Wednesday, December 10, 2008

End of Semester

I just wanted to mention that I enjoyed taking this course. It was nice to have a class based specifically on the history of Graphic Design. It was a change of pace to focus on design and typography, rather than how perfectly painted a piece of art is. It was easier for us to connect with the material, and it directly related to our field. I certainly think that this class, combined with the other art history classes has really broadened our knowledge, and will help us in our career. I am looking forward to next semester in Graphic Design History II!

AIGA posters

For anyone in laurie's type class, I thought you might want to see what the poster designs actually are for this year's AIGA events as compared to the ones we designed in class. These are all for this year's exhibits except for the 50 books/50 covers which is from 2006 because they don't have their new design yet. I think this exhibit is actually the most creative because each year they have a new, unique way of displaying the art. As you can see, my example is one where they hung them in plate holders and had a kitchen theme. If you go to AIGA's website and search these events, you can see all the themes from the previous years. Oh and also the circle's with photos in them is from the Everday Design exhibit. I also think we should take a senior trip next year and go see one these in NY :) It would be the best way, to me, to really experience today's contemporary art. Just like we went in person to see and feel the books at Wash. U., the professional work would have a much better impact in person rather than on screen.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Meanings of Type

I read the article "The meanings of type" and it gives a little more historical reference and meaning to designers if they have ever wondered why specific typefaces are chosen for assignments or pieces, or why we are “drawn” to some typefaces rather than others. These two quotes sum it up for me: "type design and typography are routinely informed by conscious and unconscious contexts that change with time." This is how our conscience knows which elements of a design work together. For example it gives the historical context of blackletter and psychedelic type and contemporary designers of today know these types send messages subconsciously because they were used for Nazi design and “free love” movements.  The Espers image is a good example of contemporary design using 60’s type that works because it promotes a Folk Film Festival in Philadelphia. “Practical and commercial motivations prevail but social and political rationales are never far away" is the second quote that I think serves a clear message. You have to think about the product and “making it sell” but the social and political references you might be making by choosing typefaces is also important and you don’t want to send mixed messages. That is also why it is important to be universal because different cultures see things differently.

Source:, Issue 50, article author Steven Heller, image:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Birth of the User"

If I understand Ellen Lupton's article correctly, it makes perfect sense. As designers we are to design for the user of what we are creating not just some joe-blow who descided to pick up that particular item and read it. Or the writer who just fills in all the information.

You might be thinking, "well duh!" I knew what I was designing and who I wanted to target. But was I actually designing for them? Was I going to reach the audience I wanted to or was another going to like it?

First and for most the user is the number one person. And in return we as designers get feedback and information on our users/audience, whether its in the younger crowd (teens to mid thirties) or the older crowd (60+) and anywhere in between.

Monday, December 1, 2008 is Charles S. Anderson's Website. After hearing about him in class, I was excited to go home and check out his website. I was impressed by his work, but let down by his site. Since I am studying Web Design along with this class, I noticed some things that didn't seem right with his site. The navigation was very confusing, and there were a few inconsistencies. Upon first glance, his site looks clean and nice. Once I decided to click on icon design, I had no idea where to go next. I had no clue what I had to do to view all of his icon designs, or how to see the next one. I became frustrated, and decided to click a different link. As I scrolled back to the top of the page, my cursor ran over this weird looking graph on the right side, and all of a sudden a new image popped up of an icon design. I then realized that you had to scroll over the cells to view his other icon designs. Honestly, I did not think this was very user-friendly or effective. In Web Design we learned that the viewer should never have to think, where do I go next, or how do I view this? It should be straight-forward, or they will get frustrated and leave, like I was about to do. As far as inconsistencies go, some pages had the text contained in the overall shell of the website, on a few other pages, the same type of text was extending out past the page. I don't think this was intentional. If this were a student's website, I do not think anyone would hire them based upon the layout of the site. It may turn them away because the student didn't care about the presentation of their work, even though the work itself was great. I just feel like the site could have been thought through a little bit more. I posted an example of the graph on his site above. The other image refuses to upload, but I will keep working on it.

David Carson

"Never mistake legibility for communication." ~David Carson

I find it remarkable that Carson self taught himself and has come to be such a popular face in the graphic design field. His work (second picture) evokes so much information in just one space. Your eye is drawn to the larger letters to say "it's your world", although some letters are lost in the background, it is still legible. Obviously sticking to his quote.

The first picture is like Carson's work, I believe with a more modern spin and seems to be only for display rather than communication. There is no type, but I get an urban feel from it. With the metal from what seems to be the side of a railroad car, arrows representing street signs, and graffito that is normally found on railroad cars. It uses the same range of appealing colors, but in a more modern way.

Pictures are from: and

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Russian designs comparison

Russian design after the Bolshevik Revolution (collage to the left) utilized shapes, elemental forms, and emotional color. Visuals filled the layout and were the dominant element (with little type included) so that the message could be accessible to all (even the illiterate could understand the message). The purpose for art at this time in history was mainly politically-centered. The government owned everything and designs were created to propagate the socialist ideals. The Russian's avant-garde art was "a composite of antagonistic groups, each with its own aims; Symbolism, Cubo-Futurism, Rayonism, Suprematism, Constructivism, Productivism, Concretism, and Engineerism were all invented to prove that a minority of the experimental artists were correct and the overwhelming majority wrong" according to art historian George Costakis. Contemporary Russian design, on the other hand (examples above), is more expressionist and free. The works reflect "the major current of Russian alternative culture and describe the history of independent, or “non-conformist,” art processes and movements from the 1960s to the present". Curators Marat Guelman and Juan Puntes also state that "people and the art world in Russia from the 1960s onwards, experienced a period of slow, gradual but real thaw, a defrost of three quarters of a century’s cultural freeze that happened not in a single decade, but over several decades, culminating in the period of the 1990s known as Glasnost." The social and political context at the time of both of these "movements" was the main motive for the creation of the artist's art. It was their driving force and has yielded countless, enduring works of art.