ROBERT BAXTER

WORK


PLAY


NEW

AIGA (Pyramid) Signage

This installation was created as promotional signage for the Cornish College of the Arts branch of the AIGA. Constructed of just over 200 pyramids, it is a glueless construction, created entirely from paper.

The design is composed of eight unique pyramids. Three of the characters were designed on the same grid and exclusively use two sizes of pyramid, but the pentagon was given a unique grid, to generate similar pyramid sizes and repeatable components. The proportions of the base templates were carefully calculated to ensure a centered apex that was at a similar height for each.

TRUISM (Installation)

TRUISM is a visual metaphor for the negativity, fears, and sorrows that we all experience but keep hidden away. I was asked to create a public work that changed the way people think or act. This installation was not designed to give a distinct or clear message, but rather to provide a medium for people to interact directly with depression rather than abstractly.

The text is a collections of poems and writings taken from my journals over the past two years, printed on thin bond. It has been papered over with a similar statement made intentionally of the same weak materials. To finalize the metaphor, I tore off a piece of the façade, as by creating this installation I had already removed a portion of the personal disguise I wear. Throughout the course of project people continued to tear pieces off of it, until all that was left was an exposed canvas of black, and finally an empty wall. I created this not knowing how it would be received or how it would resolve itself — it was less of a personal statement, and more of a visualization from which meaning could be individually derived.

Ubiety (Interactive)

Ubiety is a graph-based data-visualization system of thoughts and ideas. The goal of the design was to create an exploratory interface that replicates the feeling of navigating between thoughts to discover new connections. The full interactive site can be viewed at nter.ac/experiment/ubiety.

Each node contains a written thought (collected from personal journals) with the context in which it was created (subject and date). Each was reduced to a set of representative words, and search result counts of these keys were used to generate distance values between each node. In this way the connections were formed algorithmically, within the context of a larger thought collection (the public internet). Ubiety means existing within a specific location, time and space; as with thought, we explore this graph from a focal point, with connected ideas as uncertain anchors on a dynamic landscape.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Altered Book)

This text from Thorton Wilder follows the lives of six people that end in the collapse of a suspension bridge in 18th century Peru. It poses the question, is there a divine reason for death? The sculpture structurally employs the same weaving techniques that would have been used in such a bridge. It creates a metaphor for the entwined lives and relationships of the human experience; some are bound tightly, others fray away; each tells a portion of a greater story, and each at some point ends. The six bound knots represent the deaths of the main characters, the size of each is the age at death, the distance from the ground is the self awareness they have found. The piece as a whole forms an accounting of their lives.

The Piano Studio (Website)

Web design and basic branding for a small recording studio serving the greater Seattle area. The studio is transitioning towards being a luxury brand that targets classical musicians. For this project the entire site structure was rebuilt into an interactive means of exploring the studio space and its capabilities. Aesthetically it was designed to be very clean and functional, with a splash of color as accent. Custom built features include an HTML5 audio player, a gallery carousel, 360° studio panoramas, and an estimate generator. The site can be seen in full at pianostudioseattle.com.

The number one question the studio was routinely asked was "how much will it cost?" To answer this question I built a dynamic rates calculator, that allows the prospective user to input the attributes of their session and receive an immediate quote for the project. From this they can then contact the owner directly with their session information, allowing the management and the clients both a faster workflow. Most of the session requests and inquiries now come through this channel.

OK-Gallery (Identity + Website)

This is an ongoing branding project for a small gallery that has opened up in the building that once was the OK-Hotel performance venue. It presents the unique challenge of creating a clean new identity that is versatile enough to represent the work of many artists, yet historically referential and relevant. The logo was designed as a clean, modern badge, that is primarily displayed directly on top of imagery from the gallery interior, in the same way that the contemporary art it shows is hung in an historic space.

The splash page design (which can be viewed at ok-gallery.com) uses a parallax effect to mimic a hotel room peephole, inviting the viewer to explore the space further in person. Compositionally it is influenced by music and gig posters, and aesthetically it employs many of the same textures found in the gallery space. The primary call to action is the calendar date of the next show, which links directly to an event download.

History Link (Re-brand Proposal)

History Link is an organization that is actively building the largest community-supported online encyclopedia, documenting the history of Washington State. They are currently undergoing a full redesign, including a complete restructuring of their information architecture. This design references a graph-based database, and implies a joining of disparate elements to create a larger holistic context. The colors are targeting a younger audience and presenting a more contemporary view of the organization.

The business card design is multipurpose and can function without adornment as a promotional card (very few personalized cards for the group need to be distributed). The base card can be placed in schools, libraries, etc. and gives the access information and tagline; an optional wrap-around decal personalizes the card for an individual.

The Summer Survival Kit

A personal project (in-progress), the Summer Survival Kit will be a collection of creative resources and opportunities, focused on the design community. The final site will be very illustration heavy and feature scroll-triggered animations throughout.

5-Year Process Book

This was a going away present for departing faculty, assembled from a few dozen student submissions and hand written letters. I came up with the initial proposal, designed the process by which people could contribute to the book (including web resources and HTML emails), tracked down submissions from many different sources, and composed the layout. The final books were individually numbered and enclosed in a die-cut slip cover.

Seattle Public Library (Website Proposal)

A redesign of the Seattle Public Library's web-system, this shifted focus towards an individual, personalized library experience, promoting community building and social interactions. The two primary additional features include a login portal, (allowing users to track their reading, events, suggested books, and opportunities) and a smart search (with filters, smart refinement, autocomplete, and embedded results), each ever-present from flyout sidebars.

The logo is a dynamic system, the spines of books as arranged on a shelf, each linking to directly to the item page in the catalogue. The logo would be loaded as a random subset from a database of featured books selected by librarians. The number of books is based on window width, for a responsive logo.

The mobile site includes a functional menu system, with a horizontally-scrollable heads-up display of items within that category.

EMP Digital Exhibit

Tasked with designing a tablet app that would add to the experience of the EMP Museum's Fantasy exhibit, this solution creates an interactive diorama in a digital space. It is modelled on the hierarchy of the existing exhibit structure: something that can be explored, with pockets of information waiting to be discovered within.

This mockup (functionally built in Unity) presents the diorama of one of the character archetypes, that of the Weaver (a figure associated in different mythologies with fate and destiny). Through simple set of parallax layers (that move on swipe), the user can explore the Weaver's world, and learn about the pieces and artifacts found within it and how they shape her narrative.

The proposed conclusion of this concept would be to create a series of dioramas for different aspects of the show. Each would be unlocked on the user's device based on proximity to a related section of the physical exhibit. A social sharing and accomplishment gamification of discoveries would allow encourage participants to fully explore the digital environment.

Ein Hungerkünstler (Book)

This publication of Franz Kafka's Ein Hungerkünstler (The Hunger Artist), weaves together multiple narratives with the original text. It presents, for the first time, a comprehensive and fully annotated reading of the story.

The first section of the book shows in parallel the original German script with a contemporary English translation, supplemented with margin notes on various interpretations of key passages. Throughout this section, words and phrases with symbolic or oft disputed translations are highlighted in both texts in red.

The second section contains four full critical essays regarding the story, from four differing perspectives within varied contexts.

The cover uses a reconstruction of Kafka's original writing, masked within a slip cover that references the confinement of the writer, narrator, and meaning within the lines and characters of the story. As a whole the book serves as a functional and in-depth resource for Germanic studies, German language, and comparative literature.

I Build Bridges (Video)

I Build Bridges was created as a response to prompt for a 2 minute autobiographical video, that manifested a facet of personal identity as a physical space. The piece is about my struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder during my late teens; how I crafted my own confinement, the harm it inflicted upon me, and the self awareness that overcame it.

I Build Bridges from Robert Baxter on Vimeo.

The cocoon was designed and built specifically for this project - constructed of burlap, twine, and wire. All video was shot on a Canon T4i with a 50mm f1.4 portrait lens and edited in Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. Additional 3D animation was rendered and composited within Cinema4D.

Gig Posters

A set of gig posters created four touring bands. The first screenprint on spray paint, for Little Dragon's Sasquatch appearance in 2015. The second is a screenprint for an upcoming show by The Black Keys in France (the poster won first runner up at the first Cornish Poster Show).

This section will be updated with new posters as they are completed.

This Campaign

Created as an alternative to the widely accepted and standardized idea of “brand,” this was created as a movement to reclaim the creative process of design by returning it to its individual, substance driven roots. Rather than building a system of identity, this aims to question the context in which our pattern for identity system (or even the idea that identity can be systematic) — where did it come from, how did it develop historically, is it serving culture, and community? Even the name aims to undermine the form of a brand, it offers no identifying marks or attributes — it cannot be defined merely by its surface-level title. One of the immediate goals of the campaign is to draw a connection between the superficiality of the present definition of “design” and the tools in which we create that design. The proposed solution is an escape from those tools and a return to a tailored craftsmanship.

The manifesto can be read (or downloaded) in full — This Manifesto.

As evidence in this campaign a series of examples were collected, each showing a different aspect of how current practices have diminished the role and quality of design. One such project, the "Lorem Ipsum Bible" exposes how content-aware-fill distances the designer from the content of the type they are setting. It compares the Gutenberg Bible (arguably the emblem of typesetting) with a common contemporary trade bible — the first is governed by content, the second sacrifices typesetting to surface form (it feels like a bible, but no longer functions as a text).

Algorithmic Thinking

This is (the first section of) a textbook I am writing which looks at algorithmic thinking as the theorybehind the practice of coding. Rather than teaching a coding language, it teaches how language works — and then uses this to explore how language can shape generative design systems. It leads the reader through a series of concepts and examples that illustrate the relationship between formal language, instruction, methodology, and the creative process.

An excerpt of the first two sections of the book is available online — Algorithmic Reasoning 1.1-2 — in PDF form.

This text is a work in progress, the following is the outline for the complete book — which will go on to further develop the notions of formal language and algorithms, then to explore the shape of the languages understood by different agents (namely computers), and finally present a set of resources (appendices covering data types, common functions, mathematics + geometry, rendering processes) illuminating various patterns which emerge in the field.