Showing is telling: Design as medium, message, and meaning

The medium is the message.

— Marshall McLuhan

Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man | Marshall McLuhan

What if conceptual information (the message) is a generative abstraction of the information we process about the physical world (the medium)? Abstract in terms of being a greater level whole derived from lesser parts, and generative in terms of being a dynamic effect caused by the interactions of these parts. Exploring McLuhan’s expression from this perspective can inform how we describe and design for learning, human development, and communication.

Yes We Can: Barack Obama music video

In this video, the medium is designed to embody a message about the hope for and possibility of change. These themes are represented by various design elements changed / transformed / synthesized into one piece of work: fragments of a speech into music; multiple voices into one song; an audiovisual collage of different people, places, and times into a single narrative; asynchronous perceptual and experiential information into conceptual harmony. The overall impact of this alignment of medium and message is a skillfully amplified sense of meaning.

Yes We Can: Barak Obama music video | • Various Artists

What if the old masters painted modern ideals of beauty?

If Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus shown above [right] seems a bit off, you’re right. In this version of “Venus on the Half-Shell,” the goddess is almost half her self, thanks to some deft photoshopping by Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano. Giordano poses the question of what the classic beauties of art history’s past would look like today given the current ideal of feminine beauty…When Giordano “modernized” these Venuses—by enlarging their breasts and shrinking their waists and overall girth—her point about today’s beauty industry is clearly made.
What If the Old Masters Painted Modern Ideals of Beauty? | Bob Duggan
Venus | Anna Utopia Giordano

Popbottles | Anna Utopia Giordano

Typography: Totally like whatever, you know?

Typography | Ronnie Bruce
Totally like whatever, you know? | Taylor Mali