design inspiration


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The images I chose to speak about are Rodchenko’s “books” advertisement and the modern day piece that took inspiration from it, the Saks on 5th advertisements for their line. The similarities between these pieces are uncanny and the fact that Saks on 5th took heavy inspiration from Rodchenko’s work is evident, from the dramatic and poignant lines to the red white and black colour pallet, even down to the use of collaged images to create a certain aesthetic that directly reflect what Alexander was doing with his posters in the 20’s and 30’s.

Alexander Rodchenko was a designer who explored many mediums but in this example he has chosen graphic design and collage, using photography and type to create an impactful image with the style known as photomontage. He was part of the Russian Constructivism movement and was greatly influenced by cubism and futurism.

Saks on 5th uses the same colours and themes as well and photomontage in their adverts however the meaning and symbolism does not come from the same place. They are emulating the propaganda of the 30’s and 40’s to make their own tongue in cheek statement about their feelings on the recession in America.

Creative Synesthesia: Alfieri & Lacroix

3559872680_e22231b625_bFranco Grignani – Alfieri & Lacroix, 1960

Franco Grignani’s Alfieri & Lacroix (1960) provides consciousness of the sensation through colour and movement. Through the dynamic ever changing and folding words, the colours of red, blue and white are contrasted to the backdrop of a warm dark violet. The intercrossing of the sleeking, smooth blue and red, create a sense of a rough, carpet like texture. Like patches and tuffs of corse fabric sticking out of sleek steal craved shapes. The stark contrast conflicts my mind with my physical sense of touch. The confrontation feels as though its wrangling between the idea to run away or to fix the situation. The compulsion and craving to cut the rough patches of toughs out of the piece stimulant only the feeling of unsettling perplexity. The warmth of the background composes the only impression of clarity and reconciliation between the sense of touch and individualistic feeling.

Interview with Milton Glaser

Wing Lin-3154724

Interview with Milton Glaser

Intro: Today, I have the pleasure to chat with a famous American graphic designer, Milton Glaser. He designed plenty of posters that were published on New York magazine and newspapers. Now let’s welcome Mr. Glaser. (cheers)

Q: Hello, Mr. Glaser. My name is Wing Lin, and today I am going to interview you about your working experience and the inspiration behind your art pieces. Nice to meet you. You look good in your black suit today!

A: Nice to meet you too, and thanks for your praising.

Q: Alright, how about we start with your personal experience of drawing. How old did you start to paint? And what kinds of motivation that leads you to become a graphic designer?

A: When I was a child, I liked drawing very much. In New York, my mother would spend a lot of time with me on drawing. I think that’s where I started my art career. In my high school, I decided to continue my interest so that I could improve my painting skills. I graduated from Cooper Union school where I realized that I loved painting and I wanted it to be my major throughout my entire life. Therefore, I went to Italy to study printmaking and graphic design from 1952 to 1953. The motivation is only my immortal passion of art, which gives me great spiritual support.

Q: I know there is always a reason behind when you kept doing something and you did a good job at it. So what happened while you are studying in Italy? Did that experience effect your art career or what did you learn during that period?

A: I did learn a lot. Especially I had been influenced by one of my friends that I met in Italy. His name is Giorgio Morandi, and he is an Italian painter. Most of his works are very simple and constructive. He usually paints the still life as subject matters, such as boxes and bottles. So now you can see that my style is slightly similar to his works, because I was influence by him and developed my own style.

Q: Yes, I can tell that the feature in your work is simplification. According to one of your graphic poster called “Bob Dylan,” it becomes so popular in today’s society with its exotic and iconic style. Can you tell us the story behind that art piece? How did you come up this unique style?

A: Sure. When I received the commission from the record company, which is asking me to design the cover of Bob Dylan’s newest album called Greatest Hits, I felt excited and nervous. Bob Dylan is a successful songwriter. It is my pleasure to be his album designer. However, since Bob Dylan was badly injured in a motorcycle accident, everyone would unconsciously feel depressed when Bob Dylan was mentioned. Therefore, I hope my design can avoid the viewers feel sad or depressed about Bob Dylan. Those negative expression is not what I want to indicate in the album design. Then I came up the ideas of using a mass of saturated colours to evoke visual vibration. Also, it is effective to catch the viewers’ attention when they look at the cover, because it is not only saturated colors on the portrait’s hair, but also a great contrast between the black face and white background.

Q: But how did you come up the idea of depicting Bob Dylan’s profile instead of illustrating him in realistic representation?

A: I don’t know whether you heard about Marcel Duchamp or not. His self-portrait is only a simple shadow of his side face, outlining the shapes of nose and mouth. I was influenced by him, so that I only use black and white to outline Bob Dylan’s profile. I don’t want to depict him in details, because it might cause a wrong attention. I want this graphic poster to capture the essence feeling of Bob Dylan himself and his music. An abstract profile of Bob Dylan can represent him and also give some spaces to the viewers to imagine. I think it is effective to convey the feeling of how people think about Bob Dylan and his music. What do you think?

Q: Of course, I agree that it is better to depict it in this way rather than illustrating him in a descriptive and complicated way. Thanks for your time today and I hope we can meet next time. See you.






Works Cited

Glaser, Milton. “Milton Glaser. Dylan. 1966 | MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, 2016,


Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Milton Glaser.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 27 May 2016,


Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: a New History. Yale University Press, 2012.




Creative Synesthesia – Aini Haider


Joost Schmidt, Poster for Bauhaus Exhibition, 1923.

Bauhaus was an art movement that started Germany which was from the Bauhaus school. The school was a combination of the art academy and of arts and crafts. It worked with the government for producing designers that would later on work in the design industry and work alongside local manufactures. It essentially had two phases: The Expressionist phase and the Constructivist-Elementarist phase; this poster, designed by Joost Schmidt, was based on the latter phase.

The Bauhaus Exhibition was meant to show that designers were able to create objects and graphics that would be helpful in German society. Schmidt’s poster was based on Russian Constructivism design. It is a diagonal composition featuring the colours red and black on a light background. The graphics used are bold bars and circular shapes. The typefaces used are sans serifs only in capital letters. The type is also integrated strategically into the graphics.

When looking at this poster, I hear an orchestra. The overall shape of the graphics combined together remind me of musical instruments, specifically a trumpet and saxophone; hearing something that is jazzy and upbeat. The bottom black graphic also reminds me of a music note. When I look at this design, I hear the soundtrack from Whiplash called “Upswingin’”. This musical piece in the movie is dynamic, much like this poster. The poster uses extreme size for contrast, the bold and large graphics against the small type, much like the musical piece which uses extreme crescendos and decrescendos. Looking at the larger, bolder graphics makes me hear the trumpets and saxophones. The diagonal bars make me hear the drums keeping the tempo of the music. The graphics, overall, are simple but together make a dynamic piece. Much like this soundtrack that uses classical instruments to make a dynamic musical piece.

Works cited:

Eskilson, Stephen. Graphic Design A New History. 2nd ed. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2012. Print.

Hurwitzz, Justin. Upswingin’. 2015. online.

“Joost Schmidt, Poster For The Bauhaus Exhibition In Weimar, 1923 –  Commercial Graphics – Bauhaus-Archive.” N.p., 2018. Web. 4 Mar. 2018.




Six Word Summary Design – 1950s

Era: 1950s (the post-war period)

The Rise of the International Style

Eduard Hoffmann and Max Meidinger, Helvetica Typeface, 1960.
Eduard Hoffmann and Max Meidinger, Helvetica Typeface, 1960.
Josef-Muller Brockmann, Beethovan, 1955, Poster, Offset lithograph, (127.5 x 90.3 cm). Zurich
Josef-Muller Brockmann, Beethovan, 1955, Poster, Offset lithograph, (127.5 x 90.3 cm). Zurich
Josef-Muller Brockmann, Volg Traubensaft, 1962. Poster. Zurich
Josef-Muller Brockmann, Volg Traubensaft, 1962. Poster. Zurich

1950s era is known as the victory of the International Typographic Style, also is named the Swiss Style. The International Style developed in Switzerland during the post-war period, because the country was nonpartisan and was famous for the banking industry, which helped the style gained more attention. Its graphic design style emphasizes cleanliness and readability even though it layouts asymmetrically. Artists likely to use sans-serif typefaces, such as Helvetica and Akzidenz Grotesk, and geometric abstraction of letters flush left and right the text. The style has a preference for photography and works featured typography as a primary design element (Eskilson, 288).

Eskilson, Stephen John. Graphic design: a new history. Conn., 2012.

My Vuong, The Rise of the International Style, 2018.
My Vuong, The Rise of the International Style, 2018.



6 Words Art Nouveau Blake Ehiogu

Art Nouveau: 1890-1910 is an international art style which was a  reaction to the academic art of the 19th century, it commonly used characteristics of natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers. It is an art style respected by the fine arts world. 

(Gustave Moreau, The Apparition, 1874–76.)




(Day dream by Alphonse Mucha, 1897.)





(Alphonse Mucha, Job cigarette papers poster, 1896.)

Work cited