This four weeks learning about the History of Graphic Design had been a fun and enjoyable one. While we did touch about some of the Art Movements in the previous semester, I felt I learned much more through these lessons. Information I had for History of Graphic Design had initially been shallow and narrow, and I now have a new appreciation and respect for Graphic Design, after knowing its history and story.
The list of words that were provided to us had been very helpful in helping me stay in check with what information was essential to know. At the same time, we learned beyond the list of items, with many examples, helping us know better what it each typeface or art style was like, and its exceptions if any. Apart from missing explanation of a few words from the list, the list as a guide had been extremely useful and productive.
Taking breaks every 30mins was definitely essential for productivity. Reaching the 25mins mark, I could feel my mind slowing down, and the break was definitely good to rest for a while before continuing with the rest of the class.
Choosing an image to explore more upon had been surprisingly fun. While doing a post after each lesson initially sounded like a chore, I discovered many new things about graphic designers and fonts that caught my eye. This also helped in retaining information, and it made me find interest within graphic design.
The quiz had been rather fun, especially since we had time to go through it and check out answers after we were done. I feel it had been much more productive to do quizzes than presentations, considering little information apart from that of my own had retained in my mind from last year. It was also nice that the quiz had been split into two; heavy content splitting into two.
Overall, the class was really fun! とても楽しかったです！！これからもいろいろグラフィックデザインについて勉強したいと思います！！ありがとうございました！！
During this lecture, there were actually quite a few things that caught my attention, and I wanted to search more about them.
Isotypes, International System of Typographic Picture Education for full, was developed by social scientist and philosopher Otto Neurath and designed by Gerd Arntz. It was a method for visual statistics, using icons and signs to symbolize data.
Otto Neurath had seen that people of the working class that began to break free from dictatorship at the time were mainly illiterate. He hence knew that for them to gain knowledge of the world, information should have been clearly and directly illustrated in a clear structure.
It also aimed to overcome language barrier across the countries; to be universally understood and was influenced by Otto Neurath’s fascination with the function of Egyptian Hieroglyphics; both their form and ability to convey a story.
Arntz eventually created about 4000 of such signs, which were then adopted worldwide to what is now termed as Infographics.
This was fun and amazing to learn about Isotypes as they are so commonly seen, but I had never gone to find how they came to be. Through these lectures, I truly understand how many things regarding Graphic Design many of us seem to take for granted of, or simply overlook, but actually have an interesting or deep history behind them. It was nice to finally put a name to who began the idea of infographics that have been widely used and also understand the creation was out of the hopes to increase the educated in the population, and escape from dictatorship at that time.
Another thing I really liked was the Bifur Typeface created in 1929 by A.M. Cassandre, whose birth name was Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron. It was bright yellow and really beautiful and I loved how big the contrast the colour was against the dark of the bold lines. However, upon further research, I learned it was initially like so:
The design combines very thick with incredibly thin line strokes, which is a striking and unusual type design, even for today. Other than that, the design is quite minimal without serif or flourish.
John Heartfield’s Adolf the Superman: Swallows Gold and Talks Tin was interesting because of the imagery, but also its title. An X-ray chest had been superimposed over Hitler’s torso in this image, creating a funny and eye-catching image. It ridiculed Hitler, which instantly amused me, and made me want to know more about not only the Artwork but also the artist himself.
The work was mainly based on world war and politics, with the artwork referring to Hitler’s receiving of financial backing from wealthy industrialists, and him spouting ugliness to move the country toward a profitable war. John Heartfield thus used this piece as a political medium, even going as far as to change his name from Helmut Herzfeld in protest. The powerful image was featured prominently throughout Berlin and John Heartfield was immediately targeted after the Nazis came to power, ordering several assassination hits on him. Nevertheless, John Heartfield survived the hits and passed away on 26 April 1968 due to illness.
It was interesting how John Heartfield did what he believed in and risked his life in doing so. The events that had occurred were frightening, yet the imagery created was rather humourous as though to mock Hitler and his ideologies.
The main image that caught my attention during the lecture was Gismonda, by Alphonse Mucha, an artwork of the Art Nouveau period.
Art Nouveau, that lasted from 1890 to 1914, is an artistic movement that was practised in many fields of art, such as architecture and graphic design. The term “Art Nouveau” is the French term for “new art”, and the Art Nouveau movement is the first time that design had been promoted through mass communication.
When I first think of Art Nouveau, works like that of Alphonse Mucha’s come to mind instantly. Not knowing much about the history of Art Nouveau in Graphic Design, I was highly intrigued to learn that within the art movement, there had been many different variations of Graphic Design created, all over Europe, and that it had developed greatly over time.
The many styles looked rather different despite being in the same movement but had similar properties that stemmed from the art style that influenced them. Many of the artworks created during the movement had flat planes or were two dimensional, with an undulating asymmetrical line, that usually was elegant and graceful or infused with a powerfully rhythmic and whiplike force. This was strong violent curve was also referenced by the term “whiplash”.
These graphic art that had many organic and plant motifs were so heavily ornate that it was not desirable for text faces but great for display work. Thus, it had been more popular in poster printing and book production.
Learning that Art Nouveau developed from the Japanese art style Ukiyo-e, took me by surprise. I had never expected a connection between an Asian Art style and Art Nouveau, that felt highly westernized, but I soon saw some resemblance between the two styles. I had always thought Art Nouveau appeared rather comic-like and understanding its influence gave me some potential rationale to this connection. I think it was amazing that from an art style all the way from another continent, an array of styles all under Art Nouveau had been born.
It had been due to the Western culture beginning to exchange information and ideas through world trade, in which the start of Nouveau began. Famous makers of Art Nouveau objects were selling their ideas through magazines, journals, trade fairs, exhibitions, and they saw themselves as part of this larger world. Art Nouveau was the first style to sell itself and to be conscious of itself. At the beginning of 1890s, many artists reached out beyond their own countries for inspiration. Japonism was also a prominent trend then and thus had a strong influence on the artists.
Nevertheless, of all the different artists, I still liked Alphonse Mucha’s works the most. The bold lines and curves drawn, along with the colours used had caught my attention the most. I also really like his Poster for ‘Job’ cigarette paper. The sensual expression and flowy hair established the iconic image of the ‘Mucha woman’. His posters focused almost entirely on beautiful women in lavish settings with their hair usually curling in arabesque forms and filling the frame. Frankly, they were rather alluring and captivating.
It was also very funny reading that Alphonse Mucha disliked being known as an Art Nouveau artist since he was one of the most well-known artists under Art Nouveau. Alphonse Mucha had apparently never wanted to associate himself with this newly born art movement, and he only wanted to communicate a spiritual message, insisting his paintings were entirely a product of his own imagination and Czech art. He even expressed his rage and frustration because of all the rapid fame he gained throughout his art. Thus, learning his name under Art Nouveau and hearing him known for his “Art Nouveau” works is absolutely hilarious.
All in all, I like his Gismonda work for Sarah Bernhardt the most. It was said to have the beauty and dignity of her personality onstage rather than representing her realistic features or the story. While his other works are more fluid and alluring, I think it was mainly the story of how this artwork had propelled him to fame that also fueled my love for it. The chances of him being the only one available to do the commission were odd, and for him to gain such fame overnight was truly a blessing in itself. The elegance of the work truly shined through.
, also known as Blackletter or Gothic Script, was used from around the 12th century up till the 17th century, and was first described as “Gothic” in 15th century Italy. While developed from the Carolingian Minuscule that was well-known for its legibility, Textura looked vastly different from its ancestor, having a narrower and taller form. Its letters were formed by sharp and angular straight lines, contrasting to the roundness of the Carolingian Miniscule, and their strong vertical strokes were made before serifs were drawn upon them.
The condensed and bold Textura rose as literacy increased in 12th century Europe. The want for books in different sectors rose as education grew in importance, creating a demand for written text outside of religious scripts. While the need for book production increased, the price of writing materials stood to be an issue; not to mention more need for labour and time to create these items. Thus, Textura was heavily used – its narrow form allowing for more letters to fit in a single sheet of parchment or papyrus.
As a person with zero background in Typography, I never really knew how or why fonts were created. Simply assuming someone had created fonts out of their own personal entertainment and joy, I was pleasantly surprised to know that many Fonts had such interesting stories as to how they came to be. Learning how the events during a certain time period affect the way people wrote, and how they created new fonts to overcome new challenges really opened my eyes and gave me a greater appreciation for typefaces.
During class, we were introduced to many types of fonts through different times and their advantages and disadvantages. But of all the fonts, there was one script that really caught my attention – Textura. When I first saw Textura, I really liked how beautiful and condensed it was. I was highly amused to know it had been termed “Gothic” but also saw how fitting it had been with the Gothic Style. The calligraphic script is highly aesthetically pleasing and elegant in my opinion, with the tightly condensed text making each page feel fully utilised. Paired with the highly intricate drawings, the script gave the page an antiquely “posh” look, and I imagine an entire book of such pages looked highly impressive.
Learning that Textura had been developed when the demand for books rose had been interesting since the text had seemed much more difficult to read than its direct ancestor, the Carolingian Minuscule, in my eyes. While I do love the script greatly, an entire book of condensed calligraphic text sounded like an extreme nightmare; adding to the horror of having to learn an entire book of business or law during that time.
Nevertheless, the idea that this script was formed to allow more to have access to textbooks and knowledge was heartwarming and highly fascinating. Saving costs so many others can afford a path to gaining new knowledge by creating a new typeface suggests the high importance of Typography in the past and also now. This lecture has enabled me to truly respect and appreciate fonts more, and consider the usage of the different fonts before I choose them.
For this project, we were tasked to make an art installation that would be situated in a specific area of ADM. It was stated that it should be about 2m x 2m x 2m, and we would be making a model that would be at a scale of 1:5 or 1:10. There were also many things we had to take note of and include in our design:
- Aural Memory/Aural Heightening
- Involve seating/reclining
- Made from paper cups
Since it had been site-specific, we did an investigation and research on our site, along with seating ergonomics. This had been a pair work, and I did this with Yee Teng.
Our slides are here!
After this, it was individual work and we started to do our prototype models.
The aural memory I decided to work with was the sound of being underwater, having an enveloping feeling, one that is calm and peaceful. I thus made a sketch of a couple of designs to portray this.
However, I soon scrapped those ideas as it had been difficult to make those form using the unique form of paper cups. I hence decided to just experiment with paper cups.
I had a huge issue with this, trying out random forms. I didn’t really like most of my initial prototypes and had no interest in them. Soon, I switch to cutting strips and slits, and made many different forms from it. Of which, I became intrigued with one that happened to interlock when I left it alone, and adopted that design. I also created another curved form that worked well as a seat.
Plus many more I did not like one bit.
This became my chosen design and I pieced them together to form the installation shown below:
Spray painted it.
Larger image here!
For my final model, I had tried making a 1:10 sized model, with different materials.
Initially, I had used a single sheet of paper, which failed spectacularly due to the thinness of it. I then attempted doubling the sheet, which then made it too flimsy. Ideas such as using corrugated cardboard and art card were considered but later also rejected due to it being either too thick or unsuitable.
Finally, I decided on making a 1:20 model by connecting two layers of shallow paper bowls first. This was done just to be safe; ensuring I had a model to work with. It was lucky I had done this as I ended up not having enough time for my other model.
The 1:10 model I wanted to try to make was not finished, due to the lack of time I had. It was made using paper mache and there had been a lot of drying time due to its sheer size.
I first started by making measurements of the initial small cup I used to make the prototype. Then, calculated the different measurements should the cup’s size be multiplied by 4. I then drew it out on drawing block, making a template.
After making the template, I made two plastic cups from the template.
Propping it on a bucket, I made a newspaper cutout of similar size to the template, and then stuck it on the plastic mould, before beginning to paper mache it.
The glue had been self-made from starch and hot water.
I also had to spend much time in between layers, waiting for it to dry.
Dried large cups.
This was difficult to do as it was hard to gauge how many layers were enough. It had to be thick enough to hold its shape but soft enough to bend, making there many trial and errors.
Should I have time, I would attempt to make my model with this. But for now, it shall be left as it is. Paper mache-ing was a fun experience but no doubt a painful one. It took long hours and the results were not consistent, I had to retry multiple times.
All in all, this project had been excruciating and tough, but pushed me to think beyond what I normally would. It had been fun, I suppose, despite multiple sleepless nights and 7 am bleariness.
Link to my slides here!
Initially, for this project, I had some ideas on how I had wanted the story to go, however, I soon decided that it was more interesting to leave it open, and the story began!
I was in the mood for a more poetic way of writing during this project and this was reflected greatly in this project, with many metaphors and indirect way of writing. In my mind, my character was more of a cultured, elegant Englishman of sorts, who recorded his daily life in a journal, and so that was what I went with.
This way of writing required more brain cells, making it harder to write but was also a super fun experience for me to try out a new style of writing. (But also very sorry to my teammates who had to deal with this oops)
The story began in a dark world, with mainly world building of what was around, and what the character experienced. As we continued our replies back and forth, the story evolved into one about life and death, a topic I enjoy greatly :DDDD
The story is about a man who has passed on and entered an entirely new world where he sees his past and present, reflecting upon what had happened. This world opens his eyes to things he had not seen, blinded by grief from the death of his mother.
This story somehow led to an interesting end that was related to the title of this project, “The World Ends With You”, where the character realises his blindness to the world but yet accepts his weak self that only had eyes for one person. He meets her again, and his world which began with her, also ended with her.
Group members: Sylvia, Zarinah, Yee Teng, Wei Lin
Final slides are on Sylvia’s post here!
After deciding on a storyline, we set up a timeline to help us properly picture how the story would progress, making changes along the way. This was done using a spreadsheet as shown below.
Our story was about domestic and sexual abuse, and we planned to portray the other members of the family finding out this situation, telling viewers how the entire thing unfolded and its ending.
We used a children’s storybook approach, throwing viewers off from the actual horrors of the story. The plan was to make viewers do polls and vote without the knowledge of the truth unless they look further into the details within the different accounts.
Not wanting to make things overly confusing we decided to stick to lesser accounts, using only 2 Instagram accounts and one Facebook account.
The two Instagram accounts were the two main character’s accounts: Evelyn and Adam’s. And the Facebook account was their mother’s account, that people can only get to by looking at Adam’s post about his mother following him on facebook.
Evelyn was the one who had the drawing account, made as a way to de-stress and draw out her thoughts from the trauma she was experiencing. Adam, on the other hand, is a diva who posts things from his day to day life.
For Evelyn, since we wanted to avoid direct throwing of information, we used a metaphorical approach, such as describing the sexual assault she faced as a “sleepover”, something people would only realise later on when they think beyond it being a children’s book.
Time was an important factor in our story as when the posts were posted pointed to different hints. For example, when the monster hurts Sir Bubblegum, Adam posts about his sister getting hurt (bad scrape on her arm).
It was an interesting project as many people had different views of our project. There were many different speculations as to what the story meant. But as we released mo
re info, more viewers began to understand what had been happening.
Our project differs slightly from the others in that the interactivity is only at its peak when one follows the story as it is released. Since Sir Bubblegum releases the posts in a story format, viewing it after would not have the same effect.
The adorable style of the drawings had been a driving force in viewers’ interest in the story – making them believe that it was just a cute fictional story made by a child. This resulted in different speculations of the story with most believing it to be a fun story.
Most people tried to find a link of Adam and Evelyn’s story, and they often figured things out towards the middle.
Our story has 4 events happening, but 3 main segments.
The first segment involved setting the scene and introducing the characters. This is when most people are still very much unaware of the situation. Hence, when we had a poll during this time, some people chose the option that actually was detrimental to Evelyn, due to the lack of information.
During the second segment, which was the interaction week, it had been mainly more polls from both ends, and the peak of the story occurring, with more viewers, slowly uncovering the truth. The polls now decided the outcome of the story, and it was amusing to see the reactions from friends who knew of the story watching those who did not choose options that had a bad result.
The last segment also required more interactivity through searching. Where sir bubblegum now has no more posts and people must uncover the truth through the mom’s facebook post.
Overall, it had been a unique project and a fun learning experience for us all.
For the Zine, it had been suggested that I did on religion and architecture, which had also been things I had wanted to focus on. Thus, I began thinking up ways I could portray this, and soon decided to also incorporate the arts into the zine too.
Since it had been about the religion, there were a few things I had to take note, such as avoiding offending any religion, and also if I were to portray any Gods, I had to portray them accurately.
I decided I wanted to make use of the booklet’s format to do a two-way narrative, with the gods of the places of worship making way from the end to the middle, on a journey back to their place of worship, while passing the place of worship of the other gods.
I decided to put the Hindu and Buddhist gods together, and the Jewish and Catholic ones together.
I.e. The Hindu and Buddhist gods, Sri Krishna and Goddess Guan Yin will be travelling past the Jewish Synagogue and Catholic Churches, past to the middle of the Zine with places of the arts, to get to their own place of worship. Likewise, the Catholic and Jewish God/Saint will be travelling past the Buddhist and Hindu temples, past to the middle, to get to their own place of worship.
I initially wanted to do a photo collage, however, after trying it out, I decided and it was also suggested that I switch entirely to illustrations instead. I had drawn my cover pages already, and it had been in line art, with a geometric shape. This hence became the style of my entire zine.
Below is Mother Mary & Jesus, and Sri Krishna and Goddess Guan Yin.
Following this style, I did the line arts for all the places of worship, showing their architectural features.
The above are:
- Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
- Sri Krishnan Temple
- Church of Saints Peter & Paul
- Maghain Aboth Synagogue
- Church of the Good Shepherd
The Buddhist and Hindu temple had mainly rectangular shapes and thus, I decided to use rectangles to add colour in. Since the two temples had been greatly mixed and closely connected, with Buddhists praying to the Hindu temple, I wanted to show this mix through the use of intersecting parts.
The above was my initial design with the two temples joined and divided on a diagonal. The colours used are the colours of the architecture.
I soon received feedback that I should have proper reasoning for the colours of the squares that I had used, as the current design’s rectangles were randomly chosen.
Thus, I changed it such that the blues had been from the Hindu Temple and the reds were from the Buddhist Temple.
I also added white lines between the different rectangles to make it more obvious that the different colours had represented different places.
This was then repeated for the other spread which had the 3 other places of worship – the two churches and synagogue.
Since it was a journey, I decided that I had to add some sign or something to show the journey that the gods were taking. I initially wanted the gods to do something more, like interact with the place or enter the place of worship, but then felt perhaps that would be crossing the line beyond interfaith into syncretism – something some might be less open to.
Thus I experimented and initially tried one with the gods and saints just floating about.
I felt it was quite odd and thus switched to another format, with the Gods/Saints coming out from the page on one end and leaving the other. I ended up really liking this layout and hence used it.
Initially, the layout had been as shown below, with circles for Mother Mary and Jesus being red and blue and that for Sri Krishna and Goddess Guan Yin being grey and peach. However, it had been brought to my attention that the colour of the circles should follow that of the God’s/Saint’s place of worship. I heeded this advice and swapped as it made more sense as well.
Middle Spread (AAAaaaAAaAh)
I had the most difficulty with the middle spread. This was because the other spreads had not had many elements or objects. However, my middle spread that involved the 4 Gods/Saint gathering to visit the many places of the arts proved to be a huge challenge due to its many elements.
It had been asked if I wanted to switch and focus on just religion, but I had been adamant on involving the Arts as I felt it was through the Arts that religion could possibly mix without offence, bringing about more open minds.
I hence started working on it, firstly by doing the line art of the different places.
After doing this, I began trying out different layouts and found myself in an extremely huge bind.
I initially tried placing the different places next to one other, but soon realised that the SAM would not have been able to achieve that effect due to its size and structure. Hence, though it was a nice layout, I scrapped it.
I also tried making it a map and tried different colouring methods. I ended up scrapping it however, as I felt it did not fit the theme of the zine.
Since I wanted to show that it was the Gods/Saint coming together through the arts, I drew them experiencing the different art areas there.
- Jesus painting Sri Krishna at the Stamford Arts Centre
- Sri Krishna and Goddess Guan Yin going to SAM
- Jesus and Mother Mary watching Sri Krishna dance
- Goddess Guan Yin showing Mother Mary calligraphy
- Jesus and Mother Mary going into the Middle Road Church
- All four of them at centre 42 and the theatre
I initially wanted it to be a mix of the 4 colours only, but nevertheless tried to see if I should incorporate more colours. The conclusion was: no.
Sticking to the geometric shapes, I tried seeing if I should arrange them in the way below, and use triangles to frame it.
I tried adding colour to it too.
I felt it had all been different from the style of my zine and hence in the last minute scrapped all of it to do something that had fit it more.
Adding the Gods/Saint at the sides, my zine was complete.
OFC + OBC
All in all, this had been a fun experience, and I learned many new things. Though my middle spread had been unsatisfactory to me, I tried many different layouts and the journey had been interesting. I would definitely redo my middle spread if I had the time, and would also consider and learn more about colours and layouts.