Monday, April 27, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 4/27/09

-Words are not merely codes, using them is a behavior, and the behavior alters their meaning. 
It was interesting to look at words in a different way; that the phonic alphabet was an empty representation- a signifier for the richer fullness of speech and content inside. In deconstructionism, we reverse the status of the two to reveal speech fails at what it is allegedly best at- transparently repeating reality.
-There is no innocent speech.
Deconstruction is a way to read "texts." Any deconstruction has a text as its object and subject.
-normative: See Image - Read Text
-deconstruct: See Text - Read Image
-Untrained: Free to invent, Walked the line between chaos and illegibility, angering many.
Typography exploded in the '80s due to electronic media coming to fruition. 

I was very intrigued by the phrase "type production has gone mad, with its senseless outpouring of new types... only in degenerate times can 'personality' (opposed to the nameless masses) become the aim of human development." In postmodernism, we see reality as being fragmented, diverse, tenuous, and culture specific. More importantly, Deconstruction can stand for structures in the mass media can be reshuffled and re-inhabited. Words are NOT merely codes, using them is a behavior, and the behavior alters their meaning. The intelligent designer needs to strike back and disturb/disrupt.
- Emphasis on the body, the actual insertion of the human into the texture of time and history.
The films we watched today were great, especially the Hillmancurtis film on Sagmeister, which was beautiful. The talk we held after class was equally interesting, it was good to question ourselves as designers. What is our role as a designer in the coming times? A graphic designer in the '60s and one in the 2010s are not the same. What is design changing to in the new millennium?  I'm unsure that I even know right now what my purpose will be. Will what I do come back to haunt me later in life?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Design Discourse Two

Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design
Michael Bierut
#20 "Better Nation-Building through Design"

  • New logo is often a CEO's first change to a company to show a "regime change."
  • Iraqi flag changed in similar manner once Saddam was gotten rid of.
  • Flag and Logos mean nothing on their own, people project their hopes and fears onto them
  • Swastika was a beautiful symbol from a purely formal viewpoint, forever tainted by Nazis
  • Designers of the Iraqi flag mistook easy symbolism for difficult substance.
  • Symbolism meaningful as long as its clear what it means to symbolize
  • Corporate Identity needs consistency and commitment to be successful

The present day Iraqi flag was changed a few years ago to promote "change" after the American invasion; to give Iraqi's a sense of hope. Unfortunately it was wrought with trouble as the public was given no choice in the Flag's design, the colors were the same as Israel's and not Arabic's trademark white red green and black as was the old Iraq flag, as well as the deletion of the phrase "God is Great." Meaning is important in symbols, especially when it comes to flags, the lack of concern for the general populace's opinion over their own country's flag, especially in a country that is trying to be changed into a free land is puzzling.

The new logo for Pepsi is a source of confusion for many people. The redesign was not drastic but by no means subtle either. It is lazy and conveys nothing to Americans. Michael is right when he talks about clearly anchoring a sign to what it is supposed to mean. A corporate identity needs consistency, otherwise it stands no chance of success. Where there is a lack of coordination, there will be perpetual confusion in the minds of the audience. The design change and the amount of money spent on it, which will go into the hundreds of millions when taking into account all the vehicles and bottles and vending machines that must be changed, seems very pointless if a mere 5 months was spent on the design, especially in an economic state that America is festering in as of now. As an Iraqi council member said; "I think there are issues more important to concentrate on than the changing of the flag."

Johnson & Johnson's logo is a clear example of what Michael Bierut  talks about as a good logo. It has maintained consistency since its inception, and has symbolized itself in probably the most simple way you can; its logo and name are one in the same. It is clear, the name synonymous with confidence, medical technological revolutions and baby products. It is there, never hiding its face, letting people assign whatever conceptions they wish to make about the company, much like a flag. It lets them project their "hopes dreams and nightmares." It is meaningful as a symbol because it reminds one of all the deeds they have done, much like calling out a name like Bill Clinton or Mohammed Gandi. It symbolizes itself and nothing more.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 4/13/09

It was interesting how the man Paul Rand redefined graphic design in America, turning away from European sources and inventing corporate branding. He was the one who understood the value of graphic forms that were created for symbolic and communicative purposes. Companies saw that Good design was good business, and so branding was seen as a great way to make a reputation of quality and reliability.

- Simplicity enables the viewer to interpret the context immediately.
- "All visual forms carry history"

Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar were creating pieces that were trying to divert American's from European design, and back into the loose and humorous American culture with their graphic design. They and their associates would abstract form unto itself, free from alphabetic, pictographic, or figurative connotations. Television was a new way to spread graphic design. It was a period of firsts, such as the first presidential assassination for the new century. The pioneers of motion graphics; no longer confined to a static image, used timing and sequence in tandem with graphic forms, typography and photographic images. In the '60s, design was changing to include large formats with abundant space for design and photos. Fashion Magazines took the idea of an exquisitely single image conveying a visual idea.

New advertisements used the idea of :
  • Visual statements using simple images
  • Talk intelligently to the audience
  • Focus on benefits of the product
Conceptual strategies for typography was unified with photography by locking text or displaying tightly into the image.
 - Irreverent, flippant copy and polished ironic photography sets a new tone in the industry.
George Lois had very nnovative concepts which grew from his ability to understand and respond to the people and events of his era; staying in touch with the times was vital. He was willing to challenge and shock and provoke his audience. Something that has become mainstream in today's society. During this period, Typography went through another major innovation.  Herb Lubalin created "Photo-Typography" where type was made through photographic process versus metal cuts, it allowed to stack letterforms ontop of each other, and play with form relationships, which essentially made type experiments much easier and cheaper to do. This new flexibility loosened the grip of the international style, letterforms became objects and objects letterforms under the term "figurative typography."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Reflection Essay History of GIC 4/6/09

The session today started off with the invention of pictorial communication. Its interesting how pictures were the first things people drew to communicate with each other and here we are, after having developed a very elaborate language that we would resort to simple isotype images to represent and communicate many aspects of life. Pictographs were the beginning point of designing corporate identities, road signs and information graphics later on.

Expression is being pushed aside in favor of  clean no-nonsense information systems.
In 1953 Herbert Bayer creates the World Geographic Atlas. It was a remarkable undertaking that took him 8 years to complete. The illustrations were all done by him, handpainted and hand indexed. It contained comparisons about populations and world resources in a easy to access form. Comunication forms for a complex world.

Addison Dwiggins was the one who coined the term Graphic Design in 1922.
Lester Beal created a strange hybrid of design, as America was uninterested in Graphic design, and he was literally unable to find any modernist fonts in America and thus was forced to use old fonts  from the 1900s and try to give it a modernist look through other means. Lester and Paul Rand initiated a unique American approach to graphic design, built on European models, but with an emphasis on the role of content and meaning. Alexey Brodovitch taught editorial designers how to use photography effectively making it the dominate tool in editorial layout. He introduced American's preference of photography over illustration.

It was interesting to learn that the Swiss Grid was not designed as a technique to maintain balance, but rather it was a tool to organize different languages within the same document. Anton Stankowski contributed heavily to Swiss Design with the creation of visual forms to communicate invisible processes and physical forces. Armin Hoffmanns work are considered masterpieces of early graphic design due to its use of Swiss principles in their purist form. I liked that not everyone embraced Swiss Design. Critics suggested it suppressed the role of content and the voice of designers producing a rigid and severe style that had inflexibility at and sameness of form.