PDF file: HOD_Q4_Essay
History of Design was an interesting module. I learnt a lot about how visual communications came about, and I found it especially interesting to know how the fonts that we usually use were designed and created. (I prefer Sans Serif for its cleaner and sleek looks.) Some of the artists also had intriguing backgrounds, and learning about their different styles gave a lot of insights, and even though I’m not a visual communications student, I think that the concepts can be applied to product design and interactive media as well, because I believe all of the art forms work hand in hand. I also enjoyed the format of the teachings, where we are always given a list of key words. This helps a lot with the learning process as it is easy to link the words one after another. The quizzes also helped with registering the bulk of the information into our head. I also enjoyed the reviewing of the answers after the quizzes because it reminds me how bad I am at quizzes. (Oops) Overall it was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, thanks for teaching us Desmond 🙂
Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, El Lissitzky, 1919
This is an art piece done by El Lissitzky representing the Russian Civil War. The red wedge represents the Bolsheviks penetrating the White movement, as represented by the white space. I like this piece because of its ability to convey its strong and straightforward message despite its simplicity. The exceptional placement and use of shapes, colours and spaces makes it a very easy-to-understand piece that is considered to be symbolic in Western publications. This piece’s significance is evident in the things it has influenced in the modern context, and one example is the use of the simplified version in a Australian-American television series, Farscape.
Proun, El Lissitzky
Proun is El Lissitzky’s attempt to integrate painting and architecture together. The word “proun” has no apparent meaning, and is an acronym of the Russian words “PROyect Utverzhdenia Novogo” (Project for the Affirmation of the New). Proun was Lissitzky’s exploration of the visual language of suprematism with spatial elements, axes (lines) and perspectives; which I realise, all of which are now considered basic elements of design. Proun works were three-dimensional environments in which two-dimensional shapes could exist in direct contrast to the space they inhabited. I think this is interesting because this idea of drawing 3D objects on 2D planes is how a lot of us are taught to do to give our works more depth and realism, and I think this concept has come a long way.
Also, really small trivia while researching; El Lissitzky has the same birthday as me. (Maybe that’s why I felt like researching about his works ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Johnston’s Railway Type, Edward Johnston, 1916
Edward Johnston was a British calligrapher who played a large part in influencing 20th century typography and calligraphy, mainly in England and Germany (together with Rudolf Koch, a German Type Designer). He was commissioned by The London Underground Railway in 1915 to create a new alphabet, and he completed the design in 1916. This design is considered the first modern sans serif type based on the proportions of Classical Roman capitals.
I like this typeface because of its clean and sleek look. I think it is amazing that Johnston could design such a modern-looking typeface ahead of his time, allowing it to last through the years, and eventually fast forward 100 years later, the typeface was revamped into Johnston100. The Johnston100 is catered to the technological mediums of today’s world, in other words, more suitable for the digital screen.
Woodblock Playing Card, Jack of Diamonds, c. 1400
These early renaissance playing cards actually originated from China in the 9th century, and was brought to Europe in the 14th century. These cards were initially considered to be for the rich only, since they were very expensive to get due to each of the cards being individually hand-painted. However, with the rise of woodblock painting, these cards became easily accessible to people of all financial statuses, since woodblock printing made it a lot easier to mass produce the cards.
I like this piece because of the concept of woodblock printing, and also the idea of tabletop games. Not only do these cards provide entertainment for the community, they also showcase the talents and skills of the people who were capable of carving the wood with such intricacy. Following that, I feel that the evolution of playing cards made it such that more focus is place on the design aspect of it, rather than the process of making it, since everything is mass produced. Playing cards is a good outlet for designers to showcase their original concepts of the various suits and numbers.
Modern playing cards: