While the current edition of Stephen J. Eskilson’s Graphic design a New History does touch briefly on graphic design in relation to film, I take issue with the lack of subcategorization when an attempt at subcategorization was made. If you were to look in the index of the textbook under “film” you would find six subcategories:
- German Expressionism
- Films and Internet Promotion
- Films and Photomontage
Film and graphic design are very closely related, of course graphic design is related to many things, so it does make sense that film would not have a very large section in the textbook. However I think if the decision to not only include examples of film posters, but detailed descriptions of some films, stills as well as art made for the film was made, a little more variety would be a good thing.
I personally very much enjoy German Expressionist films, but I do not think the extensive amount of information given about German Expressionism in the textbook is more relevant to graphic design than all other film genres. German Expressionism is without a doubt one of the first genres operating within the vein of “Arthouse Film”, but I do not think that alone deems German Expressionism worthy of being the only film genre with a full two page spread in the textbook.
I believe additional artistic genres of film should be included alongside german expressionism.
Transgressive and Avant-Garde cinema in 1960s and 1970s Japan for example, would be an excellent edition to the textbook. Many films created under the umbrella of these genres are closely related to design. Belladonna of Sadness for example makes excellent use of graphic design through the medium of film, while making direct references to expressionist art.
Mid 20th Century art films as a whole I think are notable in terms of graphic design. The choice to include films that fall under this genre would be wise considering the types of framing and other graphic design tools used by many 20th century auteurs such as Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman. The inclusion of films into a graphic design textbook based on how the films are shot makes a lot of sense to me, since both film and graphic design are often argued to be lesser than fine arts, a statement I disagree with.
Bergman for example followed many principles of design when shooting his films, as many directors do, though Bergman can be considered an auteur making him worthy of a credit in the textbook.
Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design a New History. 3rd ed., Yale University Press, 2007.
Bartok, Dennis, Belladonna of Sadness Blu-Ray booklet, 1973.
*All opinions on Bergman, Kurosawa and Auteur theory are my own