Sunday, May 23, 2010

Today, I spotted a male Bobolink!

Professor Roy Behrens presenting his talk on “Camouflage” at the recent AIGA Iowa summer series in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Bobolink seemed to greet me from a grassy side of a gravel road as I was driving fairly slowly a few miles southeast of town. Because it’s the first one I’ve ever seen I took it as an omen to do this piece, although it’s something I’ve wanted to do anyway.

Bobolink Books is the trade name of a publishing house established by Roy Behrens, professor of art at the University of Northern Iowa and artist Mary Snyder Behrens of Dysert, Iowa. The Behrens’s seem like colleagues to me. We have a couple of their links on the right side called Camoupedia and another is The Poetry of Sight.

Last week Roy and Mary were in Des Moines, Iowa where Roy presented for the AIGA Iowa summer series at an event called Past, Present, and Future. Professor Behrens represented the past as Design History with his talk about camouflage. He is an expert on camouflage and how it relates to art and design and for the past few months has been invited to show his camouflage presentation in various areas of the U.S. and recently in Ottawa, Canada, at the Canadian War Museum.

In a book edited by Steven Heller titled Teaching Graphic Design Behrens is featured with a course syllabus titled “The Thinking Eye: Sight, Insight, and Graphic Design.” Within this syllabus Behrens summarizes the presentation he gave at the AIGA Iowa. Behrens describes one of his lectures as follows:
The perceptual basis of biological and military camouflage, e.g. figure-ground blending, figure disruption, mimicry, and displacement of attention (distraction or deflection). [A] Review of Abbott H. Thayer’s work on the subject, and his subsequent influences on World War I French, British, German, and American military camouflage, including the “dazzle painting” of ships. Comparison of his “laws of disguise” with gestalt psychologists, unit forming factors. —page 154
Also discussed was spurious resemblance, meaning the outward visual appearance being different from what it claims to be. Of import for practicing graphic designers is understanding and communicating effectively with the cadence of visual patterns. In other words, the art and science of camouflage can remind graphic designers of the dynamic possibilities of negative and positive spatial relationships — the interesting dichotomy of typography and image. By studying camouflage designers can develop work that conveys messages implicitly rather than explicitly. In this way the designer respects the intelligence of the audience.

However, there may be times in which a designer’s work needs to be bolder and to show it's colors in order to make a statement — just like that male Bobolink I saw today.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the editor has approved them.