We Put Things Here

This spring Timothy Goodman will be graduating from the Graphic Design department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has two specific goals as he tries to take every positive step further to help enhance his design experience: Continue learning and improving to become the most knowledgeable proactive human being he can be; and inspire to create meaningful design work that communicates his ideas in the most meaningful and thought provoking way. It has become his job to pay attention and visually communicate what is going on; to clearly present his viewpoint, his line of vision, and try to differ from the rest. Timothy's work is an ensemble of his thinking, his process, his ideas, his execution, his expression, his ability to communicate, his hard work, his point of view, his passion, his sense of humor, his language, his love, and his future as a designer.

He is a student member of AIGA, visits the library frequently, enjoys Peanut Butter milkshakes, and is from Cleveland, Ohio.


According to 72.2% of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America. This is something I am very familiar with after going my entire life never meeting my biological father. Throughout my life I continue to push myself to the limit, and I strive to fulfill all of my potential no matter how hard or far it seems—but it hasn't always been this way; this unruly determination would have been impossible without the many mistakes I made from my childhood through my adolescence, and the lack of discipline, foundation, and sense of self-value and respect that could have all been encouraged by my biological father.

After much research, many of the studies I found on fatherlessness prove to be true in my case. Daniel Amneus Ph.D. explains in his book, The Garbage Generation, that children growing up in single-parent households are four times more likely to smoke cigarettes, five times more likely to commit suicide, eight times more likely to go to prison, nine times more likely to drop out of school, ten times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, twenty times more likely to become rapists, and thirty-two times more likely to run away from home. Studies show that there are also significant increases in teenage pregnancy, behavioral problems, and displaced anger.

It is no surprise that the majority of my heroes such as acclaimed writer and friend, Kevin Powell, my Grandfather, my old family mentor from back home, and the majority of my best friends are fatherless, too. Through research, personal observation, and exploration into my past, along with the important decisions and factors that have occurred to me during my childhood and adolescence, I realize the bigger issue at hand and how much this effects households everywhere.

My story is like many others who are fatherless. Instead of studying and preparing for my future as a teenager, I began to hang out with a rougher crowd, was no longer interested in school, abused drugs and alcohol, got in trouble with the law, and became disrespectful to my loved ones and to my community. Three years later I found myself barely graduated from high school with no goals, no interests, no ambition, no job and no financial support from anyone. At the age of 21 I decided to make a complete turn around; first, by changing friends, and second, by working and going to school full time. Now I have become a person of dedication, hard work, and perseverance, so what I have, I have to offer and share with people. To inspire and give back is to understand how to relate. Since then I have been involved in projects with helping homeless and mentoring, and now I intend to embark on this project with consideration for not only the children who are affected, but the single mothers and the dads who leave.

My focus is on fatherlessness and the effects it has on American Families and our society—and how we can begin to rebuild the lives of everyone affected in this large issue.


Series of three black and white posters. Goal: cause my audience to reconsider or obtain a new perspective on my topic of Fatherlessness. Posters were wheat-pasted in a section of DUMBO and meant to be seen by the passerbyer. Formally, it was important for me to approach the posters differently, but keep to the same concept. Dimensions: 33" x 46.6"


Sixty-five page book detailing the horrific effects fatherlessness has on the black community. I used hip-hop lyrics along with essays as a vehicle to highlight this as a truth, which was juxtaposed with pictures of another truth: American Idealism. Parameters included at least 10,000 words, colophon, bibliography, and at least 2 different narratives to state my “point” of the publication. Dimensions: 8" x 8"


For this project, we were asked to mail a package to somebody who could help further inform us on our topic. The package could have been a gift, a letter, a questionnaire, anything really. The point of the package is to connect with this person and get a response; and by doing so one will have gained more knowledge into their topic. I designed and sent a package to my life mentor, and former employer, Dave. Dave owns a home improvement business, where I spent 4 years working after high school. Having never had a male in my life, my behavior was unruly at 18 years old accompanied with partying constantly, and getting in trouble with the law, I was to say the least a complete mess. My experience with Dave shaped my existence in an entirely different way. By showing me humility, and leading by example both in and out of work (and yelling at me) he gave me these “tools for manhood” that I use every single day of my life. So I felt the best way to connect with Dave was to be a smart ass, make him laugh, and show him my unconditional appreciation through a box set of flash cards that highlight all the mistakes I made through those years, the experiences him and I shared, and many of the different sayings he so often pounded in my head. Dimensions: 3.5" x 5.5"


Make a universal symbol that relays the essence of your topic. A Universal symbol, like the peace sign, smiley face, or heart symbol, captures an entire essence of an idea something that people identify with right away. After hundreds of sketches, it became clear that the most powerful way I could make fatherlessness sing in a “universal” way, was to tail off of the universal bathroom symbols.


The purpose of this project is to pick a book of text that you’ve read before, one that shares some essence or quality found in your Thesis topic, and do a visual reinterpretation of it in the form of a book. The book I choose: the Book of Job that is found in the Old Testament. Job, God’s greatest servant, and the earth’s wealthiest man, loses his family, his wealth, and his health. Job cannot understand why his father (God) has abandoned him and let all this horrible stuff happen to him. Job endures pain and hardship but never curses his father when he could have, only to gain greater faith in the unknown, wider perspective, and wisdom. By showing peoples eyes I found a deep innerness, and perspective, that encompasses a unique travel and an individual story that all people must go through; be it growing up without a father or any hardship one may encounter, which essentially is just life. Dimensions 6" x 6"

06: REPURPOSED product

Keeping your topic in mind, students of GWW 1040 were asked to intuitively pick an object that reflected a certain essence of their thesis. We were asked to package this object (marketable or not) in a way that conveys one’s topic. I picked a blank CD. Like a fatherless child, a blank CD has no creator and no “authorship”. It’s a place of storage and like life, it has many routes it can take. After careful exploration I considered a map to provide as the package for this blank CD. I kept things very simple, and tried to keep true to the essence of “blankness” with a type only solution, along with pulls from the “tech” world.


Students are responsible for defining and developing the parameters of their own unique response to their thesis. We had to schedule, manage, and complete two separate Self-initiated projects in the same method we’ve developed in class. For my first project, I felt it was important to do a PSA campaign to highlight and bring more awareness of the effects Fatherlessness has on families. I decided to use tactics based on guerilla advertising as a way to be immediate with my target audience. Its purpose is to draw attention and interact on a one-to-one level and push my topic not only to the men who’ve left, but also to the male public in general. After location scouting, concern of the practicality, and consideration of my audience, I decided the message had to go in local neighborhood bars where men, preferably older working class men, hang out. I put direct messages on coasters, stickers to go above urinals, and cocktail napkins.


I began realizing how crucial it was to bond with people through my thesis and form sort of “brotherhood”. I wanted to seek out others in my generation, to learn what their experiences are with their dads, and to be able to share my own experience as well. Through much trial and error and tons of ideas, I decided that using my leadership role as an RA at SVA’s dorm was a perfect way to gain knowledge from people in my generation.

I printed out 280 index cards asking each student in the entire dorm to anonymously tell me, in one sentence, how they feel about their dad. I hot glued a small pencil on each index card and clipped a sticker of my universal symbol to the card as souvenir, and asked that they drop the index card off in a ballot box on my apartment door.

After four days I received about 55 cards and many, many kids around the building were very curious about the project and what others had written. I soon realized how necessary it was to put these on display for everyone to read. Two weeks later I held a gallery showing of these cards as a way to bring people together through these index cards of ‘stories’. I made posters, and mailers for the event that promised pizza, music, and gifts (coasters and stickers from my first self-initiated project) and the chance to read what everyone wrote. I called it “SEE! TALK! EAT!” and used the same manners that were found on the index card, including the typeface, neon green color, and pencil, for the entire exhibition including painting the walls. I gave a speech at the event explaining the importance of this issue and what it meant to me.