This one is by a classmate of mine, Matt Chase. Remember that name, because he’s going to be stinkin famous one of these days>>

Today, I showed a pretty simple straight-forward logo design to a woman on the UW marketing team. The design consists of a sketchy quality table with the numbers 156 over it- intended as a logo for a society called “Table 156”. I asked her if she thought it would be O.K. if I kept out the word “table” and kept the design more abstract, but still easily recognizable as a table and the number 156. It quickly escalated into what i would loosely consider a “lecture” about how one needs to spoon-feed people information these days, because the average American is not so bright. [thus write “table” too] Another marketing guy was in the room too, and before working at UW he was at a non-profit that teaches adults how to read. He stated the fact that the average American is at the 6th grade reading level, which I trust that he knows, and had no idea was the case. Though they both were trying not to be cynical, and have worked many years in the nonprofit business, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that the average American can’t look deeper, recognize patterns, and call on experiences we have embedded in the back of our brains.

You don’t have to have a collegiate reading level to see green on a to-go coffee cup and automatically think “Starbucks,” or see a round check mark or red target sign and know the name that’s associated. In class, I feel like we’ve learned how to simplify something to its most basic parts–like a computer icon or bathroom symbol–so at one glance one can know exactly what to expect, but in a way that is still abstract and aesthetically interesting. When we continually give people everything they need to know whenever they want it, then they never have expectations put on them to use any effort.

Coincidentally, the same type of thing has actually started happening at the house. One of my roommates is very, for lack of better words, “domestic”. She is very interested in interior design, and has a strong need for neat and tidy. Almost everything in the house belongs to her, or at least everything that’s not hidden (as in some misfit dishes that don’t match the others, or any plastic cups) and all the rooms are decorated to her liking. It’s hard not to feel like you’re a guest in her home. She spends a good amount of time at home, more than me and B, which gives her ample time to work on these interests. She is an amazingly nice girl, but (like the UW marketing team) yesterday she finally confronted me and B about not pulling out weight around the house. I can see where she’s coming from.

We don’t exactly neglect everything, but she has taken scrubbing the bathroom on herself, and has taken the trash out and done the dishes a few more times than us. Just like my employers, though, I feel kind of like I had been babied this whole time, so much that I hadn’t really even noticed. Like i was living with my mom again, where things just happen and I do chores when I’m asked and not just out of a feeling of responsibility. I think it’s unnecessary to let those feelings build up without giving a chance for the feelings of responsibility to “build up,” or at least to give a reminder. Just like my coworkers, I think it’s unfair to have such a strong and cynical view on the average American, after “spoon-feeding” every bit of information to a viewer, when as designers we are given a chance to push people to look further than just the surface level.