The primary impression this section left me with was the sheer amount of work, skill, and patience these early “graphic designers” went through to achieve such intricate works of art. It’s easy to forget how efficient technology has made us, and how most of the tedious tasks of the past are now automated. Which reminds me, in class it was mentioned that a large portion of high-school students in today’s world don’t even have a basic grasp of science (among other things), and I’m sure it’s possible the “ease” of our technological age plays a part in that academic laziness, but these statistics don’t bother me much. For instance, if a brilliant inventor like Gutenberg can create what he did, at a time when today’s “academics” were still in their infancy, I’m hesitant to assume it was his schooling that lead him to the invention of moveable type. I’d sooner assume it was his passion for a particular subject that led him to excel, and I believe it is the same for many other great minds of past and present. We’re not all called to be intellectuals in the sense of general knowledge, but I do believe we all have special field of interest that will ultimately be the focus of all our hard work and creative energy. If anything, the technology of today will only allow us more time and energy to spend on the creative side of the work we choose to pursue, with the minor side-effect of increased laziness in modern youth. -Gabriel
Well said, Gabriel! That is exactly how I feel about technology and its effect on us this day in age. We can choose to use it as a crutch or a stepping stone. If you are passionate enough, you'll use it wisely.Irelis
The Nuremberg Chronicle really stood out to me in the last class. I couldn’t believe how much detail went into both the letters and the illustration itself. In my opinion it was one of the most visually appealing layouts and designs that we saw. I thought it integrated both the text and illustration in a very well thought out way. It was interesting to see the shift from the hand printed materials to the incunabulum works such as this one. Seeing the process it took to create these prints and then comparing it to the system that had been used for hand writing books and manuscripts, I began to really think about how long the process had once taken and how much time was being saved by printing. It’s interesting even to compare the printing process when it first began, to how quick it is now to print hundreds of copies of the same book. It makes me appreciate even more the first books and manuscripts that were made by people sitting and writing out each line. -Nicole Collazo
In class we discussed how “Beliefs were (and still are) formed by exposure to graphic representation”. I can’t think of a more catastrophic event than the Holocaust which was fueled by graphic design. I recently saw an exhibition called “Propaganda” at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC. I expected to see only fear tactics. There were images of wholesome after school programs, children reading books, and playing board games. I also saw a documentary of a man reminiscing about a huge parade he went to as a child. He loved being in the excitement watching the massive number of soldiers, stepping in perfect unison. People had a sense of community and protection. Afterward he ran home, waving his flag only to find his mother furious because they were Jewish. I believe the message is to understand the importance of critical thinking, when looking at propaganda, even if it seems fun and harmless. I highly recommend this exhibit, and it’s free. http://www.ushmm.org/propaganda
The concept of graphic design being a part of everyday life, without even being aware of it, is starting to become a realization for me. I had never even thought of the design or thought process that goes in to the development of a GPS – and how the design has to work in conjunction with technology. I pinpoint the GPS concept, because I think that others obviously have realized the link to art. Google maps street view has begun working with museums to showcase a piece of art from cooperating museums that can be found when one is trying to map out their destination or simply bored while patrolling the internet. Google has combined the graphic design concepts of their maps with real tangible views of the world and what can be found within them!- Nicole Foss (sorry had to redo since I forgot to put my last name on the previous post)!
The book of hours really stood out to me. In my opinion, it is one of the most colorful, richly illuminated and elaborate works that we have seen so far. In looking at one of the book of hours you could just get a sense of the amount of passion and pride that went into it. I found out that sometimes these books were wedding presents from husband to bride; it was a personal thing. When comparing it to books, bibles, etc of today I don’t really get that sense of passion and pride, there’s no longer that personal aspect. It’s interesting to see how much we really have come a long way; the time that must have gone into any of the works in that time period must have been maybe months or even years. Nowadays, we don’t have to spend so much time producing bibles, books, posters, comic s or anything for that matter; we have machines to do it for us. All we really have to do is come up with the idea. It just really makes me appreciate the works that were first made more.- Carolina Fernandez
During last weeks class, the topic of what is beauty left me intrigued. In class it was defined as elegance, proportion and femininity and the dictionary defines it as a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses. Although beauty is often associated with a notion of perfection, to me, beauty is seeing or feeling something for (or like) the first time. Beauty can be a moment, a place or an experience. Beginning with Di Vinci’s days of human anatomy, the concept of beauty has evolved from his perfection of proportions of the human body. Beauty is now a word that can be used to describe moments in time, places, events, feelings, experiences, not just things we perceive to be aesthetically pleasing. -molly cohen
I often find myself having a discussion with my father about things that Gabriel mentioned in his comment. In an age where everything we do is so fueled by technology, its easy to forget what was created before by human hands. A great example of that is the Nuremberg Chronicle. Imagine for a moment that the Nuremberg Chronicle never came to be, that incunabulum was not thought of. If not for these ideas and creations of centuries ago, would we have come up with the idea to improve on said techniques? Its progress. In society we progress so much, that sometimes everyone needs a moment to step back and look at the foundation that our current environment rose from. In the world of today, there are too many Hartmann Schedel's for any one to stand out.
Stunning, to me, were the maps of the seventeenth century not only for their excellent attention to detail and their exquisite decoration and design, but also for the magnificent interpretation of space. The development of the concept of projecting spherical space onto a flat surface is a great one, and the advancement of maps from the 16th century onward as the world was slowly being discovered is enthralling. What also captivated me was the way we perceive maps in today’s world. It seems as though the art of creating a map has been replaced by the convenience of possessing a GPS. And I specifically agree with what you mentioned last Thursday about getting lost, what a glorious experience that is. I learned the whole layout of Broward County by getting lost, and loved every minute of it. People now can drive the same road everyday listening to their instructions and still not know how to get to their destination on their own. This is why I don’t really appreciate these new “maps”. However, I didn’t realize that even the making of the GPS is a design driven question. It is fascinating, to say the least. -Diane Trif
One of the most striking topics we discussed last class was a most outstanding printed book - the Nuremberg Chronicle. This incunabulum successfully and beautifully combined both illustrations and text in a most impressive, innovative manner. The Chronicle also represents a huge transition in time - the movement from a hand written culture to an advancing printing culture. The Chronicle contains close to 2,000 woodcut illustrations, which must have been astounding to readers. Something interesting that was brought up in our last class is the fact that we mindlessly browse through images in books and magazines as if we are scanning through the channels on our television sets. Today we are so overwhelmed by a clutter of images that we are desensitized to most of them. In contrast, readers presented with the images in the Chronicle were surely intrigued by their presence, and one could even argue they were probably more “appreciative” of printed images than we are today.-Alexandra Goldman
Something that stood out to me during our last session was the way that Aldus Manutius started to have fun with text and image, creating a sort of new aesthetic for designers of the time. This got me thinking that because there was so little exposure to design principles in the 1500s, it was easy for writers and illustrators to stand out from the rest. With Manutius’ Bembo typeface, he created a new mold for print, and later, for page design. His formation of text into shapes seems so ahead of his time, as well as his use of images and text on the page. This brings me to another point addressed in class: Why does the unsaid convention exist where academic books are designed so rigidly, never pushing any boundaries of design? It seems like it would be rather simple for someone to come along and design a more visually interesting textbook, making a name for his or herself as an inventive graphic designer. I think we should learn from Manutius and take more risks in the design world today.-Lisa Trucchio
I find the “Dance of Death” Medieval allegory to be symbolic and representative to all human beings from the earliest time in history to the future days ahead. Dating back to the middle of the fourteenth century when the Black Death was present this allegory/artistic device communicated the message and overall realization of death to all classes of society. It seems as though these illustrations did not serve as a form of destruction but rather a message from God summoning men to the world beyond the grave. With the development of art, the dance of death has and will most definitely continue to become a popular theme portraying an equivalency of eternal beings and vampires through characters exemplified in modern day film and musical settings. I find it captivating that these allegories of death served as some of the earliest forms of graphic design for a civilization that has grown immensely and continues to attribute such dramatic representations to everyday life and culture. The “Twilight” series that attracts much of our society today is the perfect equivalency to the dance of death and this leaves one to wonder what will future creatives do next when representing and illustrating the realisms of everyday life?- Ashley Johnson
Our past class forced me to acknowledge the tremendous amount of dependence our culture has on technology. I now realize that the creative style choices in design are not only in the hands of the designers. The aesthetic styles are absolutely interconnected with the technology of the specific time in history in which the design was created. In addition, the style forms also represent products of cultural influences and the values and beliefs of a certain culture and time period. Last Tuesday’s class made me aware of the fact that technological means are not responsible for the creation of digital media. Technology has merely aided in the advancement of graphic design. After our last class, I began to compare and contrast images from the Nuremberg Chronicle to today’s computerized images. It is fascinating to examine how the graphic styles and images look drastically different when the method of creation shifts from man to computer. Lara Rosenbaum
I was curious about the way people started using typography and how their designs to deliver information through writings became incredible works of art including decorative designs and letter forms. Not much has changed, since we adopted these design settings, which sometimes may be predetermined for what the content of the reading is and maybe its time for someone to break the mold and show us a different approach. Nicole Brener
I do agree that the human race seems to have taken two steps back with the advancement of technology and that it isn't a case of because of this, that happened but rather the desire for things to be done for us is a more tempting thought than we'd like to admit. Like Gabriel said, if select individuals were able to make history in a limited time, then the reality is that we make things what they are. Technology is not to blame. From the start, design's purpose is to embellish the message and to make sense of an idea. Beauty in design is much more than just appealing to what is aesthetically pleasing, it is the formation of a concept with content that creates the idea. That to me is the beauty of design. I would also like to note that I greatly admire the practice of design from back in the day. It was a much longer process than it is now, with plenty of times being filled with trial and error to create something. It is the passion and ultimate goal of producing the material that is very admirable. Kenneth Garcia
What really interested me in this section was Geoffroy Tory’s design for educational textbooks. We as students have several books for class that we look at and study every single day. I never once looked at the design of the books and how the designers collaborate pictures, graphs and equations so perfectly. Not only that, but the pictures flow so nicely with the text and don’t distract the reader. He not only has the main text, but he also has captions for the pictures and also has footnotes, which are included in all textbooks today. To think how easily books are created today, makes you really appreciate the “graphic designers” who started it all. Every letter in every word is precisely printed. Textbooks have obviously become way more basic and plain compared to what they once were, but Tory’s basic design has been used and manipulated for hundreds of years.- Megan Jacobson
The fact that Graphic Design is a part of almost anything we view is kind of stunning. The fact that it can even be used in GPS systems just shows how much Graphic Design is used. From the earliest days of civilization to present time, Graphic Design has always been constant. I just think that now with all the modern technology that is available to us, Graphic Design is being pushed to the forefront. Graphic Design is an innovative ways of people being able to show what their beliefs, and morals truly are. But yet it can also be a tool used to express emotions, or just simply create something cool. I’ve always been a visual person with everything that I’ve done in my life, but to see that it’s been this way since the beginning of man is truly astonishing. Never did it occur to me that Graphic Design actually began when Man began creating art. -Ernesto Ramirez
What a concept typography was. Its an art in itself. Society was finally able to read. Information was able to get ditributed. This was the evolution of graphic design as we know it. Advestisment was now the turn of he century. The reader was finally getting messages.Dalia Rojas
I’m fascinated with the way we socialize with images. These Images/illustrations really do effect our everyday decision, opinions and fill this ……I’m not sure how to articulate. …… need? Perhaps. Whatever it is –we cannot deny that we live in a time of extraordinary access to the deepest corners of private and public life. We are living in the most stimulating, bombarding, and instant anything time in the history of the world. It’s this access, this technology, that I feel has led us to become these “image hunters”. As was stated in your lecture” It is why the magazine section in book stores is the most crowded”. These Technologies have also giving us two lives to live. What I’m saying is that we have our life of reality and our virtual life as well (facebook, blog spot or any other social tool). Everyday we wake up and have to take care of ourselves .We also have to take care of our virtual self as well -by updating statuses and pictures. I know that Technology is a tool that is intended to make our lives easier but for me-in some fascist’s -it seems to make more work. Finally, if I recall correctly-we purposed that younger generations who have been brought up with this world of instant access are lazy and possibly less intelligent.Lazy-defiantly –Less intelligent-possibly but- how can we blame them for being this way.? We stare at screens all day and things come to us-we no longer go to them. Our current education system was conceived during the enlightenment and still practiced the same way to this day. - Thomas Engleman
The image that stood out the most during last week’s lecture was Andrea Vesalius: De Humani corporis fabrica circa 1543. It is amazing the detail in every muscle, ligament, joint etc. Science and art are beautifully displayed in this piece. He is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy and deservingly so, incredible how almost 500 years later, the identification of the human body traces back to Vesalius. The professor made an interesting point about how the mass is enamored with images. We pick up magazines and hardly ever read the material, because of the sheer focus on the images. I love the plethora of images that google provides me, but how about reading something without any images and letting your imagination paint a story. I will be the first to admit, I would rather pick up a magazine with mesmerizing photographs, than to read a book. The evolution of graphic design since Gutenberg is remarkable, from beautifully drawn maps to Captain America fighting Hitler. Pictures along with text make it more exciting. One of my favorites, Robert Crumb, does an excellent job of using risqué comics and illustrations; I would like to see more of his work during class. Dongo
I find it funny how you quickly mentioned manga, and switched off into comics, probably a more widely read form of visual novels in America. I have been reading manga for a bit over 10 years and have notice the drastic decrease in quality, in favor for quantity. Nowadays, it is just a matter of once a week, 12-19 page a chapter business, churning out the same stereotypical loser, or apathetic person out to save the world. Not to mention the lack of originality on the plot either. Series like Bleach, Naruto, and many other cash cows are pretty much ripped off of classics like Yu-yu Hakusho, or even Dragon Ball.But it is not the plot or character development that irks me a lot, but rather the time taken into drawing each panel. If it is not one giant indecipherable cluster fuck (pardon my language), it is most likely full panel art work that looks like the artist has not even put any effort into the drawing at all. Please, compare the cult classic Akira to anything mainstream like Bleach. Look how much attention to detail the artist for Akira has placed into their work, every thing is finely drawn, detailed to the smallest shadow; while Bleach, a fun read, visually appetizing for the average testosterone driven otaku teens, its just no comparison to Akira.my 2 centsPhu Nguyen
For a long time, I’ve known about Tyndale, the publishing house. I never knew the history of the man that inspired their name, William Tyndale. When I saw him mentioned in class I was interested to know more about his story. Therefore, this post will mainly be informative of the brief research I did to satisfy my curiosity.As mentioned in class, Tyndale’s English translation of the Bible (the first to do so directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts) did not sit well with the Roman Catholic Church. To make matters worse, he also wrote The Practyse of Prelates, a piece which opposed Henry VIII’s divorce because it was not in accordance to scriptures. Tyndale was far too controversial, a heretic in the church’s eyes. Therefore, he was strangled and burned at the stake. He didn’t quite get to finish translating the entire Bible, but he made great progress towards a cause that he believed in: to give every person an opportunity to read the Bible. Only four years after his execution, four English translations of the Bible were published in England. I was also fascinated to discover that Tyndale had a huge impact on the English language by coining several words and phrases. For example, Tyndale introduced: Jehovah, Passover, scapegoat, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, twinkling of an eye, and many more. I find William Tyndale courageous and zealous for persevering to achieve what he believed in.Nataly Guevara
I was left thinking about your comment that it is difficult to surprise people with images anymore. Our lives have become so inundated with graphics that we tend to take them for granted. In class, you showed us an example from Manutius’s "Hypnerotomachia poliphili," which featured a combination of black and white text and image. You described this as being “audacious” for the time, which really puts into perspective the overreliance of today’s society on images. Where it was once risky to assist text with graphics it is now expected—necessary, even—in order to keep the viewer’s attention. Today the most popular books are nearly always accompanied by a blockbuster movie, and magazines now draw more readership than novels. This really leads me to question: have we become so dependent upon images that we can no longer separate them from words?
Gabriel made a good connection between Gutenberg and the intense workmanship that went into the early graphic designs of comics. Looking at this cover, it is similar to the pages of Gutenberg’s Bible. These time consuming, and labor- intensive pieces of art have been replaced with modern technology, allowing the computer to take the creative place of the artist. After careful examination of the cover of Captain America, it is also apparent that world affairs was made visible through artistic methods, keeping the American public aware of global issues. Guttenberg’s Bible, spread the word of the Old and New Testament, while comics played a role in spreading visual and written word of global issues, both acted as catalyst in passing on information. Today, graphic design has taken much of the effort and creativeness out of art, yet it has opened the door for more people to participate in this art form who may not have the natural ability to draw. Derek Arfman
After the previous lecture, I noted the vibrancy of colors and intricate detail of the Book of Hours, Paris, 1410. This book is the most typical type of surviving medieval manuscript. Out of curiosity, I looked for how these ornate Christian decorations were formed during the Middle Ages with the minimal amount of tools used. The term manuscript means handwritten and the sheets of the book were cut to size where areas were painted with an image or historiated majuscule—otherwise known as the larger letter with a small scene painted in it. The colors were made from pigments compounded from vegetable and animal material. Also, gold leaf was stuck to tissue-thin sheets, and the most high-priced color was the blue that comes from lapis lazuli—a stone imported from Afghanistan. These paintings were known as miniatures from the Latin term, minum, which refers to the red pigment. Comparing these manuscripts to the high tech graphic colors used with software like Photoshop today, I draw inspiration from the patience and detail illustrated by the early graphic designers.- Erin Evon
Henricus Hondius’ World Map- it brought me back to my childhood when I was sitting in the back seat of the car and my mom asked me to get the map out of the seat pouch. As I looked at map of New Jersey, I would also look at the rest of the states- fascinated. I longed to visit everywhere, and like you said in the lecture, to “get lost” and go exploring. It’s the best way to learn, about anything and everything. The fact that this is not the case anymore- the use and presence of maps, is saddening, as we let GPS take over (to the point that people actually name their systems) and all we see are simple, colored representations of the same roads we drive down every day. We are directed, actually told out loud, how to get to our next destinations, leaving even the risk of getting lost out of the question. No looking at maps, seeing the geographically outlines of countries and cities, or the expanse of the oceans and rivers, no closing our eyes and letting our fingers flow until we make a sudden stop which denoted our next destination in life. Exploration has taken it’s toll- if you get lost today, your GPS will simply say “re-calculating” and tell you how to get back en route as it sits in it’s holder right in front of you on your dashboard. Maps are a great loss, and the mere feeling of exhilaration one gets by just looking at one is even a bigger loss. Imagine if our greatest designers made a map of the world now? How sublime… a topographically artistic bonanza…-Kate Festa
The notion of standardization is the topic which most stood out in my mind during our last class. Looking at pieces such as Gutenberg’s Bible and Ratdolt’s Euclid’s Elements of Geometry reinforces in my mind the overt attempt to create a unified printing style that persists in the modern era.Like we discussed, these works could very well pass as modern day prints. I find the attempt to standardize more amazing that the feat of printing itself because it required rigorous attention to detail and an artistic consensus across land and language borders on the standards of printmaking. It is my opinion that the humanist ideal of perfection is what truly propelled these print makers to print to a “higher ideal”. Extrapolating from this notion of standardization is the inevitable desire to deviate from these standards. Illustrated in Vesalius’ “De Huamni Corporis Fabrica” and Tory’s “Champfleury” printmaking took an experimental turn which is indicative that standardization succeed. It is only after perfecting a craft, can one truly deviate from the norm and experiment.
I was really interested in the story of Johannes Gutenberg. I was really amazed by his success and how his invention of the mechanical movable type printing created a Printing Revolution. His story also had a sad side, which was when his partner betrayed him, and I was really impressed by this fact so I went to search for more information. Gutenberg was a very inventive person, but he didn't had the money to produce his inventions, so he conviced the wealthy Johann Fust for a loan. Apparently, after a dispute between the two partners, Gutenberg was accused of misusing the funds and this landed him on court. Of course Gutenberg was found guilty and was left in bankruptcy. He later re-started a small printing shop. This story really proves that times have not change, I feel that the story could repeat itself again today with a person who is as creative and does not have the funds to move forward. But the good side of the story is that at least he was recognized as a great inventor and although he didn't had the money and he was bankrupt at the end, he was able to find success. Micole Alkabes
The thing that strikes me the most of these topics and pieces of history is the fact that the ingenuity was already there to begin with. All of the examples shown have turned out to be great examples of graphic design and even though they are some of the first examples of the printing process, they already show incredible intelligence and thought into how the form, order and design play into the product they are making. You would expect, or at least I would, that being the first things of its kind, that there would be some kind of errors in the initial processes and a gradual working into a perfected outcome but instead what we see is a mastering of an art from the beginning and that is what really fascinates me. So perfected do they already have the art that they can already start to experiment and break the rules as with Euclid’s Element of Geometry and Manutius' Hypnerotomachia poliphili.-Eduardo Prieto
Garamond is a font that I have been familiar with since I probably began using a computer. However, I just knew it as a font until probably last year when it was introduced in graphic design class as one of the main fonts, along with Helvetica, that is could be used. I found it very interesting that there is a story behind every font. Before these classes I never really thought twice about any of the types being more than just a font. I found it very interesting and quite unfortunate that he couldn’t benefit from his typesets during his life but instead he died in poverty. I suppose the time period that he lived in had something to do with that; it was a lot harder to accept the new things. I guess it just shows just how difficult it is to know the impact that ones creative abilities will have until years even decades later. -Carissa Harris
One of the posts that caught my eye the most, probably because it was such a different theme, was the post on Robert Crumb. Reading about him on his website, where he discusses how he got to where he is now and the events that made and broke him, http://www.crumbproducts.com/aboutcrumb_roughing.html , a couple of things struck me. One is the fact that, although his art form is not nearly as popular as the underground movement that made him a star, he is still at it. People are surprised that he is still doing what he’s always done - unconventional (and for some - offensive) comics, whether or not they are really selling as they once did. I think that’s the sign of true artistry. The other point that drew me was the burnout that he put himself through when he almost mass-produced work during the golden era of underground comics, the early seventies. You can see his remorse for letting the quality of his work fall by the way side because of the quantity that was expected of him. Partly, he feels it was his ego that made him think the world depended on his work but I feel that he was just trying to take advantage of his fame, which almost always fades. I believe this is a lesson that every artist whose work gets recognized must learn.-Irelis Milhet
The most intriguing aspect of graphic design so far is the challenge that composition presented. Composition has always been difficult, but I imagine the invention of the printing press made it even harder. Originally layouts would have been decided before the scribe began writing and illustrating their task (for example, illuminated manuscripts), but there was some flexibility. Since they were doing both the text and the illustrating by hand, if an error occurred they could account for that by changing the size or placement of something else on the page. However, the printing press would have made this almost impossible. The printer would have to block out space for text and space for illustrations before they started, and repeat that for every page of the book. This was very well done in the Nuremburg Chronicles, but especially so in the Tyndale Bible. The page shown on the class website shows that the first page has the first eighteen lines of text indented with an illustration to its left. The printer had the foresight to leave just enough space for the illustration, fitting it snugly next to the beautifully printed text. It must have been extremely time-consuming, and makes me appreciate Publisher!
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