Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Your turn

Nice meeting yesterday. This post covers about three hundred years of history (from late 15th-Century until late 18th-Century). If you owe me a comment from last week, include it here along with the new one (in the heading make clear which is which). Bring your discussion to our main theme: graphic design. Make interesting connections, think back-and-forth.

18 comments:

Jomar said...

The following is my entry from last week:

I found 'The Nuremberg Chronicle' most intriguing. As a fan of Albrecht Duhrer's engravings I was drawn to this piece by learning of his apprenticeship with Michael Walgemut during the time when this illustrated world history book was printed. It is one of the best documented works in early print history, and a "block-book" incunabula composed of over 1809 woodcut illustrations, made from 645 actual woodcuts, printed in 1493. The book has no cover. which was typical of the time, and contains 1164 repetitions throughout. The detail in the work and subject matter was typical of the early Renaissance and Reformation time period and a testimony to the developments achieved in printing as the incunabulum era ends and typography begins.


This art form was used to disseminate information and make announcements with illustrations. The illustrations served an important role in facilitating the understanding of the subject matter to the to the less literate majority. This art was instrumental to the Reformation era in assisting with the passing of information by religious leaders to thousands of people.

Gretel said...

The work of William Blake shows many defining features of Romanticism. His emphasis in going back to Medieval imagery and mysticism, his rejection of Church and politics as established powers and the almost pathological display of his inner world are all main characteristics of this artistic movement.
He was not only a poet and visual artist of great value, but we can also say that he actually performed as a graphic designer. Throughout his life he was commissioned to illustrate several works of literature including a four volume deluxe edition of Edward Young’s poems. In this as in his own works, Blake showed his great skills as a visual communicator and introduced several elements not in use at the time like the combination of text and image in the same space. The typography turns into illustration and he uses punctuation marks and capital letters in an arbitrary way. His engravings, made with great attention to detail and formed mainly by exaggerated and stylized human figures are highly expressionistic. They not only summarized the spirit of the Romantic Movement, but also influenced later artistic styles of XIX and XX Centuries.

amanda said...

It is so interesting to see the development of graphic design during the 15th century in this particular piece. Ratdolt combines text, design, and diagrams/images beautifully to disseminate Euclid’s ideas to the readers; what we know today as a textbook. Graphic design is a form of art, and everything in this piece can be considered some form of design, from the simple geometric diagrams to the decorative borders to the actual text, which in itself is artistic in the way that serif is used as well as the way the capital and lower case letters are placed and spaced. It also should be noted how all of these components are strategically positioned so as not too look messy or busy and also how the wide margins allow for white space so that the reader can rest his eyes. What makes this piece a true work of design however are not the individual elements, but how they all come together to create something that is just as impressive and relevant today as the day that it was printed.

John said...

Just a rambling thought, but the mention of Ratdolt brought me back to something A.T. pointed out in class: that the border of the Euclid's text was distinctly Arabic. This is also a look that goes with classical texts in my mind's eye, in the same way that we as designers would use a serif font if we want a project to look dignified. If we wanted something to look like a classical text, i think it's that style of ornate decoration that we'd emulate. And, venturing further, it's probably something we emulate, because Ratdolt and the like borrowed it from the Arabs, who were the ones that preserved all this European culture. And of course their illuminated manuscripts, architecture and art in general was created in this fashion because of religious decrees; not being able to use the image of man, they found an aesthetic in geometry.

bsparkman said...
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Barry said...

Gretel’s post eloquently and succinctly articulates Blake’s accomplishments & influences. Because I find his work so interesting, I would like to underscore and expand a couple of the points that she raises.

I feel that the particular way that Blake merged graphics and text is a major leap forward in the history of graphic design. Previous illustrated books integrated type and illustration in terms of their style and through page layout. However the two elements mostly remained physically separate. Literal illustrations of the narrative, as well as decorative patters of symbolic imagery, were included along with the text in the earliest manuscripts and books. In the 1400’s Erhard Ratold’s innovative use of decorative woodcut borders and initials as design elements played a significant role in the evolution of graphic design. His borders included naturalistic forms, harkening back to Western antiquity and Islamic patterning, and occupied a prominent portion of the page. His contribution help lay the groundwork for what Megg’s History calls “ the full flowering of graphic decoration” and eventually to the styles of designers/artists such as Blake.

I think that the goals of the creators of previous type styles were generally concerns like clarity, symmetry, and order. Blake’s goals for his type seem far more ambitions than that. The formal characteristics of the type, including it’s shape and color, and well as where it appears spatially (foreground, middle ground, background) helps to visually convey the emotional content of the literal message that it holds. Consequently the physical form of the type is crucial to the overall success of his images. Additionally, Blake’s blocks of text function as design elements within his compositions. They are carefully considered and integrated so as to lead the viewer through the narrative.

Blake’s graphics and texts are successful independent of each other. But the fact that they are much more persuasive when combined illustrates the real power of graphic design.

Natali said...
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Natali said...

From Siege-Engines to Printing Engines

It is no surprise that Aldus Manutius adopted as his own the ancient proverb “Festina lente;” it was the command the Roman emperor Augustus gave to his generals when he dispatched them in order to retrieve the lost standards after the defeat of the Roman legions to the Germanic barbarians two millennia ago. Thus the saying has direct relevance to the rebirth of Greco-Roman values and civilization.
In the Renaissance however, waging war was no longer restricted to the battlefield, but spilled over into the realm of the newly innovated field of print production by way of Gutenberg’s printing press. Ironically, it was a battle to the East during the mid-1400s as the Ottoman Turk laid siege and eventually sacked Constantinople…the repository for the greatest collection of Western Civilization’s literary legacy…that helped summon and spread the spirit of revival and rebirth in the nascent modern West. A clash of civilizations in one part of the world was feeding sparks to--and fanning the flames of--inspiration and imaginative creativity in another.

Natali said...
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Natali said...

The following is my entry from last week:


“ΕΝ ΤΗΙ ΑΡΧΗΙ…;” In the beginning…

In the beginning was the word…but as thought or as speech is like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first. Consciousness is the ground for both. With verbal articulation and abstract thought, an interplay unfolded over vast stretches of time culminating in our array of modern languages.

Whether the art of writing originated in China or not, it matters not. Noam Chomsky demonstrated the basic linguistic structures present in all humans…so, someone was bound to chance upon it! We have an innate ability to speak…and of course, each clan, tribe, society and civilization bore their own unique fruit on the tree of language.

Sounds, communication, gestures, expressions, and finally words…there must have been some contribution to--and necessity for—survival. Humans are the only creatures who keep records. In the animal world, there is no time for leisure…free time used in the pursuit of enhancing life…not just sustaining it in survival mode. Human societies reached a point at which the basic animal needs such as food, drink, sleep, shelter, and reproduction were all sufficiently satisfied so that there was indeed leisure time to use towards enhancing life instead of just mundane maintenance. Writing is just one of these creative enhancements. Even at its most basic, the ability to produce a record requires a minimum amount of stability and security.

JF said...

This is the post for the first week of class.

I find the Lascaux caves very interesting, at least in terms of context. 2,000 images in total with are found in the cave and it’s estimated that they were drawn 15,000 to 10,000 BC. Theres a lot to look into and interpret however, with a lack of structure and clarity it’s difficult to see what the artist or artists were trying to get across.

The book suggests that it was for “survival and for utilitarian purposes”, however it didn’t address whether or not it could have been drawing for pleasure. Maybe whoever lived in the cave drew at different times and for different reasons, which would explain the scattered depictions of these animals. However what can be agreed is that there is no clear story.

In terms of Graphic Design, clear communication and interpretation are extremely important. Other wise you’ll get this kind of kind of response to something that should be relatively easy to understand.

This post is for my second week of class.

For William Blake, his use of Elaborate Typographical Design with his poetry bridges the spectrum clearly pointing to his poetry as more of an art form rather than a written body of work. His use of color and gestures foreshadows the kind of work you will read when reading his poetry. As the book states he was one of the forerunners to expressionism, art nouveau, and abstract art.

You can see that his artwork has a very natural feel to it and leads in to one of the later art periods. His choice of script instead of any other font family ties in perfectly to his torn down theme. Graphically his work is very clean yet it still has just enough information to still tie you in, not a lot of white space however it’s not necessarily always needed. Even though script isn’t as easy to read it still is the better choice. What I like most about this work is that it isn’t straight forward. From the materials and paints used to the choice of using water color for his work, Blake draws you into his world using as many tools as possible. It’s not just about reading, it’s about experiencing.

JF said...
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Luis Ernesto said...

William Blake’s deliberate rejection of the neo-classical sense of typographic construction (the scientific and ‘reasoned’ development of type executed through modern printing technique) and his shunning of the recent phenomenon of “information graphics” left him as a maverick in an epoch of typographic genius. Though his contributions to the forum of design were vastly un-noticed at the time of publication, they were later embraced and celebrated by future movements in design, notably in Art Nouveau and abstract design. Intentionally moving ‘backward’ into a style similar to that in the realm of incunabulum, Blake advocated that the illustration and the typeface could co-exist and their interaction (typeface and illustration) achieves a more emotional and satisfying design. His implementation of typography seems to compliment the illustration, rather than to establish a sense of space and proportion throughout the page as his contemporaries did. Blake’s manipulation of the serif font, his rampant use of ornamental elements and floral motifs and his unconventional placement of typography set the groundwork for romanticist printed expression and served as an inspiration to future movements of design.

-Luis E. Piñol

amy Poliakoff said...

Around 1410, the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, commissioned by John Duc de Berry, became one of the most important illuminated manuscripts of the 15th century. The book is composed prayers used by the lay faithful at each of the canonical hours of the day. This Book of Hours has 416 pages that consist of intricate and detailed miniatures. International and Gothic styles are portrayed by the elongated figures and flowing clothes in the miniatures. These styles influenced later artists of the early renaisance. The graphic designs of the Limbourg brothers heavily influenced Lorenzo Ghiberti. The miniature The Adoration of the Magi and Journey of the Magi, by the Limbourg brothers in the Book of Hours, heavily influenced Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gothic style as seen by his elongated figures and carvings. They especially influenced those noted in the bronze doors that he made for the baptistry of the Duomo in Florence. It was Michelangelo of the Renaissance who dubbed the second set of baptistry doors as the "Gates of Paradise." It is quite clear that the Limbourg brothers and their very influential graphic design images significantly impacted the style of some of the greatest artists throughout history.

bmerrill said...

Manipulation of The Ars Moriendi Style

The middle ages were marked by a proliferation of religious dogma, which during times of cultural stress such as the Black Death, often evolved into what would be considered extreme practices. The importance of faith and correct practice of said beliefs was significant due to its impact of religious art, since at the time many people who attended mass were illiterate, including almost the entirety of the peasant class that was so viciously affected by the plague. Since so many could not understand the texts at the time, art in churches began a shift towards demonstrative illustrations of what the text portrayed so that the illiterate could understand using pictures. During a mass, those who entered the church would view large works displayed and interpret the moral and dogmatic principles therein. However, many were pilgrims who traveled long distances to pay homage at a site, and had no way of keeping the lessons from their visit. With the introduction of xylography, an alternative to the dilemma was provided in block prints that were turned into pamphlets that these travelers could carry. The ars moriendi style was in turn manipulated by monks and clergymen who were able to provide keepsakes for the pilgrims, an innovative and altogether very practical use of the new art form.

Mariajose said...
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Zureyka said...

Aldus Mantius foresee the low-priced printed books as a way of making ancient manuscripts available to students, as well as making money. At the age of 40, Mantius began to print reference books and by doing so, this changed the perception of how books are to be done. No longer was a book limited to only the lectern, in which scholars would read aloud to students. Mantius paved the way for individuals to be able to read themselves by providing smaller, easily portable books. He was a businessman nonetheless and would continuously experiment with the concept of producing books at a lower cost, which would allow a higher profit for him. His book layout evolved to a more modern design by having a more open and spacious design without the heavy use of borders that were previously integrated into many books. By excluding the intricate borders on pages, it allowed him to save money as well as allow the press-time to be shortened; thus, it resulted in a faster, more efficient way of producing books with less cost. Moreover, by having smaller type, it allowed Mantius the opportunity to compress more information into his work, using fewer materials and further reduce the cost of production.

Aldus Mantius worked with Francesco Griffo and was able to develop the first italic type in the year 1506. Mantius discovered that the italic characters were much narrower than the Roman characters and began to set entire books in the italic version to conserve space, which would once again help be cost-efficient in his production of books.

Mariajose said...

Albrecht Dürer was a great artist that inspired the Northern Renaissance. He developed different skills. He was a painter, draftsman, and a writer. Additionally, he made a major contribution to printmaking. Dürer's woodcut and engraving technique changed the history of printmaking. He elevated printmaking to a level of art work. He was a graphic artist that was directly influenced from his trips to Italy. During Dürer's time, German artists had a tendency to create empirical art, based more on observation than theory. Durer broke away from the traditional art style in Germany and instead brings the influence of the Italian art theory. Also, starting in 1496 he signed and dated his entire collection of works with his monogram, which was not common at the time. This resulted in the beginning the modern-era design of corporative image. Corporative image is one of the fields by which graphic designers are used by the companies. A company without a corporative image does not have recognition, and therefore is not successful. Durer's decision to sign with his monogran would automaticlally make his works stand out among others. Durer definitely was innovaror and not an imitator.