User/Design Researcher / Information Architect Specialist
User Experience Designer
Designing, building, and implementation of exhibits teaches one about building physical structures; an information architect learns how this translates into doing information architecture and using user-centered design principles in projects on Websites.
Exhibits have to provide end users with navigational systems and wayfinding solutions when they walk in and view the exhibit. Wayfinding and navigational systems have to be used in exhibits.
On Websites, end users use navigational systems and Website tools. That is only if an information architect has done research and plans in these built-in affordances on Websites.
The University has an exhibit design show every year. I participated in the Mobius exhibit design project as well as taking the class at San Francisco State University. I totally enjoyed taking this class, and I learned about building structures and teamwork!
My jobs during this project were:
◼ Project manager,
◼ Production artist,
◼ Printing coordinator,
◼ Graphic designer,
◼ Logo designer, and
◼ Builder of exhibits.
Exhibit & Graphic Design Experience
All our projects were done in teams of 2-30 teammates. I spent a tremendous amount of time working with people at the Service Bureau (Color Fast Printing Plant in San Francisco), including doing prepress production, and making press checks with the printer.
Press checks had to be made for quality-control purposes, in order to get our printing jobs done right, with accurate color reproductions, and on time.
The photo below shows people walking around and viewing the exhibition of graphic design work done in the Design & Industry (DAI) Department.
At the time, I was involved in a graphic design internship. I had access to a Service Bureau and various printers for projects. I did my internship at Global Imprints in San Francisco, California.
While building exhibits and getting collateral printed, my performance was evaluated by my supervisor.
This is what he said about me (see below).
Letter of Recommendation—Excellent Review
For Steven Heitman, Graphic Designer, Project Manager; letter of reference was sent to the Design & Industry Department Chair.
“ Dear Wan-Lee Cheng,
Mr. Jack B.
Among the four interns I have been so fortunate to have worked with through you, I must say Steven [ Heitman ] has been the most professional and dedicated. He has shown the kind of energy and enthusiasm, which you might expect from a person who will go a long way in his field. ”
There were approximately 30 people to manage on this project, including people at the Service Bureau, and printers to finishers. Building all of the exhibits took teamwork.
The team worked well together. Many nights we were up, until very late during early hours, building exhibits in order to complete the project and all other projects. I learned that building structures is quite a labor-intensive activity, and I learned how to use power tools.
A few years ago, I took a Visual Dynamics 2D design class at the California College of the Arts. Where we learned how to use power tools to build 2D structures, including additional design and typography courses, in the BFA Graphic Design program.
Over a period of four months, the team worked to create a dynamic exhibit design show as well as build 25-30 structures to display graphic design work from designers at San Francisco State University.
We took field trips to visit companies in the Bay Area, who specialize in building structures and do exhibition design professionally (as I understood it then, only about 10 companies in the United States specialize in this type of work).
We visited West Office Exhibition Design in Oakland, and it was a marvelous tour to see a real design firm at work building structures.
When I attended the California College of the Arts, we also took a field trip to this firm. Again, it was very exciting to see what they do and how they do it.
These learning experiences as well as field trips gave me a solid knowledge base about what is involved in creating and building exhibits. In addition, doing informational interviews with project managers and graphic designers—to learn about what they do on the job, which was very interesting to me.
Exhibition Design Work Experience
I worked on brainstorming and drafting the blueprints (architectural aspect) for the exhibition design show, including developing architecture plans and building exhibits.
Another information architecture aspect to this project was designing a signage system to guide end users as they walked through the exhibit.
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Updated: May 1, 2018