DD3016 History Paper

Given the purview of past design movements which flowed with changing contexts  (social, political, economic, scientific, technological, philosophical, environmental, etc), what could be a potential emergent design manifesto, ethos, movements, styles, trends or directions, which you could creatively adopt for your FYP/Graduation Project?



With the development of technology, human beings now are in an advantageous but also chaotic era like never before. It lets the call of art taking social responsibilities being unprecedently urgent in today’s context, because the technological development has led moral boundaries to become blurred in all fields, but also, encouraging people to rethink about social norms. Currently, the feminism movement has stormed across the world, and in fact, it already existed in the early 1960s. In my opinion, think there is a “renaissance” on emphasizing humanistic care and human rights, and also an apparent trend that the function of art is shifting from offering visual pleasure to provoke social changes. This paper will explore the relationship between art and social responsibilities, as well as incorporating feminism into my final year project.


Social Responsibility and Feasibility of Art

In my opinion, art can bring social changes, rather than merely being the reflection. In art history education, what we have been mostly taught is that art “reflects” social changes, or it is a reaction to specific events, for example, the Dada movement being the reaction to the Second World War. However, a question came to my mind, while art is taking a relatively “passive “role in society, why can’t it be proactive? I do not mean that art should “starts” the war, but at least art can be a catalyst to social changes, would that work? After researching, I found that designer William Morris already applied this idea in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Although this movement is also a reaction to mass production, the primary purpose is to use art as a means to educate people to appreciate the beauty of products, hence creating a friendlier and happier society (Marsden). It was proved to be effective because he influenced many designers, and the mass production was no longer purely focus on the production but also pay attention to aesthetics and details.


In Morris’ time, the main issues are the mass-produced “ugly” product and deprived joyfulness of workers (Marsden); now, the problem has changed to commercialism, AI ethics and laws, and deprived human rights by technology. However, the root is the same: new technology changed society; hence, more issues emerged. Equal human rights (for example, joyfulness mentioned by William Morris) is the issue that people have always been fighting for throughout human history. Now the human rights of workers have already been solved, but nowadays, women’s human right is under the risk. Having Arts and Crafts Movements happened in between the first and second industrial revolution, we are now in between the third and fourth industrial revolution. Both at the stage of inventing and adopting new technologies, the issues of inequality today are just as serious as the mass-produced products, and the arts and crafts movement has made a good precedent for today.With little artificial intelligent at Morris’ time, the art movement has already been very active, let alone the speedy technological development today. Therefore, it allows me to think about how to make use of technology, bringing more interactive ways to advocate feminism in the mean of art.


Why feminism?

Inequality has always existed because society is used to the status quo; stereotypes are seen as “natural,” hence, the real issue became “invisible.” (Nochlin). The development of technology has changed the social division, allocated more resources to women, just like how the industrial revolution offered more jobs, which encouraged women to work rather than being housewives. The first feminist art movement started in the 1960s. Its significant achievements include: the US Supreme Court gave women the right to use birth control; Title IX (federal civil rights law) gave women the right to educational equality, and in 1973, Roe v. Wade guaranteed women reproductive freedom. I was surprised that the educational right that I took for granted was not insured for women 50 years ago, which proves that there is still a long way to go for equal rights.


In today’s context, there are more and more new issues than birth controls; one of the most prominent ones is workplace sexual harassment, which later led to the #Metoo movement around the world. Nevertheless, the critical difference of the Metoo movement is that it not only takes the form of protesting on the street, but it also takes place online. For example, the hashtag #Metoo on Twitter and Instagram, more and more women are standing out to share their stories. The deeper reason is that the prevalence of the Internet allows women’s voices to be heard; sexual harassment happened in the workplace cannot be kept “inside” anymore. It is an excellent example of making use of new technology, and indeed, every movement is associated with technological development as the background, because it empowered the minority.


Case Study

There is a group of feminist artists who wear Guerilla masks called Guerilla girls. They established in 1985, the main goal is to challenge how museums only present male artists’ works (Milbrandt), but now they are still active and playing a part in the Metoo movement, too. The reason that I took them for inspiration is that they are very proactive, and the way of using the mask to grab visual attention and challenge social norms is creative; it also challenges the stereotype of girls being “beautiful” in an objective way. Also, the mask allows an anonymous form of free speech, making people focus on the issue itself rather than individual artists. They do not do street protests. However, they protest in a visual-attracting way, they re-created the museum label for an artist who was accused of sexual harassment in Metoo movement, I think this is much more effective and memorable for the public, and also, artwork exists forever.



I could take inspiration from the Guerilla girls, re-creating some objects to challenge social norms. I should also include new technology to make my work more interactive. For example, it could be an online game with strong visuals.


However, the associated issue is the Internet allows women’s voice to be heard but is that fair to those are computer-illiterate? I also need to consider this factor when designing the game.




Although with many the legislation made, the discrimination still exists between culture, race, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, what we can do is to keep fighting, I would use a quote from Emma Watson to conclude this paper:” If not me, who? If not now, When?”



Marsden, Gordon. “William Morris: Art and Idealism.” Marsden, Gordon. Victorian Values : Personalities and Perspectives in Nineteenth-Century Society. Routledge, 1998. 15-21.

Nochlin, Linda. “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” Nochlin, Linda. Women, Art, And Power And Other Essays. New York: Routledge, 1988. 145-169.

Milbrandt, Melody K. “Understanding the Role of Art in Social Movements and Transformation.” Journal of Art for Life (2010): 7-18.

William J. Norton, Jr. “Modern Art and Social Responsibility.” The Journal of Philosophy (Vol. 37, No. 12, Jun. 6, 1940): 325-332.

Chave, Anna C. “The Guerrilla Girls’ Reckoning.” Art Journal (Vol. 70, No. 2, SUMMER 2011): 102-111.


DA9012 Process and Story Board




Assets Refinement

Assets Refinement- before and after of the abstract cloud

Making the line weight lighter, changing the cap from sharp square to circle, and adding on the curvy tails, to enhance the elegant, light and traditional feeling and to fit in a more modern style.





Research on Wall Painting

After consulting with Ina, I realized that having more Dunhuang Wall painting would be better for this work, because it will give it more traditional feeling and making the 2 minutes more interesting. Hence I did some research, however, the resources online are quite limited. Later I went to the library to find some useful images.


Starting on After Effects/Week 5

When I added the strips to after effects, I want to have the falling down effect, therefore I used Trapcode-Particular. However, I found that the strips should have gradient up to down(opacity 0% to 100%), but the top part still has some colour remains, which means that the border of the rectangle on the top can still be seen. Therefore I had to make some changes for the strips.


After changing the strips and adding the moon in, I found that the particular function does not emit the symmetrical strips, it only produces random strips, which in a way ruins the composition that I designed, shall I just manually do the falling part?

Test out as follow:

Problems to be solved:

  1. The strips are still too random, which means it does not produce a good composition.
  2. They still have different sizes even after standardizing parameters.
  4. Use of unconventional approach, not so static.


Artist Reference



Although his works are mainly physical, but the use of space and the way he integrated technology with art has really inspired me, giving me the hint of going from liter to abstract, which in a way, solved my biggest issue at this point.


Development on After Effects/Week 6


First of all, I solved the problem I had last week, successfully made strips come down smoothly.


Test with the sand simulation technique, making it more relevant to the Dunhuang theme.


Combined the two techniques, tested with the effect.


Explored the water technique, bringing in more fluid feeling into the clip


  1. The background painting looks too rigid, and unnatural, there’s a very obvious feeling that the effect at the front and the painting at the back are at two different layers, which means that they did not work quite well with each other.
  2. Although learned a lof of effects, I was still unfamiliar with the transition, I need to work more on that.
  3. I need to find a more interesting way to introduce each element.


Development on After Effects/Week 7

Developed the night scene, successfully found the way to introduce the water.


Found a way to introduce the moon, and it corresponds nicely with the water coming from both sides of the screen.


  1. Do I introduce the moon together with the painting, or introducing it first, letting it illuminate everything? (the tricky part is the painting at the background.)
  2. In order to have the nice golden and white disperse, I must have something white, but I don’t want it to be so obvious.


Day and Night in Dunhuang-more abstract, calm and mysterious, creating the flow of the journey, traveling from the maritime silk road to the land silk road, visualizing the tension and danger, as well as expressing and revealing the prosperousness in Dunhuang, combining the traditional and modern methods of making art.





1021 Latest Update

Updates on:

  1. Changed the sequence, because previously the opening sequence of the sea still seems quite different from the sand part, now I decided to use the sand as the opening.
  2.  Slowed down the movement of the sand particles to make it more elegant and less distracting on big screens.
  3. Added white colour to the sand particle to make it more interesting.
  4. Added the sand forming the moon part as Ina suggested.

Improvement/Goals before Nov.

  1. Finish the golden rains.
  2. Make ripples as the rain fall down.
  3.  Make the rain become really thin to resonate with the vertical elements inside Elphi, and then change to the actual rain and become the sea
  4.  Make the night scene smoothly transitioned from the current scene.



1028 Latest Update

Improvement/Goals before 3rd of Nov.

  1. Animate the wall painting
  2. making the rain taller
  3. finish the ending sequence


Final for now








Final for Elphi

Final for Media Art Nexus

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 https://www.codeproject.com/Articles/30040/Font-Survey-42-of-the-Best-Monospaced-Programming