Friday, September 2, 2016

your turn #2 (please, read my summary & you'll be fine)

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

after we finished last night, i felt i owed you a summary.

there are two main points to keep in mind about last class: how the mark evolves culturally, and formally:

(I) how the mark evolves culturally (from roman times to high middle ages/renaissance)?

1- the emergence of literacy (more people read, "the more you read the more you read"). why do people read more? from 8th century a.d., we have new vernacular languages: old english, high german, iberian (spanish), regional italian, etc. 

2- christianity spreads throughout europe and the bible is translated into the vernacular. we looked at examples of the codex (a book form, rather than a scroll), the hymnal (people sang along with their little copies), the book of hours (remember you carry this one with you at all times),  illuminated manuscripts (to catechize children, didactic everyday moral teachings), ars moriendi, (the nearness of death because of the "great plague"), the middle ages erotica (a thriving underground genre), etc.

3- spread of knowledge, i.e., the university (look at the 67! universities in europe by the high middle ages). because of the influences of the universities we get: 

4- spread of science (ratdolt's euclid's elements)

5- spread of humanism (this is a renaissance development)

(II) how the mark evolves formally? now we're looking at typeface itself (from trajan to gothic)

see the different decorative systems of the gothic? there is an equivalence between architectural and calligraphic developments, tracery = typeface 

what spearheads typeface this evolution?

a- the influences of different languages, and b- the diversity of writing tasks reflected in majuscule and minusculemajuscule for the church, government, minuscule for scholars, the literati, the secretariat, bankers, in other words: the emergent bourgeoisie. c- each change in the mark reflects cultural conventions.

let's take a look at development new roman to gothic. imagine an arrow of influences moving first from south to north and then back again from north to south.  it takes 700 years!

south and east traveling to north and west  (this is basically the movement of christianization to the north)

new roman (uncials and half uncials or majuscule) majuscule are the headings and titles. uncials are miniscule.  
visigothic = greek and arabic 
old english (anglo-saxon with a normand influence from france).  
carolingian (latin, but ruling over franco-germans)

now see the arrow moving north to south (since 1500's the movement of the reformation from north to south)

gothic and all its variations: 
textura, (gothic in netherlands & germany), 
rotunda (gothic traveling south to spain, italy), 
bastarda (gothic in england) and 
cursiva (gothic in france, germany, england).

now, what's on your mind? say it.


Anonymous said...

What I found most interesting from this weeks blog are the typeface photos laid out as modern floor plans. They strongly resemble the Bauhaus style art form of asymmetrical geometric shapes. Van Doesburg strongly demonstrates how simple letters can be transformed into blueprints or floor plans. I agree with your comment that typeface is to graphic design what floor plans are to architecture. The simplicity of these asymmetrical shapes and typeface seem to have also inspired one of my favorite art movements – Art Deco – in the 20th century. I have an appreciation for clean lines and modern furniture, so the accomplishments of Van Doesburg and Rietveld are some of the contributors to this style. What started as the evolution of typeface transcended into the world of architecture design.

-Bryan Vargas

Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting parts of last week’s class was the discussion on the Gothic script and hymnal called Missale Bellovacense,. What captured my attention the most was the original explanation of the division of labor and the large number of people that it took to complete this script. The idea that the script was very well designed and planned out so that other people could later on pick up and continue the work is fascinating, since it creates one single product that has all the elements in complete harmony. The notation of the hymn that is presented in the Missale Bellovacense is also very interesting because of the way that it is a direct predecessor to today’s form of music notation. While I am not in any way music inclined, I find today’s notation to be beautiful, and the detail and work put into the one presented in the script is incredible. The other interesting part is the way that the script reflects the architecture and art of the time, reinforcing the idea that the form of writing is not just reflective of the aesthetics of the time but rather that it is also a driving force behind these.

Martina Sandoval

Anonymous said...

I found a lot of topics fascinating during this class session. One thing that I thought was very interesting was how one piece was produced by many different people, and everyone had different tasks based on their skill sets. To look and recognize the different aspects of a piece of work was something that I really enjoyed while looking at the many examples we saw in class. One of my favorite examples was the Gospel of Mark that had the really ornate letter N that basically took up the entire page. I also found it very interesting how you related typeface to furniture, I have never heard of that before. To relate type to architecture was something that I enjoyed learning about. Something that really stood out to me is when you spoke about typeface and fonts being like a soul. As a designer I really feel this way. I would love to learn more about creating typefaces, like you talked about how every good designer creates their own font.

-Emily Warren

Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting points that we covered this week was the how big of a difference there is between uppercase and lowercase letters and how there is a meaning to it. Writing words is so normal nowadays that we don’t pay attention to this type of things. I found very interesting what you said about how the uppercase letters were for important entities like the church or the government, and lowercase was for people like secretaries, bankers, etc. I think that nowadays we overlook the fact that every mark has a meaning behind it and this is a perfect example. A mark can represent cultures, innovations, and movements. It has a great power that should not be disregarded.
-Anat Sterental

Ana Gonzalez said...

My mind is currently thinking about the typeface discussed during last week's lecture. The typeface would be where the mark evolves formally, "from trajan to gothic". I was unaware that typefaces could be imagined as furniture or abstract objects. I always thought typefaces were a fixed, carefully designed set of letters. Since last week, I think each typeface has a "soul", a soul that the designer created. Abstracting the letters to show a picture, similar to a hieroglyphic symbol is truly amazing. Customizing typefaces in the form of furniture takes imagination in regards to letterforms. Another topic that interested me was the majuscule and minuscule. I was fascinated that the lower case, minuscule, was seen as the mark of scholars and bourgeoisie. This shows that the mark can depend on culture and even tasks.

-Ana Gonzalez

Anonymous said...

To have been given a better understatement of the evolution of marks because of technological innovation with supporting evidence backing the usage of different typefaces throughout the broad time period as you did expanded my thought process on the true definition of graphic design. As someone who has studied and replicated scripto continua in arc school, I know how difficult it is to produce some of these insanely perfect lettering. The mere fact that as time evolves so does the typefaces depending on culture or region which is one way which differentiates certain groups is interesting because of the innovative matter these came about. In addition, to view certain typefaces as floor plans or views is crazy since I eat and breath floor plans. The connection with Bauhaus and architecture all through the progression of typeface is conceptually pleasing for the emphasis they place on one another.

-Adrianna Rivera

Anonymous said...

The flow and ebb of language and the written word connecting with religion really started with paul and the diaspora of jews. The connection between religion and language is shown through the growth of vernacular and religious texts. It makes sense that certain words are added and dropped with mass migrations,religious movements, and time. When viewed temporally, it seems random but when viewed through a geographical time lapse lense a pattern appears. The z is added, then is dropped, being replaced with a y. Y and Z seem to be interchangeable for the next 500 years until they start to be used together and the x being dropped. Given that this was all in western europe, with one major religion shows two things, the artificial nature of marks and the lasting nature of marks. Y and Z, not part of the first lexicon had a fluidity, but x remained throughout most of them, only disappearing in england, a backwater removed from central europe and rome .
Dante Petersen

Kelly Brody said...

Prior to the 9/1 lesson, I did not put much thought into the reasons for stylistic differences in typefaces. I find it very interesting that there are both cultural and economic reasons for the stylings of typefaces. For example, it did not occur to me that italics were a more economically sound type choice due to tighter kerning. Another thing I never really thought about was how typefaces could evolve as a style based on one scribe's decisions to extend a letter or shorten its height, ect. The repeated copying of a specific style became the norm, which is why when we think of a "gothic" or "roman" typeface, we most often think of a singular style. The fact that styles of writing were matters of the state speaks to the intense influence the governing body and religion had on art at the time. Manuscripts in all their intricate glory were carefully designed by the royally appointed scribes.


Anonymous said...

I personally found interesting the idea of the mark evolving with the culture—specifically the spread of Christianity. For example the Book of Hours provided personal religious texts, prayers, and psalms that one could carry around with them at all times. Though the lavishness of the decoration varied, the books all combined the text with imagery. This allowed for pauses for religious reflection, as well as a way to convey the message of the text to children and others with limited reading ability. I enjoy the idea that the bookmakers kept in mind the fact that their audience might not be literate and still found a way to convey the story or emotion. Even for those who could read the words, the images provided further opportunity for reflection and the prayer for salvation.

-Tami Lake

Anonymous said...

During our last class, have some interesting point was catch my eye. in past time. the role of the uppercase and lowercase was different. they were not only used for personal emotion in our writing style. now, society already turn to the fast way to understand each other and pass our culture. But, the fast and connivence let us lose some traditional smell from the paper book, and soul of hand writing. our class let me think about Chinese hand writing, we update our writing from traditional to simply, to be more easy to understanding, but we also lose some meaning behind the old character. As we talk in our class, now the any graphic designer has their own typeface. even now, the free typeface was all the internet. but the artist already found the way to pass their soul through the marks like before.

Shiyu Wei

Annasjoukje Runia said...

From last weeks class, there were several things that interested me. To me it was amazing that people spent so much time in decorating letters and in decorations around texts. For example the letter N in the Gospel of Mark was so much decorated and it covered up almost the entire page. Not only they put a lot of work into the lettering, but also for some books, like the Gutenberg's bible. This bible contains paper from very high quality, the paper contains watermarks it is a very complicated process to make this paper. It is so incredible that they put in so much work and time in just making paper. In those days they didn't have the technology we have today to make it, so it must have been a very long and difficult process and all done by hand. And last it was interesting that there were so many different typefaces for different cultures and people and how those typefaces kept evolving by some little changes every time . Some typefaces look so complicated, it looks almost like little decorations or art.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting part that caught my attention from last week’s class was the “type face as modern floor plan.” This could be considered as using typeface to make geometric design. The way it uses letters to outline a floor plan is quite creative in graphic design. This reminds me of the fact that typeface could be considered as an element of art. In modern art, artists tend to add typography in their artwork to make their pieces looks more creative and more unique. Take Erhard Ratdolt’s design as an example, he uses woodcut boarder and gothic floral interlaced-initials as a design element. Although there is no image in the design, viewers will not think it is a boring design. Typeface is the main element in this piece. The gothic typeface makes the design look more dynamic and more vivid. Even though there is only white, black, and red color in the whole piece, the variation of lines in the woodcut border and the shape of gothic typeface could still catch viewers’ eyes. There are some other modern artists using collages with only typography on them to create art pieces. Although the collages are covered by text, viewer will not think the canvas is too busy. To me, it is a reflection of cultural connotation.

-Yiming Zhou

Anonymous said...

What I found most interesting about this discussion was how the mark evolved formally. I think it is interesting to see how written language began pictorially and then gradually evolved into a phonetic alphabet that could capture the full range of human thought. And then once the phonetic alphabetic marks were codified, I think it is interesting to see how we transition from majiscule to miniscule out of the necessity for speed. I think this goes back to the concept of “the more you read, the more you read”, and how as education and literacy spread, the emphasis shifted to reproducing the mark as fast as possible in order to convey the ideas behind the mark, with less emphasis placed on the actual mark itself. In this context, i.e. moving from pictograms to phonetic marks, it shows how the initial message (the pictogram) evolves into the medium (the abstract phonetic mark) by which we convey the ultimate message.

-Will Uelk

Anonymous said...

I was doubtful about that dose character belongs to art? In my mind, there is a big difference between characters and art works. People usually use characters to write a message, a poem, an article or a book. Writing is the most obvious and straightforward method to manifest our feeling and opinions. However, art is going in the opposite direction. Visitors maybe have different feeling through watching works. It is obscure and vogue relative to writing. Thus, I was not sure about the relationship between character and art. From last lecture, I felt the charm of characters, especially I think the most interesting parts are the typeface and calligraphy. From seeing calligraphy works on the lecture, I got different visual enjoyment from different style calligraphy work such as smooth, serious… In addition, it deserves to be mentioned is the evolution of characters. When I saw hieroglyphic in the lecture I thought original characters came from early human’s art.

-Yaoli Wang

Anonymous said...

What caught my attention from last week’s lecture, was that different typeface that flourished in certain periods, alludes to the cultural and social situation in which it was popular. For example, majuscule is used for the church, government and other official uses and miniscule is used among emerging bourgeoisie such as scholars, the literati and so on. Different form of typefaces from visigothic to cursiva are unique to the region in which they are often used. For example, if the letters are written in rotunda, I can guess that the artifact was created in Italy. It made me wonder if the often used font these days, “Times New Roman” will be used as a landmark to tell something about our culture in the future. Another topic that was interesting to me, was the artistry involved in creating a scroll, codex or a book. I live in the world, in which it takes less than an hour to print out a book. There are designers who design the cover for book and decide margins or the fonts for the book, but we do not have a scribe who writes each letter of the book with enduring patience and unbelievably skilled hands. It made me wonder if back in the days, the scribe gained a name as the authors would.
-MinA Jang

Anonymous said...

The most interesting aspect of last week’s lecture was how each individual group of scribes created their own decorative typeface to protect them from forgery. As an artist this concept really connected with me since one’s artwork is original to the individual who created it. The idea that this mindset was done so long ago with a different motive then to just look beautiful is also incredibly extraordinary, especially since the digital “watermark” wasn’t even close to being created yet. This sense of originality depicts that these scribes like in prehistoric times used marks to show anyone who comes back to them that the mark in front of them was made by a specific individual and unlike the cave markings these were made for a specific audience. The evolution of the availability of these books with elaborate typefaces was also quite interesting especially since they escalated to them only being available for the rich or literate, to returning back to its prehistoric ways of being available to anyone who is willing to find a copy, no matter what their origin or back story.

-Liliette Ferro

Anonymous said...

Looking at those pictures of medieval luxurious books and manuscripts remind me how art, in all kind of ways, has evolved and changed. Probably before 20th century art has this "one and only" nature. It is "un-copy-able". These scrolls and manuscripts are all handwriting, which takes a large amount of time, labor, carefulness, and talent. Additionally, they are made with very expensive materials. Therefore, their visual sophistication are only accessed by the minorities - the church, the royals, and the nobles. However, now, art is not that exclusive anymore. Duchamp brought up the concept of mass-production; anything can be art and anyone can be an artist. Art becomes more democratic and an everyone's thing. People is having more accesses to art and everyone can make art. Further, in Middle Ages, most of the objects that can be called "artwork" closely associated with Catholicism. They are the manifest of religious supremacy and sublime and the secular power and wealth. Especially in Medieval, Renaissance and 16th century, many of the images depict the Classical Greco-Roman mythology and biblical stories; whereas when it moves on to 18th and 19th century, art not only serves the institutions as their religious and political propaganda, many artists use art for social and political revolution. In the meantime, more and more middle class and working class life are illustrated.

- Emma Fu

artisticagi said...

So the mark continues its evolution into the middle ages. We look at the mark itself (typeface) and what exactly is being marked down. (religion, science, erotica)
The evolution of the mark formally is something that is of interest not only in this class, but two other classes I’m taking. I love seeing the synchronicity. Something interesting I learned in another class was how the renaissance influenced the creation of typefaces. Da Vinci’s perfectly proportioned man was actually used as a basis for the proportions of every letter in the alphabet. As a design student I love typography and have been reinventing my own handwriting since I was in elementary school. I used to draw a’s like the computer did, but it was too hard. Then I would draw it in a loop, but it wouldn’t come out accurate every time. I definitely agree that each typeface has a soul. Each one evokes a different mood.
-Agnes A

Anonymous said...

Unlike in the past when shorthand was used for economic purposes, today shorthand is used because people are lazy. Although it only takes about one second to write or type the word “you”, many people use the abbreviation “u” instead. In today’s world, shorthand is not just written on paper, it is typed in text messages. Today, paper is a very common and inexpensive resource, and thus people are not using shorthand on paper in order to save money. Given that in the past shorthand was forbidden by Justinian and had been linked to witchcraft, it is quite remarkable that shorthand is still used today. Despite being frequently used as a result of laziness, shorthand can serve as a very helpful tool for students taking notes. All in all, shorthand is a beneficial tool that allows people to write or type in a speedy fashion.

-Emily Griffith

Anonymous said...

What expressed me the most last class was that the beauty of illuminated manuscript. Those elaborated details and fancy patterns are fabulous. After Christianity spread throughout Europe and bible translated to different languages, people from different places decorated their books in different style. For example, the patterns and decorated letters from Vienna Dioscurides and Book of Kells are quite different. The details of Vienna Dioscurides are more realistic. The colors are livelier and pop out. The illustration from Book of Kells are darker and solemn. I think these books not only represent people’s athletics but also show their spiritual world. More importantly, they are valued academic resources of researching how the world changed. Because art is a big reflection of a society.
-Jane Zhang