Reflection on Graphic Design History





Hi Desmond,

I think in terms of the teaching style it’s quite good, I like the way you communicate with us, it is really friendly and considerate. I think when I first met you at our Typo 1 class, your style was not that confident? But I can see that you are now more confident and assured about what you say, I think it really helps us a lot when you teach us what you believe in, it makes the information more reliable and credible.

I think I can tell that you are really passionate about graphic design, which in a way motivates me a lot. And when I emailed you I found that you always replied to me on the same day or next day before 2 am, and what really appreciate is your empathy, I think you can hear us out and think from our point of view, it is crucial to understand each other as designers. I think all of these make you a good lecturer. And I am not saying this to get a good grade or to please you, because I was about to write you a thank you letter at the end of this sem anyway. I just want to thank you for being a good lecturer, I mean you really show your passion, and please please keep it and bring it to more people! I must say before this sem started I really thought typo would be boring and after the first 3 lectures I did think so, but then you made me realized the attractiveness of it.

In terms of the MCQ, I’m ok with that, I mean, I don’t hate it. I think it is good for us to gain an overall idea of the graphic design history, whereas, for presentation, the scope is more specific, and I feel less pressured. But the MCQ is not intolerably hard and since I quite like graphic design history, it is not a burden for me.

Week 9-How Social Changes Influenced the Art

It is the fact that social changes always reflect on art, but people don’t recognize it until they start to learn the art and design history; Indeed, as a person lived in that particular time in the history, no who would recognize that they were in the centre of the revolutionary change in the art style. This reflection will focus on how the Russian revolution changed the way the art style in Russian, and later will analyze the contemporary socials and try to predict the upcoming new art movement.


There are similarities between suprematism and constructivism, which are the geometric essence in both styles, and these two art movements and the terms are often used together with each other. However, when I was doing the research, I found that there is a strong difference that would make the distinguishment easily in 1 second. Despite the commonly used geometric shape, Russian constructivism had a strong political spirit in it, and it is so obvious to people without even knowing the historical background. The colour was the key to it, constructivism artists used only 3 main colours, which are red, white and black, to express a strong feeling by illustrating the tension and creating high contrast. But behind the visual part, what really defines the different styles is the change of political status, although it would seem to naturally happen for people who lived in that time.


When research on "Russian Constructivism"

When research on “Russian Constructivism”

When research on "Russian Constructivism"

When research on “Suprematism”


After the first Russian Revolution in 1905, Russian artists combined the influence of cubism and futurism, named it Cubo-futurism, one of the key factors of this new term is because of the civil war encouraged new ways of thinking. And when the society started to head to a new direction, people had this desire of creating something new, and that’s where the suprematism came from, instead of looking at the object and understanding the meaning of the painting, the pioneer, Kazimir Malevich, advocated the idea of evoking feeling.


Later when it came to the second civil war in 1917, the new movement Russian constructivism was influenced and created by the war, too. At this stage, they believed that everything should be treated as a “problem” and to be solved, and they can achieve anything they want with the power of the group. This is the stage when Russian Empire fell and the Soviet Union was formed, meaning that proletariats were empowered, their particular way of producing and working was reflected on the order of the art style, although they have diagonal compositions, the order was shown instead of in suprematism, every geometric shape was irrelevant and falling apart. Additionally, the constructivism art style also reflects the communism to some level, by depicting shapes in a group and placed them tightly with each other.


Hit the Whites with the Red Wedge!, El Lissitzky. The red is clearly poking and conquering the white.

Most obviously, for the colour wise, since they have a white party and red party, the tension of two political views can be simply expressed by the use of the colour.


Living in a more controversial and more diverse society today, we might not be able to recognize the influence of social changes on art, but thinking about US-China Trade War, the environmental changes, the HongKong protestors and the metoo movement, I would say that we are more likely to move into a pluralism era, and I think with the extensive media coverage on capitalism, artists will strive to explore the “truth” and the real “authenticity” in the chaotic world.

DA9012-Tutorial References


More Research on Technique


This one could be used for the abstraction of the cloud.


This technique could be used for the end and for the removal of the jade cup.


This could be used for the transaction of the shapes.


In this video, what I noticed is the way they incorporated the Chinese traditional elements with very modern geometric shapes and colours, and their ways to convey the idea of space by showing the depth of the scene and how they played with different perspectives. This is what I have rarely seen from our projects. You can feel that some scenes of this video are like engulfing from the outside, hence inviting people to join a more immersive experience.






Week 8-Why is Courier commonly used in programming software?

Courier, a monospaced slab serif typeface, has been widely used in various software that related to programming language, you can see courier in python, web HTML, unity etc. While I was reviewing this week’s lecture, this question suddenly came to me,: Why is Courier commonly used in programming software?


History of Slab Serif

The definition Slab Serif is “slab serif(also called mechanisticsquare serifantique or Egyptian) typeface is a type of serif typeface characterized by thick, block-like serifs” given by Wikipedia.  And they can be categorized into two types by the Serif terminals, one could be blunt and angular (Rockwell), or rounded (Courier).

From 1798–1801, Napoleon held The French campaign in Egypt and Syria. With the Ottoman-British victory, English typographer Robert Thorne decided to follow the trend and named his font as Egyptian, that is where the name came from. And later the name just followed. (On the positive side of the expedition, it eventually led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, creating the field of Egyptology).


In addition, the industrial revolution first started England, and it had significantly improved the efficiency of the printing industry, the access of printed stuff became widely open to everyone, hence boosted the raise of the advertising industry, and the need to have attention-grabbing font became crucial on poster and newspaper. The need of having elegant and readable fonts was decreased due to the excitement of technology and revolution, all people needed was the attention, therefore the poster-size typefaces became dominant in the market, and the boldness and thickness were added to grab people’s attention.

Later on, Robert Thorne’s biggest competitor Vincent Figgins introduced the slab serif typefaces into the commercial market, named Antique.




History of Courier

Courier was initially created for IBM’s typewriters, designed by Howard Kettler (1919-1999) in 1955. Because of the legibility and the readability, eventually, it became a computer font, and it was installed on most desktop computers by default, which is fair to say that it is the most famous one from the slab serif family. Another characteristic of Courier is that the typeface is monospaced, meaning that the spacing between each letter is equal, hence creating a very clean and standardized feeling. The name Courier was from “A letter can be just an ordinary messenger, or it can be the courier, which radiates dignity, prestige, and stability.” by Kettler.


The Need

With the development of computer science, different programming languages and software were invented and became commonly used. As a coder, the essential need for using the language is a) to read the language(clarity, readability) and b) quickly process the language and interpret the meaning (legibility).

Therefore, they need a typeface that has larger punctuation marks (as they are far more important in programming than in daily use), stronger distinctions between similar character (for example, 0 and O, 1 and l), heavy but standard strokes for them to read, and monospace for coders to keep the codes aligned and well organized.

Here are some examples




And if we take a look at the full screen of the software, we will notice that it is easier to read compared to Sans Serif as well.


In addition, because Courier is so wide, it leaves a lot of space in between each letter to make everything clearer, which helps the coder to distinguish what the letter is. (Which also means that it will not have ligature to confuse the coders)

To conclude, personally I don’t think Courier is visually pleasing from the aesthetic perspective, however, I do agree that the functional value is much more important, and it plays a big role in coders’ daily life. I think it is the best one for programming.



To read more about Slab-Serif for Programming, see