While reading Helen Armstrong, Graphic Design Theory. I really got inspired by the definition of “Theory “which is questioning “why”. I believe as a designer we basically ask ourselves why it works. Why is this design attractive and by asking out selves why? We learn from our mistakes and we basically start looking for inspiration. I also remember in one of my typography design we were required to design a book cover, after doing the first draft we had to stop and look and ask why?. I also liked how she expressed the process of being a designer is on focusing on the “How”. It’s true after we know “why” we usually think about the “How”. Like for example how to use to this certain design or how to use the software. When we know the “How” by that it impacts use as designer to become better and more inspiring.
Another thing that inspired me while reading Graphic design theory, I Liked the quote that “In the early 1900” As graphic design took shape as a profession, the ideal of objectivity replaced that of subjectivity”. I think this quote is a lesson for contemporary designer. It teaches that not because it feels good that it has to be right. And I think that that’s how designers are being taught. I remember in one of my communication design class I was so determined to use a script font because I thought that it was nice. However, after doing the project it was not nice. Then I learned that not because it subjective doesn’t mean its objective.
In the reading Ellen Lupton & J. Abbott Miller, Counting Sheep, Period Styles, Language of Dreams and Language of Vision from Design Writing Research: Writing on Graphic Design. We as contemporary designer we learn from books from ancient history. Like for example Period style, Greek history. We designers learned from them. We learned that a group of horizontal lines equal to a paragraph. we also learned all basic principles of typography from ancient Greek.
Without the old writing and printing techniques, Graphic design wouldn’t have become modern and contemporary designers became inspiring.
After having read both of the texts I was able to gain insight on inspirations old designers had and how they incorporated old ideas into their modern works. Before I get into that I have to say when I was reading Helen Armstrong, Introduction: Revisiting the Avant-Garde from Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field, all I could think was wow this is pretentious after reading it over 2-4 times I was able to understand it. An example of this is during this quote:
“Out of this recent push toward authorship, new collective voices hearken
ing back to the avant-garde are emerging. As a result of technology, content generation by individuals has never been easier. (Consider the popularity of
the diy and the “Free Culture” movements.) As more and more designers,along with the rest of the general population, become initiators and producers of content, a leveling is occurring. A new kind of collective voice, more anonymous than individual, is beginning to emerge.”
This is a lot just to say technology makes it easy for anyone to easily and anonymously create content I know that authors probably have to be very articulate to please their publishers but I feel like the overcompliacation of the writing would turn off a more casual reader who might be interested in the topics being discussed , alright rant over.
To answer one of the questions given contemporary designers should always keep a close eye to archaic techniques because nothing in design in original everything is stolen unless you were the one to create it. All design finds its roots in not just inspiration but taking what’s inspired you and expanding on it and making it your own. We can look at the font styling of Counting Sheep in the text, images are put as a visual for the reader to better understand their use as a numerical value which i’m sure the original designers of the symbols or tallies did not plan for them to be used this way but that’s what happens when we incorporated whats already been made into our modern works.
The visuals in Counting Sheep are not only aesthetically interesting from a designs stand point but also just as eye candy while reading the passage itself. When I was reading both the passages Counting Sheep was much easier to read despite being longer because it has those symbols as little distractions to break the long blocks of text. They served not only as an aesthetic distraction but a functional one this is an advantage of using archaic techniques they can always be reworked and reused to solve modern problems, not all problems need new answers to resolve them some are just hidden in plain sight.
In the readings, “Graphic Design Theory” by Helen Armstrong and “Counting Sheep, Period Styles, Language of Dreams and Language of Vision” by Ellen Lupton & J. Abbott Miller, I learned by communicating your art to the world, it leaves an impact on how one perceives and interprets things thus putting it into our own work. I also learned that without the basic infrastructure of archaic writing, we would not have our own version of writing since we were influenced by archaic writing. Before reading “Graphic Design Theory,” by Helen Armstrong, I knew that art was a communication device and we use it to communicate to others by making posters, ads, etc. After this reading, I learned that we as designers have a large impact on audiences, due to the fact that we are putting visual content out there. Designers who have this platform are creating content to send awareness to show what is happening in the world, thus making a new collective voice which then creates a new level that occurs.
In “Counting Sheep, Period Styles, Language of Dreams and Language of Vision” by Ellen Lupton & J. Abbott Miller, they talk about the origins of archaic writing and how it then develops into something that we use to this day, in design and in writing. One thing I found interesting was that in 260 BC, there was a librarian, Aristophanes, who designed a greek punctuation system. This system consisted of the comma, colon, and periodos, which back then was used to be used for cues for reading out loud. Today the function of this system is used differently, for example we use it for structure and not for the spoken sound. Another thing that I found interesting was that the scripts are what we use today. For example, the carolingian minuscule was the gothic font. In different countries, many fonts were changing due to what was in demand at the time for display advertising. This has happened to the bold face fonts, “when advertising created a demand for big, black types.”
Once in awhile, we can look back at the origins of design and see how far design has come. As designers, we must adapt to the changes that occur in modern design. It is very important to adapt, because ideas are constantly changing as well as styles. As time goes by we continue to change designs as new ideas and theories are made.
By reading both texts, one made by Armstrong and the other by Ellen Lupton & J. Abbott Miller, I was able to comprehend more about communication design and what comes before that, which is theory. Theory is based on why this or that? And the process of becoming a designer is based on how? Since the process is bigger and it is required to learn new things such as technological software, methods and more in order to really understand what is communication design and how to become a designer. Reading theory helps designers to grow and change their own work.
Rudimentary communication methods are relevant for contemporary information systems because they are the basis of communication with its principles and without it, communication would not be able to be understandable. They are the foundation of communication that comes from years ago when many artists started to implement it on their artworks. That’s why in this time, in this moment, in 2020, there are still traces from the past artists and past methods which make design today not completely original. Without knowing the theory from old times to create what’s today communication design, designers would not be able to comprehend what they are actually doing. Each one of the designers have a different idea of how to design their work which eventually goes back and takes a minimal piece of an older artwork and makes it different as how different is the movement of modernism and the bauhaus school time or how different is the work of Paul Rand and Lissitzky.
Contemporary designers should concern themselves with archaic writing, counting, or printing techniques because they are the guidance of the modern time of how communication design should be handled. They are the builders and fundamentals of what communication design is. With all these theories and designs which are models for designers, they will be able to implement new techniques on their works and evolutionate the future of communication design. Interpretation and perception should be on any design made because there will always be a meaning on why the designer did this or that, the artwork should tell what’s behind and capture the senses used to put information together and create a social impact. There is also what is behind the typography used to make artworks such as what the book by Lupton & Miller says about counting Sheep, Period Styles, Language of Dreams and Language of Vision from Design Writing. This reading talks about the past languages such as roman, greek which are in capital letters and therefore hard to read, and more languages, this book gives a description of many languages and different ways to communicate. It also talks about how primitive icons were used in order to communicate with others. This makes people think about the linguistics and type used in design. I also learn that the whole body can become a set of symbols for representing numbers. Abacus was used for counting and computing in ancient Greece and Rome and more.
New ideas come from objectivity and subjectivity and it also comes from the little small creation to the more expressive one. The subjectivity of design decisions are based on the customer needs, own ideas, concerns with social realities that are driven by human preference. With this, viewers are able to perceive the artwork and express themselves inside it. Objectivity describes art’s role and what’s behind it. It represents the physical aspect of the piece of artwork. New ideas come when you see other designers artworks, then you start to think what can you do to make a change? What can you do to make it different? What is the meaning of it?. In the text, “Artists had to detach emotionally from their work in favor of a more rational and universal approach” this quote enhances designers to progress more and more to get away from their emotions and go away to gain the universe.
What Helen Armstrong, Ellen Lupton, and J. Abbott Miller, were all trying to explain in their readings was how Graphic design came to be and why it is important to look back at what lead to it becoming such a complex part of society. Learning about how far people have come in graphic design from ancient writings, counting, and printing techniques is just another example of how people have progressively evolved in our ability to invent things and improve them. Back then design was almost an afterthought, what ancient people thought of first was the message along with a way to jot down said message, they wanted a way to record a specific thing, be it a name, year, or story, etc.
As designers we tend to often forget that these ancient practices still influence the way we design today. For one, our designs and their recordings share the same purpose, to convey a message. Not to mention many of the fonts used in typography hail from ancient typefaces such as, Garamond, Blackletter, Calibri, and even Helvetica. Using illustrations is an even older practice that can be dated back to cave paintings when ancient people used pictographs to record their lives and beliefs. The term ‘Graphic Design’ wasn’t even coined until the 20th century.
It is always good to be able to look back in the history of design and acknowledge it. It allows for us to understand things we could of forgotten, like the purposes or importance of certain elements. It is a refresher to go back to the very basics of design for it has grown so large and complex that it can sometimes become frustrating for aspiring designers. It can also work as a form of inspiration, perhaps an ancient design can inspire a modern idea, but it can also inspire in the way it shows how people have adapted throughout the years to the changes brought up by society. If people then could make a design that allowed for them to convey what they wanted, so can you. You too can adapt.
Throughout history design has had one main function which is communicating a message. How this message is communicated has changed over the years and is also dependent on the culture it is made for. From reading Graphic Design Theory by Helen Armstrong, design is more than just creating something that is aesthetically pleasing, but it is something that helps shape our society. Before reading this chapter what I knew about design was that I had to solve a problem and know how to organize information and create something out of it. To my surprise that isn’t the case. From what Armstrong taught me, as designers we have a social responsibility since we are actively engaging with the public through our work. Advertisements, posters, and logos are just a few of the things we design that interact with people. According to Armstrong, “ Designers are actively engaging their societies politically and culturally, increasingly thinking globally inside a tightly networked world.” This specific part started making me think about how design not only changes over time but changes based on what is currently happening in society. Especially today in our society we are facing many issues such as climate change and politics. It is events like these that impact how we design and the messages that we send out into the world. You also see this happening in the past as well like many art movements for example, Abstract expressionism which emerged after World War two. This is how new design strategies are made, by looking at the past and seeing what has been already done we can create something new as society continues to evolve.
Counting Sheep, Period Styles, Language of Dreams and Language of Vision by Ellen Lupton & J. Abbott Miller also explores the idea of communication in design and how it has evolved over time. From the number of art history classes that I have taken I have never come across the idea of archaic writing. From reading Counting Sheep design has played a huge role in how people used to count back then. For example, according to the reading “Groups on a tally stick might be indicated with larger or smaller cuts, or straight lines and diagonals.” The simple design of a few lines and diagonals show how there is a relationship between a symbol and the meaning behind it. The symbol sometimes isn’t the exact representation of the item but we know what item it represents. We see this pattern evolving throughout many different civilizations and eventually creating a language based on symbols. Even today in our modern society we still see this. For example, emojis are symbols that we use while texting and the meaning behind them is universally known. This reading made me consider how this translates to other things in design and the first thing I thought of was logos. We design logos to represent a brand but broken down a logo is just a symbol. One of the most popular logos that everyone knows is Target. It’s simply two red circles that represent a target and this symbol is something that everyone knows the meaning of but most importantly is associated with the brand Target. As a designer knowing what archaic writing and counting principles are you get a better understanding of what symbols are and how they are a part of language.
As a designer, understanding the history of design is important and especially when it comes to the style of how people wrote back then. While reading Period Styles I came across many interesting things, such as how early Greek and Latin were written with no space in between and in all caps. This brought me back to my typography class where the first thing I learned was to never use all caps for body copy. I was shocked and surprised to see how far writing has evolved over time with the introduction to paragraphs, commas, colons, and even periods. All of these small things that we now take for granted not knowing how these did not exist at one point. It definitely made me appreciate them more because it not only makes reading and writing easier but, it makes me wonder if there might be more change to language in the future or maybe there already has been a change and we just aren’t aware of it.
Before reading the passage by Helen Armstrong, “Introduction: Revisiting the Avant-Garde from Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field” I told myself, what is the point in theory in graphic design anyway? I mean isn’t the whole point of graphic design creating things about communication messages? So, what theories are there to make in graphic design and why some people make them? After reading the passage I could see what they were talking about. The part where they explain that design is a social activity is true. When we create our designs I think we want to gain recognition from the public eye such as, “Hey, this is such and such work!” Other times well-known publishers might want to use your designs as inspiration or showing-off in their exhibitions or what have you. I know if I create a design I want to share with others to see. However, the part where it says design is visible yet invisible, unacknowledged and unnoticeable I don’t think it’s true. Often times whenever I’m outside going somewhere some people take time out of their day and notice and acknowledge the designs that are out in public. For example, people going to museums or exhibitions it shows design is not invisible, unacknowledged and unnoticeable.
Another part I loved about the passage is when they mentioned El Lissitzky had an influence on people in the 20th century. Here in the 21st century his designs have influenced some people I know. My high school art teacher became an art teacher due to being inspired by El Lissitzky’s work. She read his books, visit museums that show cased his art and she even once tried imitating his art style. One part that got me most was, “Designers read about design in order to stimulate growth and change in their own work.” I can relate to that 100%. When I first started drawing my art style was out of proportion. I didn’t necessarily just read about design to change my art style but mainly looked at other designer’s art style for inspiration. My art work has improved over the years because of that method.
Now that I have read “Counting Sheep, Period Styles, Language of Dreams and Language of Vision from Design Writing Research: Writing on Graphic Design” by Ellen Lupton & J. Abbott Miller my head hurts after reading period styles. I like how they explain there are numerous ways to count and write down numbers. Another thing that interested me was the way they executed symbols for some words such as showing foot prints instead of saying the word footprint. For the Period Styles the way the wording wasn’t spaced out and all capitals made my brain hurt. For Modern Hieroglyphs, like with the beginning part of this passage I love how they executed symbols for some words. What facts or details from these texts provoke ideas for developing new design strategies? Well, this is a theory but I think it comes down to how people do certain things differently and study each other is how developing new design strategies come to play.
In order to go more in depth in graphic design, everyone starts at the basics to understand what has been done. This helps to send us on a path to understand the best ways to do things and what could possibly be done better. It also gives us the advantage to not make the same mistakes without having a better outcome. It was interesting to read in the excerpt from Design writing research, “Writing commonly described as an inferior, secondary copy of the immediate, intuitive spoken word;” This makes sense in the way that if you can not do the basic, which would be speaking, then what are you going to write down? Since we have turned into a technology filled world, we are forgetting how to do basic things because we rely on technology to do it for us.
Us as designers, have to understand the long line of where we came from. To know the long line of why we are taught what we are taught today. All art from before our time still exists today. If we understand what they did, then we can use it as a reference to bring back in a variety of ways. we don’t doubt the skills that are being taught to us. As stated in Helen Armstrong’s Graphic Design Theory: Reading from the field, “As graphic Design took shape as a profession, the ideal of objectivity replaced that of subjectivity.” Which is why teachers are teaching graphic designers how to think with hard facts but convey emotion for the consumers without taking into account our personal feelings.
I thought it was absolutely genius, within the excerpt Design writing research, to explain the change in writing over time meanwhile the passage itself is being depicted in that manner. The physical appearance of the chapter itself expressed to me that you do not need both a picture and writing to express something but actually unity them together.
Adaptability is important. It can benefit you to possibly get a job. Rather than giving that job to others that were taught to be working robots of limitations. It is key to always be aware of what is going on today and tomorrow at the same time. If you adapt to the world around you, you understand the peoples interests and the way they speak so that you can communicate on their level depending on your target audience. This provokes ideas for developing new design strategies because it gives us more freedom to communication informally and have fun.