*MAKING UP FOR LAST WEEK’S COMMENT #1On the emergence of early design;I have always had this amazement for the early emergence and perseverance of design throughout our entire history and, in particular: prehistory. Why has mankind been drawn to, well, draw? The cave paintings of prehistoric man are neither mere stick figures, nor are they childish scribble. What prodded early man to make that first enduring mark?The paintings in places such as Lascaux will never have the philosophic depth we like to demand of all modern art these days, but there is no doubt that the careful depictions of life back then were, as it’s been wonderfully phrased, done with a sense of “sympathetic magic” and were precious to their makers. The example of the cave paintings is important to the search I have of understanding what compels humans to prefer the visual above all else. Jumping ahead to the art of the Egyptians, it’s amazing to see how they almost immediately created an aesthetic entirely their own, still easily recognizable today. Egyptians took the primitive concept of design to a new level, not only using it to supplement writing, they also decorated every surface of the most important structures and objects with beautiful, complex designs. This care for design has never wavered for a moment since.It seems to me that art and design has always had an incredibly important role in mankind. Societies both old and new are noted for their discoveries and advancements in science or technology, but when it comes down to it, they are remembered most by their art.-Emma Cason-Pratt
Making up for Last Week's Comment #1 The Nuremberg Chronicle is a timeless creation. Evidently, it will always be considered beautiful, but furthermore it is an incunabulum that emphasized its illustrations, and adorned them with text rather than using images to accent text. This had never been seen before with such perfection and technique. "Folio XVI" demonstrates this (see link). A fifth of the page is filled with illustrations to describe the relation of a family, with little text surrounding it. Of course, if we were to critique this book today, it could be said that it is over crowded with little space between the paragraphs and the illustrations, but to me that is what makes it so beautiful. It is hard to tell where the text ends and where it begins. Although account of world history in The Nuremberg Chronicle is unorganized and hard to follow, our world benefited greatly from it. Thanks to its lavish illustrations, more people could be entertained by this book during its time; and even today it is a lovely reminder to us graphic designers what a beautiful art our work is. http://ace.acadiau.ca/score/facsim2/16.htm- Belén Estacio
Comment #2: William Caslon William Caslon’s achievements are simply remarkable: from a simple gunsmith/ bookbinder’s tool cutter to an international typeface master. He was able to make a typeface, which was not just legible, but also so elegant that it could be used to write the American Declaration of Independence. For an artist to find a typeface that is both legible and appropriate for a specific occasion is quite a task. Sometimes we forget with all of the available technology that as designers, we should follow Caslon’s footsteps and break the mold; after all it is easier for us to create something today through Illustrator and Photoshop. Precisely the latter statement is what makes it hard for us today, we have too many options. There is a way to narrow it down, and that is to remember that as artists it is important to design not just for others, but also for us. As the philosopher George Santayana said “Graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies and humors.” We are free to do whatever we want in our designs. It is just as important to remember that, as it is to use our tools. Perhaps one of us will start out a simple mechanical artist, one day breaks a certain mold and if we have a similar fate to Caslon, the new phrase for the year 2020 will be “When in doubt, use [insert name here].” - Belén Estacio
Durer was a concerned Christian and a thinking artist who was profoundly affected by the Reformation. From his adolescent interest in Lutheran beliefs to his death as a firmly converted Lutheran, Durer showed a constant association with the spiritual turmoil of his times through his art. Durer’s interest in line is most apparent in his work as a woodcut artist and engraver. Durer produced the Apocalypse around 1498, the first book to be designed and published by a single artist. In it, Durer included the full text of the book of Revelation in Latin and German editions, which he illustrated. In the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the aged and withered figure of Death rides a skeletal horse, trampling a bishop whose head is in the jaws of a monster. Cowering before the horse are figures awaiting destruction. Next to Death, and the most prominent of the four, rides Famine, carrying a scale. War brandishes a sword, which is parallel to the angel above. Plague, riding the background horse, draws his bow (arrow wounds were associated with the sores caused by the plague). Finally the presence of God as the ultimate motivating force behind the four horsemen is implied by rays of light entering the picture from the upper left corner. In this image, Durer took evident delight in the graphic and psychological expressiveness of line. The powerful left to right motion of the horses and their riders is created by their diagonal sweep across the width of the picture. The less forceful, zigzag lines of the cowering figures reveal their panic in the face of the relenting and inevitable advance of the horsemen.-Carmen G. Velasquez
To most of his fellow artists of his time, William Blake seemed to be completely out of the mainstream. He was greatly influenced by contemporary figurative artists, depicted dramatically posed nude figures with strongly rhythmic, linear contours. I really like his work because I like work that steps out of the boundaries of other works at that given time. He shows true innovation and creativity. We see his innovation through his strong beliefs and love for different type of arts. He believed strongly in racial and gender eqaulity which showed an open mind for his time. Once considered mad for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is highly regarded today for his expressiveness and creativity, and the philosophical vision that underlies his work. One modern critic proclaiming Blake "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced." His works not even just as an artist or a writer, but as a song-writer, had a huge influence of song-writes of our time, for example Van Morrison and U2. This proves his works belonged to a man with great vision, innovation and lacked the arrogance of the people at this time.
I like work that steps out of the boundaries of other works at that given time.Cool nikster, that's called "originality"... but how do you apply that to the "now"?
By the way, nice final point, chokada.
I agree that it takes much originality to come up with all the typefaces that William Caslon created, and that its popularity even came that it was used for the Declaration of Independence. When looking at his work, it is amazing to see all of the differences. I decided to look at the letter F in most of the different typefaces and it is stunning to see the way he created them. However, aside from Caslon, everyone else who used his work seems to be, how stated in class, as to lacking in originality. As mentioned, none of us have taken calligraphy classes, but I believe that this is what makes our handwriting unique and who we are. Like seen during lecture with the letter A, almost all the letters looked the same, but each had its own originality. Before, everyone learned to write in the same fashion that it makes it appear in my opinion (even though I am not very knowledgeable in this subject) that those who took calligraphy classes would write in a similar fashion just like today we use fonts when typing.
The work of John Baskerville seems simple and fairly easily created when no background knowledge of his work is known. The pages are virtually devoid of decoration. Because Baskerville did not rely on any decoration to draw attention to his work, it is clear that his typefaces were his main concern. I found it extremely interesting that Baskerville never used the same type twice and that he printed many more copies than needed just to make sure everything was perfect. This perfectionist attitude shows his commitment to the craft. Each print he made, he wanted to be perfect. Also, never using the same type more than once is an important aspect of design. It is not that an artist cannot use the same type more than once, but rather, he or she must make sure that the type is appropriate to the piece. By never reusing a typeface, he created each type with the end result in mind. Each type had only one purpose therefore every font was appropriate to the piece he was printing.-Michaela
It's sad that William Blake wasn't recognized for his contributions until after his death. "He died in poverty and neglect". It's ironic because todays artists are almost expected to have some degree of eccentricity or madness and this is part of the allure of the current mainstream artworld. In todays society we don't really care, we're not as concerned with the inspiration as we are on the final product, so whether he was "crazy" or not, it wouldn't have any relevance. The combination of his ideas about printing along with his layout of images and poetry seems like the beginning framework of nearly all designers. His spiritual beliefs, very creative imagination, interest in the bible, and fantasy all come through in his work. The most striking aspect to me is his direct link to modern graphic design. He not only created art and text, but went a step further into the production aspect by then printing and selling them.
To: ChoCkada - I must say I agree with you..."too many options definately makes it harder for us today". The end of your comment was inspirational. -L. Kaplowitz
I too was captivated by the achievements of William Carlson. When scrolling through the images, his work caught my eye immediately because the typeface looked most like something that would be seen today. Without reading the content, and just looking at the typography, the layout, and the spacing it looked as if it could have been the layout of a contemporary newspaper article. After looking at the images from last week’s class I was shocked to see how modern looking Carlson’s typeface was in comparison to the slightly earlier innovations in graphic design. Looking back to last week’s images, Carlson completely has abandoned the decorative nature of what was being printed back in the fifteenth century. The typeface no longer contains extreme ornate detail, illuminated letters, and images that used to decorate the page. Because of this his image shows the true evolution in graphic design that occurred only between two centuries. The significance of the Carlson typeface proves itself in its growing popularity and the fact that it was used for the printed version of the Declaration of Independence. It is not surprising to read that revivals of the Carlson types are still being used because as I noted before it remarkably looked like the layout of a printed material that would be seen during our time. -Julia Rega
Philippe Pigouchet’s book illustrations are some of the most beautifully intricate work I have ever seen. He transformed a traditional goldsmith technique to apply just as delicately to engraving for printing purposes. The process became known as criblé, which is a method of painstakingly dotting a metal plate with a hand punch or various gouges to create a relief printed similar to a woodcut.On Pigouchet’s most dotted prints, a black background dominates a fine lacelike design, resulting in a carefully orchestrated image that is sure to draw the viewer’s attention to the praise of God and the Virgin above all else. His devotional books are a quintessential example of not only the advancements in design at the time, but the art of patience and dedication – two qualities I believe are greatly lacking in the majority of artists today.
I agree with luppee in that the work of William Caslon can be seen today and became a model for other font designers. The Caslon typeface does fit in perfectly with fonts of today, so it must have been very innovative in his time. Fonts like Baskerville and Bodoni that were inspired by Caslon are of the few fonts I use often. In response to luppee’s “Looking back to last week’s images, Carlson completely has abandoned the decorative nature of what was being printed back in the fifteenth century.”I see what you are saying in regards to illuminated manuscripts, but from what Caslon was surrounded by- the current popular Dutch type, I think his work is somewhat decorative. Dutch type was very monotonous and dull. What Caslon did was revolutionary for his time. His fonts had variation in design. He took time to study each letter, most notably the smaller ones. And while not every letter in itself is perfect, when the letters are put together they are perfect and harmonious. They are delicate and inventive. Caslon’s creations were a remarkable achievement in the design of type and his presence today is proof of that.
Type making is a strange yet benificial pre-cursor to graphic design. The concern for literal and visual organization with type is related to the development of language and passing of information. Though not many were able to read but the monks and priests, their visual devleopment was a key factor for the beneficiaries of the books. I find that to be the amazing part of the type is the relation the illiterate would make to the visual beauty of the characters (mostly the first one in a chapter) and spacing of the characters and design in the space than of the subject matter of the book in their hands. This is quite reflective of the human's never ending quest of viewing and sometimes even creating something aesthetically beautiful and the amazement with it. To this day we can still admire the beauty in the books and type in their unique existence that are ultimately only a story or account of some sort. I just like that never-changing quality found in all of us.-Justin Namon
The work of William Blake is influential to us as graphic designers/artists in his overall approach to the expression of his ideas. In his approach he completely rejected the contemporary norms while creating something that had never been seen before in his time. In the two works shown Blake places the expression of his ideas above any artistic traditions or norms. This can be seen as sort of a postmodern approach. Fast forward to today’s cotemporary artists such as Bansky as seen the previous week or Damien Hirst are seen as artist that embrace the idea of expression over tradition as seen in the work of Blake. What I love is that these previous examples show the heart of graphic design or any art …expression. Expression of ones ideas through whatever medium is chosen is paramount. We should always place the emphasis on expression rather than traditions this speaks to the very function of all art.H. Grant Roberson
Blake’s influence resonates beyond the realm of graphic design. His work exemplifies the notion of expression. His thoughts and ideas were radical at its time and he conveyed them in rather cryptic forms through poetry and art. The power of his messages is influential because they transcend different art mediums. The average, non graphic designer or artist must appreciate his work for at least it’s intense display of emotions. The importance of expression can be felt regardless of one’s background. Nikster287 points out how musicians like U2 and Van Morrison have adopted some of Blake’s work into a different form. The necessity for one to express themselves is crucial, whether it be through music, poetry, art, or any other medium. Blake held radical thoughts and expressed them in a completely original manner.
The coolest thing about William Blake was that he truly was an Artist in every sense of the word. His etchings and paintings looked like poetry and his poetry was like a painting. All of which seemed to have a musicality to them, uniting all the senses with everything he did. Blake’s views on the body and soul are what draws me the most to him. In the following text from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Blake uses a biblical format to express his own beliefs. I love what he says about Energy and how Man follows his Energies instead of saying Man follows his heart or mind. It just makes so much sense. We do follow our Energy. We follow positive energies, and steer away from negative ones. Its also interesting how he talks about the Body just being one form of expression for the Soul through the five senses, as if the Soul uses the Body as a vessel. I feel as if his principles are very Eastern for a Western upbringing, but I agree with them and they make plenty of sense. His beliefs are illustrated through his art perfectly. His strokes and color choices always stir something inside you, usually it’s exactly what he wants you to feel. “All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors. 1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul. 2. That Energy, call'd Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call'd Good, is alone from the Soul. 3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies. But the following Contraries to these are True 1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that call'd Body is a portion of Soul discern'd by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. 2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. 3. Energy is Eternal Delight.”
ON THE DISCUSSION RISEN ON WILLIAM CASLON AND BREAKING THE MOLD IN GRAPHIC DESIGN.Parting from Miss Estacios' statement "we have too many options" I agree in an inevitable truth facing young graphics designers today. We have at our reach, a myriad of resources, collection, tools, equipments, softwares, papers and outputs. So why is is that it our newest designs, creations and ideas are not welcomed with a bang? Why are they not felt worthy of going down in the history books. Why are they just merely highlighted by one of the million blogs that trace content online?FOR THAT SAME REASON!Electronic media (if there really is such a term) and the ability to self-pubiss,track and feature content has the whole world lookig all over the place. Good or bad, I'll let yo be the judge of that. However...if you think about it, In Caslon's times, few authorities in the world did what he did. The development of the "type industry" and the graphic design world was exclusive to certain industrial powers which had the biggest publishing houses in the world. Today, a kid in India can produce the same graphics, designs and prints as a graduate student in Argentina. Today. the world is going full' throttle from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. What does this mean? Every day, more and more people are in the creative fields to advertise and show these services.Currently wmployment of graphic designers is expected grow about as fast as average. Keen competition for jobs is expected; individuals with a bachelors degree and knowledge of computer design software, particularly those with Web site design and animation experience will have the best opportunities. Demand for graphic designers also will increase as advertising firms create print and Web marketing and promotional materials for a growing number of products and services.As demans grows, output grows and the authorities which decide who is who in the business are decided trough niche segments of the industry. Gaby BrunaBreaking the mold in design should be inevitable. It should be expected. It should be a natural occurrence in the industry.
It was my intention to read the previous posts and then add my own insight in order to have more of a discussion rather than a group of seemingly unrelated posts, each with their individual agenda. However, when faced with the task of having to read more than twenty posts, I noticed that I was drawn to those in which the text was broken up in various ways and not lumped together in one large block. The mega-paragraphs in some of the previous posts are overwhelming – even intimidating – and it’s all of a sudden very clear that most of the artists (Tory, Manutius, Ratdolt, and Pigouchet in particular) understood this concept. They used decorative text and borders, as well as illustrations, and even sometimes color to break up the monotony of plain text. By adding visually appealing elements, the text – a very important part of the pieces because it conveys the message of the author – becomes more aesthetically pleasing and more attractive to its audience.
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