Posted by: glue | March 8, 2009

Mystory Designs

To add discussion of teaching for electracy.  The assignment in Internet Literature (LIT3400) was to blog a brand identity for a work of print literature.  The first project was to use Italo Calvino’s Memos as a relay and template — an interface mediating for English majors the encounter with e-lit (the Hayles et. al anthology).  The blogging culminated in a reflection on the maker’s own aesthetic sensibility, demonstrated by the pattern of emblems, analogies, and examples collected to express the experience of each of the Memo qualities (lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity) found in a work of e-lit.  My pep talk for some of the more skeptical students was based on the claim (fundamental to mystory) that one’s style in the fullest adult sense expresses decisions and orientations formed during childhood.

Coinciding perfectly with the midterm grades for the assignment was an article in the NYTimes about the Google VP, Marissa Mayer, whose aesthetic sensibility and sense of style are credited with determining the look of the Google homepage.  Here is the most relevant part of the article.

An engineer at heart, she also had something that many of her peers did not during Google’s early days: a keen sense of style and design. She adored bold blocks of color against a white background, much like the Marimekko prints that once hung in her childhood home in Wausau, Wis. Her San Francisco penthouse has a similar, but more expensive, aesthetic. It is painted in neutral shades and decorated with fanciful, multihued glass artwork by Dale Chihuly.

Google’s home page — spartan white embroidered with splashes of blue, red, yellow and green — mirrors her Wausau home and her penthouse.

“It used to be people would come over to my apartment and say, ‘Does your apartment look like Google or does Google look like your apartment?’ ” she says with a staccato laugh that has earned a following of its own in Silicon Valley. “I can’t articulate it anymore. I really love color. I’m not very knick-knacky or cluttery. My place has very clean, simple lines. There are some elements of fun and whimsy. That has always appealed to me.”

The Look and Feel

The Look and Feel

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