Thursday, March 20, 2008

Your turn #9

Roger Cook and Don Shanosky, signage symbol system for the U.S. Department of Transporation, 1974. The poster introduced the 34-symbol to a wide audience. Above, Otl Eicher's pictographs for the Munich Olympiads, 1972.

The Bernbach revolution: If Paul Rand had developed a bellwether approach to advertising integrating words and pharases in a freer organization, using visual metaphors* and puns seldom seen in ads, Bernbach removed the boundaries from verbal and visual communication and evolved visual/verbal syntax: word and image fused into a conceptual expression of an idea so they became completely interdependent.
* A visual metaphor can be defined as the representation of a new system by means of visual attributes corresponding to a different system, familiar to the user that behaves in a similar way.

Alvin Eisenman combined serendipity, curiosity and tenacity to move from a boyhood love of a printing plant to the helm of the first graduate school in graphic design in the United States, at Yale University. For forty years he assembled diverse and brilliant classes to be taught by the legends of design history, and left the imprint of his interests on several generations of designers. Recently he retired amid much fanfare at a gala party. When pressed on current plans, he said, "All I know is I won't make a firm appointment if it's a nice day to go to a museum." Yet, his calendar is dotted with trips to Silicon Valley to see new products unveiled, with meetings at the Morgan Guaranty Trust—where he is a design consultant—and sessions at his computer to finish his account of how graphic design came to be and his speculation on where it is going (AIGA).

Henry Wolf was known for his bold yet simple use of expressive typography, surreal photography and conceptual illustration. Rather than accept the typical role of an acquiescent layout artist, he closely collaborated with editors to define their magazines' personalities. He selected typefaces; commissioned pictorial features from well-known or newly discovered photographers and illustrators; and decided what to feature on covers. Wolf taught magazine design and photography at the School of Visual Arts, Cooper Union and the Parsons School of Design. He received the American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 1976 and was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1980.

George Tscherny

George Tscherny's success as a designer can be traced back to his childhood, adolescence and early professional years when his resolve to overcome the vicissitudes of fate proved to him how important tenacity can be. For the Uris Buildings Corporation, which during the late 1950s and early 1960s was one of the major construction firms in New York, he designed a black-and-white annual report cover showing a few artless building blocks asymmetrically composed—a decidedly abstract yet playful idea, which he says "sneaked its way through because one man was convinced that it was the right symbolism." For Millipore, an manufacturer of scientific instruments for which he designed the identity, Tscherny determined that a style manual—the sacred bible of corporate communications—had little value because "bad designers will use it improperly, and good designers should not be constricted by too many rules." Instead of a typically elaborate and costly system, Tscherny produced a series of "corporate identity samplers" which concisely describe the graphic parameters within which the designers should work. Again, his corporate mentor saw the logic in this strategy (AIGA).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Your turn #7

I've posted a little late (Monday). This post covers from Dada to Constructivism. Go ahead!

Above a reduced version of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. "Everything else outside of ourselves is unreal and first becomes reality, when we turn it into reality by virtue of the power of the mind." Expressionists had an urge to create the world anew, which bears a similarity to that characteristically animistic attitude of the Expressionist poets and playwrights who create in their texts an alternative world of selfhood in which figures and events are meaningful only as essences or as correlatives of consciousness, and in which “the mind forms reality according to the idea.