Friday, January 24, 2014

your turn #2

Gif by Gwion Christmas

hi, kids. for this second class we did lots of things (we left like 5 posts from yesterday's class for next class): 

under big names: Gutenberg, Tagliente, Ratdolt, Manutius, Griffo, Tory, Wolgemut, et al.

under things discussed: character-as-mark, the importance of calligraphy, movable type, type-face as architecture (floor plan, house, chair), Incunabulum, etc.

under typefaces: Textura (Textualis), Italics, Romain de Ratdolt, Griffo's Bembo, cancelleresca corsiva, etc.

under amazing books: Gutenberg's Bible, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Nuremberg Chronicles
Radolt's Euclid Elements, Book of Hours, etc.

pick your topic, go ahead.


Jena Thomas said...

After looking more closely at the illustrations in the Nuremberg Chronicle, which are presented as a world history (following human history as it relates to the Bible), it is hard to believe that these funny illustrations were once presented as fact. It is amazing how much design and aesthetics are responsible for how we as viewers perceive and learn new information and more significantly, how we go about assigning value and credibility to something. We also see the importance of up-to-date technology and its effects on style. As in the instance of the Nuremberg Chronicle, we see how easy it is to accept these illustrations as fact simply because they are designed in the most modern fashion, utilizing the best of everything in technology, art, science and writing. For a contemporary designer today, this seems to be an excellent example of just how important it is for design and technology to be current and relevant in order to demonstrate credibility.
Jena Thomas

Sara Ryan said...

What I found very interesting about the Hypnerotomachica Poliphili was that you called it the first truly modern book and love story. It's a very famous example of printmaking and this claim is partial to the intricate, clean and modern woodcuts that are illustrated within the book. You said that the modernity and sophistication of these woodcuts has transcended time and that you could almost associate them with the 1700s rather than the late 1400s. The book was published in 1499, but the woodcuts are so clean, simple and streamlined and reflect the people of the Renaissance's aesthetic preference to Greek and Roman antiquities. The woodcuts are also revered for their seamless compatibility with the incunabula that was so skillfully and beautifully written. Like the woodcuts, the typeface was so modern that it was revived in the 1920s as the typeface called Bembo, which you explained was the precursor to Garamond, a typeface that we know so well today. The fact that typefaces and art can so simply become timeless through clean and skillful work is such a beautiful thing to me because, even though, in some ways, we lose our artistic history as time goes on, there are ways in which it survives.

Kyannah Andrews said...

Pertaining to typeface as architecture was a very intriguing idea. As we went on to talk about how there is a natural selection of marks and some marks are better than others, I found myself recognizing how true a statement it is with both typeface and architecture. And this selection of marks is different for each of us. No one mark is appealing to everyone and we find ourselves drawn to a marks because of our own particular style. For instance in writing my signature, I chose to highlight the letter “y” because of how it glides across the surface. Subconsciously, we make these cognitive associations in our minds. The gesture of this particular curve or this “code' that we adhere to for the things we like become apparent in the throughout varying fields. To me, the curvature of the y is appealing and so I find these motions more appealing in architecture as well. For me the “y” represents a kind of brazilian modernism like Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer who chose to make these sweeping lines in their architecture.This style is compelling to me and it comes from my natural inclination to adapt typeface to a floorplan.

Kyannah Andrews

sarbani.ghosh said...

I really saw the connection between typeface and architecture during class, and I could especially relate it to postmodern architecture and typefaces. You could almost characterize buildings solely on which typeface they represent. Modern designs incorporate a lot of clean, straight lines and symmetry into their architecture and interior design. In the same way, modern fonts also include symmetrical geometry and clean, straight lines in the shafts and bars of letters. You could point out a modern building and call it Century Gothic even. And you could take a look a building with old European architecture and make it a serif typeface. And that the chair could be the letter n, and the design of the individual parts as part of the whole typeface. All the furniture in a building, along with everything else in it, composes the whole of the building. In the same way the design of each letter and symbol in a typeface represent the whole typeface.

Sarbani Ghosh

AK said...

As an architect, I am a strong advocate of using the hand in an otherwise purely digitized 21st century. In contrast to recent digital creative processes of Maya and 3ds Max, the great architects of the past such as Le Corbusier, Michelangelo, and Kahn to name a few drew by hand on site to understand directly and deeply their subject in real life physical three dimensions rather than in the flat virtual two. Ironically, as architectural technologies improve, our understanding of how architecture actually works decreases. Computer programs require less thought, all the while performing more complex tasks. Although the computer unquestionably belongs in schools and is necessary in architectural offices, my position sustains the physicality of history.

Using the hand speaks to the gestalt of the drawing process, as real time plotting, and as a way to study the past to form new vocabularies. The hand inspires gestural speculation and process, and engenders ownership and understanding of context, scale, perspective, light, and shadow. I believe we must resuscitate this forgotten tool of imagination.

Abdulgader S. Naseer

Pimlada said...

Humans have using letters and symbols to express themselves since the beginning of time. From crude carvings in stone tablets, to the intricate hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, humanity’s need to record and express important events has lead calligraphy to be an important part of most cultures.

Calligraphy is a beautiful art form when done correctly and in some Asian and Islamic cultures it is the dominant art form. The Asian country that valued calligraphy the most was China. In China how one wrote was as important as what was written. It was believed ones handwriting revealed ones character and education. A calligrapher would use the same tools as an artist, brush and ink.

Calligraphy adds a personal touch, a connection and uniqueness to messages that cannot be replicated by fonts. The written words have more meaning; the expressive nature of calligraphy can add to and even alter the very meaning of words. This is why even today certain communications like wedding invitations employ calligraphy.

Pimlada Kongkham

Leah Brown said...

We base our systemized knowlegde of the physical world based on our own physicality. Our base 10 number system corresponds to the number of digits on our hands, and measuring systems throughout history correspond to a standardization of bodily parts and capabilites. Geoffery Tory's recognition of the geometries and proportions of the human body in relation to typeface shows these characters personified. Typeface corresponds to the body the way it corresponds to architcture. The body is architecture and the body is communicator. It's lovely to see the adornment of letters, such as Giovanantonio Tagliente's imperial letters--so richly clothed and bejeweled, elegant as royalty in procession along the page or like dancing in swirling silks. What would it look like to dance a poem?

Leah Brown

Kari Hecker said...

I feel that a person's mark tells a lot about their character and personality. A person's handwriting is a reflection of them because it's a creation from their hand. It's literally their personality coming through their fingertips and out of a pencil. A lot of times I find myself writing the alphabet in different styles because I like seeing how the letters flow together and the different emotion they express.

I think the invention of Gutenberg's press was the start of the decline of writing (and consequently character). Every letter and word was mass produced to be the same. With the prevalence of computers, tablets, etc it's gotten even worse. A lot of schools aren't even teaching cursive anymore which is a different way of expressing style. It sounds crazy but I wonder if in the future people won't even be taught how to write and instead have their tablets mechanically write everything they're thinking.

Kari Hecker

Carrie Chema said...

For a personal project, I have been scouring the Library of Congress's database of American correspondence. Their collection is vast and intriguing at every turn but, with regards to our in class discussions, one of their common practices spawned a theory I hadn't before considered. I found a real treasure- Queen Victoria's handwritten letter to Mary Todd Lincoln dated April, 1865, in which Victoria expresses her condolences in the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. An obviously invaluable historical document, the Library of Congress had digitized the letter so that anyone with an internet connection may see Queen Victoria's slanted, cursive writing. As I looked at it, I realized that I had difficulty reading the text and immediately found a remedy; the LoC provides a transcription of the letter to be read with ease in some cold, impersonal, digital font. The experience of reading the transcription was instantly isolating; all the magic and intimacy of the authors original hand zapped out and replaced by letters as anonymous as the internet itself. Then I thought that the reason I had so much difficulty reading the original letter must be due to my lack of practice. The LoC (one example. Substitute this institution for countless others) has made it so easy to read these original documents in a digitized font that our eyes are no longer adjusted to seeing and understanding handwriting. Certainly, the Queen had taken penmanship classes from a young age, so I wonder if the reason the LoC needs to transcribe their original works is because we are no longer experienced at deciphering unique, individualized writing.

Queen Victoria's letter to Mary Todd Lincoln

Carolyn Kay Chema

Ashlhea Louis said...

During our last class, we discussed some of the illustrations found in the Nuremberg Chronicle. These images were representations derived from descriptions and insinuations as related in the Bible. These particular renderings proved to be incitingly and increasingly fantastical. What piqued my interest the most was the history behind these drawings and the fact that the majority of people accepted these images as actual and concrete scientific representations. It simply goes to show how perception and science have progressed so much over time, yet one thing that never changes is the ability of an artist to render these images so that society may look upon them for reference, as well as for historical accuracy. We look at these images and wonder how on earth people could have accepted this as science, but it will be the same way in another couple hundred or thousands of years when people look on our renderings of Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster and wonder how we could ever believe that something so fantastical is real.

Valery Rocha said...

I feel that it's important to talk and really look into a person's way of expressing themselves; and what I mean by this is that the way we make our 'mark' with our hands. Everyone has a different handwriting style, whether its cursive or print or even scribbles, and even though our brain automatically sees it as "Oh that's a word" we don't really pay much attention to the way we 'write' that word.

Like Kari siad, some schools aren't even teaching cursive anymore, and it is sad because we're not being giving much options today of the different ways to express ourselves. Back in the day everything had to be done manually and that pushed our limits in the way we pleased to make a mark. However, today, we are not given much choice because most of the time we're either typing on a computer, texting, or jut doing things digitally. We must keep in mind that we need to make a mark!

-Valery Rocha

Brooke Marram said...

As an creative advertising major, Geoffrey Troy's work really stood out to me. First off, his connection of the human body to typography is something I've seen before, but this publisher, printer, author, orthographic reformer, and prolific engraver who was mainly responsible for the French Renaissance style of book decoration inspires me especially because he played a leading part in popularizing in France the roman letter as against the prevailing Gothic. These were not just letters Troy made a statement! He created change with his art - something many people seek but never achieve.

In addition, Troy's work Champfleury is simple beautiful, the flow on the page makes the eye perfectly flow down the page and the use of negative space keeps it clean and very unique. Also, not only is the actual work extremely philosophical but the aesthetic seriously engages me as a reader.
-Brooke Marram

Alberto Monreal said...

Last lecture, I was intrigued by the many fantastical illustrations of the Nuremberg Chronicle. This German incunabulum details the universal history of the Christian world. Its author, Hartmann Schedel, drew from both historical and biblical accounts, even incorporating geographical information, in creating one of the most illustrated and infamous texts of the 15th century. What really peaked my attention was how human beings accepted the far-fetched illustrations of “strange headless people” as "scientific" fact. Specifically, Ashlhea made a great point when she compared their belief in these one-legged hominids to modern-day acceptance of Big Foot and the Lock Ness Monster. I must point out, however, that the context of 15th century belief was quite different from our own. Our world today isn’t fraught by superstition or magic. Today, science has shed light on many of life’s mysteries that for centuries haunted the human imagination. So although it may hard to accept how people looked at these images and accepted them as scientific fact, at the time, they simply operated on faith and had no way of knowing that such hominids were simply fantasy.

Alberto Monreal

V.Sheehan said...

I remember as a third grade student practicing cursive at my desk. I worked tirelessly to make sure that my cursive "z" would be the prettiest in the class. My obsession with perfect penmanship has still yet to subside. I sit in lecture classes taking notes by pen rather than by computer just because I fear that too much type will compromise my handwriting skills. It wasn't until I read a study on the link between handwriting and character that I recognized how much penmanship can explain about a person and how much type takes away from it. If this entire blog was somehow a handwritten narrative of what we each took away from the class, the way we would interpret each post would be entirely different based upon each persons handwriting. It is interesting to see how technology has changed the way in which we write and express ourselves.

Virginia Sheehan

Anonymous said...

My appreciation of the aesthetic of the hand goes beyond fonts. In today's image saturated society it can seem as an assault of advertisements, graphic design, and computer generated graphics is constantly thrust at us. I will always appreciate a hand painted sign over a flatbed printed awning. There is a personal connection of character when the hand is involved in creating instead of putting your thoughts through the filter of a prefabricated font. I think graphic design that optimizes a hybrid of hand crafted and computer generated elements is the best possible solution. It is also interesting to note how far printing has come since the days of handwriting books. Todays printmaking methods are so advanced and durable- over the break I actually saw students at calarts printing photographs on PVC pipe with a flatbed inkjet printer.

Gabriel Aiello

Milena Mihovilovic said...

While Gutenberg was the first to introduce movable type printing press to the Western world, it had already been accomplished centuries earlier in the Orient. Even carved wood blocks of text had existed in China far earlier. This calls into question the reason why it took Europe so long to develop something with this function. Is it possible that it was suppressed in order to keep the population illiterate? With reading material largely handwritten, it was naturally more scarce, and thus only utilized for religious and governmental purposes. Regarding religion, Gutenberg's Bible did exactly this. It expanded the audience for the semi-original text and most certainly was responsible for sowing some seeds of dissent within the Catholic religion. It is interesting to wonder how the world would have developed differently had this invention been introduced earlier. Perhaps the religious revolution of Protestantism would have emerged sooner, and all that has occurred in the past half millennium would have been accelerated.

Anonymous said...

The invention of the printing press by Gutenberg changed the way books and graphic designs were made. Printing was done in China hundreds of years before Gutenberg, but it was the printing press created by Gutenberg that made mass production of books possible. Before Gutenberg books had to be written by hand, because of that they were made in limited quantities and were only available to a select group of people. With the printing press it became possible to create thousands of copies of a book, and eventually the books became available to the public, not only a select group of scholars. People got access to the knowledge that was previously available only to scholars, and were able to see the illustrations that were made by master engravers. As the printing press became more available the printed books replaced the illuminated manuscripts and eventually people stopped creating them, and the art of creating the elaborate designs of the illuminated manuscripts was replaced by the engravings of the printed books.

Anton Zaitsev

Lizz Evalen said...

I think all the chronicles and texts were interesting. I constantly think back--who thought to write their thoughts down? Who thought to record? Who thought that what they had to say was vital for posterity? When did we take the leap from oral storytelling to written? It's amazing how it is so worldwide. Also, the incunabula and other such works remind me of a fascinating mystery--undecoded texts such as the Voynich manuscript. I did a little Google searching, and found 2 websites I think are fascinating. I am itching to magically know what's behind every symbol!

Anonymous said...

I really liked the concept of typeface as a floor plan and seeing how fonts and letters can have such an influence architecture and design. It’s kind of random (and hopefully no judgment here) but when my brother got prescribed ADHD meds when we were younger, he used to tell me how it made him start looking at everything differently like he’d stare at trees and immediately start doing math and thinking of how they were at a 90ยบ angle to the ground (not exactly that but you get the point). I just thought it was funny because I started doing the same thing looking around campus except seeing E’s and A’s and just random letters everywhere… Anyways, I’m also a big fan of Zaha Hadid and liked seeing the other designers whose work made use of text. Aside from that, I loved the Nuremberg Chronicles and how bizarre the drawings are. The fact that it took so many years and people and so much effort to create one book is beyond me, I mean it just makes it that much more insane and impressive. Definitely want to look more into that one on my own time.

Robyn Price

Paulina Pecic said...

When we consider character-as-mark, I think it's important to think about uniformity. Everyone who is literate with respect to the Roman alphabet can recognize an "A" or an "a", whether each is in serif, script, or medieval typeface. Therefore, graphic design applied to this alphabet may alter the original design, but must retain certain elements in order for the original meaning to continue to be recognized. This is interesting to ponder. After all, words are meaningless without the meaning we attribute to them, just like art is "meaningless" in and of itself. In other words, we give marks meaning. And due to the concept of character-as-mark, this can even apply to how we describe the "character" of other human beings. We define someone by their character. In order for the established meaning to continue to exist, it must exhibit consistency. And one way of achieving this is by uniformity of design. We see this, for example, in the movable type technique of the printing press--it is not only for convenience but also for purposes of maintaining uniformity. A capital "A" looks like all the other printed capital "A"s, et cetera.
- Paulina Pecic

Anonymous said...

Typeface can say much about your character. Depending on the typeface you choose you may convey a specific meaning about yourself and your artwork. Typeface is just as important as every other part of your piece because it becomes part of your artwork. Designers should always examine the way a specific typeface will impact their work in order to have a strong piece. Choosing a wrong typeface can alter your piece entirely or choosing a correct typeface can add much more to your piece.Calligraphy, as discussed is just as important as any other art form. Being able to create type by using your hands is an advantage when compared to always using a computer for type. Many people think that calligraphy is not used anymore because everything has become digital, but in fact it is still being used for font and logo designs, memorial documents, moving images for film and television, religious art, testimonials, maps, and more.

-Yesenia Tefel

Katherine Daniels said...

I found the type face as floor plan particularly interesting. I could really see the connection and similarities between the architecture and font faces we looked at in class. The design of the building, chair, and font face all incorporated similar design elements and influence each other's design. I have always thought font-faces involved a design process just as buildings and chairs do, but I had never thought to connect them. Thinking of a type-face as architecture adds another type of inspiration to influence the design of a font (and vice-versa). Because font-faces are thought of as graphic design, I thought it was really interesting to see them "come to life" in a 3D form as industrial design and architecture.

Katherine Daniels

Anonymous said...

I was really fascinated by last week’s discussion of French printer and calligrapher Geoffroy Tory. Never had I imaged that the origin of the letters that saturate my world are reflections of humanity and their movements. His book “Champfluery” is genius in its ability to add elegance and movement to lettering by superimposing them with the human form. Looking at the picture of his book on the website, I am amazed by the actual design of the pages. The block text that is slightly lightened by the heavy initial letters. The perfect and equal separation between the body of the paragraph and the pictures and the captions on the side. I also enjoyed his way of adding spice to a block of text by giving it form and making it narrower towards the end. But by far my favorite is his liking of the letters “O” and “K” to Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. By isolating different part of the human form, one can make out the letters “T” and “I” as well.

Evelyn Pereda

Anonymous said...

Last class we discussed the Gutenberg printing press. Gutenberg developed a revolutionary technique to mass-produce books. The Gutenberg bible was printed in 1455 and was the first book to be printed with movable type. This bible could potentially be called the most important piece of literature in Western Civilization. Christianity was spread across Europe and the Renaissance occurred. I think it is interesting that a printing press completely transformed the world. Gutenberg’s bible is not only important because of the religious texts, but because of it’s beautiful and interesting graphic design. The double column format and font are a progression from earlier religious manuals.

Tova Trellevik

Yeping Cao said...

I found very interesting about calligraphy is that it is art as well as drawing. It uses the fonts to make the writing not that boring. So calligraphy is the visual art of writing. A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner."
I saw the calligraphy was recognized by latin script, and I still found the history of calligraphy in China. From the oldest characters which are called "Jiaguwen" to the latest character which are simplified Chinese, there are so many different kinds. Of course not only China has so many different kinds of calligraphies, other countries have them too. so from 600 BC the calligraphy was found to contemporary society, calligraphy changes a lot and this is just the evolution of art.

Yeping Cao

Michelle Lock said...

Relating back to our first discussion on personal style, handwriting and calligraphy is a clear method of expressing one’s style. It can be argued that my handwriting can reflect what kind of personality I have. I could also argue that most guys’ handwritings all look the same to me: messy, difficult to read, and just not good-looking at all. So what would that say about their personalities? Yes, handwriting can reflect someone’s style, but it is definitely hard to define and translate.

However, whether it is messy and large or neat cursive, a person’s handwriting is definitely the most personal way of communication. In today’s world most of our communication methods employ the use of a keyboard, which eliminates the handwriting factor and therefore, making it less personal. Even though email is my primary form of communication, I still love getting handwritten letters in the mail. Physically sketching with my hand is always easier to concept and to start a project rather than going straight to the computer. The hand is definitely an underestimated tool in this modern age, when it should be used to our advantages. One of these advantages is combining both analog and digital forms of art, for example, like scanning sketches onto the computer and then enhancing them there.

One example of this is the musical artist Lorde. She bought a full-page advertisement in a newspaper in New Zealand, and wrote a note to all her home country fans thanking them after she won awards at the Grammys. Her note accomplished its communication goal, it reached a good bulk of its audience, as well as being innovative and stylish. This handwritten thank you note has so much personality in it, a typed up Word document would just not be able to compete. This example shows that handwriting is more impactful and will stand out in today’s world. Here is the link to the article if you want to see it:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is not the designing of something revolutionary, but the refinement of our crude inventions that is so valued by our society. The printing press was perhaps not the first form of movable type, as Bi Sheng during the Song dynasty also worked on producing a rather expensive contraption that achieved similar ends. We must not forget the role of folks like Gutenberg however. It is often debated as to who was the first to invent the printing press, but such arguments fail to appreciate the role of later individuals. Steve Jobs wasn't the first to invent the mp3 player, but his methodical devotion to design changed the way we look at these digital music libraries and led to their widespread adoption. Similarly, while Gutenberg may not have been the first to come up with the idea of a printing press, his refinement and application to printing bibles left an indelible mark on the way books were transcribed.

-Sajan Patel

Marina Rutenberg said...

I was fascinated by the concept of space within letters and characters. Usually, type is thought of as a two-dimensional “thing” that communicates something. Lifting the characters from their 2D lives and transforming them into livable, tangible spaces and objects seems like the next step in both typography and design.

Even after last week’s lecture, I found myself looking at pages and signs differently, noticing both, the obvious printed words as well as the white space that surrounded them. The same way Geoffroy Tory was inspired by the human anatomy to create a character, the creative minds of our time are flipping the concept on its head by reconstructing our environment drawing inspiration from very characters he created. Humans first inspired characters, but now, characters inspire humans.

The idea of character has come full circle, forming not only what we read and the ideas we live by, but also inspiring what we wear, where we live, and what we live with. Characters make character, as they have gone from composing the thoughts we write down on paper, to environments we physically live in.