The final project

VCD 101 is finished 😦

The final project in VCD101 is now completed, an A5 booklet of one of my previous blog post about April Greiman and David Carson. The aim of the project was to learn the tools of and intertwine between Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Adobe Acrobat, exploring and experimenting creatively. Another significant element of the booklet was the function of typography, how it can make or break your design work.

– The Booklet –

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Overall, the process involved had many challenges, but overcoming these challenges are great lessons learnt. Towards the end of the process, I felt a natural sequencing form, I don’t know if it was because of using my own poorly written blog post, that I understood what was being said and how to communicate it. A technique I used was to physically create a booklet out of paper, flick through the pages and think how I could make this blog post more interesting and enjoyable. I thought about the nature of humans need for identifying patterns. I loosely aimed to incorporate a pattern and a sequence throughout the pages. I didn’t want to be dull. But, I feel this happened naturally, as everything had a place.

What I enjoyed learning was the experimentation with typography, within the rules, avoiding the ‘default’ settings of type. I used two the typefaces; Garamond and Montserrat and explored how their families functioned in expressing alternate things. Likewise, with the powerful relationship between the leading and the font size, also have the potential for expression. Choosing the blog post about Greiman and Carson was a hard choice, as I felt challenged to design in such a way to reflect the content in a respectable manner, as I am not capable of breaking the rules, like the two geniuses. However, using the modular grid, it didn’t take long for me to become comfortable with experimenting with alignment across the spread. It just seems everything has a natural place. I began to thoroughly enjoy negative space, and I feel it is the negative space that plays an important role in my booklet. A lesson I will take away from this is the power and the importance of negative space, type as a form of language, alignment also as a form of communication.

Saving, exporting, packaging files, printing and trimming was an important process and one that needs to be continued throughout my practice. I eventually got the hang of it, but there was a couple of times I missed a setting; for example, a booklet, flipped long edge, not the short edge.

– The Monogram –

The monogram challenged me, with the endless ideations possible from different typefaces, and what do I want to express, about myself. I came to the conclusion of wanting it to be simple, fun and have the Y and P fit naturally with one another. I tried a fair bit of typefaces but always came back to a slab serif, I feel it was because I alway’s loved American Typewriter that was available on Microsoft Word. So, I discovered Brix Slab Cond Medium, basically designed for Logos.BLACKWHITEweb

– The Ransom Quote –

The ransom quote from Neville Brody. To be honest, I spent the majority of my time cutting as much letter form from magazines than forming the composition. This was the natural composition I formed, and I enjoyed it. Personally, I enjoy playfulness, I love puns. When I saw that paint bucket from the bunnings magazine, I was thrilled. I want my work to not be easily readable at first glance, I want people to reflect deeper – such as pouring the paint into the empty head… – open to your interpretation.

As I limited myself with time, I scanned my composition then edited in photoshop. I added digital layers, manipulated colour, duplicated and manipulated the cutouts to form shadows.

This itself, was I project I have never done before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel the quote also sat well with the process, – Digital Design is like the painting, except the paint never dries – The collage was originally pasted down – Finalised – until, scanned, to be digitally manipulated.

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Collage Scan
Ransom Quote Collage
Collage Edit in Photoshop

A quote from Neville Brody

“Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries” – Neville Brody

 

Ransom Quote Collage
Ransom Quote Collage by me.

Neville Brody is an influential Graphic Designer, Typographer and Art Director. 

To me, Brody is referring to the evolution of design, commenting on digital design, the endless possibilities that are driven from new technology and other designers, together forming a new style of design and design as a form of language.

Digital Design isn’t just a physical piece of work that is hung up in prestigious galleries to be awed by. It has become a significant element in western culture, advertising, marketing, branding, website building, digital collage etc, holding the power to communicate something, to be interpreted and to shape.

Language, like other things, has evolved through human existence. We can even notice it through our own existence, we are apart of it, constantly. Thinking about the social norms today, on social media, users communicate with friends via sending or tagging in memes. Memes themselves, are a form of communication, a representation of culture, filled with meaning when the reader understands the context. The context could be a toy 90s children played with, the meme could be a simple photo of that toy, to kids born after 2010 for example, will struggle to understand, unless they researched. The point I am trying to make is, the design is a form of language, and like memes, it communicates meaning through codes defined by pre-existing values and experiences. It is a language that evolves and will continue to respond to significant cultural events. – Digital Design is like painting, except the paint never dries.

It is the process of this language that meaning can be interpreted. In the mediated world of the internet, works of art are available to all who can access the internet. This is actually wild. Interpretation is endless, designers need to be conscious of the world around them and conscious of the power their works hold. On another hand, their works could be taken and remediated to explore deeper or variant meanings – just like memes.

It is ideas that change design. We, as designers need to be critically engaged in society, be conscious of ill patterns and express ourselves creatively. Don’t become stale, don’t become stuck and continue to challenge. – Paint never dries

Dense Coded Meaning

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Dense Coded Meaning

Monograms

A combination of 2 – 3 letters, intertwined or overlapped to represent an individual, municipality, company, or kingdom.

In a sense, social media is a platform we show off our brand, our personal identity. The concept of branding has been around for centuries, the monogram was a royal signature, a form of currency and a symbol of aristocracy. Then, from identifying one’s personal belongings it evolved to becoming a branding tool for one’s identity.

Monogram of Charlemagne (768-814)

KRLS button

The King, Karls des Grossen, also known as Charles the Great discovered the power of a monogram.

In the year of 800, Pope Leo III made Charles the Holy Roman Emperor and gave him a definitive Latin, one-word name of KAROLUS.

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A silver denier coin with the monogram

This one-word Latin name was then designed into a monogram, compressed with the letters of the name KARLOUS, constructed around a cross.  This became a symbol of the Kings dominance, power and military conquests, as well as establishing a new standard of currency.

Now, it is more than just a monogram.

Typefaces have evolved since the 800’s and have a significant role in creating a monogram. Typography has a personality and carries its own history. Selecting a particular Serif or Sans Serif typeface can place a dense coded meaning for brand identity.

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DC Shoes Monogram

DC Shoes

DC Shoes is an American organisation that produced footwear and accompanying other attires for active sports such as skateboarding and snowboarding. ❤

In 1994 Droors Clothing was established by snowboarder Ken Block and Damon Way. Droors Clothing discontinued, and DC Shoes developed, standing for Danny and Colin, their first signed athletes. DC Shoes was acquired by Quicksilver in 2004. It was in 2011, the company decided to build the brands identity and design the now iconic DC logo. 

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Chanel Monogram
Could DC Shoes be communicating that it is the ‘Chanel in the world for skateboarding and snowboarding’?

The DC monogram is distinctive, with the mirror reflection that is strongly similar to that of Chanel, however, the designer broke the symmetry by altering the white space in the ‘D’ and placing a star between the two ends of the ‘C’.

The reputation of DC shoes is built from the success of their athletes. Skateboarding culture emerged from the fringes to the mainstream from the ’90s to the mid-2000s. It was the days when everyone had Tony Hawk Pro Skater on their PlayStation and the X Games championed Skateboarding as a professional sport. In the uprising sports of Skateboarding and Snowboarding, DC Shoes were fitted on some of the top athletes, marketing and splashing the logo onto the public consciousness, cementing associations with skateboarding and snowboarding lifestyle.

DC shoes were everywhere, in the media, on flags, on shoes, clothing attire, shirts, banners, skate parks, ramps, rails, hosting competitions and even in motorsports. The success of the brand’s identity truly reflects on the power of the monogram and its potential to represent and identify a culture.

brand-focus-dc-snowboarding-post

 

 
BLACKWHITEweb

Yanks monogram…

Boundaries are meant to be broken

A quick run through two influential graphic designers.

April Greiman

Born 22nd March 1948

April Greiman is a challenger of interdisciplinary boundaries, blending technology, science, word, image, colour, and space.

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From 1966 – 1970, April studied Graphic Design at Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri, in which she became introduced to modernist design. Following this, April furthered her studies for another year at Allgemeine Künstgewerberschule Basel, nowadays known as the Basel School of Design. It was at this school that April became influenced by the international and New Wave style by Wolfgang Weingart, whom which discards using grids for typography and elements.

“He freed us up to experiment and try different things and think about type, not merely as the little column of stuff you put at the bottom of a page or flow into a grid system, but as something that could be expressive. In a sense, it encouraged me to start to see type as image”. 

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sourced from famousgraphicdesigners.org/april-greiman

April then brought New Wave style back to New York.  

NEW WAVE – Typography which uses inconsistent letter spacing, varying type weights within single words and typeset at unusual angles.

In 1967, April developed her studio ‘Made in Space’ in Los Angeles. “What I immediately loved about L.A., and still love, is the way the boundaries are never fixed. That’s the advantage of having so little local tradition.”

The ’70s was the digital revolution, a shift from mechanical and analog to digital electronics. It was the beginning of mass production and the internet, the introduction of home computers, video game consoles, arcade games, and digital phones. This digital shift concerned many contemporary designers that machines would compromise the international style, but not April. She embraced the idea of computer technology and unleashed its potential as a design tool. We can see throughout April’s works, the exposure of pixelation and digitisation errors.

“You can really follow a technological thread through my work, from high-end photography, to videography, to computer work, to hybridized design, to motion, to doing things that had sound”. – April Greiman

In 1981, April was the head of the Design Department at The California Institute of the Arts. Here she explored and experimented with new digital tools that became influential to her work. Whilst having this position, she aimed to rename the graphic design department to visual communications. As there was a limitation in graphic design, the label seemed to focus on printing processes of posters, rather than philosophical and visual ideas. In 1984, April returned to ‘Made in Space’ to work on the Macintosh Computer, in which Designers still disregarded it as a design tool.

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‘Does It Make Sense?’ is a poster from issue No. 133 of Design Quarterly, by April Greiman

“I’m going to tackle something new and learn a new piece of software, use my video equipment, and just try some things.” – April Greiman

Does it make sense is a radical collaboration of April’s skill set, thoughts and abilities. The concept was triggered by questioning creativity. April sees herself as a ‘trans-media artist’ rather than a graphic designer as she combines elements such as technology, imagery and typography which we can see in this piece.

David Carson

Born 8th September 1955

David Carson significantly changed the public face of graphic design through his unique relationship between typography and design.

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www.davidcarsondesign.com

Prior to David’s groundbreaking design, he was a competitive surfer, ranking 9th in the world, as well as a high-school teacher in California.

At 26, David’s interest in graphic design began after a short 2-week design course at The University of Arizona as part of a sociology degree, taught by Swiss designer Hans-Rudolf Lutz. David was so intrigued he made a decision to enrol fulltime at a commercial Art School. Following this, David designed part-time for four years at Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. Here, he experimented and developed his now characteristic style of chaotic spread, overlapping photos and mixed, altered typefaces.

: :Beach-Culture

In 1989, David became the art director of Beach Culture Magazine, which only lasted six issues. – More than enough for David to win over 150 design awards – “Best Overall Design” and “Cover of the Year” awarded by the Society of Publication Designers, New York.

1992, David then became the art director of Ray Gun Magazine, in which his radical design vision captured the youth, he tripled the Magazine’s circulation. Raygun was an alternative music magazine. Carson created his colourful, retro collage inspired works based on how the music spoke to him. His work at Raygun became hugely recognitional that corporations such as Nike and Levis Strauss & Co commissioned him to do some design work.

1995, Raygun was dismissed and David Carson Design was established. David’s work is specialisation rather than a generalisation of graphic design, branding, advertising, consulting, web, print and digital.

His clients expanded, he began working with large corporations such as Microsoft, Pepsi and Giorgio Armani. David’s work has not only changed the face of graphic design, but his works influenced the taste of the generation.

Davids interest in sociology encouraged his design work, as he clearly speaks visually and emotionally to his audience through his practice.

A strong concept and or great writing, combined with great design is when the most effective communication occurs, and where the best work happens. – David Carson

The surfing subculture is significant to David as he was able to identify and learn about his target audience, in which he developed his practice and distinct style.

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Characteristic style

  • Chaotic Spread
  • Overlapping photos
  • altered typefaces
  • Own shape and direction
  • Highly expressive use of typography
  • Encouragement of Audience participation
  • Use of layout to explore meaning
  • Reverse reading of texts
  • Extreme forced justification
  • Expressive manner of sequences
  • Columns jammed together with no gutter
  • Erractic letter spacing

 

Don’t mistake legibility for communication” – David Carson

 

 

 

Design in the time of Psychedelics and Post-Modernism

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Moscow, V 1967, offset lithograph, The Big Brother and the Holding Company, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/5403&gt;

Welcome to the ages of Psychedelic experiences, through hallucinations and through artworks. Artists attempted to illustrate their experiences on psychedelic narcotics such as LSD and magic mushrooms from 1958 to about 1975. Influenced by Pop Art, Surrealism and Art Nouveau. Through the great bright, contrasting colour and organic shapes, Psychedelic Design creates a form of animation to the eyes or a viewer, especially when under the influence of LSD or magic mushrooms, or even, if you stare at it too long, you also can hallucinate. The artworks are based on having great visual aesthetic, as objects, shapes, lines, and even typefaces melt into each other, making it warm and soothing to look at after you look beyond the intensity of the bright contrasting colours. The subject matters are also interesting, tending to be about love, flower power, peace and music. Victor Moscow’s signature techniques in his design work are his use of contrasting colours (not black and white), creating a sense of vibrations. These colours are bright and bold too, we can see the influence of pop art. In Big Brother and the Holding Company, we see the contrast between red and blue, which are primary colours. These are the only colours throughout the design work, we are not receiving any negative white space. The background is filled with pinwheels going the same direction, layered upon this is a blue/black silhouette of a man with the same pinwheels for eyes. The composition invites the viewer to look into the hypnotised eyes of the man, we get sucked in. Is this what Moscow aimed for? For viewers to get stuck, then navigate around, then appreciate the poster afterwards? The negative space is outside the border, discarding graphic designers golden ratio. The typography has been experimented with, in the border and in the shirt, contrasted between each other, both colour and directions, creating an overall aesthetic experience.

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Yakoo, T 1966, Koshimaki-Osen, silkscreen, MoMA, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/7957&gt;

Now, welcome to the beginning of mass marketing, mass media, reproduction, consumption and technology advancement. Post-Modernism is a reaction to modernism, Post-modern artists are sceptical of the consuming world they live in and often question what reality is. It was acknowledged by the 1980s, with no definite date, we can see a resemblance with the movements such as Cubism, Dada & Surrealism. Artists of post-modern design breakdown pre-existing barriers between high and low art, this is where intertextuality slips in also. Artists collage ideas and influences to address issues or create meaning or even to be aesthetically pleasing. Graphic Designers explore creative techniques and experiment with overlapping, typography, bold colours & shapes, collage and as I mentioned before intertextuality. In Koshimaki-Osen we can see combinations of Western and Eastern styles with elements from Dada Art, Mass Media, Pop Art and Comic Books. Yakoo has used bleeding in which challenges previous movements, to create a sense drama, there is more. The layers and overlapping or layers create an illusion of depth, physically and emotionally. I feel the artist is expressing quite a deep meaning. Kinetic sequencing is used on the pink lady figure, also creating an illusion of depth but also movement, bringing the work alive. The colours are contrasting yet, supplement each other. This has been achieved through the compositional placement of scale and direction and experimentation with mixed typefaces, combined weight, style and directions. The point of focus is the couple who seem to be arguing, along with this is other chaos represented, however, Yakoo has used compositional techniques to master the balance making this poster beautiful.

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Observe, Collect, Record

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Here are my unedited photos from the Farm, Shed and a Road.

Transfer, Select, Refine

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Here are some examples of experimenting with photoshop. I really love the look of pastel colours along with black/white threshold.

Refine, Organise

Still so many to go…

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What I thoroughly enjoyed was the experimentation and how much potential each photo has, even unexpectedly. My favourite letter I have made is ‘O’, I love the detail outside the letter form I have included. Likewise, with the T, it is hanging off something… I can see there is no uniformity with some of these letters, I may find some better that suit. However, I personally like things that shouldn’t go together, go together. I find this interesting. I would also like to experiment with composition, like the examples I used above.

References: 

Moscow, V 1967, offset lithograph, The Big Brother and The Holding Company, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/5403&gt;

Rosicky, J 2011, Graphic Design History, Prague College, viewed 20 March 2019, <http://gdh.2rsolutions.cz/&gt;

Yakoo, T 1966, Koshimaki-Osen, silkscreen, MoMA, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/7957&gt;