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MORE INTO LESS Design Magazine of Art and Culture

ED FELLA

THE ESSENCE OF TYPE An Examination of Ed Fella’s Playful Typographic Art

D ECEMBER 2016 ISSUE 51 $7.99

9 781565 924796


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TABLE OF CONTENTS 04

MORE INTO LESS PUBLISHER

DARRYL KING

THE ESSENCE OF TYPE

PRESIDENT

WREX VANCE

FEATURE ARTICLE ON THE EXPERIENCED GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND HIS WORK

VICE-PRESIDENT

MARTY O’NEAL

EDITORS

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LEO DARYL SKRILLEX DROP IT HARD

WORKING WITH COLORED PENCILS HOW ED FELLA USES PRISMACOLOR AND INK TO IMPROVE HIS WORK

CHRIS ILLINOIS KALE PARK

ART DIRECTOR

KANYE WEST

ARTISTS

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FROGGY FRESH DAVE CHAPELLE

NO EXPRESSION ALLOWED COMPARISNG ED FELLA’S COMMERCIAL AND PERSONAL WORK

RICK GRIMES HARAMBE

CONTRIBUTORS

JAMES O’HARE TAYNE JACKSON ANDY EDDI BONANO OLEVIA

BOARD MEMBERS

LEO DARYL JAMES O’HARE CHRIS ILLINOIS KALE PARK DARRYL KING WREX VANCE

INFORMATION

DALE KALEFA ANDREW JASON SANGUINET LOSSA

ADVERTISING

JAMES O’HARE TAYNE JACKSON ANDY EDDI BONANO OLEVIA

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ED FELLA IN TYPE DIGITAL MEDIA COLLAGE - BRIAN WAGNER

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THE THE ESSENCE ESSENCE OF OF TYPE TYPE 4

ED FELLA THROUGHOUT THE YEARS An Examination of Ed Fella and his ART Art Throughout the Years

“It comes from a realization that things are just getting smarter and smarter and I feel that there’s a particular conceit in that. In order to open things up again, you can’t endlessly design one more legible typeface, one even more legible than the rest. So, at some point you just have to take that conceit away... In order to break out of that, you either have to become the most facile professional of them all, or chip away at it somehow.” Ed Fella, Emigre Magazine Interview Issue #17, 1991

ED FELLA is a celebrated artist

born in 1938 in Michigan. He studied commercial art in Cass Technical High School in Detroit. He worked as a commercial artist in the area for thirty years, then taught Graphic Design at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. He is known for his fascination for mixing type and

irregular arrangement in the creation of unique eye-catching designwork. He is very successful at replicating any number of intricate styles, especially when it comes to typography. Indeed, several of his sketchbooks are filled with his love for typographic form, taken from various sources such as real life signage or magazines and


5 LECTURE ANNOUNCEMENT Reinventions: Insights 2008 Design Lecture Series

A FASCINATION FOR MIXING TYPE AND IRREGULAR ARRANGEMENT


6 pamplets. He was fascinated with this side of design due to how limiting and stifling regular design work felt to him. There wasn’t much room for experimentation or self-expression in formal client work. So, in his own free time, he would experiment, and come to develop a playfully arranged and disjointed style. He first discovered this style in a personal image he created as a reaction to the moon landing. It acted as the first in a series of many posters, flyers, and other personal designs that allowed Ed Fella to develop his style. In 1981, Ed Fella became acquinted with key people in Detroit’s many alternative art galleries. These galleries needed flyers for promoting their shows, and Ed Fella happily volunteered. Lacking in funds, Ed Fella’s options were very limited, so he used cheap printing techniques with a mixture of his personal developing style to create posters that were very cheap to produce yet caught the eye of anyone passing by. One of the biggest examples of this was the “Detroit Focus Gallery”, which gave Ed Fella expressive freedom to such an extent that he could truly explore his style. Lacking in images, it used type as a design element in and of itself, fusing together different illusrative styles and different forms.

ASSORTED FLYERS Detroit Focus Gallery

It is perhaps in these works that we see the truest example of Ed Fella’s growing style begin to blossom. A key to his personal style was his deliberate and unrelenting refusal to adhere to tradional professioanl practice. It lacked the universal neutrality that commercial work encouraged, and always had something personal to say. He experimented with type in ways that many professional artists would insist you never do.

TYPE AS IN AND A DESIGN OF ELEMENT ITSELF


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ASSORTED FLYERS

(cont)

Detroit Focus Gallery


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FLYER

Detroit Focus Gallery


9 Eventually, Ed Fella met with two key people who would influence his future career: Katherine McCoy, who became the appointed chair of 2D Design at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Lorraine Wild, a director of the graphic design program at the California Institute of the Arts. Ed Fella would become a prime visitor and lecturer at Cranbrook, and his connection with Lorraine Wild would eventually net him a job as a CalArts faculy member, teaching graphic design. As Ed Fella moved from the commercial world to teaching, his personal style came to represent him more and more. He would design his own lecture posters, such as the ones presented on this page from the “After the Fact� lecture announcements series, designed to advertise his lectures at CalArts.

LECTURE ANNOUNCEMENT POSTERS After the Fact Lecture Announcements

His work continued to only become more expressive of his design style, with abstract letter forms pulled together, stretched, and distorted in a variety of media. Ed Fella would go on to educate at CalArts until May 2013, when he retired. He continues to produce art for his own personal love for the craft.

LECTURE ANNOUNCEMENT POSTERS After the Fact Lecture Announcements


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Using INK ink, COLLAGE collage, and PRISMACOLOR PENCILS prismacolor pencils, Ed Fella takes his TYPOGRAPHY typography to another level. As Ed Fella became more comfortable with exploring his personal style, he began to use different means of designing with it. He brought color into the equation, yet instead of opting for more digital means, he continued to use traditional, physical methods.

use of ink as being like him: “Colorful, and ready to click into action!�

He would use Ink and prismacolor pencils to create high constrasting, intricate color work that only complemented the abstract and bizarre style he uses. Ed Fella once commented on his

A few distinctive styles arose out of this. One, he would create an overall collaged shape that acted as a mask for the entire design. Another would be loose, yet the type would

A lot of these images became the sources of his sketching in several thick artbooks. He would create these designs by mixing observed typefaces in the world around him.

represent symbols or banners that assisted in the overall meaning of the piece. And another would simply mix several different typefaces together for the sake of it, using a mixture of bright colors that would hit the viewers eyes in multiple ways. Included are a few examples of these differing styles taken from various sources. Take a look!


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“COLORFUL AND ALWAYS READY TO

CLICK INTO ACTION ” COLLECTED TYPOGRAPHY Taken from “Two Lines Align”


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VARIOUS PERSONAL LETTERING COLLAGES 1990-1994. Ball pt, Prismacolor, & Pencil


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NO NO EXPRESSION EXPRESSION ALLOWED ALLOWED A PROBLEM THAT MANY ARTISTS FACE: HOW DOES ONE BALANCE THEIR NEUTRAL CORPORATE WORK WITH THEIR OWN THEMSELVES NEED TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES? As students, and as an artist at heart, we are encouraged to explore our creativity. We are encouraged to try new mediums, to never get comfortable, and to learn and grow. However, with digital media booming and corporate America taking notice, art for the sake of self expression and narrative seems to be cast aside. Not many artists would say this is neccesarily a bad thing, however. After all, while the idea of self improvement and self expression should be important to an artist, the fact remains that all artists need to eat. Still, there is an obvious disconnect between what you are paid to do and what you desperately want to do. How do you create your own style to be proud of? Where do you make your own mark? Ed Fella faced a similar problem as he grew older in the design industry. He was happy to be a part of the booming competitive scene, and was

proud of the work he produced. Still, he slowly found himself at ends with the clean and sanitized neutral work he was producing, work that had little attachment to his own personal expression. Work that is arguably anonymous by design. So he developed his personal style in his own time, in both personal works and in freelance work for art organizations. As he remarked in an interview with Mr. Keedy in Emigre Magazine, “On the one hand, I did this work that was highly experimental or ‘artsy’, for which I had a reputation. And on the other hand I did pretty mundane stuff. The problem, for me, was that middle ground, which I never quite found.“ Compare the works he has produced out of personal or artistic interest to his commercial works, and you can see this flaw in spades.

Can you guess which is which?


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“JAZZ AT THE FOX” COVER FOR PROGRAM 1985


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18 It should be pretty easy to tell which works are Ed Fella’s personal designs and which aren’t. The difference between artistic, expressive works and paid neutral work is almost always clear. But why push yourself to develop a style? Maybe not all artists do. Some are content with commercial work. However, when asked why it is important to experiment in that same interview in Emigre Magazine, Ed Fella had this to say: “... To keep pushing. It’s part of our culture to constantly keep pushing. There is always the need, almost a tradition, for wanting something different, something new. It happens in technology and the arts simply want to follow. And it goes deeper than that; it is the need to continue to explore possibilities within conventions of communication.”

almost as long as his commercial art career. He’s constantly driving himself to further his own understanding of ‘the vernacular’, be it in his studies, his sketches, or his other work. As we move into a new era of design dominated by technolgical advancement, it is important to not forget our roots in people like Ed Fella. It is important to not lose our fascination with the art itself, not for any commercial interest, but for our own sake. To grow as an artist and express oneself is by far the most important thing we can do, for nobodys benefit but our own. To examine even the most seemingly mundane of things and appreciate them for what they are. Expressive art may not be encouraged in a commercial workplace, and that’s fine. It’s a way of life, and if you cannot find a way to balance your

ITS PART TO KEEP OF OUR CULTURE PUSHING The sentiment is absolutely true and well represented in the art industry. Even commercial art reflects this despite being ‘dull’, as a person who is content with where they are as an artist is likely to stagnate in a constantly changing industry. Ed Fella’s work has been mostly pushing himself in his later years, in fact. Even after he retired from the competitive commercial world, he brought his life to teaching, to lecturing, and to improving his own personal craft, and he stuck with it for

personal style with your commercial style, you are no worse of an artist for it. However, you should never allow yourself to become complacent in your own growth. As Ed Fella put it in Emigre Magazine: “I think the future of design is going to be glowing. All futures basically are. The computer is opening up so many possibilities. Graphic design with the computer, printing media, film/video and yet-to-come technologies are going to be really incredible. We’re at the brink of a whole new era.”


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CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT IS ME AND WHAT I’M PAID TO BE?


MORE INTO LESS Design Magazine of Art and Culture

D ECEMBER 2016 ISSUE 51

More Into Less - Print Design II Project  

Project I completed for Print Design II at Southeastern Louisiana University. Project prompt asked for a magazine based off of an assigned a...

More Into Less - Print Design II Project  

Project I completed for Print Design II at Southeastern Louisiana University. Project prompt asked for a magazine based off of an assigned a...

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