I really like the design by Alvin Lustig. I especially like the Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close book cover but am confused by it. Isn’t it designed by Jon Gray? And it looks like the concept was imitated by Hewlett-Packard?
Paul Rand was one of the protagonists of a movement around the 50s that knew how to identify the communicational needs of the companies and organizations so they would have a visual identity that represented them and distinguished them from all others. From that moment people began to become aware of the value of the image as an important factor of the product or service. In the 1950s Paul Rand became more and more famous for his corporate logo designs and the quality of his great work. He began his professional trajectory as a designer in Esquire magazine, Apparel Arts and in Weintraub agency. However, all these activities were made without leaving aside his educational vocation. He was a professor in the prestigious Pratt Institute of New York and in the school of design for graduated students at Yale University, where he acquired the title of professor of Graphic Design. Paul Rand definitively is and was in my opinion and many others I am sure, a great influence for many generations of Graphic Designers.
Looking for important achievements in corporate image, I found innumerable examples of great design that we see everyday and perhaps never stopped to think about. Paul Rand was extremely prolific and created memorable designs like abc television logo, the IBM series (continuously redesigned during three decades) and even the so much familiar UPS logo.An example of long time dedication and commitment to corporate quality is the work by Italian Giovanni Pintori for Olivetti. He is a master in the use of simplicity to express technological developments. Another modern classic of logotype design is that of MTV. This logo introduced the combination of animation, illustration, photography and video manipulation. This is considered one of the first steps in the shift from printed to animated design.
Gretel: I'm glad you mention Pintori (a remarkable Italian designer).
In particular, I was most fascinated by Alvin Lustig’s work. His abstract work is so innovative that I have a strong desire to know what kind of thoughts he had in his head while creating it. Of course one could clearly see that his work was influenced by Surrealism and Dadaism, but his use of symbols surpassed anything the Surrealists themselves did in terms of communications. Lustig created a steady stream of design projects in a wide range of disciplines that included chairs, tables, rugs and textiles. But his most lasting contribution could well be his work in book jacket design, a domain into which he succeeded in introducing the principles of Modern art in which he fervently believed. Also, he exerted an influence in architecture, fabric and furniture. If the person is talented, one is talented in many directions.In the big picture, all the artists and designers for this modern art period were building on some recently contemporaneous styles. However, the method of presentation was evolving, especially with regard to motion pictures, still photography, and mass production and reproduction of color photography and printing techniques. Moreover, not only were new styles and forms being employed, but there was a new approach to combinations of various styles with respect to images and text.
I completely agree with Natali.I have to say that I don't understand how such an amazing designer as Alvin Lustig isn't better known. His pieces are clean and simple but with a purpose. I love how you have to really look at it a second time to see that there is a message in his work (and an interesting one at that). I can also see how the idea of interlacing the text with the graphic images to an extent where one cannot exist without the other begins to come into play here; and also how Lustig treats form and content as one. I can really appreciate an artist who can make a statement in such a subtle way as Lustig. His creations are not loud or busy but rather very minimalistic with clean lines and elegant style. I also feel that his taste is timeless and that he would be even more successful today if he were alive. I would definitely want to buy his furniture.
Of course I like Lustig, who wouldn't ? but i think what might be more intriguing aspect of that design work is the association between Lustig, and his various publishers and how that might have effected their sales. If you are just wandering through a bookstore, and you remember reading Extremely Loud and remember it being enjoyable, you'd probably then pick up Two Bodies, or another title that Lustig designed. The style is so consistent that I'm sure it was useful in selling books. The design of book covers these days is incredibly predictable, but its mostly a brand decision rather than any sort of ignorance of design. Serif font raised or metallic title usually denotes a fantasy novel. Big bold author names generally sell the authors of mystery series. These days, with the emphasis on sales and branding above all else, thanks maybe in small part to Paul Rand, you can judge a book by its cover.
please don't close it just yet A.T. I'm editing my post right now.
It seems ironic how this roller-coaster ride of sorts through Design History has culminated so unexpectedly, in this particularly exciting time in Design where so much was going on, and when so much is going on right here right now with Art Basel, Design Miami, and everything else going on in town. Heck, though not relevant to Design, yet very much to all that’s going on, the University just made a major acquisition in completing the purchase of Cedars Medical Center yesterday, and we are even undergoing a major systems upgrade on the Medical campus this week, which I happen to have to conduct intensive testing on. Talk about “exciting times”!I found Ladislav Sutnar (1897–1976) born in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia and educated in Prague, quite interesting and masterful as a Graphic Designer, Theorist, and Pioneer of Information Design. Sutnar understood the need to arrange and control the overabundance of information being disseminated in all aspects of contemporary life between the 40’s through the 60’s. He was responsible for having designed such common, but revolutionary devices, as the parentheses around the American telephone area-code numbers when they were first introduced. In addition to making the parenthesis one of trademark devices, he made use of grids and tab systems, as well as common punctuation, such as colons, commas, and exclamation points, and turned them into crystal-clear symbols which provided direction by enlarging and repeating them. Constructivism made functional yet playful. His icons are equivalent to the commonly used computer symbols used today in e-mail and text messaging. 'Without efficient typography, the jet plane pilot cannot read his instrument panel fast enough to survive.' Sutnar once said. His 'Catalog Design' (1944) and 'Catalog Design Progress' (1950) were guidebooks to clear the chaos of printed material. I suppose we owe him in this age of information we now so enjoy and possibly take for granted.
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