We Put Things Here

Amanda Pastenkos will be graduating from the School of Visual Arts in May with a BA in Graphic Design where she is undergoing a rigorous curriculum consisting of graphic design, history of graphic design, typography and production design.

Her interest in graphic design started early in high school and nearly four years of college study and various internships have assured her that it is her passion and a field in which she will succeed.


I will explore the different ways humans learn and obtain knowledge and information.

The ability to obtain, digest and apply knowledge effectively is a crucial skill. Our abilities are no longer judged exclusively on qualifications of experience, but also on our capacity to learn and adapt.

Learning and applying knowledge are vital parts of life. These processes help us develop; we are individually an accumulation of our experiences. Through learning and applying knowledge we change our lives, find our places in society, determine our interests and beliefs, and discover the kind of people we would like to surround ourselves with.

I will explore six specific categories of learning: Normative/structured/organized learning, learning by doing, learning by influence, accidental learning, imaginative/creative learning, and the science of learning.

In every design problem there is a field of information to sort out. As a designer, I am the communicator; I must make connections from the information given to the audiences so that they are able to understand what they view. This understanding is the root of learning.

Through different applications, I will explore the ways that I can evoke specific feelings and emotions about the different ways humans learn and retain knowledge.


A series of three posters inviting the viewer to take a second look in order to read the message introducing thesis topic.


Learning to Learn: a Beginners Guide to Metacognition is an interactive and informational publication for adults who wish to learn about the different learning processes. The publication is divided into two sections, each section based on the functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. These sections are displayed on the corresponding left and right hand pages. The left hemisphere is more logical and contains data. The right hemisphere is more creative and contains hands-on end-of-chapter activities.


A very direct mail piece was designed with the goal of gaining insight from the recipient upon her completion of the project. The package contained five numbered and labeled bags. The recipient was to respond to the words on the outside of the bags using the materials found inside the bags.


A universal symbol illustrating the concept of “learning” through the use of a sponge as a brain.


A re-interpreted hand-sized book connecting themes from Lowis Lowry’s The Giver with my thesis topic using only images. This book highlights the importance of learning from human connections and the passage of knowledge from person to person through the use of hand photography. INT transfers illustrate the emotional qualities of these relationships. The use of sky, landscape, and tree imagery represents the idea that learning and human connections happen continuously throughout your life.


Learning from your mistakes is a natural and important part of life. This package is designed to help remove the stigma from making mistakes. It is as disposable and inexpensive as an ordinary pencil. When you use a pencil you are not pressured to do things perfectly because you can erase any mistakes you make. This takes away some of the stress of encountering new ideas, freeing up your mind to actually learn.


Through the exploration of “learning by doing” I gained first hand experience going to church, walking small dogs, and eating fish. These were all things I had previously shied away from. Because of my lack of knowledge in the subjects, I felt insecure, and consequently formed negative connotations. Through this adventure I grew as a human, opened my mind, and re-thought previously made judgments. I was able to form my own opinions on each even based solely on my personal experience and not on unfounded bias. I documented findings, feelings and all applicable souvenirs in the form of a poster.


Two hundred newspapers illustrating reading as an exciting (and cheap) vacation were printed (and silk screened) and distributed on the subway going uptown on a weekday morning to commuters as a promotion to visit the library and read more.