Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kate Bingaman Burt & the KBB Project

Our next and final design project (Finals are going to be here before I know it!) is to research a designer (dead or alive) that we admire. From that research, we are then to design a two page spread (using InDesign, oh boy!) that includes text and images (and anything else our creative noggins that think up).

My designer of choice is Kate Bingaman Burt. She was a speaker at the Hallmark Symposium at the beginning of the semester and her lecture was so inspiring. As soon as I got home that night, I called my sister just to tell her how cool Kate was and how she needed to look up her work because it was so awesome.

Speaking of my sister (just a quick shout out here)...Amy Whiteman was the winner of Artsonia's Artist of the Week! As your sister, best friend, and fellow artist, I couldn't be more proud of you. Check her work out at, she truly is amazing.

Switching back...Kate Bingaman Burt, as she describes herself, is a "Maker of Things." She is an educator, working as an assistant professor at Portland State University. She is also an illustrator, working with big-name clients such as Target (she designed the wallet I use, how cool is that?!), Gap, Girl Scouts of America, Vh1, IDEO, and Newsweek Magazine among others. Kate also fills her free time bouncing around being a curator, author, speaker, and workshopper.

One of the things I love the most is Kate's style. Her design work is handmade and quirky. She draws everything she designs and adds humor and spunk to her work. She keeps it fresh but also professional which I think it in a lot of ways, a very tricky task.

Her "breakout project," Obsessive Consumption, was the thing that really got her going. Starting in 2002, Kate decided to draw something she buys every single day. Whether it was a cup of coffee, her heating bill, or toothpaste, Kate recorded it in a sketch. Her drawing skills weren't very strong, but through practicing in a daily routine, she was able to develop confidence as well as an individual style. I think the project is really inspiring because it shows how devoted she is to her career as a designer (outside what she does 9:00-5:00). I also think it's a great reflection of American consumerism in today's society and by documenting and investigating, it revealed just how frugal or loose we are with our money. 

Obsessive Consumption Project, click here to see what it's all about.

In addition to writing and designing a two-page layout, I have taken it upon myself to start a "KBB project". Since last Tuesday, I have sketched (in a similar style to Kate's) everything that I'm wear on a day-to-day basis (well except for undergarments, I don't want to make you people uncomfortable). I think that personal style is a great reflection to one's personality and daily habits. I'm not really sure where it will take me, but when Kate first started, she didn't know either. And looking at where she is now, I guess you never know what can happen. 

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