Why Writers Write: An Intern’s Perspective

208137_10152291376050727_1976366654_nOver the past year, I’ve had the privilege of being one of the WRAC department’s Communication interns. I had the chance to work with an amazing group of people in this wonderful department, and I’ve expanded my experience in writing and working across several mediums so much that I don’t know what my skill set would look like now had I not applied for this internship last April. I’ve felt myself improve as a writer and even improve in my skills and knowledge working in the back end of a website or blog (here’s to you, WordPress).

One of my favorite websites is Thought Catalog. I can literally go on there and get lost for hours, sucked into the Thought Catalog Black Hole (as I call it) where I’ll read one article and then go down to the “More From Thought Catalog” (past the “From the Web” ads telling you to click the link to find more about what Kate Upton does in her free time. This is not a joke) and read something similar to what I just read. I save articles that I find inspiring or especially thought provoking; this list has expanded a lot in the past few months. An article I came across recently, though, I thought was appropriate subject material for my last post as a WRAC intern. Titled, “Black on White: Why We Write,” the author discusses why people keep writing, what’s happening to writing now in the 21st century (“The West is burning – the dream is gone. Or so they say. We’re all idiots. Sound bytes, sound bytes, everywhere, and no one stops to think.”), and some cynical advice he received, but how he doesn’t believe any of it.

Writers write because they love to write. I write because I love the idea of creating something new or different or something I hope might be thought provoking enough to have an impact on someone. I’ve done it since I was young, and I will most likely keep doing it throughout the rest of my college career and beyond. Even if I’m not working on some huge, mind-blowing project right now, I still find time to write because that’s who I am.

One of the last things the author says in his article is my favorite part:

“It’s a funny thing putting words on paper. So many jumbled thoughts. So many emotions and whims and desires and stories to tell and things you want people to know – maybe things they need to know. But that’s the writer’s art. You get a desk and a machine and 26 keys to do it – to make something. To put words down; words which will, strange at it seems, outlive you. We will die. Our shadows and dust will pass. But the words – the creations and works of our hands – they will remain, at least for a little while.”

These last lines are undeniably true. Whether we’re writing for the web, work, print, or pleasure, we’re always leaving some part of us behind, even for a little while. Isn’t that another reason we write? So my advice to you is keep reading, keep listening to everything, and keep writing because you never know when something like that will come in handy.

From Creative Bloq: Design Your Own Typeface!

Courtesy of creativebloq.com

Ever wanted to create your own typeface, but you’re not exactly sure where to start? Creative Bloq helps you design your own typeface in eighteen steps. Some tips include figuring out some choices you have to make first: do you want sans serif or serif typeface? How will it look in long documents versus larger font? Also, don’t be afraid to “use your hands.” Draw it out before making it more precise digitally. That way you can see exactly what you want it to look like before it’s on the screen. The article also gives tips on what software to use and why it’s not just about the letters “A-Z.”

Read all the tips here.

From Open Culture: A Simpler Way to Interpret Information

Because of the immense amount of information and data in this digital age, new ways of presenting and organizing information have developed in the past few years. This has been dubbed, “data visualization.” A new PBS series has turned attention to this form of presenting information, exploring how good design – from “scientific visualization to pop infographics – is more important than ever. The goal of creating information we can visualize is to help designers – and even those without a mind for design – conceptualize what they’re looking at and interpreting. The overall message to take from the video is: the simpler the better.


Source: Open Culture

From Brain Pickings: The Story of a Cover Girl

Brain Pickings recently featured an article about the book, Lolita – The Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov’s Novel in Art and Design, which is a compilation of the different covers of one of literature’s most controversial classics: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. They describe the different colors and subjects each artist took to create the varying covers and how they incorporated that with the varying interpretation of the theme.

“Lolita is about obsession and narcissistic appetite, misogyny and contemptuous rejection, not only of women, but of humanity itself. And yet. It is also about love; if it were not, the book would not be so heart-stoppingly beautiful.”

Check out more of the covers and read excerpts from the book.

From Publishing Perspectives: Chocolate Might Save Barnes and Nobles

Attention Borders Books: if you had only permeated the delicious aroma of chocolate throughout your store, combined with the undeniable smell of new books, you might still be in business. Too soon? A study conducted by a group of Belgian researchers found “that the ever-so-alluring aroma of chocolate not only inspires bookstore shoppers to stay in the store longer, it also boosts sales of certain genres of books.”

The “enticing smell” was sent through the store at two locations, not strong enough so it was noticeable right away, but when pointed out, customers recognized it as the scent of chocolate. Sales for a specific category of books also rose 40% when the smell of chocolate was present, and customers “were less likely to search for one specific book and take it directly to the register to immediately check out.”

You can read more at TheInquisitr.com.

Source: Publishing Perspectives

From My Modern Met: Little House on the Dramatic Landscape

My Modern Met recently featured Italian artist Manuel Cosentino’s new series of paintings: a little house set against giant, dramatic landscapes. In the series, Cosentino paints the same house atop the same hill, but almost the entire painting is taken up by the sky and backdrop behind it.

The large prints, currently exhibited at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, New York are paired with a book filled with prints of the house set against a white sky.” Cosentino invites viewers to create their own imagery against the little house. He says, “The project intends to start a conversation with the public; its nature is purposefully left mutable, open to chance and to change.”

Do We Actually Learn from Videos?

A new study led by a professor from Iowa State University shows that difference between watching fluent and “disfluent” videos might not make a difference on whether viewers learn more or less.

Most of us enjoy watching TED talks and the speakers on the TED videos are nothing if not engaging, expressive, and fluent. The study presented two groups with videos – one fluent and one disfluent – and asked each to predict how much they would remember after watching them. The group with the fluent video predicted they would remember more based on the engaging speaker (“the instructor stood upright, maintained eye contact, and spoke fluidly without notes”). The result found that both groups remembered about the same amount regardless of the speaker.

One author begged to differ on this result and explained why we do learn and remember things from watching videos. One is that it gratifies “our preference for visual learning.” How many times have you found yourself more engaged in a PowerPoint presentation when it has been heavy on the visual side versus the text side? They also allow the viewer to choose what they want to watch, or “enable self-directed, ‘just-in-time’ learning,” giving them the choice of videos they watch to what interests them most for their educational needs.

Aside from spiraling into a black hole of YouTube videos, I enjoy watching TED talks and find that I do learn things from them that I never thought would interest me. Check them out for yourself sometime and see if you learn a little more than you thought.

Source: MindShift

From Creative Bloq: New Logo Designs from July 2013

MailChimp’s new logo.

Human beings are not very susceptible to change, especially when it comes to favored brand logos that they’ve grown accustomed to seeing the same year after year. Creative Bloq recently released the top five logo changes that occurred during July 2013. They include the Penguin/Random House merger, Glasgow Airport, YouSendIt (which includes a new name entirely), MailChimp, and Hooters.

Penguin Random House logo merger.

Many companies choose to update their logos after completing extensive consumer marketing research and/or to fit their updated social media and modern communications strategy.