How Do You Blog About A Spreadsheet?

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No, seriously. How do you blog about a spreadsheet?

The charting part of this process took me a full 2.5 years to complete. The beginning stages (the first 5 months) were slow to build, as learning curves always are, but by June 2012 I was on fire.

The charts made (make?) no sense to people really, but they are visual so it’s easy to at least look at, easy to see that there’s a lot going on, that I’m at least doing something with them, and that’s enough for most. It was also enough for me to post my process as public accountability; no matter how slow I’m going, I thought– I’m going, and people see that I’m going, and hooray for that.

However, the charts were merely a step 1 of “Information Dissection Of The Most Intense Kind”

And here we are, step 2, and the next stage of the project: The Excel Spreadsheet Stage.

I feel like I whine about this stage every time I work on it. It makes my brain hurt, managing 30 minutes is an Olympic feat of tenacity and endurance. Managing an hour is me propelling 60 minutes further into my “Desire To Be A Superhuman” life goal that I’m ridiculously certain I am achieving with Spreadsheet town. Or at the very least, WILL achieve when I can share a “GUESS WHAT HAS FINALLY LAUNCHED, HUMANITY?????” hit “send”, and slip into a nice relaxing lull of celebratory cocktails and big luxurious dinners.

These are the things that propel me forward.

The Art of the Anthology Series’ Title Sequence

*Written over the summer, unearthed to discuss today!

Thanks to having all of the time in the world and few external activities to fill it, I’ve taken to watching the back seasons of American Horror Story. I had watched the first season when it aired, and was pretty irked with how the characters and plots fleshed out; I reserved that the show wasn’t for me.

Well flash forward a few years later, and I needed something to get into quickly, and out of just as quickly, and American Horror Story has fit that bill perfectly.

But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about how as an anthology series, American Horror Story has title credits that change with each season. There are unifying elements, but the visual approach is tailored to fit each distinct season. Season 1, Murder House (boy was it EVER), Season 2: Asylum, Season 3: Coven, Season 4: Freak Show, and most recently, Season 5: Hotel– which is the first opening sequence of this show that I can actually watch. It’s more visually intriguing than disgusting.

{If you’re interested in seeing what the other sequences look like, here’s an article I found with the creator of the AHS sequences: Kyle Cooper. A man so great, he’s the one in charge of Seven’s opening sequence– a treatment that gave the entire “opening sequence” design a resurgence.}

What I noticed when I watched the titles (when I wasn’t purposefully avoiding looking at them, because great googly moogly are they freaking GROSS), was the music was the same- a simple minimalistic melody that linked all seasons together.

And about that grossness– it’s effective, if albeit stomach churning. It’s like the Dexter credits without the wit. They truly communicate what the show is going to be about. For this, I say great job. My stomach says it’s too much, but the designer whole of me says it’s fantastico.

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While most people I’ve talked to are more interested in the story than the opening sequence (I mean.. who are they? NOT designers!  All I’m saying.) The neon signage, the beautiful cameo-esque vignettes– I love this sequence. True, probably not as AHS’ style so if you were digging the grossness, I could see how you’d be bummed– but Jenny loves typography, and Jenny LOVES AHS’ new opening sequence, guys. Just MMMMMMmmm good.

Which brings me to compare True Detective’s credits. Season 1 of True Detective introduced a steamy, roiling visual display of juxtapositions and it was glorious in its melancholy sadness. GLORIOUS. I loved seeing how the live video images played inside the still photos. It was eerie, ethereal, and ridiculously beautiful. The music was effective, but the visuals stole the show.

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Compared to Season 2, it seems like the designer (or the client, or whoever) wanted to revisit the same treatment (hoping to garner the same effectiveness) of Season 1, but didn’t come close. It’s hotter, denser, and the images vibrate through each other. The ever-optimistic part of me is hoping that the visual tenor of the credits is due to the fact that it’s in Los Angeles, a vibrant and far thicker atmosphere than backwoods Texas and Louisiana, but I can’t lie– they’re nowhere near as effective.

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I’m going to take this moment to interrupt and say how talented the designer is who created these credits. All opinions aside, I was not in the room to hear the direction, read the brief, or experience the process. The credits for both Season 1 AND Season 2 are stellar, but not when viewed as a collective whole. I would have loved to see Season 2 of True Detective approach the anthology series similarly to AHS, not in its grossness, but in its use of distinct season-focused imagery with a unifying symbol, approach, or element (Like some DELICIOUS neon signage! but I digress). Maybe that’s just me, I do love the variations presented with exploration, but it could have been a much stronger lead in. Maybe they’ll make sense once the season is over. I’ll go with that. See? Forever Optimist.

*An update since finishing True Detective Season 2: No worries, no spoilers– but I think if I had to go back and rethink my reaction to the title sequence, I’d say that the hot vibrancy of the images could also connote the passion and ambition of certain characters, and the hot mark of shame and regret for others. Maybe a mixture of both, but I could see “flare” and “intensity” over the sadness of the first season. I don’t know. I’m still always going to root for the positive, guys. Forever.

Delicious Color Palette! Blue and Orange (Or Peach, whatever the case may be)

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If you live in FL, or know about sports, Blue and Orange can sometimes be singularly associated with Gator’s colors. I have lived in FL, my brother went to University of Florida and celebrates right along with the Gators, but I am first and foremost a creative girl. Blue and Orange means anything and everything it wants to mean! And sometimes it means nothing at all, simply a delicious pairing of sumptuous colors.

They’re opposite on the color wheel, meaning that they can complement but vibrate off of each other to a hot insane intensity. Depending on what you’re going for, it could really work.

How gorgeous are the photos of the peaches on that deep blue background? The leaves and grapefruits and lemons? I can’t get enough.