Typographer of the week: Paula Scher

Paula Scher was one of the first typographers I was exposed to by this TV Series on Netfilx called Abstract. From there, I was able to see typography from a different perspective. As Scher mentioned, one of the mantras she has was to ‘Illustrate with type’. Undoubtedly, I am struggling with using typefaces to my advantage which makes my designs look flat and stagnant. By using different typefaces as my brush strokes, it reinvents the way I look at designing my posters.

Paula Scher illustrated this map of the United States using demographic information about the region and she is using typography as her paintbrush.

Paula Scher is also highly against the use of the Helvetica typeface as she terms it to ‘neturalise feeling’ and she also blames it for causing the Vietnam war in another interview in the movie Helvetica. Typefaces have a personality of their own and we should use that to our advantage when designing.

From her humble roots as a album cover designer, she was able to create many different album covers using custom typefaces which made her designs standout amongst the sea of generic album covers and typefaces.


Future World Response

We begin by studying the essence of Toshiyuki Inoko, the founder of TeamLab’s work: escaping reality through art. “We want to make a city itself become art,” Kudo says. “People can live inside artworks. Art can change the relationships between people.”


As we embark on our journey, moving forward from the concept of how we use technology to envision what a Smart City would look like in the future, we delve into the use of technology to create a cohesive ecosystem to immerse the audience into the visceral experience of what it would be like to live in such a futuristic and dynamic city.

Most, if not all of these installations are curated more towards the childlike wonder of the younger generation. Thus, the need for a installation which provides adequate feedback is important to retain the engagement and attention of children. Apart from the ‘Sanctuary’ installation,  all other works would include some form of touch or movement to interact with the piece.

Universe of Water Particles, Transcending Boundaries

Walking through the dark alley into an explosion of light, you are immediately transported into another world. Elements of nature fill your vision as you look around the room. This installation seeks to enhance the beauty of nature, something which is rarely talked about in creating a smart city. A large waterfall can be seen cascading across the wall and onto the ground. As you stand in awe of the multitudes of colour displayed on the walls, you will start to notice that the waterfall would be gently enveloping your shadow, flowing around you. The dynamic flow of the waterfall is not random, as explained by our guide – TeamLab worked with engineers and physicists to ensure that the movement of water is as scientifically close to what we can find in nature. Sound is quintessential in all of their exhibitions as  This level of detail adds realism into the piece which is what makes it immersive.

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, Ephemeral Life Born from People

Teamlab exceeds expectations when creating this immersive experience as it offers more than just aesthetics. When in this space, you can interact with the butterflies scattered all across the room by touching them, and when you do so, they wither and die, falling to the ground. These projections and sensors are all connected to a computer with superior processing capabilities which enable it to render the interactions in real time. Thus, it forms an ecosystem whereby everything is intertwined and meant to work flawlessly and in harmony. There was a mix of screens and projections which the paths of the butterflies were able to take. On the screens, the butterflies were in a ‘safe’ zone whereby the could not be touched and killed. What amazed me was the size of the room and how many butterflies were dispersed everywhere – the magnitude of this project and the amount of different permutations and combinations on different mediums left me in awe.


Life Survives by the Power of Life

It would be easy to overlook this piece of work in relation to everything else which is going on in the enclosure as it is simply a screen displaying a rotating piece of wood. However, as you continue to look at this piece of art, it slowly morphs and blossoms (literally) into a magnificent piece of art. This tree branch cycles through the seasons of the year, all while in constant rotation. It is truly mesmerizing as you watch the transformation of this branch – little trivia, this was the piece which propelled TeamLab into the public eye as it was first displayed in 2011, when renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami invited TeamLab to display a piece at his Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Taipei.


Sketch Town and Connecting! Block Town

The concept behind sketch town is one that intrigues audiences from all ages. This  installation allows the audience to change the art work based on their imagination. Audiences are encouraged to design a vehicle of their choice using any of the provided templates. Afterwards, they would then scan in their designs and it would be projected onto the screen. There would also be a real time render of the city with all of the different custom designs of the vehicles. This concept is also similar to Connecting! Block Town as it allows for the audience to move elements within the city, using the landscape as a canvas. These technologies can be applied to VR and it would facilitate conceptualizing and visualising what our future cities could look like.

Impermanent Life, at the Confluence of Spacetime New Space and Time is Born

This installation is one of the few exceptions when it comes to interaction as the audience is not required to participate in this piece. This piece is to remind audiences that moments of relaxation and reflection is crucial for our well being and it is important to take a step back and view things in its entirety, appreciating the journey taken so far.

Overall, diversity, process and intelligence are important mantras for Inoko and we can evidently see that in his work. TeamLab consists of over 400 different individuals working across the globe. The inclusion of nature and city infrastructure in the works helps us envision what the future may hold, in both art as well as the landscape of the future. 

Typographer of the week: Massimo Vignell


“From the spoon to the city” this is the quote that resonated with me as I was watching the interview with Massimo Vignell. Architect cum designer, Form precedes every one of his designs as he strives to instill meaning and purpose into his designs. Many of us tend to get lost in the aesthetics, aiming to please visually but more often than not, it lacks substance and functionality. The ideal of form follows function is a strong mantra to abide by as it could be argued that your design would always be relevant as functionality does not change but aesthetic trends can.

As what Massimo Vignelli said, “the most effective design is positioned in the centre between progressiveness and conservatism.” Timeless designs are a perfect harmony of function and aesthetics which is what makes them, to me – the epitome of what a designer can achieve. A good example would be an instruction booklet filled with pure text. It is completely functional, however, the lackluster of aesthetics just makes it unbearable to consume. Something purely aesthetic could be a Jackson pollock painting, whereby it is pleasing to look at, but does not serve any functions, and sooner or later, another trend of painting comes along. I start to study Massimo’s work on the New York subway and despite it being designed in the 1950s, the design is still highly relevant today and it does not lose one bit of function.

Commercial design is becoming increasingly diluted and this is a reflection of the extremely wasteful and consumeristic characteristics of our current society. Design trends follow suit as well and it is constantly changing to suit the demands and the needs of the market. While it makes the design landscape more exciting, there is a deeper underlying issue with having zero historical value as they are so fleeting, these trends are not impressionable. However, if we turn back the clock, we realize that the approach  towards design during the period of modernism such as bauhaus is still extremely relevant and widely used today.

Overall, I am humbled by how Massimo Vignelli views himself as he does not come across as a celebrity designer, but instead, he is more of a passionate teacher. One that is concerned for the direction in which design is heading towards. Towards the end of the interview, Massimo Vignelli shared one of his experiences with fans approaching him for an autograph and his genuine attitude towards his fans is heartwarming as he said it would’ve been something he would do in his past.

Typographer of the week: Neville Brody

My initial impression of Neville Brody’s work was that it heavily resembled works from the period of Dada, whereby there is exensive usage of clipped graphics, shapes and even fonts. I can see why his designs were unconventional to the point whereby he was continuously failed in art school.

His work effectively tethers on the line of breaking the rules of typography and creating something revolutionary. I agree with his statements given on his lecture of how as commercialism continues to grow, the essence of our designs have to be reduced down to the point whereby its primary functions would be to attract attention and convey a message.

In this design, Neville aimed to create depth through layering and using a 2D space. The abstract strokes in this layout is definitely striking and resembles post modern design, whereby there are many sharp edges and striking colour to capture the readers attention.

This poster is able to highlight the dynamism of using nike shoes, in an extremely unconventional way whereby there is the use of a variety of kernings and leadings which may give of an unpleasant aesthetic.

In hindsight, to become a revolutionary, the unconventional and bold has to be done – ones that are not afraid to lose what they have. Which is why there are so little of these brilliant people around as they have the ability to revolutionize and change the landscape of graphic design as we know it.

Chipchase Reading response

The image Chipchase portrays on our daily lives leaves you wondering, how much of user experience and design has influence on our daily routines? Terms such as centre of gravity, we treat it as a spatial mnemonic device whereby we naturally gravitate towards when we are in search of essential objects vital to be able to function in society, such as our keys which give access to where we store our valuables, our wallet as it contains forms of identification, money as well as our various cards. Lastly, we have our mobile phones which is crucial for communicating with our peers, however, the functionality of our mobile phones has grown in leaps and bounds to encapsulate a much larger ecosphere outside of communication.

However, sometimes our spatial mnemonic devices may fail and we could forget to bring essential items along with us. To counter this, we have a failsafe which aims to eliminate the case in an event where we may have neglected our key belongings. This is called the point of reflection, where individuals perform a mental checklist of our valuables, most often before we leave the range of the centre of gravity. The point of reflection is not only limited to our physical belongings, but can also come as the form of checking of required balances for our cards, storage spaces in our digital media. It is intriguing to view this as a point of reflection as it functions the same way where we view our physical belongings. We would not want to travel on public transport without sufficient balance as it would involve inconveniences such as being rejected at the terminal. 

As much as we would want this event to be avoided,  it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of such an event happening. Thus, we carry redundancies such as a spare to avoid facing a situation like this as we would always have a backup in an event of a failure.

Undoubtedly the most important concept brought up by Chipchase was the range of distribution. How far would you allow your belongings to stray away from you?  There are many factors which would affect the range, primarily the physical properties of the space, familiarity, presence of familiar people, density of strangers, social activities engaged nearby and general cleanliness of the area. However, this is not only limited to physical objects, as in the digital realm, the range of distribution changes as you are able to make changes to your virtual surroundings almost immediately. Lets say you are uncomfortable with your assets being placed in a certain bank, you can simply transfer your money in an instant. Thus, you can manage multiple strings at once when things become digital. This accessibility and convenience is what makes technology so amazing as the range distribution is much more personal and we do not have to worry about unnecessary redundancies such as  being in the wrong environment when managing our belongings.

The information disseminated through this reading has a plethora of applications, such as web design. Using concepts such as a centre of gravity to give the user a sense of familiarity when viewing a new page encourages the user to be more comfortable with the lay out, allowing them to explore the page with more ease. Another concept that can be applied is the point of reflection. By having such a feature implemented in your web, you are able to give the user a sense of assurance that whatever they may have accomplished in your website has not gone to waste and is always readily available for them. This is crucial feedback to allow ensure the retention of the users of your website. Something as simple as showing the number of items you have in your online cart is a sufficient feedback to show a point of reflection.