Tuesday, February 23, 2010

After Class, Chapter 8

The class discussion today was very proactive, in which I really enjoyed. I especially enjoyed hearing that we don't have a test on Wednesday! I think the graphic notes that we are making instead of taking tests are an awesome idea and we will all benefit from them way more than we would tests.

Today, we talked about the Renaissance period. We briefly went over Radolt, Tory, and Manutius once more and from there we went into more detail about typographic geniuses. This era was called the Rococo Era.

There are four people that are very important in the typographic world. William Caslon is the first on the timeline. He produced Oldstyle. George Bickham is the second on the timeline in which he produced Script style. Baskerville is the third on the timeline where he produced Transitional style. Giambattista Bodoni is the fourth on the timeline where he produced Modern style. Personally, my favorite of these guys is Baskerville just because I have actually used his fonts in the past for papers and such.

We also talked about the different variations in typeface. In Oldstyle, you can see that the letters had wedge, angled and cupped serifs, splayed stems, less thick-thin contrast, and a small transition from thick to thin. Then we get to Modern style and we see horizontal serifs that look like they want to jab your eye out. Modern style also has a bigger transition from thick to thin, straight stem sides, vertical-horizontal stress, and unbracketed serifs. I understood all of this much more by visually seeing the differences in which we saw in class.

One thing I learned from the class discussion today was not only the difference between the types, but Caslon type was used in our Declaration of Independence. Also, one thing I found very interesting was that the new type face Roman du Roi's Transitional roman was designed for the King and only the King. If anyone else used it, then you suffer the serious consequence of death! The days were rough and tough back in the Renaissance period!

One question I have is concerning the Rococo Era. I still really don't know the specifics of this era that makes it note worthy. For example, what designs were made during this time that makes up the Rococo Era? Was it just the different type being produced or the illustrations? Or both? I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't really understand what specific style fits into this Rococo Era.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 2 Image

This picture is of a Coca Cola advertisement that was made in 1950. As you can see, italics were used in this advertisement for the "The Pause that refreshes." Aldus Manutius, as we learned on Friday during our heated debate, was the inventor of the italics type. I wanted to show how often italics is used. This advertisement shows how women (unfortunately) were portrayed back in 1950's. As you can see, on the bottom the writing starts off with "Housework..." Women did all the housework back in the 1950's. This advertisement was appropriate for that time period because most men worked and the women stayed at home as housewives.

Italics are very important, even today. When words are italicized, it means they are important. We have Manutius to thank for italics!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

After Class, Heated Debate on Renaissance Man

Today in class we had a heated debate on who was the best renaissance man. Was it Erhard Ratdolt? Aldus Manutius? Geoffroy Tory? As the debate finished, Geoffroy Tory was the winner (maybe that was because it was led by an awesome group!)

All three of these men achieved many accomplishments during their lifetime to put them in the running as the best renaissance man. Erhard Ratdolt was an early German printer who succeeded in his innovations with typography, layout, woodcuts, and mixing type. Aldus Manutius was a printer and publisher and the inventor of the italics type. His innovation of the italics type is very important, considering we still use italics today. Geoffroy Tory had lots of accomplishments (in which that's why he is the best renaissance man hands down) and was very well known for writing letters in French. He was one of the most influential graphic designers of his time and many people looked up to him as an idol.

Considering I only read about Geoffroy Tory's small biography, today I learned about Ratdolt and Manutius. I was unaware of their accomplishments and how their accomplishments had many impacts on things we use today, such as italics that Manutius invented.

One question I have after class discussion is where did Manutius come up with the idea of innovating italics type? It seems for that time that italics would have came later. I wouldn't have thought a man would have innovated italics in this specific century.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Before Class, Tory is the BEST renaissance man & Chapter 8

Geoffroy Tory is the BEST renaissance man!

As the book says "The term renaissance man is often used to identify a unique individual of genius whose wide-ranging activities in various philosophic, literary, artistic, or scientific disciplines result in important contributions to more than one field. Such a person was Geoffroy Tory." After reading these few opening lines, I think my group is going to win the debate on who is the best renaissance man.

Tory has had a number of accomplishments throughout his lifetime. Some of them include a designer, engraver, professor, and calligrapher, just to name a few because the list is never ending. Tory is very well known and one of the best and influential graphic designers of the century. Below are a few of Tory's accomplishments that make up Tory's success:

- Developed the French Renaissance school of book design and illustration
-Established a new open and lighter style using the collaboration of both the master printer and graphic artist
-Opened a book-selling business where he produced printed books. He even illustrated, published and bound these books himself
-Designed Roman capital initials that caught French printers eyes
-Produced a series of Horae (which means Book of Hours) that set the style of design for the era
-Made very complex illustrations and borders by using fine contour lines with curves that consisted of typographic lightness
-Cut woodblocks and produced the illustrations all by himself
-Tory was named imprimeur du roi by King Francis I (which means printer to the king)
-Champ Fleury is one of Tory's best and more important work that consists of three books. The first book discusses fixed rules of pronunciation and speech by the French tongue, the second book discusses the history of roman letters and the third book discusses geometric construction of the Latin alphabet

I didn't even list all of Tory's accomplishments because there are so many but these few helped Tory gain popularity by other artists and designers of his time and the title to be the best renaissance man ever!


Chapter 8:

The eighteenth century was a time where visual communications were transforming rapidly. Following the 1600's, which was a time when graphic design creativity was running low, new types were being produced by a number of men. New typefaces were emerging such as Romain du Roi which then consisted a category of types called transitional roman. French art and architecture was on the rise between 1720 and 1770. During this time, a man named Pierre Simon Fournier le Jeune produced an independent type-design and then made a book presenting more than 4,600 characters! Engravings were also on the rise because of its delicate detail and fine lines used for business cards, announcements and letterheads. John Pine was one of the most skilled engravers of this time.

Other fonts were being produced as well. Caslon Old Style, which was used by all English printing at the time, was made by William Caslon. John Baskerville produced Baskerville's type designs which are types that fall into the gap of Old Style and modern type design. Louis Rene Luce designed lots of types that were narrow with very sharp serifs. Giambattista Bodoni made letter forms that were very simple and had thick and thin elements in the type. As you can see, all different letter forms and types were being produced during this century. Visual communication, from this point on, was very much changed.

One thing I learned and found very interesting was about John Baskerville. I never knew his types were still used today. I opened up word document after reading about him and I discovered that Baskerville, Baskerville Old Face, and Baskerville Semibold are all fonts you can choose from. I found that very interesting that the same type he produced during the eighteenth century is still being used today. Congrats Baskerville, your name lives on!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

After Class, Chapter 5 & Part of 6

The class discussion today consisted of the invention of the printing press and how it was very important and essential. We talked about the difference between xylography (which is a relief printing from a raised surface) and typography (which is printing with a movable, independent and reusable bits of wood or metal in which both are raised letterforms). Textura, as we have discussed in earlier classes, was very popular in Germany at the time. Books during this time were worth more than land which is shocking considering there are millions of books published today. Production of these books helped lots of people become more literate.

We also discussed how important illustrated books became during this time. German graphic design artists continued using textura and typography along with new woodcut illustrations. Albrecht Durer was a very important figure in making these illustrations. Durer's illustrations consisted of depth, volume, shadows and textures. These illustrations helped people get a better understanding of the text they read in books.

Within our discussion, I learned the two terms broadside and broadsheet. Broadside is a single leaf paper that is printed on one side only. A broadsheet is a single leaf of paper that is printed on both sides.

One question that I have from our discussion is approximately how much was a book worth? The reading says they were worth more than land, but how much was that?

Before Class, Chapter 5 & Part of 6

The invention of printing finally came to Europe and with that so did a lot of drama. As typography and xylography were produced and innovated, it allowed many advances in civilization. Papermaking finally made its way to Europe as well, making it much easier to print things. Book blocks were an early innovation of printing and were printed with brown or gray ink with a hand rubber but as time went on, they were later printed in black ink on a printing press. By record, Gutenberg was very much involved in the invention of the printing press. There were many steps that were involved in typographic printing that Gutenberg discovered but the key innovation was the type mold which was used for individual letters. He also produced the idea of printing a Bible. He wanted to produce a forty-two-line bible, printed and everything. Now this is where it gets juicy and where all the drama begins!

Since all the printing equipment was very expensive, especially for that time, Gutenberg pulled out a number of loans to pay for everything. As time went on and he still didn't pay off his loans, a man named Fust sued Gutenberg for his unpaid loans and interest he didn't pay. He did this right before Gutenberg was about to finish the forty-two-line bible he had been working on for so long. Fust seized all of Gutenberg's printing equipment and all of his work he was currently working on. Poor Gutenberg! Then, if that wasn't enough, Fust then joined a partnership with a man named Schoeffer who was in charge of all the printing. The two completed the forty-two-line bible and traveled many places to distribute them.

Fust and Schoeffer had a few innovations during their partnership in the printing business. One of them was decorated two-color initials which were used in a psalter in Latin and the other innovation was a small-sized type seen in the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum.

Although Fust and Schoeffer took over Gutenberg's printing press, Gutenberg still gets a lot of credit. Gutenberg's press was improved and used for four hundred years. Records also show that Gutenberg was involved in copperplate engravings.

As books became more and more popular, and so did the printing press, illustrations were produced. The German illustrated book was produced and illustrations showed a lot of emotions and helped the reader better understand and comprehend the text. Albrecht Durer was a famous illustrator that published The Apocalypse. His illustrations were very vivid and also showed lots of volume and depth. This new innovation was a great pair to go along with the printing press. Illustrations made books much more understandable for visual learners (like me)!

One thing that I learned from this reading and found interesting was that playing cards were the first printed pieces in Europe. This surprised me considering now there is such an over-abundance of playing cards everywhere! Playing cards entertained many people during that time, as they do now today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week 1 Image

Above is a photo used for the Initiative for Cuneiform Encoding(ICE)program. It was an advertisement used in 2003 to help engage people's interest in the cuneiform program. As you can see, this advertisement has a lot of cuneiform as the background. On top of that cuneiform, the word "ice" is placed on top in a large font. This group did a spin off of the "got milk?" advertisement by saying "got wedges?" The purple background really makes the type pop. Since we have been learning about cuneiform in class and it looks so cool, I thought it would only be appropriate to upload an advertisement made in the 21st century that has cuneiform in it. Since cuneiform is very old, it is hard to find it in recent advertisements, magazines, and books.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

After Class, Illuminated Presentation

With different time periods came different styles of illuminated manuscripts. It is very interesting to see the different designs of these illuminated manuscripts. Religion, like always, plays a huge role in what these manuscripts consisted of. Below are the different styles of manuscripts that we talked about in class today:

The Classical style manuscripts has a crisp text with an illustration that goes along with it. There is a great deal of space within the letters. Usually, the illustration is as wide as the text.

The Celtic book design manuscripts has spacing between their words (something we haven't seen much of yet)! The design is very geometric, using bright colors and textures within the design. Some new vocabulary also came with the celtic book design. They used diminuendo which is when the text gets smaller and smaller as the page reads on, and initium which the first letter or letters starting the text is very large.

The Caroline graphic renewal manuscripts is very cool to look at. On page 48, figure 4-7 (The Book of Kells), you can really see all the detail that was put into these manuscripts (I still haven't found all the heads)! There is so much detail within these manuscripts. The characters weren't joined in the type. In fact they were spread out.

The Spanish pictorial expressionism manuscripts are very appealing to the eye because intense color is used. A lot of flat shapes and colors make up the design. Some of them even look like optical illusions! Most illustrations were enclosed in a beautiful frame which consists of geometric shapes and colored designs.

The Romanesque and Gothic manuscripts has a lot of illustration involved in their design. The type is done using textura, which became the dominant theme throughout the lettering. These manuscripts have very little space. Either text or illustrations are always covering every inch of the parchment.

The Judaic manuscripts contain a lot of Jewish literature. Gold initials were used in these manuscripts, usually in the middle. Illustrations of pictures take up most of the manuscript and a lot of them include drawings of people and animals.

The Islamic manuscripts are very colorful and again have lots of geometric shapes containing calligraphy. They are very visual and hold a great deal of detail.

The Late Medieval illuminated manuscripts had little type and lots of illustration. In fact, the illustrations took over the whole page! These manuscripts have lots of detail as well with a lot of color.

One thing I learned today was all the above! I never knew about these different illuminated manuscripts and why they were made the way they were. I also never knew there were so many styles. My favorite, I must say, is the panish pictorial expressionism manuscripts because of the intense, visually appealing colors they used. I also like the different geometric designs incorporated in these manuscripts.

One question I have is why is it so hard to trace the scribe and illuminator to their illuminated manuscript? With a lot of these manuscripts, the artists went unknown. Why couldn't they have wrote their name on the back or bottom of their work? If this was my work, I would make sure to claim it and put my name on it!

Before Class, Illuminated Presentation

1) History of the Romanesque and Gothic period:
• Romanesque period happened A.D. 1000-1150
• Saw renewed religious feelings
• Monasticism reached its peak
• During the middle of the 12th Century, the Romanesque period evolved into the Gothic period which lasted until A.D. 1150
• The Gothic period became very advanced because towns turned into cities and the upbringing of agriculture aided in international trade
• Money became the main source of wealth and stable governments emerged

2) Describe the history, influence of the style:
• Liturgical books such as bibles, Gospels, and psalters emerged during the Romanesque period
• The Middle Ages produced a new emphasis on linear drawing and distorting figures for the overall design of the page. This was because during the Carolingian era, illusionism really took off
• The rise of universities also increased making the book market boom during the Gothic era and the illuminators emerged to help meet the high demand for the books

3) Summarizing the look of the style:
• Gothic art became a Medieval art movement led by the development of Gothic architecture.
• One of the famous Gothic illumination is called the Douce Apocalypse (Page 54)
• As you can see in this specific scene, a beautiful illustration is above two columns of text
• Another example of Gothic illumination is a page from the Ormesby Psalter (Page 55), a famous liturgical book of the late medieval era
• You can see more illustrations surrounding the text and a lot of red and blue were used in many late Gothic manuscripts, especially this one

4) Describe key designers within the style:
• Unfortunately, the scribe and illuminator are unknown in the previous figures on pages 54 and 55 but there were artists that have been known during this time era

• Jean Pucelle grew up in the Gothic era and became an illuminator active between 1320 and 1350
• He liked color and a delicate touch

5) Describe the typography of the style:

• Black lettering became the calligraphic form used
Littera moderna (latin for modern lettering) became the dominant theme for Gothic lettering
• Tall, narrow lettering and sharp, angular lines make up the calligraphy unlike the typical round lettering we have talked about
• Condensed space was key in Romanesque/Gothic typography

Monday, February 8, 2010

After Class, Chapter 2 & 3

In this class, we discussed the different alphabets and how they evolved along with Chinese calligraphy. The Phoenicians had 22 characters in their alphabet and the reason why they could spread the word about their alphabet was because they had the technology at the time to do so. They had boats and were very advanced. Then came the Greek alphabet. This alphabet was very advanced, along with their civilization. The Greeks added vowels to the alphabet and developed a more rounded writing style called uncials. Then we have the Latin alphabet. Along with all the alphabets at the time, all the letters were upper-case. The latin alphabet used what's called a ligature, which we can see in the letter W. A ligature is the joining of 2 letters. So, for the letter W, to Vs were formed to make W. They also produced a few more letters that weren't in the alphabet before, such as Y, Z, J, U, W, and Z.

Chinese calligraphy, as we learned and visually saw, is a very difficult language to understand. It is however very visually attractive to the eye and I see calligraphy tattoos on a number of people. The Chinese contributed a lot along with important inventions such as paper and printing. We discussed how the first form of printing was relief printing and how movable type was very inconvenient to those who used it.

One interesting fact I learned today was that Chinese calligraphy has a total of more than 44,000 characters. All of these characters however are not used today because that would be impossible to know all 44,000 characters!

One question that I have is about how the Chinese came up with the order of the logograms. Since the Chinese writing system isn't alphabetical, how did they come up with the order and why did they choose to do it that way?

Before Class, Chapter 2 & 3

As we learned in the previous chapter, early writing/visual language systems consisted mainly of hieroglyphs, cuneiform, and pictographs. As time went on, the invention of the alphabet was born and was an important step in communication. Although there is no proof of who actually invented the alphabet, there are a few sources. Experts say cuneiform, hieroglyphs, early Cretan pictographs, and prehistoric geometric shapes all contributed to the origin of the alphabet. Experts also say the Northwest Semitic people (Phoenicians) are believed to be a huge source of the origin of the alphabet. North Semitic writing was what these early people referred to as the alphabetic writing that was found throughout this community. Early scripts that were recovered from the ancient Phoenicia culture reveal an alphabet called the Phoenician alphabet made by these people. North Semitic writing is believed to be the beginning of the alphabet but as time went on, more alphabets were being produced and branching off in different directions. The Phoenician alphabet was later evolved in Greece and Rome and the Aramaic alphabet (an alphabet that was dominant in the Middle East) was later used for Arabic and Hebrew writing.

The Phoenician alphabet was adopted by the ancient Greeks. The Greeks changed around some things. They transformed five consonants to vowels. The Greeks also converted the Phoenician characters into art forms. Another thing the Greeks changed was the Phoenician writing style. The Phoenicians used to write right to left, but the Greeks eventually started to write left to right, which is the writing style we use everyday. The Greek's and its alphabet influenced the whole world and played an important role in the alphabet system even today.

The Latin alphabet evolved from the Greek alphabet and came to the Romans from Greece during the sixth century. The Latin alphabet only consisted of 21 letters, but after following the Roman conquest of Greece, the Greek letters Y and Z were then added to the alphabet. Then, three additional letters were added to the alphabet during the Middle Ages and those three letters were J, U, and W. This alphabet was widely spread in the Western world and became the design for visible languages.

The Korean alphabet was introduced by the Korean monarch Sejong. Hangul is what the Korean alphabet is called. It is very scientific, in fact one of the most scientific writing methods to ever be invented. Sejong produced an alphabet of 14 consonants and 10 vowel signs to help aid the communication between the Korean citizens. The Hangul alphabet is much different than the Greek and Roman alphabets. One example is how the sequence of the alphabet is written. Hangul is not written in a linear sequence. Instead, the letters are combined in an imaginary rectangle to form syllabic blocks. Syllables are then made by combining a consonant and a vowel. Seeing this alphabet in the book really gave me a good visual aid to see how this is done.

Asian's contribution must never be underestimated. The Chinese writing system is a visual language an it aided the evolution of visual communication. Chinese calligraphy is definitely more artsy than the other alphabets we have seen. There were phases that occurred during the evolution of Chinese calligraphy. The earliest was chiaku-wen (bone-and-shell script). The next phase was chin-wen (bronze script) and the final step was chen-shu (regular style). China also invented paper, which was much easier to write on than bamboo slates or wooden stripes that were once used. Printing was another important invention, again produced by the Chinese. With the help of these two important inventions, communicating was much easier for the Chinese. Luckily, these inventions spread westward, eventually ending up in Europe.

After reading these chapters, one fact that I learned was how the alphabet came about. It is very interesting to see how the alphabet we all know today was evolved throughout the centuries. A lot of regions contributed to make this alphabet. Alphabets bound communities together, thus making it much easier for everyone to communicate. Without it, it would be very difficult to understand one another.

Friday, February 5, 2010

After Class, Chapter 1

The class discussion today was very intriguing and it helped me better understand the differences between all the different rock art found by historic people. Petroglyphs are carvings in rock as opposed to pictographs which are paintings on rock. Ideographs are symbols that represent concepts and are much larger than simple things. Cuneiform is breaking down a simple drawing and eventually by doing so, this made the alphabet we all know today. After looking at actual pictures and seeing examples of petroglyphs, pictographs, ideographs, and cuneiform, I now have a much better understanding of the terms and can tell the difference between them.

Another thing we talked about was the Rosetta Stone. It is very interesting to look at and I now know the correct order of the scripts that are found on the Rosetta Stone. The top portion is hieroglyphics, the middle is demotic, and the bottom portion is Greek.

The most meaningful and interesting thing I learned from discussion today was cuneiform. I was shocked to see the break down process used to produce cuneiform. First you have an object which is then turned into a pictogram which is then turned sideways and then you get the final production which is cuneiform. When I actually saw how this was done, I was surprised how the alphabet was made by cuneiform.

One question I have from this discussion is about ideographs. I am still a little shaky about the definition for some reason. I also don't understand how people communicated with them because some of the ideographs we saw today could mean a number of different things thus making it difficult to get the point across.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Before Class, Chapter 1

Ever since Homo sapiens emerged and evolved on this planet, we have seen many ways and forms of communication evolve as well. Early prehistoric people found ways to communicate with one another, whether it was through speech, paintings, letters, etc. Evidence shows that early Africans and Europeans left behind paintings in caves of animals and geometric symbols. Pictographs and petroglyphs evolved, thus making visual communication possible. The land of Mesopotamia is where the cradle of civilization began and where numerous inventions were produced. We must not forget one of the most important inventions though, and that was the invention of writing produced by the Sumerian people of Mesopotamia. Evidence of written records on clay tablets and pictographs displayed on pottery used by this community proves that this was the earliest writing, ever.

As time went on, the land of Mesopotamia was taken over by the Persians, and the invention of writing was forwarded to Egypt and Phoenicia. The Egyptians then evolved a much more complex writing system that was based on pictographs. On top of that, the Egyptians also retained a picture writing system which is formally known as hieroglyphics. As time went on, Egyptians used hieroglyphs for decorative and inscriptional purposes. You could see these hieroglyphs on coffins, furniture, and jewelry. These hieroglyphs were also found in interior and exterior temples. A huge step in Egyptian visual communication was the development of papyrus. Papyrus was a material made by Egyptians that was used for writing and painting on. They also used papyrus for manuscripts and other purposes.

We must never underestimate the Egyptian culture. Illustrated manuscripts, hieroglyphics, and papyri is where visual communications all started. These inventions and innovations made by these prehistoric people is where graphic design all evolved. You will see as time and technology progresses, the graphic design we see today doesn't quite look like the design made by the prehistoric people.

One fact that I learned from this chapter was that Egyptians were the first people to make illustrated manuscripts. These manuscripts contained words and pictures that were combined to communicate important information. It is very interesting to see the designs in the figures in this text book. It's mind blowing to see how these people once communicated compared to how people communicate today in the modern world.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

After Class, Introduction

Today was the first day of class for history of graphic design. After discussing the syllabus, I am deeply interested in this class. Our professor raised an important question today that made me realize I don't have an elaborate background in graphic design. She asked, "Who is your favorite designer," and I honestly couldn't even answer her.

The book I just recently purchased for this class (after I had to sell my left arm, just kidding) looks very intriguing. I am excited to dive into it and learn more about the history of graphic design. My goal for the end of this class is to be influenced by all sorts of graphic design and their designers. I hope to brighten my graphic design vocabulary after reading this book and taking this class. It will be interesting to see the different forms of communication evolving with the new technology that has been produced throughout the years.