Missing from the textbook – Comics and Sequential Art

By: Kirk Nazar- 3164965

An extremely influential aspect of art and design that is missing from Eskilson’s textbook is the role of comic books and Graphic novels throughout history. The basic communicatory structure of these mediums is rooted in graphic design, and requires it in order to function. Comic illustration and Graphic design share a symbiotic relationship in this sense and have made a massive contribution to our art and design culture throughout history; Acting as a visual communication of our cultural zeitgeist, establishing symbolism and a distinct visual vocabulary that have become ingrained into our contemporary visual culture, shaping and reflecting it.

Itchy and Scratchy Comics, 1999

In order to even hold their basic narrative structure, the illustrations of a comic and narrative text need to be arranged in a way that is legible and cohesive, and this is where graphic design play’s it’s integral role in their construction. Comic books are a visual medium that embrace all 5 sense. Used in a multitude of ways to represent different narrative aspects. One way they achieve this is utilizing illustrative typography and it’s placement among the illustration to do things such as giving texture to a word to represent a sound, or emboldening it to establish tone, theme or mood.

Roy Lichtenstein, CRAK! (1963)
Roy Lichtenstein, CRAK! (1963)

These emotive fonts became a symbolic and iconic type face associated with comics, but more importantly their role in popular culture. These typographic methods were re purposed for a variety of other avenues of art and design. One of the most famous artistic movements, the Pop art movement of the 1950’s; Saw artists such as Roy Lichtenstein utilizing them, and other comic book visual tools in his own work to critique the current socio political climate of capitalistic mass production and the status of fine art and design in the 20th century.

Whaam! 1963 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Roy Lichtenstein, WHAAM! (1963)

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Their use and effects throughout history has shifted drastically from tools of sociopolitical satire and critique, expressions of american youth culture to an integral part of the american war machine in the 1940’s . Following the events of D-Day, the american government enlisted comic makers of the time into the war effort, creating the character of Captain America. With the major demographic of readers being young men, comics were the perfect tool. They began operating as essentially an alternative to american enlistment posters and propaganda, assisting with vilification of the enemy and Heroism of the american allied forces. Targeted at young boys coming of age to enlist and also soldiers fighting over seas alike; sending copies to active duty troops reassuring them of their heroic purpose, justifying their role. In fact, the narrative tool of the super villain in literature and popular culture was the product of American War time comic issues and their propagandistic utilization.

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Captain America Comics (1941) #1
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Captain America Comics (1942) #13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While comics and graphic novels are often considered to be under the umbrella of illustration, I wholeheartedly disagree, Their methods of story telling are in able to function without some form of graphic design and in that sense their relationship is inseparable and symbiotic. I sincerely believe that the place of comics and graphic novels are a key facet that cannot be ignored when looking at graphic design. They have had an undeniable affect on our society throughout our history, both artistically and culturally, and are an excellent example of a form of art and design that needs more inclusion in Academic textbooks.

Work Cited 

  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Edited by Mark Martin, Tundra Publishing, 1993.
  • “Captain America: A WWII Fighting Force.” National D-Day Memorial, 27 Sept. 2017, www.dday.org/2017/10/19/captain-america-a-wwii-fighting-force/.
  • Dooley, Michael. “How Comic Books Influence Graphic Design.” Print Magazine, 5 Aug. 2011, www.printmag.com/design-education/comics-graphic-designers/.
  • “Roy Lichtenstein: MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org/artists/3542.
  • Rupert. “Using Comic Book Techniques in Graphic Design.” Red Back Design, 27 May 2018, redbackdesign.co.uk/using-comic-book-techniques-in-graphic-design/.
  • Carrier, David. The Aesthetics of Comics. The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

 

Design in the Wild – The Art of Video Game Covers

By: Kirk Nazar- 3164965

Video game box art is simultaneously the most important and most easily overlooked aspect of the industry. It is the identifying face of a game and tasked with conveying what the game is, and has to offer. Over the past 30 years, Cover art has evolved just as drastically as the games themselves, and arguably not for the better. Most game covers today all follow a similar safe design formula and fail to accomplish the most crucial thing required of them. With an era of digital distribution threatening the role of physical boxed copies in general, there has never been a better time to look back at the journey of an underappreciated facet of art, its shift, and its place among graphic design.

Today, utilizing an in-game asset for cover art and marketing is standard procedure, but that wasn’t always the case. In the late 70’s, Cabinets and consoles had nowhere near the hardware capabilities they have now and relied almost entirely on the imagination of the player. Publishers therefore relied on artists such as George Opperman and Rick Guidiceboth with conceptual and commercial art experience, to create imagery that would spark and excite the players imagination. All with identical boxes, the Atari 2600 generation put all emphasis on the illustration with flat monotone backgrounds, symmetrical composition and Atari sans serif cover text. While the artwork work was undoubtedly beautiful, controversy arose for misleading the consumer due to the imagery being more interpretive rather than representational.

Asteroids (1979)                            Berzerk (1980)

asteroidsbox-jpg_618x0_ berzerkboxart-jpg_618x0_   asteroidsgameplay-jpg_618x0_ berzerkgameplay-jpg_618x0_1

 

These trends shifted in subsequent years with companies like Nintendo utilizing more screen accurate imagery in their cover art. With consoles still being limited to 8-bit processing capabilities, enticing buyers, while also being transparent about the product, just wasn’t a marketable option. So a medium between the two extremes was established with artists beginning to experiment with dynamic ways to incorporate title text fonts and creative imagery that would not mislead the consumer.

NES Golf (1984)                                                  NES Open Tournament (1991)     

nes_golf                       nes_nesopenturnamentgolf_gb

Super Mario Bros. (1985)                               Super Mario Bros.  3 (1988) 

nes_supermariobros                      nes_supermariobros3

 

This Precedent was maintained into the next generation of consoles in 1991. With graphical improvements, artists now had more identifiable source material to work with, illustrating scenes from the games themselves rather than what a game was meant to represent. The cover designs that came out of this generation by artists such as Tom dubois, maintained just the right amount of artistic freedom, and did so without overly misrepresenting the product. Original fonts styles, experimental compositions and beautiful illustrations made a generation of cover art that is widely considered to be the most iconic and aesthetically diverse of all time.

 

snes_thelegendofzeldaalinktothepast-1 snes_supermetroid snes_supermarioworld

A Link to the Past (1991)    Super Metroid (1994)    Super Mario World (1990)

snes_secretofmana snes_streetfighterii snes_castlevaniaiv

Secret of Mana (1993)        Street Fighter II (1992)      Super Castlevania IV (1991)

 

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Tomb Raider (1996)
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Crash Bandicoot (1996)

With the jump from 2D to 3D in 1996, Publishers saw the new visual fidelity as impressive enough to use in-game assets as marketing material, and subsequently illustrators no were longer necessary.

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Sonic 3D Blast (1996)

Similar to shifts from illustration to photography in advertising throughout history, the public seemed to prefer it; Regardless of its comparable lacking of detail to previous hand drawn covers. This need for 3D was initiated by western publishers and started the unfortunate trend of box art feeling designed by marketing teams rather than passionate artists. Most covers began following the same formulaic approach to their designs with a central in game character asset, symmetrical text composition and recycled font style. This and other standard design formulae became a normality that sadly continues to occupy the vast majority of store shelves today. Doing more to represent the current market zeitgeist rather than a digital work of  interactive art.

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Video game cover art by its definition is its own form of poster art. Visual imagery and marketing coming together with the goal of winning the interest of potential consumers. Like a lot of poster art of the 19th and 20th century, themes of mysticism, sex, masculinity and fantastical elements are commonplace among box covers, and while beautiful, they sadly do little to represent the products they are advertising. This  is something that has re surged quietly among video game covers over the past 20 years. While graphically the visuals displayed on cases today look impressive, and their compositions are in fact well executed, there is a clear bias in the division of it’s two jobs, the passion and appreciation for representing a piece of art, and it’s role as a marketing tool.

 

Work Cited

  • Buffa, Christopher. “Video Game Box Art: How Beautiful Graphics Ruined Everything.” Prima Games, Prima Games, 19 June 2014, primagames.com/feature/video-game-box-art-how-beautiful-graphics-ruined-everything.
  • Lapetino, Tim. Art of Atari. Edited by Shawna Gore, Dynamite Entertainment, 2016.
  • Webster, Andrew. “How Atari Box Art Turned 8-Bit Games into Virtual Wonderlands.” The Verge, 19 Sept. 2013, www.theverge.com/2013/9/19/4716444/how-atari-box-art-turned-8-bit-games-into-virtual-wonderlands.
  • “Album Art CD Covers and DVD Covers.” Cover Century, www.covercentury.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post 2 – Missing From the Textbook – Motion Graphic

In the next edition of Graphic Design: A New History, I would like to see a new chapter to talk about the Motion Graphic, a rapidly developing area of Graphic Design. Even though Eskilson spends a few chapters talking about the digital Graphic design in the second half of the book, motion design is not shown. Motion Graphic is an important subset of graphic design. It’s a significant area to represent contemporary Graphic Design history, even the future tendency of graphic design.
Motion Graphic and computer are inseparable. Basically, the invention of the computer and various graphic software create Motion Graphic. The term “Motion Graphic” was first used by John Whitney, an animator who co-founded Motion Graphic in the 1960s. However, due to the current development of technology in the 1960s, motion graphics are very expensive and difficult to produce.

At first, motion graphic was used in television title and motion sequences mainly. As technology has improved, computers were widely available in the late 19th century. Graphic artists are able to use various tools to explore and create motion graphics.  In the present, graphic designers could easily create beautiful motions with adobe after effect and other software. Motion Graphic became one of the most desirable art forms in the 21st century, Designers applied it in website design, advertising design, and movie productions. Therefore, this new art form gives so many new possibilities in Graphic design. Artists could create vivid and dynamic visual language by using motion.

Mondays by Markus Magnusson
Mondays animation by Markus Magnusson

Moving into a new decade in 2020, I find out motion graphics are almost everywhere in our life. Since the improvement of the internet and technology is getting faster, the way people read and watch is changing. In the future, motion graphics might apply to our digital textbooks, replace the static images. It could affect communication between humans as well. People are using motion graphics such as gifs to communicate on the internet frequently now. Consequently, Motion Graphic might take in important role in the future of Graphic Design.

Work Cited

“The History of Motion Graphics – Triplet 3D: Blog.” Triplet 3D, 3 July 2015, www.triplet3d.com/the-history-of-motion-graphics.

 

 

Unknown. “BBC Promo logo ident 1981 motion graphics” YouTube, uploaded byretrophile1980, 12 April 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OwRmnamofs.

“Motion Design: 35 Funny Animations by Markus Magnusson.” Icons8 Blog, 23 Feb. 2020, icons8.com/articles/motion-design-funny-animations/.

Yashfeen Asif Blog 1

Design in The Wild

VOGUE

I am going to be talking about Vogue the magazine. This magazine was first issued in 1892. The magazine has evolved and changed its font its design and everything about it over all till date. In 1909 the magazine was acquired by Conde Naste Publishers. The magazine’s volume became thicker and its main focus was turned on women. Naturally, the price was raised as well. In1932 the American Vogue for the first time ever had placed a color photography on its cover (earlier it was exclusively given for drawings). Since that time the World’s best photographers – Irwin Penn and Guy Burden, Richard Avedon and Norman Parkinson, Helmut Newton and Peter Lindberg – became Vogue’s contributors. In 1960-s the American Vogue under the leadership of Diana Vriland had become the symbol of a new era – more creative, emancipated and sexy. Another important period in American Vogue history began in 1988, when Anna Wintour became its Chief Editor. Her talent, will and efficiency, reflected in The Devil Wears Prada movie, had finally turned Vogue into Nr1 Fashion Magazine of the World, not just reflecting fashion trends, but effectively shaping them.

The design that was used for the actual type face itself has been Didot. The font first used in 1892 was a different form of font as typeface wasn’t so popular then with many options. The typeface itself and design of the overall cover and magazine has changed a lot. With time there has been colours added, more modernized typography and the concept of the magazine became from a normal selling magazine to a women empowerment magazine with time till date.

This magazine in today’s time is meant to express women. It’s become a women empowerment/ women-based magazine. When it was developing in its initial stages it just a normal magazine which over time became just for women. It spoke about problems and issues related to women’s back in the days. It was the first magazine to address women related problems so openly to the world which made it very unique. Today vogue has a very big name for itself and had developed and grown a lot since it first came out.

Missing in the Text Book: Lester Beall

Lester Beall should be included in the next edition of Graphic Design: A New History. I know I’ve spoken a ton about him by now, after choosing the advertisement poster he created for the Rural Electrification Administration. I wanted to talk about him again to discuss why he should be included in the next edition of our textbook, and this opportunity to showcase a different piece of his work rather than continuing to focus Radio – Rural Electrification Administration.

As I’ve said before, Beall’s influence on the profession of graphic designers was immense. During his career throughout the 1930’s and 40’s, Beall helped shift how companies viewed designers. At the time designers were seen only to fulfill a mundane and boring role. Beall changed that view into one where designers are far more important during the branding process. Beall had thought that the role of the designer was not to simply create one thing and move on, but rather an ongoing involvement. The involvement of a designer begins with the development of a trademark, and on to the application, and finally the protection of the trademark.

Taking a look at his piece included in his series for the Rural electrification Administration, which is considered to be one of the greatest American posters of all time, a photomontage of an American boy and girl looking towards the future in front of a pattern reminiscence of the American flag. Lester Beall’s frequent combination of photos in his posters, coupled with his precise execution of typography and bold colours placed him a head of his contemporaries in North America. Beall found inspiration in the works of both students and teachers of the Bauhaus school in Germany. His bold use of colours, perspective, and photomontage can be traced back to his Bauhaus contemporaries.

I feel that a designer who’s work and attitude to the field of graphic design should be included in the textbook, regardless of how well known or popular his or her work was, should be studied.

Significance of Bitmap Icons by Susan Kare – Hyelin Kim

While embracing various realms of graphic designs, I felt that the textbook lacked in delivering significant design advancement in the history of digital technology that gifted us with the convenience of computers and smartphones. Nowadays, all the programs and technologies accompany simple icons that enable us to recognize their function at a glance. To get to this point of cognitive efficiency, Apple’s remarkable graphic designer, Susan Kare, made the greatest contribution by building the basis of iconographic designs.

Kare joined Apple Computer after she received a call from her high school friend, Andy Hertzfeld, the lead software architect for Macintosh at the time, in the early 1980s. Kare started working as the designer for Macintosh’s user interface graphics. Although Kare was inexperienced in computers at the beginning, she was able to accomplish significant achievements throughout her career in Apple.

Susan Kare, Bitmap Icons, 1980s.
Fig. 1 Susan Kare, Bitmap Icons, the 1980s.

The most renowned and appreciated works of her are “bitmap graphic” icons (fig. 1). These simple yet practical images were the core element that granted the Macintosh to be approachable for anyone with less or no experience with the computer. Not only her designs were practical, but they were also enjoyable. Now that this “user-friendly” interface allowed the computers to communicate with the users visually instead of lines of codes, the more approachable it became. Ellen Lupton of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum remarked that Kare’s icons made people feel “welcome and safe—even when the system crashed and gave [them] a drawing of a bomb,” witnessing the friendliness of Kare’s design (Kindy).

This must have been able as Kare herself loved and enjoyed the characteristics of the bitmap. She mentioned in her interview back in 2000 that the bitmap graphics reminded her of working “needlepoint, knitting patterns or mosaics” (Kindy). She described the process of her bitmap designing as “the marriage of craft and metaphor” (Lange). Like such, her main technique for coming up with the ideas was through connecting the functions with metaphorical images. From a pointing finger functioning for “Paste,” a paintbrush for “MacPaint,” and scissors for “Cut,” many of her icons were efficient and easily associable with its role.

Her love of metaphor and symbolism is also evident in her design of the “command” icon that still lives with us on the left of our space bar. She borrowed the idea from a “Swedish campground sign meaning ‘interesting feature’” (Lange).

Fig. 2 Susan Kare, Typefaces, 1983-84.
Fig. 2 Susan Kare, Typefaces, 1983-84.

Not only Kare contributed to the development of communicative icons but she also was able to give life to many of Mac’s typefaces including Geneva, Chicago, and Cario (fig. 2). She is also responsible for designing other interfaces in different companies like the spinning button used for refreshing or the pinning icon on Pinterest or the cards from Microsoft Windows Solitaire (fig. 3) and more.

Fig. 4 Susan Kare, Microsoft Window Solitaire Cards, 1990.
Fig. 3 Susan Kare, Microsoft Window Solitaire Cards, 1990.

In conclusion, Kare’s great contribution to our digital life by developing the visual communicative language that built the more convenient experiences should be acknowledged in our textbook. Her invention of icons marks historical advancement in both digital technologies and graphic designs.

 

Works Cited

Kindy, David. “How Susan Kare Designed User-Friendly Icons for the First Macintosh.” Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Institution, 9 Oct. 2019, www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/how-susan-kare-designed-user-friendly-icons-for-first-macintosh-180973286/.

Lange, Alexandra. “The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile.” The New Yorker, 19 Apr. 2018, www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-woman-who-gave-the-macintosh-a-smile.

Xu Bing – Book From the Sky and Book From the Ground – Jiamu Cao

Xu Bing – Book From the Sky and Book From the Ground: Conflicts and Communications of Language

I believe Xu Bing and his works Your Surname Please should be put in the next edition of Graphic Design: A New History. 

Xu Bing has produced many artworks by using especially Chinese, letters and characters as elements. His work interacts with the audience in a special way. In his works A Book From the Sky and Book From the Ground, Xu expressed his understanding of the gap between different languages, and try to use the language of design making a new way of communication.

According to Leon vandermeersch’ s  The Origin and Characteristics of Chinese, Chinese letters have the features of ideogram. It can be understood that every part of the Chinese character is a simplified icon.

Xu split the strokes of Chinese characters then regroup them together, then uses the wood board to print huge works and a series of books called A Book From the Sky. In these books, Xu Bing carefully typesets and makes them look like real books-a classical old Chinese book, and all the characters in the books look like real Chinese characters, which symbolized knowledge and authority. However, once started reading, audiences would find that they can not understand any of them, even if Chinese is their mother language.

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Inner Page of The Book From the Sky, 1987-1991

This series of books forced audiences (especially those who understand Chinese) to use their previous experience to interpret the meaning of the text. But in the end, nothing was found. Xu Bing used this strong contraction, clearly convey the gaps in language communication.

As a comparison, The Book From the Ground aimed to make a book that has no word but all the people can understand.

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This book uses common design language in modern life, such as stickman, emoji and described a very simple story. Xu Bing believes that no matter who speaks any language, as long as he or she is in modern life, this person will understand what this book is talking about. From the introduction of Xu Bing Retrospective Exhibition, we can know he is seeking “communication without borders”. This reminds people to pay attention to the importance of graphics when designing for the world, and the gap in understanding caused by different culture backgrounds.

Maybe we don’t see his artwork such as Book From the Sky in daily life. Yet Xu Bing showed the importance of design in a new way, reminding people of the issues that should be paid attention to when designing – especially today, a world with globalization and information exchange are more frequent.

 

Leon vandermeersch’ s  The Origin and Characteristics of Chinese, 1998, August.

Author unknown, “Book From the Sky” “Book From the Ground” Xu Bing Retrospective Exhibitionhttp://humanities.cn/modules/news/view.article.php?31

Xu Bing, “Book From the Sky” ,1987-1991 http://xubing.com/cn/work/details/206?year=1991&type=year#206

Chou Haibo and Zhu li, “Xu Bing’s Art View and Action Logic”, Changjiang Literature and Art No. 4 2018

Herbert Bayer and Bauhaus

Herbert Bayer and Bauhaus

101 years ago, Bauhaus was founded in Weimar, german. Despite its short existence, it managed to influence the world’s aesthetic for a century. 

The minimalist aesthetic we indulge in elaborating on, like Muji, Apple, with their clean, basic features, and even the classic Kubrick 2001 space odyssey, all took inspiration from what Bauhaus left behind. hilton-1

“The refinement of combining fine art, architecture and decorative art into a total work of art with meaning for future civilizations was lost by the mid 19th century when industrial development and emerging mass consumption created a huge gap between the spiritual world and the material world. Gone were unified works of art like the medieval cathedrals, built by generations of artisans, craftsmen, and sculptors in the service of the church and its ideals. ”(212 Lerner)

In the 19th century, the architecture design of its time pursues the most luxurious and pompous decoration. The more spectacular it is, the more it ignores the real needs of the general public, and it becomes a symbol of inequality. Also, society have grown mature and rigid due to industrialization, and the human division of labor was clear. The rigid division of labor led to a separation between people and society.

Under this background, groups of artists, architects were starting to realize the problem of society. 

They hated the hierarchical order left by the decadent system of the old empire. The hierarchy reflects in economics and society, also permeated in many fields such as architecture, art, and design. Their goal is to break the boundary between art and industry, create art that can meet the requirement of the modern age. 

“An essential principle which formed the basis for the Bauhaus is expressed in a few words taken from Gropius’s statement in 1923: ‘…the old dualistic world concept which envisaged the ego in opposition to the universe is rapidly losing ground. In its place is the rising idea of a universal unity in which all opposing force exists in a state of absolute balance.’” (81 Pritchard) In 1919, with the purpose of cultivating a group of artists who can understand the concept above, the school of Bauhaus was created. And the unique way of education challenged the basic education system. 

Bauhaus may have more influences on architecture compared to other fields, however, it did influence graphic design in some extend. Among all the graphic designers who took inspiration from Bauhaus school, Herbert Bayer is one of the most well-known ones. He was famous for designing the universal font, written on the Bauhaus school building.competition-win-bauhaus-stay_dezeen_2364_col_0-2-852x1278

I think that the Bauhaus movement should be in the textbook because unlike the former art styles that have disappeared in the modern days, Bauhaus is still influencing the design aesthetic today. The advocation of simplifying the complex, practical art style and concept made its products last, with no trace of age. Assumably Bauhaus will still inspire in the future.

Lerner, Fern. “Foundations for Design Education: Continuing the Bauhaus Vorkurs Vision.” Studies in Art Education, vol. 46, no. 3, 2005, pp. 211–226. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3497081. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

PRITCHARD, JACK. “GROPIUS, THE BAUHAUS AND THE FUTURE.” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol. 117, no. 5150, 1969, pp. 75–94. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41370286. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

American comic books: diving into propaganda

Comic books have a rich history in North America. One could say they are a cousin to graphic design, because of their marriage of text and imagery. Despite this, they are not considered in the textbook Graphic Design: A New History, by Eskilson (2019). 

For a kind of graphic design devoured by many a kid, teen, and adult since the 1940’s, comics have had an impressive influence throughout society. In fact, they were used as a vehicle for propaganda during World War II (Scott 57). Captain America comics were introduced in 1941, and in the first issue’s cover the character Captain America is seen punching Adolf Hitler in the face (see figure 1). Issue 58 of Superman toted a cover with a banner stating how war bonds and stamps can help the war effort in America (see figure 2). The patriotic themes and heroism of these comic book characters — those who protect and serve the people of America — were a perfect companion for American propaganda, providing the youth a visceral but appropriate understanding of what a ‘good American’ was, and who their enemies were (Scott 57). 

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Figure 1. Captain America seen here in his first issue, punching Hitler in the face as a good American would.

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Figure 2. Superman shown helping to print out posters about how any American can help the war effort.

The slogans seen in the Superman and Batman comics were a way to encourage average Americans that they too could support the war effort of their people (see figure 2 & 3). These covers denote superheros fighting hard against their enemies or in the war, suggesting that if you were to do as these characters say (buy war bonds and stamps), you would be fighting the war too.

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Figure 3. Batman and Robin on adventures to show Americans how they are helping out their soldiers.

But what if you couldn’t or wouldn’t do these things? Like the posters created to swell patriotic pride for World War I that guilted men into signing up for global fights, these comics provided the dark understanding that if you do not do what these superheroes do, you are unpatriotic and not at all like the beloved superheroes that help out as an American should (see figure 4) (Eskilson 115).

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Figure 4. Savile Lumley’s WWI poster (1915). – Daddy, what did you do in the war?

Comics also disseminated the face of the ugly enemy in a more modern format for youthful readers(Scott 54). Unlike the serious and/or horrifying appearances illustrated for past wartime posters, here were bumbling fools and comically drawn ghouls. Different but similar, the purpose of creating negative (and racist) appearances of enemies was done for the exact same reason it was done in any other way — to sow the concept of good versus evil (ibid.) (see figure 5).

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Figure 5. The Fighting Yank‘s cover depicting racist caricatures of the Japanese army.

In particular, the concept of a patriotically-dressed comic book character was an American invention, providing a way for readers to connect with their country and its ideal beliefs (Scott 56). In line with this, Captain America toted an American flag themed shield and wore an American flag themed body suit (see figure 1). Another hero dressed similarly was Wonder Woman with her red, white, and blue costume with a bald eagle as a chest emblem (see figure 6). To wear the flag would be a clear signal that these characters lived and breathed American values. The bald eagle was yet another signal to viewers of this, and characters would be seen holding one or even, riding one (see figures 6 & 7)!

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Figure 6. Wonder Woman lasso-ing enemies.

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Figure 7. Batman and Robin seen riding a bald eagle – a symbol of American pride and patriotism.

Delving into American comics and their impact on society would be a boon to the textbook. There is a rich history that dips into war-time propaganda specifically aimed at the American youth, as well as a demonstration of patriotic imagery that resounded to the people of the time. Looking into these comics would provide our class another view into the way propaganda was disseminated into different times, that varied from the usual posters and flyers see typically shown in class.

Cord, Scott A.  Comics and ConflictNaval Institute Press, 2014.

Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: A New History. Yale University Press, 2019.

“Patriotism.” Word War II: Comics and Propaganda,
sites.google.com/site/worldwar2comicbookpropaganda/–patriotism.

 

Swiss graphic designer, Lora Lamm

By: Gillian Reyes

Lora Lamm is a Swiss graphic designer best known for her 10 years of work when she lived in Milan during the post-war years from 1953 to 1963 after finishing her studies in Zurich, Switzerland.  During her time there, she found her own unique style by combining both Milanese and Swiss influences and design principles into her work. She did plenty of commissions designing posters, packaging and invitations for big brands, such as the La Rinascente, Pirelli and Elizabeth Arden, etc. in Milan.

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Her style seems optimistic and colourful, executed by the use of typography, illustration, collage and photography. She was free to conduct experiments in her design, hence the use of different typography in each of her work, ranging from sans serifs, grotesques, and to Bodoni and other serifs.  Her composition of having both a message and an image is very powerful since it “serves the purpose of communicating clearly and elegantly, with optimism and humour” (“A breath of fresh air”). Apparently, her Pirelli and La Rinascente employers at the time stated that her style is “a reflection of [her] own personality” (“A breath of fresh air”).

During her stay in Milan in post-war years, a design revolution took place between the Italians and the Swiss. Big companies and businesses like the  Pirelli, La Rinascente, Olivetti, Necchi and many others were open to experimentation in advertising as a result of the growing economy after WWII. They hired Swiss and Italian designers who brought forth unique designs that resulted from experiments and friendly competitions. Lora Lamm was one of the designers who stood out despite being in a “male-dominated creative atmosphere.” Berta F., a writer from the Pendulum Magazine, describes her views on designing: “She understood advertising is much more than just selling a product; it is mutual recognition between brand and public. It is also a dialogue, and she engaged – she still engages – in it with one very simple tool: proximity.” Due to this, she produced many advertisements with clear and concise compositions and messages that were understood by the audience.

Even with her accomplishments, she was written out of graphic design history books. One reason may have been because she distanced herself from other designers. Lora Lamm, herself, said, “I was working for Rinascente by day, and working for other clients by night; on holidays I went back to the Alps. Also, it was not easy in the 1950s for a young, single, foreign girl to join a crowd of male friends for bar evenings and design banter” (“A breath of fresh air”). Another reason could be that the AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale), a club of the world’s graphic designers, refused her membership.

Regardless, she is content with just being a good designer. When she went back to Switzerland, she resumed her career as a graphic designer, but stopped using the style she used in Milan since she felt that it was time to move on. Her past works will continue to be personal for her as it reflects the design revolution that took place in Milan.

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References

F, Berta. “SWISS GRAPHIC DESIGN || Finding Lora Lamm.” Pendulum Magazine, Pendulum Magazine, 22 Sept. 2017, www.pendulummag.com/art/2017/9/21/swiss-graphic-design-finding-lora-lamm.

“A breath of fresh air.” Eye Magazine | Feature | A Breath of Fresh Air, www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/a-breath-of-fresh-air.