Wk8: Re/Flex Journal Deliverables Part 4

4. 2 Visual Experiments (choose from 1st 2 presentations). 500 word write-up on what you’ve learned so far from these graphic design history presentations (follow the instructions in the week 6-7 folder).

For both visual experiments, I tried using back my year 1 Visual Design Studio assignments as I think that there is some link to the movements from the second presentation, Victoria era and art nouveau. Although I did not know about these movements at that time, but somehow they are closely related to the two movements. Whereas, for the first presentation, my past assignments did not have any elements that can be link to the different movements. But I believe that perhaps my own style was not so much about straight lines, geometric and emphasis on the text or certain elements. It is interesting to see how the form of art can change so quickly due to the change in environment by industrialization and the use of technology. How artists shares stylistic features and focus on similar subjects as seen from the different movements. Futurism, constructivism and de Stijl are somehow similar due to their dynamic composition, abstract geometric forms, included modern elements, rather straight outlines and bright bold colours to express a certain element. These movements are still highly seen in modern designs whether it is art, advertisements or architecture. Whereas, Dadaism and pop art are similar in their informal characteristics , bold forms, reaction to abstract painting, inspiration from every other movements. Although there is a difference in terms of type face, Dadaism focuses more on literary devices. Each movement had its impact in modern art and design, but perhaps for the younger generation, it’s more about individuality than politics or change in technology or further advancement in their lives.

  • VICTORIAN ERA

VDS Font Design (Click image to enlarge)

The first visual experiment I used was an assignment I did during my year 1 Visual Design Studio font design, it’s actually a typography assignment and we had to create our own fonts. In my case, I decided to do my fonts about roots in terms of creating it visually. Although it might not work well in the ads, but I thought it was a good try for me as I wanted to create something that is really different and might work on fonts. But perhaps this was not the case. My initial concept for my font design was to create a font that is visually appealing than just modifying the existing fonts to a new type fonts. I began looking for ideas that consist of lines and shapes and eventually came up with using decorative lights, jigsaw puzzle; drink can pull tabs, fingers and roots as my final font design, name “Alpha Roots”. The reason was due to the complexity of the roots that was intriguing to one’s eyes and the rest of the ideas were either used before or too difficult to continue with all of the alphabets. During the process of developing “Alpha Roots”, I find it impossible to take photographs of the roots and hence I had to resolve to sketch out the alphabets. After scanning them into the computer, I used pen tool to trace it out and did the numbers and punctuation marks on illustrator. To enhance the font, I tried applying colours to it but failed, hence I outline the fonts with texture in brown colour to make it more realistic. On the other hand, it is also somehow related to the Victorian era when people were searching for a design style to create a new awareness of the industrial era’s spirit, culture and moral standards. It was the time of aesthetic confusion by approaching design in a disorderly fashion such as flat colours, elaborate lettering and iconic images. My font design is similar to the Victorian era fonts in many ways such as it is aesthetically appealing, disorder design, sentimental, nostalgic and beauty towards the nature. Although it was not so much about home, religion and patriotism but if we were to think about our current situation regarding on our environment, destruction of  plants and nature, there is some how a contradiction in responds to our society. Moreover, ornate elaboration became the main influence in typeface design at that time and ornate means excessive designs in terms of shadows, outlines and embellishments in a flashy, showy or florid style or manner. Bright flat colours, elaborate lettering and iconic images help create symbolic presence. In my font design, it is filled with lines, elaborated and perhaps iconic in terms of the roots design to create the presence of the nature, trees and plants. Hence, I feel that they are similar in a way but perhaps looking from different direction.

  • ART NOUVEAU

VDS CA2: Breath (Click image to enlarge)

The second visual experiment I used was an assignment I did during my year 1 Visual Design Studio CA2, this assignment was a free choice of graphic design. At that time, there wasn’t much of an idea or concept I wanted to start with, it just begins with a thought of drawing a person that could be related to the movement of water (underwater theme). I just wanted to create a form between realistic and non-realistic for a different view hence; I have used the real human eyes and tracing out the goggles instead. The movement of water is seen from the hair and by using a smoky effect; it brings out the focus of the eyes and goggles. I did not use many brushes so as to keep it simple. However, in order to create a particular idea or message, using typography method, I decided to use the word ‘breath’ to be merged with the hair as the message. The idea was to show the desperation that humans can’t breathe underwater and thus, there is a limit to everything. Instead of using the word ‘air’, ‘breath’ appears to be much more suitable and the way how one is in need of air. The bubbles are created to show that the person is underwater and that she is running out of oxygen. There are many parts to one story and in this illustration, the mouth was not seen so as to create an imagination for the viewers or perhaps what is in need of air was not from the mouth but something else. But I do not think it had any relation to certain advertisement that I want to communicate. In this case, art nouveau was the beginning of modern movement in terms of space, colours and textures. It was the start of abstract art by ‘mixing of everything’ in respond to industrialization. Similarly, my graphic design had the few characteristics of art nouveau, such as energy and elegant grace, transitional style that evolve, and surrealism. Although it not consist of all the design arts such as architecture, furniture, product design, fashion but it had human form and graphics, using people as part of a the design was a turning point at that time. Some elements and themes include man-made environment, organic visual quality, flowery and human female forms in simplified designs with graphic vitality with bright colours. In my design, the non-realistic background and goggles showed the man-made environment feel but in contradiction of the organic visual quality of the ocean. It is also in human female forms with bright colours with the light and fanciful flowing curves of the hair showing the flowery feel of the fonts ‘Breath’. Furthermore, stylized hair patterns was the hallmark of that era, hence it is more than similar to the art nouveau movement.

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July 6, 2010. Re/Flex Journal.

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