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.

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