ARTH3311 Kyasia Brown February 8, 2017
The Creation of the Alphabet

I never knew that the world alphabet came from the Greek words alpha and beta up until today. The alphabet has gone through a lot of changes from it’s original form. It first began as a creation of the Phoenicians in 5,000 bc. The only flaw was the lack of consonants, but the alphabet was based on sounds and pronunciation rather than just images. This ease of access made the literacy rate rise. It was spread by traders and merchants during the dark age when writing and literacy dropped. The roman empire got their hands on the alphabet and added vowels, back then it was called Latin. Although it’s dead, English has it’s root in Latin and its influences are still around today. In Greece, more vowels were added and all of the letters were uppercase and it got its name as the alphabet. To reflect, the development of writing has its origins in Mesopotamia as pictures rather than words. The need for writing was needed to keep laws, records and record their myths.


Writing contributed to the creation of seals as visual identity. The Egyptians Book of The Dead was a narrative exploring the Egyptians death rituals and was the first printed book on papyrus, since the Egyptians knew clay tablets were too heavy to bring place to place. The usage of papyrus paper in Egyptmade the written pictorial word or hieroglyphics more accessible and it was easier to share and spread their culture. The Rosetta Stone which held the secret to deciphering hieroglyphics holds two languages—Egyptian and Greek. The first cave paintings were in Lasca in France created from red ocre for color. Art was made for ritual survival and utility(often depicting hunting and the buffalo, the most abundant animal used for food cand clothing), not expression like in the common era. During class, we also went over what a substrate is. It’s a material in which something is inscribed in. I guess for this era, this is the closest meaning of substrate. I use to think it meant the material on which something is printed on. Because they didn’t have printers, inscribed is the best word to use. Because the first four chapters of the book aren’t graphic design heavy, the professor made things interesting by introducing Vignelli. He designed in the Swiss Style and used bold colors with simple designs. He’s a renaissance man who not only designs logos but also furniture and clothing as well.


His work can be seen all over NYC specifically in the subway. Although his map design was edited to be accurate, his design sense is there. In other countries, one can find Vignelli’s map design reintegrated to fit the city. It’s interesting that he introduced trends that are suddenly popping back up in 2018 such as simple sleek designs. His motto was “If you can design one thing, you can design everything.” His motto can best be understood while viewing his work for MTA. The branding is extremly consistent throughout and deceptively simple, clean and easy to navigate. Although I’m not a huge fan of his work and have only heard of him last semester, one of his pieces that

ARTH3311 Kyasia Brown February 8, 2017 interested me most is that of his calandars. That style is a design I’ve seen in South Korean Season’s greetings for celebrities. The big bold numbers with a maximum of one bold color and monchrome colors such as black and white is is increasingly popular– and that’s in a completely different country with a different aesthetic and audience. His influence must be strong if it can surpass border and reach an audience who hasn’t even heard of him and thus be imitated makes him a successful designer.