COMD3504 - Section OL10 - Spring 2021

Author: Ka Sin Cheung (Page 1 of 2)

Rough Ideas

abumiz. “Edward Said On Orientalism.” YouTube, YouTube, 28 Oct. 2012,

Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Matthew Desmond. The Racial Order. The University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Stoll, Julia. “U.S.: Race of Oscar Winning Directors 2019.” Statista, 4 May 2021,

tpiper. “Dove Evolution.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Oct. 2006,

Assignment 11

According to Heller, mainstream design and underground design is being described as what Arzensek said in Underground vs Mainstream Cultural production. Arzensek said “Mainstream culture is one whose values, language, and ways of behaving are imposed on a subordinate culture or cultures through economic or political power. (Arzensek 2) and “Underground movement, A culture in which the values expressed and promoted are in potential or actual opposition to those of the dominant culture, sometimes amounting to a wholesale rejection of that culture.” (Arzensek 2). Under both author’s words, mainstream design is a type of design that would use the majority taste of language, behavior, and culture to grab the attention of the audience. Meanwhile, underground design is the opposite of mainstream design. Underground design is using something that’s not very well known and considered new. However, mainstream design is considered as the category of designs under branches of underground design. It’s because every style that comes up in the market is started as underground, and it would take their breed of followers throughout the period of time. Some underground designs would succeed. It will dominate the market, and turn to be the taste of the majority. However, when certain mainstream designs stay for too long, they will become a standard. People will get bored, and they will explore something new, and they will look for underground design again, the process will repeat. So I would say that mainstream and underground design is a cycle of design. 

I think my final project would be about the taste of aesthetic changes throughout 150 years. It would focus on what is the taste before, how it changes, why it changes, and what is the taste now. Also in how the changing in taste changes design and how it changes people. 

I have read a chapter from The Racial Order. It was chapter 8, Desmond & Emirbayer-Aesthetics. It’s about how colonialism and imperialism provide an idea of European Orientalism (It’s from a film called Edward Said on Orientalism ) and developed the idea of white supremacy. And how “white” turned out to be the mainstream design. Such as the paintings from the 1800s are always spotlighting the white painting such as “Jean-Leon Gerome’s The Great Bath at Bursa”, photographs are only picturing the white, how luxury brands are using white models, how cosmetics companies are promoting white skin tone as beauty, how Hollywood only accept actors that are white and only sponsor movies that are using white actors as the main character. However, the underground design kicks in, people stand up for their culture. And it changed the taste of society. There was pop music, hip-hop, colored people started to be the cover of magazines, posters…etc. Like how it changes society around throughout generations. 

Film: Edward Said on Orientalism 

Emirbayer, Mustafa, and Matthew Desmond. The Racial Order. The University of Chicago Press, 2015. Arzenšek, Martin, and Dr. Arjo Klamer. “UNDERGROUND VS. MAINSTREAM CULTURAL PRODUCTION- VALORIZING THE UNDERGROUND AND ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH ON UNDERGROUND ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC MOVEMENT.” Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, June 2016, p. 39,

Assignment 7

According to what McLuhan wrote in chapter one in “Understanding Media”, McLuhan pointed out that a medium is always under another medium. The example that he gave was “a contenting of writing can be a speech, a written word is the content of print and print is the content of telegraph”. It’s because there are a lot of ways to spread ideas and information under the technologies that we have. Also note that there are a lot of mediums, and ways of medium shows. This process sharpens the gaps between generations.

Ageism became a problem in our society. The media is more important than the content itself. It’s because under the medium that information locates, it can filter who can read the information. For example having printed versions of newspapers, mainly elder would buy and read through it when they are on the subway or bus. On the other hand, if the news was an online version, then more young people would get this information on their phones compared to the elderly.

Moreover, the time and the packaging of the information are the keys to spread information. For example, watching a newscast isn’t as emotional and conversational as a TV show that broadcast the same crime or event. People would likely talk about it, more people would bring up the problem. And this message would be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all kinds of social media. It’s great that we have all this information online and easily get it. Although we can get information quickly and easily we wouldn’t know or make sure that what we are looking for is the truth or the whole story. Often we lose the truth from what we are looking at online, and the phenomenon turns out what we often say today “fake news”.

Assignment #6

In Jan Tschihold’s word, typography has changed throughout generations. In the old days, typography was mainly about “beauty. Typographers would add adornment and additional decorations to make it beautiful. For example, center the type, using different typefaces and type sizes, other design elements like blocks of color…etc. However, today’s typography was different from what typography was in the old days. Typography today is about clarity and not beauty. This means typefaces and sizes are being limited, simple design elements with no additions ornament. And, of course, it’s being played off with readability and legibility. 

Clarity, readability and legibility in typography have been much more emphasized under what Karl Gerstner said. In Design Programs 1964, Karl Gerstner developed a program called the morphological box. The morphological box was a box that guides the sizes, columns and alignments with tiny little boxes that interact with each other. Under this box, designers could quickly know the proportion and keep the consistency with contrast. In Karl Gerstner’s word, typography was a board game. This means there are many ways of solving problems; in this case, the problem is to clarify the text. For example, reading direction, letter spacing, weights, and all these elements make the text more readable and legible. However, that doesn’t mean that it works every time. Typographers are here to experiment on making things work and pick the one that best fits the solution. 

On the other hand, Muller Brockmann pushed the idea of Karl Gerstner’s morphological box, and he simplified the grid. I would say Muller Brockmann pushed the concept of the grid by a mathematical approach. It’s because by looking at the grid, he was dividing a piece of paper by proportion in a precise way. He also explains that if we divide it like this, it can determine where the text should locate, what sizes of the text should be, where the color goes to, and what spaces are being left with. From what Muller Brockmann did and how he explains it, I think Muller Brockmann was making a mathematical theory toward posters or any kind of printed works. It’s because what he approached can be replicated in any type of work. For example, make proportional guidelines out of a book, a poster, magazines …etc. These rules can be applied everywhere, like a mathematical theory that would work every single time. And when it’s being applied, structure and orientation will be formed.

Assignment 4

According to the author, Walter Gropius, art isn’t something that can be fully developed in school or any kind of learning. Since school is here to teach you formats, rules, and techniques. Not the creativities and ideas. For example, the school will teach you what are primary colors, secondary colors, and metallic colors. Some rules would tell you what color mix with what color will create a certain sense of feelings. Yes, and it’s something that you need to know before you start to create your art pieces. But art is not fully following the rule. Is about how you use these concepts in your ideas. If every art student got out of school, and follow the rules and formats that they learned in school. It will create repetition of “art”, and these pieces of art don’t count as art. It’s more toward programs, the mathematical sense…etc. Designers can’t learn art totally in school, they need experience and research. For example, research a company or activities before you start the art. Or maybe have a trial, or experience of it.

Typography is another way to communicate with people. It’s a strong way to communicate with people since typography can deliver information quickly and efficiently. It will cause less misunderstanding compared to a picture or art itself. Typography is a way to make language visible. Typography has risen when the technologies are being more developed. As it rises, more typefaces are being developed. Typography is about readability and legibility. Most of the time typography is playing with missing words, consciousness, and impression of words to create curiosity in people. And the use of this curiosity in people to finish reading of the information that you wanted to deliver or provided.

However, only having typography isn’t having much fun. Since it’s playing off with positioning, colors, and typefaces. So Typophoto is being developed. Typophoto is typography with photos. Which is something that we often see and use today. Typophoto can create better visuals compared to typography itself.

Assignment 3

According to the articles that I have read, designs are something with shapes, words, colors, and ideas. By the meaning of the design, it’s not randomly poured in elements. Designers have to learn tricks, techniques, and concepts before working on designs. But in different platforms or the medium of design stand, the design will act differently. The differences of mediums are constantly changing by generation. According to “Our Book ”, we don’t know what will be the next as medium or the trend of design will happen. For example, wheels to animal-drawn wheels, animal-drawn wheels to motors, and motors to airplanes. There’s a trend of what the world is making or inventing. In the text, they listed letterpress and they put question marks. And what they wrote below, they have a sense of what’s coming next, which is books and posters. They also know that there will be systems of how books and posters are going to be photomontage and type montage.

Not only that they know books, posters, and newspapers in our future. They also know that there will be technologies that help designers to produce their artworks. After they predict that they are going to have technologies in their future, they have different opinions toward how technologies will turn into the design in the future. In “Who We Are”, the author said that people would be turned lazy when more technologies are being developed. Since we have used our hands to create artworks before. Technology is an enemy to design because we can’t create something that is in our dreams or something random in our minds with technology. It’s because of this it will cause designers to have less creativity when they are using technology.

I think what they are saying is true. They said that art has stagnated. But I’m not sure if it’s caused by our technologies or not. Here are some of the words that the author said “The invention of easel pictures produced great works of art, but their effectiveness has been lost.” and “Yet in this present day and age we still have no new shape for the book as a body”. I agree with what they said, our books today aren’t changing as much as before. Before we changed books from full text into mixed text with pictures, changing it from animal skins to paper, handwritten text to print, and we also changed the fonts and placement of text throughout the generation. But today books aren’t changing as much as before. I’m not sure if that’s the technical problem or that the finished development of books or actual design is moving toward the end?

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