Blog Post 2 – Trademarks

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“In 1967 at the international exhibition organized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) he presented 23 trade marks, accentuating the logo of Petrol.” (Off of his biography website)

A graphic designer that could be featured in the new version of Graphic Design: A New History is Stefan Kanchev. Stefan Kanchev was a Bulgarian graphic designer who lived from 1915 to 2001. He is a very well-known graphic designer in Bulgaria and was especially known for his graphic work creating trademarks. I think he could be introduced in the textbook because I did not see very many Eastern European designers that were not predominately from the Russian constructivist period. Although there is an abundant amount of Western designers, I feel like his contributions to design were interesting.

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Posters created for a gallery showing in Czech Republic.

In terms of what he has accomplished and worked on, Kanchev worked on folktale book covers, postcards, postage stamps, advertisements – you name it! He had participated in a lot of worldwide exhibitions and in many artist competitions for typography, trademarks, telegram forms, etc. He became a very individualistic artist and his work was very unique in his area, so he became quite well-known. As he is most known for his trademark work, I will be focusing on that for this blog post. The reason I believe he should be in the textbook is more to do with the type of content he made. I was not really familiar with Kanchev or his work until I started researching for this assignment. I have not really come across trademarks or a more in-depth look into them during my studies and they were quite interesting to read about. At first, the description of trademarks confused me as I figured that logos and trademarks were the same; however, the trademark is separate as in it is used as a way to protect logos, slogans, company names, all of those sorts of good legal stuff.

It was noted that he was producing trademarks one after another after another. He produced over 1000 trademarks and 650 stamps, along with the other work he was putting out. He was very hands on with his approach to work, everything trademark he created was drawn by hand and iterated many times to get to where he would like it. His work was very typographic, yet simple and well thought out. I believe that it is important as designers to see how other designers approached and discovered their direction for the type of career that they were developing. I definitely would have been interesting in learning more about logotypes and the whole trademark design aspect behind them. Although it would probably not cover the in depth business side, having a general understanding of what trademarks do and how they are created and applied could be something to be considered. Kanchev’s work is very compelling and his work being used as an example could open up to a lot more artists that are related to his realm of work from all around the world- not just the Western part of the globe.

Citations:

Intellectual Property Office. “Trademarks Guide.” Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 14 June 2019, www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr02360.html.

Poststudio. “Stefan Kanchev Posters, Exhibition.” Behance, 25 May 2011, www.behance.net/gallery/1499021/Stefan-Kanchev-Posters-Exhibition.

“Stefan Kanchev.” Biography of Stefan Kanchev, Superhosting.BG, stefankanchev.com/en/biography.html.

Blog Post 1: Design Evolution of Animal Crossing Game Covers

animal crossing covers

For this blog post, I wanted to explore the evolution of Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing” game covers. Animal Crossing was one of many Nintendo games that I was exposed to when I was younger and since then, there have been many games released relating to the franchise. When it comes to design, I find that Nintendo designers create very beautiful animations that call for nice game play. There have been 5 main Animal Crossing games released between 2001 and 2020.

From 2001 to 2020, it seems almost too evident that there would be a change implemented to the design of the game, whether it would be the logo or actual design features of the game. In this case, the title logo of the game actually stayed almost the exact same throughout. The title logo looks like it is emulating a wooden painted sign. The background is brown, which depicts the “wood” that the title was painted on, and the title itself is in yellow. The game title font appears to be a slab serif and after doing some research, it has been suggested that the font may be called “Fink Heavy” (part of the Rat Fink font family) and was produced by House Industries. Looking at the first game (starting on the left), the title looks very flat. There is some shading behind the wood to give a dimensional effect, but there is not much there. It appears that throughout the years the game title still did not really adjust drastically; however, in the latest game, the title has a lot more dimensionality to it. There is more contrast in the wood texture and the shadows bouncing off the letters are a lot more prominent. The light source seems to have been clearly determined as the light reflects off the top of the logo and becomes darker at the bottom. The game titles also have the extended game name attached somehow: games 1,2, and 3 have the title dangling from an extra sign, whereas 4 and 5 have it attached on the top right corner.

In terms of the illustration style that the game went through, the covers do not actually show how drastic the change was. The graphics were improved and looked a lot more neat and smooth. One can see the evolution of graphics just by looking at the way leaves are depicted. The forms seem very two dimensional and they started off with two distinct colours and then transformed gradually into having leaves that portray depth through smooth gradients on the leaves.

The intention of the game is to create the feel of a community and I think that is achieved through the designers approach of adding more characters to a glimpse of scenery and creating joyful expressions of everyone’s face. Another successful part of the designs is how full of colour they are – and  the more you look at, the more you discover. Koji Takahashi was in charge of character design and later design director of the Animal Crossing games, along with other Nintendo games. It is really interesting to see how the characters and features of the game became a lot more rounded out and smoother, with higher quality as newer ones came out, which is exactly what is expected.

Sources:

Animal Crossing Font

https://nintendo.fandom.com/wiki/Koji_Takahashi

https://houseind.com/hi/ratfink

Links to images I used (ordered from oldest game to newest) // (I could not change the size of the image I uploaded, hopefully it works when I post it, but here are clearer references)

  1. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/82/Animal_Crossing_Coverart.png/220px-Animal_Crossing_Coverart.png
  2. https://images.lukiegames.com/t_300e2/assets/images/DS/ds_animal_crossing_wild_world-110214.jpg
  3. https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/animalcrossing/images/8/89/Cityfolkbox.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/340?cb=20090228015316
  4. https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/6c2452f6-85e3-4e28-9ba4-646097d63244_1.27c8c0463a45abee8ce94b444782376b.jpeg
  5. https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81q1%2BP5JmkL._AC_SL1500_.jpg