I don't let my students just design, let's say, a blue website because they like blue. They can use blue however they like but they need to be intentional about the design of their webspace and the meaning they want to convey. If it's good for students, then it's good for me too. The design of this website is also intentional. It's all about a memory of Black Jack Taffy.
I never actually liked Black Jack Taffy, only the wrapper, but my older cousins loved the stuff. When I went to the corner store for them and brought them this particular kind of penny candy back, I would get treated to a few extra pennies to buy my own favorites: lemonheads and now-and-laters (I would sit on the now-and-laters on the porch outside in the summer months to make them nice and gooey before eating--- now that's some good stuff!!)
I have strong, visual memories of the candies I got from the neighborhood corner store, and the look of the Black Jack Taffies are forever etched in my mind. Maybe it was because the storeowner knew I was shopping for older cousins and gave me an extra candy for being such a good helper. Maybe it was because I got to feel grown walking to the store all by myself at such a young age to do errands. All I know is that the black, white, and pink package is forever with me and now rests here on each webpage.
The memory of this candy gave me the color scheme for this ePortfolio, but the look itself is beyond my ongoing sweet-tooth. As one of my students, Jose, pointed out to me, I seem to gravitate to all old skool, bubble-styled graffiti letters, a style that leaves its imprint here. This is, of course, not coincidence. Graffiti artists--- who often call themselves WRITERS, graf writers, to be exact--- are important to me. Graf writing, its practices and products, is where I locate my own originary impulses for multimedia composing, bombing sacred spaces with my own asthetic, and articulating a racialized counter-discourse against sites of white dominance and their new-but-always-segregationist technologies. Memories, images, and design are never neutral and neither are the movements this site seeks to archive, commune with, and discuss.
The combination of childhood memories and my own particular graffiti style shape the design of the site. Like I discuss in the section of this ePortfolio called "Code and Design as Rhetorical Work", when you experience a space such as this one or any of my students' ePortfolios, you are always deeply nested in the cultural memories and identity claims that designers are making and living. Welcome to one part of my world!