Unit 7: Information File

Unit 7: Information File

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Research Task

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SILENCE: Gan Hosoya, 1973, 'Silence' poster

(http://50watts.com/Space-Teriyaki-7)

Gan Hosoya was born in Kanagawa, Japan, in 1935

Firstly, this photograph is in black + white, which makes it appear more static than if it were in colour. Secondly, at first glance the subject seems to be holding something, when in actual fact they are holding nothing; simply the shape of something that has been used to remove the subjects head - giving them no voice.

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SPACE: Robert Ryman exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery

(http://www.saatchigallery.com/aipe/robert_ryman.htm)

All of Robert Ryman's displayed works consisted of white paint on either canvas or paper - this gave the illusion of space although there are pieces of work being displayed. The white on white gives the sense of an empty room/space.

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ORDER:

(http://ffffound.com/image/9e67d1424847c7921f254cc444dc0145dc879117)

Here we can see the artist has collected scraps of wood, plastic and other discarded objects and has laid them out in such a way that has made them appealing. The even spacing has given the objects a sense of order and purpose.

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INTERACT

(http://live.stereolize.com/2009/07/25/765/art-tuesdays-interactive-installation-detects-light-to-openclose.html)

Interactive installation detects light to open/close. Designed by Berlin interactive artists Gunnar Green and Frederic Eyl, Aperture includes dozens of tiny aperture holes that (with a flight delay) open if there is no light and close of there is. The result is the silhouette of the passerby.

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Ursus Wehrli is a Swiss comedian and artist, he makes books in which he 'tidies up' words of art. What I find interesting about Wehrli's work is that he takes rather mundane, everyday objects (such as a tree branch, bowl of cereal etc) and completely strips it down to its last component, and makes the audience see it in a way which we never thought we would see this object.

I aim to experiment with various everyday things as well as other artist's work to strip them down, and display them in a regulated way.

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TED TALK: Ursus Wehrli - Tidying Up Art

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Ursus Wehrli is an artist from Switzerland and tidying up art is a hobby of his. He explains how it all started with a painting by Donald Baechler (involves a person looking at some scattered red squares). He would look at this painting everyday until he could no longer stand the mess the subject of the painting was looking at, so he made his own version where the blocks are neatly stacked on top of one another.

Another example of his work was a painting by Jackson Pollock (very abstract and complicated, lots of splattered paint on a canvas) and Wehrli's tidied up version involved him simply putting the paint back in the cans (his final version was of a white canvas with full pots of paint all in a line). It is clear that Wehrli has a passion or rather an obsession with order and tidiness, however at one point he did say that sometimes even in order there can be chaos. As an example he asked the audience to all turn around and shake the hand of the person sat behind them. Of course everyone was then facing the same direction and nobody was able to shake anyone else's hand. This can also point out that there is a fine line between chaos and order, and this concept can also be judged by personal preference, opinion and taste. One man's order can be another man's chaos.

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Neville Brody (born 23 April 1957 in London) is an English graphic designer, typographer and art director. He is most known for his influential typographic work, his album artwork and working with magazines such as Face and Arena magazine.

There is something very traditionally British and nostalgic about Brody's work - his album covers and magazine work in particular. His album artwork involves a lot of different typefaces and overlaying colours with two tone images layered underneath - which would have been something new and fresh at the time. This also relates to the grungy/punk/DIY theme of the music culture of the time (The Clash).

Brody is also able to apply his style to more modern projects, such as the collaboration he did with Supreme NY (pictured above). Brody was asked by Supreme (a popular American skateboard brand - which can be considered 'high end' in its field) to design materials inspired by his previous work to then be applied to a capsule collection by them. Once again - the motif reading 'riot' in capital letters is could be seen as representative of Britain because of the London riots, as well as punk culture around the time Brody was producing album artwork such as the Sex Pistols etc.

Neville Brody also played an influential part in typography, having founded some of the post popular typefaces we use today including Times Modern.

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About: Saskia Pomeroy graduated from Glasgow school of art in 2007. Saskia Pomeroy lives and works in London as a visual artist and freelance designer previously having worked for two years as a commercial screen printer at London print house k2 screen. Saskia ia a multidisciplinary artist working within print, drawing, sculpture and textiles. Saskia's work explores the relationships within compositions of colour, texture and shapes, sometimes abstract, sometimes observational. Her work is bright, colourful and joyous. Saskia's time as a screen printer has directly informed her style. She frequently uses contrasting finishes, colour overlays and technical detail as an additional dimension to her print work. This is also true to her painting work although more illustrative, is often an abstraction of real forms and themes such as nature, ancient art, glyphs and symbols.

I found that Saskia Pomeroy has a very clear style throughout her work. She tends to combine different mediums such as painting and sculpture, yet her geometric shapes are easily recognisable across platforms. Pomeroy is also able to reuse colours, shapes and patterns throughout her different pieces yet utilise them in a way that makes them different from the previous piece. Her playful illustrated shapes and patterns as well as the joyful pastels all compliment eachother perfectly.

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Primary Research

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For my final outcome, I went and collected some first-hand research by finding and taking photographs of damaged and/or defaced street signs or signage. Beforehand I tried to see what I could find online around London in order to make it easier for me to find, however the only one that I could source online from London was 'Fann St' in Barbican where somebody had scratched the letter 'Y' into the white of the sign so it now reads 'Fanny St'.

This meant that in order to find the rest I had to simple spend a day wandering around London in order to find such signage. I chose to look predominantly around East London, as in most cases areas in East tend to be slightly poorer than other areas around London and would therefore be more likely to have damaged/defaced signs due to more oppressed citizens and/or less funding to replace these signs.

Luckily enough (and not luckily) the road that I reside on, 'Buckingham Road' had been defaced a few years ago, with the 'B' scratched out in parts so it now reads 'Fuckingham Road'. The outcome of this is so messy and aggressive, you could say that elements of the letter have been removed by force. This could be the result of someone deeply unhappy with their life on this road, or simply someone who is desperate to make a joke. Sadly those two were the only actually defaced signed that I came across that day, however I was able to find a VERY aged coffee shop sign, along with several street sighs where the paint has chipped away and/or paint or stickers have been stuck over the top.

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HELVETICA (2007)

A documentary about typography, graphic design and visual culture.

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"Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere, they give words a certain colouring. Everywhere you look you see typefaces, but the one you will see the most is Helvetica."

The documentary explains that designers have a responsibility, that they are the people putting the wires into our heads. This is because design has to communicate something to the audience, and the designers part is so select how those ideas are put across, and also how effectively - based on their design choices such as typefaces etc.

In the documentary we see Massimo Vignelli in his studio, he says "the life of a designer is a life of fight, the fight against the ugliness". This is the attitude of a truly passionate designer, that bad design troubles them on a regular basis. 

Helvetica came about after the second World War when designers felt a need to reconstruct/rebuild, that they has a sense of social responsibility. It emerged in 1957 when there was felt to be a need for rational typefaces which can be applied to all kinds of contemporary information, sign systems / corporate identity and present those visuals in an intelligent, legible way.

Throughout the documentary it is explained that one of the reasons why Helvetica was so popular (particularly in the 60s) was that it was 'just there'. Everybody began to use it as it was applicable to almost anything, it was clean, minimal and legible. Helvetica was a real step from 19th century typefaces - it was more neutral.

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exhibition: Hattie Stewart

'Doll House' at the KK Outlet

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Hattie Stewart is known as a 'professional doodler' and is known for her quirky ways of defacing postcards and magazine covers. Her most popular works include doodling over current magazine covers featuring current celebrities and pop artists.

Stewart has the ability to take something that is already a piece of art in itself (magazine cover, postcard etc) and transform it into another piece of art thats entirely her own. Not only is she able to do this, but she has also been able to put across a very bold, interesting style of her own - consisting of a clear colour scheme (mainly pinks whites and blacks), geometric shapes and cartoon eyes.

The concept of taking something/an original piece and transforming it in this way can be applied to my proposal, as it consists of deconstructing something typography for example and rearranging it/transforming it to create something original. In order to explore these themes I will experiment with defacing images and magazine covers - as well as taking them apart and reconstructing them.

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exhibition: Alan Kitching

'On Press' at The Guardian

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Alan Kitching is one of the world's foremost practitioners of letterpress typographic design and printmaking. He is renowned for his expressive use of wood and metal letterforms in creating visuals for commissions and his own limited edition prints.

(taken from http://www.debutart.com/)

 

The exhibition that I attended showcased Kitching's work used for newspaper publications, political posters etc. I think that using letterpress for something like a protest sign (shown below) is interesting because it is a lot more raw than digitally printing something, yet looks a lot more official than simply hand painting the text only to sign. All newspaper and publications used to be printed using letterpress, so the fact that Kitching has chosen to stick to these methods of print shows he likes to have a more traditional take on his work. There is also something about newspapers that are typically British, and like a lot of British people who like to keep to their heritage, Kitching using letterpress is a bit like him keeping to his heritage. There is also a nice contrast within his work between the old, traditional letterpress, and the bold and vibrant colours he has chosen to use. These sorts of colours have not have been used in publications back in the day, but they also make the title of the article/story 'jump' out of the paper.

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HOW TO DESIGN A TYPEFACE (2010)

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Some information that I pulled from 'How to Design a Typeface' (2010) written by Elizabeth Willhide for the Design Museum:

Legibility

Legibility Matters. If you are reading a report, a newspaper or a novel, or working on screen, you don't want to have to work too hard to decode the information you are trying to absorb.

I agree with this to a certain extent. I believe that this applies to things such as medical forms, newspapers, advertisements selling a product. However I believe that in some cases type that is hard to read can become interesting, on a more illustrative approach.

Voice

Typefaces speak in different toes of voice. For example the word 'murder' written in Courier may appear to have Police/official document connotations. However the same word written in an Old English typeface could have Victorian/Gothic/horror connotations.

I believe that even with a plain sans-serif typeface, teamed with good graphic and layout in consideration, almost any message can be conveyed. I do not believe that the typeface necessarily always has to reflect the topic of the word completely.

Layout

The relationship between type and the surface on which it is displayed operates both at the smallest scale, in the spaces within and between letterforms, and at the largest, in the context of the whole page or double page spread.

Without changing any of the text/content but merely rearranging the layout of the content on the spread can have a huge impact on the message being conveyed. For example a rightwing broadsheet newspaper is more likely to use a very simple an minimal layout, whereas a design magazine may overlap the content/have some elements floating.

Process

Every typeface is in some sense a revival of what has gone before, even where the historical narrative is challenged or reinterpreted. The earliest type copied black-letter, or Gothic, handwriting, the standard script of the medieval period. Subsequent typefaces have reflected their own specific medium, from metal type to screen. Even today when digital processes have seemingly divorced type design from the physical world, the past is still present in letter forms. 

This is true as it could be argued that nothing is original - everything is a regurgitation of something else. Even is that exact thing had not been done before, there are sure to be elements of that piece that have been featured elsewhere. This is not a bad thing however, people will always recycle old ideas and within this process we can continue to produce exciting imagery. 

 

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I was really gripped by Norman (Normski) Anderson's work at the 'Staying Power' exhibition at the V&A. He focused on documenting fashion and Black youth culture in London in the 1980s, even working with magazines such as i-D and doing press shots for artists. He was also a huge part of the emerging hip-hop scene in London at the time and coined the name 'Normski' while on a trip to New York.

I have a huge interest in sports and leisurewear as well as hip-hop influenced fashion which was emerging and popular in London in the 1980s. 

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She Rockers (London/Rap/Dance Crew) Shepherds Bush Green, London, 1988

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African Homeboy - Brixton, London, 1987

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The Memphis Group was an Italian design and architecture group founded in Milan by Ettore Sottsass in 1981. They designed Postmodern furniture, fabrics, ceramics, glass and metal objects from 1981 to 1987.

The Memphis groups work often incorporated plastic laminate and was characterised by ephemeral design featuring colourful decoration and asymmetrical shapes, sometimes pointing towards exotic or earlier styles.

How it began: On 11th December 1980k Ettore Sottsass organised a meeting with designers and formed a design collaborative named Memphis. The name was taken after the Bob Dylan song "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" which had been played repeatedly throughout the evening's meeting. They drew inspiration from movements such as Art Deco and Pop Art, including styles such as the 1950s, kitsch and futuristic themes.

The group produced and exhibited furniture and design objects, annually from 1981 until 1988. The result was a highly acclaimed debut at the 1981 Salone del Mobile of Milan, the world's most prestigious furniture fair.

The thing that interests me about the group's work is their subtle ability to subvert/disrupt reality. Both the shapes and colours used in the furniture and objects/ornaments are so bold and different, that when put in a plain room with minimal items they immediately grab your attention.

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'Memphis' inspired poster, source unknown

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'Memphis' inspired poster by Tim Collant

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Cark Kleiner is a still life photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Kleiner had been commissioned to produce this particular series for Ikea's new baking book.

The thing that drew me to these images was the attention to detail and sense of perfectionism about the pieces. I am fascinated by his work as he is able to deconstruct what makes something (a cake for example) and transform the way in which we see normal ingredients - giving it a new, more in interesting form. Put together with appealing pastel coloured backgrounds and clean grid system. The way in which each ingredient is grouped with its own kind not only shows a sense of regulation but also pattern.

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Carl Kleiner - Archive:

Words by James Cartwright for Printed Pages (Winter 2014)

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In this brief feature, Carl Kleiner discusses the release of his new book, which contains portraits as opposed to still life, which is what most people who are familiar with his work would be expecting. Kleiner shoot analogue with a second-hand Rolleflex and Kodak Portra film. Kleiner goes on to discuss the differences between shooting in digital and in analogue. He explains that

"with analogue you don't control the images in the same way you do with digital. It doesn't interrupt the flow of life as a digital camera would. Often you'll shoot something, look at the picture and maybe you'll judge it and want to recapture it - to make the moment better than it was."

 It could be argued that there is a sense of 'order' or 'regulation' within digital photography and more images are disregarded. Now although it may seem like more of a freedom for the photographer, it is a limitation to the subject or the situation. With film there is no regulation, one shot and that is the most accurate representation of that particular moment in time. 

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exhibition: Damien Hirst

'Love' exhibition at the Paul Stolker Gallery

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Hirst's 'Love' exhibition at the Paul Stolker Gallery was very simple, yet effective I found. The pieces consisted of a pierced heart in a jar, two candy heart sculptures, and several prints (same design but different colours used).

The prints were all of a butterfly inside a heart on a coloured background. Traditional 'love themed' colours were used such as red and pink as well as purple and gold. Gold leaf was used to the prints, which gave them a sense of value - perhaps related to love? The fact that love is worth more than just paint on paper, but something more valuable. The sculpture's were themed around the shape of candy hearts - the idea of love being innocent, playful and childlike (although it may not necessarily be). The heart in the jar is also very idyllic and fairytale like - as we all know a literal pierced heart more often is linked to death or serious injury as opposed to love and happiness; but Hirst is playing on the 'cupid's arrow' myth.

It could be argued that there is a clear sense of 'order' or 'regulation' within not only way in which the pieces have been displayed (very spread apart in a white space) but also in the objects being displayed and what they say about 'love'. Hirst has clearly decided to portray a very innocent and 'movie like' side to love, in doing this he is regulating what the audience sees.

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Mike Perry is a designer and artist working in numerous media: books, magazines, films, newspapers.  He draws, paints, and illustrates.  He animates.  He cuts, pastes, and builds.  He creates sculpture projects and installations.  He crafts limited-edition silkscreen posters as well as large-scale ad campaigns.  He curates books and monographs.  He can be enlisted to design Mike Perry originals for display at home or office.  He gets lost in pattern and wants you to get lost with him, too.  He wants to mesmerize and awaken you through his constellations of line, form, shape, color, idea.

(taken from his website www.mikeperrystudio.com)

 

What I find interesting about Mike Perry's work is that all of his typefaces are entirely hand-drawn. This creates a sense of freedom to his work. No letter is the same size as the previous one, the lines aren't straight and there are imperfections, but those are the things that make his style his own. He is free from the rules of regulated type. Perry is able to combine both typography and illustration in order to create whole pieces from type, sometimes even just one letter.

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exhibition: 'STAYING POWER' at the V&A

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I chose to visit the 'Staying Power' exhibition at the V&A as I am both an avid lover of photography and Black British culture. The aim of this exhibition was to raise more awareness of Black British photographers as well as the documentation of Black culture in Britain. The photography varied between colour and black and white images, and touched on popular clothing (particularly in the 1980s), hairstyles and movements such as the 'Black is beautiful' movement which started in America in the 1960s.

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100 YEARS OF GRAPHIC DESIGN

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The '100 Years of Graphic Design' exhibition held at the Protein Gallery in Shoreditch was host to a very broad range of work. What was interesting about these pieces though was that more often than not, you could not distinguish which pieces were contemporary and which ones were closer to the 19th century on the timeline. This is because there are constantly styles and trends that are constantly being reused. That's not to say that all work looks the same and nothing is original, but that there will always be similarities within work over different eras. A lot of these pieces contain bold and bright colours, geometric shapes and large text. A piece that interested me in particular was Jean Julien's 'Before Instagram' (2014). It could be argued that this piece is more illustrative - it features a man and a woman sat at a table in a restaurant. The woman starts to eat but stares at the man sat in front who in stead of eating, is holding a hefty dslr camera up to his food. This could be suggesting that people believe 'Instagram' has made people less social, and more interested in photographing what they are doing than actually doing it. However this piece is saying that this has always been the case, that certain people have and always will want to document everything they do (even if it is eating a bowl of cereal).

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'Before Instagram' 2014 by Jean Jullien

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20th Century Type

by Lewis Blackwell

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I have noticed that within typography, there are no longer many new and original things come out. A lot of the current styles and trends have been reused/recycled and we are going back to early to mid 20th century type a lot. An observation I made was that later 20th century type is less popular and has not had a revival/resurgence.

Typefaces such as Futura (1927) and Helvetica (1957) are evermore popular now as they were at the time. These typefaces were used almost as defaults at the type because they were simple, convenient and versatile. However today they are being used as more of a statement - in minimal layouts and spreads (in fashion publications in particular), a lot of the time the text is used on it's own. Typefaces such as Empire Eight and other futuristic/grunge style typefaces have been almost wiped out altogether. Their come-about was after heavy usage of fonts such as Helvetica, in the 80s designers felt to break free from the clean and minimal aesthetic and try something new. However because such dramatic type is an acquired taste, it was not a trend for long. 

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(Franklin Gothic - 1902)

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(Empire Eight - 1980s)

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(Printed Pages magazine)

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(LAW magazine)

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