FirstIlistedeverynerdyactivityinwhichIhadeverengaged.Mymotherandafewclosefriendsremindedmeof manyembarrassingmemories!Ithenfiltered,removingthingsthatwereveryshort-livedorthatdidntreallyhavemuchinfluence.

    AfterIcompiledmylist,Idrewitalongatime-line(f). I scratchedoutlesssignificantactivities,addedmore,andbeganbrainstorminghowIwantedtopresentmynerdiness.Iwantedtomapmyinformationbytime and hierarchy.Bytimeinthesequenceof growingup,onthepagefromlefttoright.Byhierarchyinthedegreeof nerdiness,onthepagefromthebottom to top.

  • 10

    Istartedsketchingdifferentwaystopresentmynerdchart(g). I thoughtaboutalinegraph,bargraph,clusterchart,andbubblechartthatcorrelatedsizeandlocationwiththecontent.IevenponderedcreatingaDNAstrandmadeupof myinformation.Noneof thesemadesensewiththecontent.Dan,alongwithmyclassmates,thoughtthebubbleideawasintherightdirectionbecauseitallowedforsomanywaysof representingtheinfor-mation.Intheend,IdecidedthatIwouldcreatebluespeechbubblescontainingeachof mynerdyinterests(h).

    IusedthesebubblesbecauseIlovereadingcomicbooks,andtheyremyfavoritecolor:blue.Thebubblesaremultifaceted.Theirsizetellshowmuchtheinterestinfluencedmylife.TheircolorsintensitydemonstrateshowintenselyIwasinvolved...orobsessed.Icreatedagridsystem:theheightof thebubblesonthepageillustratesthedegreeof nerdiness,andthepositionfromrighttoleftshowsthechronologicalsequence.IchosethefontComicBookbecauseitmatchedcomicbooktext.ItitledmychartTheMakingsof aNerdbecausethecontentmadeupme:anerd.

    (g)

    (h)

  • 12

    Ihadthebasicdesigndown,butmynerdchartwasfarfromfinished.Sure,allof mycontentwasontheposter,inorderandfittosize,butthevisualswerefailingtofullyrepresentthecontent.Theposterwasnt...nerdyenough.Besidesthefontandspeechbubbles,itdidntlooklikeanerdycomicbook.Thesinglebluecolorblendedeverythingtogetherandtherewasnohierarchytothebubblesbesidessize.

    Italkedtomanyof myclassmates,relatives,andprofessors.Ireceivedvaluableinputaboutcomicstyleandnerdyvisualiza-tion.Somesuggestionswerentrightformyproject,butmanyhelpedpushitfurther.Iwantedmypostertobeacomicbookthatspoketoitsviewer.Istudiedmanycomicbooksfrommycollectionandimitatedthetitlestyle,thewordplacementwithinspeechbubbles,thecommoncolors,andthevariousbubbletypes.Icreatedsquarespeechbubblestoaddvariety,andImadetheserepresentcategories (i).Inall,Icreatedyellowsquarebubbles,blueroundbubbles,andgreenthoughtbubbles.

    (i)

    C 0M10Y 100K 0

    C 42M0Y 21K 0

    C 60M11Y 81K 0

  • 14

    (j)

    Thelaststageof myprojectwasfinalizingsmalldetailsanddouble-checkingforerrors.IscannedpagesfrommyMarvelComicBooksandusedthemasalightbackground.Theyaddedafaintlayerof speechbubblesbehindmyown.Ifinalizedthehumorouslanguageandplacedthelegendinanoticeablelocation.Iproofreadthecontentforproperspellingandgram-mar,shiftingbubblestomakesureeverythingwasreadable.Totestlegibilityandreadability,Iprintedatestpageat100%andfinalizedthepostersizeat25x30.MyclassmatesandIprinteda3stripof eachpostertotestcolor.

    Asalasttouch,IaddedZing!PowandBam!nearthemajornerdyeventsinmylife(j).Thespeechbubblesoverlapandinterweavetodemonstratehownerdyinterestsseepintoeveryfacetof mylife,bringingmetowhereIamtodayandhelpingtoshapethepersonIvebecome.

  • 16

    1) Alwayslooktotheworldaroundyouforinspiration.2) Haveapurposebehindeverydecision.3) Listen.Notalladviceisgood,butalladvicehasvalue.4) Findthevalueandusewhatisbest.5) Revise,revise,revise...andthenreviseagain.Youcannever

    editorreviseyourprojecttoomuch.6) Whenyouthinkyouredone,askaroundforsomemore

    advice.Double-checkeverything.7) Alwaystestprintat100%.Alwayscheckcolors.8) Youneedtoreachapointof satisfactionandstop.This

    usuallyinvolvesadeadline.9) Deadlinesdontmeanyoucantkeepworkingonthe projectforyourownenjoyment.10) Embracewhoyouareandyourpersonalstyle,nomatter

    hownerdyitmaybe.