Emphasis on handicrafts
Art and Craft
Emphasis on handicrafts
Art and Craft
April Greiman – Poster for Warner Records, 1982 (http://c86.tumblr.com/post/40718632703/april-greiman-poster-for-warner-records-1982)
I think this poster would smell of sweet fruity candies and champagne. It gives me a feeling of a grand party of young and hip individuals that are networking or socializing with a purpose in mind rather it be dating, or broadening their social horizons. The elements of the poster would move in bouncing like fashion making contact with one another in a randomized fashion. The colours are very loud from the top down into the center of the poster and then is disturbed by silent black plans that seem to interrupt and silence the energy in the piece.
If I were to put this piece into the medium of music I would envision a jazzy swing music with a storm trumpet lead that uses sufficient amount of vibrato in its long notes. This piece to me translates well into the note of the trumpet because it is very loud and boisterous, each colour is very distinctly separate from each other, similar to the notes played by a trumpet.
Similar to this exert of music:
Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, El Lissitzky, 1919.
This amazing piece was one of Lissitzky’s earliest creation made in 1919. By placing geometric shapes in a smart way, it creates lot of movement. “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge” also became the most famous piece from constructivism.
By looking at the shapes, it shows me a message of loud noise and repetitive pattern of movement, like using a drill through the walls, or hitting the hammer on the table, creating a intense atmosphere of action and war. There are multiple red rectangles around the image, and they sort of push the appearance of the big one, and the light grey triangles on the background are placed like they were hardly break through by the giant rectangle. The whole image is so powerful, and I find it just like hard drum beats. The beat start with small snares, and it gets louder and louder, suddenly the drum kicks in and make the tension go higher and higher, just like the art piece. The drum beats are so hard and they are just like the red wedge that represents the Bolshevik revolutionaries as they penetrate the anti-communist White army.
This is a soundtrack from video game PAYDAY2, it is the beat example of my synthesia for Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge.
It is long, but just like the art piece, it builds up slowly, and explode at a certain point, makes the whole art complete while builds a strong movement and power in to it. (You can skip through some part to listen to the difference in each stage of the beat if it is too long.)
“Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge.” Utopia/Dystopia, 1 Jan. 2013, utopiadystopiawwi.wordpress.com/constructivism/el-lissitzky/beat-the-whites-with-the-red-wedge/.
Six-word summary for the Art Nouveau Historical Period.
Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: A New History. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2012.
Interviewer: Hello, ladies and gentlemen, today we have a graphic designer in the house, please welcome Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec! Thank you for taking some time off from your busy schedule to be here with us tonight!
Lautrec: Good Evening everyone, it’s my pleasure to be here!
Interviewer: So, as most of us already know you worked as an artist and a graphic designer during the Art Nouveau in France. Could you tell us a little bit about your background and your career as an artist in the 1890’s?
Lautrec: Yes, for sure. Living in the Montmartre of Paris I was constantly surrounded by scenes and artists that inspired my works. Rather than themes of historic revivals, I was always more interested in the visuals of the urban life. As the idea of nightlife and cafes grew popular in France, I often found myself at cabarets, cafes, and restaurants, where I found aspiration for my works. I love to capture alluring scenes of the nightlife.
Interviewer: Great, Thank you, I noticed that you focused greatly on depicting scenes of the cabaret. Looking at your posters, I can feel the captivating energy of the cabaret dancers. So, I’d like to ask about your specific artwork titled, Mademoiselle Eglantine’s Troupe.
Lautrec: Mademoiselle Eglantine’s Troupe was a poster design that was commissioned by my good friend and an amazing cabaret dancer, Jean Avril. It was used to advertise a cabaret tour of Mademoiselle Eglantine’s Troupe in Britain.
Interviewer: What was the process of creating this poster?
Lautrec: First of all, as I experienced the Eglantine’s Troupe’s cabaret myself, I drew rough sketches on paper capturing the movement and energy of the dancers. After, I transformed the sketches into a lithograph print.
Interviewer: Speaking of lithography techniques, could you tell us more about your style? What inspired you to create this poster?
Lautrec: I was greatly inspired by Japanese woodblock prints as they focus greatly on forms and movement. Japanese art at the time dealt with ideas of playful erotism and depicting women as visualized and somewhat sexualized figure. The themes of Japanese art correlate greatly with my ideas, so it was very inspiring to me. I was especially inspired by their use of negative space, black contour lines and unusual perspectives in Ukiyo-e art.
Interviewer: Very interesting, And what was your main goal in designing this poster?
Lautrec: As this poster was an advertisement for the cabaret, it was a requirement to be able to catch the attention of people on the streets. I believed the method of color lithography would be very suitable for it. I purposely chose colors such as yellow and orange to draw people’s eyes. The delvelopment of color lithography allowed for the poster to be mass produced and plastered through streets of Paris.
Interviewer: Did it reach your original intentions?
Lautrec: I believe that this specific poster reached its intention of accurately depicting the women on a cabaret stage. As I chose to use organic lines, freedom of movement, I tried my best to capture the beauty the dancers.
Interviewer: Why do you think your work was so successful as an advertisement for the cabaret?
Lautrec: Rather than portraying a fictitious characters, I chose to depict real-life individuals. This way, I was able to give the viewers an accurate graphic glimpse of the Belle Epoque era.
Interviewer: Thank you, your poster design is very beautiful and it was such an honor to be able to discuss your work today. Thank you very much, again for your time.
Lautrec: No problem, it has been my pleasure to be able to share my work with you today.
The collect grey shape of bundled figures in the poster, reeked of wet street and tasted copper. Daughter winced and let the metal tinge salt her tongue, before squinting with fresh focus at La Revue Blanche’ s Ad.
As the day was cloudy, yet dry and fairly bright, the scent of damp cobblestones had been at first a bit unnerving. A glimpse of what the overcast was likely planning for the evening, all from a snippet glance at a chromolithograph. Daughter, as quite the wanderer of dense Parisian streets, was used to being accosted by the myriad of storefronts and plastering of posters, as well as by the thrum of conjoined senses in tow with such images. Typically, however, the tastes, smells and sounds accompanying sight where too far flung in their references, and easily dismissed. A lick of sour apple and a shaggy carpet tingling flank green dresses on display. Many other such fleeting melanges. In contrast to these, La Revue Blanche had evoked an initial experience too close to a reality to merely breeze past.
She Zeroed in on the urchin boys face, only to receive a tongue-full of shallots when his penned gaze tricked her eyes down his etched, pepper-corn kerchief. She realised the pattern of miniature posters, which scaled the wall behind the depicted figures, carried a similar nightshade aftertaste, and vowed she wouldn’t look long, as she couldn’t stand the taste of anything akin to onion. It was at this moment, that she noticed the face of a woman peering out beneath a blink of hat and shawl. The warm Ivory tint of her skin, and of the flowers adorning the broad-brim she wore above, recalled the dry taste of stockings, as gripped between teeth while worrying about some other garment. The woman’s eyes were witty and expectant, though mostly subtly so, and Daughter realized her week’s predicament had been summarized in sensory by a printed paper. Her eyes widened in acknowledgement of the posters feat, and she dodged right up to the piece in search of the signature. “P Bonnard” she repeated to herself as she stole away towards the grocers, wondering how the man could have predicted her conundrum, and imbued it so cryptically into his work. “Perhaps former- father could introduce me to this fellow” she thought.
I choose the “We can do it!” poster by J. Howard Miller in 1943 as the theme of the imaginary interview.
Good morning Mr. Miller. It’s an honour to have you on our interview show tonight.
Hi, I am so glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Q: So let’s start the interview. I have so many questions want to ask you. Could you tell us something about yourself?
A: Yes, I am a graphic designer. I was studied at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and I graduated in 1939. During the war I was living in Pittsburgh. I was hired to create a series of posters for the Westinghouse Company.
Q: Could you tell us something about your significant graphic design poster “we can do it”?
A: Yes, sure. This is a poster of a female worker in a blue suit. She looks attractive and strong through the muscle on her arms. She is an iconic figure of a strong female war production worker. The image representation and the slogan give audience a clear message and it is about female workers also can make achievement if they work hard in the factory.
Q: Does the company gives you lots if restrictions and requirements when you work on this poster?
A: I work for Westinghouse Company and this Company has a strict policy. This particular poster was only displayed during February 1943 inside our company. Actually, we can consider this poster was not showing up officially in the public at that time period. Basically, I followed the requirement from the company and I want to use simple elements to express the intention of the poster. It was not a stressful work for me.
Q: What is the specific theme of this poster? Is it about to inspire women workers to join the war effort? Or it was a poster of recruitment during the war?
A: From the poster, we can realize the main character setting is based on the working-class employees and she represents the whole group of working-class women. This poster definitely is not about recruitment. It is about inspiring women workers to join the war effort. It is a poster to encourage women to work hard and to contribute to the country. That is the intention of the poster.
Q: As a graphic designer, sometimes it is a little bit tricky to get a brilliant idea in the project that you get involved. What inspire you to create this poster? Do you use any reference?
A: Yes. I was inspired by Norman Rockwell’s work. He is an Americana and Realist artist and he created a painting for the Saturday Evening Post. The painting is about a woman works in a factory. The most interesting part is he added the name Rosie on the woman’s lunchbox. Rockwell gave me a fantastic inspiration. I used the same outfit that the woman he painted. I also used some figure of female workers as reference for the design of the poster.
Q: What the story behind this particular woman figure and could you tell us about who is she? Is she a friend that you familiar with?
A: Because Rockwell painting, the woman became known as Rosie the Riveter. She is not my friend. She is a “strong and competent woman that dressed in overalls and bandanna”. At the same time, she is also an iconic symbol of “patriotic womanhood.” When the U.S government was facing the problem of labor shortage, women were needed in the defense industries, even the civilian service and the armed forces. In that time period, companies want to build a figure of woman in the public to encourage women to make more effort to the war. Women were described as confident, brave, attractive and “resolved to do their part to win the war.” She is the strong connection between the war and the working-class female employee.
Q: What is the background when you create this work?
A: After the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military, the U.S. government was in a serious situation. American government called manufacturers to produce greater amounts war products. There are a few conflicts between management and labor unions throughout the 1930s. The corporations were facing the problem of labor shortage. They need more women to make products and work in the factories. Making posters is a great idea to make women believe they are strong and confident to make contribute to their own country.
Q: Could you provide us with some useful advice to up-and-coming designers in graphic design?
A: Yes, I would like to…I mean as a graphic design, self-development and opportunities are important. The study and working environment can provide you so much space to improve yourself. I got attention from Westinghouse Company in my early career, I appreciate the opportunity that the Westinghouse Company gave to me.
Thank you so much for joining our interview.
“J. HOWARD MILLER.” Art.com.
“We Can Do It! Rosie the Riveter Description.” 24 May 2017.
Miller , Howard. “Michgan Played Early Part in Women’s Suffrage.” Wkar , Current State , 5 Nov.2013.
Theo Van Doesburg’s abstraction of reality into geometric shapes of squares and rectangles, and use of flat primary colours and non colours, in my personal opinion is as ridiculous as it is innovative.
“Replace Cow With Flat Yellow Square” perfectly cuts down the De Stijl Movement into a truly rememberable, and rational, simplification of the style. In fact, the only way to further make these 6 words into a nonobjective and universal statement is to do the following:
Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: A New History. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2012.
Imaginary interview: Paula Scher
Paula Scher is an American graphic designer who has been in the industry since the 70’s. Scher is most known for her works inspired by Russian Constructivism and her rebranding of The Public Theatre in New York. Scher was the first ever female principle at Pentagram which she joined in 1991
Q: Today we have Paula Scher in house to discuss one of her Russian Constructivist inspired pieces and her thoughts behind The Public Theatre rebrand
A: Thank you so much for having me
Q: Let’s start with your pieces inspired by Russian Constructivism. In particular the 1979 poster for the CBS. What was your thought behind this?
A: Well at the time this was created, the 70’s, this style of graphic design was not common anymore. It was a blast from the past shall we say. I wanted it to stand out in a way that made people take a double take.
Q: The poster includes other influences other then constructivist what were those?
A: The main influences were from the constructivist movement, but also influences from futurist and dada also. This wasn’t your typical modern day graphic design. The type itself was Victorian wood type, it was really a mix of everything
Q: Now onto the Swatch poster, It was a replica of the original. What was the thought process behind that?
A: Honestly, for that one it was pure parody. It’s something i’ve been coined for, they call it “Post-modern design”
Q: So everything you did on those two posters would fall under this category?
A: yes. That is correct
Q: Now onto your involvement with The Public Theatre whats the story behind that?
A: The public theatre has been a client i’ve been working with for 24 years, it started when George Wolfe became the director of the theatre. Wolfe wanted something bold and new,very typographically heavy.
Q: What was your biggest struggle with the project? Seeing as though this was 24 years in the making
A: Definitely, creating this consistent image for the theatre, creating something that held up the theatres over branding yet left the viewer with something they had never seen before. In 1994 i had brought in that same Wood typography from the cbs poster. That all changed when a play came in called “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk” and i went with this totally overhauled New York theme. Finally, in 2008 I switched back to that same wood type and it just got so boring so we changed that.
Q: So its seems as the theatre went through multiple branding phases but ultimately went back to the original execution. Why did you end up changing it again?
A: Well firstly there was the issue of these other theatre companies starting to catch on and copy The Public’s style. But also as I said before it was boring
Q: how did you end up solving this issue?
A: I realized that the actual issue was not really an issue in the first place. This whole inconsistency ended up being the perfect branding. The theatres image just had to be consistent for a season. So each season became different.
Q: What do you think worked with this inconsistent consistency?
A: I think people were able to get excited again? Each season no one knew what to expect which meant no other theatre company knew what to expect which made copying any of the Public’s themes obviously seem deliberate.
Q: What were the positives of staying with the theatre for 24 years?
A: Definitely being able to try new things, tweak things and ultimately get to know a brand so well you’re able to just revamp parts of it yet still stay true to the roots. It made me realize that half of these things I tested over the 24 years would have actually been thought of. In these 24 years I really understood and learned what i was doing.
Q: Well, thank you so much for your time Paula
A: it’s been a pleasure
Me: Ladies and gentlemen, today we have a great opportunity to invite A.M Cassandre, one of the greatest French painter, typeface and poster designer, to talk about one of his famous work: Grand sport la Casquette tous adoptée par les champions. It’s a great honor for me to chat with you face to face and share those valuable graphic design ideas.
A.M: Thank you, it’s a pleasure to share my own thoughts of graphic designs in public, also I appreciate you offer such an opportunity for us.
Me: Great, so can you tell us more about the work?
A.M: Sure. This is a commercial poster designed for a French cap company. It’s called “Great sport the cap all adopted by the champions”. Yeah the name of the cap is “champions’ choice”, which was designed as an exclusive edition for The Grand Sport. I’ve done this poster in 1925.
Me: What specifically impressed us is the illustration of the portrait. It’s there any reasons that you come up with this unique solution of painting?
A.M: Well as you can see, I used ink spray roughly made the silhouette of the man’s portrait, then accomplished with white contour lines for the “details” but not quite detailed. This kind of style was somehow inspired by the cubism arts. When I was working at the Parisian printing house, I’ve seen a lot of amazing works made by cubists, which had influenced my way of design. Cubism is beautiful, elegant and clean, it interprets the idea in the simplest way. For this poster, I rendered the portrait in a cubic style to not only emphasizing the product but also work with the overall composition, to provides a clear but also interesting information.
Me: I see, the man’s portrait has successfully become not only a graphic but more symbolic approach to the brand. In this case, can you explain why don’t you make the cap in “cubic” style as well as the portrait?
A.M: Here’s the thing. In my own perception, a commercial advertisement ought to make more sense to the audiences, also I need that target thing to stands out. Yet cubism is a fantastic art style, we also need to note the “balance” between artistic interpretation and information telling. I painted the champion’s cap in the realistic style, complement with the cubic portrait, it lets the cap stand out. When you stand in front of an abstract art, what draws your attention is the most colorful, detailed focal point, and that cap is my focal point.
Me: Make sense to me. Sometimes a commission art needs more attention on the harmonization rather than an emotional interpretation. Let’s talk about the typography, is there any specific intention for using this typeface?
A.M: Exactly. I designed the typeface, and this is the prototype of my future published sans serif typeface in 1935 called Acir Noir. This condensed letterform gives a good representation of geometry, and I keep the capital “O” original size for better contrast. Also, I specifically designed letter “s” as it represents the flow and movement through the composition.
Me: People usually compare your work to other cubist at that time period. How do you think that your style of design is different than others?
A.M: Well, I have to say that most of my works are deeply inspired by Picasso. As a commercial poster designer, I “refined” his style but not much. You can spot several abstract arts through my works that look similar to what Picasso does, however, I took this kind of abstraction as an element of my composition but not let it take dominance. Instead of performing this style as an art work, I tend to intergrats the style into a unified, consistent piece. Artists at the same time period keep influencing each other and take advantages, that’s how art evolves.
Me: So in which aspect you think your work is unique than others?
A.M: Like I said, I design my own typeface.
Me: Thanks alot for taking your time with us, that’s the interview of the day. We appreciate all the valuable feedback and information you provided. We hope to see you next time!
A.M: My pleasure, thank you.
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