Friday, January 25, 2013

your turn #2

 marija tiurina's egg soldier @ juxtapoz

incunabula, gutenberg, gothic typeface, lower vs capitals,  imagines morti, the big star designers (plantin, manutius, ratdolt,  tory). then we discussed the types of the renaissance: tory and manutius' "new" roman, the bembo, the garamond, the bastarda. (we'll come back to tyndale's bible, maps and vesalius next week).

what's your take?

20 comments:

Justine Fenner said...

I found it very interesting to learn that capital letters are the marks of religion, time, aestheticism, isolation and circumstance, while lowercase letters are the letters of science, secularism, literature, commerce, adventure and improvisation. It kind of makes sense to me, since capital letters developed before lower case letters. It would makes sense that something older would be associated with religion, and something newer and innovative would have to do with science. Prior to this class I would have assumed the opposite. In my experience, most mathematicians prefer to write in all capitals because they find them clearer. In contrast to Professor Triff, who prefers to write in all lower case, I like the juxtaposition of capital letters with lower case letters. I feel that it allows me to emphasize importance. I sometimes find that I am writing in the German style of capitalizing all nouns. I also really appreciate the decorative nature of many capitals that introduce a page. I think that the following is a funny, relevant video…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd2Q6Fagemg

Anonymous said...

One of the components of the lecture that I really interested me was the discussion of cities and methods by which cities can be best examined. Having traveled to a number of cities in my lifetime I agree with Professor Triff that more can be seen and understood from a city by walking it rather than viewing it through a car or bus window. One of the most interesting cities that I have found while traveling was a small city/village in Switzerland named Zermatt. The most amazing thing about this city was that no cars (that run on fuel) are allowed to enter it, local shop owners and emergency vehicles use only small electric cars but overall the city is devoid of machinelike transportation. The reason is to prevent air pollution and maintain the majestic beauty of the Matterhorn and surrounding Swiss Alps but to me it also compels tourists like myself to really view the city, as it should be seen, on foot! By walking through the market and examining the buildings inside and out I was able to further appreciate this culturally and architecturally rich city. The most amazing time I found to walk through Zermatt was at night because with the most of the city lights turned off and only the streetlights visible the true beauty of this quaint city was exposed against the background of the Swiss Alps that most residents moved there to enjoy.

Brittany Tyson

Anonymous said...

From our last lecture, the discussion on lowercase versus uppercase letters sparked my interest the most. I had never wondered the origin of cases. Because we are used to emphasizing the use of proper nouns with capital letters it makes sense that capital letters were first used for religion versus the use of lowercase letters for things like improvisation and adventure. Considering the more serious nature of religion, it now seems obvious to me why we adapted this quality of capitalizing words that may seem more “important.” We also discussed the development of our own handwriting and the influences behind it. I consider my handwriting to be neat, annoyingly neat, you might think. I only write in all capital letters, so I have to disagree with the statement that lowercase letters are more legible, I would actually say the opposite. I must have picked this form of writing up from someone else's penmanship I saw along the way, so learning about the origin of the case I solely choose to use, really stuck with me.

-Ana Calderone

bmurr said...

I had never really thought about the difference and/or significance of lowercase and uppercase letters. Your lecture about them was quite enlightening and interesting to me, it helped me put things into a whole new perspective. After I thought about it, it made sense that the uppercase letters were related with religion, art and time while the lowercase were related to science and literature. Uppercase came first, just like art and religion came before science. I loved the beautifully illustrated uppercase letters in the texts you showed in class, it blows my mind how similar some aspects of graphic design are now to methods used so long ago. I am also in agreement with you that one learns the layout of a city much better by walking. I worked in South Beach this summer and I know it like the back of my hand because there are so many places you can walk to with beautiful scenery. Even though I've lived in Coral Gables for two and a half years, I don't know it half as well because I drive everywhere here. In the foreign cities I've been to, I find that it is part of the experience and necessary to take in the culture.

Bailey Murray

Anonymous said...

Among the various topics we covered last class I was interested by the works of both Erhard Ratdolt and Aldus Manutius. I really enjoyed how Ratdolt treated type and also how he incorporated images in his books. He really knew how to negotiate the placement of the images and text. As I did some research on his works I found that he was actually the one of the first to printers to use decorative title pages. He was also one of the firsts to illustrate his books with polychrome wood. Polychrome wood refers to an item that has been decorated with many colors of opaque paints and pigments. He also became famous for printing the first type specimen book. Another great printer is Aldus Manutius who commissioned the typeface bembo which is a really beautiful and easy to read lowercase typeface. I also enjoyed they way he treated type and made shapes with it. In the case of the Hypnerotomachia poliphili he has type that forms the shape of goblets. As I did further research on Manutius I discovered he was believed to be the first typographer to use the semi-colon, He also is credited with creating the italic typeface style. However, he did not use his italic typeface for emphasis as we do today, but rather for its narrow and compact letterforms. This allowed a more economical use of space (more words per page, fewer pages, lower production costs), therefore enabling the printing of pocket-sized books.


Elina Diaz

Anonymous said...

There certainly is no better way of getting to know a place than walking it. I'm reminded of that every time I escape my little hole in the Rainbow building (the art building) and walk -- after driving-- to class. We have a beautiful campus worth discovering! The arboretum, Lowe Art Museum, Bill Cosford Cinema, Rainbow building (with Titanic right next door)… I could go on and on, but with regards to the class:

The discussion on medieval/Renaissance forms of entertainment-- with Casper von Regensburg, My heart Doth Small, and the evolution of printing-- brought to my mind the work of one of the earliest masters of printmaking, the Master of the Playing Cards. Whereas we nowadays entertain ourselves with digital devices, Facebook, YouTube, video games, the occasional book, our European ancestors loved playing cards.

Playing cards were introduced to Europe, from China, around 1300 A.D. With the evolution of printing, from woodcuts to engraving, the use of playing cards spread throughout Europe like wildfire. The Master of the Playing Cards, thought to be a German or Swiss, was the first artist to master engraving. His designs for cards featured animals, birds, plants, figures, all beautifully rendered and printed.

No one knows the true identity of the Master—he will probably remain anonymous, like most designers.

The Master's work is considered exceptional and rare, with a recent sale of a Queen of Flowers going for $450,000.

Check out the Master's work here!

Eddy A. Lopez

atRifF said...

eddy, thanks. great source of info!

Anonymous said...

During our lecture last week, the part about lowercase and uppercase letters intrigued me. I always find myself debating over which style to use in my designs. Should it be all caps, all lowercase, normal, or big caps and small caps. Each has their own personality and says something differently in design. I like how you said that lowercase letters have more freedom because of the history of capital letters. But I usually choose all caps over all lowercase. I feel that in design, capital letters are more legible, more pronounced, and are easier to manipulate to keep justifications and alignments looking clean. That being said, it seems a little ironic that this happens because the history of lowercase letters is that they were traditionally the letters that had the most room for manipulations and changing to add uniqueness. This led to the eventual creation of different type styles and fonts. Nowadays we have millions of different fonts and some are created to be used as all capitals and each have very different styles.

- Adam Berger

Anonymous said...

Great lecture Professor Triff! As many others have posted here, I too agree that walking a city and really taking in the scenery is the best method for learning about that place. With that being said, I traveled to the Philippines a few years back to visit my cousins on my mother's side of the family. They lived in a small province in the Visayan region where owning a car was a rarity. People there walked, rode bicycles, or took jeepneys which were mini buses. My cousins did not own a car and during my whole stay we walked pretty much everywhere. It was an amazing experience because I was able to learn and absorb the culture and landmarks of the area that I would not experience driving in a car.

Another topic that peaked my interest was your discussion on lower case vs capital letters. When you stated that lower case letters were symbolic of improvisation, adventure, and literature I could not help but think of American poet, author, and playwright e. e. cummings. His works were popularly known for the abundant use of lower case letters and little to no use of capital letters as well as punctuation. I have enclosed a link of one of his poems using this unconventional method of writing.
http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/e__e__cummings/poems/14316

Tashina Arota

LAURA NARAYANSINGH said...

The drawing of the human body by Da Vinci struck me in particular because of a personal experience. Last semester I took a class on proportions in architecture and we begun the class by studying the human body. We used this drawing as a guide as we had to actually measure the dimensions of our own bodies, then using these dimensions draw a self portrait and lastly find all the golden ratios within these drawings of our bodies, if any existed. In mathematics and the arts the golden ration occurs if A/B = B/A=B which is equal to 1.618. Many 20th century artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio—especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio—believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing. This drawing of da Vinci is probably the reason we love certain buildings and even typefaces.

Anonymous said...

During last week’s discussion what interested me the most was the Incunabula. I looked up incunabula online and found out that in Latin it means, “cradle”. Cradle refers to the earliest stages in the development of anything. The translation is very appropriate because the incunabula was one of the first hand written pieces and it’s easy to see how far books have come. It’s incredible how much time and effort was put into these books. I also found it very interesting how much importance they put in the first letter of the page. This was their art, they way they expressed themselves and added beauty to the page, a long with the impeccable writing that came with it. The first letter is truly a work of art, people would stare at them in order to soak in their beauty and look at all the details that adorn it. There is a huge difference between lower case and upper case letters, which is really interesting as well.

Sarah Fischer

Anonymous said...

Every time I drive from South Beach where I live to University of Miami in Coral Gables I drive at the Mc Arthur bridge causeway which is a beautiful sight where you can see the fantastic blue water and all the fancy houses lined up by the water at Star Island etc. However, after your discussion last class about how the only way to get to know a city is by walk I decided to extend my regular running route I do every morning at the beach when I wake up. Therefore this time I continued to run further then I normally do and run over the bridge that I drive on to school everyday. Wow.. What you mentioned in class really made sense to me now. Being without the car but with the same view and surroundings was a completely different experience than the one in a car and I found myself pay attention to things that I never even noticed before.

Jenny F Leanderson

Anonymous said...

What I was most interested by from your last lecture was the origins of upper and lowercase letters. It never occurred to me that because uppercase letters came first they could come from a background of religion and time. Lowercase evolved after and is more associated with secularism, science, literature and so on. Nowadays we use letters without any thought of what had to take place before it evolved into today’s current alphabet and structure. I also fund it fascinating how you described how our handwriting could reflect our personalities or moods. That actually makes a lot of sense to me. I can see how if I am more nervous my handwriting could easily reflect that; our emotions are definitely tied to our physical actions and movements.

-Phil Neves

Anonymous said...

Before last class, I had not considered that in the past uppercase and lowercase letters belonged to and were used in different spheres. I did not know that capital letters were the marks of religion, while lowercase letters were the marks of the secular world (specifically, of areas like business, science, etc.). This arrangement does make sense, however, given that capital letters were made to be looked at, not to be read, as they were so elaborate and ornate, and that quality of grandeur was very much characteristic of the Church, and religion in general, at the time. It is logical too, that businessmen and scientists preferred to write in lowercase letters since they allow more improvisation and are faster to write than uppercase letters and their embellishments. Another aspect of the previous lecture I found interesting was the revolution that Gutenberg’s invention of the movable printing press brought about, and especially the conditions that existed prior to the printing press’ invention, which make our ability to buy and own books in general seem like a luxury or a privilege.

-Mayela A. Hernandez

Remi Wachtenheim said...

As a public relations minor, in my other classes I have been learning a lot about the different styles of type from a design perspective. In last weeks lecture I really enjoyed hearing about the histories of different types, and their origins. I never really considered the meanings and differences between capital and lowercase letters, but now I have developed a better understanding and stronger grasp on their usages through your lecture. When choosing my type styles in the future I know I will think more carefully about what region or time period they came from. I also found the geographic influence in type cross-languages surprising, for instance the slanted Arabic styling of fonts used in Venice, Turkey, and around the former Ottoman Empire. In addition to geography, I liked learning about the creators of font types, men whose names represent something completely different than they did in their lifetimes.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting when you spoke about the evolution of script. How names are change with time and depending on place, having different accents. Being a graphic design major, and having taken typography, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of uncials and half-uncials. It was very interesting to learn that capitals, or uncials, are marks of religion, time, ascetism, isolation, circumstance, and high status, while half uncials, or lowercase, are the marks of improvisation, secular, business, literature, commerce, and adventure. I’d never thought of type this way, and it made me realize how much more meaning there is to everything in the world that we don’t understand. We don’t know or notice these things sometimes, but they still have the intended effect on us, working in secretive ways. “Language was designed as math,” was a great way to sum it up; since there are many rules in math just like in language, and has many formulas and ways of expressing itself, as does language.

Kateryna Gontaruk

Anonymous said...

The second lecture brought my attention to the importance of upper and lower case text. Although it is not something typically thought about, the importance of defining between the two is unparalleled. Looking at the detail of the first letter of a scripture can tell a lot about the writing. The detail that type maker placed in his or her work demonstrated the attitude for the rest of the piece. I’m not sure when less emphasis began being placed on the artwork inside writing, but it is upsetting that we don’t see the same intricate detail that was once put in it. It was interesting to learn about the detail that used to be in it. Also, the lecture mentioned other interesting things about type. The Guttenburg printing press is something that we have seen many times throughout history class, but this lecture opened up my knowledge to the power that the first letter of a text really has.

raquel moyes

xiaodong chang said...

During your last week’s discussion, I think I am most interested in the uppercase and lowercase letters. I am an international student, before your lecture, in my opinion actually there is no difference between uppercase and lowercase letters. After you talked about the difference and significance of them I know uppercase letters appeared before the lowercase letters, uppercase letters related with religion and time, lowercase letters related with business, literature, and adventure. And you showed us some beautiful uppercase letters. I can find a lot of design in these letters. You said the first letter can show the mood of the page. Another thing I want to talk about is you said walking into a city is the best way to learn about the city. I really agree this opinion. If you want to know to city you need to know the city’s culture, local residents, history, economy, building and street. All of these you need walk more close to observe the nature.

Xiaodong Chang

Sandra Montalvo said...

What struck me the most about the last lecture was when we discussed the origin of bastarda and half uncials. I gained a new respect for using lower case. It never occurred to me that starting a sentence with upper case or uncials, they stand up right and proper and had to be standardized by someone, of course it was the church. After having studied Typography last semester with Carlos Aguirre and Printmaking with Lani Shapton I gained a new respect for all things printed. Learning about creating type and prints in the same semester was a really enlightening experience. Publishing is my passion. I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Ibis Yearbook and create the 480-page book through the computer, I cannot imagine placing type and images by hand. Without Gutenberg’s invention my job would not exist, creating this book would not be possible, I cannot imagine making 5000 copies of the book without the computer or programs we use today.

James Ahearn said...

One of the components of your lecture that had me thinking was the question of what happens after the hand after print. Penmanship seems to be a bit of a lost art, and it's only artists who paint or draw that really seem to utilize this human tool. I was also thought it was really cool when you compared the iphone to "Gutenberg's bible of today". The comparison really put into perspective how the human race has been able to evolve in so many different ways, and how the design of the iphone would seem like magic to people of the past. A really awesome lecture.

James Ahearn