Monday, August 31, 2015

your turn #1

this is one of my favorite ornate initials. 
Lindisfarne Gospels (c.698aD). simply amazing!

hi, class. we've covered miscellaneous aspects of the history of graphic design (up to the high middle ages), right around the emergence of the Gothic script (circa early 15th century).

you should post a 150-word comment on any of those aspects treated in class: whether a specific typeface, design style, design development, image, concept, object, mark, etc. try to make your comment relevant to our discussion --so far. don't be just casual about it, think about what to say and do your best to add something meaningful to the discussion. next wednesday we'll open the class with your reading of these comments.

you can post anonymously if you wish, or with your google, facebook accounts. just don't forget to sign at the bottom of your comments (not alias, but your real name).

 i'll close the post for comments on tuesday night.that's the deadline for posting a comment. 

20 comments:

Anonymous said...


This week in class I learned that the art of design is in more things that we can think of.
Design is in our minds, and it has evolved in various ways since the early depictions at the Altamira Caves. Writing is a form of communication that started with pictograms, and has expanded into various forms of elaborated letterings in codices and manuscripts. These means of expression encapsulate each period, and the calligraphy is very unique to the person’s personality and form of writing. Every scribe embellished their writings with different elements like style, color and shapes. I believe every person can add that unique touch to their writings and leave a mark, an impression in time. A person’s calligraphy can represent their personality or their culture. As for myself, I was taught to learn script and cursive writing at a very early age. Later on in life, I took it upon myself to learn calligraphy. What attracted me to calligraphy was its aesthetics, the beautiful lines were far more elongated than normal cursive writing. As we can see in the different manuscripts or codices presented in class, there was a lot of attention paid to the details. It was not just a form of writing, but also a form of art. These elaborated pieces were a source of learning for those who followed, a source of income for the scribes, and a source to portray social status for the aristocracy.
- Walleska Lacayo

Anonymous said...

To begin, I was surprised that our class discussion and material started so early in history. Coming into the class I regarded graphic design as a modern concept with its history beginning closer to modern era. Part of our class discussion I found interesting was that empires had a relatively uniform typeface that was used throughout the land. Despite its uniformity though, each scribe would add his or her own touch to it, making it interesting and unique. Discussing this in class made me realize that this is something we lack in modern times. We simply have lists of types to choose from without being able to design and manipulate the type to best reflect us as an individual. Type today is not used to show status and elegance, but more to simply relay information in an aesthetically pleasing way and more importantly, effectively.
-Alejandra Madrid

Anonymous said...

I think in a lot of ways, our class discussion has left me with more questions about art history than I had before, though I don't believe it is necessarily a bad thing. I find myself thinking about a lot of things I hadn't before. For instance, so often in history, early man is portrayed as having minimal intelligence and skill in critical thinking because so much of their lives were focused on survival. But when we talk about ancient art, like the cave hand print, I wonder back when those early men and women were creating the art we talk about today, if they were exploring their world around them and just happened to leave these permanent marks that we interpret today as art or if they truly were intending on leaving a lasting imprint on the world. In terms of biology, the human brain has vastly increased in size over time and now is over twice the size of what would be expected of mammals of our size. Along with advances in just about every other area, I wonder how much those biological changes impacted the creation and interpretation of the art we study today and the level of awareness our ancestors had of what they were creating. It's so easy to analyze an event or behavior of creatures today but sometimes I feel like our culture may give more credit to our ancient relatives in terms of brain power and comprehension than they actually had and that we're analyzing their choices through these lenses where we view them as early humans when in actuality, they may have had more in common with other animals in terms of mental processing power. I'd be interested in learning more about the history of humanity and how our brains and biology evolving affecting our creations from not knowing how to create and use fire to periods like the Enlightenment and modern day.

—Samantha Richard

atRifF said...

cool guys, keep going. don't mind me.

Anonymous said...

From what I gathered on our class discussions is that graphic design started somewhere. Like many things, there is the first of, or the beginning of something. Type being a perfect example. It has its beginning, but it evolved. It evolved through the different times, cultures and ways of life. Like it says in page 19-20 of our book, "In spite of their differences, remarkable consistency united these alphabets, and many innovations were shared among them--a sign of close communication among peoples of the region." There was always a message or a story that needed to be told. During a certain time or era, people of that time communicated the only way they knew how. The alphabet was changed and altered many times, yet we have one that we follow/use everyday. You can look at the many typefaces we have now, and see that most of them have some style or likeness of the way lettering was many years ago. Which brings me to another point. As a graphic designer, I have many typefaces I can use on my design. It depends on which one I choose because it can make a difference on how I want my message to be read. With the different styles of lettering from all those years ago are proof of that. Why stick to just letters? There were symbols and pictures used as well. A message or story needed to be told, just in a different way. Not just lettering, but graphic design as a whole. Designs were made different ways, using different instruments, during different times. And the main point was to get a message or story told.


-Alicia Veasy

Anonymous said...

Even though I have thought of letterforms and typefaces as an art form before, it is interesting for me to see also the cultural impact they have had throughout history: a way of human expression; each writing style representing an idea, a culture, a philosophy... I can also now appreciate more the "mark" on each typeface. Copying will always remain a way to pass on knowledge and skills, but it is natural for all of us to make a statement of who we are in our works, whether they are designs or writing. The permanence of these works however, is what allows us today to study history and the social contexts in which they were being done; I find that fascinating. Creativity was kind of allowed more as the years passed (or so it seems), and the typefaces and art works became much more elaborate, diverse, and interesting. Perhaps people increasingly developed a taste or a "sensitive eye" for detail and the arts, or maybe the artists and scribes just wanted to outdo themselves as a form of excelling.

Alejandra Jimenez.

Anonymous said...

Starting with last week in class we began learning how graphic design emerged and what graphic design is. I had never thought of how people and design are connected in the sense that people are design. I realized the immensity of the word and started opening up to realize as you said that everything is design and that we are typefaces. Our personalities are all different and detailed in different ways just like a type is. I believe you can be a combination of different typefaces that already exist but each typeface has something unique about it just like we do. Taking this beautiful piece for example, I believe many people could connect to it because some part of it is similar to maybe a small detail of their personal font design. Maybe it’s the curves, the colors, the edges or all of it together. For me that is design and that is art, being able to feel a connection with the piece and knowing that everyone has a different connection to it, even if that connection is not liking it, it is knowing that you don’t like. The connection with the piece is the opinion.

-Zina Dornbusch

Sabrina Tomlinson said...

After our third class, it's safe to say I've learned quite a bit of things. First off, this is not your average art history class. This isn't a class that resembles an art history test---a picture, its info, and why it's important 30 times in a row until class is over. I think this is the first class that I've seen a real passion not only for art, but for knowledge. That's why I feel like I've learned more in 3 days than I have in entire semesters. As a graphic design major, I'm told often that what I do is commercial art for a digital world. It's not "real" art, it's made up as technology has gotten better and better. It's mathematical and for marketing and not so much artistic as it is word design. Therefore, the word "design" has made me feel less than. Since this class, "design" has taken on so many new connotations, I can't even keep up. Everything is design if you think about it, and everything is important and has its own dynamic history. I was surprised when the discussion started not in the age of computers, but of cavemen. I didn't think of a signature as a symbol, I was thinking much too narrowly. I was also intrigued with the shift from a more basic letterform that is easy to follow towards a more complicated, baroque bastarda. It didn't occur to me that as art changed aesthetics through the years that the design of letter, words, and symbols followed along too. It didn't occur to me that letterforms have such a rich European history. I thought it was going to be hieroglyphics and Times New Roman. I realized as a graphic designer, that I can never be static in a changing world, I'm always changing and adapting my personal aesthetic as I take in and learn new things. I think this class will open my eyes to things that may affect who I am as an artist, and I'm excited to learn just where it will take me. After all, design is everywhere.

- Sabrina Tomlinson

Anonymous said...

Looking at art history through the lens of graphic design is a refreshing way to observe the evolution of society. Graphic design is an enabling force that allows humanity to express itself, and through expression progress is achieved. We looked at the ruler Hammurabi from Mesopotamia, thinking about how his stele is one of the first surviving law codes that remains is absolutely mind boggling.There was a need to create order, and this stele was created to help enforce order. A thing of beauty, but also very useful. Watching innate design manifest through codexes and typefaces, which are used to help create social order, reinforces the importance of design itself. Understanding how design has evolved, and why, can enable us to make informed critique and analysis of our own graphic work. Additionally, when we were talking about the art industry's practice of having interns produce work for more famous artists, it reminded me of the scribes. It is almost as if these interns are our generation's best equivalent to the scribes. The nameless producers gaining experience until they have enough means to produce their own desires.
-Lucy Hynes

Katie Luddy said...

I am truly inspired by the the piece in this post. Lindisfarne Gospels is a decorative script that is at the peak of its evolution and truly stands apart from the rest of the scripts we have studied up until this point. First impressions of this piece was the use of bold colors, intricate details, illumination, and elaborate designs. It is simply amazing. The interlaced style influenced by the British Isles anchors the piece as its border and is used throughout the opening page. Each letter is written in insular majuscule script and each letter has its own individual design, specifically the the first two letters have the most prominent design presence on the entire page. These two letters at the beginning have there own distinct design style, they are transformed into a unique typeface influenced by the times and the amount of detail within the letter border could not be replicated. Overall, this piece was created solely as a opening page to catch the reader's attentions with its design. The piece clearly shows its lack of function with its focus being on the design instead of the legibility of the word shapes and separations between each letter. Even though this piece lacks obvious function and seems to only display an elaborate but unique design, we have learned that this tells us much more than meets the eye. It is a looking glass into the 8th century to show political implications, religion, location, technologies with its use of vellum, pens, and paint, and also the great skill and accuracy of the scribe. In its own way, the Lindisfarne Gospels made the opening page part of its famous style and allowed it to be separated from the rest.

- Katie Luddy

Anonymous said...

In the short period of time spent in this class so far, it has opened my eyes to the true extent and global reach of design. Mainly I've learned that design holds a lot of power. Power to persuade, represent, and take a stance in subtler, clever way than words alone. Whether it is through the typeface itself, the layout, or the direct message being delivered, design is able to portray the designer’s complete thoughts or opinions simply through mastered use of lines, shapes and formats. A piece that has really made its impact on my new way of looking at forms of graphic design was one we discussed the first day of class. The ancient paintings in Altamira. The thought of the designer literally marking his piece with his hand print gave me a new idea of respect for design, no longer as only an art, but as a resource. The handprint shows pride, ownership and strength in the way it was designed though its limited ancient resources. The fact that thousands of years latter we are able to still see, interpreter and essentially communicate just through the design of the signature proves design is one of the most powerful devices not only in the art world but to human kind globally.

Caitlin Houlihan

Ashlee Fabian said...

Although I joined this class late and was only present for one lecture, I feel this topic has already surprised me with its widespread scope and depth of handiwork. I did not realize that calligraphy, handwriting, and ancient forms of writing, were all encompassed in the study of graphic design. Graphic design seemed a more unconventional form of art, prior to this class, before we were deeply considering the art of designing a page, font, colors, etc in order to purposefully create a beautiful book or document. When we discussed the Declaration of Independence and Gutenberg's Bibles, it became very clear that graphic design is a slightly overlooked and underappreciated art form in modern culture and that the work of graphic designers is likely taken for granted. Furthermore, in modern contexts, I had no idea that each graphic designer created their own unique typeface as a way of solidifying their identity as a designer and their place within the art community. I feel as if there is so much to still to learn about graphic design and I look forward to the variety of information and new perspectives that we will gain from this class.

- Ashlee Fabian

beccamag said...

When I used to think about graphic design, I thought about mostly digital applications. While I knew this class was going to discuss the history of graphic design, I did not think we would be discussing wall paintings in caves and ancient scripts. I found it interesting to be going over some of the same artifacts I did in Art History 131 last semester. In that class we discussed more of the materials used and importance of the text in different artworks, whereas in this class we are discussing more of the techniques and visual elements of the artifacts. We also have been discussing more of the reasons artists, scribes, and common people used particular designs and typefaces to convey their messages. There is definitely an overlap in conversation between the classes but the reinforcement isn’t a bad thing. This class is more philosophical and less fact oriented and that is a nice change.

Becca Magrino

Anne Mene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What really impressed me in last class is how Graphic Design has always been present throughout the development of our civilization, however it was never a central tenant. What I started to understand is that since the beginning of mankind there was a need to maintain order and so there was a need to create rules or stele to uniform the written compositions. Therefore typefaces were generated to govern a set of rules where every scribe would work to achieve that uniform style. I am not a Graphic Design major, and so I had no idea how widespread Graphic Design can be and has been in our societies. Looking through an art historical perspective, the development of typefaces and marks had begun at medieval era by manuscripts, however its hayday was with the marvel of Gutenburgs' Bible. Gutenburg’s bible novels the world with the development of mass production, typographic texture/ legibility and large margins, which all catered to the commercial need of the market at that time. If this first week is an indication of the rest of the semester, I am sure I will learn a lot in this class.

- Anne De Souza

poppy archer said...

Until this class I had never considered the origin of graphic design and what was even considered graphic design. It is logical yet so hard to understand that font has evolved over centuries and that there wasnt always a written language, something that we so greatly take for granted. Typists managed to find a way to display our written language, they managed to figure out how grouping certain letters together would make specific sounds. It is incredible to think that the first signiture was a hand print on a wall and a painting of a face and now we scribble our signitures on the back of plastic that we use as invisible money (credit cards!) What also shocks me is that the design of a chair evolved from font. I hadnt really considered what graphic design was before this class, but it is inspiring thinking that so much has been created and developed from geometry and the geometric shpes that appear in fonts. I am excited to learn aout what further advancements evolve from the early discovery of font and how graphic design changes throughout the course of history.

Poppy rcher

Willa Deeley said...

Like many of my classmates have mentioned in their posts above, I too was surprised to learn that graphic design’s history stretches back as far as it does. However, what I found most interesting was your explanation of the connection between elements of graphic design and elements of physical design, such as the chair. Not only is there a connection between graphic design and more typical art historic mediums, you presented us with the idea that graphic design is quite intertwined with art history. For example, Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair can be seen both as an expression of the de Stijl group’s belief in the simplicity of the straight line, and as influence for Tobias Frere-Jones’ typeface variations. However, it seems that type is not only a tool from which to construct other art from, but can also provide a uniform that allows two-dimensional art to stand out. In examples of Gutenberg’s Bible, the precise, be it beautiful type provides a consistent visual that allows the art of the rubrication and penned marginalia to stand out in ways they would not prior to the press.

Willa Deeley

Anonymous said...

I took a typography class last year, where I was taught the architecture of fonts, and what small intricacies differentiated one typeface from another; however, in this class I am beginning to look at type less objectively and more artistically. During our very first class, Professor Triff identified a handprint on the wall of a cave as the first signature, which stemmed from the desire to mark something as his own. Then, when we started looking at the work of scribes, and how elaborate and ornate some of their letters were, I learned that extreme form of customization was also another form of signing one's work. I never considered that all these beautiful letterings were actually an early form of copyright. And, that the drive to create these wonderful works of art all stem back to the desire to mark a work as only yours. I am so glad this class in enlightening me, and also altering my perception of artists and their works that I have previously encountered.

Anonymous said...

As a student majoring in graphic design I am always being exposed to new fonts and learning how to use them. Up until recently I am learning how to successfully create my own typeface. I find the idea of movable type incredibly fascinating. It begins when a scribe (or typographer?) creates a stylized font that then gets passed on to a craftsman to cast them into hard metal. After the type is removed from the mold it is ready to be used over and over again to create words on paper. The process seems tedious considering how many letters are repeated in words, sentences, and paragraphs. All of that hard work just to print a couple hundred pages. It is very interesting to learn why there are so many typefaces and families and how easy it is for us to create or find fonts with the help of the Internet.

I found a video of a guy creating movable type… thought I would share for any of you that are interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwsrqXmNeCY

-Silvana Arguello

Jonathan Villegas said...

So first impressions so far, and some of you may relate with me on this, is this revelation I've had towards everything design, due to this new perspective of looking at typeface as an identity. I mean it was mind boggling to find out how these manuscripts called a uncials were completely written in majuscule to represent the authority figures, while the commoner would represent himself via the more casual minuscule typeface. When we start to dissect these writings to their very letter construction you start to wonder differently about how every little detail in life and in your work is worth a moment of design. From here on out these designs are as much alive to me as the viewer for who they are intended for.

- Jon