Marla Laboy- March 24/April 14

“In the photograph-at least at the level of the literal message-the relationship of signifieds to signifiers is not one of “transformation” but of
“recording,” and the absence of a code clearly reinforces the myth of photographic “naturalness”: the scene is there, captured mechanically, not humanly (the mechanical is here a guarantee of objectivity).”

” The photograph, message without a code, must thus be opposed to the
drawing which, even when denoted, is a coded message.”

“When it comes to the “symbolic message,” the linguistic message no longer guides identification but interpretation, constituting a kind of vise which holds the connoted meanings from proliferating, whether towards excessively individual regions (it limits, that is to say, the projective power of the image) or towards dysphoric values.”

I had a difficult time understanding portions of this reading, however one thing I picked up on was how Ronald Barthes analyzed everything, including his own thoughts and analyzations of the image. My only question for our second written assignment is how deeply should we analyze our own chosen advertisement?

Marla Laboy – March 17

The media has become humanity’s main mass of communication, that is why in “Understanding Media”, Marshall McLuhan describes technology and media as extensions of man. The media has become our way of staying in touch with the world, everything we know is provided by it, even printed work have been digitized for easy access. In a way the media has made it possibly for the public to acquire information much more easily and quicker than what it used to be. Technology has also become a massive influence in how media has spread throughout the years, the better technology has become the better to access the media has become.

The growth of technology has allowed people to access the media on the go. Our phones today have become a tool for us to see media anywhere and at any time. If we need to research something our phones allows us to use the internet to do so, if we want to see the news our phones provide us with news outlets that we could watch. In a way technology has become humanity’s biggest innovation for this very reason. Today, society is very much dependent on technology and what is provided by the media. Technology has also become a way for artists and designers to spread their work worldwide, after all media is also including social media. Artists are very much dependent on social media today, it is one our biggest outlets when it comes showcasing our work.

This technological advancement isn’t perfect however, with every good thing comes something bad. As mentioned before, society has grown immensely dependent on technology and the media, so much so that if technology were to suddenly backfire or if media were to stop working we wouldn’t necessarily know what do. So much of our life revolves around these advancements that if it were to suddenly disappear or become harder to access society could potentially crumble. Not to mention artists who use it to showcase their work would have a hard time finding better ways to get recognized, how else can we show our work without social media? Is there something better than social media today to get recognized?


Marla Laboy – March 10th

According to Jan Tschichold, Karl Gerstner, and Josef Müller-Brockmann, one should design in anyway they find pleasing just as long as they sustain clarity within their design and follow some of the basic rules invented for design. Jan Tschichold discusses more on the use of clarity in “The New Typography” by stating, “The essence of the New Typography is clarity.- This utmost clarity is necessary today because of the manifold claims for our attention made by the extraordinary amount of print, which demands the greatest economy of expression.” He then compares how old typography, although clear in its message and readability, lacked the uniqueness and expression one could make with their design. In other words, designers could design their work as expressive as they find most pleasing, so long as they don’t forget that is should be clear and readable to the audience.

One should be careful with their design however, even though they could design much more freely than the old way of working, too much freedom can also be problematic. Therefor, Karl Gerstner and Josef Müller-Brockmann both discuss some basic rules they believe are essential to a designer’s work. For one, they both mention the use of a grid and seem to also agree in its use and function (I personally despise it, but then again typography was never my strongest skill). Karl Gerstner although mostly rambling about programmes and their solutions, says this about the grid, “Is the grid a programme? Let me put it more specifically: if the grid is considered as a proportional regulator, a system, it is a programme par excellence.- The grid looks complicated to anyone not knowing the key. For the initiate it is easy to use and (almost) inexhaustible as a programme.”

Josef Müller-Brockmann speaks about the grid in “Grid and Design Philosophy“, again the use of clarity is mentioned and he states that by using the grid to help with creating the design they will acquire clarity. The grid was designed to help designers design. “The use of the grid as an ordering system is the expression of a certain mental attitude inasmuch as it shows that the designer conceives his work in terms that are constructive and oriented to the future.- Working with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity. The use of the grid system implies the will to systematize, to clarify-,”

Marla Laboy – February 25th

The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, with one of the main objectives of the school being to re-imagine the world in a way in which they could unify all art forms. They didn’t want art to just be associated with painting and drawing, instead they wanted to rethink art by expanding their possibilities. This is where the idea of photography and typography being forms of art began to grow. The Bauhaus was known for combining the fine arts with design and craft.

What the art of the past lacked was the freedom to expand and express their art in comparison to how Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, and Herbert Bayer visualized art. They saw art past just painting and drawing, as well as the rule of ‘draw what you see’ which the majority of old art consisted of. Even the impressionism paintings were based on what the artist saw not what they thought or felt or even envisioned. All three saw a modern approach to art, one where they could break and bend the old rules to recreate new ones and all for other forms to be able to be seen as art. Walter Gropius was one of the founders of the Bauhaus who saw architecture as a form or art and design, László Moholy-Nagy talked about typography and its abilities, and Herbert Bayer talked about photography and its own capacity to produce works of art.

The Bauhaus was founded with the vision to create art in a modern world, “the academy” (The Bauhaus) was built in order to carry out this objective and teach students new ways of creating art and design so that they could then expand their own abilities. The Bauhaus was one of the first steps at the time into how art is viewed today. This is where the idea of elements were first explored, they taught the element of color, shape, form, space, things old art didn’t even consider to be part of art making, and this way of thinking is what has remained even to this day.

Marla Laboy – February 18th

Whenever there is an advancement it always allows for a growth to occur of productivity, especially when those advancements are relating to technology. Technological improvement often improves productivity, for example the invention of cars allowed for easier, more durable, and faster travel than what horse drawn carriages could manage. The same could be said for technological improvements that benefit artists and designers. For one, better technology meant that more art pieces and designs could be produced at faster rate and with better quality.

What these authors envisioned for the new century were new ideas and inspirations, and they were relatively right. The 20th century brought a lot of new styles like, Futurism, Constructivism (which two of the readings talk about; Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (1909) & Aleksandr Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, Aleksei Gan, Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group (c. 1922)), Cubism, and Expressionism. Artists began to explore more with their abilities, rather than try and paint or draw something realistically they instead exaggerated features or made them up from shapes or splotches. They began to express themselves more which wasn’t really seen in the previous century until about the end of it.

If we were to compare an advertisement piece from the 19th century to one of the 20th century, we’d see that a lot of 19th century art looked similar with realism and impressionism being common styles of the time. 20th century however shows how color and shapes began to be explored more. It was also the century in which objects were also being used to create pieces along with photography and other modern art forms.

Marla Laboy – February 11th

In Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics, Saussure define’s Linguistics not only as the study of language and human speech but also as the history of language, its influences, and developments. Semiology is the study of language as a whole. As people, being able to communicate is a big part of our existence thus, language, signs, and symbols are all just a part of human communication. As a matter of fact, we often try to communicate with things that can’t communicate the same way back like other animals such as dogs and cats or even inanimate objects. We evolved with ability to speak, later did were we able to do signs and create symbols to further enhance out communication

Signs could be anything from a hand gesture to an object whose sole purpose is to direct you to the bathroom. We use often use signs to guide us or direct us somewhere, or in other words ‘communicate’ to us towards what we want without needing someone else to tell us. Symbols are similar to signs in that they are meant to represent or allow you to understand something without someone else telling you, the only difference is that symbols are what ‘represent’ said thing. In other words a symbol can be part of a sign, they can be the little character or hieroglyph on a bathroom sign or a wet floor sign letting you know what the sign is saying by using an image to represent the words of text once again allowing for a form of communication.

Language, graphic communication and visual arts are all similar because they are able to communicate to people, the only difference being in the way they are doing it. For example, while language allows for verbal communication such as two people speaking to one another, visual art allows for images to do the communication while still being able to send the message to the viewer.


Marla Laboy – February 4th

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.