I really enjoyed the posting about Jan Tschichold. His playful typography is what really interested me the most. I really enjoyed the posting about Jan Tschichold. His playful typography is what really interested me the most. His use of space, angles and hierarchy creates a more interesting and creative play of type that excites interest in the reader. With a limited color palette, his work is clean and bold, eliminating superfluous ornament and design. His use of line creating a grid reflects the influence of De Stijl and the work of Mondrian. While Mondrian also uses a limited color palette (primary colors with black and white) and geometric shapes, Tschichold also uses a limited color palette and sans serif (very geometric) typefaces. His work is driven by a clear sense of hierarchy of type and the image which creates a composition that is both aesthetically pleasing and clearly consumed.
Saul Bass’s intro credits for Hitchcock’s “Pyscho” really caught my eye. It’s simple, yet playful and entertaining, while retaining a modern feel. It’s interesting that this portion of movies was so ignored up until this time since now it has become, in some cases, essential. The credits often add to the experience, leading the audience in and setting the tone of the film. One present-day example that reminds me of the “Psycho” credits is Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can”. The same horizontal and vertical lines are present in both, playing off the text. Here, the type becomes part of the background too, forming into the lines on the roads and other shapes seen behind.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mkM-XCE3v4Although totally different, another movie that incorporates the credits into a scene very well is David Fincher’s “Panic Room”. The type looks very realistic and it’s hard to tell where the scene ends and the names begin.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqIclb4qsJII really like to see good design spreading into different channels. It’s nice to have well-thought-out visuals all around us. It will be interesting to see how design expands as our technology improves...
I think it is really crazy how Mondrian’s style and use of color in his art work changed so drastically over about 40 years. In his earlier work he painted linear lines using only primary colors, red blue and yellow. Then he gradually shifted to using smaller lines and duller colors. Also from his earlier works his lines would be connected and then his lines were not completely finished and just stopped. It made his artwork seem more choppy and rugged then smooth and flowy. But comparing his earlier works with his late works we see the development of objects and more complexity in his paintings. Going from an abstract genre to a more realistic genre is really strange because I feel like they are on the opposite side of the spectrum. To see any artist progression and change over time is very intriguing.
I found the work of Adolphe Mouron Cassandre to be really impressive. His strength is his use of composition to organize the page and balance the weight of his images with that of the typography. For example, his “Normandie” poster is really strong aesthetically because of its centered alignment. The ‘Normandie’ is justified with the bottom of the ship and the lines below work to almost steady the image. “Étiole du nord” is a really nice piece that demonstrates a strong understanding of typography. The overlapping letters have a cool effect and the color scheme of grayish blues gives the poster an industrial feel. The image of the intersecting tracks leading to a star piques my interest despite not understanding the type. The “Nord Express” poster demonstrates Cassandre’s cubist and surrealist influences. The train, although still recognizable, has been deconstructed into a collection of more basic shapes. His handling of paint makes his images appear very fluid and soft, reminiscent of surrealism. This helps to soften the visuals in his work.
I thought the war posters were extremely interesting examples of the universality of graphic design. If there were no place names or they were designed in the same knowledge, it would be very difficult to tell which side of the conflict they were designed for. Posters for both sides featured a single iconic image, one which was often repeated in later posters. These posters are also often monochromatic or feature a limited color palette to heighten the emotion; the image of an injured man becomes that much more poignant when the red stain on his bandage is one of only two colors in the entire design. The posters also all emphasized a particular word, either through larger type or through devices such as underlining or boldface. These posters were designed in order to enlist men into the service, and it is intriguing that the type of service does not seem to matter. Whether for the Allied side or for the Axis, the designs are strikingly similar; play to the emotions of strength and individuality, making it seem as if the viewer is the one person who can make a difference in the war. These similarities say something about the universality of graphic design; certain ideas and elements are not American or German, but rather pan-ethnic.
The post that caught my attention the most was Alexey Brodovitch. As someone who is interested in layout and the design of a magazine, I found Brodovitch’s work most striking. Right away, I noticed Brodovitch’s use of white space, asymmetrical layouts and dynamic imagery. His influences changed the nature of magazine design and he exposed Americans to the European avant-garde, by presenting Americans with European photographers and artists. Looking at Brodovitch’s work, it is clear that he had brought a modern spirit to Harper's Bazaar Magazine. Instead of a static layout with posed studio photographs, he played with typefaces, complexity and color. I really love how Brodovitch stepped away from the norm and cropped photographs and used type that was very bold and “in your face.” Brodovitch had such an impact on type and design, that today, even his work is still being sought after. One of the images in the post shows one of Brodovitch’s typefaces, and today, it has influenced the way “Kate Moss” (the brand) is marketed. The typeface “Brodovitch Albro” is used for her name and it is interesting how it embodies the spirit of Kate Moss; it is quirky yet sophisticated, and it has a feel of modernity because of its geometric elements. It is neat how Brodovitch’s work/typefaces in the 1930s-50s still has a modern feel today.
One person wrote of Alvin Lustig, “It is sad to think that so many of his designs must live in hiding on the sides of books on shelves. I would like to have his beautiful Mallarme crystal or his Nightwood abstraction on my living room wall.” Well, the funny thing for me is that I’ve had so many book jackets designed by him on my shelves for years, and while I had admired many of them while reading, like Portrait of the Artist or the Glass Menagerie, I was shocked to realize that so many were done by this same artist! He seems to have a few different methods. Some designs are strictly geometric, like those for the Ward Ritchie Press. Others incorporate more symbols and snippets of photography. The covers that I am most attracted to, however, have a more hand-done feel, often with a sketchy look and hand lettering. These include covers like Three Tales, The Wanderer (which I love), The Spoils of Poynton, A Room With a View, etc. Lustig had a knack for beautifully simplistic design and color schemes. He was also a well-rounded designer; in addition to graphic, he did interior, architectural, furniture, and even industrial design like helicopters! I can see why many contemporary artists have imitated his style.
Mondrian's influence in modern design is inescapable. Working strictly with vertical and horizontal devisions, Mondrian was a pioneer in discovering the concept of "visual perfection." To him,visual perfection was achieved when dominating visual forces (vertical and horizontal lines) meet at a right angle (marking their equality). This positional relation is the most balanced of all, since it expresses in a perfect harmony the relation between two extremes, and contains all other relations. Primary colors fill in the squares created by the right angles, giving substance to the linear devisions in space. His choice of color is significant, as the primaries represent all of color broken down into its most basic components. Mondrian’s exploration of universal geometric perfection helped to redefine "objectivity" in modern art. While objectivity was thought to be the opposite of subjectivity, Mondrian and Picasso successfully combined the two using subjective insight to create pure, objective forms. Therefore, under the influence of "neoplastic" artists like Mondrian, philosophy and design came together, entertaining the idea that through some sort of abstract representation, "truth" could make itself apparent to the viewer. This same concept inspires my design schemes, because there is more to an arrangement than simply text and image. The artist looks past the medium and sees a reality beyond the five senses, but maybe i'm just being idealistic.~Laura Patricelli
With the rush of recruiting occurring, I could only imagine seeing the “I want You for US Army” popping up virtually at every corner. The 5 million that were printed may have just been pieces of paper, put I am sure every American can connect with the tone and meaning of this poster. Its words are directed at any person who possible walks by it, using the Uncle Sam image so strong that his finger, eyes and words are speaking and directed to you, the reader. It comes off very personal with the bold lettering, making it an extremely important message that needs to be heard immediately. Kauffer cubist elements achieve a very original style at this time and one that is very useful and visual. I love how the images he breaks down to mere shapes but the color coordination adds exaggeration and emphasis in the metropolis piece. Another great style emerging for graphic design was that of Ladislav Sutnar, whose work looks like an abstract understanding forcing it to make sense in design. The Harco pster is one that pulls the orange out but almost every image has a similar color and still stands alone.
The war posters were the most interesting part of this post, in my opinion. They served to rally a nation for a cause through many wars, and I include their impact on the war that is being fought at present. If you look at the posters, the limited color palette, the bold print, the powerful yet succinct messages printed on them, they all have one general theme in mind: you need to care about this cause, and our side is the right side. In a way this can be considered propaganda. I also like how these prints were very direct, overly using the word, ‘you’ to address the individual and call their attention. These posters were also political in the way that, for example in World War II, they shun communism and openly denounce “followers” of the opposing side. They remind me of Thomas Nast’s political cartoon, only toned down and much more blunt with their message. The role they play today isn’t as great as in the early and mid 20th century, but print wartime messages are still frequently seen.
I agree with Victor – the war posters caught my attention. There is no ambiguity in the message delivered by these posters. When Uncle Sam is on a poster, you know you are having a guilt trip if you are not wearing a uniform of any sector of the armed forces. There is no need to read between lines – in fact, they make it that easy – just read what’s underlined as is suggested by the poster that claims “it’s MEN we want.” I admire the directness of these posters and the how the posters are able to pressure the audience to make a decision favoring their goals. Victor mentioned that these posters reminded him of Thomas Nast. Although I do admit that both styles are acting upon a political agenda, they are two very different ways of eliciting ideas. I feel as though Thomas Nast was more metaphorical in his political drawings and the meanings had to be deduced after much thought. These messages leave no room for arguing. What is reads is exactly the message. Also, Nast used symbols, not words to communicate. These posters want to be as clear as possible; they do not want to risk confusion. Its interesting to see how motives can influence the delivery of a message.
6. The surrealist paintings are undoubtedly to my liking the most. Salvador Dali is incredible, I love his unique style. Each one of his paintings seems like a dream that takes place in a similar landscape. I get this feeling because of the barren land and large empty skies with odd arrangements of subjects. The surrealist art of Max Ernst is also noteworthy. The styles of grattage and frottage are interesting since they lend to creative styles of getting different effects out of painting. By rubbing and scraping the paint on the surface very interesting textures can be created such as the coral floor. The form of automatism used by Wolfgang Paalen is also very interesting since he would allow his art to take chance to the formation of soot from a candlelight. I find this to be special because it seems as if he leaves the initial stage of his work to chance.7. I found Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s work to be interesting. Looking through his work I especially liked his black and white artwork. What I liked most about this work is I instantly noticed African influences in it and being a fan of African art I felt compelled to check more into his work. My favorite has got to be the second one down since the African influence is very apparent, especially in the faces of the people, and I also like his use of space with the left side of the picture being somewhat empty and then the right side with a lot of commotion. It makes the picture feel very surreal and like a dream.8. The work of Alexey Brodovitch is intriguing to me because of the graphic element. His use of shapes and colors as well as how he implements photography into his magazine pages is done very well. He has a tendency to catch the eye with his design and that is just what a graphic designer needs to be able to do. In the image with the disassembled cubes I liked how he made the image very abstract looking. The way in which he formats text within his articles is interesting since he doesn’t conform it at all to the page but rather to the images on the pages.
I really like designs of Alvin Lustig. Alvin Lustig's contributions to the design of books and book jackets, magazines, interiors, and textiles as well as his teachings would have made him a credible candidate for the AIGA Lifetime Achievement award. What I mostly like about his designs is that he uses simple design and he uses his color palette very well. Amerika by Franz Kafka, 1946 and my favorite, Three Lives by Gertrude Stein, 1945 one of his very good designs that reflect his style very well. His designs draw the audience and attract them in a modern and basic way while keeping its uniqueness at the same time. Unlike other artists Lustig has a distinctive style of using symbolic marks where he adopted those from artists like Mark Rothko. Although he switched from typeface compositions to drawing he didn't really get into drawing. His way of maintaning unity thourough being consistent did not overpower the books but gave them a better new look. I think he was a great artist in influencing and inspiring people from total abstraction to symbolic typography which he was very good at.
I also want to comment about Alvin Lustig. Its hard to believe he died at forty, given the incredible amount of inspired work he was able to produce in that time. His work- whether book jackets, magazine work, ads, interior designs or tapestries- managed to combine the principles of modernity with his personal visions and symbols. The result is highly graphic and remarkably innovative- a "pleasure to the eye" as James Laughlin once called them. Lustig just understood good design... and he also understood the problems facing publishers. He knew that book jackets needed to be attractive to represent the narrative and sell copies but also had to be inexpensive to reprint. To solve these problems, Lustig chose to use fewer colors and created symbols to quickly summarize each book. He was an artist as well as a marketing & advertising genius. Looking at his more abstracted designs, such as the book covers for "The Ghost in the Underblows" by Alfred Young Fischer or Henry Miller's "Wisdom of the Heart" is a bit perplexing at first.. but even in these images he depicts a mood that would make me pick up a copy if I happen to come across it at the bookstore.Its a shame his life was cut short as I'm sure he would have gone on to produce even more amazing work and further his interest in education.
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