Thursday, December 30, 2010

The shape of words

A sign representing the Parisian public transportation system Metro was found on the left bank not far from the Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral. The ironwork also functions as a window barrier grate. Photograph by versluis © 2010.

This sign interestingly juxtaposes colors like the traditional Metro “art nouveau” green color and road sign red. Also, the futuristic typographic style contrasts nicely with the decorative linear patterns. As Bruno Munari wrote in Design as Art, 1971: “The lines (straight or curved, upright or at an angle) and the blank spaces between one letter and the next all contribute to giving the word its overall shape.” 65.

Read More......

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

AIGA, The Federal Design Response Show, 1977

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Federal Design Response design competition, traveling show and exhibition catalog. This project was supported by the NEA, in conjunction with the Federal Design Council. 1977.
Cover design (7 inches x 10 inches)
Graphic Designer: Bob Salpeter, Lopez Salpeter, Inc.
(From the collection of David Versluis)

Pages 11 and 12
Agency: National Zoological Park
Art Director: Robert E. Mulcahy
Graphic Designers: Bill Cannon, Robert E. Mulcahy, Lance Wyman

A Statement from the Judges:

In judging the second Federal Design Response show, we were impressed and encouraged by the noticeable improvement in the quality of the material. We found not only a higher level of excellence in 64 pieces included in this year's show, but also fewer marginal items overall.

We regret the decision not to include architecture, films and slides but the number of entries in these area was not sufficient, relative to the amount of work we know was commissioned, as to allow for a valid judging.

In addition, we feel that certain areas of work done for the Federal government need to be examined under a somewhat different viewpoint. The vast majority of the printed output is straight typographical reports, speeches and legislation and has the most room for improvement. While a giant step forward in this area may still not bring the result up to par with other material, we welcome the successes seen to date and have chosen to honor them as a significant move in the right direction.

Saul Bass
Bill Lacy
Paul Rand

Read More......

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quotations on creativity — Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski and Daughter, 1961. Photograph credit: Sandra Lousada.
Lousada, Sandra. Public Faces Private Places — Portraits of Artists 1956–2008. London: Frances Lincoln Limited, 2009. 120. Print. Web. 18 Dec. 2010. The PhotoBook. Doug Stockdale, October 19, 2009.

“The discoveries of science, the works of art are explorations — more, are explosions, of a hidden likeness. The discoverer or the artist presents in them two aspects of nature and fuses them into one. This is the act of creation, in which an original thought is born, and it is the same act in original science and original art.”

Bronowski, Jacob. Science and Human Values. New York: Harper & Row, 1956. 19. Print.

Read More......

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quotations on creativity — Henry Miller

Henry Miller in Hydra, 1939. Photo by George Seferis.
Reference for this picture is found

Reflections on Writing:

“I haven’t the slightest idea what my future books will be like, even the one immediately to follow. My charts and plans are the slenderest sort of guides: I scrap them at will. I invent, distort, deform, lie, inflate, exaggerate, confound and confuse as the mood seizes me. I obey only my own instincts and intuitions. I know nothing in advance. Often I put down things which I do not understand myself, secure in the knowledge that later they will become clear and meaningful to me. I have faith in the man who is writing who is myself, the writer.…”

Miller, Henry. Henry Miller on Writing. Ed. Thomas H. Moore. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1964. 108-09. Print.

Read More......

Friday, December 10, 2010

teaching students about linguistic and visual patterns

The literacy and visual examples shown in this blog piece all rely on patterns and spatial relationships for impact. Professor Roy R. Behrens, in his essay “How Form Functions,” has said, “literary uses of repetition and variation (similarity and dissimilarity) provide us with interesting parallels to the use of unit-forming factors in the visual arts.” Unit-forming factors (good Gestalt) which includes: similarity, proximity, continuity, and closure are things we've studied in class that give students a vocabulary to discuss how their work works.

The Herman Miller Furniture Company
Summer Picnic Poster [1970]
Sweet Corn Festival
Stephen Frykholm (American, born 1942) and Philip Mitchell
Silkscreen with lacquer finish, 39 1/4 x 25" (99.7 x 63.5 cm).

This is the first poster in the long running series… apparently Steve printed the first posters in his basement. Image from MoMA. At Dordt, one of the exhibitions we’re planning for next year will be a show of the first twenty Herman Miller Summer Picnic Posters designed by Steve Frykholm.

Listen! Listen!
A children’s book by Ann Rand and illustrated by Paul Rand
Copyright ©1970 Harcourt, Brace & World Book illustrated is from the Dordt College Library’s Teacher Resource Center

Text: Rrrroooaaarrrrr! 12–13.

Text: Listen…

It’s not too polite a thing,
But if you’ll bring
Your ear up close,
You can hear the breakfast noise
I like most.
It’s the crunch crunch
Of buttered toast.

Interestingly, Behrens on occasion mentions Alfred North Whitehead who wrote in Principles of Natural Knowledge, “The essence of rhythm is the fusion of sameness and novelty; so the whole never loses the essential unity of the pattern, while the parts exhibit the contrast arising from the novelty of their detail.”

Particularly for art and design students, recognizing patterns is a key to discernment in visual thinking. Whether the patterns are imagined and developed by human beings or are found in the world created by God, perceiving the patterns changes our vision and we begin to see the world in a new way — as wonderful correlations.

Read More......

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dordt/Northwestern juried student art exhibit: a very friendly rivalry

Poster designed by Ellie Dykstra, Dordt College

The annual Dordt/Northwestern Student Art Exhibit will be hosted by Dordt College this year, in the Campus Center Art Gallery from Dec. 8 through Jan. 9. This student-selected and juried exhibit features current work by art students from both colleges in a wide variety of media and styles.

The public opening reception for the show will be Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery in Sioux Center.

Student jurors will discuss their selections and compare works from both institutions in a dialogue and exchange about what constitutes “good art.”

“The Dordt/Northwestern show is one of the best student shows of the year because of the variety and because it is open to any student from both colleges,” said Rachel Minto, a Dordt senior majoring in philosophy and art with an emphasis in fine art studio. Rachel is one of the jurors. “The entries from Northwestern students had different strengths than those of Dordt students, and they complement each other nicely.”

The joint exhibit by Dordt and Northwestern art students has been an annual tradition since 1999, when Susan Van Geest, a Northwestern graduate and at that time an art professor at Dordt, initiated the shared showcase of student work. The colleges alternate hosting the exhibit, with Dordt students selecting the Northwestern art that will be shown, and Northwestern students selecting the Dordt art that will be shown.

This student selection process produces an exhibit of 40 to 50 pieces and always yields a wide variety of images, styles, mediums, and surprises. Works expected for this exhibit include painting, drawings, mixed media, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and ceramic works of all kinds.

Article taken from the the Dordt College News.

Read More......

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Dutch newspaper “Trouw”: René Clement

3 December 2010: Dutch newspaper Trouw had a spread featuring pictures and an interview with Dutch documentary photojournalist René Clement. René, who’s based in New York City, is working on a book publication of his Orange City, Iowa photographs (see an earlier shout-out on this blog). Last month The Des Moines Register also highlighted Rene’s work in an article titled “Dutch photographer turns lens on Orange City.”

This week we received word from the Netherlands Consulate General in New York that they awarded Dordt College a grant of $3,700 to help fund the publication of Rene’s book and a print exhibition of his work this summer in the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery.

The clean look and feel of Dutch newspaper layout and graphic design seems ingrained in Holland’s culture. Notice the photograph of Sinterklaus on horseback, which is a reminder that we’re quickly approaching Saint Nicholas’ Eve (5 December). A traditional gift to those who have been "good kids” the past year is a chocolate letter (very appropriate for lovers of typography).

A chocolate letter “S” with packaging by Droste.

Read More......

Monday, November 29, 2010

“The Visionary” at Ferris State University

Above: Publicity poster, (24 inches x 24 inches) designed by Versluis, for the “Prodigal Son” exhibition, The Father and His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness held at Dordt College this past summer and early fall. The poster features a watercolor piece by Robert L. Barnum, who’s a fine arts faculty member at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Barnum’s preferred medium is watercolor and one can easily see the influence of artist Thomas Hart Benton in Barnum’s artwork.

“His style is one of sweeping motion in the tradition of “regionalism,” a movement that grew in the United States from the early 1900s to World War II.”

For more information about Robert L. Barnum see this fine article called “The Visionary” at Ferris State University. Unfortunately, for those who are typographically sensitive, the article is set in Comic Sans.

Read More......

Friday, November 26, 2010

the impact of design in interior spaces

The top photograph is from the interior of the Hume House, which was built in c. 1890 in Muskegon, Michigan. Both the Hume House, shown in the bottom picture, and the Hackley House in the background were designed by David S. Hopkins in the late 1880s. The Hume House with it’s polychrome paint scheme of fourteen tones is indicative of late nineteenth century Victorian architecture. Photographs by Versluis, copyright © 2010.

As the top picture shows, the interior hallway entry of the Hume House displays more complex and transitional patterns of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil style stenciling. The design motif, interestingly, contrasts with “simpler” patterns of machine cut geometric woodwork. The interior is in the process of being restored to it’s historic 1915 appearance.

The exterior has been restored to it’s 1890 appearance and is considered to be an excellent example of “Queen Anne”/Aesthetic style found in the United States.

Read More......

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Simplicity and Boldness: Paul Rand

A Look at Architecture Columbus Indiana
Columbus Indiana Visitors Center
Identity Program, 1973
Cover, layout design, and logo by Paul Rand (1914–1996)

Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc., copyright 1991.
Published by Visitors Center, Columbus, Indiana
Sixth edition Softcover. From the collection of David Versluis.

Book description:
Black-and-white photos throughout with text that explores the architecture of the town. Graphic designer Paul Rand strongly influenced contemporary twentieth century graphic design with clever forms that were deceptively simple and perceptively bold. Also, Columbus, Indiana is a very fine destination trip.

From the Introduction of A Look at Architecture Columbus Indiana:
Columbus architecture has been the subject of feature articles in national and international publications, and each year thousands of people visit the city to view the buildings. In 1970 Columbus received the “Total Design” award from the national society of interior design for exemplifying “environmental rebirth.” Many individual buildings have been recognized by national organizations.

This guidebook is produced by the Visitors Center, a division of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, to enable visitors to learn more about Columbus architecture.… p. 9

Read More......

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Glorifying God with Light, Space and Sound — Eliel Saarinen’s Example of Exquisite Church Architecture in Minneapolis

The renowned twentieth-century modernist architect, Eliel Saarinen designed Christ Church Lutheran, 1949, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The left photograph shows the chime tower and sanctuary structures, which are of honey-colored brick. The photograph on the right is an east façade detail showing the indigenous Mankato limestone wall and sculptural accent pieces by William M. McVey (1905–1995). Photographs by versluis ©2010. For additional photographs see Peter J. Sieger’s photo gallery.

Apparently, a modern style church building wasn’t the original idea of the building committee. Saarinen, as he had done in 1942 for First Christian Church in Columbus Indiana, suggested breaking away from the traditional Gothic and Georgian styles. He wrote, “The last drop of expression has been squeezed out of these once so expressive styles.” (1)

Because church architecture should express theology — the central theological question for Saarinen, as he developed plans for Christ Church, was “How does Christ communicate himself to his people and how can it be expressed architecturally?” For Saarinen, one way of answering that question is, “If a building is honest, the architecture is religious.” In fact, all of Saarinen’s buildings are characterized by integrity through an “honest” use of materials. Specifically in the case of Christ Church honesty is expressed through the design of acoustics and natural light. In addition, Saarinen did not try to hide the use of common materials: wood, glass, brick, stone, and concrete are all crafted together to form a worship space that conveys simplicity, dignity and tranquility.

In the book, Christ and Architecture, authors Donald Bruggink and Carl Droppers write in chapter 2, The Word of God, “How does Christ communicate with his people? The answer of the Church of Jesus Christ reformed according to the Word of God is that Christ communicates himself to his Church through Word and Sacrament! This is the message Luther and Calvin found in God’s Word; this remains the position of those churches which are reformed according to his Word. God communicates himself through Word and Sacrament.” (2)

Saarinen’s Christ Church acknowledges that Christ communicates himself through Word (biblical preaching) and the Sacraments (Eucharist and baptism). One observes this in the chancel (the front of the sanctuary) with the centered table (alter) and the baptismal font on the left combining to form a unity that balances the size of the pulpit on the right. The counterpart of the outside cross high on the chime tower highlights the west wall of the chancel. A very minor criticism is that the size of the baptismal font is relatively small. However, to help achieve greater visibility a processional banner is utilized to highlight the font.

For full effect of the space one should attend a worship service to experience the liturgy and to understand the impact of the architectural design. Within the space, the tone and clarity of the music and flow of light through the interior enfold the congregation. As a result, the thoughtful program of this building correlates with Saarinen’s insights about modern architecture.
(1) Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc. A Look at Architecture. Sixth ed. Columbus, IN: Visitor's Center, 1991. 28. Print.

(2) Bruggink, Donald J., and Carl H. Droppers. Christ and Architecture, building Presbyterian/Reformed churches. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965. 58. Print.

Read More......

Monday, November 8, 2010

Joe Sparano: Visiting Graphic Designer Notes

The following notes are from Joe Sparano’s visit to Dordt College last month and were submitted by Matt Van Rys, adjunct instructor in web design at Dordt. We certainly want to thank Matt for providing excellent minutes. —blog editor

Meeting Notes by Matt Van Rys:
Before getting into Joe’s presentation, it is important to note two interesting facts that came out at the very end of the Question and Answer section:
Superman Versus Batman? — Batman
DC Versus Marvel? — DC

The Black Knight Pinball Machine at the offices of Oxide Design Co.

Joe’s Employer:
Oxide Design Co., Omaha, Nebraska
Professional graphic designer for 7 years, graduated 2004 from University of Nebraska Omaha.
  • 3 Person Staff: (identified as right to left above) Drew (founding member – 9 years), Joe and Adam (newest member – 3 years)
  • Building: Old Hardware store with vintage Neon Sign, Wall with giant logo mark, Lego village with radio operated train in front window with OXIDE letters on train cars and The Black Knight Pinball Machine.
  • Workspace: Everybody has own workspace, but open to each other. Group space for meeting and concepting designs.
  • Open workspace allows for perpetual communication and free form design work. Ownership of individual work spaces, like shelves of toys, lego cup and other personal markers.
  • Workplace Dogs: Glady and Rosie!
Joe, Oxide and Problem Solving:
The ability to solve visual problems with unique solutions is the key to Graphic Design.

Sample Projects:
  • Ready Collective” — A company based in helping other companies and groups rethink or think differently. Challenge: Designing an identity to capture the idea of non-traditional thinking with clarity of the finished thought. Solution: Camel “R” and Croissant “C” etc. Using colors to relate R & C illustrations to the Ready Collective logo. Using unique marks to link off-the-wall ideas with a polished workable finished concept.
  • The Biatomic Point” — (A feeling shared by two people). Challenge: How do we illustrate a shared experience while combining the idea of science and rocking out. Solution: A simple mark that solves an arguably complicated problem. B + P with the lightning bolt rocking out.
  • BIG OMAHA” — Conference for technical inventors to meet with small business entrepreneurs. Challenge: How do we represent Connecting/challenge, Midwest and something big (the big new idea). Solution: Cow with various illustrations. What do people do with the Cow? Or, how do people react to new ideas? It’s about interpretation, response and problem solving.
Inspiration for Joe:
Darwyn Cooke (Illustrator)
  • Superb action of comics captured in relatively simple renderings.
  • Simplicity, don’t over complicate.
  • Mad Man (Television Drama) Writing for TV (Showing the Old Pitch) — Season 1 Finale, trying to concept a name for the Kodak slide projector. “Carousel” – captures the magic and fun of photo memories.
  • Jim Henson (Puppeteer – Extraordinaire) — Super Creative. Turning a small felt puppet into a character with personality. Solving a problem, with a simple Muppet solution and creating a lasting, memorable metaphor.
  • Clint Mansell (Film Score Composer) — Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain… Evoking emotion and experience from raw music.
  • The Spork (Plastic Utensil) — Solves a problem – perhaps one of the best solutions ever. Spoon + fork + plastic = giveaway solution to a complex restaurant problem.
  • The Oxide Blog: Hey Students Series – Sharing knowledge before it’s too late to learn it or use it effectively.

The Question and Answers (And some sweet Oxide Swag)
Q. Did you remodel the hardware store space at Oxide?
A. Actually an architect remodeled the hardware store prior to Oxide’s existence. We kept the huge bookshelf storage and removed the walls between desks to create a more open and collaborative work environment.

Q. Can you describe the collaboration?
A. Working together, specifically in the conception stage. Sometimes divide, but always conquering together.

Q. What’s the balance of Technology versus hands on?
A. The Oxide group starts by sketching together on paper. It creates an easy place to quickly create and also eliminate less than stellar ideas early on before bringing the computer into the picture.

Q. Internships @ Oxide?
A. In Joe’s case, he came to portfolio review night and he was called later for internship. A good way to start with any business is to simply ask for feedback on your portfolio. Also, represent yourself as a student, a work in progress. Most people will respect your honesty.

Q. General Typographic Work…Regular Design, Forms?
A. Oxide participated in the AIGA National Initiative for ballet standards. This project was a true genesis of Information Design, sort of extreme problem solving for an important but possibly confusing form that a wide variety of people would use.

Q. Does Oxide work in web design?
A. Oxide prefers print design, however, designing the look of something (a website, flash site, standalone app, mobile app) is fine, but other developers, programmers and designers can be more skilled and produce a finer finished product. We feel that it is sometimes best to hire a professional for certain tasks.

Q. What applications do you use primarily?
A. We use the Adobe Suite…not much for alternatives, but it is an imperfect solution. We use Illustrator for hard edge artwork and then move into Photoshop.

Q. How do you stay fresh?
A. Try to find design inspiration everywhere; always be on the look out for good problem solving. One example is great logos and problem solving.

Read More......

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mies’s Modern in Chicago and a booklet by Michael Glass Design

The lead-in image shows the cover, last page with location map, and building list on the inside back cover.

This booklet, produced in 1986, is a kind of pocket catalog of architectural work by Mies van der Rohe that’s located in the city of Chicago. This 24-page booklet, which includes the cover, is a very fine example of solid editorial content with building descriptions by Wim De Wit and Catherine Ingraham. Terry A.R. Neff edited the copy. Most of the architectural photographs are from Hedrich-Blessing. The piece was designed by Michael Glass Design, Inc. of Chicago and published by the Museum Contemporary of Art, Chicago.

In the introduction, Lynne Warren writes, “Mies van der Rohe was not only one of the great architects of the 20th century; he was, because his work served as the paradigm of the Modern style, a figurehead around whom the aspirations and achievements of the Modern aesthetic could be analyzed and critiqued. This critique consisted of sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, complaints that the steel-and-glass towers of which Mies was responsible for filling the urban landscape were cold, austere, and inhuman. Recently the raucous forms and florid embellishments of what is called the postmodern style have brought out greater appreciation of the modern style’s simplicity and elegant beauty, and Mies’s contribution can be easily comprehended.”

Michael Glass’s piece captures the clarity of modern style architecture with a relatively simple one-column layout format with text typography set in Helvetica and justified. However, the last two pages indicated above deviates from the justified format as an anomaly with left alignment and ragged-right. The uppercase cover typography elegantly suggests and mimics the high-raise structure and linearity of Mies’s designed buildings.

Read More......

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Art of Hatch Show Print Posters

If you get a chance to catch the The Marty Stuart Show, which airs Saturdays at 7 p.m. CT on RFD-TV you’ll get to see some classic Hatch Show Print letterpress posters as part of the set design. The Marty Stuart Show is produced in Nashville, Tennessee.

As the show opens, announcer Eddie Stubbs stands in front of a WSM Grand Ole Opry poster. The montage of photographs shown above is from the TV show and from a YouTube video that shows Jim Sherradan printing a color variation of the same poster that’s used as the background for Mr. Stubbs.

Many people seem to appreciate the look and feel of letterpress printing — especially the letters, images, and throwback appearance of music and art posters produced by Hatch Show Print of Nashville. Letterpress is old-style printing with press pressure that impresses type and images into the paper. In the last several years Jim Sherradan and his team at Hatch Show Print have received acclaim through AIGA presentations along with a traveling exhibition showcasing their work. Sherradan interestingly refers to the work of Hatch Show Print as “preservation through production.”

“Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms.”
— The Hatch Brothers

Read More......

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dordt Alumni in Design: Janna Rohde (Hofmeyer)

From posters (above) to selected examples of various print work by Janna Rohde. These pieces indicate, nicely, the diversity of her portfolio.

I graduated from Dordt in 1996 (hard to believe it has been that long!) as an Art major with an emphasis in Graphic Design. In college, I began as an intern at Demco Printing in Boyden, Iowa, and I am still here 14 years later. In those 14 years the graphics field has changed considerably. It is hard to imagine Adobe Photoshop started without layers, we didn’t have the internet, and we worked on computers that were so incredibly slow.

The best part about my job is the variety of work I get to do. We have five of us that work in Pre-press, each contributing a different specialty. Mine is doing most of the design-work. Our print shop is very diverse and therefore brings in many different kinds of jobs. I get to work on anything from 800 page catalogs to wedding announcements. The fast-paced work environment makes everyday a challenge and interesting.

Some of the jobs I receive are basically ready-to-go. For these jobs the important part is making sure it is set up correctly for the press and for bindery. Everyone works together to make the jobs run smoothly. I am fortunate to work in a print shop that keeps up on the latest technology. We are continually being trained on upgrades in equipment. It is fun to look back and see how the technology has changed in many ways such as from film to direct-to-plate.

Other jobs need designing from start to finish. I have designed several posters for high school teams, many brochures for businesses, business cards, posters, postcards, catalogs, many covers, product labels, calendars, invitations — a large variety.

Some days I travel with our salesman to customers if they need consulting on jobs or are ready to start a larger project. Last year I spoke at a conference, in Sioux Falls, for the design and marketing departments of several area colleges about “sending jobs to pre-press”.

Graphic design is a very rewarding career. Customers really appreciate your work and it is personally satisfying when they are happy with their end product. Each day there is striving to do better than the last piece you designed.

Read More......

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Promising Land / Project by René Clement

René Clement is a good friend and has been a guest presenter for the AIGA Dordt College Student Group. Thus, we're giving him and his book project a “shout-out”. The photographs — all of which are shot on location in Sioux County, Iowa are make-ready and now all that’s needed is funding. You may check on his project, which is a combination of fondness, curiosity, and parody at Kickstarter.

Read More......

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quotations on creativity — E. Paul Torrance

Photograph of E. Paul Torrance is from the blog Thriving Too in a piece posted by Tessy titled “The Power of Creativity,” May 15, 2010.

“They found a large number of significant correlations between the non-aptitude traits and the measures of ideational fluency and originality. Ideational fluency appears to be related to impulsiveness, self-confidence, ascendance, greater appreciation of originality and inclination away from neuroticism. Those having higher originality scores tend to be more interested in aesthetic expression, in meditative or reflective thinking, and appear to be more tolerant of ambiguity, and to feel less need for discipline and orderliness.” —E. Paul Torrance

Read More......

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The tension between making art that depends on familiar devices and being honest to an artistic vision.

David Versluis
Spirit Lake, Iowa: Fish with Brush
Digital / Giclèe Print, Framed 31'' x 40''
2005 and printed in 2007

This piece responds allusively to tension between the technical aspects of digital images and the intention of the artist who makes them. Thinking of the fish image as metaphor was the primary goal with these digitally produced pieces. However, the inclusion of the brush image in the composition is a simile that senses the intrinsic tension between the computer as artistic medium and the tradition of the artist’s brush as the painter’s handcrafted tool.

My work is produced through digital photography, digital collage techniques, and eight-color giclée printing. Digital collage is a medium, in the structure of binary data that can shape and express highly personal artistic work.

Read More......

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Joe Sparano, graphic designer for Oxide Design Co., will be at Dordt Wednesday October 27

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent. —Joe Sparano

The AIGA Dordt College student group is proud to present Joe Sparano a graphic designer for Oxide Design Co. of Omaha, Nebraska. Sparano, an active member of AIGA Nebraska, will be here Wednesday October 27 from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Ribbens Academic Complex room CL1223. All are invited to join us.

Joe doesn’t exactly enjoy writing about himself. Truth be told, he’s kind of embarrassed about it — because it implies that he's done something especially important with his life.

Until that happens (and he’s confident that it will), Joe is proud to have had his work recognized by Communication Arts, AIGA 365, and One Show.

Joe believes in the power of design to make the world a less convoluted, more breathable place. In fact, New York State’s voter registration form (which was designed by Joe and the rest of the Oxide team) has been printed 2.5 million times. Joe hopes (sincerely) that his work has simplified the lives of as many people.

Joe is also the inventor of The Sparano System™, an uncomplicated method for evaluating everything. You can read all about it at (In case you were wondering, he’d give the quality of writing in this bio a “Not Great”.)

Read More......

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

collage and assemblage invitational exhibition at Dordt 5

Daniel Weiss
Visitation Nighthawk, c.2001
photograph of the artwork by Doug Burg © 2010

In the past week we’ve been featuring artists who are participating in the Dordt Collage and Assemblage Invitational Exhibition (see previous four posts). The show opens today October 13 in the Campus Center Art Gallery and will be on display until November 30, 2010. In this last installment we feature Daniel Weiss of Des Moines, Iowa. Daniel’s work, in the show, is on loan from the Roy Behrens and Mary Synder Behrens collection.

Daniel Weiss contributes his work in exhibitions throughout the United States, most recently in an installation of objects and assemblages at the Des Moines Art Center. His assembled paintings have been included in the publication New American Paintings. Years of drawings, collage, cutouts and now the restoring and renovating of houses have led him to the assembled paintings displayed in the exhibition. “I am a student of a form’s surface and of the psychological natures of its layers and configurations.” Weiss has an AA degree from North Iowa Area Community College, a BA in Art Education from Iowa State University in Ames, and has recently completed an MFA in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. He is a sculptor, a consultant and mentor at Innovative Learning Professionals in Des Moines, and teaches visual studies at Johnston Senior High School and Des Moines Area Community College in Des Moines.

Read More......

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

collage and assemblage invitational exhibition at Dordt 4

David Kamm
Stick Series
6 inches width x 25 inches height
Collage and Assemblage
photograph of the artwork by Doug Burg © 2010

We’re featuring artists who are participating in the Dordt Collage and Assemblage Invitational Exhibition (see previous three posts). The show is scheduled to open on October 13 in the Campus Center Art Gallery. In this installment we recognize David Robert Kamm from Decorah, Iowa.

David Kamm is trained as a printmaker and his work reflects aesthetic concerns such as image transfer, serial imagery, and multiple image manipulations that leave a visual record of the creative process. His “stick assemblages” are intimate pieces made from his own prints, cut into pieces, and recombined with wooden sticks to make a new artwork. Also being displayed will be selected works from a series of text-based collages entitled, Transformations. Kamm earned his MA and MFA in printmaking from the University of Iowa, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Art and the Gallery Coordinator at Luther College. His work is included in collections such as The International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction in Cuernavaca; the Vatican Collection of Modern Art; the Print Consortium of Kansas City, and the Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University.

Read More......

Monday, October 11, 2010

collage and assemblage invitational exhibition at Dordt 3

John Washington
Smallfinds (Number Five)
Digital Collage 2009
photograph of the artwork by Doug Burg © 2010

We’re featuring artists who are participating in the Dordt Collage and Assemblage Invitational Exhibition (see previous two posts). The show is scheduled to open on October 13 in the Campus Center Art Gallery. In this installment we recognize John Washington from the UK. A nice piece about John’s print series Smallfinds was published by Professor Roy Behrens in The Poetry of Sight, December 2009.

John Washington finds digital collage is a medium that lends itself to the creation of highly personal artistic outcomes. His series, Smallfinds, is about remembrance, memory and mortality, and was completed following the death of his father. He is a senior lecturer in graphic design at the University of Bolton, UK, where he also teaches digital media and e-learning strategies. He has a Master’s Degree in Digital Image and Media.

Read More......

Saturday, October 9, 2010

collage and assemblage invitational exhibition at Dordt 2

Mary Snyder Behrens
Judges 3
Collage 2009
photograph of the artwork by Doug Burg © 2010

We’re featuring artists who are participating in the Dordt Collage and Assemblage Invitational Exhibition (see previous post). The show is scheduled to open on October 13 in the Campus Center Art Gallery. In this installment we recognize Mary Snyder Behrens of Dysart, Iowa. Mary’s series titled Judges relies on her keen sensitivity with layered materials for impact.

Mary says her work offers many visual emblems that are metaphors of memory, both wonderful and horrible. “They are inextricably tangled up with the experiences of my waking life and become for me, the larger universal paradigm within which we all struggle to coexist.” She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and studied at Mount Mary College (Milwaukee), and at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Read More......

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

collage and assemblage invitational exhibition at Dordt

Roy R. Behrens
Nautilus Bridge
Digital Collage 2004
photograph of the artwork by Doug Burg © 2010

SIOUX CENTER, IA — Some art commentators have pointed to collage as the most significant development in the visual arts between the camera (nineteenth century) and the computer (twentieth century). That is the basis for a Collage and Assemblage Invitational Exhibition, to be presented at the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery October 13 through December 1.

The blend and cohabitation of traditional and new media techniques will be demonstrated in the work of five artists: John Washington, Preston, Lancashire, UK; Mary Snyder Behrens and Roy R. Behrens, Dysart, Iowa; David Kamm, Decorah, Iowa; and Daniel Weiss, Des Moines, Iowa.

We plan to do installment posts for each artist — today we feature Roy R. Behrens.

Roy R. Behrens has taught at art schools and universities for over 35 years, and says, “As a person who delights in teaching, I purposely make no distinction between my classroom teaching and my studio work.” In Behrens’ case, that work is an amalgamation of research, writing, exhibiting and designing. “I learn from students every day, and then use what I gain from them to inform and strengthen whatever I do.” He teaches graphic design, illustration and design history at the University of Northern Iowa, and was nominated for a National Design Award sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of Camoupedia: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage; False Colors: Art, Design and Modern Camouflage; and Cookbook: Gertrude Stein, William Cook and Le Corbusier.

Read More......

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Alfred Hahn, Abraham Kuyper and Common Grace

Albert Pieter Hahn (1877-1918), Self Portrait, 1915. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Dordt College has named its newest residence hall on campus the Kuyper Apartments.

In honor of Abraham Kuyper it’s interesting to see how artist Albert Hahn portrayed him when Kuyper served as prime minister of The Netherlands in the early twentieth century. Hahn was a very versatile artist, graphic designer, illustrator, political cartoonist, and satirist. Pictured above are various Kuyper caricatures by Hahn, which were published in c.1905 and ironically have become endearing symbols of Kuyper’s indomitable spirit and oratorical exuberance.

While John Calvin developed the foundation and basic concept of the doctrine of common grace, Kuyper worked to expand the idea. The following passage by Kuyper biographer Frank Vanden Berg adequately summarizes the doctrine of common grace:

“In the September 1, 1895, [De Heraut] issue he [Kuyper] began a series on Common Grace, on which he was writing in 1899, which would run to July 14, 1901, a period of nearly six years, and which would appear in three volumes from 1902 to 1905.

What is common grace? Let us describe rather than define it. ‘God’s common grace must be sharply distinguished from His saving grace, inasmuch as it is of an essentially entirely different nature. It does not save unto eternal life. God has made His common grace the portion of all individuals, mankind as a whole, and the cosmos. Even the evil and the reprobate are included. By His common grace God bridles the evil of fallen human nature, restrains the ruin which sin has produced and spread, and enables even unregenerated men to do good, the true, and the beautiful which remain, in spite of sin, in human life which has not been regenerated. It operates in the family and the State, in science and art, in education, society-at-large, in fact in every area, even in the life of men and humanity who have not been renewed by regeneration, although human nature has been corrupted by sin and although nature outside of man lies under the curse. It will endure to the end of time. In the future eternity there will be no common grace of God.’ (This explanation is taken from the Christelyke Encyclopedie, published in The Netherlands.)”
Vanden Berg, Frank. Abraham Kuyper. First ed. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1960. 206-07. Print.

Read More......

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quotations on creativity—Victor D’Amico

Victor D’Amico. Photograph by David E. Scherman. From Mining Modern Museum Education: Briley Rasmussen on Victor D’Amico.

“The art work of children is important to the teacher insofar as it tells him about the child and helps him to keep alive the child’s imagination and also the will to express it. Experience, and not the product, is the precious aim of art education.” —Victor D’Amico.

D’Amico, Victor. Creative Teaching in Art, Scranton, PA: Revised edition, International Textbook Co.. 1953, p3.
In addition, the following quote also sounds like D’Amico, however, I can’t find the source:
“Unfortunately, in education, imagination is equated with ‘art’; art is equated with professional practice; those children who show some degree of achievement in one or other of the arts are labeled imaginative, and the closer their work is to the accepted criteria of good professional art then the more imaginative they are.”

Read More......

Monday, September 27, 2010

The AIGA Dordt College student group meeting with Erik Rodne

09/22/10: Erik Rodne—Visiting Print/Web Designer—Working [at] HenkinSchultz—Member of AIGA South Dakota. The following notes were submitted by Matt Van Rys, assistant adjunct in art (web design)—we thank Matt for an incredible job recording the minutes. Photograph by Andrew Hornor.

Job Search Tips:

  • From Graduation to Hired: Erik traveled to London, Norway and then back home.
  • Faced the cold shoulder when attempting to work in Britain—hiring a non-national can be a hassle.
  • However, Erik recommends shooting for the stars, as you will learn from any experience, even a failed one.
  • Another reminder is that your location doesn’t define you. Great designers create great work anywhere.
Interviewing Tips:
  • Ask questions about the company; practice with a sales job or by joining a debate team.
  • Dress up for the interview and then dress down within company policies after being hired.
  • Visit people and ask if they’ll look at your portfolio; exhibit a willingness to learn.
  • Have a confident character and trust in your skills.
Expectations for Graduates?
  • Try to have a good idea of who you are and what you can do. What will you bring to the table?
  • Consider Production Artist as a first job. Prepress and Production layout work will help you improve your technical skills. With better technical skills, you’ll be able to design high-end work at a pace that will impress your peers and management.
  • Be ready to solve other people’s visual/creative problems with your design solutions.
What about my Personal Style?
  • Sometimes having a personal style can be very helpful, especially if your style fits with a particular company.
  • However, sometimes it is better to show a potential employer that you can emulate many kinds of style, which would make you a good choice for an Advertising Agency or Graphic Design Agency.
Defined by Your Work:
  • Be a Designer as defined by your work, not your title. Many people claim the title of designer in various fields, but only a few can set themselves apart by executing unique and exciting design.
Choosing an Ad Agency:
  • Look for an agency that is design driven, not accounts driven and ask how close the designers are to clients.
  • Be ready to discuss how can you improve the Ad Agency’s business.
  • Not always a good hire for an Ad Agency, as it can be hard to get a read on a contract designer. Risky for the Agency.
  • Impress them with your initial work and hopefully get more work.
In-house Designer:
  • In house graphic designer work can be more cut and dry.
  • It also comes with challenges of working with people who are ignorant of the value of good design and/or have no concept of correctly creating a marketing budget.
Graphic Design HAS Value:
  • Remember that Graphic Design is ART 4 PAY. What you do is valuable, and when possible, don’t do it for free.
  • Consider unpaid internships when the networking or learning benefits are valuable enough to equate your time.
  • Art isn’t free, but it is often categorized as a tool of business by many business people; the management meat grinder—undervalues the abilities of truly original people—there is a price tag on everything.
Real World Design Challenges:
  • Real World design is filled with a different set of challenges then what you experience in the classroom.
  • Clients, coworkers, billings, mismanagement, project deadlines, faulty equipment, liability, useless meetings etc.
Difficult Clients:
  • Trouble clients are often not worth the trouble. Trouble clients cost a company lot of money and they may tell their friends, breeding other trouble clients.
  • The “Bosses Son Syndrome”—sometimes, the clients will ruin their own work. Fight back; for example: Ask the client how their logo speaks about the company, product and/or service. Make them think critically about their work.
What is Work Like?
  • Work is a lot like Office Space.
  • In the case of web projects, it’s often a process of maintaining sites that never finish. A website project can last forever in-between full redesigns.
  • A large portion of most design jobs is maintaining old work, but the new work is the diamond in the rough, making it all worth it. Sometimes projects die too though, even good ones.
  • Working with a small client can be very rewarding. Especially creating a motif and applying it to a variety of media.
Favorite Projects?
  • Try to make your current project your favorite project.
  • New ideas and technologies: Ambigrams, Flash versus HTML5, intuitive content management etc.
Web Growth:
  • Huge growth industry, but most believe we will never see the end of print.
  • Digital content is necessary to be competitive and it is fast, however, everyone likes the tactile nature of print design and it will always be part of a good, comprehensive marketing strategy.
Avoid Burnout:
  • Find something(s) or someone(s) outside of work that helps take the edge off of the bustle.
  • Sometimes fine art can be a good extension; hobbies or traveling are other options.
Training: Practical, Perpetual and Self-Driven:
  • Better to be a “jack of all trades” versus a master of one, these days.
  • There used to be a time when a designer would do just one thing: illustrator, type designer, layout designer, artwork designer, photographer, videographer etc. Now, we often do it all, or at least a lot of it. So it doesn’t hurt to be a great print designer with some skills in photography and web design.
  • The cost of code: should I learn how to code as a graphic/web designer? The cost of a developer can be very expensive for a web project, so even a basic understanding of coding can help you avoid the cost and make more money on a simple web project.
  • Be tech savvy and understand that you are doing 5 people’s jobs. Have the confidence to charge a real rate.
  • Perpetual learning is important to improve yourself and stem off burnout, a sort of constant self-awareness. So spend time researching new techniques, trends in design, new typefaces, new technology, new software etc.

Read More......

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dordt Alumni in Design: Rachel Sturing

I graduated in May 2002 with emphases in Graphic Design and Art History, and started working at The Mitographers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that fall. It is a screen and digital printing company with around 70 employees and customers across the nation and overseas. Our main niche is decals for machinery manufacturing companies, but our digital printer is now running full time with large-scale wall, window, floor, and door graphics also.

When I started, there were 3-4 of us in the art department, but we now have five and keep very busy. Because we are primarily a pre-press department for screen-printing, I had to learn my way around building custom traps, bleeds, overprinting, press sheets, etc., very quickly, but that becomes second nature after a short time.

We work primarily in Adobe Illustrator to get the artwork ready for whichever press it is needed. We also set up how the printed parts will be cut when finished, either by ordering dies from one of our suppliers, or if it is too large like a banner or full-size person cutout, setting up the cut file for the digital cutting table.

The direction we get from customers can be anything from an e-mail explaining what they want, a hand drawn note, a CAD file from an engineer, or (if we are very lucky when in a hurry on a rush order) an Adobe Illustrator file with bleeds already set up! I really enjoy working with such a variety of customers because I like to design artwork for people, but I also enjoy the math and geometry that go into a very technical control panel that has to be exactly right.

And as so many of us art majors seem to do, I’ve also done some side projects that give me something different to work on—posters for concerts at church, senior/engagement pictures, and my latest one was a series of designs for a wedding including the invitations, programs, cake topper, window decal, and dance floor graphic.

Read More......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

a nod to the architectural past—community service in the present

Bus Stop Project | Sioux City Transit
Design-Build Studio:
Instructor Jason Griffiths, Iowa State University, 2007. Jon Dykstra, Design Team Leader and Dordt class of 2006. Pictured is the bus stop location at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Jennings (Mercy Medical Center), Sioux City, Iowa. Photograph by versluis © 2010.

From his portfolio Dykstra states:

This project was a cooperative effort between ten students and the city of Sioux City, Iowa where I took the lead as project manager to design and manufacture two new bus stops. My involvement was assembly and installment of the steel structure.
The formal quality of the bus stop is a narrative of the disappearance of the buildings in Sioux City. The intent is to resurrect this memory on smaller scale bringing together the traditional, industrial, and architectural character of the city. The four generative design elements are distinct associations of the city.”
Jon is currently an Intern Architect at Neumann Monson Wictor Architects in Sioux City. Dykstra’s title is Junior Architect.

Read More......

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quotations on creativity—Pablo Picasso

Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, France (1957; platinum/palladium print, 1974). Photographic portrait by Irving Penn. Courtesy of the Resource Library.

“When one begins a picture, one often discovers fine things. One ought to beware of these, destroy one’s picture, recreate it many times. On each destruction of a beautiful line, the artist does not suppress it, to tell the truth; rather he transforms it, condenses it, makes it more substantial. The issue is the result of rejected discoveries. Otherwise one becomes one’s own admirer. I sell myself nothing!” —Picasso

Read More......

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Erik Rodne of HenkinSchultz—visiting designer at Dordt—will be here this Wednesday

Pomp and circumstance(s)
The AIGA Dordt College Student Group is very pleased to announce that our first visiting designer this year is Erik Rodne. Erik is currently a graphic designer (print + web) for HenkinSchultz Communication Arts in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has won several awards for his design work.

Erik will be visiting this Wednesday September 22, 2010.

His evening presentation is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. in CL1223 and he’ll focus on the AIGA South Dakota and about his design practice. All those interested are invited to attend. In addition, Erik will a visiting designer/guest critic for the graphic design I class that afternoon. Those interested can stop by anytime between 12 noon to 1:50 p.m. in CL1310.

Erik describes himself as an honest, hard-working designer who effectively crafts visual solutions for print and web projects. He’s a strong proponent of developing a project brief to help further define the target, primary message and success of each project.

Rodne says, “More than type and image the spirit of graphic design is carried through this century in the craftsmanship of ideas. And as I craft my future I envision daily creative challenges met with outstanding visual solutions. I am interested in the skillful, the masterly, the articulate designs; I seek further insight into the essence of creative virtuosity and to further develop my own pneuma. Most all areas of this trade excite me especially typography and the creation of typefaces. Through a myriad of expressive possibilities coupled with precise attention to detail and craftsmanship I enjoy discovering that altogether higher level in the art of communication and public service.”

Erik is a 2008 alumnus of South Dakota State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and a minor in Computer Science.

Read More......

Thursday, September 16, 2010

going for the “easy idea” and “referencing” without attribution.

Viewed clockwise top left to right—
Image source: Duchamp, Marcel. Self-Portrait in Profile. c.1958/c.1960s. By Lara Shirvinski. New York: Tout-Fait, the Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journ; Interviews, 2002. n.pag. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.
Note: Arturo Schwarz writes in his The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp that, “Occasionally Duchamp repeated this hand-torn collage, in a unique example, for friends, inscribed Marcel dechiravit pour… (followed by the name of the receiver).” Published by Harry N. Abrams Inc., New York. 1970. 532.
Image source: Glaser, Milton. Bob Dylan Poster. 1967. The National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC. Web. 15 Sept. 2010
Image source: Frauenfelder, Mark. “Milton Glaser weighs in on Shepard Fairey’s Obama Hope poster.” boingboing. n.pag., 9 Feb. 2009. Web. 15 Sept. 2010.

The topic of Shepard Fairey’s use of an Associated Press photo of Barack Obama as a “reference” for his infamous 2008 poster has been discussed extensively in various media. However, I wanted to actually do a comparison by juxtaposing Duchamp’s self portrait, using the image from an academic source, and Milton Glaser’s vintage Dylan poster while also showing Fairey’s poster compared to the AP photograph. Obviously, in the Dylan poster Glaser was inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s 1958 self-portrait.

In an interview for Print Glaser was critical of Fairey’s poster for not going far enough to make it his own work. Here’s part of the interview:
… How does one distinguish between plagiarism and reference?

…For myself—this is subjective—I find the relationship between Fairey’s work and his sources discomforting. Nothing substantial has been added. In my own case, when I did the Dylan poster, I acknowledged using Duchamp’s profile as an influence. I think unless you’re modifying it and making it your own, you’re on very tenuous ground. It’s a dangerous example for students, if they see that appropriating people’s work is the path to success. Simply reproducing the work of others robs you of your imagination and form-making abilities. You’re not developing the muscularity you need to invent your own ideas.…
The crux of Glaser’s comments in Print is the notion of the “easy idea” and “referencing” without attribution. Glaser in critiquing Fairely’s poster makes a valid point when he states, “Simply reproducing the work of others robs you of your imagination and form-making abilities. You’re not developing the muscularity you need to invent your own ideas.” This general comment, particularly “developing muscularity” seems to be something that students and beginning graphic designers need to always consider simply as a matter of integrity.

For an alternative perspective to Glaser’s comments see Mark Frauenfelder’s piece in BoingBoing (read the interesting comments too).

Read More......

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Letters as musical notation and tempo—Paul Standard

Calligraphic Salutations: Hermann Zapf's Letterheadings to Paul Standard
Cover and colophon. Images courtesy of R.I.T., Cary Graphic Arts Press.

“The change from italic into roman script is a change from dynamic to static, from movement to repose. An italic letter is written with as few pen-lifts as possible, its cursive nature demanding running or flowing strokes. A roman letter is an assembled affair, the strokes of the edged pen here building an upright letter in any convenient number and sequence of strokes. In structural style, italic is legato, bound or linked together as by advancing current; whereas the roman is marcato, incisively demarcated and composed of kindred elements. Like italic, the roman letter has its special rhythm, a rhythm firm yet placid and assured, but its vertical stance makes the roman letter proceed lento or adagio as against italic’s allegro. —Paul Standard

Standard, Paul. Letter, Word and Page. New York: Cooper Union Art School, c.1956. N. pag. C.U.A.S., the Graphic Workshop Project of the Cooper Union Art School. Ser. 4. Print.

With special thanks to Mr. Stan Kaplan, Levittown, New York

Read More......

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quotations on creativity—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image © 2010 iStockphoto, all rights reserved

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Authors, Famous Americans Issue, 1940
Postage stamp with cancellation mark
Denomination: 3¢
Medium: paper; ink (bright red violet) / engraving
U.S.A., Bureau of Engraving and Printing

“This power of imagination, the making of some familiar object, as fire or rain or a bucket or a shovel, do a new duty as an exponent of some truth or general law, bewitches and delights men. It is a taking of dead sticks and clothing them about with immortality; it is music out of creaking and groaning. All opaque things are transparent and the light of heaven struggles through.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson, Edward Waldo, and Waldo Emerson Forbes, eds. Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Vol. 9. Journal 51, 1860. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company and The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1913. 277-78. Google Books. Web. 10 Sept. 2010. (From journal entry titled “Imagination.”) [development of the “individual”]

Read More......

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

versatile and entrepreneurial—Leanne Shapton

Style & Design: The Design 100—Summer 2008 Supplement to TIME.
Editor: Kate Betts
Design Director: Henry Connell
Illustration: Leanne Shapton
Publisher: TIME
From the collection of David Versluis

On the cover for this supplement to TIME magazine is an illustration by Leanne Shapton. In this piece Shapton responds to and interprets a [“Tripods”] lamp (see below) by Finnish designer Janne Kyttänen, which he did for Freedom of Creation. According to the designer the lamp was inspired by the coneflower.

Especially noteworthy is that Leanne Shapton, a graphic designer, illustrator, and writer, was listed first in TIME's The Design 100, which featured “the people and ideas behind today’s most influential design.” The lead-in statement to The Design 100 showcase states: “Great design is no longer reserved solely for museum–worthy products, as multitasking designers turn their attention to everything from books to artisanal food, and from lighting to transportation.”

Editor Kate Betts states, “In the tradition of versatile designers, Canadian-born Shapton not only designs book covers (and, incidentally, the cover of this magazine) but also writes and illustrates books, including Was She Pretty?, a collection of stories published in 2006. A former art director for Toronto-based Saturday Night, Shapton now draws illustrations for magazines, designs textiles, paints and edits an imprint, J&L Books, specializing in art and photography books.”

Shapton’s drawings and graphic design consists of brush and ink on paper accompanied by hand lettered text. Each hand drawn illustration and images seems to convey a strong personal touch. Her images humanize and resonate organically with physical characteristics while utilizing digital technology production techniques.

It’s interesting that this optimistic issue was published in the summer 2008 and just a few months before the failure of some very large U.S. financial corporations that Fall. Perhaps as economic issues continue—we’d like to see a follow-up The Design 100 issue come out soon.

Table Light (610_Table)
Designer: Janne Kyttänen 2005
Color: (Shade/Base) White/Black
Shade material: Laser Sintered Polyamide
Pole material: Powder coated stainless steel

Product photograph

Read More......

Friday, September 3, 2010

Graphic Design and Postmodernism—Edward Fella

Nu-Bodies / Mark Tucker / R. Tim Miller / Linda Kennedy / Susan Carman
Mailer / Poster, front and back, 1987, offset lithograph on warm gray 60# bond,
11"x17" / two-folds / two-sides / one-color
Designer: Edward Fella
Publisher: Detroit Focus Gallery
From the collection of David Versluis

Quoting Ed Fella:
“… I’ve been around since the late ’50s. I spent 30 years as a ‘hack’ in the Detroit commercial artist business. I was an advertising designer, illustrator, I did lettering, all sorts of things. But I also did a body of work outside the professional work in the studio system, which was the more experimental stuff, either self-published or published to promote artists and photographers; what’s now called ‘personal’ or ‘cultural’ graphics.”
“An Interview with Ed Fella.” Fella, Edward. Interview by Michael Dooley. Emigre 30 (1994). Print.

A statement from writer and editor Steven Heller:

“Fella began his career as a commercial artist, became a guest critic at Cranbrook and later enrolled as a graduate student, imbuing in other students an appreciation for the naif (or folk) traditions of commercial culture. He ‘convincingly deployed highly personal art based imagery and typography in his design for the public,’ explains Lorrine Wild in her essay Transgression and Delight: Graphic Design at Cranbrook (Cranbrook Design: the New Discourse, 1990).”
Heller, Steven. “The Cult of the Ugly.” Eye Magazine, No. 9, Vol. 3 1993. Print.

Vince Carducci in his 2007 AIGA medalist’s honoree article writes:

“… Just how innovative was his work? Even before Adobe had figured out how to kern digital fonts, Fella was deconstructing lines of copy, modifying typefaces (turning Bembo into Bimbo by hacking off the serifs, to cite one example) and jumbling them up. Not for another decade would desktop publishing achieve anywhere near the eye-bending effects Fella was getting with copy-camera Photostats and X-Acto knives.…”
Carducci, Vince. "Medalists: Ed Fella." AIGA. AIGA | the professional association for design, 2007. Web. 3 Sept. 2010.

Ellen Lupton and Abbott Miller wrote in 1996:
“The work of Ed Fella has broadly influenced recent developments in type design. Fella’s posters for the Detroit Focus Gallery, produced between 1987 and 1990, feature damaged and defective forms—from third-generation photocopies to broken pieces of transfer type. These imperfect elements are meticulously assembled by hand into free form compositions. Fella’s experiments inspired other designers to construct digital fonts with battered features and hybrid origins.”
Lupton, Ellen, and J. Abbott Miller. Design Writing Research: Writing on Graphic Design. London: Phaidon, 1996. Print.

Read More......