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New Visual Language An Exploration of Moderism and Postmodernism Research Document

Sophie Strain

The Breif

The aim of the brief is to submit design proposals for a new graphic design publication entitled “New Visual Language”. The first issue will focus on form follows function – an exploration of Modernism and Postmodernism. Part 1 I am required to research Modernism and Postmodern, generating a body of work that explores the origins and philosophy of each movement. This research should then inform my visual designs for the publication and aim to convey the essential nature of the movement. To do this I will need to understand and explore the social, industrial and political concerns that have influence both design movements. Part 2 The second section of the brief requires me to submit designs for a broad sheet, which should be based around my previous studio projects throughout the past year. In addition, I should also produce: Masthead Cover Contents page Inner pages

“Perfection is achieved, not w to add, but when there is

Antoine de Sain

Form Follows Function

Form follows function is a design principle that was formulated by Louis Sullivan in 1896. Although he was talking in terms of Architecture the applicability to graphic design is clear and many designers aim to follow the principle in their own practice. In simple terms – Visual elements in a design are formed through meeting the intended function. If the design fails to succeed in its purpose it is unsuccessful, therefore it is essential that form follows function The function of a design is to communicate a message. This statement is spread across the discourse of graphic design, through both modern and postmodern movements and is still applied to current design. If a design does not communicate then it is deemed unsuccessful in its form to appeal to society/audience based on its visual appearance. So was not appropriate for the intended purpose. Therefore, in order for a design to be successful the designer must use the function to shape the form of the design. I should consider this principle when designing my own publication to ensure it relates to the intended publication.

when there is nothing left s nothing left to remove�


An exploration of Modernism

Surrounded by the chaos of industrialisation, technological upheaval and world war, Designers sought to bring order and meaning to their work and society. They recognised the need for a new approach to mass consumption/communication therefore tried to discover a new visual language that was fitting for the new ‘modern world’. They explored asymmetrical layout, white space, serial design, geometric typefaces, minimalism, functionalism, universality and hierarchy in design. wThis ultimately led to a set of aesthetic movements such as De Stilj, Dada, Constructivism and the new typography. Overall these ideas and principles profoundly influenced design development and formed the basis of what we understand as the modernist movement.

Suprematism Kasimir Malevich

Malevich is a graphic design was the founder of movement in modernism known as Suprematism. Suprematism was an exploration of visual language that was purely aesthetic, concerned only with form, free from political/social meaning. Although it was a short lived movement it influenced the work of constructivists, De Stilj, Neoplasticists and the Bauhaus Minimalists. Meaning that his work provides reference to gain a better understanding of the principles of modernism. The square form was something that highly impacted not only Malevich’s work but also modernist designers in general. They believe there something pure about the square form, as an icon it represents nothing yet showed an expression of absolute reality in its purest form.

“For the Suprematist, the proper means is t provides the fullest expression of pure feeli the habitually accepted object. The object meaningless to him, and the ideas of the c are worthless�

the one that ing and ignores in itself is conscious mind Kasimir Malevich

“In past times when one lived in contact with nature, abstraction was easy; it was done unconsciously. Now in our denaturalized age abstraction becomes an effort�. Piet Mondrian

De Stilj

De Stilj is a Dutch art movement originated by Theo van Doesburg in 1917. The movement was characterised by the abstract use of the square form and reliance on primary colours in association with black, white and grey. Minimalist forms such as Piet Mondrian’s work depicts what the movement was all about. In terms of design and typography the De Stilj style was very disciplined and uniformed, employing sans serif typefaces, straight lines, tight rectangular blocks, positioned in an asymmetric layout. This sort of style was typical of the modernist movement as it was controlled and rational, the order modernist designers which to entail.

Russian Constructivism El Lissitsky Constructivism design is a movement within modernism that redefined the role of the artist. The movement saw the conversion of design laws into practical solutions through the use of strict format principles that favoured a non-figurative visual vocabulary that exudes cleanliness and order. The design from the movement is characterised by bold lettering, brightly coloured shapes made from materials such as glass and cardboard and the designer’s commitment to composed and refined work that committed to the common weal. El Lissitsky is a designer who contribution to the modernist movement was based around Russian constructivist ideals and philosophy. Dynamic layout, changes in scale and the positive use of white space was just a handful of characteristics that challenged typographic conventions. His work had a profound influence on the modernist movement but also is still impacting design today. As I have currently used his work as inspiration to create my own typeface.

“The artist constructs a new sy symbol is not a recognizable is already finished, already m world - it is a symbol of a new upon and which exists by way

ymbol with his brush. This e form of anything which made, already existing in the w world, which is being built y of people.� El Lissitsky

“In my own work, I feel compelled to set an example: to cultivate a corner of unity and to struggle against dismemberment and fragmentation in the field of design�.

Armin Hoffman

Less is more Utpoia Armin Hoffman

Less is more was a modernist design principle favoured by the likes of designers such as Max Bill. It symbolised a new aesthetic that was so radical, imaginative and what designers considered to be flawless. “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to remove” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This utopian belief was a part of the modernist movement, where designers believed that in a “flawless” design there was nothing you could change about them. Many modernist designers thought that Helvetica was a perfect example of how a design could be flawless, white space matched with Helvetica and that was all you needed for an effective design. Armin Hoffmann whose ideology was very utopian. He had in larger vision a view of a civilized society, which he believed could be achieved through thoughtful constraint, consistency and rational principles within design. All these elements in his own poster, advertising, logo and type design. Where he tries to create a timeless aesthetic. Despite what most post war consumers would have viewed his work as optimistic, his views and what he considered to be the fundamental requirements of design was influential in the modernist movement to inspire others to work along the same strict constraints.

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus was a German design school that played an important role in unpinning the modern movement and was the home of ordered, clean, ‘exact’ design. For the Bauhaus all forms of art/design communication were to contribute to the improvement of culture and society and each discourse was to play a role in their utopian vision. Despite political harassment causing the Bauhaus to come to an abrupt end in June 1933, the emphasis on rationality, reliance on the grid, commitment to sans serif fonts and a link with contemporary art movements such as De Stilj provided an important foundation for the new typography and later on the International Typographic style.

“Designing is n connotations. most producti for a certain fu economical req effects of mate

not a profession but an attitude. Design has many It is the organization of materials and processes in the ive way, in a harmonious balance of all elements necessary unction. It is the integration of technological, social, and quirements, biological necessities, and the psychological erials, shape, color, volume and space�.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

“We, the found its own reflect


Dadaism is an art movement that came about as a response to the First World War. Artists set out to ridicule established beliefs. Their aim was to shock viewers by testing the boundaries of new forms of visual language. To do this some of the favoured techniques was to use bold type, collage and photomontage. This technique was typical of dada artist Kurt Schwitters who created his own form of Dada in Hanover called ‘Merz’, using rubbish materials such as labels, bus tickets and bits of broken wood in his collages and constructions. He felt that through these objects from the street he could see the creation of a fragile new beauty out of the ruins of German culture.  He then formed a magazine ‘Merz’ that devoted much space to Constructivist art and ideas. You can see this influence on his collages as they begin to form sharper and more rectangular compositions than the seemingly ‘natural’ forms used in his earlier work. His work cleverly exudes hints and allusions to contemporary political and cultural conditions, without any political stance being addressed. Unlike John Heartfield another Dada artist who used photomontage as a political weapon.

ders of Dada-movement try to give time tion in the mirror”.

Kurt Schwitters

Modernism Typography

Throughout the Modernist movement, Typography’s task was to improve communication and simultaneously save labour, money and improve society. “Typography is a tool of communication; it must be communication in its most intense form. The emphasis must be on absolute clarity.” – (Moholy-a-Nagy (1919-23) Bauhaus Press) Pre-modernism type was clumsy, publications were jammed full of varying styles and sizes of ornamental typefaces. The new typography aim was to add functionality. To achieve this sans serif fonts and lowercase letters that avoided previous ornamentation came to underscore the modern aesthetic in graphic design. This style was integral to movement as it explored new ways of living, in conjunction with the revolution of developing technologies. The font considered so flawless that you would not recognise you were even reading it became something to aspire to. This was when designers start to begin experimenting with ‘Universal Type’. An example of Universal type is Herbet Bayers experiment ‘Universal alphabet’ (1925). The alphabet combined upper and lower case lettering into a more phonetic system. His attempt represented a practical attempt at trying to achieve modern expression in a geometric constructive form. This style of type must not depict handwriting it must be symmetrical, some designers attempting to create fonts where all letters had the same form, width, spacing, size, something which would not be achievable by hand.

“Typography is communication must be on abs

a tool of communication, it must be n in its most intense form. The emphasis solute clarity�

Moholy-a-Nagy (Bauhaus Press - 1919-23)

“Perfect typography is certainly the most elusive of all arts. Sculpture in stone alone comes near it in obstinacy� Jan Tschichold

The New Typography

Jan Tshichold is a typographer and book designer who led the emergence of the ‘New Typography’ in Europe during the 1920’s – 30’s. Influenced by the Bauhaus principles Tschichold created ‘Sabon’, the first linotype, monotype and hand composition. In addition he published his book ‘Die Neue Typographie’. The New Typography rejected traditional arrangement of type in symmetrical columns and established the importance of asymmetric typography principles in the design industry. This style had a rapid impact on the design industry as typographers and printers quickly adapted to the principles and way of working brought about by the New Typography.

International Typographic Style Swiss Design

Rational typographic style is also known as Swiss style and was developed after the Second World War. The style was built upon the ideals of De Stilj Bauhaus and constructivists. Therefore the style can be identified through features such as, sans serif (Helvetica), Ranged left setting, narrow text columns and photography. These characteristics then became increasingly associated with corporate design and were eventually challenged by a new wave. Max Bill is a Swiss architect, painter, sculpture and graphic designer who was a pioneer of the International Typographic Style. Bills method was reductive; his ideology being less is more. He showed this through the strict norms regarding type and design portrayed in his work. He employed firm use of modular grids and mathematical progressions to his work and was known for his use of sans serif typefaces. In particular he was acknowledged for utilising Akzidenz Grotesque in his poster designs. Overall this gave across that modern, clean, aesthetic typical of the modern style. Another contributor to the typographic style was Emil Ruder. Similar to Bill, Ruder used a grid to disparate typographic elements, stressing the importance of clear, logical type being essential to effectively communicate a message.

“Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty.�

Emil Ruder

Josef Muller Brockmann The Grid System

In 20th century modern design the grid was considered the design intervention of the year. Rather than a simple organisation tool, Bauhaus introduced the grid as a panacea for graphic design clarity. This was loved for bringing order to disorder but also hated for locking designers to ridged confinements. Whether loved or hated, designers have tried to work with or against the structure, playing with the various structures it can hold.

Therefore, the grid is often used by graphic designers to solve visual problems and to make sure any visual information such as titles, captions is presented in a clean logical manner. This can in fact make the reader read easily thus making the information to retain in memory and be easier to understand. However for this level of thought to be achieved, the designer must be able to work with the grid to create constant dimensions of space. In addition every piece of work has t be studied For modernist designers and many current designers today, carefully to link it to a specific grid network that corresponds the grid was a graphic instrument in the design process that to its advantages. can be used flexibly yet holds all the elements together in a precise way, almost acting like an invisible adhesive. During my project to create a magazine design, there is a huge change I will be working with a grid structure to display my When working with a grid Josef Brockmann said “one must content. However this is not always the case many designers learn how to use the grid; it is an art which requires practice”. have decided to work against the grid by abandoning it all This is true, when it comes to using a grid as a designer we together. However I feel that grid or no grid, which ever I must play around with its structure to discover which elements choose to depict my magazine it will have to be one extreme will best present the content for its intended function. When a to the other. I either stick ridged to the grid system or there designer learns to select the suitable grid it can make it easier to has to be absolutely no awareness of a grid or systematic order construct text and material systematically and logically making to the design. it readily intelligible and have its own rhythm that can guide a reader where to start on a page. So far I feel as though I am leaning towards a grid system in order to make my designs easy on the eye so that the images of my previous briefs can speak for themselves and stand out.

“The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropiate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice” Josef Muller Brockmann

An exploration of Postmodernism

Postmodernism came about when graphic designers sought to challenge the constraints imposed by modernist ideology and principles. A style that is often associated with electism, collage, pastiche and irony formed during the pop movement where legibility and clarity made way for emotion and intuition within design. Roland Barthes ‘Mythologies’ had a profound influence on the starting of the movement as his analysis of popular culture lead designers to question the previous content, meaning and ideals modernists had set, so they could explore other means of communication. In addition, Post structuralism also had a profound effect as it turned design into a complex discourse that needed to be decoded by the reader. As a result modern design tenants where took by surprise and began to doubt/lose faith in the rationality, objectivity and universalism seen during the modernist movement in the 20th century.

Supergraphics Paula Scher

Supergraphics was a short-lived movement during the postmodernist movement, which derived from op art. However you still see evidence of todays supergrpahics on the sides of buildings, construction sites, stairways or interactive installations in the theatres. The movement was characterised by the use of huge arrows, numbers and words. Rainbows that were painted onto walls to transform bland interior to something new and exciting, in general anything that stood out and screamed look at me. It was a favoured technique by postmodernist designer Paula Scher who used the technique to transform the side of a Victorian building in New Jersey into an upbeat performing arts centre. To do this she used dramatic large black gothic lettering, typographical latticework and of course clashing stark colours. Paula Scher is a New York based graphic designer who is known for her playful approach to letterforms. Like most postmodern designers her primary work began in the music industry as it allowed her to be innovative and experiment with her designs. Her designs take many inspirations from 20th century design history and movements such as constructivism, dada and futurism.

“Be culturally literate, because if you don’t have any understanding of the world you live in and the culture you live in, you’re not going to express anything to anybody else.” Paula Scher

Digital Revolution

During the late 20th Century there was an increase in the availability of computer and printing technology that changed traditional methods of design. Type was no longer set by hand and layouts no longer drawn by hand. Designers could now edit, layer, adjust, scale images digitally but the effort to communicate a message was still the forefront of design. One of the first designers to notice the creative potential of the Apple Mac was Neville Brody. He used computer-generated fonts, redesigning and manipulating existing images into new often illegible, shapes and proportions that characterised the style of postmodernist design. As the creator of Fuse he had a profound influence on the postmodern movement. Fuse magazine has been considered the unofficial mouth piece for the party of digital typography due to its experimental fonts and creative notes that showed pages and typography as a design in itself, rather than merely being functional/readable it is meant to be perceived.

“Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries.� Neville Brody


Innovations of Punk, a youth movement during the 80’s were quickly assimilated into the graphic imagery of postmodernism through the design of record covers in the music industry. Punk was a subversive street culture originating in London starting in the music scene with bands such as the Sex Pistols. The movement embraced music, art and fashion. Followers of the style were depicted through aggressive visual appearance and anarchic behaviour. Graphic Designs sought to capture this essence through the use of throwaway collage, chaotic layout, shocking slogans and ransom note design. Jamie Reids cover for the sex pistols ‘God Save the Queen’ was deliberately untidy. It challenged the conventions of beauty by forming a torn, tattered style that became an iconic style in the design movement. The style had a great impact even convincing Alexander Liberman to create a jumbled style in magazines such as Vogue and Self.

“Punk was like an exorcism which cleared up a lot of the shit that was left over from the Sixties. Punk was about spontaneity and it also carried with it a really vicious sense of humour”.

Jamie Ried


Emigre is a type foundry in California that was often criticized for being a direct threat to modernist ideals. It was one of the first places to take full advantage of the new medium to graphic design that was the computer generated revolution and create digital typefaces. Rather than using letterpress technology. Emigre also published a magazine to showcase this new found technique that featured work from many talented designers. In addition the publication caused form itself to be a means of debate, questioning the actual function of type and designs function. It was these aesthetics which made the magazines a contributor to 20th century postmodern design.

“Design is a good idea.�


De Contructivism

In graphic design terms de-constructivism gave its name to one of the major typographic movements. Designers began a more experimental approach to type in a non-spatial, nonlinear process that abandoned thoughts of a grid. Typographers and designers questioned if type should do more than perform a basic function of being readable, This meant that type could be fragmented and illegible because the page was no longer meant to be read but perceived. Readers were meant to feel the page. David Carson sums up these ideals by saying “Don’t mistake legibility for communication”. Designers associated with deconstuctivism often view it not as a movement but as a technique which still proves useful in todays design. Designer Lucille Tennazas was someone who was particular inspired by post-structualism, a ,movement often linked to the beginning of decontrucivism. In her experiments, type is broken down, decontructed and recontructed. This immediatly generated multiple meanings for which the audience must decipher - a common technique used by postmodern designers, who believed that the reader should take an active participation at communicating with the design.

“Design is a wa a system with a you’ve done ha participate.”

ay of looking at the world. You produce an artifact or create a set of conditions, an infrastructure or an apparatus where alf the equation and you leave the rest for whoever wants to Lucille Tenzanas

Postmodern Typography

Postmodern type was characterised by a new wave of the Swiss typography. Designers sought to challenge the rules and constraints of the international typographic style – making the point that type is an art form in itself and shouldn’t be uniformed and constricted. Therefore designers began rebelling against ordinary precepts of ‘readability’ and type became increasingly illegible to make viewers stop and try to decipher the words. Wolfgang Weignart is one of the typographers who challenged the rational order and rules of the international typographic style. He did this through expressive experiments with letterforms, wide word spacing, and reversed type blocks. His work had unpredictability to the designs in terms of weight, contrasts and random placement that provided a dynamic alternative to the predictable corporate design solutions based on the Swiss design principles brought about by the international typographic style.

“There’s a fine line between simple, clean and powerful and simple, clean and boring” David Carson

Raygun Magazine

Raygun was a publication that was designed without any specific structure and directed by David Carson. Carsons experimental approach when working on youth orientated magazines such as ‘beach’ and ‘ray gun’ changed conventions of traditional editorial and advertising during the 1980’s/1990’s. This made him lead designer in the post modernist movement as his techniques began frequently used in design practice. His playful approach is shown throughout the magazines style. For example, the front covers were retro, collaged, inspired by a do it yourself movement and typical of the punk style in the mid 80’s. This was further enhanced by the extreme justification used on the inner pages, which showed text columns jammed together and deconstructed type that left the reader to decipher the message. This amplified content and meaning that encouraged closer engagement from the viewer. One of the most known experiments in Ray Gun magazine was a spread on musician Bryan Ferry. Carson deemed the content boring and not worth reading, therefore as a solution set the typeface to “Zapt Dingbats” – a typeface composed entirely of symbols rather than letters. This explored postmodernist ideas that a page must be felt rather than read, which shocked many during the 90’s as a stark contrast from the modernist principles of clarity.

“Don’t mistake l


legibility for communication.� David Carson

Masthead Developemt and Design

Masthead design research

The tips I came across were –

The next step for the next part of my New Visual Language brief was to begin the creation of the masthead for my magazine. For inspiration I looked at existing masthead designs and some top tips to consider when designing a masthead.

1. The masthead should be legible an the magazine. If a font is not legi

Now I have to discover which type of style I want to achieve for my magazine and whether it will take a modern or postmodern turn, or perhaps incorporate elements from each movement. To help my design I did some research into existing masthead designs and how others have chose to layout or choose font to prompt my own designs. I noticed that the majority of the designs were very simplistic yet effective. I particularly like the design from the summit magazine (an experimental student project) as it has an editorial edge and the twist on the type on the masthead that gives it personality without being difficult to read. The masthead also appeared to be given a form of hierarchy against the other text, this could have been achieved using a grid format and altering text size.

3. The masthead should be the first page, consider hierarchy in design

2. Only use two font families or the and italic.

4. Top left is the best position to pla magazine design is it will always

5. As well as capturing the essence must be versatile so it can be u

6. The chosen type you use can set t to be timeless you must use a fon handwritten. Some publications c David Carson’s design of Ray Gu edge he wanted to achieve.

nd prompt viewers as to the overall impression of ible then people may not view as intended.

e same font in different thicknesses e.g. bold, light,

thing people see so make sure it stands out on the n.

ace a masthead as no matter how stacked the be in eyesight.

e of the magazines character and attitude, it used in many forms.

the scene for the magazine; in order for the piece nt that is simple, rather than heavily decorative or change the headings each time – for example un magazine. This gave the design the postmodern

Masthead Sketches

These are the rough sketches of possible masthead designs for the magazine entitled ‘New Visual Language’. For my designs I stayed clear of the circle format, as I seem to always associate the shape with a sticker. My main focus was on more geometric shapes that are typical of modern designs as I wanted to give a clean, fresh look to the magazine. In addition I also experimented having the name spelled out fully or abbreviated to the initials, at the moment I am more drawn to the designs which form the whole name of the design, but the length may become a problem when I begin designing the cover, due to how it will corelate with other elements on the page, so the shorter version could be a better option.

Digital Masthead

I began typing up some examples of mastheads on Adobe Illustrator to look more specifically at the various fonts that could be used. Similar to the shaping of the design, I am leaning towards typical modern, clean type that can be easily absorbed to let the images work for themselves and stand out. I looked at the use of both Serif and Sans Serif fonts. I feel that both give a very different effect, the serif fonts give a more traditional feel but also editorial, whilst the sans serif gives a more fresh modern look. I steered clear of any fonts that were decorative and therefore become illustrative such a curls and script style fonts as I felt they could be distracting of the work I am trying to display. My choice of masthead will differ depending on the style of the cover. However I am leaning towards a simplistic design that will allow focus on the front cover image.

Cover Design and Developement

Cover Research Here is a breakdown of some of the ‘New Visual Language’ publication: During research I read many books on layout, one of them being Chris Frosts – Designing for newspapers and magazines. The book contained guidance on how to produce attractive publications. It included how to tailor the publication to match the specified audience by the use of colour, text, placement, type and imagery, but also many of the dos and don’ts of publication design.

1. Must be clear and easy to read

2. Any facing pages should be design

3. Quick thumbnail sketches can giv

4. Placing the heading on a colour c

5. Make sure the heading doesn’t tak

6. Beneficial to ensure images have a

7. Experiment with page layout so th remember that the magazine is a

8. The smaller the point size the nar

9. Ensure fonts are complimentary o 10. Altered image shapes that aren’t 11. Using a ‘Master Page’ can ensure

12. Black on white text is the easiest

advice I will consider when creating visuals for my

ned as a pair

ve an idea of scale and composition

could lift the headline from the rest of the page

ke up too much space on the page

a caption

he publication does not become boring but “package�.

rrower your columns can be

or from the same family just square can add more drama to a page elements such as page numbers appear on all pages

t to read

Its Nice That Magazine

It’s Nice That is a publishing company that works in print, online and events. Their aim is to champion creativity across the art and design world. I am most interested in their quarterly magazine ‘Printed Pages’ and ‘The Annual’ which rounds up some of the most interesting design projects throughout the year. As well as discovering new talents and intriguing design work and projects the design of the magazine is what stood out to me. The layout is very clean, clear and organised. It has a modernistic feel whilst still retaining character through the experimentation with layout, images and colour. Hopefully If I was to create a modern look magazine I could use some these techniques to ensure the magazine looks clean and simple without becoming boring to a reader.

ID Magazine

I-D is a fashion, music, art and youth culture magazine founded in 1980 by Terry Jones. Created in the midst of street culture, postmodern design is reflected in the layout and imagery of the magazine. It was known for the innovatory type, the logo itself when tipped upside down revealing a winking smiley emoticon. This very playful approach is typical of the style of the magazine as most of the models on the cover also sport the ‘wink’ or have one eye hidden. There bold type and grabbing sentences on the cover grab attention and are enhanced by the dramatic editorial photography. This magazine has a lot of character but it is the use of imagery which I find most interesting. As for my previous projects the final pieces have been based around photography, the layout they use to create attention and focus on these images is a technique I could use on my own designs.

Types of Grids

I began to contemplate the use of the grid and whether to not even use one at all for my magazine. In the end I decided to use a grid to bring structure and order, as most of my work is quite delicate and photography based, I felt that having no grid may cause elements to look random and take away focus from the images themselves. Grid structure is often used in magazine design to create a consistent and organised layout throughout. When you open a document in a publishing program it prompts you to design your page from the outside in. However when experimenting with grids myself I created a single column grid and then experimented with margins and columns in the ‘create guides’ tool box to then apply to the master page once I was satisfied with the grid I had created. For my magazine I am going to use a modular grid that was frequently used by modernist designers such as Joseph Muller Brockmann. I have chosen this style of grid because I have a lot of photography to include in my project. A modular grid would allow me to experiment more with the sizing and position of these images to make sure the magazine does not become dull. Although this is the grid style I have chosen to adopt, I did look at other forms of grids and their benefits. Multicolumn Grids – A multicolumn grid is a very simple grid format to achieve. Not all the space needs to be filled with a multicolumn grid you can have text spanning across just two columns or three depending on the amount columns you choose to create. The more columns you create the more flexible your grid will become. This is because columns can become dependent on each other, text or imagery can spread across a number of columns allowing for elements with varying widths to stretch out across the grid. This makes the grid flexible when organising information on the page. However, if the columns are too wide or narrow text may become difficult to read. Due to this feature of the grid, you can create hierarchy within the page by placing information into a separate column or with create

use of image size. This type of grid can also work well for discontinuous information to be presented. Modular grid – The modular grid has both horizontal and vertical guidelines, they allow placement and cropping of images within the grid structure as well as text and were highly respected by designers of Swiss modernist design such as Emil Ruder. Modular grids can be useful for more complex projects that need more control. Similar to the column grid, information can be spread across a series of modules and the more modules you create the more flexible your grid structure will be but could also become very confusing to work with. In addition modular grids present information across of a variety of forms whilst still remaining consistent, therefore many large publishing companies use them to maintain a ‘brand’ or ‘style’. The rule of thirds – The rule of thirds is a grid commonly used by photographers, where an image is split into 9 equal sections and the main focus of the images is placed where the lines intersect to draw focus to that element on the page. Baseline Grid – a baseline grid helps create a rhythm to the layout and it helps scale and position type on a page by letting you align the text an imagery to the baseline grid. This makes the page look more interesting. This form of grid can also be used in conjunction with another grid such as a modular grid to ensure consistency and precision. But also save time on trying to position the text correctly manually.

InDesign Tutorials

As I have never worked with magazine design, grids or Adobe Indesign I used tutorial site to help me get to grips with some of the basics. Through these tutorials I was shown how to set up a document, create grids, margins, bleeds, how to work with full bleed images and placing and positing text into the document. Even how to export the file as an PDF ready for Issuu. These set of tutorials were extremely useful in helping me get used to working with the program and I will be able to apply what I have learnt into the magazine design. I also looked at other tutorials based around hints and tips, such as turning on H+J violations to make sure justified text looks good.

Thumbnail Designs for cover

For the next step of the project I began drawing rough thumbnail sketches of possible front cover layouts, trying to incorporate images from my previous projects on the cover. These will give a sense of scale and then a grid can be added as I experiment with the designs on the computer.

Rough Thumbnail Sketches

Use of the grid/digital cover experiments

When designing digital versions for my cover design I wanted to make use of white space, to give a clean modern feel that puts focus on the images. Over the next few pages I have experimented with various layout options, the square form and overlaying of text and image, using material from my previous studio project – Street graphics, Cabinet of curiosity and Earth Artefact. At the minute I am leaning towards the designs which have a transparent feel/overlay to the images, very central clean, modern with sans serif text. As this design is easily transformed by colour and shape size to look and fit in well with any form of image. The next step is see how this feature can be brought across the inner pages without becoming to repetitive.

Refining the cover

After I completed my thumbnails, I asked a few people to comment back and see their opinions/favourites that stood out them. I got varied results; some loved the use of white space, whereas others preferred a full bleed image to take place on the cover. The most common result I found was that they all liked the use of my street graphics project on the cover. Therefore I decided to work and develop on the image to create a magazine cover. One of the remarks I received from feedback was that for a magazine they would like to know what was inside before they opened it up. So I tried to create the list of contents I had designed on other covers onto this one. The bottom space seemed a perfect position for this text to go. I had difficulty finding a colour for the text to stand out but didn’t want to cross over the image as it is the main focus of the magazine. Therefore I reused the transparent coloured box to provide a background for the text and help it stand out, without obstructing the image too much. In addition the position of the masthead then became problematic as I had taken up the space where it had originally been placed. However this actually worked out for the better, I remember from looking up tips of magazine design that it is best to place the masthead at the top of the cover so it easy to read for customers. There was a gap in the top right hand corner that had just the right amount of space. After reading many various layout books, they talked about hierarchy, hopefully my cover shows how I have tried to experiment with the hierarchy of text by using different sized font and a slight difference in the style. In the end I chose a more traditional font – Sans serif, as it is easy to read, gives a classic feel that contrasts with the modern photography work. Hopefully I will continue to develop this style inside of the magazine to produce a consistent design.

Inner Pages Design and Development

One of the aspects we were asked to create was the contents page. Often this can be overlooked in a publication as the boring section but I looked at some examples where designers have used imagery, colour and layout to create an interesting contents page that captures the eye. In addition I also looked at inspiration for layout pages for each spread.

Magazine Content Plan

Magazine Plan/Contents I began to draw up a plan for the final magazine, reviewing each of my projects and deciding what I want to include form each project, drawing up layout designs for the inner pages, to get an idea of how many pages I wish to dedicate for each project. At the minute I feel I should dedicate the majority of my work from the street graphics project as I feel it has been my strongest project so far and showcases my experimentation.

Street Graphics Project What I want to include Collages Photographs of Decay in Huddersfield Final Installation Text I want to include Introduction to the project/what it is all about Kurt Schwitters inspiration collages All about the final installation, themes etc Cabinet Project What I want to include: Installation Photographs The making of the paper tree Text I want to include: Introduction Article about my ideas for the project the child’s mind as a cabinet of curiosity – themes I wanted to represent/diorama

Earth Artefact What I want to include Braille experiments Gesture photography Text I want to include: The brief – what the original project was and how I wanted to go about recreatingit Communication, language and gesture What makes us human

Type Transcription What I want to include Shadow Type experiment Final typeface creation Text I want to include My experiments with 3d type/sketch book El Lissitsky and how she inspired my type face

Manifesto What I want to include My Final Manifesto Text I want to include About the making/decisions behind the manifesto

From this plan I have gained an idea of which projects will take main stage in the magazine and require a larger number of pages to showcase the work. So far both Street graphics and Cabinet contain the most, whilst my manifesto may only take up a double page spread. From this I then began to create thumbnails of possible page layouts for each project and form the basis/articles of text that would be set on the pages.

Inner Page Thumnails I created some thumbnail designs for the inner pages of the magazine, however these may differ once I began working with the images, text and composition on InDesign as a different layout could look better in an alternative format.

Final Magazine

Over the next few pages I have pasted the digital thumbnails for my inner pages as they are in the Final Magazine for New Visual Language. Overall i wanted to keep the layout very structerd and simple, experimenting with different images sizes and bleeds since these are the main focus of the magazine.

New Visual Language Research Document  

Hudgraphic, Modernism, 2014, Sophie Strain

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