Learning: Culinary

I will be starting my first class in Culinary 1 at George Brown College this Sunday! I’ve been debating whether I should take this course as it seems as something of an indulgence; I don’t plan on becoming a chef or working in the food or restaurant industry. But it might just be a dream job for me someday to work in-house (or freelance) at a restaurant group, being responsible for pretty much all of their creative needs (print design, web design, photography).

In my Food and Product photography class last year, my teacher told me I was a natural at food styling, and George Brown offers a class in this which I’ve been dying to take. They’ve only started offering it again after years of hiatus, but I’d need to have taken Culinary 1 first, so I finally enrolled after a year of thinking about it.

I still need to get my chef’s whites and buy some supplies and steel toe shoes, but everyone I know who has taken this course raves about it, and about how much delicious food you get to take home at the end of each class. So at least I’ll have Sunday dinner taken care of! =)

Learning: Photography

This week, I started 2 courses in photography.

On Saturdays, I’m taking “Power of Light” at George Brown College. This is a 7-week course focused on shooting techniques with available light. We’ve already received our first assignment: to shoot 5 images with reflections being the main subject of the image, and another 5 images with the focus being the interplay of shadow and light.

On Monday nights, I’m taking “Photographic Lighting 1” at Humber College. This is 12-week course where I will be learning about artifical lighting: shooting with flash, off-camera flash, and studio lighting. I’m expecting this to be a challenging class which will stretch my brain a lot. I must admit that the photography studio is fantastic, compared with what George Brown has to offer. It looks like every student will get their own studio light to work with and space to set up our own little sets, as opposed to George Brown where all students had 4 or 5 lights to share and only 2 set ups going at once. Of course, George Brown does not have a full-time photography program, so I guess I can understand the lack of investment in space and equipment, but they do offer a lot of continuing education classes on the subject so I’m not sure that they really have enough resources in this area.

What is good design? Glad you asked…

As luck would have it, I attended a screening of “Design Disruptors” last night; it is a fantastic documentary (produced by Invision) about how some of the most innovative companies in world have used design to improve their products and gain a competitive edge in business. Rather than accept that pain points are an inevitable part of life, these companies focused on creating new products to address them. They saw opportunities to improve or simplify the lives of their users, and worked tirelessly in this pursuit. They brought design to the forefront to ensure that their users had a pleasant experience at every point of interaction.

Some of my main takeaways from this film:

  • identify who the end user really is (and acknowledge that it might not be you)
  • brainstorming sessions appear to be collaborative but can lead to group think and stifle abstract problem-solving
  • design is iterative and needs to evolve along with end user’s needs
  • conducting user testing at the prototyping stage allows you to address unforeseen flaws before official product release
  • unlike releasing printed products, you can immediately measure the success of digital products releases through analytics, social media
  • the experience is the most important thing and may require the sacrifice of visual design elements
  • design humanizes technology
  • truly great design is still really hard to attain

This quote from John Maeda will stay with me for a long time:

Design is about making solutions. Art is about making questions.