It Has Been A Great Run

February 6th, 2013
Daniel with his thesis project

Me with my final thesis project

As many of you may know, last semester was my final one where I capped off the amazing LCAD experience with my final Capstone presentation. This also means that my time here as the LCAD Student Graphic Design blogger has come to an end. But of course, as the common maxim says, ‘when a door closes, another on opens.’ In this case, a new blogger steps through the door as I exit and I’m excited to say that my friend Renee will be my successor to the blog. You are really going to like her because she has a lot of great things to say about design and is not afraid to speak her mind, even on controversial topics. She does not candy coat anything. In fact, like many of us bitter designers, she likes her coffee black, design wise that is. I actually don’t know if she likes her coffee black, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if she does. So anyways, welcome Renee!

So before I leave in a teary-hot-mess, I want to leave you with some last words.
You’re gonna miss school once you’re out (trust me), so make every second there count. School is the time to learn and experiment with things that you know probably wouldn’t fly in the ‘real world’.
Make a ton of friends while you’re there. Those connections are going to be vital when you are out trying to find work and even just to have friends to hang out with. They will be your family and support when you need it.
Teachers are some of your biggest assets during and after school, don’t take them for granted. Compared to the schools I’ve been to, I’ve realized that LCAD’s teachers, and in my experience, teachers in the design department really want you to succeed and will go out of their way to help you.
Get an internship when you’re in school, a paid one even better. There are a lot of things to learn in an internship that you won’t in school.
One regret I have is that, I wish I had entered my student work in design contests. Even if I wasn’t going to win, I think it is a good litmus test to see how well you fare compared to others who have entered. That way you know what you’re going to be facing when you graduate.
The last thing I’ll leave you with is, pick your battles well. Know when to fight hard and when to walk away. Or in the case of school, know what assignments are worth more of your time then others. This is applicable to so many aspects of life, and not just school or design.
Can’t think of anything else to say so that’s it.

OK, gonna be a bit cheesy here so brace yourselves, I just want to thank you all for those who has made my time at LCAD a great one and for those who have read this blog, I’m forever grateful.

Kinda awkward realizing that I just wrote a commencement speech.

And I know you’re gonna miss me soooo much (lol), so here are some ways to keep a lil bit of Daniel in your life in a non-creepy way. Oh, creepy still? Whatever, I’m creepy:

twitter: sketchdan

Take care and good luck with your scholastic endeavors!

Daniel Wong

For what it’s worth

October 9th, 2012

Poster designed by Herb Lubalin

A friend of mine asked me the other day what the pros and cons of graphic design are for me personally because she’s been struggling with the decision to make the switch to graphic design.

So this is what my response to her was plus a little more. Hokay so the pros and cons (this is gonna be a long one):

So the con first, by nature you almost will always be working with a client. That may not even be a bad thing but when you want to do things your way it’ll be hard. But it’s awesome when there’s a good balance between the client and the designer. Most of the time you’ll be given a brief on what the client wants/needs but in some cases you as the designer will have free reign to create something. Ironically, you will find at times that it is easier to have guidelines.

The other con is that you may not always be designing the most interesting things, ain’t gonna lie. I had to do these marketing materials for this audit company and I felt like shooting myself. But on the other hand I got to work on some really cool projects that I think is portfolio worthy. Another thing is pay won’t be stellar, good but not stellar. Unless you do UI/UX design or an art director position which can get as high as a 6 digit salary.

Another con for me personally, I do kinda miss drawing and painting. It’s not to say that I don’t anymore cause I still sketch and stuff but more so in actually finishing a polished piece. Doing lettering kinda makes up for it though.

Black Negative Design Studio

Ok on to the pros.
Perhaps the biggest pro would be (after thinking about this and I hope it doesn’t come off as hokey) a better view an understanding of things. Might seem like a weird answer but as a designer we are constantly learning and finding out new things. This is because when you design you need to figure out what and who you are designing for. And in the process you gain knowledge which you then communicate to others.

This leads me to my next pro which is that designers aren’t bound by any specific medium/skill. (Take a look at the Bauhaus and how in that modern movement the designers used and created all sorts of things. There was a marriage between fine art and graphic design which yielded some of the greatest works and ideas in history that we can still see their affects till this day.) Typically we do use the computer heavily but it can extened to other things such as photography, drawing, using found objects, etc. I’d go so far as to say that graphic design, actually design in general, is less about practice or skill and more of a way of thinking.

Another plus is the different skills you can learn in design such as 3D modeling, photography/video/motion, illustration, web, packaging, print, etc. The importance of knowing so many skills is not only do you have more avenues of communication but you are more employable as a designer.

And of course this pro is always nice, which is the job placement is really good. I’d say that 90% the GD grads this past year got jobs or some sort of paying internship. There are always design jobs out there. That was my dad’s biggest concern when I was expressing my want to be a designer. He didn’t think it would be a viable career, which if you think about it, is a ridiculous assumption because if you look around there isn’t something a designer hasn’t had a hand in its creation (designer as a general term, but the same principles and ideas of design bridge into various areas).

So there are some of my pros and cons for graphic design which I hope proves to be useful to you.

If you have anymore questions about design or school, feel free contact me through my email and I’ll be more than happy to answer them. (As you can see I can write a lot):


Beginning of the End

September 19th, 2012

Fourth week already? It feels like school just started. This worries me.

Well this is it, my last and final semester at LCAD. I still remember my first day at LCAD, green,hopeful, and full of vigor. Now I’m an old jaded, bitter, designer. Ok, well not the so much the bitter part. Yes. No. Maybe. In all seriousness, I have learned a great deal these past 3 years being here and I’m sure (to the 5 of you who read this blog and thanks who do, you know who you are) you will learn a great deal as well.

To all the incoming LCAD graphic designers, welcome! I didn’t mean to sound so pessimistic in the beginning, but the process of life is we all start as naive young bloods and through the years of mistakes, lessons, and maturity we become wise designer badasses. At least that’s what I like to think.
My biggest advice to you, which I wish someone told me (someone probably did but I was too naive to listen anyways), is not to be afraid to going big and taking chances. What do I mean by that? It means to try crazy ideas! Do things that you wouldn’t think would fly in a real world sense. Your time in school is the time where you can do the things you want and if they don’t work out, no worries, cause this is a learning experience. You have the rest of your life to play it safe in the job world where you won’t always get yo do the things you want. Push ideas further and if anything, your teachers will know when to reel you back from deep space.
And to those who have already been here, keep on the grind. You guys are doing some great work from what I’ve seen.

One other thing before I let you go back to your busy selfs is to submit your work for this years Rush Night which takes place on October 5th at 7PM on the Main Campus. If you’re too shy to submit work, it’s all good, come anyways to eat free food. Nothing better than that right? See Amber Jepson to submit your work or if it’s digital you can sent it to her email:

Sorry LAST thing for real: I would encourage you all to get a LinkedIn profile and join the LCAD Graphic Designers Group. It’s a great way to connect and keep in touch with your fellow classmates. Plus you can potentially get job opportunities through there.

I love the prospect of print and the digital world coming together and when they do, it’s a beautiful marriage. This project in the video below is perhaps the best example of this I’ve seen yet. I don’t have a clue what’s going on or what it’s for but it’s awesome, take a look.

Elektrobiblioteka / Electrolibrary from waldek wegrzyn on Vimeo.

You Have Good Taste

April 2nd, 2012


The creative industry is a tough one and no one is a harsher critic than ones self. We all can relate in the way we second guess our final product, how we always go back and fuss over minute details or that pitying self doubt that you are no better than the high-school-you’s work. We have pangs of panic when these questions crashland into our minds, ‘what if I can’t land a job or my work doesn’t sell?’ or the simple idea that ‘I suck!’

If you’re feeling this way, just know (I know this is really cliche but really) that you’re not alone. We all go through it. I would be hard pressed to find someone who is so sure of themselves and their direction. Here is a quote from writer Ira Glass that helped put my mind at ease along with a few of my other fellow designers.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass

LCAD 2012 Motion Graphics Reel

March 30th, 2012

So in the last post I showed you a glimpse of what I was working on which is now finished and you can see it in this years motion reel that my teacher Dan Jensen put together for the LCAD Open House. There are some really great pieces that my fellow designers created this past year and in addition you will get to see what past students have done as well. Let your pupils dilate. (You may need to refresh the page to see the video)

If this reel excited you and inspired you to do this kind of work, I strongly recommend taking Dan’s Motion After Effects class as well as his 3D Art classes. I’ve had a lot of fun and got some really nice pieces out of his classes.

It’s all about the process

March 24th, 2012

This semester I noticed that the I haven’t done a whole lot of designing and it dawned upon me that it’s kinda been that way for a couple of semester now. I realized that it’s because the physical act of designing is the latter half of the whole design process.
The cool packaging you see on the shelf of a shop, which you buy, and have a hard time throwing away because it looks too good, is the product of hours upon hours and stacks on stacks of research and thinking. These things just don’t think themselves up.

The first half of this process is something that is a love hate relationship. On one hand it’s boring, tedious, and I just wanna get to designing already. But on the other, I realize that I enjoy looking at the history of things, finding out cool information, and what our Chair of Graphic Design Catharine calls it the “Ah-ha!” moment when connections are made. (in the same vein as “Eureka!”).

So if you find that you hate the initial part of designing, the researching, remember it’s the foundation of what you are designing and doing it will only make your work better. You’ll eventually grow to love it or at least you’ll find it bearable.

In the meantime, here are a few process screen shots of a current motion piece I am working on. You’ll see the finished product once I’m done. In this project we are supposed to do a frozen-in-place pan around with object(s) in midair. I chose to do a Nerf battle. I chose to go about this by using 3D composite into video.


Time to Catch My Breath: Part. 2

March 22nd, 2012

Nike Sponsored Studio Portland Trip!
I never thought this day would come. The highlight of my semester so far! If you haven’t heard about this class, every couple of years Nike chooses a handful of schools (others being, North Umbria, College for Creative Studies, and Art Center) to take part in a partnership to feature a course that Nike sponsors and who assigns the design brief for the semester. For this class, Nike wants us to create an experience for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Two weeks ago our class was fortunate enough to get to go to the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and to present our progress.

Some of us got to go up a little earlier and explore the wild, wet, and cold city of Portland. I was one of the drivers for the trip and got to experience first hand the pickup-sticks layout of the city. Crazy, crazy roads with no shortage of one-way streets. Charlene our resident Oregonian explains that it was because the city was owned by three different people who had different ideas on how their areas of the city were to be laid out. Also much thanks to Charlene and her family for opening their home and letting us stay there for a few days.

The first day we got there we went to eat at a brewery (naturally) called Dechutes Brewery. Fun fact: Portland has the highest number of breweries per square mile than anywhere else in the world. I knew there was a reason why I like Portland so much.
Besides that beautiful fact, Portland is just a pretty city. From the architecture, to the trees, and especially the signage, (I didn’t see many birds on things though) it has an aesthetic appeal that I find inspiring. I was pleased that we happend to stumble upon the Wieden + Kennedy design firm, who are responsible for Nike’s advertisements. You can see some of the pictures of the lobby below (the ‘flying’ basket is real! watch Portlandia if you wanna know what I’m talking about).

Besides exploring the city, the next couple of days we pretty much buckled down to prepare for the Nike presentation at the end of the trip except a break to get dinner at Hopworks Bar and get world famous Voodoo Donuts.

I’ll continue this post with the photos and video of the Nike Headquarters in Time to Catch My Breath Part 3. 

Here are some picture I took with my phone (I’ll post higher quality photos and videos later):

Again, I’ll continue this post with the photos and video of the Nike Headquarters in Time to Catch My Breath Part 3. Thanks for bearing with me on this extensive post.


Time to Catch My Breath: Part 1

March 22nd, 2012

Wow, what can I say? The past few weeks have been crazy! I’m sure all of you are happy to stretch out and relax after mid terms. These next few posts is a recap of the hectic past few weeks that I had.

First off I hope all of you submitted something for the Best of the Best Show which happens in April. I’m excited to see what everyone has been working on. This year I submitted a packaging design project I completed last year. The past couple of years there hasn’t been any packaging design submissions to my memory so hopefully this will be different for everyone to see. You will also see other package design submission my fellow classmates have entered.

For the Love of Type
Margo Chase! Her talk was a real treat. She talked about how she became a type designer from the days even before computers were being utilized in that industry to the clients that she has worked with namely, Cher and Madonna, and how she along with her company has evolved over the years. What I found the most fascinating is hearing about her process of working with a Middle Eastern (I forgot the specific country whoops) lingerie company and the obstacles they had to overcome. They couldn’t use images of scantily clad women in the advertising and store front because of the conservative nature of the country due to its religion. So she solved that problem with typography and using it as the ‘model’ to exude sensuality without ever showing a woman.

Here are some images from the lecture (s0rry the quality is bad, I shot it from my iPhone). Also here are pictures of the gallery (I was able to be sneaky and snap these just for you faithful readers. Actually, everyone was just snapping away in there so I joined in):

Edit: Part 2 of Time to Catch My Breath is posted!

For the Love of Type

March 1st, 2012

This is a momentous occasion. This has got to be the best graphic design gallery exhibition ever at LCAD, at least during my past three years here. This exhibition displays the heavy hitters of type design from the relatively new superstar of lettering Jessica Hische to the veteran headliner of the exhibition Margo Chase and everything in between.

I would post some pictures of the exhibition but it wouldn’t do any of the pieces justice. Plus photography isn’t allowed in the exhibition. But seriously go check out the exhibition.

Margo Chase’s lecture will be held in studio MC12 on Thursday, March 1 at 5:00 pm.




Shower Musings

February 6th, 2012

Designers don’t read or write as much as they should. We communicate visually but we don’t communicate with words. I find this true with myself, which is why I resolve to write and read more about design or even other things. Thus, leads me to my journaling of my thoughts from the shower.

As I was showering the other day, where much of my internal musings take place, I contemplated on several things. My time alone is both a confusing and affirming.  Like exploring a forrest deeper and deeper one goes, so do my questions I ask result in more questions. My mind takes a wrong turn and I start to doubt.

An idea appears and I start to see glimpses of a clearing. On a good day mind finds a river that I follow to clarity. Such is one idea that I am quite intrigued on and what to continue exploring:

The English language, despite it’s eccentricities, is very intricate and allows for a very colorful semantics. Design is visual communication. Like language has semantics, so does design: visual semantics. (There are probably other names for this people have given this idea already but this one suits me) 

I’ve heard the phrase “Think less, do more.” I understand that the intention of that phrase is to push those who think so much that it’s debilitating and to just do what ever they need to do. But thinking less can cause undesirable consequences. I find that if I think through a problem thoroughly initially, I have less work to correct later. As in life I believe that we need a balance to everything which is why I feel that the phrase should be “Think + Do.” 

Visual Semantics: If I were to potentially make this into a poster using “Think + Do” how would I do it? My thoughts were to have the two words overlay on top of each other as to indicate they are equal. One of the words being a sans serif and the other script for the contrasting ideas. My mind can’t make up which one. Thinking implies logic thus a more ridged and calculated image. Doing has a humanistic and handmade feel. There for “Think” would be sans serif while “Do” would be script.
However, Thinking, in my mind, is a fluid process while Doing can be structure as is drawing out grids and making calculations. The sans serif and script could be reversed…further visual semantics to be explored. 

And that’s as far as my mind got. I’m still trying to decide what I will go with. If you read this far I’m flattered. I hope you got something out of it and if not I’m sorry I can’t refund your wasted time :\ This post was more for me getting my thoughts out.

Daniel W.