One of the most intriguing observations that you made during class was the statement that design had overcome language. This is something that I hadnt even realized. Sometimes I fail to realize/accept that symbols are a part of the history of graphic design. It is a graphic that had to be designed. I am almost ashamed to admit this since I would like to work in the field of graphic design and I use symbols in some of my designs. It is so mindboggling that in the 21st century we don’t even need words to give instructions. In many things that I have to assemble, I don’t even look at the written directions because it is easier to look at a diagram. In many cases now for certain things, there aren’t even any written directions. Instead there might be a diagram on the box or on a small sheet of paper. I am not sure if this is because designers thought this would be easier or the fact that less paper can be used because most symbols are universal and can cross mostly all languages. Yet I wonder if it is a testament to the time period in which we live in, where we want everything as fast as possible. No one has time to comprehend what instructions are telling us. There is no need for the details anymore that instructions could provide. Usually I am not a fan of this microwave generation but in this case I appreciate the simplicity that it has brought to connecting my printer. -Carissa Harris
One of the topics that stood out to me was the use of typography by Herb Lubalin. I liked how his approach with typography was not one of just adding letters to a page, but rather he realized that type is just as much an integral part of the design as everything else on the page. I really liked his concept of "designing with letters". I love how he was able to take a black and white page with no photos or graphics and convert it simply using type. This led me to realize how many objects around us in our daily lives have type. Whether its looking at a label on a water bottle or anything else, the type used is an element of design. Someone had to think about typeface, font size, color, etc with even the simplest of type. I always knew this, but I had never really thought twice about it. It's amazing to see how much design is around us even in the most unexpected places and how important typography is. Lubalin had it right in placing so much emphasis on typography and treating it as an element to tie everything together.
I’m intrigued by the brief mention of “design in everything” last class because it’s something I’ve always believed is true for anyone who’s willing to stop and look for it. Of course “everything” doesn’t leave much room for exceptions, like the chaos and destruction we see in the world that we have trouble rationalizing artistically or spiritually, but in spite of the obvious exceptions, I think there’s an overwhelming sense of intricacy that pervades nature and is accented by our creative tendencies. I’d argue that design is something we channel from a variety of sources, be it our own or others expressions, or even from forces we’re unaware of. This uniquely human trait of ours is no doubt a powerful force in itself, and like any powerful thing can be used for good or exploited for evil, the evidence for this in the world of graphic design being military or war propaganda. In the modern age we are well aware of the influence advertising has, and in the case of war time countries, we clearly see graphic design being used as a tool to spread fear, guilt, and anger in hopes of inspiring action in the people. It’s in cases like this where I think graphic design ceases to be a form of art and enters into a realm of weaponry and exploitation. But perhaps this state only lasts as long as the war itself lasts, for much of the propaganda from the past is now studied based on its artistic merits, proving in most cases that it was indeed well crafted toward its purpose, be it for good or evil.- Gabriel
I’ m disappointed that I missed the last class because it looks like we discussed the Bauhaus Schools. The Bauhaus changed design, molded a new breed of artist, Graphic designers and Architects. The Bauhaus school design in Dessau is my favorite of the houses. The uses of glass and vertical and horizontal lines is a very futuristic and streamline building for its time. (Not to mention hansom). The Weimar location harbored one of my favorite artists of the Bauhaus School, Laszlo Moholy -Nagy. I was introduced to his Mixed media work a few years ago and couldn’t believe how contemporary they feel to me. Even during this years Art Basel I can remember seeing a dozen artist works operating in the same vane. The Minimal shapes and objects, broken / open picture planes and positive negative shapes are truly arranged in a perfect composition.(Jealousy, 1927)I use Nagy Design arrangements within my own artwork as well.Thomas Engleman.
I have enjoyed learning about photo-montage a lot. I never really thought of it as art in the way that photography, painting, etc. are art, probably because I find it hard to separate from elementary school collages. It still does not aesthetically appeal to me nearly as much as most other things we've learned about, but I'm starting to appreciate that it was once a radical change. One thing that I like about it is that it seems to pick up on the Bauhaus idea that "materials must talk". I think this could have a few different meanings: that designers shouldn't bend the inherent traits of a material too much, that they should be used for what they're meant to be used for. I'm inclined to think that maybe it's just as simple as you need to be able to tell that the material is itself. I don't know if it's because we only see 2-D images of art when we study them, or if it's just the contrast of the mixed media, but photo-montage is the first kind of art in awhile where I can sense what the materials were. It's a very intriguing art form, and really hints at the process behind it. It's sampling work and making it into art, even though the original image maybe wasn't necessarily seen as art beforehand. It has similarities to present day music sampling, and I was wondering if artists encountered some of the same copyright infringement problems with photo-montage that musicians do today? Or would they only sample their own work?
Last class I was intrigued by Alexey Brodovitch, and all that he has exerted on the glamour and elegance of fashion photography. His contributions to Harper’s Bazaar gave the magazine a distinct feel, especially in terms of story-telling . He achieved this though on-location photo shoots as compared to the typical fashion photography photo shoots used by other fashion publications. Through this cinematic effect, Brodovitch was able to use photographs as if they were stills from a film and create a narrative, which was able to be interpreted by the reader. His first example of this was seen on a one page spread, which featured a woman in a full-length Dior gown posed between two circus elephants. I find Grace Coddington, the Creative Director for Vogue magazine to have a very similar approach in the styling and production for fashion photography shoots. Just as Alexey Brodovitch, Grace is able to create this magical story, which incorporates a historical perspective on art and fashion. Her eye for perfection is what makes the entire picture work together and tell a story; it’s a matter of the lighting, location, make-up, outfits, and overall tone that gives her photos a fantasy-like feel, while still being glamorous. I find her work to be extremely inspiring and by watching “The September Isuue” you can learn so much more about her past a model and how it has influenced her work. - Ashley
“Design in Everything.” This also leads to the downside of artistic creations which is design versus functionality. In the case of architects, Frank Lloyd Wright is an excellent example of his work blending into the environment, being a part of the nature it has replaced. Unfortunately, this artistic dreaming doesn’t always lead to the most useful happenings. Building a tree into a house, sounds magnificent, but it also means that to this day – that house has a dead tree inside of it. Building no two fireplaces the same is incredible, but building one that cannot have a fire because the design causes the firewood to fall and possibly burn the house down is not ideal for a living situation or a cold, wintry night. Falling Water is unlivable, though craved for by nearly every person that walks through its doors. Design is everywhere, and it doesn’t have to be all that useful to be desired!- Nicole Foss
I find what you said last class about photo montage and collage captivating. You described it as "the force of collage, when you are imposing on time and space and anything can happen, like in the world of quantum mechanics, where nothing reacts quite the same way." That collage is history. I had never thought about it that way and it was actually very inspiring to the point that it made me want to create. It made it seem exciting, which in turn made me think about design. How design changes the way we perceive, but also, in terms of collage, or any other medium for that matter, the way we remember. There are so many images I recall from my childhood that have meaning to me and are the products of design. If collage is history, then can we create and recreate history in whichever way we wish? It's almost as if we have control over how we remember something. Makes me want to create something that changes the way I feel about the past.-Diane Trif
I want to focus on the WWII propaganda pieces that were shown in class. The topic at hand has always been a very sensitive subject and the way that it was used in those days is still intriguing. The fact that design was mainpulated to evoke just as much, if not more, emotions than the words used. Typography and color build up this emotions whether they are for or against. Fear and rage are shown through the big type and the color choice, particularly the color red and even the use of italics. I also noticed the great abundance of sans serif use for these posters and wonder why that is so? The exaggeration of type matches the illustration and makes me wonder if the designers of these posters were, to some extent, trying to subtly show how out of proportion the message of these posters were.
I really enjoy El Lissitzki’s 1929 poster, “Russische Ausstellung”(U.S.S.R. Russian Exhibition). Not only is it a beautiful image, but I respect that he is promoting gender equality. The image is a close up and intimate view of two faces, side by side. One is a teenage boy and the other a girl. They are merged together to the point that they almost appear to be twins and even share an eye. I believe this is symbolic to mean they see the world from the same perspective and that the world will see them as equals. At first glance this is a beautiful picture. Some people are quickly turned off by angry women so I feel his approach is very effective. The view point comes from below their faces, looking upward. It makes them look honorable as if we can expect great things for them and society’s future in general.Michelle Roy
What I found to the be the most interesting from last class are the World War Two propaganda posters. The first thing that caught my eye with the posters are the colors and fonts used. Whatever mood the designer was trying to evoke, they used the perfect colors to correspond with it. Red and yellow were used a lot because most of the images on the posters wanted to give the feeling of rage and fear. The fonts used were also very big and bold which help them to pop out of the poster. Another thing I found interesting about the World War Two propaganda posters are how blunt they are. Most of them don’t beat around the bush and say exactly what they want you to know. -Megan Jacobson
I missed last Thursday's class, so I was looking down the topics that were covered and I realized that WWII propaganda was briefly covered. Since I am studying Propaganda in one of my other classes, the topic is of great interest to me. It is fascinating to me how far propaganda has come from WWII. The word propaganda lost its neutrality, and subsequent usage has rendered the term pejorative. When we identify something as being "propaganda" we are suggesting that it is something negative and dishonest. It seems that nowadays, everywhere we turn we see some sort of propaganda, from TV commercials to magazine ads even at the movie theaters. I feel at times that it is just too much and they are going too far. I wonder if there will be a time when enough is enough. - Carolina Fernandez
Alexey Brodovitch is a personal favorite of mine because he has played a very inspirational role in my life as a graphic designer. Alexey Brodovitch revolutionized the world of magazine design through the use of elegant typography and minimalistic design. He created his own original double-page layouts, which took full advantage of the use of white space. He perfected his page layouts to display absolute sophistication and simplicity. I appreciate how he did not overcrowd his layouts with an overload of text, and instead used one or two images per page, which embraced the beauty of blank space. It still amazes me how his magazine layouts were so contemporary and fashionable for his time. He would often crop images and place them off-center or in an unusual place on the page which brought a vibrant new energy to magazine layouts. I appreciate the way in which he would display the model as a silhouette or remove the facial features from the image so the reader could place his/herself in a world of high fashion and fantasy. Brodovitch modernized magazine design through his bold fashion page layouts, which serve as models of design inspiration for me today. Lara Rosenbaum
Design in Everything is an interesting concept because it is one that I have always believed in myself. I am a visual person so I always notice pictures before I ever notice the typography. I feel though that design has always and will always be used in everyday things. You can date back to the earliest of times and you can see that design has always been used especially as a form of advertisement. As long as businesses are operating there will always be designs in everything. Not only is design an art form but it is a business. Design is critical to the world, in the sense that it gives life to things. Without visuals objects would be plain. There would be no illustrations, no pictures nothing but your mind. I personally cannot look at an object without seeing the design first. But it might just be me being a visual person so who really knows if design truly is in everything.
What I found most interesting about last class was the discussion of collages and photomontages. Growing up having to make collages for my early education classes, I always felt like I was just absolutely and barbarically “destroying” images by cutting and pasting them. I’ve realized in actuality I was just creating a newer, different composed image. To me, it was just a more primitive way of photoshopping, which is what I do now as times have changed and as technology has progressed. When it comes to the photomontage I wanted to touch on the fact that I feel like it is both so natural, yet so unnatural at the same time. Learning about it in class, as well as reading up on the history, I realized more and more how it moves toward the impossible, the mismatched, and the non-literal. This is so interesting to me in particular, considering it is composed as a photographic print, which is the most “realistic” medium out there today. -Alexandra Goldman
Reply for Your Turn #5 since it never made it to the post:As I said in class, the section of the class that caught my interest was dada. Not because I personally am not into it. I questioned the idea those who started dada had. This idea, that whatever they created was art. Well, it makes me wonder then...wouldn't everything be considered art? It's a hippie-esque philosophy in my opinion. While I may not agree with the mindset, due to the course, I am able to better understand and appreciate dada for what it is.
I loved your segment about Saul Bass, one of my favorite graphic designers. Throughout his career, he proved himself to be endlessly versatile; while he is most commonly known for his title designs, he was also a filmmaker and a commercial logo designer. His title designs are so distinct, with geometric shapes, elementary colors, silhouetted people, and an overall raw edginess. But for him, design was not just about visual appeal. He really strove to represent the themes of movies through his posters and title sequences. He explains the title credits “…as a way of conditioning the audience, so that when the film actually began, viewers would already have an emotional resonance with it.” I think this is a point that we need to remember, as it seems that so many artists today do certain things just because they can. Bass’s quote reminds us that design should also have a reason.
As a non-art major i find it rather alien as to why someone would consider form over function. Yes, it is like having a "miniature architecture" of that artist in the room. And yes it may be appealing to the eyes, why sit on something that seems so uncomfortable, stiff. Although there are some exceptions like the modern day company, Herman Miller, who creates rather ergonomic chairs while maintaining their sophisticated appeal, such as the Eames Chair, they make outlandish models that are extremely comfortable to sit in, i guess on could say that in that case form and function were made hand in hand.I guess its not for me, if I were to own something, it would be meant to be used, and not to be stared at.Phu Nguyen
What most interested me from last week’s topics was the work of Saul Bass. I have been admiring his work for a long time, for its contributions to the worlds of both typography and film. I especially appreciate his work with Alfred Hitchcock in his film title sequences. The way he incorporated the theme of each movie into his choice in typography and shapes really created a whole new outlet for design in the film industry. I tend to always pay closer attention to the credit sequences in movies now and pick up on the trends that Saul Bass started so long ago. His close collaboration with filmmakers and his deep understanding for the films that he worked with set him apart from a lot of other designers. I believe that his efforts created very powerful imagery that drew viewers in right at the start of the film. It’s amazing how he could introduce them to the theme of the movie primarily through design, with the help of the film score and a few images.-Lisa Trucchio
When mentioning World War II propaganda posters, the first image that comes to my mind is Howard Miller’s 1943 Westinghouse for the War Productions poster. An illustration depicting a muscle-flexing woman in a bandanna and overalls, with bold white letters that exclaim “We can do it”. More than a poster illustration, it was a worldwide icon, proudly representing the American woman who left their homes and went to work in factories during the war. It served as an inspiration to many women, encouraging them to do the man’s job, and proving to them and the country that not only could they perform the job but most importantly do it well. Such a powerful image with a strong message, depicting one more time the relevance of the woman presence in history. Besides practicing the mother- housewife role model, these women now became powerful working woman fulfilling their patriotic duties. Yusmary Cortez
World War II propaganda fascinates me. Some nations were ready for war and some were not. All nations had to use propaganda, media used to influence opinion, in order to get population ready for war. How else were you going to persuade the masses to get on your side? The poster that really stands out is the ‘go ahead, please – take day off!’, the fact that it’s sponsored by Texaco is fitting. Yes, Japan was our enemy and the US did not get involved until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, but I think pursing racist propaganda was wrong and it hurt more people than it helped. Think about how many Japanese American citizens were forced into concentration camps. Their properties destroyed and were victims of other hate crimes because of propaganda like this. However, I think this propaganda is amazing and really depicts political correctness, which make for awesome debates. Michael Dongo
In both your class as well as my multimedia class, we have discussed the work of Saul Bass. He continually used red, black and white which complemented Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo with elements of balance and perspective. He used a lot of simple ideas like the lines like he used in the Golden Arm there are video elements and pictures added, making the piece more complex. Also, Saul Bass uses a font that gives a feeling of instability giving a provocative look that again, complements his work with Alfred Hitchcock. These elements can also be seen in Good Fellas title sequence and Sweeney Todd. Saul Bass’s original style inspires other pieces. One can compare The Golden Arm to (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGnpJ_KdqZE) which reminded me of the line the opening of the sequence of the TV show, Criminal Minds (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOSTsCJcA0c). Other innovative title sequences include: Catch Me If You Can, Thank You For Smoking, Mad Men the tv series, Se7en and Sherlock Holmes that are all on youtube as a great source for inspiration!-Erin
(Professor, I had posted this before spring break but today I noticed it never appeared, so here it is)I really loved the Farnsworth House built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The website on the Farnsworth house describes perfectly, “Every physical element has been distilled to its irreducible essence. The interior is unprecedentedly transparent to the surrounding site, and also unprecedentedly uncluttered in itself. All of the paraphernalia of traditional living –rooms, walls, doors, interior trim, loose furniture, pictures on walls, even personal possessions – have been virtually abolished in a puritanical vision of simplified, transcendental existence.”The house seems like it’s floating, not even the columns disturb that floating feeling. Also, the environment the house is placed in is just as important to the overall aesthetic. The white, thin I-beams contrast with the dark wood surrounding the house, making it stand out that much more. I imagine a serene, magical feeling; one were you could hear the howling of wind, the rustling of leaves, and the chirping of birds. The architecture is just as serene as its environment except it’s man made. Another interesting point is that a house is typically thought of as shelter from the outdoors, however this home makes you feel completely immersed in the outdoor environment, it almost redefines the definition of shelter. I would love to live in this house, at least for a little while since it’s not very livable because of weather factors and such.See the house here:http://www.e-architect.co.uk/images/jpgs/chicago/farnsworth_house_gmad06_3.jpgNataly Guevara
Alvin Lustig’s book jacket work is one I’m very fond of. His playful abstractions are somewhat psychedelic and playful, especially the design for Gertrude Stein’s “Three Lives” in which the bodies actually float. He mixes pure geometries with free-flowing forms and thus creates an interesting image. Some of his other works remind me of recent imagery techniques used in movies from the 21st century. The bright colors and seemingly “in-motion” forms could be compared to images shown in the movies “Juno” and “500 Days of Summer”. His unfortunate loss of sight at the tender age of 40 saddened me but after reading that he continued to work (through directions given to his wife as if she was his eyes) I admired him even more. Being able to control the creation of an image you can’t see, and have them be ‘some of his finest pieces’ is truly incredible.
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