Sunday, February 2, 2014

your turn #3

The madness of Michael Mapes, via koikoikoi

Dear class, there's plenty to talk about.

What excites your fancy?

Garamond (hope you remember my board quick notes) maps, infamous books, Bodoni, L'Encyclopedie, newspapers (are they really "dying" or judst "morphing"?), Baskerville (and the design of "The Declaration"), Caslon, etc.

Nota bene: If I can ask something from the class is to try to be less casual about your comments and try to really ponder design in a deliberate manner.


Sara Ryan said...

I found the story about Baskerville and the question of his originality very interesting. Though we talked about how he just tweaked Caslon's typeface and took full credit and fame for "his" font, we also mentioned that Baskerville, though not original, was a great designer. Though the base of Baskerville was Caslon's, Baskerville improved on the original typeface with his increased contrast between thick and thin strokes and he emphasized the circular form of the letters, making the font more consistent and more easily read. Baskerville's deliberate artistic choices are also evident in the delicate curve of the captial Q's tail and some of the italic serifs of Baskerville. It's striking to me how a couple of slight, yet purposeful changes to a font separated Caslon from the now famous Baskerville. Caslon's font was almost exclusively used and was well recognized, even appearing on the Declaration of Independence, but this Old Style Roman typographic was strenghtened by the innovative design decisions of John Baskerville. Baskerville's knowledge of design and writing ultimately made the font more legible and more widely used and recognized. His gutsy use of design broke the rules of Caslon's Old Style font, which was described as "comfortable" and "friendly" to the reader because of it's simplicity and legibility -- but the font was void of style and innovation. Though he could be viewed as unoriginal and a plagiarist, he deftly employed the subtle differences that he knew would make a good font a great one, and can we blame him for that?

Kari Hecker said...

I wouldn't say newspapers are dying, but rather are changing. I guess it really depends on what you consider newspapers to be. Does it have to be real “paper,” or just paper in theory (have sections, pages, etc)? I admit that I like holding a newspaper in my hands rather than a computer or Kindle, but I can see the benefits in switching over to a technological-based paper. It can reach a wider audience at a faster rate and helps reduce environmental waste. I believe in the future newspapers will be completely eradicated and replaced with online publications.

As newspapers continue being converted to an online format, I feel that the line between news articles and newspapers will become more blurred. For example, I wouldn’t call MSN a newspaper but they publish articles and act as a source of news. Maybe what distinguishes the two is that a newspaper is an entire collection of articles along with the comics, classifieds, and such. Are these lesser (in the sense that they’re probably the most overlooked) sections what make newspapers what they are? Maybe their design is what really makes newspapers as we know them.

Kari Hecker

Milena Mihovilovic said...

L'Encyclopedie, edited by Denis Diderot, was an excellent representation of the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment. In having power over its editing, Diderot (along with co-editor Jean le Rond d'Alembert) was in control of the information that would be accessible by a large population. The way he chose to represent information was also characteristic of the beliefs of the Enlightenment. For example, he (they) chose to organize information in such a way that theology and black magic were only a few entries apart. This is particularly interesting as it serves as a small preview of the dechristianization of France during the revolution. This encyclopedia holds a particular place in history, not only for its unprecedented concentration of knowledge regarding science, arts, and crafts, but for its political significance. It was rejected by the Jesuits and its first two volumes considered subversive by Louis XV. It has survived through time as an excellent testament to the power of knowledge.

Leah Brown said...

It has only been in the last 15 years that we have seen a complete revolution in mapping thanks to the internet. Maps today are designed to be integrated into our lives, interactive in their connectedness to our personal geographic location and other pertinent information. We have accurately imaged the physical world as never before, and can see it photographically or distilled into colorful and easy-to-read symbols. But what does the future of mapping look like? Perhaps real-time video will replace the timelapsed photos of google maps, or maybe though images we'll be able to leave the roadways--just step off the map and walk through a field or journey down a river. Of course, that is imaginable because what is mapped is real; our bodies could go there. But what about those spaces that exist that our bodies cannot go?

I try to map places in dreams. If I recognize that it's that house on the mountain again--that means the village is in the valley below, and if I go through those woods I'll end up....

Another one: what does a map of the internet look like? I believe it must be rendered in three dimensions.

Leah Brown

Carrie Chema said...

The idea that Baskerville "is not an inventor but a perfector" is very intriguing. There is a lot of pressure within most disciplines, but probably felt most intensely in the arts and academia, for originality. There is a prominent notion that, if something has been done before, it is sacred ground and any who tread on it are named copyists or unimaginative. I would argue, though, that most ideas have been considered by someone, somewhere in the past and that it is the transformation of old ideas that requires the greatest amount of innovation. Einstein addressed this idea with his famous quote "Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." Certainly, there is need for forwarding thinking originality but one does not design, think or live in a vacuum. Old ideas should be considered part of a collective informative database. These ideas must be reimagined, reconfigured and maybe requiring some editing to achieve something that is, again, original.

Carolyn Kay Chema

Gabriel Aiello said...

Rephotography and intellectual property rights is an interesting topic. Some of my favorite artists got their start by appropriating images such as Richard Prince, and Robert Rauschenberg. But laws and technology have since changed since Erased deKooning drawing . With Shepherd Fairy using another photographer's image of Obama to create the ubiquitous Hope flyer.- Is it ok for someone to take matters into their own hands and improve or remix your work?

I really appreciate contemporary collage work both hand cut and digital. I also love the pop art of the 1960's which is an art history rich in appropriation. Artists like Jim Rosenquist used famous images taken by NASA to comment (satirize?) the ambitious space program under the Kennedy Administration.

AK said...

Physical maps are not just meant for navigation, as digital maps are, but also a means of understanding a place. A prime example of this is Giambattista Nolli’s map of Rome, which took twelve years to produce. The Nolli map is an iconographic plan, presenting the city of Rome with an exactitude that allows one to immediately compare size, position and shape. It also narrates a story about the spatial perception of Rome, a perception that it is the spaces which we experience more powerfully than the buildings. To do that, Nolli chose to group and render solids as dark gray masses while voids were kept white. This was a design decision he carefully made, one that is the opposite of the way modern cities are thought of, that is as a canvas on which buildings are placed, the space between being ‘left over’ space rather than ‘positive’ space as it is in Nolli’s map. These types of decisions result in an informative map that doubles as a work of art, an intangible that Google Maps and the likes cannot offer.

Jena Thomas said...

If words originate from gestures of the body, then it only seems natural that the earlier heavy, gothic script would be phased out in favor of the more ergonomic classic handwriting. After all, type may be an art, but it is primarily a tool for communicating. Classical writing is quicker to write and cleaner to read. Gothic script is beautiful, but it seems to be better suited for religious or official documents and does not feel practical for an everyday lifestyle. Furthermore, as the population became more literate there would be a need for a typeface that suits the common vernacular and could be used to clearly get a message across to as many people as possible. Classical handwriting is not only easier to read and write, but it is also easier to copy, carve and print. As found in contemporary culture, the evolution of typeface certainly goes hand-in-hand with our needs.
Jena Thomas

Alberto Monreal said...

With modern technology, the incredible artistry and intricate design of maps has lamentably been replaced with the soulless convenience of global positioning systems. The art of cartography is seemingly as old as civilization itself. Maps served as a lifeline for explorers wandering a large, unknown globe. Yet their importance lies far beyond their functional purpose. Maps provide complex glimpses into the vanished worlds where ancient man survived. Some cartographers ventured far beyond geographical constraints, designing intricate stories weaved with historical figures in creating as accurate a representation of the world as possible. Henricus Hondius' World Map (c.1630) illustrates the artistic quality of such a map. His design reflects a careful geographic composition, surrounded by vivid illustrations of god-like beings referenced from classical antiquity juxtaposed to principal figures of his own era. The intricacy of design and complexity of creation elevate the utilitarian map from mere tool to stunning work of art.

Alberto Monreal

Pimlada said...
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Pimlada said...

Firstly, I think we are becoming way too dependent on technology. Most people (including myself) are throwing all of our trust into technology. What happens when one day, for one reason or another, it's gone? I've never really used an actual map to get anywhere. I never went anywhere that I really needed to use one. My father uses it when he goes hiking. Cartography is a dying art. It's unfortunate, because I think we still need it.

I concern that places of historical and other interest are going to be lost because they aren't listed on GPS systems and Internet maps like they are on paper maps. I think we are in real danger of losing what makes maps so unique; giving us a feel for a place systems has diminished people's map-reading skills and are often inaccurate or inconsistent. In the future, children might be done a disservice, as they are not being taught to map read at all.

Thus, I think, we are moving toward a future where interactive maps will display precisely the information people want, when they want it. It's adding a whole new dimension, literally, to cartography: now anyone can create their own maps or use their experiences to collaborate with others in charting their local knowledge. I’m worried that in the near future, people will not know what to do with a traditional map.

Pimlada Kongkham

olhovich said...

In the near future, when we look at a map, it may not be the same for everybody. This is because we go to different places. Mapping services, like Google will customize maps as we move around in our own world, among our own people.
Although this may sound convenient, it is rather limiting and predictable. When we look for a certain place, the mapping company will leave out any other possibilities that are not related to what we tend to go around in our daily virtual life. For these companies, everything out there is just information, without any other relevance besides getting us to our final destination disregarding everything in between you and that. The human side of a town, with its people, buildings and landmarks becomes secondary.

Gerardo Olhovich

sarbani.ghosh said...

I was very interested in Diderot’s Encyclopedie, essentially because it became a vehicle through which ordinary people, or at least literate people, could understand and learn about the technology around them. In a sense it almost mirrors the internet of today, in a simple book form. When you consider the air of secrecy around the knowledge of mechanical trade secrets, it was certainly a controversial publication. It almost seemed like those who attained in-depth knowledge of trade secrets wanted to create a new priest class and hoard the secrets to the success of civilization to themselves. The control of knowledge was in the hands of the printers, and Diderot revealed their secrets to the world in this book. It was also very interesting to note the 2,900 plates in its 11 folio volumes, making it a major undertaking in its creation. He was intent on bringing all this knowledge to life for ordinary literate people.

Sarbani Ghosh

Lizz Evalen said...

As a journalism minor, I think I'm pretty confident in the decline of newspapers, and whether they are dying or evolving... some would even say devolving.

In terms of news publication, of course they still exist. But it is evident from history that the way we process our news has changed drastically. There are many pictures that float around of people on a bus, all buried in their morning paper. Now, the same picture would be this group of people all buried in their small screens, quickly scrolling through.

Also, the way we receive news has changed and I think that speaks a lot for design. The most common types of articles are those in list format, "pocket news" like the type on Buzzfeed or Complex. This is easier for process, the layout being simpler and faster to read. We are so immersed in instant gratification that even important things that we find relevant to our existence have to be done quickly and with purpose. It's fascinating.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that newspapers were once an on demand item and now they are becoming somewhat obsolete. In the 17th and 18th century people depended on print material, but now we depend on technology to provide us with all the information we need. Online newspapers are more entertaining to most readers than printed newspapers. Online newspapers can provide you with audio and video footage as well as updated information. Newspaper companies have gone bankrupt and others have become online newspapers, but they are not making the same income. Technology has drastically changed the way we perceive the world. In 2008, the highest level of internet users reading online newspapers was recorded. It was said to be an average of 53 minutes per week. This study gave evidence that many readers were starting to transition from print media to online news. Many people no longer subscribe to magazines or newspapers because they have become accessible through the internet.


Anonymous said...

After comparing the typefaces of Garamond, Baskerville, and Bodoni, I found an image of the three fonts side by side and it’s much easier to see the changes in the letter spacing and design and the transition from more organic to geometric characters. I definitely noticed the specific features of each letter in Garamond’s typeface that were described in class—it has a more asymmetric and calligraphically derived feel than the others. Looking at Baskerville and Bodoni, the characters have a more strict and erect form, like all the serifs and the terminals of the f’s, r’s, and j’s are very distinct. Although I have a newfound respect and appreciation for calligraphy and hand lettering, I love seeing the transition made from hand writing to print.

As far as my opinion goes on newspapers and the shift from paper to online, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad change. I do think that we as a generation rely heavily on technology, but I don’t find that to be completely harmful—unless you have your phone attached to your hand or eyes glued to the computer or television screen, especially while interacting face-to-face (which we’re probably all guilty of). On a more personal and maybe a bit of a selfish note, I’ve actually rather enjoyed the transition. I’m a very hands-on person; I love to draw and doodle and it’s also much easier for me to learn and process things when I write notes rather than type them out. In general, I use a lot of paper, which isn’t as big of a deal as it was about 5-10 years ago when going green and saving paper was the thing to do. Since technology has taken over, it’s a lot more guilt-free.

Robyn Price

Paulina Pecic said...

The concept that resonated with me was the idea that the "advent of capitalism" had such an impact on typography. By "demanding BIG BOLD letters," advertising suddenly changes the very MEANING of graphic design. This, of course, raises a question about the very purpose of design. In its essence, graphic design is merely making a mark, but the PURPOSE ascribed to that mark evolves with the priorities of society. In its origins, this purpose ranged from aesthetically representing an idea to eventually communicating a message (e.g. with the institution of written text). Yet before the rise of capitalism and graphic marketing, the emphasis of design was MORE on the detail of aesthetic structure (for example, in the construction of individual letter forms) rather than on the message conveyed. For instance, if the Gutenberg Bible was solely intended to communicate religious doctrine, there would be much less focus on the intricacy of the design. HOWEVER, this is exactly what happens with advertising. Owing to the philosophy of capitalism and competition, the PROFIT is what matters. Therefore, the message (as the means of obtaining customers) suddenly takes priority over the aesthetics--and what is the result? Simple. Boring. Big. Bold letters. Easy to read, but not at all interesting to look at.

Paulina Pecic

Kyannah Andrews said...

I found after reading a passage by Rem Koolhaus titled The Generic City today, that it had two points of reference to what we had talked about in the last class. Firstly, in thinking about Caslon’s shadowed popularity by the “revamping” of his typeface by Baskerville. Koolhaus comes to mind in discussing the idea of identity. He exclaims that, “Identity is like a mousetrap in which more and more mice have to share the original bait, and which, on closer inspection may have been empty for centuries”. If I were to think in his terms, then it seems to me that rather than thinking about Baskerville as an imitator, it would seem that both him and Caslon are really both just varying imitators of the first typeface. Can Caslon claim to be the originator when he too, would have been influenced by precedents?

Rem Koolhaus goes onto to talk about the idea of the center and the periphery. “Conceptually orphaned, the condition of the periphery is made worse by the fact that its mother is still alive, stealing show, emphasizing its offspring’s inadequacies”. This brought me to another conclusion. When thinking about the first typeface in the form of calligraphy for example as the center and all succeeding typefaces as the periphery of that origin, then the constant comparison can only allude to the inadequacies of the latter. Essentially, each passing evolution of typeface is just the offspring of an even greater origin. With each passing, it becomes more difficult to achieve this identity.

Kyannah Andrews

V.Sheehan said...
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V.Sheehan said...

Shakespeare’s First Folio is a historical document whose font has been disputed over for years. The folio, a compilation of his works was printed in 1623.Visual and historical evidence have led researchers to suggest that the font is the second pica roman of Pierre Haultin cast for Jaggard’s use probably around 1603 or 1608 by an unknown typefounder who likely inherited their style from Pierre’s nephew Jerome Haultin. (Palaeotyphography of French Renaissance)

The font was cast on a pica body, the most common size of the era, and fonts made from the same punches had been owned by more than thirty printers since 1570. Moreover, the font was weathered, having been in use probably for well over a decade. This battered condition is what has made the font so fruitful for detailed analysis. The numerous visible defects in the sorts of the First Folio’s text font have proved the most powerful tool for reconstructing the book’s printing history.Many have tried to copy the print with a current typeface called 17th Century Record Print- the font was also used in the Harry Potter movies.

I find it so interesting that people have dedicated their careers to investigating this type, and its origin. This typeface has more or less been one of the most studied cases in history. Another that has been researched intricately is Gutenberg’s type for the 42-line Bible.

I am not extremely familiar with the "pica" body nor its historical background but I do find it alarming that the history of print can be traced through these small details. I would love to learn more about research on the typeface of the Folio as well as Gutenberg's type for the Bible.

Yeping Cao said...

I found very interesting about newspaper that decades of years ago newspaper was the only way for us to know about news. But now, along with the advancing technology, newspaper become far less important. And newspaper becomes kind of wasting paper. But I think newspapers are still "alive".
I saw a survey that a brief recap of recent headlines: Gannett (GCI, Fortune 500), the country's largest newspaper company, plans to lay off 10%, or 3,000, of its newspaper staffers; the century-year-old Christian Science Monitor will cease publishing in print; the Newark Star-Ledger will cut its newsroom by 40%; the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register will proceed with their umpteenth rounds of layoffs. But this numbers only mean that with the existences of audio and video newspapers, print newspapers should be decreased. Because competition may have effects, negatively. But, newspapers are like books. Although we have iPads and kindles and so on, the original books are still irreplaceable. Newspapers are not dying, they are just changing their ways to transfer information. Newspapers are trying to get fit in the technology world.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the Chapman and Hall Colonialism composition and its overall graphic arrangement and lettering. To start off, the very use of tan instead of white paper and the whimsical, Wizard of Oz looking characters is far more visually pleasant than the austerity and somber tones of black and white illustrations like Holbein’s Imagines Morti. The man on the top left even reminds me of Daumier’s famous Gargantua caricature. The overall arrangement of text and shapes is very symmetrical and balanced. There is something very organic about the shapes and colors of this piece that appealed to me. The circles are not perfectly circular and the font lacks opulence and methodical calculation. Instead, it is the very lack of continuity (look at the A’s) and three-dimensional structure that trades beauty for humanity. The design itself embodies the message and lures the reader with its “Southern charm.” To me, it is designs like these that set the stage for a style and culture that is very much exemplified by Miami’s newly opened Swine Restaurant, where shrimp and grits meet the 305. By looking at the very lettering, textures, and style of a restaurant’s menu or logo, someone can clue in on its ambiance and food and ultimately the culture they want to represent.

Evelyn Pereda

Valery Rocha said...

In an understanding of maps, we have advanced so much with modern technology that what we have now are all these digital maps. The beauty of having and understanding physical maps is not recognized anymore. Now that we have a way of knowing where we are whether it is in our phones, or our laptops and our GPS, we don't seem to bother learning of how to use a physical map. But most of us don't even seem to realize that this is affecting us. The day we actually (if the day ever comes) don't have this technology or come to a situation where we are stranded and don't know how to get around and all we have are paper maps - we won't know how to make it to our destination. Now, I'm glad to say that this isn't my situation, which is one of the reasons I'm so intrigued by the way maps have helped our ancestors get around, even in a time where the maps were completely wrong.

I was in a situation were on a trip to Virginia, all we had was our paper maps because our GPS stopped working and I was the only one that knew how to read a map, and it made me be appreciative of the knowledge I had of how to read a map. Back to the subject, I think that it is an art by cartographers, and we should be more appreciative and have more knowledge of such.

Valery Rocha

AK said...

Originally posted on Feb. 5:

Physical maps are not just meant for navigation, as digital maps are, but also a means of understanding a place. A prime example of this is Giambattista Nolli’s map of Rome, which took twelve years to produce. The Nolli map is an iconographic plan, presenting the city of Rome with an exactitude that allows one to immediately compare size, position and shape. It also narrates a story about the spatial perception of Rome, a perception that it is the spaces which we experience more powerfully than the buildings. To do that, Nolli chose to group and render solids as dark gray masses while voids were kept white. This was a design decision he carefully made, one that is the opposite of the way modern cities are thought of, that is as a canvas on which buildings are placed, the space between being ‘left over’ space rather than ‘positive’ space as it is in Nolli’s map. These types of decisions result in an informative map that doubles as a work of art, an intangible that Google Maps and the likes cannot offer.