Nirel Escalante – March 31st

Words to learn

etymology: the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

agglutination:  a mass or group formed by the union of separate elements.

phonemes: any of the abstract units of the phonetic system of a language that correspond to a set of similar speech sounds (such as the velar \k\ of cool and the palatal \k\ of keel) which are perceived to be a single distinctive sound in the language

ineffable: incapable of being expressed in words

ontology: a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being Ontology deals with abstract entities.

quasi: seemingly; apparently but not really.

tautological: A statement composed of simpler statements in such a way that it is logically true whether the simpler statements are factually true or false; for example, the statement Either it will rain tomorrow or it will not rain tomorrow.

polysemous: Having or characterized by many meanings, as the words play and table.

Needs Clarification: 

The Three Messages:

1st message is linguistic ; the captions, the labels. being inserted in the natural disposition of the scene In Western art history, ” en abyme “( is a formal technique of placing a copy of an image within itself, often in a way that suggests an infinitely recurring sequence.)

2nd message is the pure image ; provides various signs aka the signified (return from the market which is a signified itself that implies the freshness of the food and the preparation of the food to make a meal.) Another sign is the the tricolored foods (red, green, white)which are the signifiers, and Italy would be the signified.

3rd message is cultural, the composition of the vegetables and the can and spaghetti in the markey bag are composed in a manner that looks like a still life.






Nirel Escalante – March 24

This ad is for sephora introducing their “Identify as we” campaign commercial. The ad shows various people from various backgrounds including disabled , transgender, poc,  women, girls, boys , men and the LGBTQ community. While personally I found the commercial uplifting, inclusive and welcoming, a lot of people did not like it. At the end of the video it lists various pronouns, since pronouns are a topic of debate in society, the ad was seen as controversial.

This commercial for pepsi had a lot of people angry because they are clearly pandering to people of color, and activists yet they are not protesting anything in particular. They are using protesting as an aesthetic choice rather than to take a stance. Even worse, Kendall Jenner a white famous celebrity is the one to save the day by simply giving a cop a pepsi. It was a commercial posing itself to care about social justice issues and the fact that there was various people of color in the ad and Kendall a white famous privileged woman was the one to save the day was uncomfortable to a lot of people.

controversial nike ad

Nike launched an advert featuring the American quarterback Colin Kaepernick who at the time was known for protesting over the American national anthem during football games. He was trying to bring attention to the injustices that African Americans face.  The tag line  says “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”. I believe this ad was successful because it comes from a genuine person who did not do this for the purpose of the ad but out of his own actions.

Nirel Escalante – March 17

Marshall McLuhan stated “This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium—that is, of any extension of ourselves—result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves…” From my understanding, McLuhan is saying that the medium itself has a greater impact on the nature of society and culture than the message that is delivered through that medium. Media is an extension of human beings in that it has become an integral role in how we communicate and how it shapes the social and cultural structure of humanity itself. Take for example, facebook. Through facebook, you can communicate any message you want, but whatever you are communicating is not nearly as impactful as the platform itself. Not to take away the power that content can have, but compared to the medium as a whole, it is less impactful.

Although technology has streamlined communication, convenience, and manufacturing, there are some negative aspects to it as well. Technological progress often means than human workers get replaced with automation. Another downfall is that we are at a point in society where most technology is considered a necessity for day to day living. Not only that, it has changed the very fabric of our communication systems. Basically, we have become too dependent on technology. Marshall McLuhan states “Many people would be disposed to say that it was not the machine, but what one did with the machine, that was its meaning or message.” What he is saying is the way we send and receive messages is more important than the message itself. What I believe he is referring to is how in this modern age with advanced technology and forms of communication, we are no longer just consumers of media but we also became the producers. The fact that any ordinary person can be producers of content is a good thing, however a lot of people use it to spread hate, ignorance and false information.

Being a designer means being a part of what shapes and influences society. Design is everywhere in media, and we must use that to contribute the change we would like to see. We have a moral obligation to turn down spreading messages of hate and ignorance because the power we hold is bigger than we think.



Nirel Escalante – March 10th

According to Jan Tschichold, the way we should design should be from a logical approach. To design for clarity and function rather than just beauty. Jan Tschichold stated that the essence of the New Typography is clarity, as opposed to the old typography that prioritized beauty. Jan also talks about designing logically, and had a distaste for “central-axis type”. He felt that this way of setting type was illogical because of the “…stressed central parts from the beginning and end of the word sequences is not usually equal but constantly varies from line to line.” Jan also emphasized asymmetry as a better approach than symmetry because it allows more variety and expression. Overall I agree with Jan to this approach on good design. It is the job of the designer to translate the message through design as effectively as possible and that means editing out anything that isn’t relevant to the message to achieve a clear message.

Karl Gerstner emphasized that to solve a problem, you must be able to describe it. You must approach creative decisions intellectually as opposed to approaching it with feelings. Similar to Tschichold, he prefers to approach solutions with logic. He created the”the morphological box of the typogram”. It is basically a list of all the possible design elements to use. I could see myself using it in the future because I feel like it really helps to see the categories of design and the possible elements to use.

Josef Muller Brockmann is also very similar to Jan Tschichold and Karl Gerstner in that he favored a rational and ordered approach to design. He was a huge fan of the grid, believing that this was the form to achieve effective universal communication. He believes that an a professional level a designer’s work should be clearly intelligible, objective, functional and aesthetic quality that reflects mathematical thinking. Overall, I think that approaching design with logic and a system results in the most cohesive result especially in the field of communications, we must be objective in how we design and not approach it with feelings.

Nirel Escalante- February 25

The founder and first director of the Bauhaus was Walter Gropius. He developed his own theory and structure of what “The academy” or education on the topic of art should be. His main concern came from over abundant modern soul-less machine manufacturing that replaced the hand made artisanal objects. He was also concerned with art being less relevant in society which I believe he attributed that to technological advancements in society as well as how everything become so industrialized that the craftsmanship of what it used to take to make objects has left. Regardless of the negative outcomes of mass production he understood the benefits of it and wanted to use it in a way that gave it a bit more “soul”.  His aim was to reunite fine art and functional design as well as making them practical, giving objects the soul of the artist.

I agree with the Bauhaus approach to teaching art and design and several other design disciplines together as opposed to separately which was the more traditional way of doing it. Students also learned through apprenticeships which bring back the more traditional aspects that the Bauhaus was influenced from, the arts and crafts movement. This is one key aspect that I believe was a game changer fro students. Interacting with other people from their field, as well as apprenticing under a master in their field teaches you more than what an art school can.

The bauhaus movement was mainly about problem solving and experimenting. We can see that as well in Lazlo Maholy Nagy’s essay “The Typophoto”. He coined the term typophoto, and described it as visually the most exact rendering of communication possible. He came to predict the importance of the combination of words and images to communicate, the main practice in graphic design itself. Herbert Bayer predicted having access to information available and ready whenever needed, and also predicted that people will read and write less, possibly eliminating the need for books. Herbert Bayer was also interested in solving universal communication, and sought out to create a universal typography. Most Interestingly to me is when he talks about Square Span, which is the layout of words by putting them into thought groups of two or three short lines as opposed to reading a continuous horizontal sequence. There was an example of the square span and as I read it, I found it to be much easier to read. This goes to show that any form of communication can be improved upon.

Nirel Escalante- February 18

Based on the readings, I could see how  the rapid development of technology in the first couple of decades of the 20th century inspired so many ideas and movements. In all of the readings I could tell It was a time full of excitement towards the future where technology is emphasized and celebrated. Some possibilities I think that the authors of these texts envisioned are a world of efficiency, progress, speed and functionality that is available and economical for everyone.

In all of the readings I could see how artists either predicted or anticipated the art and design that would follow ahead of their time. For example,  In the Futurist Manifesto by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, his ideals emphasized speed, technology, industrialism and modernity as well as war. In the aspects of speed, technology and industrialism I agree with his enthusiasm, however he was speaking on these aspects in a way where he wanted to take advantage of the technological advancements for violence and war, which he viewed as purifying. In that aspect we can connect how men such as Filippo Tommaso in todays age can take technological achievements for greed, power, and violence which is seen in America with all the advanced military weapons at our disposal and how we can have our way because of that.

In regards to the Constructivist Manifesto by Aleksandr Rodchenko he also emphasized industrialization as well as functionality and economy. He emphasized these things because he wanted to use graphic design as a force that serves society. He cared a lot about social issues and encouraged the use of technology, design and industrialism to change society for the better. He viewed himself as an engineer and inventor as well as a designer. I think his ideal on what it means to be a designer is relevant today because we have all the tools at our disposal to be the inventors as well as the designers. We have the tools to implement change in society and be the communicators for our generation.

In  El Lissitzky, Our Book,  he too emphasized technological advancements. He actually predicted the continuing of the dematerialization of society. He noted as correspondence grew, the telephone came to be invented. As communication networks developed, the radio helped ease the burden. Dematerialization couldn’t be more relevant in todays society with the invention of the television, computer and internet. He also mentioned being disappointed with the development of the book, how it stays the same as other fields develop with more inventions. I think he would be pleased to know how far we’ve come from books and how much more accessible they are with the internet.

Nirel Escalante- February 11

In the reading given, “Course in General Linguistics” by Ferdinand de Saussure, I have learned the the many categories that the study of linguistics holds. Its a term that not only defines speech but all other forms of expression as well. Semiology is a science that students signs within society that is a part of social psychology. Language relates to semiology in the sense that it is a certain special system within semiological data.

I found the reading interesting because it really contemplates the meaning of language and specifies it down. I’ve learned that language is a system of signs which essentially is the union of meanings, sound and images. In comparison, linguistic signs are not abstractions, however they are socially and collectively approved. With that being said, symbols can communicate to larger audiences in that it goes beyond speech. A symbol must be able to communicate a simple meaning across various kinds of peoples, cultures, etc though it is impossible for a symbol to be completely universal. In America, we use a variety of symbols including emojis, bathroom signs, social media icons, and transportation to name a few.

Language, graphic communication and visual arts relate to each other in the fact that they are all systems of communication. These forms of communication have to adhere to the “correct” way of communicating according to the period that it is in so it makes sense and effectively communicates to that culture/ time period.


Nirel Escalante- February 4th

Based on the reading , I have gained an ever better perspective about how the history of graphic design plays a huge role in the evolution of it and how various design movements shaped the current era of emerging designers. From what I’ve gathered, the reason why rudimentary communication systems are relevant for contemporary information systems is because it is crucial as designers world wide to be reflective and critical of ourselves because it is the only way to move forward and continue the evolution of design. For that to happen, we must understand that every era had its issues which influenced that eras design movement. With each design movement come different ideas, issues to address, and technological advancements.

I find it interesting how now as designers we have kind of went back to the International Style movement, which are influenced by ideals of anonymity and is very programmatic system as well. This is due to the advancement of technology that makes it accessible for individuals designers or not, to produce content on various platforms. Now there are so many shared tools and resources out there that can hinder our creativity as designers. I also agree with the comparison of the International Style and what Dmitri Siegel’s term for where graphic designers fall now “Prosumerism” (simultaneous production and consumption). Because as designers we have a vast network of us and living in an era where we are connected more than ever , we are redefining universality which is an ideal that relates with the International Style- being able to detach emotionally from their work for a rational universal approach. At the same time designers of today do not adhere to strict design rules. The mass of work emerging from this new universality is a combination of many different styles, blurring a singular vision for what universality is.

The comparison between the International Style and Prosumerism also relates in that there is a restrictive element in our approach to design. For Designers today it is more about how we design- we all use the same software, tools, and technologies. This relates to why it is important as designers to concern ourselves with the history, writings and techniques of designers of the past because with the vast amount of people all creating with the same tools, programs and technology, content is bound to look the same and get boring. We always have to look for new ways to approach design and looking to the past is one way to do that.