Friday, January 17, 2014

Post for comment #1

via sam reddyhoff
welcome to arh 346! we had a good meeting.

here are some of the topics we talked about:

design is designing, period. all shows "design."
neolithic human marks, why?
typeface in general, font as body, font as house,
technology impacting style, you do what you're allowed,
minuscule or majuscule?  
steele vs. papyrus vs. vellum vs. codex vs. book vs. kindle
typeface, from Trajan to Times, etc, etc,

remember to sign your name at the bottom of your comments. write down your name (even if you used an alias to sign in). remember this is a for-point weekly assignment. 

go ahead!


Sara Ryan said...

What I wanted to comment on from last class is about our discussions on the history of writing, and the history of typefaces and how writing and reading is changing into a more sterile and cold design. I have a kindle, but hardly use it, because I too, miss the action of turning the page and the feel of the paper. In ancient times, writing text was a revered as an art and was as beautiful to look at as it was to read. I would have loved to appreciate their books and to read illuminated manuscripts written in scrolling letters. Writing and reading was a coveted skill and reserved only for the priests and the highly educated. Nowadays, however, writing is taken for granted, and the frequency of handwriting is declining as texting, typing and talking have become our primary forms of communication. The design of writing is still present, but the typefaces and the intent is less organic and is void of the passion that older texts used to have. And while I'm no different from the norm and hardly hand write my notes or letters, I wonder what it would be like if writing was still an art form, was still an artistic expression of the words you were writing.

Carrie Chema said...

I think the note above the Trajan marble (about serifs as a mechanical inevitability due to the shape of the chisels used to carve into the marble) is very interesting and relevant to what you were saying about technology as not only a tool for designers, but also as a catalyst for stylistic divergence. The design of any given tool is surely an arbitrary outcome as there were potentially countless solutions to whatever necessitated the creation of said tool. The idea that this arbitrary (brilliant though it may be) design would prompt a style that would then stick for thousands of years, becoming a defining characteristic categorization of typefaces, is astonishing. We saw this again when you discussed how the new vellum surface impelled smoother, sinuous lines, giving rise to a new style. This, I think, illustrates in a very tangible way the complex, symbiotic relationship between ideas, process and outcome. The same sort of circuitous, symbiosis is found again and again in nature but here is one especially unexpected example:

Carrie Chema

Jena Thomas said...

Just as we are beginning to mourn the loss of the physicality of the book, I can imagine that a small part of the population experienced a similar feeling with the invention of the Gutenburg Press. Perhaps even the tradition of oral story telling was mourned with the popularization of the written word. As technology develops and becomes more widely accessible, writing becomes restricted to typing. We use laptops and smartphones to communicate and are constantly searching for ways to do it more quickly or “on-the-go” through email and text messaging. What will eventually happen to the written language and more significantly social interactions? It seems like it may digress to an even more colloquial shorthand which fails to foster dialogue and in-depth sharing of ideas. Furthermore, I wonder about the loss of the individual’s unique writing style. Although technology makes texts more widely available, there is something virtuous about the materiality of the written word. In a way typeface serves as a constant reminder to the limits of technology and the screen acts a barrier between you and the reality of the experience.

Kari Hecker said...

What I found interesting was the discussion on Neolithic human marks. Aside from these marks, people during this time decorated clay vessels as well as created figures from clay and bone. Why was this done? Is there an innate desire in every human to design and create? This question links back to our first topic of everything showing design, from clothes to chairs. It's also possible that these marks and artifacts weren't created for aesthetic purposes but instead were a sort of stress relief or visual history meant to tell a story to future generations. If that's the case, it's an indication that humans had the mental capacity to predict their survival and sense the importance of documenting it. Evidence for this might be that not all the marks created during this time are visually pleasing (but, perhaps they were during Neolithic times?). There are a lot of questions about the reasons for these marks, which I think is the most intriguing part about them.

Kari Hecker

Gabriel Aiello said...

I think a commonality with many artists like Albrecht Durer is the desire to not only create but invent and experiment. With his caliber of skill, I bet many times the experiment became the final piece. The famed British Industrial and Aerospace designer Marc Newson also exhibits sculptural work at Gagosian in New York. Can it benefit technology to train our industrial designers and engineers both technically and artistically?
Also after viewing a Christopher Wool show, I am wondering about the critical role of font in contemporary art. Even in this Durer etching the font of the title plays a pivotal role in the work.

Other Artists who employ text in fine art that are coming to mind are Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger, and Tracey Emin. Tracey Emin dropped out of grade school at a young age and says her handwriting was influenced by herself and her family therefore absent of a formal narrative- has remained unique and beautiful.

Gabriel Aiello

AK said...

Graffiti to me falls under the larger umbrella of “Street Art”, which can be defined as forms of visual art created in public locations different from the traditional art venues. With that being said, I consider the work in Wynwood, Miami graffiti, even though no acts of vandalism took place in creating them. In today’s world, some of what starts as “illicit work”, as the Oxford dictionary defines graffiti, ends up being embraced by the city. These “illegal” acts (graffiti as we know it) at times become iconic pieces of art that define neighborhoods and cities, such as Lower Manhattan and some areas of London. The public’s appreciation for graffiti has grown over the years and cities have reacted to that by providing “venues” for this type of art to be showcased. The Wynwood Walls, in my opinion, is an example of those venues.

Abdulgader S. Naseer

sarbani.ghosh said...

I found the evolution of typefaces, from Trajan to Times, to very intriguing. You could trace the events of history in the typefaces, and tell what kind of tool they used and how these tools evolved. It almost looks like a cycle in itself, with Times mimicking Trajan with its sharp serifs and slight variation in the thickness of the shafts. But what does this mean for the very nature of typeface? Will we repeat this cycle and continue to end up with something similar to Trajan at the end? Or will we find new variations of the letterform in the future that will look nothing like Trajan? We also have to take into account what kind of events in the future could influence the design of a new typeface. New technology means new ways of designing. Just as the Gutenberg press and the computer both revolutionized design, future technologies could create even more different typefaces.

Sarbani Ghosh

Carlos Mella said...

I found the argument of the evolution of design quite interesting. Throughout all the variants we discussed last week we saw that the point is not only expression but also the portrayal of ideas. Neolithic cave paintings are the most basic but also tell a detailed story of survival and hunting to stay alive. As dialogues and communication progressed, art and design have remained as a way for artists to portray a message in a way that seems all too natural to them. Typefaces, even the most basic going back to handwritten manuscripts, created a truly universal form of communication in the form of writing. Modern iterations of this great tool, in this case digital typefaces (also known as fonts), present multiple problems would you rather type a message in all lower caps and sound like you're whispering or type it in all caps and sound like EVERYTHING YOU'RE SAYING IS TOO IMPORTANT and like you're screaming. It also presents the issue of poor typeface design, as seen with Comic Sans and Papyrus, which become the dread of all designers.

Leah Andritsch said...

I found the topic of typeface and the importance of font to a designer very relatable…
The typeface of a font by default represents the idea of the message just by looking at it. It can convey a time period, theme, motifs, or a general feeling for the idea in the message based on the style. The font derived from the handwritten script used to write the bible conveys the idea of an oracle or some type of significant or regal document. It may seem like common sense to a designer or visual communicator that font is something to consider when writing a message but I have come across in my experiences, remarkably in the professional world, that people do not. For example, I received a business card from a colleague that had a very innovative design with rounded corners (so they don't get dog eared in your wallet), a chic color scheme, and the statement "the coolest guy you'll ever meet," but the text was written in Times New Roman, so not cool at all… Different fonts can represent the idea or mood of the message written. It is as important as the syntax to write the message because “it stimulates abstractions and theoretical distinctions.” The beauty of font is that it’s speaks messages without actually having to speak.

Leah Andritsch

Milena Mihovilovic said...

What I took away from the beginning of the first lecture was the vague nature of what is design. If design is the purpose and intention behind an act or object, are accidental creations or unintentional actions design? Can a design be subconscious? While hand markings and cave murals are certainly purposeful depictions, other remnants of paleolithic culture may be misunderstood. Markings on bone may be the result of a style of butchering, rather than a notation system. But if the butchering and cutting was purposeful and a designed pattern of movement, the markings could also perhaps be considered design. Perhaps like the negative of an image, the result of any design is itself also designed, even if it was never intended to be. Hopefully as the course progresses, the nature of design will become more clear; or perhaps its nature is somewhat undefined and must be accepted as so.

Milena Mihovilovic

V.Sheehan said...

In accordance with our discussion on graffiti, I found that this related to the class.

Recently, the graffiti mecca "5pointz" was painted over by it's developers Jerry and David Wolkoff. For those unfamiliar with the graffiti melting pot, 5pointz was a place where all five boroughs of New York could come together and express themselves through street art. The graffiti found here is done by all types of artists. In order to have your work placed on the building one must provide a work sample. I left my first visit to 5pointz feeling visually overwhelmed. The stylistic range of the art varies. The building has actually united aerosol artists from across the world. Writers from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, and all over the United States have painted on the building walls. Artists and observers have been deeming the "white out" of 5pointz the biggest rag and disrespect in the history of graffiti. I can't help but agree when I think back to all of the raw talent I observed on those concrete walls. The developers promise that the new building that will replace 5pointz will have sectioned off areas for artists to get up. Artists in dismay state that they will never work on any building owned by these developers again-truly a shame to see the fight lost by so many creative and talented artists to the corporate machine.

Virginia Sheehan

Lizz Evalen said...

Dude. Fonts. I love fonts. I was always that weird girl [elementary-middle school] who spent a good portion of my time on projects deciding on fonts. There used to be a website called flamingtext [just checked, it still exists] where you could design logos, headers, etc. At one point I knew almost every font name by heart. I became the foremost expert and when it came to turning something in with a pretty font, I was the one to turn to for advice.

Bragging aside, I think font presentation is so important. It can mean the difference between something looking super professional, or tacky and slapped together. I'm not that old, but I can discern what to turn away from, like when advertisements use comic sans or papyrus.

I immediately discount these things as not to be taken seriously, and then I realize how hard I am "judging a book by its cover". But, it is a crucial part of everything we look at around us. I've always noticed fonts, even down to the difference in letters on different cell phones I've had throughout the years. It can truly convey something so important, even though it seems so minute. It's fascinating.

Lizz Evalen said...

-Elizabeth Evalen ^^^^^

Kyannah Andrews said...

I thought it interesting to look at graffiti as a form of vandalism. Having read the blog post on Miami Bourbaki that responded to the question of is graffiti a form of vandalism, I must agree that there is something to be said about the difference between something that is written with the sole purpose of defacing a hardscape as opposed to trying to send a strong message in the most public way possible.
We discussed in class how the Wynwood walls were not considered to be a form of graffiti. I think that if anything the Wynwood walls are an appropriation of graffiti. Graffiti inherently is a means to send a message of cultural or social significance to the public. Wynwood however, becomes this hybrid where artists are encouraged to depict their thoughts on walls.It is an example of graffiti has grown in popularity and has therefore become almost commercial. The work of the artists in Wywood above all else seems to be some pastiche version of the graffiti seen throughout the hardscapes of a city put into one place for our enjoyment; a form of expressive vandalism has become an accepted norm. What makes graffiti is its illicit and radical nature but when that element is taken away, it seems almost that the message can sometimes be lost. It is no longer seen as vandalism but art.

Kyannah Andrews

Paulina Pecic said...

Though the impact that technology has on design is very significant, and this fact seems obvious, I never really considered it before. I suppose a common error (or maybe just my own) is to assume that the term "technology" only applies to resources made available after the Industrial Revolution. In fact, readily, I probably wouldn't even associate "technology" with "resources," but rather with actual machines. I think of assembly lines and mass production--or from a more contemporary mindset, computers. With the development of digital art, the impact that modern technology has on graphic design is more easily apparent. But from a broader perspective, I can also see how vellum and papyrus, though they existed long before the Industrial Revolution, can be considered "technology" because they were resources that changed the perimeters of design. With scratchy papyrus, or even a stone tablet, only a limited degree of detail was possible. But with smooth vellum, the designs progress in detail--even at miniscule dimensions! I'm interested to learn more about the technology that affects design after vellum, for example. What was the next "big thing?"And after that? And after that? What was the process of effective technology in design that led ultimately to digital artwork?

Paulina Pecic

Pimlada said...

I wanted to touch base on the styles that you mentioned at the beginning of the class. As you said, design is everywhere. I think, everything we do in our everyday life is defined by our own personal style. In each person’s style is influenced by different creative influences. The world would be so dull if we all had the same style. Different likes and tastes make us different from each other. Every color, style, shape, line, and always means something to its creator. Designing makes the world diverse. Humans know how to design things by instinct. It is what separates us from other animals, the ability to design and engineer solutions to everyday problems we may encounter. Even during prehistory, humans learned how to design tools for hunting, build houses for shelter, etc. They also wore war paint, bracelets and other trinkets so they could identify and express themselves.

Pimlada Kongkham

Evelyn Pereda said...

I was really moved by your comments about fonts and how their influence spans much more than a visual aid for communication; they are the embodiment of a persona or style. For a good portion of my academic life I served as a graphic designer for my Yearbook team and now with web design and app developers. Deciding on a font is critical and can be a painfully long, long process. A little inch there. A little curve here. Sans or serif. The most miniscule and insignificant change in the lettering of a design can destroy or augment the feel and message the designer is trying to make. Fonts say much more than what they say. Regarding the epic battle between the book and the Kindle, I see the growing shift and glorification of Minimalism as art imitating life. True, no cold, hard electronic can electrify the sense like the feel of a weathered page or smell of a must book. It is in itself a holistic sensory experience. Objects such as the iPad and the Kindle have forsaken the warmth of the soul for the clarity of the mind. User functionality is at the core of design as exemplified by Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter. So, I believe that font design has evolved to meet these demands. The morphology of Trajan to Times is the embodiment of a font struggling to keep its classicism and detail while remaining subdued and light.

Evelyn Pereda

Alberto Monreal said...

The first lecture condensed thousands of years of history into a few short hours, but what I found most intriguing was the modest roots from which graphic design blossomed. Those seemingly transient Neolithic human marks etched on the walls of dark caves and caverns showcase mankind’s innate desire to express. They highlight the most basic kind of graphic design as they detain early man’s attempts to capture the wild world that surrounded him and by doing so, help establish his place in that chaotic world. In particular, the comparison to early graffiti really gripped me, as the quick, ephemeral marks by early man were notably not art proper, but were created to invoke the notion of being and a sense of legacy. Unlike the giant prehistoric beasts that roamed around them, human beings did more than just survive. Early man cemented a legacy through these anonymous marks, making sure to record the product of their age by making their presence and their existence stunningly memorable.

Alberto Monreal

Anonymous said...

What I found interesting is the importance of graphic design for the ancient people. For the ancient people graphic design was the only way to present their ideas to the ordinary people, because the ordinary people could not read. Graphic design was used in places where the people of all social classes gathered, in public squares, forums, and temples. When ancient Romans gathered at the forum they saw the grand column of Trajan, you did not have to be literate to understand what was depicted on the column. The column showed the victories of Emperor Trajan, and the past victories of the Romans in great detail, by looking at the column the ordinary Romans saw how great their rulers were, and how following them will lead them to victory. It was an incredibly difficult task for the ancient sculptors to make the reliefs, but they had a greater purpose than just elements of decoration.
Anton Zaitsev

Anonymous said...

After our first class, I learned that as a designer you have an endless opportunity of things that you can design. Designing is in everything and is a way to leave your mark. Having a specific style gives everything you do a piece of your creativity and knowledge. Everything you design leaves an impact on yourself as well as your target audience. It’s important to have your own style and especially to know how to successfully interpret and convey it in your designs. Technology has taken over much of what we do in our daily lives. Every type of electronic device has a specific design and usually includes a type of protective case that also has a design. Each time a new device is created and or improved many styles and designs are created in order for them to be successful. People are opting out from using everyday products like paper and books. For me technology is taking over much of what we use and do every day. I believe designers should focus on creating designs for technology or focus on creating designs for new devices as well as designing everyday products.

-Yesenia Tefel

Leah Brown said...

Everything is design, you say. I suppose I’ve always thought, without really pausing for reflection, of design as being a basically human construct. Our pursuit of communication, aesthetic awareness, and peculiar rationality seems to culminate in the major rift between us and the rest of the animal kingdom. But bowerbirds create elaborate architectural nests, decorated with an acute sense of color, and the knowledge that if they are successful, they will impress their mates. Pufferfish create large, circular, geometric patterns on the seafloor. I suppose I’m always looking for the borderlands of things, the grey areas between what is and what is not. Are animals designers? Are plants? Perhaps design is any living thing’s declaration of itself.

--Leah Brown

For images:

Robyn Price said...

I’ve just recently started getting really into calligraphy and hand lettering and sign painting and all that stuff, so in respect to that, I‘d say I enjoyed pretty much everything that had any sort of reference to the construction, use, and evolution of letters, writing, and fonts. I only took like two lines of notes during the entire class, and the one thing I have written down is “writing facilitates cultural evolution by stimulating abstraction and theoretical distinction,” and I really like the idea of that.

I also loved when Triff went around the room pointing out the clock and wallpaper and the handrail on next to the steps; I think it’s so interesting when you deconstruct and analyze things that you wouldn’t normally notice or appreciate, like when you look at brand names or logos and patterns on fabric or clothes in general—basically the design of everything we see and use, it’s like you wouldn’t even think twice about it, like no biggie someone probably just sat down one day and was like “huh okay well yeah, this fits what I was going for,” when in reality it’s this crazy long process that can take ages to perfect. I’m actually so excited to dig deeper and just have a further understanding of that process and the people who make all that shit.

Robyn Price

Katerine Hadfeg said...

Some points I found interesting in our discussion last week is the history of design and what we do as society to incorporate to the mix. The timeline of design is very fascinating from the time when cave walls were decorated with figures and lines to express where those people stood during the time. The statements were clear in what was considered important at the time: hunting, animals, death, and evolution. As we shaped the world with our distinctive touch I found the topic of typeface unique because it represents the idea in a bold statement right in front of the viewer. As for the types of fonts, designers have been become more innovative in creating statements, slogans, and even in the corporate world to use a font that clearly expresses the type of message they want to convey. I work in the office setting where everything related to mailings, invitations, or e-mail solicitations is reviewed to the T in relating how is the message going to get across, is the font to boring or bold.

Katerine Hadfeg

Michelle Lock said...

I’ve been designing on a computer for so long that I had forgotten that graphic design existed in other mediums as well. It was eye opening to think of graphic design as the scratches on some stone or the prints on the wall. The evolution of graphic design came from Neolithic cave paintings, which tell stories of survival. However as communication methods modernized, graphic design is still an artist’s way of telling a story or communicating a message. That is the common thread that holds the different stages of graphic design together.

As a graphic designer, you can communicate what you want to say through your work and through your own style. Our styles are what make us different, whether it be the way we dress, the way we act, or the way we design. This poses the question of whether technology will eliminate our individuality of style, because technology makes everything easier and evens the playing field. I think that technology will only allow us to do more and gives us more opportunities for innovation. For example, typography is constantly evolving with technology, from Trajan to Times, who knows what the next typeface will be?

Michelle Lock

Anonymous said...

@Leah Brown

I love your comment and was having this exact conversation with someone a couple nights ago. We were debating what separates humans from other living things and having a lot of trouble coming up with an answer that had no exception.

"Art?" I presented (obnoxiously, pompously, as I am an artist).

"But what about those birds that build those beautiful nests,"My companion refuted, before making a direct reference to the Bowerbirds.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah but they are just trying to mate," I said at the time but after looking at many pictures of these elaborately designed and executed constructions and checking out the article you posted, I think that some animal designs are made for more than mating.

So, I guess it's back to the drawing board. I think it may be best if we can't come up with anything, if we can remain in the"borderland" that you seek, because then we might broaden our rigid practices of categorization and hierarchy.

Valery Rocha said...

As to our discussion last week, I think it's really amazing how design has gotten this far and how much we have learned from things such as the Neolithic cave paintings and how things such as this, have been influenced us so much, like Michelle said. As a graphic designer, I think it's great how we have modernized our ways of design that used to take so long back in the day and now it's just at the reach of a click!
As Graphic Designers we are constantly trying to give a message to our viewers in the easiest and most convent way possible- which of course will be successful as well. It's our job to make it easier for others and it is a great thing what we do, we make people's life a lot easier. The lifestyle we carry is a design type of style and everyone has it. Technology makes this easy for us and convenient and give us opportunities for us to evolve even more than we already have!
We may ask ourselves at times what design is. Would a normal shoe box be design, an envelope that we have used over the years be design? Yes! of course it is, because it has made easier our life because of its design. I believe that design is anything that facilitates our life in anyway.

Valery Rocha

Ashlhea Louis said...

What really caught my attention about our discussion during our first class was the topic of fonts and how they contribute immensely to the history of graphic design as well as our examination of the possibility of letters having their own souls and they own personas, in turn, essentially relating them to all of the other letters in respective alphabets. In our everyday haste to jot down notes and grocery lists, we oftentimes loose the essence types and letters contain in and of themselves. Something else that piqued my interest during our discussion was the topic of what the actual types and fonts would be executed on and how this dictated the type and essence that appeared. Writing on vellum would have been easy, almost buttery, and a joy to write on, while harsher materials would have made writing and execution seem like more of a chore as opposed to a pleasantry. You could choose to suffer for your art form, or you could simply let the ink flow.

Tova Trellevik said...

I think it is interesting how much meaning can be derived from something so ordinary as font. Some people maintain that a person’s handwriting can say a lot about his or her personality. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but it is interesting to consider what a font can subconsciously mean. Some fonts can make words seem very important or even trustworthy. Whereas other fonts can look urgent, tacky, or hectic. I also think it is interesting how font types have always been an important means to portraying a certain type of information. In ancient times all capital letters were used to make the words seem very official. Humankind has always been a bit aware of how font can portray more than just what is written.

Tova Trellevik

Yeping Cao said...

I think the most interesting character of typefaces is they can deliver information. Fonts may have different weights and they can make different results. Besides, we can get more information from reading and writing which is another interesting aspect. Not only the meaning of the words can transfer us information, the way the fonts look like also can transfer information. Like capital letters make official, italic letters make like handwriting, times new roman makes official, optima makes simple, and so on. Besides, the typefaces makes the information less boring to read and the picture more attractive. This kind of graphic design makes people feel special because we may know much more from the picture or the figure.

Yeping Cao

Anonymous said...

As a history major I'm actually really excited to hear about how the technological changes, such as the switch from papyrus to vellum and eventually to paper, not only helped to change but were the key factors that allowed new styles to emerge, and trying to keep this in mind as we look ahead. I'm also really interested in changing how I view graphic design to incorporate the idea of design as not just images and words, but as design of everything. When I sit down in front of my laptop tonight with my favorite beverage I'll have to think about how this has already been preplanned and designed for me by someone and what the designers have in store for us in the future (sit down with your favorite beverage and plug yourself in?)

Danielle Peters

Anonymous said...

Everybody makes choices, but not this does not inherently imply that everybody is a designer. We wake up, get ready, go to work, eat our food, sleep and repeat. What we wear and where we work are all choices. Over the course of a lifetime we are born, we sit in seats listening to our teachers, we get a job with health insurance and a 401k, we marry and reproduce, retire, and then die. Where we go to school, who we marry are all choices within a limited framework. But there are some among us who understand that we don’t have to be the product of someone else’s framework. Enter the designer. A designer is an individual who sees things not as they are but as they should be, and effectively acts on this vision. Naturally, he/she challenges definitions in order to create entirely new ones. Anybody can choose between Times New Roman and Tahoma, just as anybody can choose between a job at X or Y firm. But a designer is one who makes the leap to something fresh and novel. Rather than accept the options he/she creates new one. The designer lives a life of complete authenticity. I thought it was interesting when Dr. Triff claimed there is an art in dying. And while that may in fact be the case, how we design our exit matters little if we have not designed our life.

-Sajan Patel