Chinese Poster Designer – Huang Hai – by Emily Lu

 

 

 

Designer Huang Hai
                             Designer Huang Hai

It is rare to see Chinese graphic designers to be included in the context of Western design textbooks. As the design field transitions to a more open market, talented designers from all around the world should be showcased with their works and inspire future students. Huang Hai is one of the most well-known poster designers from China, who significantly combined Chinese art styles and modern approaches together through a simple, but elegant perspective (HUANG Hai: The Poster as a Tribute to the Heroes behind the Scenes). His works always specifically depict the feeling of the movie before the audience even watch it by using different stylistic techniques. The designs do not contain a lot of abstract shapes or unique colour combinations, but the stylistic techniques capture the eyes and make the viewers want to explore and discover the various possibilities. 

Fig 1. Spirited Away Poster, 2019, Huang Hai
Fig 1. Spirited Away Poster, 2019, Huang Hai

The most important step stone in his career was when he designed the movie poster for the film, The Sun Also Rises, directed by Jiang Wen. It was extremely different from the typical posters created during the time, and it made a dramatic contrast that separated him from other designers (Chen. Global Times). The poster is very simple, but the use of white and red colours contrast along with the figure in the center with the type capture the eyes. 

Fig 2. The Sun Also Rises, 2007, Huang Hai
Fig 2. The Sun Also Rises Poster, 2007, Huang Hai

A few of his recent designs that undoubtedly captured the public’s attention are the making of the movie posters for the film Big Fish & Begonia, and The Golden Era, which are both directly associated with traditional Chinese art forms and the incorporation of Chinese calligraphy. Especially for the film Shadow, the posters heavily highlight the Chinese calligraphy along with the combination of the characters. The powerful strokes of the Chinese character with the black and white contrast explained the feeling of what the movie is conveying. He does not portray the type and objects separately, instead, he combines them together in a dynamic perspective. Huang Hai iterates on the weight and the movement of the strokes as the main element along with the traditional colour combinations and brush techniques. Huang Hai’s works are so calming, that captures the essence of the film and there are no extra decorative elements that are meaningless. Everything has its own meaning that represents a specific meaning from the film. The sense of hand-drawn emphasized on the brush strokes provides a perspective of originality. Due to the release of the film “The Golden Era” in various countries, Huang Hai created different designs to match each country’s characteristics (Fan. Now Introducing: HuangHai).  For example, the poster made for France release focuses on the movement of the smoke and in contrast with the background colour, it provides a sense of romanticism and mystery.

Fig 3. Big Fish & Begonia Poster, 2016, Huang Hai
Fig 3. Big Fish & Begonia Poster, 2016, Huang Hai
Fig 4. Shadow Poster, 2018, Huang Hai
Fig 4. Shadow Poster, 2018, Huang Hai
Fig 4. The Golden Era Poster (China), 2014, Huang Hai
Fig 5. The Golden Era Poster (China), 2014, Huang Hai
Fig 5. The Golden Era Poster (Japan), 2014, Huang Hai
Fig 6. The Golden Era Poster (Japan), 2014, Huang Hai
Fig 7. The Golden Era Poster (France), 2014, Huang Hai
Fig 7. The Golden Era Poster (France), 2014, Huang Hai
Fig 8. The Golden Era Poster (Korea), 2014, Huang Hai
Fig 8. The Golden Era Poster (Korea), 2014, Huang Hai

The Graphic Design: A New History by Stephen F. Eskilson includes detailed descriptions of the various historical art periods and important Western designers such as William Morris and Edward McKnight Kauffer. However, there is a dramatic transition in design style and the present-day aesthetics people appreciate has changed. It is crucial to be updated with the present-day designers, who are the main domination and influencers of the current market.

Fig 9. Masters In The Forbidden City Posters, 2016, Huang Hai
Fig 9. Masters In The Forbidden City Posters, 2016, Huang Hai

Work Cited:

Chen, Xi. “Graphic Artist Huang Hai Strikes Again with ‘Spirited Away’ Posters.” Global Times, 23 June 2019, www.globaltimes.cn/content/1155353.shtml.

“HUANG Hai: The Poster as a Tribute to the Heroes behind the Scenes.” 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival, 18 Mar. 2019, www.siff.com/a/2019-03-18/3194.html.

Fan, Ania. “Now Introducing: HuangHai.” Graphic Design Hist20th C FW2018S2, 5 Apr. 2019, blog.ocad.ca/wordpress/visd2006-fw201803-02/2019/04/now-introducing-huanghai/.

PR Packing and Social Media Influencing

Graphic Design: A New History by Stephen J. Eskilson is successful in covering many important milestones in regard to the history of graphic design. The textbook does an excellent job of covering important graphic designs through to the present day and with each new edition that is released more contemporary works begin to be added.

Throughout the textbook, Eskilson makes note of iconic logos and branding strategies such as Pentagram by Cooper Hewitt created in 2014. Branding and product design have become an important aspect of our daily lives. Everywhere we look graphic design is present; from magazines to billboards to a cereal box on the shelf.

An area of graphic design that I think is missing from the textbook is PR packaging and the whole idea of social media influencing. As of recent, being a social media influencer has become a normal career choice for many young adults. Social media has given individuals the platform to broadcast their thoughts and opinions on a global scale (Solis & Breakenridge 2012). Within the influencer world, PR packages and sponsored content has become a part of the job description.

Many corporation’s public relations teams have recognized that social media allows individuals to create a trusting relationship with consumers (Solis & Breakenridge 2012). PR packages can contain a single product or an entire line of products from a specific company and they have become popular in the makeup and fashion industry. These packages are sent to influencers by brands and companies as a way for their product to be promoted on social media in exchange for them receiving the product for free. PR packages are often very extravagant and require an entire design team to be developed.

screen-shot-2020-03-30-at-4-40-18-pm screen-shot-2020-03-30-at-4-39-18-pm screen-shot-2020-03-30-at-4-38-46-pm screen-shot-2020-03-30-at-4-39-05-pm

COSRX Balancium Comfort Cermide EARTH CREAM Press Kit January 2019

In the example above, the design team developed the concept of the PR package to resemble a suitcase. The product being named Earth Cream, the company wanted to create a concept that would resemble travel as the product itself relates to space travel. This COSRX PR package consists of a holographic suitcase product package and a boarding pass as an added touch to tie the entire concept together.

9bacb30dad2ae9f526d94bf2ce56114f

Halo Top x ColourPop Cosmetics July 2019

fc2c5a4893655eaa92cceb8333a8a8f6

Premier Press 2018

PR packaging and social media influencing should be included in our textbook because digital and social media platforms have become a primary source of how we communicate and inspire one another. Through the idea of the PR package, designers have been given a new forum to display their artistic ability in the real world. PR packaging has given designers the opportunity to be as extreme and over the top as they want because the more visually interesting the product is displayed the more social media influencers will want to promote and share the product and packaging. If PR packing and the idea of social media influencing were included in our textbook, I think that it would create a more complete and accurate history of graphic design because it will incorporate graphic design that we see regularly through social media and its influencers.

 

Works Cited

Behance. “EARTH CREAM Press Kit.” Behance, www.behance.net/gallery/74570893/EARTH-CREAM-Press-Kit?tracking_source=for_you_activity.

“Halo Top x ColourPop.” ColourPop, colourpop.com/collections/halo-top-x-colourpop.

“Nike Equality Influencer Marketing Kit.” Premier Press, www.premierpress.com/project/nike-equality-influencer-marketing-kit/.

Solis, Brian, and Deirdre Breakenridge. Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR. FT Press, 2012.

Ettore Sottsass & the Memphis Group

James Brough – 3172532

Ettore Sottsass Photographed by Mario Ermoli for Limn-Magazine
Ettore Sottsass Photographed by Mario Ermoli for Limn-Magazine Image from www.marioermoli.com/portfolio/sottsass/.

Born 1917 Innsbruck, Austria, Ettore Sottsass got his degree in architecture at twenty two. In 1946 he was working in Milan, mainly as a designer of private environments and interiors, as well as furniture and other objects (Sottsass). He described his work as allowing him to explore his interest with “the existence and survival in artificial earth spaces” and that others acknowledged him as being the first designer to break away from “functionalism” with a focus on how colour and materials could work in contrast to “rigidity of structure” as symbols for life and vitality (Sottsass). It was in 1981 that Ettore would found the Memphis Group, a collection of designers that would radically change design in Italy and all over the world (“Ettore…”).

"Carlton" Room Divider by Ettore Sottsass, Wood & Plastic Laminate 1981. Image from https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/objects?exhibitionId=d1debf05-fe5b-4d90-8674-fc60b5dca3c9&pkgids=441#!?perPage=20&offset=160
“Carlton” Room Divider by Ettore Sottsass, Wood & Plastic Laminate 1981. Image from https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/objects?exhibitionId=d1debf05-fe5b-4d90-8674-fc60b5dca3c9&pkgids=441#!

The groups work encompassed the idea of the gesamtkunstwerk. Like the Bauhaus, the group had a wide variety of creations from textiles to lamps, chairs, and even the odd drawing. Seemingly every aspect of the living environment was considered and redesigned by the many members.

"Gabon" Textile Design by Nathalie Du Pasquier in Cotton fabric 1982
“Gabon” Textile Design by Nathalie Du Pasquier in Cotton fabric 1982
"Ashoka" Lamp Design by Ettore Sottsass, lacquered metal 1981. Image from https://www.memphis-milano.com/products/ashoka?_pos=1&_sid=f9ff5140c&_ss=r
“Ashoka” Lamp Design by Ettore Sottsass, lacquered metal 1981. Image from https://www.memphis-milano.com/products/ashoka
"First" Chair design by Michele De Lucchi, enameled wood and metal 1981. Image from https://www.memphis-milano.com/collections/michele-de-lucchi-1/products/first
“First” Chair design by Michele De Lucchi, enameled wood and metal 1981. Image from https://www.memphis-milano.com/collections/michele-de-lucchi-1/products/first

Here is a collection of many Memphis Group pieces altogether in a live setting.

"Memphis Collection Room View" Photograph and Collection from Dennis Zanone. Image from http://www.memphis-milano.org/
“Memphis Collection Room View” Photograph and Collection from Dennis Zanone. Image from http://www.memphis-milano.org/

In 1985 Sottsass felt he had fully explored this aspect of his designs, and not wanting to be tied down to one movement left the group. Two years later the group officially separated (Schwartzberg). The groups work had a significant impact on design in the years following its formation, influencing design styles that are immediately recognisable today. Television shows like Pee-wee’s Playhouse and Saved by the Bell feature sets influenced by the Memphis Group (Schwartzberg). These styles become iconic to the 80’s and 90’s.

Set from Pee-wee's Playhouse. Photo from https://www.thecut.com/2017/05/the-memphis-design-movement-is-having-a-moment.html
Set from Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Photo from https://www.thecut.com/2017/05/the-memphis-design-movement-is-having-a-moment.html
Set from Saved by the Bell. Photo from https://www.thecut.com/2017/05/the-memphis-design-movement-is-having-a-moment.html
Set from Saved by the Bell. Photo from https://www.thecut.com/2017/05/the-memphis-design-movement-is-having-a-moment.html

The groups style is still alive today seen in current designs by some of the original members like Alessandro Mendini who created skateboards for Supreme (Carson) . A collaboration between BMW, Garage Italia Customs and Michele De Lucchi, who’s 1981 chair design was shown above, re-imagine the companies i3 and i8 with Memphis style interior and exterior (Boeriu).

Memphis inspired Skateboards by Alessandro Mendini and Supreme. Image from https://www.creativebloq.com/inspiration/10-iconic-examples-of-memphis-design
Memphis inspired Skateboards by Alessandro Mendini and Supreme. Image from https://www.creativebloq.com/inspiration/10-iconic-examples-of-memphis-design
Memphis inspired BMW i8 exterior. Image from https://www.bmwblog.com/2017/09/13/2017-frankfurt-auto-show-bmw-i8-memphis-style/
Memphis inspired BMW i8 exterior. Image from https://www.bmwblog.com/2017/09/13/2017-frankfurt-auto-show-bmw-i8-memphis-style/
Memphis inspired BMW i8 interior. Image from https://www.bmwblog.com/2017/09/13/2017-frankfurt-auto-show-bmw-i8-memphis-style/
Memphis inspired BMW i8 interior. Image from https://www.bmwblog.com/2017/09/13/2017-frankfurt-auto-show-bmw-i8-memphis-style/

Ettore Sotsass and the Memphis Group were a collection of creators that shook that design world when they were formed in the 1980’s and have had lasting impacts on designers and pop-culture from then and still today. We explored designers and movements from around the world in class not were not mentioned in the current version of our textbook. The Memphis group and its designers would be an excellent addition to them in an updated version of the book, allowing us to explore design right up until the brink of the 21st century.


Works Cited

Boeriu, Horatiu. “2017 Frankfurt Auto Show: BMW i8 Memphis Style Edition.” BMW BLOG, 13 Sept. 2017, www.bmwblog.com/2017/09/13/2017-frankfurt-auto-show-bmw-i8-memphis-style/.

Carson, Nick. “10 Iconic Examples of Memphis Design.” Creative Bloq, Creative Bloq, 19 Jan. 2018, www.creativebloq.com/inspiration/10-iconic-examples-of-memphis-design.

“Ettore Sottsass.” Memphis Milano, www.memphis-milano.com/collections/ettore-sottsass.

Schwartzberg, Lauren. “The Memphis Design Movement Is Having a Moment.” The Cut, 29 May 2017, www.thecut.com/2017/05/the-memphis-design-movement-is-having-a-moment.html.

Sottsass, Ettore. “Sottsass Biographies A & B.” Design Quarterly, no. 89, 1973, pp. 34–34. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4090789. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.


But, what about Art Books? (by Agnes Wong)

The first Printed Matter location in Tribeca, established by a group active in the creative industry (including Sol LeWitt). 1977. Photo from Printed Matter
The first Printed Matter location in Tribeca, established by a group active in the New York conceptual art scene (including artist Sol LeWitt). 1977. Photo from Printed Matter.

The history of the art book dates back to the 1960’s, when American conceptual artists began to seek out more artistic mediums and began to look into the printed book. According to New York-based artists’ publication organization Printed Matter, “…the term ‘artists’ books’ refers to publications that have been conceived as artworks in their own right…” (Printed Matter).

Despite the simple label of “book”, the genre encompasses far more than just books as we know of them. From politically charged posters to limited object “multiples”- this all-inclusive medium is incredibly diverse. The interplay between narrative and image, material, and reader interaction makes for endless possibilities within this medium alone. While varied in form, most artist-initiated publications share intentions of dissemination and communication.

But what’s the connection between art books and graphic design? And why should they be included in Graphic Design: A New History?

These artist-initiated publications often reflect what the world was like when it was created. Some are highly personal, while others can be political. They archive what’s wrong with the world, or what’s interesting about it. Free from the constraints that commercial designers or creators commonly face, these artist books possess artistic and expressive freedom. Moreover, the design of these works vary incredulously, each designed specifically for print or handmade craft. The design of these books oftentimes broke design conventions and defied standards, as the artists behind them envisioned them through a conceptual, rather than functional viewpoint.

Grapefruit, by Yoko Ono. 1964. Image from MoMA.
Grapefruit, by Yoko Ono. 1964. Image from MoMA.

One of the most iconic and well-known examples of an art book would be Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. Originally published in 1964, the book contains only text based instructions that viewers have the choice to carry out or not- suggesting everyday life as an act of performance. Here, the format of the printed book is essential to her concept of relaying the contrast of the lack of [tangibility/physicality] in this artwork.

A collage highlighting some of Bruno Munari's notable works. Image from Printed Matter.
A collage highlighting some of Bruno Munari’s notable works. Image from Printed Matter.

Italian artist Bruno Munari is another renowned artist in the history of art books. Playful and experimental, his books served as tangible exercises in combining print, type, colours, and more. Munari’s Libro Illeggibile series (1949) was an exercise in trying out “all visual communication options and printing techniques that didn’t involve words”. Some of the books were bound with staples or thread and featured pages solely of prismatic paper or of tracing paper festooned with geometric lines. (Budds).

Every Building on the Sunset Strip, by Edward Ruscha. 1966. Image from MACBA.
Every Building on the Sunset Strip, by Edward Ruscha. 1966. Image from MACBA.

Edward Ruscha’s Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) remains as one of the most representative works that come to mind upon the mention of art books. Inexpensive in production and unique in its foldout accordian format, Ruscha’s unsigned book has remained highly influential in the history of art photo books. On the label during the 2012-2013 exhibition “The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook” at the Museum of Modern Art New York, Every Building on the Sunset Strip was described as: “While each book chronicles an aspect of Los Angeles or the artist’s round-trip drives between LA and Oklahoma, their use of photography as a form of map-making or topographical study signals a conceptual, rather than documentary, thrust” (MoMA).

Even with just the mere three examples from above, the spanse and influence of art books in the history of graphic design and art can be seen. They were products of influences, and have undoubtedly influenced others. From concept to creative execution, these works prompt interesting questions and ideas into the ongoing discussion of graphic design.

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2017. Photo from on-days.com
Tokyo Art Book Fair 2017. Photo from on-days.com

 

Works Cited

“Artist Book.” Printed Matter, www.printedmatter.org/about/artist-book.

“Artists’ Books by Bruno Munari – A Table by Printed Matter.” Printed Matter, www.printedmatter.org/catalog/tables/68.

Budds, Diana. “Bruno Munari Will Make You Fall In Love With Books All Over Again.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 14 Aug. 2018, www.fastcompany.com/3047507/bruno-munari-will-make-you-fall-in-love-with-books-all-over-again.

“Mission History.” Printed Matter, www.printedmatter.org/about/mission-history.

Ono, Yoko. “Yoko Ono. Grapefruit. 1964: MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org/collection/works/127492.

Ruscha, Edward. “Edward Ruscha. Every Building on the Sunset Strip. 1966: MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org/collection/works/146931.

Ruscha, Edward. “Edward Ruscha. Every Building on the Sunset Strip. 1966: MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org/collection/works/146931.

Ruscha, and Edward. “Every Building on The Sunset Strip.” MACBA Museu D’Art Contemporani De Barcelona, 1 Jan. 1966, www.macba.cat/en/art-artists/artists/ruscha-edward/every-building-sunset-strip.

Ritchietype meets Kelmscott

Phebe Teague

Ritchietype faces

I think that although there are some examples of modern typefaces in the textbook, there is a major lack in the exploration of typefaces created by current prominent designers. Typefaces nowadays are influenced by modern society, and although a lot of designers look back to the designs of the past, they can’t help but create from their current experience. Since so many societal, economic, and political changes have occurred since the time of William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, it is important to discover what influences designers of today are employing to fuel their creative process and compare them to past designers.

Ritchietype, STYLEZ OF LETTERS - TODAY *Y*", 2019.
Ritchietype, STYLEZ OF LETTERS – TODAY *Y*”, 2019.
Fig 2. Ritchietype, “when you feeling like quitting", 2018.
Fig 2. Ritchietype, “when you feeling like quitting”, 2018.

The efforts of the Kelmscott Press were interesting, in that it changed how printing houses thought of the printing process, and rivals took great inspiration, although largely modifying the delivery. While the Kelmscott Press looked back to Medieval printing techniques and wanted to produce their books entirely using archaic and outdated techniques for their time, other printing presses chose to replicate the final product using modern techniques (Horowitz, 60). While this created some turmoil within the printing community, the product of many books from this time were exceptional demonstrations of the capabilities from designers using the full extent of modern machines and that of hand-tools (Lee). A major point of focus from books at this time were the typefaces that were employed as well as the detailed foliage that went into each chapter page and cover pages (see fig 3) (Lee). Morris was enthralled with creating his own typeface and found inspiration from other incunabula from previous centuries.

Fig 3. Title page from "The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer" (Printed by William Morris, at the Kelmscott Press, Upper Mall, Hammersmith, 1896). One of 425 copies on paper.
Fig 3. Title page from “The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer” (Printed by William Morris, at the Kelmscott Press, Upper Mall, Hammersmith, 1896).

While Ritchie doesn’t look to ancient books or texts, his biggest inspiration is graffiti. Ritchietype is a freelance designer and letterer based in Zurich, Germany where he works on storefronts and in his sketchbook, designing typefaces for his personal use and in his murals. He started making graffiti when he was 15 years old, and thus spawned his interest in type and consequently creating his own typefaces. His work mainly uses paint, primarily in marker form, but he will often demonstrate unconventional mediums. A favourite of mine is the soapy residue on a glass stove-top that he draws, with his thumb, a phrase into using his notable smooth type. Even though there are numerous other artists in the community that are dedicating much of their life and work to creating new typefaces, artists like Ritchie that can not only produce traditional type, but can spawn new designs from mostly unrecognized art forms like graffiti, are a true diamond in the rough.

References

Horowitz, Sarah. “The Kelmscott Press and William Morris: A Research Guide.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 25, no. 2, 2006, pp. 60-65.

Lee, William Lamborn. “Kelmscott Press.” British Literary Publishing Houses, 1881-1965, edited by Jonathan Rose and Patricia Anderson, Gale, 1991. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 112. Gale Literature Resource Center, https://link-gale-com.ocadu.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/H1220000484/LitRC?u=toro37158&sid=LitRC&xid=7128847b. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

Ritchietype. “WE ARE BACK – STYLEZ OF LETTERS – TODAY *Y*.” Instagram, 28 September 2019, Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/B29Yj2Nn-Xk/.

Ritchietype. “when you feeling like quitting.” Instagram, 15 July 2018, Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BlQDR-tAeuM/.

Product Design in the Textbook – Michael Zhang

Stephen J. Eskilson’s Graphic Design: A New History does an excellent job of discussing the developments in graphic design from the past, to the present. Providing insightful information on various mediums, specific artists and artworks, and their corresponding backgrounds. The history of graphic design as a whole is so vast that it would simply be impossible to cover it in its entirety. After a thorough investigation of the book, I have found there to be a particular topic that Eskilson has missed in his discussion.

An area of graphic design that the textbook seems to be lacking in is graphic design in actual commercial use. A large portion of the book focuses on graphic design in advertisements and posters for various products, however, there is no focus on the actual product itself. When it comes to advertising, what catches attention is initially the advertisement, but what retains it is the physical product. If the ad is captivating but the product lacks in design, there is a lower chance for the product to be purchased.

There are several instances in graphic design history where the design of the product is actually the driving force in its success. Probably the most recognizable one to date would be the Campbell Soup can design. While it did not gain its popularity from the design alone, it was a crucial factor in catching the attention of Andy Warhol, who was the one to extend it to the masses as a work of art.

Andy Warhol. Campbell's Soup Cans. 1962 | MoMAWarhol Campbell's Soup Can Mini Series 2 : Case of 24 - myplasticheart

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Can 1962

For the most part, graphic design for advertisements resides on a two-dimensional plane, usually coming in the form of a poster in a newspaper. When looking at the design of the actual product, there is a physical element to it that adds more depth and complexity to the art. Artists would have to consider the shape of the product as well as its functionality and come up with an interesting way to sell it to customers. There are also physical restrictions that artists would have to work around, and by looking at the product, the viewer could extrapolate on how they overcame those impediments.

I believe product design has a lot more to offer in terms of studying graphic design when compared to advertisements. It would be a good addition to add a section on this in the textbook since it allows the reader to gain a better sense of the design process and ideation through its physical design, as oppose to simply interpreting the artist’s intentions from a poster.

 

What is missing By Amy Hu

Graphic Design: A New History discusses the beginnings of graphic design to present-day graphic design, highlighting famous designers that brought graphic design to where it is now. From Gutenberg to Shepard Fairey, Stephen J. Eskilson discusses as much of graphic design history in as much detail as possible, but what is missing. What has impacted design in a strange, but the new direction that has continued to impact politics and graphic design; memes.

 

The word meme was first introduced in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book on  The Selfish Gene.  The book discusses the word as a way to define the spread of ideas through generations. Later in the early 21st century memes became popular as the internet grew, spreading memes throughout the internet. Now it has become universal for the spread of cultural information through imitation and has continued to evolve in every culture based on the skill, behaviour, phrase or style of that culture shared electronically.

Exhibition poster for  “What Do You Meme?”
Exhibition poster for  “What Do You Meme?” Taken by Alice Bucknell from Artsy

As odd and humorous memes are there is no denying that meme culture has impacted the world in a phenomenal way. Memes have impacted the change in visual forms and allowed people to connect and capture people’s interest in politics. This opens up new opportunities and changes in graphic designers in technology. Memes have demonstrated the critical role that graphic design plays in responding to the political issues through challenging, changing and dictating the changes in the world. Due to the influence of meme culture, there has been a change in how many of us view politics. For instance, the many representations and interpretations of Donald Trump that has become ridiculously apparent in our culture that has captured the eyes of the world due to his distinguishable memes and numerous illustrations of Donald trump such as TIMES magazine, the New Yorker, and many more.

(Credit: Design Museum)
The photo was taken by Lindsay Baker from BBC

 

For a long time Memes have been a medium that has truly impacted the way that the world views things and feels should be in the next edition of graphic design: A new history because memes have had an impact how graphic design is viewed in the world and how the world has changed generation to generation.

 

Work Cited

Baker, Lindsay. “Culture – The Powerful Political Graphics Sparking Change.” BBC, BBC, 28 Mar. 2018, www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180328-the-powerful-political-graphics-sparking-change.

Bucknell, Alice. “What Memes Owe to Art History.” Artsy, 30 May 2017, www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-memes-owe-art-history.

Gavin, Brady. “What Is a Meme (and How Did They Originate)?” How, How-To Geek, 29 Sept. 2018, www.howtogeek.com/356232/what-is-a-meme/.

Rogers, Kara. “Meme.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Mar. 2020, www.britannica.com/topic/meme.

Dawood, Sarah. “Hope to Nope: Exploring the Power of Graphics in Politics and Protest.” Design Week, 2 May 2018, www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-march-1-april-2018/hope-nope-design-museum-power-graphic-design-politics-protest/.

 

Hope World

In early March, a member of globally popular Korean music group BTS known by his stage name J Hope, released his first mixtape by the title of Hope World.

J-Hope “Hope World”

the album is comprised of self composed tracks mainly falling into the genres of K-hip hop and K-Pop (Korean pop) with lively beats and fun energizing sounds matching J-Hopes personality.

To go along with such a bright and happy tracklist, the album would need cover art that reflects the songs as well as the artists personality which is exactly what was done for the cover of Hope World.

designing an album cover for a personal mixtape is an very crucial part of making a successful debut as a solo artist which is where the importance of graphic design comes into play. the image needs to express the moods and themes of the album in an enticing way to be able to grab viewers attention and make them want to listen. not only in this album, but for as long as pop music has been around graphic design has also played a huge part in its success. creating fun and expressive images to match the contents of the album and align with the artists vision is a key component to what makes pop popular.

in some cases, just as certain sounds can be coined by certain artists, specific art styles and images can also become associated with musical artists all based off their album art covers. Some album covers that became iconic over the years include ones such as Pink Floyd’s DSOTM, The Beetles Abbey Road, and Nirvana’s Nevermind album.  Not only did these albums gain popularity through their music, but these three very different but all equally iconic images employed graphic design techniques to create visually appealing and expressive images that would later on become recognizable visuals across the globe.

Pink Flyod “DarK Side of The Moon Album cover
The Beetles “The Abbey Road”
Nirvana “Nevermind”

However, J-Hope’s Hope World album takes the popularity of his album image one step further. Since its release on March 1st 2018, Hope Worlds cover image has gone on to become a globally known image across musical artists and fans alike. the large fan base surrounding the group of BTS and J-Hope has brought much attention to the album art and have even coined that specific style of art as “HobiCore”, an aesthetic expressing J-hopes personality based solely off the art work for the Hope World album. Bright saturated colours and swirly designs reminiscent of the album art is whats often associated with “Hobicore” and J-Hope.

example of “Hobicore”
“Hobicore” artwork by @silvia.pintou on instagram
“Hobicore” adapted into fashion

This shows how not only is the music what makes the album popular but also the graphic design work that is put into making a captivating and expressive cover.

 

BEST OF SWITZERLAND BY STEFAN KUNZ

Stefan Kunz
Stefan Kunz

This was a campaign by Stefan Kunz created for Zurich Airport which shows “Switzerland’s best brands and products after check-in with booths & displays for individual brands”(Stefan Kunz). The main technique used in this design is layering the objects. The first thing you see is the name of the project, then you look at the mountain, and at the back there are also words which create the third layer of texture. Therefore the hierarchy is very thoughtful. The red color is bold and has a lot of energy grabbing visitors’ attention right from the start of their visit to the country, and is also a signature Switzerland’s color combined with white background, as they have on their flag. Stefan Kunz is a Calligraphy artist, designer and illustrator who letters on almost everything he can get his hand on. He started as a graphic designer who was interested in typography and then transferred to hand lettering. His signature style is Typo X Photo, hand lettering integrated into beautiful landscapes. As a result, he became famous on social platforms which gave him an opportunity to work with such big clients as Asics, Adobe, Apple, Coca-Cola, Bombay Sapphire, Nokia, Hallmark, Hillsong, Skillshare, Microsoft, and many others.

Stefan Kunz
Stefan Kunz
Stefan Kunz
Stefan Kunz
Stefan Kunz
Stefan Kunz

This piece was displayed everywhere in Zurich Airport so it was quite a big project for just a calligrapher who’s famous on social platforms. Not sure if the campaign is still going on, probably not, but such experience gave him an opportunity to grow as a designer and get even better projects.

I feel that our textbook misses some contemporary artists and movements such as this one. Calligraphy is something as old as cave paintings. It’s a base which started the whole typography area of graphic design but with time and technological developments, design history threw away such movement as hand lettering which is still quite big area of nowadays design. I would add such artists as Stefan Kunz, Pokras Lampas, and other contemporary calligraphic artists to the next edition of the book to show how hand lettering movement developed with time and new technological inventions as it is a part of graphic design history too.


Works Cited

  • Kunz, Stefan. “Campaign for Airport Zürich.” STEFAN KUNZ, stefankunz.com/airport-zurich.

I Wish I.M Pei was in out Textbook

I personally find that the textbook mentions a few highlights of Chinese design. No one could deny that China in history had produced a large number of fine designs. From Blue and white porcelain to modern designs, the rich heritage of Chinese design is frankly exposed to the world. However, this part of history is missing from the textbook. More importantly, I. M. Pei is missing from the textbook. He is a Chinese-American architect, who inherited the classic beauty of Chinese design and the simple beauty of the Western design. From looking at his work of Suzhou Museum, people could clearly see what I am talking about. He is beyond an architect. Views from every perspective could form a beautiful layout. 

 

Although he is not a graphic designer, he inspired the world and other designers to seek inspiration from the past. The way he uses water in his work, as a huge piece of mirror that reflects whatever view was showing. This opens up viewers’ visions in a quite creative way, however, this method had been used long time ago in garden design in China. Also, he applied one more ancient Chinese garden design method, which is letting the wall to be white. The idea of the white walls is using the walls as canvases, therefore, whatever is in the front of the wall or marks and stains left on the wall would form pieces of natural paintings. From these two approaches of his design, he lets us know that the old ways are not necessarily the wrong way, they could work better than the modern way if in the right context. 

 

The other important perspective that he looks at his design is combining. He combines the old and the new; he combines the void and the solid; he also combines the oriental and the western. In the design of the Louvre Pyramid, we could clearly see it is a piece of modern architecture, but what is hidden is the design element he used. Using water as a mirror once again, to expand people’s visions. The other hidden element is the repeating of shape. Triangles are the shape that is repeated over and over. In ancient Chinese design, repetitive shapes make a pattern, and the pattern was important for ancient China. Since the status of people can be classified by the kinds of patterns. Triangle represents static. As a result, using repetitive triangles can give people a sense of firmness. He combines western materials with Chinese idealogy and he combines Chinese design with western idealogy. 

 

There is a lot more to learn from him. His work is always impeccable no matter when. I wish him and his works were included in the textbook, so more people could get to know Chinese design.

01-suzhou-musem-chinese-contemporary-architecture-im-pei-black-white-building-modern-nonagon-style-n9s

42-69411802