Assignment 2: The Wall Have Ears | Process + Final

3 Conversations/Quotes, I HAVE CHOSEN:

“Omg have look at this, doesn’t this look so good!” “Stop your making me so hungry… but then again I only eat glazed donuts.

what if cinderella was a baking slave and her name was mozzarella?

Damn I did so badly for this..ughs..what if I fail?
Its okay, just stay positive and everything will be fine!
Easy for you to say.


Quote 1: I only eat glazed donuts

Originally, I wanted to incorporate real donuts in the type but it did not work as a whole and with the overall color scheme. Thus, I used digital illustration to help me tie in everything together with the use of the same color palette. I wanted to emphasise the “glazed donut” thus keeping it traditional with the white glaze and the only one manipulated.

Quote 2: Dude, what if cinderella was a baking slave and her name was mozzarella?

This quote holds the element of a fairytale yet a pun. I wanted to play with the irony of “Once upon of time” where it conveys a magical transportation, even though it may be a fun pun or a joke. In the beginning, I wanted to portray the mozzarella with a cheesy touch but there were too many elements flying around. Thus, I decided to go with the classic Grimm’s fairytale book cover layout (like the reference below).

Quote 3: Its okay, just stay positive and everything will be fine!

Initially, for Quote 3, I wanted the words to create a smiley face (shown in the AI board above). However, it turned out looking creepy. Thus I tried to play with the size of the face, scale and hierarchy of the types but something was still not right. It still gave a creepy halloween feel. I decided to scrap the idea and focus on the 1960s psychedelic hippie movement style, where types are soft, warped and portrayed the positive vibe.



Overall Feedback:

  • Could make the gold brighter, looks dull at the moment.
  • Maybe try to play with a brighter palette like pink and gold to bring the hippie feel, and Cinderella can be depicted more modern since it is pink?
  • Do not give a border to just one, either apply it to all or none – let it the background bleed out.



my final 3 posters placed together:

Overall, I really enjoyed in experimenting and playing around with the different fonts and creating my own. However, I feel like I still can push myself to achieve a better outcome if I had plan the designs all together instead of individually. I would like it even more if all 3 pieces would intertwine and connect with each other so it looks like a solid set. Furthermore, instead of making everything centralised, I could play more with the composition of type, layout and off-positions – playing and pushing the boundaries. There is so much more I need to learn to understand and envelop the basis of typography. Just like the typographers we have reviewed, each one of them have their own unique style that makes them, them. One day I shall find my own unique style but yet still be flexible in the application of style to reach a broad audience.

Typographer of the Week: Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin is a spirited American designer who has won wide recognition for his innovations in advertising, publications and books. At the age of seventeen, he entered Cooper Union and was enticed by the world of typography. He was captivated by the various interpretations one could execute by changing one typeface to another. Lublin is one of the pioneers of expressive typography and an influential figure in the ‘creative revolution’ that has transformed American advertising in the 1960s.

”You can do a good ad without good typography but you can’t do a great ad without good typography.’’ – Herb Lubalin

Lublin once declared that a good art director should know the strong points of every one of the many typefaces that existed and how to use them best. However, the existing typefaces were not good enough for him, thus, creating his own. Lubalin designed four typefaces: ITC Avant Garde Gothic (1970),  Ronda (1970), Lubalin Graph (1974), a slab serif and ITC Serif Gothic (1974). One of his prominent faces was ITC Avant-garde. It is also mostly known for being a revision of art deco. He customises serifs, ascenders and descenders to his liking.

Lubalin puts the stress on bold headlines and graphic simplicity. For example, he used flashy layouts and strikingly elaborate graphics for a magazine called Eros, which carries a more sensuous content.

Lubalin took Modernism into the palm of his own hands with the use of geometry and tightly constructed compositions. He also adds slight humor, sensuality and flourishes. For example, his hand lettering for The Sound of Music Programme to the whisper-thin justified stack for Cooper Union. He was also commissioned with a project for Sprite in creating a new package, logotype and ad. He also did graphics for everything from Bazooka bubble gum and Chicken of the Sea tuna to Ebony magazine.

What caught me by surprise was that Lubalin holds a stand in the use of graphic design in advertisement of products or services.

“I don’t particularly like to advertise products and help clients sell products that I have no particular use for. And very often I turn down a product because I just think it detrimental for people to buy certain products.”  – Herb Lubalin

This got me intrigued that there are designers out there that still holds there morals to the ground in the belief of pure graphic design, to communicate your own voice, choice and beliefs. He also rejected Swiss modernism in favor of a more humanistic ‘graphic expressionism’. He felt that it did not fit in with American culture and imagination. This idea links back to Erik Spiekermann’s manifest on how fonts must be altered and varied to ones culture. The different lifestyle and perceptions may affect the people’s opinion on a certain typeface. Hence, it is important to have designs stylized into cultures for it to be understood, absorbed and well functioned. Lubalin commented that the Americans react to new ideas and that they are a “concept-conscious society”. Thus, the creation of graphic expressionism by Lubalin.

In 1979, Lubalin wrote an article for Print magazine and said: “Graphic Expressionism is my euphemism for the use of typography, or letterforms, not just as a mechanical means for setting words on a page, but rather as another creative way of expressing an idea, telling a story, amplifying the meaning of a word or a phrase, to elicit an emotional response from the viewer.”
He illustrates human emotion through impactful juxtaposition. His constant search for something innovative and fresh made him one of the most successful art director/designer of the 20th century.

(Yet another designer that I found myself adoring.)

Herb Lubalin’s sketches + design work:


Ten (or More) Things You Didn’t Know About Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin


Landor | Archetypes in Branding

“The role, immediately recognisable and subconsciously familiar, a brand plays in the market due to its offer, communications strategy, identity, and customer experience.”

An archetype helps reflect and position a brand in a specific look towards the target audiences. It helps emphasise the brand’s beliefs and attribute, giving it a personality, a character. It allows the consumer to develop a stronger connection towards the brand on a deeper level, feeding their needs and giving them a sense of identification.

“The brand becomes a character with a clear personality that informs the way it looks, behaves, and speaks. “

According to the article, to create a strong archetype, a brand must consider how the brand’s personality, traits and character positions itself to be. What are the attributes, beliefs and values that may fit into a certain archetype. This is usually found in a brand’s mission statement.

 In Lisa’s class we have identified the 12 fundamental archetypes:

  1. Caregiver
  2. Citizen
  3. Hero/ Warrior
  4. Innocent
  5. Creator
  6. Explorer
  7. Lover
  8. Rebel
  9. Jester
  10. Magician
  11. Sage
  12. Sovereign

For example, these brands carry the archetype of a hero/warrior.

All in all, I did not really notice these factors until Lisa’s lecture cover. I only knew that brands do position themselves within their mission statement and target market in order to appeal consumers but using an archetype as a market strategy was truly an insight! (even the term archetype was new..) Thus I believe the role as a designer is truly important in the world of marketing and communication. We are the ones who can manipulate the mood and feelings on how others portray on a particular thing.

Talking Type with Jessica Hische

There are bountiful intricately designed typefaces up to this day, but how do we choose one that will be the perfect fit for our project?

Jessica Hische’s article, Uping Your Type Game will just be able to help us with that! She gives a thorough discussion on how type designers are the underdogs. She provides step by step pointers on how to choose a good typeface that may be the perfect fit for our design work and how we should broaden our horizon by not having a favourite type (but maybe a favourite type designer).

  1. To analyse the weight of the type. To Jessica, it is important to have access to a wide range of weights. This allows the flexibility in designing with perception of type weight.
  2. Look at the x-height, where it is best to look for an x-height that allows you to set type at small sizes and still have it be legible.
  3. True italics
  4. Type’s personality: What does the type convey and what historical baggage does it carry? What is the meaning behind its design?
  5. Spacing. This affects the legibility, whether it is easy, smooth and fluent to read.
  6. Even type color. This is my first time coming across this term. This is to make sure the letters don’t feel optically heavier at the joints. “Consistent type color also has a lot to do with the counters, or the spaces within the letters. If counters are too closed, it can make a letter seem heavy or affect legibility and letter recognition.” This made me reflect on how precise and intricate type designers must be and I would never pay close attention to it until this reading. Truly impressive!
  7. Widths. This ensures that the type is legible and beautiful per-line word-count.
  8. Using sans serifs. Jessica mentioned that using sans serif could be tricky as a body text. She introduced the “I to i to 1” rule where a capital I, lowercase i and a number 1 are placed next to each other. “If you can’t tell the difference between these characters, you may run into some trouble when setting the text.” 

Besides these pointers, choosing a type means defining the right mood. One must read the content, write down the key points and visual cues. When pairing typefaces, Jessica recommended to choose within a super-family, same type designer or one that has similar characteristics. For example, when pairing a serif with a sans-serif, it is best to choose the ones with a similar skeleton or proportions. When placing the text, place the serif for your body copy and a sans for your headlines.

After reading the article, it made me more aware on these detailed elements a type carries. When and what is appropriate in different moods, pairings and design. However, the article only talks about the functional use of proper text base fonts instead of the decorative and fun flourishing fonts that one can create for a project. It is does not necessarily mean we have to stick to these pointers but rather to keep in mind, for example, when one is designing an editorial or information texts. Personally, I feel it is more important to have fun and go wild with experimentation without these rules, and then maybe come back to them when finalising the design piece. At the end of the day, it all comes down to context, mood and the appropriation of type for the project.

History of American Design

History of American Design
American Modern (1925-1940): Design for a New Age

The 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Moderne was a key event that initiated the beginning of American design. This provided designers and producers the opportunity to display the skill and achievements of their nation’s fine craftsmen and manufactures. Subsequently, the Great Depression in 1929 served as a great divide between the 1920s -1930s, and between American modernist designs. The distinct moods of the two decades radically affected the arts and design production. Struggling manufacturers needed an innovation to get people consuming again in order to revive the economy. Thus the two main objectives at that moment was to innovate new products or improve the basic operating characteristics of existing ones.

The outset of American design was heavily dependent on contemporary modernist design movements in France, Germany and Scandinavia. This is due to the vast amount of immigrants that had fled from the political oppression of their home country, or the sight of new economic opportunities. From the movement of Art Deco, American designers adapted the style of clean lines, pure geometric forms and machine-made materials of the Bauhaus movement. This led to an intertwining European into the new style of American design. The Great Depression enhanced the manifesto of the Bauhaus movement into creating objects that were aesthetic and affordable for the mass. One eminent response was shown by Paul Frankl, who produced a series of furniture designs that was inspired by the form of skyscrapers, which reflected the dynamism of American modernity. For example, his “Skyscraper” bookcase (1927) embodies strong vertical lines with staggered forms. However, the notion of a skyscraper design was too eccentric to lead a broad application.

The aestheticism of machinery was an important influence on American design and industrialisation. A study of the machine aesthetic may be best analysed by dividing its development into four stylistic interpretations: moderne, machine purity, streamline and biomorphic, as given by architectural historian Richard Guy Wilson. The moderne style used the look of the machine ornamentally. It was a decorative design, and its machine aesthetic served to conceal the inner workings of the object while calling attention to itself as a machine. Its design was influenced by the perception of parts such as gears, cams, axles or of factory complexes involving many buildings and simple geometrical elements arranged in complex patterns. Following on, the indicative style of machine purity was a simplified geometric form. Machine purists attacked any sense of decoration that exceeded functionality. Consequently, the clean cut contemporary look paved way for a new design manifesto that soon became streamlining. Streamlining was originally developed by aerodynamic engineers as a means of reducing air resistance with its bullet-like and curved lines that shows speed. The streamlined style reflected the desire of the Great Depression-era for a frictionless and static society. It embodies the essence of the modern age and the shape which was most conducive to speed such as the ovoid, or tear-drop. Streamlining symbolised the efficiency, aesthetic and dynamic functionalism whilst reducing waste. It also symbolised the progress of America. Its application to mass-produced items, brought focus to the  “Big Four” of early American industrial design: Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss, Raymond Loewy, and  Walter Dorwin Teague. Last but not least, biomorphic designs captured the forms of nature and the human body. If the ovoid was the symbol of streamlining, the amoeba was the symbol for biomorphic design. The biomorphic design focuses more on how it was produced, not necessarily how it appeared. For example, the “Organic Chair” designed in 1940 by Charles Eames & Eero Saarinen and Russel Wright’s modern tablewares. The highly sculptural forms of these pieces, including the teardrop-shaped pitcher with elongated spout, were inspired from streamlining which represent the triumph of style as marketing strategy. In this style, the machine aestheticism was no longer the prime focus, instead it was the organic form of an amoeba.

The role of an industrial designer itself gained prominence, especially during the Great Depression, when companies relied on designers such as Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy to create enticing new product designs in an effort to stimulate consumer demand. Organic styling and streamlining increased consumerism, thus boosting the economy. This became the mindset of designers in beauty for the eye and manipulating people’s emotion for consumerism. Styling became equally important as function and the production of goods became the base of consumerism in society.

American designer, Norman Bel Geddes’s “Patriot Radio” (1940), mirrors the American flag and a medal, designed in 1933, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of General Motors, where the stylised profile of an automobile was streamlined through its curvilinear lines streaming over its front hood. In 1940, there was a clear shift in the American taste. The desired style for dynamism, speed, and elegance had preceded to a more relaxed approach that valued comfort. This was observed in the Metropolitan’s 1940 industrial design show. Designers had found a middle ground that holds both the aesthetics for machinery and the nostalgic warmth of hand craftsmanship. Designs were efficient, functional and classical. The pursuit of an authentic new image was created to unify the industry and to propel it out of economic stagnation.

Aside from the Great Depression, the war had also a large play on the influence of American design. After the war, the society struggled to rebuild whilst maintaining meaningful design. The focus shifted to the importance of affordability and producing simple shapes objects for the middle-lower class. Materials that were once used primarily for war purposes, were reformed for furniture applications and stationaries. This established into open space housings in the quest for freedom. Interior spaces would easily open to the outside, expanding the living quarters. With the end of World War II, the dynamic mixture introduced an age of consumer culture, known as Contemporary. The style aimed to reflect all the current and refreshing ideas. Architects approached home design from the inside out, adapting the plan to the direct needs of the clients. Symmetry and geometry did not dictate floor plan arrangements. Daylight became an even more critical element to a contemporary home, blurring the lines between natural and man-made environments. The 1950s was a decade of revival, infectious hope and the uproar to bring form to the relaxed lifestyle of the time. Details mattered and spaces were linked to create a flow. Ribbon windows and curtain walls were reduced in order to maximise natural light and open space, diminishing barriers.

American design epitomises the propagation of machine aesthetics through organic forms and streamlined design. Designers produced objects with psychological needs of the users where it is responsive and organic. With the aftereffects of the Great Depression and war, came the introduction of American design that holds history of foreign influences. Styling became equally important as function and the production of goods became the base of consumerism in society. This mindset and the form of design is still seen to this day, where consumerism and consumption drives the epitome of design. Designs are focused in conceptualising beauty to the eye, as well as functionalism to sell and boost the economy. This shows the great impact American design has carried through time and into the mindset of our era.


Slides provided by Ash

“American Modern, 1925-1940: Design for a New Age.” American Modern, 1925-1940: Design for a New Age, Traditional Fine Arts Organization, 2011,

Johnson, J Stewart., The MET, 11 Apr. 2000,–1940-design-for-a-new-age.

Oeltjenbruns, Becky. “1940s & 1950s Furniture and Interior Design.” Cause A Frockus, 4 Nov. 2013,

OUlearn. “American Industrial Design: Design in a Nutshell (5/6).” YouTube, YouTube, 8 May 2013,

Winton, Alexandra Griffith. “Design, 1925–50.”, The MET, Oct. 2004,


Puns (as promised):
1. What do you call a bee that comes from America? a USB!
2. Can February March? No but April May
3. What do you call a pig that does karate? Pork Chop!

Typographer of the Week: Erik Spiekermann

“Brand = Function”

Erik Spiekermann is a German type designer and information architect that has shaped Germany’s visual culture. With two other designers, Spiekermann established MetaDesign. Some of the notable projects undertaken by the design studio for includes Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda, Berlin Transit and Heidelberg Printing and other leading companies. 

The image attached below shows the typefaces Spiekermann has designed and developed for neutral/practical uses. Two of the typefaces are actually altered towards the German culture.

Spiekermann has a ‘minimalistic’, non whimsical, neat, clear and informative style. He holds a devotion to clarity and grid-based design, sticking to the base of designer rules. “I need order. I need systems. I don’t really do anything without a design grid.” This shows how grounded and discipline he is in making informative designs and typefaces. How a grid and design principles can have a good impact in the application of form.

Classic is my own adap­tion of Bodoni; for Con­tem­po­rary, I somewhat rearranged Meta Bold; Industrial is a generic industrial typeface as negative stencils; and Tech is my attempt at designing numbers without any diagonal strokes. The materials are laser-cut, enamelled steel, extruded, and anodised aluminium, laser-cut, painted steel, and water-cut, polished stainless steel.”
Erik Spiekermann

Spiekermann also mentioned how fonts must be altered and varied depending on the culture. The different lifestyle and perception may affect the people’s opinion on a certain typeface. Hence, it is important to have designs stylised into cultures for it to be understood, absorbed and well-functioned. Erik Spiekermann prides himself as a communication designer with clear underlining through his designs, which make him different and grounded from the whimsical and over-elaborative designers. His designs gives of a neat, clean and guided look – pleasing to the eyes in a sense of practicality and functionality (down to the purest form). 


Getting to Know Erik Spiekermann

Fonts Do Matter

Sarah Hyndman’s TEDtalk was insightful and agreeable in how type can completely transform the meaning of a word. It can give it a backstory, a personality and something that can influence. It has the power to impact with the right uniform. She associates type as clothes, where it gives others the first impression of who it is and what it is. This is impactful, in which type turns words into a story with meaning, a voice to help convey the message into the world. I like how she stated typographers and graphic designers as storytellers. Having the power to alter and manipulate the tone, expression and value the word holds. We can turn a “cheap” word into something sizzling, hot and fresh by a change of font or typeface. It can be serious and credible, or fun and entertaining. Type communicates deep into our sub-conscious and affects how we think. Just like the jellybean round versus angular type example Sarah Hyndman mentioned (which I think is really interesting and true), how fonts can alter how food taste. The elements of a typeface can affect a person’s mood and emotions toward the word or design piece. It can also be the deciding factor of consumerism. Type conveys emotions and meanings that relate to our subconscious.

Therefore, fonts DO matter as a medium of communication. At the end of the day, type plays a crucial role in the everyday life, whether for branding, consumerism, safety, directions or aesthetics – we are all type suckers!