Our next reading will be a couple excerpts from Marshall McLuhan’s influential 1964 book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.
We’ll read the Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 7, all of which are included in the attached PDF: McLuhan_UnderstandingMedia_exc
Please consider the following questions, then as per our usual posts write 3-4 paragraphs considering related ideas:
In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan describes technology and media as “extensions of man.” How do media extend human beings, or humanity in general? What hazards might technological progress bring for individuals and society in the “electric age” or in the current age? If “the medium is the message,” what role can artists and designers play in creating new ideas?
Extra Credit Option:
Instead of this text, you may read Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore’s experimental book, The Medium is the Massage. You must obtain a hard copy of this book, as the layout is a critical piece of the text. If you choose to read this option, please consider and answer the same set of questions.
I believe Jan Tschichold makes a very important point about the change in Typography in Modern times. The separation in which Old Typography focuses on beauty while the New Typography focuses on “clarity” and purpose. The Typography we use now is meant to deliver a message clearly but also provide function. Though, the way he puts it, it’s as if the way the Old style Typography had no function.
Personally, I think the Old Style type was definitely meant to convey beauty. It ignores all the rules and theories we know of today but it works perfectly for the time it was made in. Most books that were printed around that time were biblical. Making the book extravagant, and nice to look at were made to convey the beauty of the deity they believed in. It wasn’t meant to communicate another human but something bigger than themselves.
In the second part of the article it says., “the typographer to express this relationship clearly and visibly through type sizes and weight, arrangement of lines, use of color, photography” All of these requirements are met in the Old Style Typography, but limited to the extent of the technology used.
In this design I tried to use the grid to create an organized creative use of type with some key terms from the reading. I found the grid to be an interesting way to work out text design by hand. There is a level of difficulty to this way of designing but it also gives you a feeling of organized freedom. With more time and practice this way of designing can be a strong and beneficial way to create layouts of typographic design.
Overall what I get from these three short excerpts is design should be more intellectual. It should be more system-like and constructive. Design must be deliberate and intentional and confirm to a set of rules. To these artists systemic design is directly related to modern design. According to Brockmann good design is based on “strict formal principles” it is direct and follows a certain pattern. He also says “Every visual creative work is a manifestation of the character of the designer. It is a reflection of his knowledge, his ability, and his mentality.” As we can see here, creativity, spontaneity, abstractness etc do not fit the criteria here. Good design is based on what the designer knows and his ability to execute it. This leads to a more logical design mindset. There is not much room for creativity or expression if there are such restrictions as this.
What I’ve noticed between Gerstner’s passage and Brockmann’s is that they both bring up the grid. They use the grid to represent the epitome of rational design. “Working with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity” says Mr. Muller. Though I don’t exactly know what universal validity means, I can estimate that it might mean widespread acceptance. Meaning that it can be understood by a huge number of people. Gerstner uses the grid as a plug in feature. It is made to gauge the amount of techniques to use in a confined area based on mathematical solutions. “The typographic grid is a proportional regulator for composition, tables, pictures, etc. It is a formal programme to accommodate x unknown items. The difficulty is: to find the balance, the maximum of conformity to a rule with the maximum of freedom” he explains. It is used to express the balance of logic and creativity.
To conclude, good design is based on logic, conformity and intentionality. It must be logical and follow a set system to make sense. Conform to existing laws and practices allowing it to be widely accepted socially. In addition must be intentional to show clarity. It gives clear direction and purpose to the piece displayed allowing it to be timeless.
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From what read about Jan Tshichold and his idea about how to make a great design using typography. For example, in article it states “The function of printed text is communication, emphasis (word value), and the logical sequence of the contents.” I believe that what he trying to say that to express the idea it has to make sense so the people can understand what the idea is. After all, it has to give one message because if people think something else that means the message didn’t make sense and could cause issue. Not only that he talk about how that sometimes the old ideas need to replace with new ideas to make a better design. The reason why is that art is like this because if doesn’t follow today time it needs to change to follow. After all, Jan Tshicold idea of a good design that it needs to communicated with people and if doesn’t make a new design that actually help to communicate.
According to Karl Gerstner work and idea about programs that it has be done very organized. In the article it states that “But it is precisely in drawing up the scheme, in striving for perfection, that the work really lies.” From what I read he trying to say that similar to art and that to programing it needs to be organized. Not only that he talks about the box where it shows four ideas but it also tell the steps on how to make it work. With this it can help be organized with work that help to created a great design. Also, that he talks about comparing to a program and a grid that it can help to be organized but he also stated that something it could be difficult to process it together. Karl Gerstner idea of a good designs that to very organized and try something because sometimes it can help or be difficult but that is the process in making a great design.
Lastly Josef Muller-Brockmann also talks about grids but he goes more in depth how it can help created a good design. When he talks about the grid he stated, “… the designer’s work should have the clearly intelligible, objective, functional, and aesthetic quality of mathematical thinking.” He goes in depth saying that the grid should follow all this steps so the grid can help in making a great design. Not only that in the end of the article he gives out six ideas that how the system works but helps gives idea how it can help. Josef talks more of the grid but gives more detail how the grid will help make a great design.
From the reading of Tschichold, Gerstner, and Müller-Brockmann, I learned that a good layout design constitutes a creative, appealing, and user interface aspects. It occurs that a design of a layout can be asymmetrical or symmetrical according to the purpose outlined for its use. Also, a designer should have intelligent in expressing a message most shortly and efficiently, functional, objective, and aesthetic quality (Müller-Brockmann 63). I understand the emphasis and scaling makes the layout design to hold the subject of interest to be communicated, such as placing in large icon than others.
Moreover, I gained the knowledge that the balance of the grid is essential in the page as it juggles different element in finding the harmony in their design. According to Gerstner, “the typography grid is a system that is used to regulate the composition and proportionality of pictures with tables to accommodate” the desired designs (61). Thus, I noticed that white space or negative space is an element that gives the eye the path through the designed layout. Therefore, my aspect of this design provides a balance on the positive and negative space to emerge initially.
Finally, I agree with Tschichold that each part of a text is in relation to other sections in a layout through a logical and definite connection of value and emphasis that is predetermined by content (37). Hence, it is the work of the designer or typographer to choose the expression such that the size and contour of the pictures would match perfectly with the weight and colors used. I feel that the asymmetry liveliness expression is a symbol of an evolving form of movement taking place to the diversity of unlimited variation in typography. Therefore, a layout should have the power to create a high expression to the audience, but it should be modified to fit the intended audience.