Technology, Entertainment and .... Fine Arts?

TEDxUofM taps the A&D students for some amazing poster artwork.

Teshia Treuhaft is currently chained to her desk documenting the process of surviving senior year at A&D and her obsession with wood veneer.

        At TEDxUofM, we have been thinking about ways to incorporate the amazing painters, printmakers and illustrators at A&D into the TED realm for quite a few months now. Arguably one of the best things about UM Art and Design is that each student (whatever their medium) coexists and works side-by-side students that create in completely different ways. 

        Similarly, in TEDxUofM, it is less about who a specific speaker or attendee is and more about the fact that they share a common passion for ideas, inspiration and innovation. Naturally, they all express themselves in different disciplines, much like the students of A&D all express themselves in different media, but I’ve always felt a common thread through the school of A&D and TED.

        This year, instead of having one of our amazing graphic designers (and they are amazing) simply put together a poster; we asked 13 amazing artists and designers from the school of A&D (many of whom may identify as ‘fine artists’ but I don’t like to label) to come up with what they wanted to see on a poster. They could work in any medium, any size and create whatever they wanted with a Red, Black and White palette. Here is a snap shot of the results – check them out all around Ann Arbor in the next few weeks!

And for gosh sakes – register for this amazing event, the application is open now!!!

Paul DiStefano

Sam Levy

Annie Hyrila

Megan O'Neil

Jill Brandwein

Rachel McGuffin

Trisha Previte

Ellen Rutt

Emerson Schreiner

Katie Eberts

Ubin Li

Laura Gillmore

Martyna Alexander

Ryan Herberholz 

Also - If you haven't had your poster fill, there is a neat little Egress show over in Slusser Lounge



Graphic Design: From Computer to Materials

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.

Andrew Hainen: Finally getting it “on paper”

Last week we met with with our groups and Franc to discuss where we were with Phase 2 of the Al Dente project.  Up until now, I was feeling strong about my package labels for the different pastas. Taking the inspiration and feel that I had produced in the labels and incorporating it into stationary, business cards, envelopes, shirts, etc. has proven to be an entirely bigger challenge.

With the package labels, I was doing my best to limit the amount of colors I was using, but it wasn’t a top concern as the current labels in use seemed to use quite a few colors.  Phase 2 is requiring a lot more ink limitations, which is proving to be quite a challenge.  With design, it’s very easy to make something look great on screen, and when printing comes into play, one usually just hopes it will come out as nice but....READ MORE FROM GROUP ONE'S BLOG.


Hey all! Red here.
“Easiest” part of the process in creating a label: Figuring out where everything fit and picking type. Establishing the hierarchy and how to make it easy as a system- just change the type of pasta, flavor, color and illustration and boom done new label.

Most challenging part: ILLUSTRATIONS. I have all but garlic parsley done now and I am just too tired to do all the details. Drawings like that are my greatest weakness. Also making different color pallets for flavors whose herb color are all green. There are only so many shades of green out there people!

SO here are my labels, at this point. One sans image....READ MORE FROM GROUP TWO'S BLOG


Today in class we brought in our next set of iterations for the stationary set. Since last week, we were able to go back and make changes and additions to what we initially designed. We reviewed specifics for sizing, spacing, bleeds, and structure for the stationary set as a whole and then further discussed our individual changes and designs in small groups with Franc. The feed back from both Franc and each other was very useful as having the view of a fresh eye always is.

From here we are to finalize our stationary designs and the begin our process on the bag labels.... SEE MORE FROM GROUP THREE'S BLOG


From Chris Parker: These are some samples of the stationary system I’ve been working on. I like the direction its going in; the most common critique is that the fork is too rigid, and the noodley shape is too abstract. I need to make sure it conveys pasta company, not just random food company. I do like that it is geometrically sophisticated and very scalable. There aren’t any raster elements, or textures that would get out of hand at large or small sizes. In that sense, its very practical.....SEE MORE FROM GROUP FOUR'S BLOG


Phase Two: Stationary & Other Materials

With logos almost there, teams move on to labels and stationary...

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.

Wednesday, October 27
Today in class we each showed our individual designs for the stationary
set: letterhead, mailing label, business card, and envelope. While we had
been working as a group, we each spent individual time working on these.
Surprisingly enough, we had a wide variety of styles as a group as well as
a class. This was one of the first days where we saw our ideas truly
materialize. It was awesome to see everyone's work! In the next few weeks
we will see even more solid designs, as we each perfect logotypes and
illustrations for the bags. I think everything is coming together very
nicely and Monique will be excited when she sees!



Writing with Pasta

Team Three narrows down to their favorites

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.

Today we came to class with revised iterations for the designs we received critiques on this past Monday. Each member of our group chose their best working design and revised it to the comments/suggestions made.
While meeting as a group with Franc and discussing the positives and negatives, what's working well/what's not of each, we were then able to narrow down even further to our most favored two designs (Erin's and Jason's). We discussed the importance of line quality, gesture, legibility as a logo/logotpye, and hierarchy as a means to further improve our designs....READ MORE.


New Designs from Team One

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.

Week 3 :: Emily Maier

After the class critique last Monday I felt that my design needed more personality to mimic the strong personality of Monique, the creator.  Because of this I decided to go for a hand-drawn look for the font as well as a hand drawn more script style for the illustrations.

The font that I used here is a quick sample drawn with the brush tool and some of the things that I am looking at sharpening are the spacing between the letters.....READ MORE...


Design Ideas from Sam Goldman

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.


Week of October 4th

Andrew Hainen posts more design ideas

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.

ANDREW HAINEN: As I began this week, I knew I had to work on the illustrations first because I was pretty sure that the “empty space” I was feeling in my designs was some sort of imagery or iconography.  With lots of labels, it’s easy to get by on simple shapes and creative layouts with color coded areas; what I mean is using just shapes and designs, no actual imagery to present the information.  With these, the previous labels had a very home-drawn feeling of icons for each type of pasta that added a lot to the packaging I feel.  To maintain that “homey” feeling, I really wanted to keep the illustrations and not move to just type or just simple shapes.  In my mind, that seems to be a trend toward modern design and minimalism, which I don’t think Monique would want Al Dente to be moving towards, in a certain sense.

After producing the illustrations, I thought things would fit together better because I would have more pieces of this puzzle, but I really found myself stuck.  The illustrations were meant to have a consistent feel of drawing, so as to convey the pasta as all one brand of Al Dente.  Getting them to mesh with the labels I had produced before wasn’t too hard, but I still haven’t come anywhere near nailing the colors down as for what to use.  I think in my mind, I feel that I’m going to use X colors, and I’m planning on Monique and Al Dente just being ready to change colors for corporate reasons.  This probably will happen, but I’m kind of hindering myself in the design process by thinking ahead to this part....

(The following are more labels, but are very early works-in-progress).

Lastly, I had been using the logo I produced last week and really do feel set on Chapparal Pro as the typeface.  Sam though (I think) mentioned last week that the circular logo seen above felt very much like the Food Channel’s logo.  I think that this happened because I usually start all logos from a circular shape, as it feels very contained, more like a stamp, confident, and just easier to work with in lots of situations of use.  This one happened to settle on one that looked just like the Food Channel’s, and now that I see it, I definitely will be working on it more and not sticking with just the circle.  (I was typing it out, but they need a formal way of typing “haha” just to emphasize that I kind of smacked myself after realizing how close the logo was)

These were brief and they feel corporate, but fun.  I’m afraid they’re moving away from the traditional/vintage feel of Al Dente.  but, I’m going to try and use them in the long run, definitely not set on these.  (Which again are works-in-progress).


In the name of design, Kellyann Learns to Cook

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.

Hello, Kellyann here. The class’s token redhead.

I am not one to cook, in fact one of my life goals is to use my oven for storage- I am thinking shoes. When Monique gave each of us a bag of pasta I did not know what to do with it. I have gone through my first two years of college at dining halls or ordering food; and I are close friends and I am single handedly supporting the Taco Bells of Ann Arbor. Yes you may conclude not only do I avoid the kitchen but I also tend to avoid the bottom food groups of the food pyramid.

When I saw the three minute cook time I was thinking “Okay Kellyann you got this. Put your big girl pants on and just make the freaking pasta.” True to my nature I had to go out for a special trip and buy some alfredo sauce since the only content of my mini fridge are small coffee drinks and freeze pops.

I put water in a pot, put it on the stove, selected high, turned the fan on (I did not water the fire alarm to go off) and dumped half the bag of pasta into the still cold water. Apparently I did this wrong for when I told this story to my mom I got an eye roll and a sigh. The second time I did it I let the water boil first and then added some salt and I didn’t watch it (Get the pun here? A watched pot never boils…okay I tried). It took three minutes! Even my roomies, whose diets consist of mac n’ cheese, pasta, and eggs, were amazed. They were all like “Kel there is no way you did that right. That was too fast. Let me try it.” Turns out I did do it right, and they kept asking for more bites of my pasta… hmm, interesting. In conclusion, I have finished my first package of al dente pasta (fiesta colors, very pretty) and it will not be my last; however I will definitely be making it when I am alone otherwise most of my scavenger life roomies tend to consume most of my delish meal.

Heres a pic! I sent it to my mom. Her response? “DID YOU MAKE THAT BY YOURSELF???”

* she always texts in capital letters, my sister and I have tried to explain that in text language that translates as yelling, yet she refuses to change her ways. Regardless she was impressed and asked me to make it for them. We will see about that…


Read more from Team Two's blog here.



Initial Logo Drafts

Students in Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo's design class blog about their creative process as they develop a new logo and visual identity for the local pasta company, Al Dente.

TEAM ONE is Emily Maier, Sam Goldman, Allie Seiler, Sam Schulman, Chelsae Blackman and Andrew Hainen

visit their blog at


EMILY MAIER: I made these designs while trying to come up with a new way to incorporate the checkerboard into the logo or the information about the 3 min. cooking time.  Along with the other group members we came up with the idea to create an acronym for the company in order to help create a super-simplified logo, which could be applied to various networking sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.


ANDREW HAINEN: For the first week, I began with the logo for Al Dente Pasta, and the layout of the label.   The key item that I left out were the illustrations of the specific flavors of the pastas.  I will be working on incorporating those into the labels this week, as well as continuing with the pasta logo/label design.

These are works in progress, none are finished products.

This is the initial label I started with.  First and foremost, I changed the shape of the label itself, as I felt the oval was difficult to work with right off the bat.  This label incorporates the basic circular logo I have started with for Al Dente, but is definitely not complete.  The typeface used is Chapparal Pro.  Chapparal Pro felt like a bulkier version of the Georgia typeface, and I stuck with a serif type for the more “homegrown” feel that I feel Al Dente emits.

Each of the designs is very “off” on color I feel, and I usually end up working to where I have a solid layout, and then the colors will follow after that (hopefully).  I can tell I’m totally off right now, because the contrast feels off, as well as a consistent scheme, as well as some color to change for each flavor.

All of these I feel like are very structurally based with the new label shape, but I’m pretty sure I can adapt it over to an oval if need be.  This one uses the illustration from a previous package and I feel like it’s much more full and not so empty.  Again, this week I will be working on illustrations.

The biggest thing on these last two, I think, is the feeling between the green, dark red, and light tan.  I think they can work together very well, I just haven’t reached a good spot yet.

Finally, this is a quick sample of a logo I was trying to incorporate, still working on it though.  It was inspired from some restaurant website links I found on a few weeks ago.  The big picture I’m struggling with, is that “Al Dente” feels very akin to being a logo type, with some sort of “embellishment” around it, as opposed to an icon, a quirky way of fitting the letters together, or other logo styles.  Hopefully I’ll have more for next week.

So, here are a couple of links I used this week for inspiration, and hope to have more for you next time!


ALLIE SELLER: Playing with different logos, fonts, and layouts of logos.




3 Artists you should know

Recent inspirations

Emily Skaer graduated from A&D in 2009, and currently works as a freelance animator in Portland, OR.

#1 Beth Weintraub

Lately I've been wanting a small video camera to play around with and do some editing. My nephew just received a Flip camera, so I decided to check out their site. While I discovered my Canon camera has about the same resolution as these things, I decided against one. However, while browsing on the Flip Camera's website I made a discovery of a pretty neat artist....

Her name is Beth Weintraub. Extremely soft & feminine, Beth works with etchings on metal & paper. You can see her Flip camera designs here, you can also see more fine art pieces on her personal website.

Your best bet of checking out her work is to google her name, there's more work there under google images it seems than on her personal site.

#2 M + O Studio

Aren't these just the neatest tights you've ever seen? They're by a group in France, I believe tied to the M+O Studio of Spain, which does amazing architectural design and urban planning. These tights are all hand printed (makes me want to screenprint tights myself) and come in a lot of humorous designs. Too bad they're only available abroad... 


Here's their limited edition monster designs, you can see more on their site.


#3 Jeremy Fish

If you are familiar with Upper Playground, you no doubt know Jeremy Fish's work. Upper Playground is an online store (with a couple locations out west) that showcases designs by graffiti and other underground artists. I love Jeremy's San Francisco designs, just spotted these two animal shirts revealing what goes into the belly of these beasts. Check out his stuff at Upper Playground's site.