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Form Follows Function - An exploration of Modernism and Post Modernism
Contents | Modernism
Introduction to Modernism . . . . . . . .
Futurism & Marinetti . . . . . . . . . . . . .
De Stijl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bauhaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Swiss Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Joseph M端ller-Brockmann . . . . . . .
Armin Hoffman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Graphis Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
| Post Modernism
Introduction of Post Modernism . . . . .
Pop Art & Lichtenstein . . . . . . . . . . . .
Michael Vanderbyl . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Frank Gehry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Raygun Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
David Carson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Neville Brody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Studio Dumbar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
| Cover Development
Initial Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Developed Layouts . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Layout Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cover Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cover Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cover Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Finalised Cover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
D ec Fu on nc str tio uc na tio lit y n
Introduction to Modernism
Modernism is one of the main elements that will be contextualised within this magazine, alongside Post-Modernism, which I will discuss later on. Modernism is something that really gave designers and artists the fundamentals to start creating work, their ideals where realised, their identity as creators was forged and for the first time most of the society where united by the set of ideals that the Modernists discovered and implemented as their sacred code. Obviously not everyone is going to comply to these rules, but unlike other movements or periods where people were adventuring into other areas and styles, the Modernists managed to carve out this “approved method”. Which designers and artists globally appreciated and specifically adjusted their work to abide with this new found ideology. The main attributes, or principles which we can extract from typical Modernist language are ideas of functionality, rationality and deconstruction. Functionality was important as it was practical work, simple work that was effective and easy to understand. It was informative work that didn’t really have a hidden meaning, so instead of designing to discretely indicate an idea, the Modernists would design to be obvious, with their sans serif font and bold typography. Rationality was important as it clearly demonstrated the purpose of the work, again looking at the obvious statements and transcriptions we can make from the work. The informative purposes of the Modernist work is what really relates to this idea.
Deconstruction is an interesting connotation which can be included in the assessment of Modernism, subtracting the complex information, stripping the flesh to it’s bare bones is a metaphor which I think helps embed this idea. Colour is also something that is important when considering Modernist work, the main colours I would associate with Modernism are black, red, cream and white. You will sometimes see a pale purple or a peach, but I don’t believe that they are as prominent in Modernist work if you were asking me to summarise the colours. We should appreciate how Modernism has had an influence on current work and how it has helped inform and direct our practice as it came to fruition in the early 1900’s, until around the 50’s, where people started to challenge the ideology. In the next part of the magazine I will be discussing some of the key contributors from the Modernist period, we will see how they reinforced the rules and how they adapted to the demands of society and to other creators during this period.
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Futurism & Marinetti
Futurism was arguably where the whole Modernist theory began, it was a very art heavy period, focusing on form, dimension and figurative notions. Innovators such as Luigi Russolo, Umberto Boccioni and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti spearheaded the movement from Italy, with other names working in central Europe and Russia. Futurism was revolutionary in the early 1900â€™s and provided the platform for periods such as, Constructivism, Surrealism, Dada and Art Deco. Marinetti was a major contributor to the futurists and in 1909, Marinetti published a manifesto called 'Manifeste de fondation du Futurisme', which was revolutionary at the time, as this really shattered the perceptions and ideas that people had at the time and it forced people to revise their thoughts and mindsets. Which is always results in a positive outcome when it comes to the evolution of the mind and as a period. The phrase "rejection of the past" is something that really highlights what futurism was about, it was about looking forward, using the technologies and machinery available to create a new direction, a new form where youth and industry could flourish. The colours used throughout Marinetti's work really helped emphasise the atmosphere surrounding the art movement at the time, the introduction to a blocked tone of colour really added a new dynamic to the work that the futurists where developing to compliment and implement their idea of energy and invigoration. The first generation of futurists also had an expressive and a figurative approach to their work, using
lifelike images and projections throughout their work, an ethereal force which stimulates the mind and enforces the idea of futurism. You can see start to piece together the influences and relations that some of the later movements have with futurism, as elements are prominent in cubism, in the Bauhaus era and also in the De Stijl period. To inspire is to be inspired and you can see that if you take the chronological route through art that everything adds up if you analyse it and contextualize it properly.
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Dutch Art & De Stijl
The Dutch design work known as De S t ijl, sometimes referred to as neoplasticism, was founded by Theo Van Doesburg in 1917, this period was one of the important contributors to the modernist movement, keeping to the traditions and rules that the modernists where implementing around the time. The De Stijl period was focused on the more traditional art disciplines, opposed to the specific nature of graphic design, you can also see that this movement has a very heavy sense of architecture and structure, which can be said for most of the movements throughout Modernism. This movement epitomised the concepts of form and colour, especially primary colours and black and white. The simplistic and the minimalistic nature of the work, generates and confirms these modernist attributes. We tend to see a lot of the muted colours reign supreme is this particular period, as the Dutch seemed to promote this neutral, soft and almost elegant tone where functionality, again is high on the agenda. You may also see some similarities which tie this generation of work to the Cubist and futuristic factions, as they are areas which refer and reflect on some of the ideals and context within the De Stijl period. Although the Cubist and Futuristic periods don't have exactly the same motives as the De Stijl movement, the comparisons will most likely be made due to the block painted style, the orientation and nature of the work, which also emphasise the negative space within the compositions.
You will also notice that this movement doesnâ€™t rely on typography as much as it does in areas such as, Swiss or Russian design and also the Bauhaus movement. You could argue that this is due to the fact that the De Stijl period was more focused on the traditional elements of art, which I have pointed towards earlier, this means that the image has to speak for itself, to fight its own battles as it doesnâ€™t have an ally in this scenario. This is the unique identity that resonates throughout this art direction, leaving it uncluttered, simple and effective, which in other words is functional, which you will recognise through researching and contextualising the modernist ethos.
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Bauhaus & German Design
The Bauhaus movement is another important step in the modernist movement, it originates to 1919 where an architect Walter Gropius, founded the Bauhaus facility which practiced and enhanced the Modernist ideologies. The facilities didn’t last too long, as the Nazi’ regime pressured them to close down. But the seed had been firmly planted and the Bauhaus period seen itself gather in momentum and its recognition spread globally. Bauhaus was the platform that helped develop the modernist thoughts throughout Europe, specifically Germany and central Europe. Bauhaus was inspired by an throughout the angular, compositional and structural aspects that are prominent in any Bauhaus design. The people working within the constraints of the Bauhaus where the first to really emphasise a style that relied on both typography and image. Their attention turned to sans serif typography as this highlighted the functional style they were looking for. The benefits of the sans serif font is that it’s very easy to read, it’s informative and it’s formal which is why you see it on posters and not in journals. The transition between object and font is also very smooth, which is due to the properties of the font, compression and spacial awareness. Their approach to design really highlighted their reliance on form and structure to add that extra element. Which will attract attention, which will send the right signals, without being too experimental, which you could arguably foresee working with the angular compositions we see.
Bauhaus design is efficient and effective and it also holds a rationale, another core component which emphasises the clean and crisp nature of the designs. Their way of working is like a well oiled machine, trustworthy, reliable and safe. We must also appreciate the training and dedication it would take to achieve the minimal style, I believe that Bauhaus was certainly one of the main batteries that started and powered the machine of Modernism.
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Swiss Design & The Grid
Swiss Design, was at its peak in the 50’s and is another big influence in the modernist era, renowned for their signature grid system. Asymmetry is also another element which we get to see throughout their design work. Their clever changes in perspective and structures within their grids are what link it to the Bauhaus designs, the Dutch designs and the Russian designs. The Swiss ideology started back in the 20’s but wasn’t really exposed or widely appreciated until the late 40’s, which is why it’s peak seemed to be in the 50’s. Each movement around this time seemed very reliant and dependant on each other, as this helped solidify their approach to the ideas and visions that most modernists had. The Swiss where very keen on the intricate details, the precision of typography and embraced the nature of a printer. This mindset was finally delivered to the international stage in the 60’s. Typography was a very important element within Swiss design, treated with the utmost respect. The typeface Helvetica, also known as "Neue Haas Grotesk" was first designed, in the 60's by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann. The way they worked to transform typography to resemble a calm and concise functionality was very important, as it is how we fundamentally come to design and understand the formal and informative aspects of design with the likes of infographics using vectors and logo's really thriving off the modernist methods. It also contains a very professional aesthetic, which it is why Swiss design is so highly regarded. This is also an important trait that was developed during the modernist era.
Their approach to colour was also very interesting as they focused on using a minimal colour palette, sometimes opting for a monochromatic approach, or they would introduce a limited colour palette traditionally containing 2-3 colours, usually a mid-tone red, a bleached bone and an offset brown. I often find myself using their philosophies on restricted palettes, but instead of using colours to compliment, sometimes I opt for something that will contrast, which can really tie Modernist approaches to Post-Modern approaches, it really does speak volumes to how important Swiss and Modernist design is.
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Josef Muller-Brockmann was arguably the lynch-pin of Swiss designer as he worked on the book "Grid Systems in Graphic Design", which is a very prominent book within the design industry. Renowned for the minimal shape based designs, Brockmann was part of the modernist movement within Switzerland in the 40's and by the 50's he was one of the driving forces behind the Swiss' modernist movement itself. This no-nonsense design practice was really starting to catch on with mainland Europe, as many designers started to change the way they designed, looking to use the same principles, to influence their own style and ethics, influenced by the Swiss. The key components to this area of design where the functionality, efficiency and the rational, the responsibility that these designs commanded grew over time, every year people were exposed to this new approach, this new outlook on design was revolutionary and something that fuels inspiration in today's society. The shapes and colours that were used during this period where very simple and retained this real sense of clarity, the compositions where very deliberate and structured, you can also start to appreciate and see how the architectural side of our discipline had really influenced and shaped the earlier designs in the modernist period and how that trend continued throughout the core of modernism. There was also a sense that the designs and structures where evolving from the original designs as time went on.
The "Beethoven" poster created by Brockmann also resonates this quality, the effective arrangement of the circular shapes, the text and the negative space really inform and give the characteristics of a true modernist design. The hint of evolution is also there as you can almost see movement, through the perspective of the shapes within the poster. Through rotation and curve that the shapes take within the composition. A true sense of reflection and evolution can be located with these attributes and the architectural qualities that shine through the design. The poster based on public awareness "Less Noise" also retains the quality of a modernist design, using the traditional angular type, usually based at around a 45 degree angle, this really compliments both the image and the text itself. You focus on the type as it's at an awkward, but legible angle, but at the same time focusing on the type also exposes the image in another perspective, a perspective you wouldn't see if the text was completely vertical or horizontal. To me the poster is representing the conflicting opinions that people have, the person within the image is trying to drown out all the different noises and is homing in on one unified opinion, which in this case is silence. This design really emphasises and points to the beliefs and principles of a modernist, that we should be unified and follow one rule.
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Armin Hofmann & Education
Armin Hofmann was another very famous Swiss designer as he worked in education, taking over from Emil Ruder as the head of design at “Schule für Gestaltung Basel”. Hofmann was a pivotal character as he taught and influenced the next generation, showing them how to implement the current modernist style, so in an essence, he instructed the next generation to prolong the ideologies that the Modernists held so close. Hofmann’s style was absolute and universal, just as Brockmann’s, their urge to refine and develop the style is really what sets them apart from most of the designers in this period. Their resistance to completely stretch the boundaries was interesting, as they could have gone for it and been more experimental then they were. If you where to compare the Swiss work to the Bauhaus, you can see the transition between the 2 almost straight away, I think the trial the Swiss were on was eventually going to end up dividing opinion and reconstruct design during that period. Looking at the equipment and technology that the Swiss where discovering, devices that would allow them to play around with photo-typesetting and photo-montage, they had the opportunity to do so much more and this is enough to back up my thoughts above. Alongside the more adventurous compositions that were starting to form, they were displaying an ascending before their time.
Hofmann is also known as somebody who trivialized colour, looking through his designs and compositions, we can generate an opinion that he is a lot more reliant on the idea of monochrome than others of his time. There is a lot of black and negative/ space throughout his work, the minimal piece(s) of type, or a single image serving as the focal point of the composition. This is very clever as using little to no colour really puts your layout skills under the magnifying glass, if this was intentional then this is a very important lesson, a master-stroke even. Sometimes having different colours around a composition can distract from the main statement or message within the design, this ties in with the functionality that Modernists believed to be vital to their work and we can really appreciate that aspect through Hofmann’s work. We have learnt a valuable lesson from Hofmann, that alongside his army of Modernist understudies, is why Hofmann was a key part of the longevity of expansion of the Modernist movement.
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Graphis magazine was first published, by Walter Herdegin in 1944, Switzerland. In 1986 the magazine was moved to New York, America where it has been developed and published ever since. The magazine contains archives of graphic language, varying from corporate logoâ€™s, to photography. Graphis also invite the leading contributors of the field to discuss and publish their work in the upcoming annuals. The magazine is a collection and projection of modernist and also post modernist design and itâ€™s interesting to see how itâ€™s developed over the years. Obviously you can see the difference between the earlier issues and the latest issues, the colour variations and the compositional differentiation. We have typography acting as the focal point of the cover, we have images composed of simple shapes, we have geometrical shapes which are very modernist and in later editions we start to see photography and a reminiscence on typography. Something else that interests me about Graphis is how it has managed to continue and conquer the changes and times it would have endured, the people who were working within the restraints of the magazine must have been dedicated and knowledgeable enough to keep the magazine afloat over the 70 or so years that it has been churning out the issues. I have also noticed that they have recently turned to a very neutral colour scheme with some of their cover designs, mainly homing in on a black background with white typography, then they have
incorporated a post modern touch by adding a selection of colour, to help bring attention and meaning to their name, as you will see with one of the covers on this page. Their work is an inspiration to us all and a lesson that we need to always be adapting to be successful.
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Post Modernism is the other major movement that will be contextualised throughout this magazine and I find it interesting how the post modernists used what was available and wanted to explore possibilities that the Modernists had never considered. Post Modernism was essentially a critique of Modernism and the initial blueprints where forged by the abstract expressionists and among them a very famous American artist, Jack Pollock. The emergence of Pollock and how he related his ideology and work to nature. Alongside his explorative nature, the innovation and the creative methods he used is what really made a statement. One of the main elements that became to define a post modernist was highlighted by Pollock, among others and that was to utilize the resources that we had on the earth, which is why the part about nature really set him apart from the others of his generation. The endeavour and sense of adventure is something that developed, pop art was the next movement to consider these new found ideals, they didn’t see post modernism is the same light as the abstract expressionists, but they did see it as an opportunity to focus on a more economical and commercial apparatus. Names such as Lichtenstein, Warhol and Hamilton featured in this period. After people had started to get used to a different opinion more and more designers started to design with a new ethos, a new mentality which is where names like Carson, Brody and Poynor start to emerge onto the scene. Their new found way of designing was really interesting, as it focused on the elements of experimentation, discovery, risk and it’s had an effect on how we perceive certain designs from both periods.
Their compositional qualities are a lot harder to organise into categories as they don’t necessarily indicate the use of a structured grid, I mean obviously there’s a sense of composition, it wasn’t an unorganised mess, but their mentality on where typography and imagery should be located was such a contrast to the way Modernists designed. The colours that they promoted where again, completely different to the methods of previous Modernist designers. They where bringing in much more vibrancy to their designs, the textures that they also implemented where very contrasting, some subtle and some overpowering, the sense of experimentation was clear to see throughout the colour decisions, the compositional decisions and the overall consensus was to be as brave as possible with their work and in their mentalities. You could say the new technologies such as digital painting relate to the Post Modern movement.
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Pop Art & Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein is another influential figure that I want to discuss, he is renowned for his work in art and held a specific interest in the comic field, with designs such “Drowning Girl” and “Whaaam!” Being some of his most famous creations regarding that subject. Lichtenstein alongside key contributors Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton and Jasper Johns where the real driving force behind the pop art culture that had started to develop globally. Lichtenstein and the pop artists work was coming off a tangent to the general Post Modernist work, as it was heavily influenced by the advertising and commercial industries that were starting to gain power and interest during the time. It was also critique of the abstract expressionist period, which had been gathering momentum up until this point. This really helps articulate what the post modern thought process consisted of, as it demonstrates how quickly people were willing to search for new inventions, for new answers. To have all of a sudden gone from a unified society in terms of ideology and mentality, to one that thrives on adventure and continues to seek a new purpose is quite something. This obviously wasn’t the end of the conflicts in ideals as it happens to us more than ever in today’s society.
The Pop art movement was also quite a unique transition in itself as it is usually seen as something that contains an element of parody and possessed a comical nature. This is something that hadn’t really been seen in art before and to go alongside this, another thing to mention is that the commercial side of art was something that had seen little action until this point but with pop art this changed, as the period contained popular culture and news, which was transformed into a form of art or design. Some of Lichtenstein’s work also contained little red dots. Which he used to describe the facial structure and flesh tones, which adds this grain-like texture to the work. This is something that could have been aided by the abstract expressionist movement, as the where very interested in the expressions and experiments of stroke weights, textures and form. Pop Art was one of the earlier Post Modern periods and it has certainly left it’s stamp on the community and designers alike.
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Another name that I have stumbled into was Michael Vanderbyl, through the book "no more rules" created by Rick Poynor. Vanderbyl has an interesting approach to artwork as some of his work has a modernist approach and influence, as we can see across his work. On the other-hand, we also see that he is influenced by the post modern ideology, with emphasis on experimentation and progression. Some of his typography work is structured and orientated in the grid system, but at the same time some of it isnâ€™t. Vanderbyl also seems to favour a more vector based style, looking at the architecture and form of shape throughout his designs. Textures are also relevant throughout his work, as you can see with some of the effects that have been implemented throughout the compositions. The colour contrast is also something that is significant as the "Connections" image has a very old style, retro feel, meanwhile the "Innovation" piece has a much more postmodern aesthetic. It shows the quality and vibrance that technology has picked up and it also shows the transition from one era to the other, which is something that we should all embrace as it's vital for our practice as we can see throughout the success and exploration of designers and artists of this day and age.
It's important that I take these elements into consideration when I am creating my own artwork, compositions and analysis on the designers and topics that I find. I often find myself appreciating elements from both modern and post modern perspectives and I believe that it's the best approach to take as you get the benefits from both sides of the coin, as long as you can justify why you are using certain methods throughout your work.
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Frank Gehry & Architecture
Frank Gehry is a post modern architect, who has been creating buildings and structures for around 25 years, Gehry is known for his contemporary designs and his innovative outlooks on architecture. His first design was back in 1978 where the development of "The Gehry Residence" took place. I sometimes look at the designs that I see from Gehry and decide to believe that they have manipulated the actual building in Photoshop. Which is a testament to how creative and innovative his ideas and visions are. Itâ€™s crazy and back then some of the curves and ridges have been formed, would have had people believing they where dreaming, or living in a fantasy world. Complimented by this almost warped and distorted effect that seems to be at play here. I imagine would look amazing as a physical form, but also makes you question it's form from a virtual perspective. Itâ€™s quite surreal when you think about it and the fact that itâ€™s very experimental and adventurous really helps related it to the post modern scene. This brings me on to an interesting point on double coding, which is essential an object which has 2 forms, 2 meanings. Using the point I discussed above you could argue that the physical and virtual formats represent this double coding, something that exists in 2 dimensions, but has different attributes or forms dependant on where you encounter this image. This is another post
modernist mindset which is how I would interpret this work. It contains a futuristic appearance and it also shares this creative, experimental element, which modernists would shy away from. They would prefer something simpler, more structured and defined. Which conveniently is how the earlier architects would have worked. Using that thought you have to say that this has to have a modernist influence to some degree, as the initial blueprint has to be simple enough to integrate the complexity of this particular set of buildings, most things do have a certain cross over point dependant on how you view them, that's what makes artwork and the concepts and ideas behind them so interesting and it stimulates discussion and opinion which is always welcome.
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Another magazine that I discovered and looked to gain information from was the Raygun magazine. The designs and artwork where initially spearheaded by David Carson and then designers Robert Hales, Chris Ashworth, Scott Denton-Cardew, and Jerome Curchod continued the charge maintaining the approach and style throughout the 8 year period (1992-2000). Raygun magazine is a host to a very post modern theme, consisting of experimental textures, consistent tinkering of compositions and the consistent manipulation of colour. The Raygun has a personal interest within, as itâ€™s something interests me as it seemed to be a very musically influenced magazine, with artists and musicians featuring on the front covers. Music is something I have a lot of time for and Iâ€™m very interested in particular genres myself. Obviously the music featured within this magazine was the decade of music before my time, but it's good to see something really trying to accommodate and build a platform for rock bands back then. You can see the comparisons between the Post Modernist mentalities and how they have informed the designs and compositions that we see articulated by this magazine. There is also quite a grunge based quality that exists within the design of the magazine, this is obviously to relate to the type of music that would have been displayed or reviewed within the context of the magazine itself.
I also believe that it is important to compare the Raygun magazine with the Graphis magazine, as they are both a testament to the ideologies of their time. The conflicts in style, in mentality is really interesting and both ways of designing have their pros and cons. You also have to consider the content of the magazine, as I have discussed earlier how important that can be for the general style and feel of the design. I would be very interested in creating designs for musical themes and purposes in the future as itâ€™s 2 of the biggest influences and passions that I have in my life.
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David Carson & Typography
I want to take the time to talk a little bit more about David Carson, as he is a vital figure in the post modern movement. Carson has forged a very successful career, designing for so many different companies and clients. Names such as Blue magazine, Quiksilver, Audi and Armani feature on his website, but obviously he has designed for many different companies and contractors. Looking at the way he manipulates type, we can start to picture how the Post Modernist mindset has influenced his compositions. The focus that exists on a more experimental, unorganised, yet composed setting, is what really sets Carson apart from others in his time. He has inspired many designers throughout his tenure, the spotlight on his typographical and adventurous expertise. Carson has a very unique way of manipulating the type which can sometimes reside in unorthodox and unnatural areas within the compositions. This is something that is very rare and very difficult to accomplish. As it requires a very broad perception of composition, an open mind and the adventurous trait which would see you experiment with the textures, layouts and type that would be required to create the design.
The range and appreciation of colour that Carson has is also very noticeable, as he varies very dramatically from one piece to another. One design may be more print based and contain elements of black and white, whereas another print may be requiring shades of red and hints of orange and brown. We can see that through the “SurfShed” design. Not one design is the same as the next and I think that is the key reason Carson’s work is so interesting is due to this diversity that exists within his design. It would be very informative to investigate some of Carson’s blueprints and design theory’s and find a way to translate and incorporate the techniques into my own work, which will certainly increase the range of experimentation and exploration that would be generated through this exercise.
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Neville Brody & The Face
Neville Brody is another of the big influences on post modern design. Initially working as the designer, typographer and art director of the The Face magazine, Brody then moved on to work with some big names in the corporate field. Alongside this he founded the Research Studios in 1994 with his business partner Fwa Richards. This studio became a platform for many designers and agencies to promote themselves, which was useful for them, but also for Brody as his name would also be associated with these firms on his domain. What really draws me to Brody is his work in the fields that also interest me, which relates to Carson in a sense. The record cover designs in the 90’s were very experimental as they adventured into the realms of colour and texture which seemed to be the main properties of the designs in this period. The emergence of the rock scene is what really inspired Brody, among others as you will see looking at the work produced. Brody also orchestrated the redesign of the times magazine. The serif font that was used in the redesign has an interesting quality, as it’s very close to being a sans serif font, which most newspapers will use nowadays. It’s enough to be different, but not so much as it’s entirely noticeable from a distance or sets it apart from the other newspapers.
The BBC was another big company that Brody was involved in the redesigning process of in 2011, so you are probably starting to realise the impact and effect Brody has had on us in recent times. Colour choice is also something that we should be taking notes on and I find with the earlier work it has quite an erratic nature, much like Carson’s. It’s interesting to note that as we have moved forward to the present times, the colour choices have climatised and changed to suite the social aspects, demands and purpose of design today. Just to pinpoint the idea the a climatised colour decision, using the latest pieces, we can come to conclusions that this clean and crisp aesthetic shines through with the more recent designs. This could be said for most of the designers that have started designing pre 2000 and this progression is really nice to see, which with all things considered is what the post modernist ideology is all about.
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To wrap things up for the post modernist section of the magazine I have decided to look at something that possesses a very modern vibe and ideology within its work. Studio Dumbar is a Dutch design agency, founded in 1977 The Hague. It has since then expanded to China (Shanghai 2005) and Korea (Seoul 2012) to assist in generating an ever bigger global recognition. It’s only something that I have really come across recently when looking into the post modernist scene in more detail, trying to discover interesting and influential designs. What draws me to the design work Studio Dumbar produces is the colour coordinations, the compositions, the effective typography and the general clean and concise nature of the work. Their work is almost a mix of the modernist mindset and the modern mindset, using what we have learnt from the Swiss designs and designers such as Carson and Brody to inform this opinion. It’s effective, its eye catching and it isn’t too much going on at one, all properties of the 2 main movements we have been looking at recently. The more recent clients that Studio Dumbar have worked with consist of, the Dutch police, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design and the TNT Green Office, among many others. I think that its important to note that having variety and versatility in your designs in today’s day and age is something that can’t be understated enough, they fluctuate between elements of interactivity, corporate designs and campaign launches.
Being able to over a range of services is something that I am going to have to be able to provide myself and is something that I am going to have to work extremely hard to be able to achieve. Design agencies such as Studio Dumbar really do highlight and emphasize the importance on solid design practice,the clever use of technology and innovative thinking to be one step ahead of others.
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I started to draft the initial layout designs as it was time to consider how this document was going to be formed. There are many different compositions that I could go about creating, but for the research document I was thinking along the lines of a book, as that is how I envision a research document setup. I was intending on the magazine to feature some more adventurous compositions, as the pages wouldnâ€™t have to conform to this very rigid structure that the research document will be influenced by.
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The content pages and elements for the layouts of the pages where starting to be drafted, appreciate that there isn’t a thousand pages of layout designs, but I would much prefer to start generating and transferring the content to the document and then I can see what I’ve got to play with. This method means it’s probably going to take me longer to compose everything, but I’d rather do it this way as I’m comfortable with the process. I do think that I have most of the important elements drafted out in some shape or form, I know the elements I need to incorporate into the pages regarding the subject of choice, as there is plenty of white space to work within the current compositions, I’m confident I can come up with 2 different designs regarding the research document and the studio magazine.
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You can see the contrast in style between the two layouts, one reflecting a more informative, busy approach and one reflecting a more simplistic nature, utilizing aspects of white space and smaller font. The first design also contains an element of page furniture such as the white page number. After looking into some physical magazine designs I decided to change the layout of the page number as I thought I had discovered a more professional way to document. I could also use the title of the magazine within this piece of furniture on the page which was and added bonus as it meant I could keep away from a header at the top of the page, compressing the rest of the composition. One sacrifice I had to make was the size of the images, which I think is a
reasonable aspect to consider, as clarity is always important regarding images within books and magazines. The smaller 12pt text also complimented the new look composition. The gutter in the columns was also increased to 7mm, up from 4.33 (the default), which allowed the text to become a lot less compressed, more spacious and most importantly, the paragraphs become a lot more legible. The inspiration for the newer, more modern style was the “No more rules” by Rick Poynor, as the composition of the pages contain a sleek attribute that I believe is valuable for a document where you want to read into the pages a little bit more than just focusing on the core image. I also appreciate that this mindset may drive this document to look a little bit
bland in comparison to some of my other classmates, but I can’t bring myself to start slapping images into the background as that just detracts from the main features of the page. It’s also very difficult to arrange the page in a way where a complex background or image, supplements the rest of the page instead of dominating it and as I say, this may give off the impression that my document is a little bland. I am searching for ways to incorporate elements of the subject into a designed context, as it is part of the brief, but I’m not going to compromise my layout in order to do so, which is probably what you may sense throughout this analysis of the compositions.
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The last section of this magazine will consist of the cover development work that went into this magazine and also the studio magazine. You will get to see how some of the previous work I have created has influenced or featured in these designs and also how new ideas have entered the fray. The masthead for the magazine will be New Visual Language, as you will see throughout the process. The covers that are on display here are primarily from the earth artifact and street graphic briefs, looking at perspectives and visions. I think they tie in quite well to the research that I have conducted throughout this magazine, with the post modern and modern ideologies influencing and shaping the designs that are currently displayed.
Colour is also something that I have been looking at in some detail, using a modernist approach for one or two of the initial designs and then having a couple of post modern options to help contrast and compare between similar designs, to see which approach is best for each cover. I realise that producing a range of covers will be better than using one or two designs at this stage, as something may appear to work as a compilation, some may be better as stand alone images, you just have to try different variables at this stage you definitely canâ€™t afford to be fussy. I do feel like the research that I have conducted is helping me start off the designs, as sometimes that can be the hardest thing, once you have a couple of visuals to play around with you can start
to be a little more specific with the colours, compositions and the content of the design. A couple of techniques that I have used here are clipping masks and image traces within Illustrator, which is the software that will be used to create most of the content you will see. Photoshop may also be used to help manipulate some of the brusho scans that were used in the earth artifact and street graphic projects. The other programme that will be used is obviously InDesign, which is how I will be documenting this research document/magazine and it may also come in handy when looking at specific pieces of typography for covers that require a more detailed piece of typography.
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You can see I have continued to work with the magazine covers for this project. I decided to go with a contemporary colour palette for this particular experiment, using a mid-tone grey and an almost florescent green. The demonstrates a post modernist colour decision, using quite modernist imagery. I think the colours show a positive cohesion and you can definitely see the contrast and the relationship between the 2 colours. They seem to be quite relaxed colours, allowing for easy viewing, there isn’t too much going on, which I think is a positive aspect. I will definitely look to work with different colours to see if any of the existing designs gain an additional element, or decrease in their value as we know that colour can do that to images and compositions. I’m quite a fan of the “4 element” design, I think something simplistic will benefit the cover, but at the same time the 4 itself is something that I need to be careful with, as many books or pages on websites contain numbers in this type of layout, so I would need to think of something extra I could implement into the design to give it a bit more of a unique touch. I also need to decide if I am going to design a logo for the “New Visual Language” or if I am happy taking the title (typography) and developing it without symbols or images. The shape design based on the Bauhaus Colour Theory contains a more symbolist approach, combining the 4 shapes I used to spearhead the Bauhaus Colour Theory in my Earth Artifact work. There’s
a lot of elements I can extract from existing projects, I just need to find the right compositions and the right balances between each design. There’s a positive energy around the designs and I will continue to explore and assess my possibilities for images and compositions.
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Continuing with the cover designs for the magazine, I decided to try something a little bit different. Sticking with the simple, minimalist design that I seem to work well with, I tried to incorporate a visual representation of the “3 dimensions of design”. This could represent the 3 dimensions we see through, 1D, 2D and 3D, but it could also represent the stance that we take in regard to the modernist and post modernist movements. There is obviously a space inbetween, which is where you may be undecided, sitting on a fence, or maybe you believe and are influenced by both. I could do
a better job highlighting this idea visually, but I think the concept is now there if I choose to take it further, I also think that this type of design could really work as a front cover, as it’s simple and effective. Another design that I have worked on recently was one inspired by Brockmann, using the “Beethhoven” design as influence to create a technical, rotational circle. This could be expanded on further and I think that it could be a solid design for the magazine if I can find the right image or template. I’m happy with how things are starting to shape regarding this idea and also the 3 dimension design, the covers
are starting to come together into a more solidified idea, I think it’s not far off a final composition once I sort out the typography. You could say I’m part of that inbetween category in terms of design work, I use some of the minimalist and grid like designs of a modernist, but I am also experimental and interested in evolution, which is part of the post modern ethos. I’m happy with how things are going so far and I look to expand on what I already have from a research perspective and also from a design perspective.
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New Visual Language Form Follows Function
New New Visual Visual Language Language
Here we can see that I have actually integrated the initial masthead design into the logo of this magazine, I felt as though it would serve better as a logo, rather than the main image on the front of a magazine. Its recognisable, has a good concept behind it, which then allows me to conduct the experiment of using a very simple, yet effective design to spearhead the cover design. The typography focused design was influenced by some of the more contemporary Graphis magazine covers, as I thought they where a nice way to showcase the impact that negative space/white space can have on in a composition. You also have to learn to try and utilize your strengths and unless I had a high resolution image (RAW format) I was always going to go down a route that involved a minimal and effective outcome. I didn’t really feel like I had “the” image that would be a good servant to the cover, as most of my work was quite small and experimental, which I didn’t believe would be compatible with a cover design. The inside of the magazine is a different story and I might have one or two tricks up my sleeve, but I thought it was for the best that I went for this design regarding a cover. You may also wonder why we have text going backwards in the title, this was an experimental process which involved the mindset of a post modernist, reflection and colour. I needed something to fill the space on the middle right of the composition and I didn’t want to start throwing images in, because that was very unlikely to work. Looking through the initial cover designs I think I made the right decision and I’m quite happy with how the magazine has started to shape, a little bit more time would have been nice, but you have to appreciate the fact that deadlines exist for a reason and I should have worked even harder to achieve what I could have done.
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Credits to Modernism, Post Modernism and the designers involved