New signage spotted at OCAD, and it’s bad, as usual (sigh)

A couple of days ago (I think it was probably Tuesday, but it could have been Monday) I sat down at the food court and — lo and behold — I spotted new signage:

New directional signage point to the Annex Building and Main building

Unfortunately, it’s, as usual, bad. Just a quick glance immediately revealed obvious problems, such as, “where exactly is the Annex Building?”

Same sign seen close up

Since the arrow directly in front of me points to my left, naturally I looked left — but a sign was nowhere to be found. In other words, if a veritable visitor is to step inside the food court, they would be utterly lost as to where the Annex Building actually is:

No directional signage where the left-pointing arrow points to

Since the other arrow actually points towards the Annex Building what I did next was to look in that direction. But this is what replaced the big, old Ontario College of Art and Design sign:

Directional signage point to “Library Classrooms” and “Learning Centre” [sic]
Close-up of the same sign

Many things are wrong with this sign (such as it’s not the Learning Centre but the Learning Zone, which is also considered a library so the sign is really pointing to not one library but two), but for the moment let’s just say the visitor will follow both arrows and see the big sign. Unfortunately they would still not know where the “Annex Building” is because it’s not mentioned anywhere on the big sign. For whatever reason, even though the big sign marks the entrance to the Annex Building, there is no identification signage.

It feels, again, as if either a traffic analysis was never performed, a sign schedule was never produced, no one checked the design documents for obvious errors, or — God forbid — no one ever even asked for any design documents to be produced.

Let us pause for a moment here. I now know Facilities (as opposed to a design department as one might expect) handles signage, but this is still inexcusable: Even if most people in Facilities have no knowledge of EGD, someone still must know enough EGD to check the quality of any tenders. As it stands, if this is a tendered project then either really no one in Facilities knows any EGD, or OCAD’s tender process does not require EGD designs to produce design specs; on the other hand, if this is an in-house job, then shame on whoever did the design — OCAD staff should at least know how to spell the name of the library on the first floor.

I simply cannot understand how any of these scenarios could have happened. And it boggles the mind that errors so glaring that a student who has never been properly trained in EGD can spot on sight have slipped through the school bureaucracy unnoticed.

Please, spend fewer dollars on marketing and more on proper design. What OCAD needs is not more empty words saying how great we are but some proper EGD on campus (I’m not even asking for award-winning EGD) — some good design to show the world that OCAD is capable of teaching students good design — when instead what we see every day is so embarrassing it’s akin to saying our profs are incompetent. Until our EGD is fixed marketing won’t fix whatever image problem the school’s trying to fix.

semi-planned but still unexpected expenses

So yesterday (Friday) after the meeting I was thinking of just buying two Vietnamese subs for lunch and started wandering in the general direction of Spadina. And then it dawned on me that since I was already on College I might as well find a computer store and see if people actually still sell CF card readers (since I was told people actually still sell these things).

So the first store I tried turned out to be Canada Computers, and I was pleasantly surprised that this Canada Computers (probably because they have to to survive in this part of the city that borders multiple universities) doesn’t have that annoying anti-student policy. But I was told to walk two blocks east to another Canada Computers because they don’t have CF card readers but the other one would have because they “specialize in photographic equipment.”

So I got my CF card reader (yay for stop-gap measures until I can figure out what to do with my broken SLR) and went to Gwartzman’s to take a second look. And I found that — contrary to what store staff told me the first time I went there — they do have a ceramics section. It is just small, but not any smaller than the Curry’s near OCAD.

Anyway, I actually got a mannequin because I thought it would probably be better than building a clay model every time I need to check a pose. As for whether this is actually true, we’ll see…

maybe i’m still closer to here than there

So three days ago I got an unexpected email that I found incredibly odd, and I’m still mulling what to do next. That said, in the meantime I have talked to a few people and I’m starting to believe this is most likely a result of the “internal verification” that was mentioned more than a month ago.

If this is indeed the case, then it can only mean that I’m still very much officially a student, albeit a student who’s not registered in anything.

I still feel I’m in the twilight zone or something, but at least when people ask me again I’ll have more confidence at how to answer — or what to do when I go to Gwartzman’s again…

What is a science poster anyway?

So what’s a science poster anyway? It’s not a commercial poster, obviously, but what is it exactly?

So as I’m pulling my hair figuring out how to fit everything into the space, I suddenly realized a science poster is an exhibition design problem. What it is, really, is a 48″ × 36″ 2D exhibition space, complete with artefacts (photos, illustrations, charts and tables) and integrated explanatory panels.

No wonder font size adjusted for anticipated viewing distance is so important. We aren’t really designing posters; we are actually designing mini exhibits.

The case of 51 McCaul's signage

I have been somewhat critical of OCAD’s new signage system. I admit I don’t really like the new aesthetics, but there really is something more; for example there is this:

Photo of the “OCAD University” sign at 51 McCaul as seen from across the street

As can be clearly seen from the photo, from across the street the sign reads only “University”; the first part of the sign, “OCAD,” is missing. However, if we are walking towards the building on the same side of the street, we find that the sign, as designed, should not have any part cut off:

Photo of the “OCAD University” sign at 51 McCaul as seen from the sidewalk on the same side of the street as the building

What’s happening is that the vertical overhang is blocking the line of sight to the upper part of the sign when viewed from across the street, and—no matter whether this is intentional or not—it makes people think that the designer had not taken the vertical overhang into account.

I find this really ironic: when I was in first year we did a bunch of EGD things which were just temporary signage, and the irony is that even I—a student with no EGD training—took the effort to try to make sure that any sign we made would not have visibility issues (given the restrictions imposed by our materials and fabrication method, of course). Yet this sign has two obvious visibiity issues:

  1. From a vantage point that would have been identified during traffic analysis, the sign is cut off;
  2. From the same vantage point, the sign might be too small (i.e., illegible) for some people, a problem that would have been identified during prototype testing.

Let me just say I’m really disappointed. If OCAD is spending so much on branding and marketing, surely it should make sure its EGD artefacts are well designed. It does not help in the school’s marketing if someone walked into our campus and saw illegible signs, could not find a campus map, or could find no usable wayfinding system.


Today is September 11.

Yesterday was a deadline; I mentioned it on Twitter and that got picked up by Sarah Mulholland because after the initial curiosity I started ranting about OCAD’s new website. But my own personal deadline was not yesterday but the day before, and I never knew there is still an “internal verification” (probably just meaning checking if the profs really signed the forms I turned in). Now that even the rhetorical deadline has passed, I’m not sure what to call myself any more.

Danica asked me how I felt when I dropped by at the AV desk today. “Weird,” I told her. And yes, that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now.

According to the registration system, my thesis is still “in progress.”

But that still doesn’t change the fact that my library card has just expired, or that I’m not registered for anything.

Nor do I really want to unless there’s some way to register for something without triggering the full grad tuition fees.

What can I say? This question of liminality just keeps cropping up. No longer here, but not there yet. Everyone, including my advisor, is asking me about what my plans are. I really just have “some sort of a plan” right now.

one year too late

So yesterday I was at 205 because I was to be at an SU meeting and then stayed in the building afterwards because I was trying to see if I could get other things done there or was needed there. Yes, a most atypical day since I usually don’t stay in that building. But since one of the things was to see if a prof happened to be there (and because I don’t want to stay on the 2nd floor and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay on the 5th floor), I went to the 7th floor, and was surprised when someone called my name.

Danica had told me she’s working for AV now; still, I was surprised to find her working on this side of AV.

Actually, I never associated the 7th floor with AV, even I knew (in an intellectual sort of way) the AV desk is there. Why? Now that I think of it, people in my program (including profs) never borrow stuff from the 7th floor; we all automatically borrow from the 2nd floor, as if the 7th floor AV desk didn’t exist.

No wonder I never knew there’s a common room on the 7th floor until I found my thesis advisor.

No wonder we feel so disconnected. (I mean more disconnected than the typical grad student.)

I wonder: If someone I know had been working on the 7th floor AV desk way back when I was in first year, would anything have changed?

That is why they do it in SuperCollider

So this is why they use SuperCollider for sonification, I think. First a lot of things like metronome beats are just one line of code. And second how do you record something written in WebAudioAPI? If I did this in SC that would be one line of code (I have already forgotten what that one line was but I remember it was just one line), but since I did this in WebAudioAPI I’m still scratching my head.

And I don’t even have a lot of time left. I basically have to get up at 5am tomorrow, which means I have to sleep at 9pm or something today…

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