Design Inspiration – Drew Cyrus

In the 19th century (the Victorian era), there was a visual phenomenon that expanded on the variety and overuse of type. On posters, a galore of type would be crowded into the compositions of the posters; sans-serif, serif, gothic, modern types and all others that could be accessed would be stuck together on a vertical axis. As the industry grew, as well as the available type-faces and the demand of commerce, artistic evaluation (in terms of stylistic coherence and composition) was often disregarded, or went to little discuss, in the creation of these posters.

As seen by The Giant Horse of of Sinon, Astley’s Circus, 1833 (shown below), the chaotic use of type is present here. Along the sides of the image are the names of the acts and performers. Stylistically, there is a representation of the numerous acts that would occur during the night.


Although the variance of type feels dissonant, the composition does express the drama and energy one would imagine feeling at a circus, especially with the use of the color red for the type as well as the contrasts in the sizes and weight of the typefaces.

Today, we have the same use of type in variance, set up the same way composition-wise. In modern graphic designs, often times, numerous quotes willtypefaces be taken and split up into various type-faces. This example (sold by an online retailer), shows that the numerous forms of type actually create an effect of its own in the composition. The variance of type allows for each quote to attract attention individually.

At times, certain type-faces may be used to express contextual meaning of the selected quote as well. For example, a quote about being an ‘uncompromising spirit’ may use slab serif text to show boldness, sturdiness or  synonymous traits associated with the quote. In the image shown above, shape is created using negative space; the heart, that frames the word ‘Love’. In other designs, shape and image as well as the typeface used does high-light the contextual meaning of the quotes used. These modern graphic designs are clearly inspired by the 19th century type-face chaos, but the focus has become the overall image and the chaos of the composition.



Eskilson, Stephen F. Graphic Design: A New History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Print

Ecoart, (Image)

Design Inspiration- Phil Nguyen

zodiac-1896 81lhucylgel-_sy717_

From this blog post, I would like to discuss the influence of Art Noveau to the current design trend in the 21th century, especially from the poster from movie Thor: Ragnarok with the Zodiac by Alphonso Mucha in particular.

On the left side is the artwork “Zodiac” by Alphonso Mucha (1896). The artwork contains most of the significant characteristics of Art Noveau: the symmetrical composition, the dominant appearance of circular shapes, the big circle around the woman’s face implied the decorated halo surround her, inside the big circular contain smaller circle shapes with illustration of twelve zodiac signs and their symbols in monochrome, in contrast to the colorful, decorated circular shape of the whole design.

The main character is a young, beautiful Western woman who has painted with flat, monochrome color, without any suggestive of perspective, realistic anatomy or lighting source, heavily influenced by the Ukyo-e art movement imported from Japan.

In Art Nouveau, there are always a variety of shapes and circular as a decoration, and to divide these shape to make sure that the design looks consistent and viewer still be able to focus on critical part, Mucha used thick, black line surround the object, and it can clearly see in part like the woman silhouette.

Back to the current trend poster of Thor: Ragnarok has the lot of similar characteristics that are profoundly influenced by the Art Noveau movement: the strictly symmetrical composition, the use of thick line to separate object on the poster, as we can see from the halo behind the main character who was holding two swords. Black colors are carefully applied to keep the color composition and color value consistent. The designer was also thoughtfully added small detail as spaceships, two characters who fought at the low end of a poster, and the beautifully designed horn of the main villain of the movie. And lastly, one other similarity between two posters was the distance between hot and warm color at the background. The Mucha poster is graded from green to red and the opposite applied to the Thor poster.

Design Inspiration – Ehab Arafeh




Peter Behrens, AEG Turbine Factory, Assembly Hall, Berlin, 1908-9

Walter Gropius, Bauhaus buildings, Dessau, 1925-1926

In the image on the top we see the AEG Turbine Factory designed by Peter Behrens, a clear example of the reductive geometric style of Jugendstil art found in Germany post 1900. The building brings together many of the elements of Jugendstill style. The main element being the casting aside many of the decorative elements that saw prominence in the nineteenth century Germany and adopting a new bold approach where the beauty comes from the inherent form itself. In order to achieve this aesthetic celebrating form over decorative elements Behrens chose to have the building constructed from industrial materials only such as concrete, steel, and glass.  Moving onto the image on the bottom we now see Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus building. Looking at the design of this building it is easy to see how Gropius was inspired by Behrens’s AEG Turbine Factory. Much like the Jugendstil movement seen before the war Bauhaus sought to bring back the idea of the craftsmanship seen in medieval workshops and guilds and use that with elements of modern design to produce new functional designs for the modern industrial world. The design of the building is supposed to be aesthetically pleasing while simultaneously functional much like Behrens design. The Bauhaus building owes much of its’ monumental look to the same idea of the simplification of design leaving it exposed to highlight the modern materials used to construct it such as steel, reinforced concrete, and glass. Both buildings are attempting to send the same message of ushering in the modern world through design. The AEG Factory with its functional purpose to provide electricity, seen as the wave of the future, and Bauhaus with it ideas of simplification using geometric abstraction to highlight modern industrial materials to bring sophistication to the design of mass produced products.


Works Cited

Stephen J. Eskilson. Graphic Design: A New History, Second Edition. Yale University Press, 2012.


AEG Turbine Building

Creative Synesthesia – Absinthe Robette

privat-livemonts-absinthe-robette-art-nouveau-vintage-poster-1896Privat Livemont, Absinthe Robette, 1896

Many characteristics of the art nouveau style are present in this 1896 advertisement for Absinthe Robette. It’s expressive lines, forms, and colours work together to create an overall gentle and sensual feeling throughout the artwork. It is not solely a feeling this imagery brings to mind, but other senses such as taste, touch and smell can also be interpreted by drawing from the many characteristics shown in this piece. Taste is the most prominent sense I receive from this design. It is easy for me to associate the neutral colour tones and soft organic lines with the taste of something refreshing. The texture of the green background suggests the taste/sensation of carbonation. The expressive, organic line work in the background and around the border give off the feeling of a light spring breeze and the smell of wet grass. The contrast of the woman’s warm tones against the cool tones of the background provides me with the sensation of heat from the sun on a warm day.

Creative Synesthesia: Jane Avril


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec by Jane Avril is an Art nouveau lithography poster. As modernization becomes widely popular throughout Paris, posters were used as advertisements for the popular night spots and entertainers. Toulouse- Lautrec captured the life in Montmartre, a section of Paris devoted to entertainment. Through Expressionism, he captures the emotive energy that surrounds him during Art Nouveau Era. 

As this work connects with the scene of modernity. The emphasis on the outline, tipped-up ground and soft curving lines and its integration of blank paper into the composition demonstrate the impact of Japanese woodblock. The curved, energetic and organic lines depict the mood of a cabaret stage and creates motion. The soft lines used in her dress captures the flow of the dress accurately and it feels as if you can hear her big dress swoosh. The texture of the clothing, floor tiles and walls insinuate the aged and worn look. As we get a close view of the stage and the dancer, her face is almost frowning and looks like she is in woe. To me, it evokes the sad reality of the dancer because she is forced to put on a face and act for the show for others people’s entertainment. The composition of this work is interesting in that the bass player’s instrument and hand are printed in black shading. It becomes a secondary component in the work but because of the musical note and the depiction of the instrument itself, I can almost hear the music playing as the dancer moves her body. 


Stokstad, Marilyn, and Michael Watt Cothren. Art: a brief history. Pearson, 2016.

Meggs, Philip B., Alston W. Purvis, and Philip B. Meggs. Meggs’ History of Graphic   Design. Wiley, Hoboken, 2016.

Six Word Summary: Surrealism

Surrealism is an art movement that was born in Paris in The movement was steeped in ideals brought from Freud’s studies on dreams and the unconscious. [1] The movement was a “revolution against the constraints of the rational mind.” [2]

Ren? Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964, Restored by Shimon D. Yanowitz, 2009 øðä îàâøéè, áðå ùì àãí, 1964, øñèåøöéä ò"é ùîòåï éðåáéõ, 2009
Rene Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964

In order to create surrealist art, different techniques were used in order to access the unconscious mind. Automatic drawing, which is the practice of drawing or doodling without thinking, and frottage which is a technique in which the artist rubs graphite against a textured surface in order to draw a texture from the “physical world without drawing them.” [3]

Here are six words that can be used to describe the surrealist movement.

  1. Irrational
  2. Dreamy
  3. Capricious
  4. Bizarre
  5. Absurd
  6. Mysterious

[1] Meggs, P. B. (2016). A History of Graphic Design Sixth Edition. John Wiley & Sons.

[2] MoMA Learning. Tapping the Subconscious: Automatism and Dreams.

[3] LACMA. Drawing Surrealism: Techniques of the Sublime.

Creative Synesthesia- Absinthe Robette


Privat–Livemont, Henri. Absinthe Robette. 1896

Henri Privat-Livemont is a Belgian artist in the post-Mucha Art Nouveau period. In his well-known poster, Absinthe Robette, Privat-Livemont displays an elegant semi-naked woman lifting up a glass of yellow-green liquid and staring at the steaming liquid with amazement. The overflowing cloudlike steam fills with the whole background. The steam coming out from the glass bottle seems with the wonderful aroma of lime and lemon. The background shows the gradation from dark green on the bottom to light green on the top. It seems that the woman is standing in the green refreshing herbaceous ocean. The decoration of left-side frame looks like a cluster of grass with earthy smell. The woman’s curly tangerine hair smells fresh and alluring, which seems like juicy lemon blending with bergamot. The woman’s seductive body behind the creamy transparent gauze gown is barely visible, presenting a sense of clean and sexy softness. Viewers may feel sweet scent like butter or vanilla by looking at her figure.

The green-yellow liquid is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage called absinthe. Absinthe is made of sweet fennel, green anise and other medicinal herbs. During the late 19th century to early 20th century, there was an overwhelming absinthe faddish in France. In Aleister Crowley’s book, he describes that absinthe as “green goddess” (Crowley, “Absinthe: The Green Goddess”). In Privat-Livemont’s poster, the graceful woman is considered the figure of green goddess. However, excessive absinthe is also a narcotic drug because of a special chemical compound called thujone. What’s more, absinthe was banned in America and certain Europe due to its hallucinogenic effect. However, French people were still seduced by the scent of absinthe, which represents on Privat-Livemont’s poster exactly. Privat-Livemont brings viewers into a natural world. Viewers can smell herbs and sweet scent from the poster. The body note of woman resonates desire and fantasy. Privat-Livemont reminds viewers that people can gain a sense of pleasure by drinking absinthe.


For reflecting the smell of this poster, I designed a perfume formula with rich herbaceous, woody and slightly sweet scent.


Fragrance Name:


Fragrance Family:
Fougère [fern]
Color: Emerald
Scent Type:
sharp and rich herbaceous, woody and slightly sweet

Top Notes:  Lemon Verbena, Green Absinthe,

Mid Notes:  Anise, lemon, Bergamot, Oakmoss, Creamy Vanilla

Base Notes:  Amber, Woods(Chypres)


Relaxing, Stimulating, Fresh, Joyful


The name of fragrance is L’utopie, which means utopia in French. The intent of the fragrance design is to ease people’s mind and forget the troubles in reality. The color of fragrance is emerald, which is the same color of classic absinthe liquor. The addictive top notes are mixed with lemon verbena and green absinthe, which is stimulating and fresh. The mid notes resonate the elements of lemon verbena and absinthe. Lemon, bergamot and vanilla are from lemon verbena, while oakmoss and anise are the primary ingredients of green absinthe. The base notes are amber and chypres from absinthe, which smells rich and warm everlastingly.


In conclusion, Privat–Livemont designed a successful poster to help viewers to imagine the tantalizing smell of absinthe before purchasing it. The concept, timeless beauty and joy shows clearly. The graceful woman figure also reflects a sense of sexual desire and the beauty nature. The poster captures the popularity of addictive alcoholic beverage and the memory of hedonism in the late nineteenth-century France.

Work Cited

“Absinthe: a special drink!” FAQ,§ion=24.

“The return of absinthe.” Absinthefiend, 4 Feb. 2012,

Crowler, Aleister. “Absinthe: The Green Goddess.” Erowid Absinthe Vault : 2 Experiences,


Design Inspiration – Suprematism

Suprematism is an artistic movement that focuses on the abstract form of presentation such as geometric shapes, linear elements, and simple color palettes. Began in 1913, Russian artist Kazimir Malevich developed his concept of art in the Donkey’s Tail and the Der Blaue Reiter exhibitions, the art style opposed to the Constructivism, based on fundamental geometric forms (mostly circle and rectangle) instead of detailed and delicate painting. The word “Suprematism” refers to the perception of “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling”, which symbolizes the renovation of the art style, proposing that pure feeling is more important than the depiction of any objects.


This painting, Airplane Flying was made by Kazimir Malevich in 1915. It depicts the form of a helicopter in rectangular shapes only, with a contrast of yellow, black and red. This simple composition is able to explore the pictorial potential of pure abstraction by been viewed at different distance or angles. What the painting exhibit is more about how the audience visualized the object in their mind by constructing the geometric presentation in their own perception than witnessing what has already shown. In other words, the abstract art is advocating “condensation” of individual feeling rather than visualizing a imagery.


This design is Inspired by the works of Kasimir Malevich, chosen from the series of five cumulative art called “The Study of  Suprematism”, published in 2013. The composition depicts the combination of various geometric shapes and contour lines as an unity, which cohesively follows the perception of suprematism: the value of an art is not comprehensively associated with its functionality, what’s more, is about feeling and conscious interpretation of visual elements. The modern decorative art has an innovative extension of suprematism, it’s simple, united and gorgeous, despite over-abstract form of graphics, they work as a decoration, and an objective reflection of designer’s mind.

Suprematism has enormously influenced graphic design (especially web design) in 21th century.   Thinking about the “flat design”, which has become a major flow beyond the various realm of decoration or designs. The inspiration from the suprematism to the flat design is the different method of “visualization”. Sometimes the simple shapes are more impactful than a detailed illustration since it contains the potential of imagination and further development such as pattern, 2D illustration, or more specific like logotype and symbols. whereas it delivers a sense of technology and clean space at the same time. The geometric shapes highlight the beauty of simplicity, and that’s how it transformed into the logotypes. Recently the symbolic elements are the major part in the graphic design, the art style of suprematism can also be thought as the prototype of flat design.



Six-Word Summary Design – Masha Chernova

Summary of Bauhaus in 6 words:bahaus-in-6-words



Creative Manufacturing




Work Cited:

Kupferschmid, Indra. “True Type of the Bauhaus.” Fonts in Use, 6 Jan. 2012,

Lekach, Maya. “Know your design history: The Bauhaus Movement –  Designer Blog.” 99designs Blog, 22 Jan. 2018,


Uncial is a script that commonly used from 1500s to 1900s; the uncial letters were used to write Greek, Latin and Gothic. The early uncial script maybe developed from late Old Roman Cursive. The form of the uncial script can be characterized by board single stroke letters; with simple round forms. The curved form allowed for less strokes and could be written faster. It have no difference between ascender and descender. The media at that time period is mainly parchment and vellum surfaces. Because the form of uncials is smooth and only have a few strokes for letters, so they are suitable to write on smooth surfaces. At that time period, there were no systematic separations of words; Which is not readable and have no visually pleasant.


Half-Uncials, keeps the previous style, which is the simple round shape of the letterforms; because it makes people easier to write faster. But people find that the previous design have some disadvantage on practical use; such as lack of readability. So they keep using the same principle and basic design as the uncial, but refine the visual art and readability. So they inspired by previous design and have development from first version. The half-uncial was written between four guidelines allowing for the development of ascender and descenders. This change forms this new style which make people much easier and faster to write than the uncial style. Also compare to the previous style; uncial have no decorations on letterform or pages. In order to have more readability and visual pleasure, every new sentence start with a decorative and large size of letterform. These capital letters really do help readers to read better. What’s more, the new design of letterform take less space, which means it use less ink and less parchment – they were expensive back then