Tuesday, 10 January 2012

ITAP- Image & Text

 Image and text can transform the opinions of the person viewing them. A photograph accompanied by a few lines of text can have such a substantial impact that it’s no wonder why our eyes are overcome when stepping out the front door with images with ridiculous by lines. Like a ridiculous advert by apple of a standard top down image of an iPhone with the by-line “ if you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone”, feeding in to the corporate snake that makes us want to consume and spend money on things we don’t need, just for the effect or popularity significance it provides.

  A photographer which I am fond of is Irving Penn, an American photographer who sadly died in 2009 at the age of 92. He specialised in portrait photography, which has been done countless times, but he captures something in the image. He would often ask the person in frame to pose and wait until the asked him to take it before snapping, to capture a little movement in the subject. His image were often high contrast black & white, often the perfect medium for portrait photography. 
 The first principle of the lecture highlighted image with context. A reason why I chose to include Irving Penn within my blog, all of his images, very much so like a lot of portrait photography is about the eyes. The context of the image is to entice the viewer into thinking what the subject could be feeling, or experiencing at that moment of time, often communicated through the eyes.
  Image and text was another principle which was highlighted din the lecture. One of the most powerful resources we have as designers is to add text to a photograph, you’re in affect telling the viewer what to feel about the image they are seeing. If you had an image of a horizon with a descending sunset, the viewer could think of numerous things or evoke varying emotions unique to that particular person, maybe memories, relaxation or anything.

  Brand the image by slapping holiday across the bottom and the image takes a whole new persona, it is now an advert.  You might now feel jealous your stuck in a dreary wet country when you could be sitting in front of that warm sunset, time to get the wallet out? 

ITAP- Printing & production

Lacseux caves

Production. One of the most important steps forward in our history, not just in the visual communication sense but as a species of intelligent mammals was the production of printed literature. Without books and assorted printed literature our history would have been a lot different, productivity and technological enhancements have not evolved exponentially at the same speed as it did after the advent of printed literature.
 Knowledge is power, and power was now available. No longer were people exclusively relying on traditions being passed down through generations but they could now be printed and have the knowledge entombed for eternity within a paper rectangle.
The Diamond Sutra
  Philosophy, science, mathematics, medicine, combustion, hygiene, and not so desirably munitions were all fields which grew and excelled under the wealth of knowledge available in the written format. The inception of the written word wasn’t hailed by everybody, the catholic church centuries ago were scared of the potential power the written word had and only allowed printing in the 1400’s under their strict supervision. Printing only started where written books had left off though. Many years before there had been hand written books making their way around the continent, most of them religious.
Gutenberg bible
  “The Diamond Sutra” an Indian text translated to Chinese in about AD400 is the earliest dated book at this time. But we could go back further and look at the cave paintings inscribed within the Lascaux caves in the French Alps estimated to be 17,000 years old, clearly showing narrative in an illustrated form, this time on a wall. Making marks with objects and mediums has been around almost as long as we have, it is our culture, it is what we do, an ideal made ever more poignant in visual communication.
Victorian etching
    But it wasn’t until 1439 that German blacksmith Johannes Gutenberg printed the first book in Europe. The acclaimed “Gutenberg Bible”. He used the Gutenberg Press, the first machine to use movable print blocks, one of the most important advancements in book making in history.  Etching then came slightly later, using metal and acid to create stunningly detailed etches of anything from people, animals and architecture. Another key principle described in the lecture was expertise. An acknowledgement acquired after many, many years practitioning in your chosen craft.
Neville Brody
  They say it takes 10,000 hour drawing time to become an expert artist, this credits the physical motor neurone memory of drawing for such a substantial amount of time that it becomes easier to replicate imagery and the pen strokes become more fluid. After looking through the experts presented in the slideshow I would have to choose Neville Brody as my particular favourite.
Neville Brody
  Not to detract from the other Graphic designers but personally the style choices Brody uses I admire greatly. The Sans serif typefaces with minimal colour, always using the negative space expertly where as some other designers have works that, to me anyway, look oversaturated with design and your eyes don’t know where to look, which is why I would prefer to see Brody’s work. 

ITAP- Development of ideas & Structure in Moving image.

Moving image is in some respects the epitimy of visual communication. Out of all the typographic advertisements, the illustrative ad campaigns and promotional material, a moving image piece has something other forms of promotion does not, moving narrative. The viewer in a sense does not need to do anything, but lay back and absorb the visual stimulus. So mastering the techniques behind moving image would be a worth wile pursuit for any visual communicator.
 Principle 2 of the lecture identified a plotline used through many different films and how scriptwriters have found the perfect way to convey the narrative of a hero, in the limited time of an average length movie. “ Monomyth”, a perfect example of this would be Luke Skywalker’s journey in Star Wars. There is normally 3 main parts to this Voyage. 
1: Departure- The sub elements being; The call to adventure ( princess Leia’s message), Refusal of the call ( must help with the harvest ), Supernatural aid ( Obi-wan rescues Luke from sand people), Crossing the first threshold ( Escaping Tatooine ),  The belly of the whale ( Trash compactor ). This is the 1st sequence of the film lasting about 40 minutes.
 2: Initiation- The sub elements being; The road of trials ( Light saber practise ), The meeting with the goddess ( Princess Leia ), Temptation away from the true path ( Luke is tempted by the dark side ), Atonement with the father ( Darth and Luke reconcile ), Apotheosis ( becoming god-like )( Luke becomes a Jedi), The ultimate boon ( Death star destroyed ). This is the 2nd sequence of the film, following perfect script writing tradition so far. 
3: Return- The sub elements being;  Refusal of the return ( “Luke, come on!” Luke wants to avenge Obi-Wan), Magic flight ( Millennium falcon ), Rescue from without ( Han saves Luke from Darth ), Crossing return threshold ( Millennium Falcon destroys pursuing TIE fighters), Master of the 2 worlds ( Victory ceremony ), Freedom to live ( Rebellion is victorious over Empire ). This is an awesome piece of storytelling and the reason I used it as an example.
 Principle 3 highlighted character design, something which I find very interesting being an illustrator I often design characters, giving them backstories and history. Within moving image though, there are 4 main character types “ The Protagonist”, which usually is the main character in the storyline, experiences the conflict in the story and does not have to be good. “The Antagonist”, The cause of the problem but does not need to be an actual person. “ Dialogue “, These are the words a character uses within the storyline ultimately having an effect on how the audience perceives him or her.  “ The Stereotype”,  a character that is over simplified and lack any originality or individuality.
Magazine character I designed

ITAP- Production & Outcomes

Interpretation is something which will be different for every single graphic communicator or creative in general. How to take an idea and develop it into something different, something that only you could interperate in a unique way, with your individual skillset and still retains a style reminiscent of your previous work, this is something we all strive for.
  The thing is that we have no choice but to go with the style of our generation. To have a completely untainted style that is devoid of any outside inspirations and completely, utterly unique, you would need to live in a cave 100 miles away from a television, computer or book.  This just isn’t the case, we are constantly inspired by our creative peers and if we were to look back at our generation of artists 200 years from now there will be a unique style, what the name of this artistic period will be we won’t know, will it be as significant as the renascence? No.
James Jean

  The very fact that we are so privileged in accessibility to other artists work at the click of a mouse means that the melting pot has unlimited ingredients. The styles of those artists out there whether they would like it or not are going to be a lot more influenced by others than they would have been 300 years ago. This by no stretch means that this period of time is less important or less unique. This generation of artists is the only generation in history that would have been influenced by the situations unique to our time. Wars, cinema, books and social events that have occurred in the lives of the current generation of artists will never happen again, meaning a specific filtration of aesthetic influence and political statements within artist’s work that is unique. The Zeitgeist of our time.
  With the influence and interpretations out of the way, artists can now work. Which platforms they wish to display they work is the next step. Choosing an appropriate format can be vital, personally I use my blog and Facebook, to make my work widely accessible through my peer group and through other creative channels. Platforms can range from, editorial e.g Magazines, books etc. Publishing ( all forms of printed media incl. Books, brochures, posters etc.) On-line, which in this day and age is perhaps the most useful if done so correctly. Advertising and branding, installations and interventions e.g. galleries, exhibitions etc. Whichever medium or channel artists use the main thing is to keep it appropriate, chasing outlets that don’t have a very accessible end is a waste or valuable time, something that I will keep in mind when working commercially. 

Alex Pardee

ITAP- Legibility & Tone of voice

Legibility and tone of voice are the principles I have chosen to drop my 2 pence on this week. Legibility especially is an incredibly expansive subject and can refer to any which matter of things. In visual communication it generally refers to the legibility of typography primarily, with some other exceptions. Walking down any high street in Britain you will be hit with thousands of logos, advertisements, posters, sales campaigns, information graphics and much more visual stimulus with typography being its focal point. 
 Legibility is what makes some stand out, and some shadow out into the dark chasm of corporate advertising. Now the factors that affect legibility are numerous but can be destructed down to the fundamental elements. Firstly the typeface. The typeface used by a company or independent retailer to promote their establishment can have a number of effects on the potential consumer.
Yellow type fades out.
  If a typeface is sans-serif it usually represents a modern, clean, hygienic, maybe avant-garde establishment very much catering for the more present day consumer. If a serif or script typeface is used, this could mean the shop or service is hoping to entice the more nostalgic old fashioned target market. Colour is also incredibly important in legibility, to stand out against the thousands of logos and adverts you need to have your logo firstly stand out against its own background of you want any chance to be able to be seen against the rest.
  The type should be used on a contrasting colour background e.g., Black type on a white background and vice versa. Our eyes find it difficult to decipher letters too similar in colour to the adjacent pallet for example, yellow type on a white background would be unreadable from afar. Past colour and typeface choice the typographic choices made with the individual logo or promo material can affect the legibility as well. For example if you have a sans-serif typeface of a 5 letter word but artistic licence on the graphic designers side, decided to change the kerning.
Ray Gun
  The word might be aesthetically pleasing on the screen in front of him but the letters might mould into a single unreadable object when seen from afar or in passing. When talking about typographic legibility it is hard not to mention one of the greatest and sometimes detested graphic designers of our time, David Carson. Famed or infamous for his work in the magazine “ Ray gun “ , David Carson pushed typography to the extremes in which people had not seen before, and had a way of laying type over itself to a point when the message was not entirely legible but created artwork on the page whilst doing so. Leading to him coining the infamous phrase “don’t mistake legibility for communication “.

David Carson

 Tone of voice, something you would not necercerally accustom with type, is another very important thing to bear in mind when communicating a message. The typeface used can’t often be the polar opposite of the word that is being described, which is why we need to make conscious decisions when designing anything into the emphasis the letters have on the message. For example, if I were to type the word “shout!” using a bold, sans-serif typeface in capital letters. This would portray the phrase perfectly. “Shout!”, using a whispy serif script font with a in very light acquisition would not be making the most of the typographic potential. 

ITAP- Research & Inspiration

Research and inspiration are some of the fundamental building blocks required in any creative artists arsenal. Whether it be a commercial illustrator or a theatrical set designer, doing your research is key. Not only is it healthy to keep your visual stimulus active by consciously looking at other artists work and what has been done before, but it is also a safety net from you making any mistakes that could have been otherwise averted. We do not have a choice from what we exposed to, we may take inspiration from any wide number of things.  Billboards, advertisements, magazines, television, books, galleries and much more. The skill isn’t in what to look at, that is out of our hands.
  The skill is what we allow to filter through, and this can take years to acquire. Observation is vital, but more so cross communication. One of the most dangerous things we can do as creative is to acquire a brief from a client and stampede into the creative process without first doing any type of research, of the target audience as well as history. 
 The last thing you would want to happen is that you’ve being working on a project for a month and finalising and revised your chosen solution to submit to the client, to find out the idea has been done before. Again something that would of easily been averted if proper research and observation had been carried out. As important as it is, research isn’t the only thing a creative should keep in mind. What does the target audience want? If commissioned to design something specificated to a type of market, get their opinion first. Market research, polls, questionnaires. 
Logo blunder
 This could be the final cog that turns your idea into a consumer attractive money making machine. Something retail giant GAP didn’t take into account when in 2010 they hired a graphic design company to redesign their corporate identity with a flash, new, modern logo. After unveiling the logo was met with a swarm of complaints from customers who did not quite show their gratitude. The thing is people want something they are familiar with, something they can trust. This is the ultimate objective of any corporation or company, which is why something of the most widely successful logos are decades old. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it, GAP quickly reverted back to the logo they had been using for 3 decades due to popular demand. This is just and example of communicating with the target market, but communicating is a skill that should be used as often as possible in the creative world. The greatest asset we can attain is having creative peers, in which we can confide ideas and get fresh perspectives on things. In my magazine project about Birmingham, I put myself forward to take care of the ITAP and had concluded with advice from my team that an interesting idea would be to have and illustrated stop motion of a map on the back of my hand followed by the title of the magazine “ OWAMYA”.
  After different attempts and styles, it was a conclusive decision that the idea didn’t have the same affect in affect as it did in theory and I want back to the drawing board. Finally I had an idea which worked a little better and my team agreed. 
The point is that I could of easily just ran with it for the sake of it and not told the members of my team that I wasn’t completely confident in it, but I would of only been cutting myself short and subsequently deterred the learning experience of others, something that is not considered community spirit within the creative world. One of the key principles of the lecture stated that “ the notion of inspiration’ derives from constant inquiry, based on research, observation, recording and experimentation” . Which is entirely true, the recording especially I think is incredibly important, something I try to do at every opportunity as an aid for when I’m at a blank. Then I can take a glance over my notes and re stimulating a thought process which I’d previously forgotten. I tend to do it in my own way also, I’m an illustrator and remember things visually, so naturally in my note taking process I often draw illustrations to aid me when highlighting important points. 

My note-taking journal

Johnny Hardstaff - Inspiration

Jamie Hewlett - Inspiration