Back in school

In August, I was accepted to the master’s program in Information Design and Visualization at Northeastern University. My original plan was to go back to grad school in a year or two, but the way things have unfolded I find myself standing at the end of the first full week of class, and really looking forward to a fun semester.

I am taking four classes:

The Studio and VisComm classes are probably the most classic “design” classes, with assignments that really emphasize the fundamentals of graphic design, including layout, typography, hierarchy and visual composition. The History class is a seminar and (so far) appears to be mostly about developing an appreciation for the contextual and cultural components of design by looking at interesting historical examples across all of art history.

VizTech is all about programming, particularly for the web. I’m a bit overwhelmed at the thought of learning Git, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python, and D3 all at the same time, but it appears that that’s how web programming works, and I am really excited about the things you can do with these programming languages once you master them. I’ve started building my syntax “cheat sheets,” and am determined to stay ahead of the 8-ball on this one.

I’m expecting VizTech to be my most technically challenging class of the semester, but the other classes will push me to develop my design skills, which is where I have the most to learn overall. (Theoretically, one could learn to program using just the internet; it is much harder to develop a sense of style in a vacuum.) I am looking forward to being challenged in different ways by each of my professors, and am very excited at how much there is to learn.

Of course, the sudden influx of school assignments will likely slow down progress on building this website and on some of my Processing projects, but I plan to continue those on the side, as time allows. (And, especially in the case of the website, the “delay” will probably result in a much better product overall, since I will have some idea of what I’m doing…)

In LED project news, the circuit boards and all other components have arrived, and we are just waiting on a shipment of LEDs from China (we paid for the fast shipping, but apparently they sent it the slow way anyway…8 weeks is a long time to wait!). Branden has been working on a little test board to optimize the touch sensors while we wait, and so far things are going well. Hopefully there will be more news on that front soon!