Thursday, February 4, 2010

Your turn #3

How about the privilege of commenting on 300 years of graphic design history? What a gamble!


Gloria A. Lastres said...

Each lecture, there’s one work of art that pops out at me. This time it is Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica. When I was a child, my dad brought home a 3D kit of the human body for me to put together. That little anatomy lesson went further than any science book illustration I’ve seen since, and without Fabrica I doubt I’d have had the kit. It was amazing that Vesalius, a Belgian surgeon, was studying and illustrating anatomy as far back as the 16 cent. Also ingenious was his creation of the legend – still in extensive use to this day.

Before Renaissance Humanism there was much guesswork and many errors in the study of anatomy, and Fabrica corrected some of the worst mistakes by studying partially skinned cadavers. Only the study of blood circulation remained elusive, because the blood of the dead no longer flows.

In researching a bit more about Vesalius, I found that there is a 1568 edition of Fabrica donated to Brown University, with its cover made of human skin, not uncommon for the times. I feel of two minds – both creeped out and intrigued.
How about you?

-Gloria Lastres

Sarah said...

Yes, it truly is a privilege to be able to discuss the great artists of design, such as Andrea Vesalius and John Baskerville. Out of the designers that we discussed in class these two artists stuck out in mind.

Andrea Vesalius was quite brilliant and ahead of his time. No one had drawn the body with this type of precision until Vesalius. He defined the contours of the muscles and bones with near accuracy. I was amazed by this near perfect depiction of the body.

I was quite intrigued by the process in which an artist had to partake, in order to draw a life-like skeletal and muscular body. As Professor Tripp, was explaining that artists like Vesalius and Leonardo da Vinci had to go the local “morg” and take several corpses home and cut them open in order to understand what they were going to depict on paper. In order to be precise, the artists would study the dead bodies and then draw. It was perplexing to me, and I could imagine the stench and disgusting nature of this art form. I was impressed by their creativity and their determination to do whatever it took to depict an accurate drawing of the human body.

Another designer that I found interesting was John Baskerville. He was an amazing printer. His typeface was inventive. Baskerville thought of the reader, when he created his typeface. He created a type that was easy on the eye.

I thought it was interesting that Benjamin Franklin was a fan of Baskerville’s lettering style. Even the Declaration of Independence was printed in Baskerville’s lettering style. Baskerville has the one of the most well known typefaces.

Although there are several intriguing artists we studied, these two designers were particularly fascinating to me because of their innovative ideas. Both artists were ahead of their time.

Sarah Gruhn
ARH 346

barnez said...

Thus far we have leapt from the Altamira cave paintings to the Declaration of Independence, set in Baskerville, favored typeface of founding father Benjamin Franklin. We have considered varied written forms - the scroll, the tablet, the codex, the Gutenberg Bible, the Mechanic's Magazine.
What has most impressed me is the invention/evolution of the alphabet itself, and also the idea of literacy as a key element of a democratic society.
Our text briefly summarizes that the vowels of the Phoenician alphabet joined the Greek alphabet and made it more functional. It is hard to imagine the alphabet without vowels - what a good idea to have vowels. At the sack of Rome, the Classical period came to an end, but the Roman letterforms are sustained in western culture today (in fact, express that culture.) I must have learned this in elementary school, yet at this moment the idea of the invention of the alphabet astounds me.
--Grace Barnes

nasha89 said...

I was struck most by the work and discussion of “punk”. First and foremost because I think a lot of the work that came from this group really did make a statement and, in some way or another, affects each viewer. The purpose of these designs was to express something and make a statement, and of course, get a reaction out of viewers. I think punk design was so shocking and unexpected, for example “No Future; God Save the Queen” of the Sex Pistols uses the photo of the Queen of England (normally a very traditional image) and transformed it by adding magazine cut out letters. Not only did this modernize and revolutionize a new form of expression, but also it articulated their feelings about their government by basically degrading and defacing the primary image. I think it is very fitting the call punk the “other romanticism”. They both originate from the same goal of expressing fears or dissatisfaction with society and/or politics.

Nasha Wallin

AlliHeathe said...

Although the recent lecture covered a lot of interesting material, there were a few things that stuck out to me. Those areas that I found most interesting were discussing the men who created the Caslon, Baskerville, and Bodoni fonts. As I type my comment in the Bodoni MT font included in my computer, it is clear to me what an influence these three men have had from their time, as early as the 1700s, to our own time, 2010. I find it quite amazing that a work designed so many years ago is still utilized in several areas of design to date.

Additionally, I really like one piece of design you included with the punk era: The Sex Pistols artwork. I always find that punk themed design attracts my attention due to its rebellious nature. To place newspaper cutouts on top of a classical photo of such a regal nature is incredibly rebellious in itself. In this work, I absolutely love these newspaper cut outs used for the letters. I believe that way too many designers rely on basic, commonly used fonts, such as the basics included above, instead of attempted to use different tools to make their own typography. I find that work looks much more creative with the newspaper cut outs because it gives the design a more interesting scrapbook feel, greatly contrasting the obvious boring computer designed works that many new and learning designers tend to overuse.

- Allison Brown, ARH346

daynzzz said...

Reviewing everything on the blog, the one thing that stuck out to me was this:

Books have always been powerful tools to disseminate ideas. How will it be 200 years from now?

There has been a complete shift in the dissemination of ideas into the digital world. As an advertising major, I can appreciate the power of persuasion. Books like The Communist Manifesto had the ultimate power to change people's minds and its ideas laid the foundation for a revolutionary movement. In this day and age, I think the power of persuasion lies in the digital world, particularly with sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even RSS feeds allow us to crawl pages and pages of information to find things that interest us. I think the internet has enabled such a process and has almost made books obsolete.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some very powerful books that have survived through hundreds and thousands of years, but I think that ideas are spread via the world wide web 100x as fast -- dangerous, yet powerful all in one.

In the next 200 years who knows what will be the source to spread ideas and initiate revolutionary movements. However, I do believe that it won't be books.

-Dayna M. Bieber

Rafaella Medeiros said...

I loved the comparisons of Henricus Hondiu's world map from 1630 and the maps we use today, which are GPS, online maps like mapquest... The maps we do have as posters aren't in any way artistic. Map making used to be a form of art, but it has become simplified by technology. A long with bibles, encyclopedias, and textbooks...

Around 1490 Hondiu produced a terrestrial globe. Martin Behaim, a German navigator and geographer to the King of Portugal, was greatly influenced by Hondiu. In 1492 he produced a terrestrial globe similar to that of Hondiu. They were both heavily influenced by Ptolemy. Behaim's map was called the Erdapfel, is the oldest surviving terrestrial globe.

I was impressed by de humani corporis fabrica, I have never seen anything like this. Why in the present day doesn’t anyone portray the human body like this? It is much more interesting and alive. If I had been told to study the human anatomy from Andrea Vesalius’ skeleton figure I am sure I would remember the images and names vividly. The figure is seen from inside out, what I love most about de humani corporis is its pose. The pose is lively, and graceful, its meant so the viewer is not afraid of it.

Juliana said...

Graphic Design has developed a long way in so many years. I mean technology has taken charge of what us as graphic designers do. To keep up with the growing speed of new software makes it much harder then the “old school” pen and ink. I find that both Baskerville and Bodoni to be incredible artists, both extremely skilled and successful typographers. Down to paper and ink they created one of the most used fonts today.
After class on Thursday, I was thinking of how we are always overwhelmed and bombarded with technology. Of course, I am not taking away from the fact that things have become much easier and accessible, but the simple ways seem to have been more successful, at least in my opinion. For instance, in the past couple of years do we know of any outstanding typographers or have any of them become as popular as Baskerville? I don’t think so. Bascially, I just want to conclude by saying that we are very fortunate to have these typographers as a base to graphic design, in which we can now study the history of each and their fascinating creations.

-Juliana Aragao

Luly said...

It was interesting to go through 300 years of design history in 2 hours. It's not always about designing a page in a bible or a font. Art is about taking risks and it's where your imperfections become perfections. It is the most freest form of expression. Thats why i liked the topic of Punk art. Its a genre that shows ambition, intelligence, and humor. It can encompass anything from scribbled letters to cut outs. The main goal for punk art is shock. Whether it involves making a point with sarcasm or making fun of politics, punk art is a great contributor in the world of art.

- Lourdes Lauredo

Ping said...

During the last lecture we covered and learned about 300 years of graphic design history. To me, the most remarkable aspect from that period was the invention of printing and the unique printing processes that came out of that invention. The earliest technique is woodblock printing. The Chinese were the first to use it to print solid text. Around 1040 A.D., the first known movable type system was created in China. Korea followed, inventing the metal version of that process around 1230 A.D.

In 1439 A.D. Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz developed European movable-type printing. With that came his production of a high-quality, low-cost way to print the bible, which was named the Gutenberg Bible. These advances in printing allowed knowledge and new ideas to spread more quickly and have a greater impact on more lives.

During this period, there was a renaissance of publishers, printers and typographers: Garamond, Cervantes, Kis, Grandjean, Caslon, Baskerville, Fournier, Didot, Bodoni, and Figgins were the best among them. They were a very intelligent and innovative group who created their own fonts and personalized them. Their original typefaces were greatly influential, evidenced by the fact that we are still using many of them today.

Jumping into the present, the evolution of Internet has caused us to forget the aesthetic pleasures that emerged from the printing process -- holding a book in our hands, studying its design, typography, and graphics, as well as feeling the texture of the paper. However, in terms of function, I have to agree that the Internet is now the most immediate and efficient way to communicate and share information with others around the world.

Lisa said...

Seeing Andrea Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica was cool because it's the first representation of how he developed a learning tool (the format of a diagram with an accompanying legend) that is still being used today in textbooks and lectures for all kinds of subjects. His explanations for certain parts of the body may not have been completely accurate, but the way he presented his ideas and observations was extremely effective. He developed a form of communicating info that’s simple, efficient, and useful, and that is the mark of a lasting creation.

We discussed the age of the Internet and how new ideas formed from the presence of the Internet (like Wikipedia overtaking printed encyclopedias, or news websites overtaking newspapers); and it’s very impressive to see one of the first physical representations of an idea that we’ve been using for a few hundred years now, that most likely won’t die out because it’s so effective (Vesalius’ legend). Unlike the physical vehicles that transport information, ways of expressing that information probably don’t die out as easily. Books may leave, but paragraphs will still be used; newspapers may leave, but headlines and titles will still pop out at us; TVs may leave, but shows and movies and plays will still go on. I never knew that the use of a legend had a definite beginning, so that was definitely cool to learn last week.

Lisa Joseph, ARH346

sam said...

Punk and Romanticism covered in the same lecture? Fantastic! Blake has always stood out as an individual artist to me as I have frequently encountered him throughout my Literature classes. He is classified as a member of Romanticism but he has always just been on the cusp of the movement to me and is perhaps more of a precursor to the artists who followed him. An extremely eccentric individual, with ideologies that seem more in line with the flower children of the 1960’s, his images to me are dreamlike and beautiful but tinged with his own view of religion and faith.

Going from Blake to the sharp and hostile Punk movement, brings about an interesting contrast! I never really thought of Punk as being designed before but if we think about the music of the Sex Pistols and the Clash intertwined with the fashion of individuals like Vivienne Westwood, we see a movement completely designed to oppose and undermine societies ideologies.

Sam Martin

pedroiscool said...

One of my favorite class sessions to date. I am an avid lover of all things type. I sketch type and obsess over which to use in my designs.

I especially enjoyed the talk over Baskerville and Bodoni. Both type faces have there merits and both have there uses still today in contemporary graphic design; from body copy in a magazine to company logos. Although both are useful and beautiful in their own right i believe Baskerville is more so, like the saying: Everybody is equal, but some are more equal than others.

I use Baskerville far more than Bodoni because to me it portrays not only classical beauty, but assurance, symmetry, and completeness - as seen in Baskerville's wider x height when compared to Bodoni's taller x height.

All in all a good conversation. I could talk of type for hours!


Jeffrey Stern said...

What I have always found to be the most fascinating and a beautiful element of design, and by that I mean what is commonly referred to as graphic design in the two-dimensional printed sense, is type or more specifically letterforms. I have never attempted to discover the root of this fascination. It occurs to me now having just covered not simply 300 but 3000 years of design and letterforms, that it is the organic pictograms or geometric root shapes of writing that are forms fundamental for humans to appreciate. Being aware of the time and painstaking work that goes into the design of a modern typeface, I failed to give thought to the obvious fact that there is nothing new about this. Careful thought and design has been applied to writing for centuries. And why wouldn't it have been so. Writing represents who we are as a culture, race, and society. When we look at hieroglyphs, or Latin chiseled into a Roman artifact, a Chinese scroll or an illuminated script, printed materials from each succeeding century, we immediately have a myriad of conclusions of the culture that designed and chose that type form to represent something important enough to create a permanent record. It's only natural that great care should be afforded these symbols that will live on beyond our lives.

Betsy said...

Wow. We did cover a lot of history and material last class. Reading through these comments… I agree that the Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica is quite fascinating. I, myself, am quite fascinated by the human figure when making my own art. A class I took used two textbooks: Gray’s Anatomy and Anatomy for the Artist. It is easy to see how well Vesalius laid the groundwork in 1543 for Henry Gray’s work in 1858 (over three centuries later)! The dynamic of covering so many years of history and work so quickly allows easier comparison between generations and generations of artists. I think this is a unique and interesting perspective to be able to see links between artists separated by different periods in history as they are usually addressed in separate lectures if not in entirely separate classes altogether. I find myself, each week, able to sidetrack myself on handfuls of artists when researching the different pieces brought up in class. Wonder how many years we will cover next class…

Thanks, Elizabeth Rice

Betsy said...

The Anatomy for the Artist that I am familiar with is by Jenö Barcsay, and I think it's good if anyon'es interested. Looking on Amazon, however, I saw a few others I'd like to look through... :)

cbfelder said...

As a graphic design major, the history of typeface and the art/craft of printing is a familiar topic, however i am always overwhelmed with the skills and passion both early and modern printmakers possess. It was particularly interesting to see the development toward modern typeface - the stark contrast between illuminated manuscripts and the typefaces and prints during the scientific age of "enlightenment." During last weeks lecture, I took notice of a recurring theme in the history of design, that being the collective rejection of current trends towards it's antithesis. This theme is evident in the development of modern typefaces (bodoni. baskerville, didot) from the gothic, more illustrated old style, to the eventual pining for a return to classic form by the romantic movement.
It seems art and design move in somewhat of a revolution as opposed to a linear path. While we often use classical design to push the boundaries of the modern, there seems to be an inherent desire as humans to artistically revisit the past from time to time.
Charles Felder ARH 346

Rachel said...

In this past lecture the artist that stuck out the most to me was William Blake. The first thing that popped into my head was Vampire Weekends song, One (Blake’s got a new face), but after a bit of research I realized that they do not have any connection. I really enjoyed Blake’s handwriting type face, especially for poetry, it is more personal and brings greater meaning to the words. When presenting the poetry with drawings, his type face’s aesthetics work.
I also really appreciated your thoughts on Wikipedia. I am a fan of Wikipedia and it really bothers me when teachers insist that Wikipedia has no part in your research. I understand why you wouldn’t want to use Wikipedia as your only source, but you wouldn’t do that with any open source. The fact that Wikipedia allows users to edit pages makes it so different than any other book or website. Books are usually created by a few people which means that only their ideas are implemented into the content. Wikipedia attracts thousands of people who actually care enough about the subject, to share their knowledge with no compensation. I think there is a lot going on with publishing that we don’t know about that impedes on the information we read in books. Everyone knows that people alter things in order to better ‘sell’ their work. Wikipedia allows people to edit and challenge information, and attracts all experts on certain subjects. I like the idea of ‘the bottom up’ rather than the encyclopedias, ‘top down’.

silentmonk said...

the curiosity of wikipedia, when it first came out every young person found it astounding because it was an encyclopedia that catered to anything and everything. From the beginning professor have gathered together against it. the beginning may have brought on misinformation that have appeared on paper, but that was only because it was in the first stages and improving everyday.
A couple years have passed since and the online encyclopedia has grown and weeded out much of the misinformation that was placed by its users. But still professor are against the use of it, they only look to the negatives, for us young people we look at it as a resourceful tool when looking into information. the internet yielded as the information highway has an unlimited amount of dead ends when looking for anything. wikipedia is use for any curiosity imaginable, because it serves as a first step into anything that we are looking for because it has become a reliable source. As it expands, i wonder how much more information students and everyone else will look to for in the future.

books, the physical version of the book seems to be disappearing with the advent of the kindle, barnes & nobles version of the kindle and now the ipad. these devices are more environmental friendly for our planet when books are made from wood.i see the pros that technology has and will bring to how books will be read. But for me the feeling is lost , teh feeling of having an actual book in your hands as your go through its pages reaching the end,the feeling is not there with the kindle. but that is my opinion of what books may look like in the future, but i will continue to stick with non electronic books.

-carlos franco

Kendra said...

The discussion of the Baskerville font particularly caught my interest. I thought it was most interesting that the font he invented became so popularized, so much so that Benjamin Franklin even brought it over to the US. It was even used in most of the federal publishing that went on in America, and is still commonly used today. It's fascinating that something as simple as a clean, well-designed font can have such an impact, and such longevity. To me this indicates the immense impact any form of design can have-- whether it be font, city planning, sculpture, event, etc. Who can guess whether or not a cleverly designed building will be influential 20, 30, 100 years from now? It's entirely possible, and Baskerville's prolific font is an example of such a clever design that stuck around.

Kendra Zdravkovic

Julia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia said...

I am not a graphic designer but have always been intrigued by the concept of design in books, on posters, websites, etc. And I have always loved art, be it painting, photography, drawing, etc. And living in Miami, I have been able to experience Art Basel three years in a row. But I feel that art today is so isolated from the rest of society. Society puts an emphasis on advancement and technology and that usually comes in the form of medicine, engineering, business, etc. These are the way that the country makes advancements. I feel at times that the arts have been forgotten, or made into something extracurricular, not something central, something vital. But in graphic design perhaps there is an exception. Technology is obviously the way of the future, and I think Baskerville and Bodoni are two artists that have truly influenced this art of the future, proving that artists do still make a huge impact on the present day.
- Julia Ardila

AlexBroadwell said...

I particularly enjoyed your discussion of punk in relation to design. The Sex Pistols image showcases the "DIY ethic" and "non-conformity" aspects of punk culture that you discuss in the post. The image leaves nothing to subtlety and appears very thrown together, much like the loud, lo-fi music that it accompanies. In reality, it was probably fairly carefully planned out to showcase the band's aesthetic and represent its ideals. This façade of low quality backed by careful construction has become a staple of punk and punk influenced design and music, and many bands have been criticized for abandoning this and adopting higher production values. If the "God Save The Queen" image had just one element changed, such as using a normal, uniform typeface, or using a less worn-looking photograph, it would completely lose its effectiveness, and the low quality, DIY aesthetic would perhaps look accidental. But the entire image is consistent, and the viewer recognizes this, and understands the message. This concept still applies today.

-Alex Broadwell