What’s in a Student Pilot’s Bag?

I got curious and thought it might be interesting to share what’s in a student pilot’s bag. Here is what I found in my better-half’s bag (with his permission!), and at first glance it seems like a very normal bag. A water bottle, a pencil case, some books – nothing too interesting.

But I do like this particular contraption. As far as I can tell, it’s called a kneeboard. It straps to the pilot’s leg, so they have a little surface to work from.

Maps, pens and measuring tools all fit on the knee board. That big elastic strap can wrap around the pilot’s leg.

And here’s a map all marked up for a navigation flight. He uses sharpies and nail polish remover to mark up the laminated maps.

And on the side of the bag is a compartment for the headphones – very important tools for flying planes!

I love a good sticky beak into a bag.

Typography Assessment 2

In this assessment, we needed to design an A3 poster for a quote within design constraints. My constraints were 1 typeface, but unlimited sizes and colours. I actually found the unlimited bit to be harder, because I find creativity from problem solving (i.e. I’ve only got one thing to work with, so how do I make it look good). I also totally didn’t connect with the quote, so this was an interesting exercise in producing something I’m not particularly inspired by.

Here is the poster:

And here is the design process documentation we also need to prepare:

The pace of these courses in scary fast, but the fact that I’m actually making stuff is really exciting. Fingers crossed this project turns out ok, because although I did this individually, this particular assessment is marked as a group with 2 other classmates who had the same quote but different design constraints. I really enjoyed working with others, Google Hangouts helped, and it was cool to be learning online but really get the classroom experience.


I started carrying a notebook around 4 or so years ago. It’s the catchall for ideas, packing lists, sketches, quotes, books I’ve read… everything and anything really.

The best feeling is finishing a notebook – the absolute best feeling! I stick a label and number on it, and add it to my pile.

It makes me smile so much to remember all the little sketches and designs I have done over the years, and the dreaming about being a designer, but feeling like it wasn’t really meant to be because… well… I don’t know why. Because now I’m studying design and the sketchbooks are filling up faster than ever and I am just in heaven.

So if you are dreaming of doing something – please do it. Who cares about making careers of it, or being any good at it. Just marinate in the gloriousness of pursuing it.

Brown Paper Bags

Life hack!

For some reason I tend to gather little piles of rubbish in places where a bin just doesn’t fit, and it drives us crazy! Tissues next to the bed… paper bits on the desk… pencil shavings next to my makeup… Gah!

So here’s where a $2 bunch of brown paper bags makes an awesome little hack. Just roll down the top a few times and shape the bag so it sits upright. And there you have it – a little collection of messes that can easily be whisked away and replaced with a new bag. Ok, it might not be super attractive, but way better than tissues lying around, right?

Lubalin – inspiration for a quote

So in this current assignment, I am producing an A3 poster for a quote, using 1 typeface, unlimited sizes and unlimited colours. We need to submit as a group, and will get an overall group mark.

I’ve got to say – Google hangouts are awesome!

We have decided to use Future as a theme font for our group, and because I’m restricted to 1 typeface, that’s me done.

Onto finding inspiration for how I’ll set this thing out. The quote is be Herb Lubalin, and here is some of his work:

Sources are here, here & here.

Lubalin really likes his big ‘O’s to be round, and in the top example, he’s really playing with that space. The Avant Garde example is another example of fully justified text becoming the whole graphic. And in the third example, it’s a really nice bit of hierarchy between the title and the credits.

All of this got me thinking and sketching and trying lay outs for the quote.

And this is where I’ve got to so far:

It’s not great – but I’ve put it in for some feedback and will hopefully be able to develop my idea further.

update – the verdict is in, and the feedback is this is a big stinking pile of 💩 . Back to the drawing board!

Sketching a quote

New typography assignment is hot off the press and I’ve got some thinking to do. I need to stylise this quote:

You can do a good ad without good
typography, but you can’t do a great ad
without good typography.
Herb Lubalin

And I can do it with only 1 typeface, but unlimited point sizes and unlimited colours.

Turns out Herb Lubalin is quite the giant in graphic design. His typography is iconic.

There’s a fabulous article with a Lubalin biographer over at Print.

Also, this vimeo, talks a little about Lubalin and how his work can be used as inspiration for modern designers.

I found a little inspiration in the vimeo with a poster by Lubalin. All one typeface, 2 colours, 2 sizes. And some really fun work with the interaction of the letters.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.38.25 PM

So that’s what I’ve found so far that’s got my mind wandering… perhaps the quote can be split between colours? There are a lot of words, so it makes sense to manipulate the text to look like an attractive block. Off to do some sketching…

Currently listening to: The Stuyvesants (I am so late to this party!)

Studio Assessment 1

For the first assessment for Studio, I have had to demonstrate a variety of skills such as sketching, tracing and model making. Here is my submission:


So far my favourite task was the model making, because I just love making things. But I was also really surprised by some of the sketching results, since my skill isn’t awesome. The techniques and materials get you half way, which is encouraging.

Onwards and upwards! I still have a lot to learn! Week 4, here we go.

Typography Assessment 1

The brief was to express the word and meaning with a particular material. I was given the word ‘Proven’ and the material of concrete.

I have shared my development of a concept here, here, here and here.

And now, here is the final product:

Sarah Miller P1_W&M

Sarah Miller Design Process P1_W&M1

Sarah Miller Design Process P1_W&M12

I wonder how I’ll go with the assessment? Is it any good? I wonder what I will think when I look back on this work in years to come, and if I’ll be embarrassed by it?

14 August 2016 Update – The marks are in, and I have done well! Biggest feedback point was the quality of the photograph – I knew I was trading off quality for the shutter speed settings in the night light, so not too unhappy about that feedback.

I’ve been doing some sketching

Typography thoughts – developing on the word ‘proven’ and the material of concrete

So onwards and upwards with this project, I have built my concrete block!

Typo - Week 2 - 3 Typo - Week 2 - 4 IMG_0935 It took a week to set, but I’m happy with it!

And I’ve been thinking about how to bring the drama to this item. Because this block isn’t to communicate proof – this is for authority. This isn’t for the truth – it’s saying 2+2=5.

I love the use of light and shadow in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, and really want to build on this in photographing the block.

And I got some inspiration from Brutalism architecture at night:

Time to get cracking with some photography!

Progress! Propaganda! Proven!

Typography thoughts – developing on the word ‘proven’ and the material of concrete

If you have the time, please watch this fascinating documentary Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodmindedness by Jonathan Meades. Although I heartily disagree with him, I was impacted by the context he set for brutalism and its followers’ motivation.

This quote stood out for me:

“The early modern movement in architecture took a different pat, different paths, but all led away from primitivism towards a fundamentalist trust in progress, trust so strong it was a faith.”

Ahhhh, it all makes sense now! Brutalism is founded in shouting ‘Progress!’ as loud as it can.

Also, something that interested me was the fact that the brutalist architecture being built in the 1960s, was conceptualised and developed by architects in the 1950s, and who were decidedly not of the 1960s new found pop and individualist culture. It makes sense to me then, that this style feels like an authoritarian stamp on the horizon. It is an older generation’s gift to the younger generation, screaming ‘Progress!’, when the younger generation is already not listening.

Which makes me think of another scream into the darkness of a similar era, and similar authoritarian decree. Propaganda.

I have no idea what these posters say, but what I read is Progress! And what I hear is Proven! We are Ahead, we are Winning!

I love the use of the exclamation point, all capitals, the minimal spacing between the letters.

This is it… this is the font for this project. Slightly rounded, to show modernism, yet strong and unapologetic. I wonder if I could even stylise the letters to reflect the Russian alphabet?