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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Nov 18 / Brian

Milton Glaser

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There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for. As a student of graphic design, we are constantly searching for that wow factor, and Milton Glaser, the most celebrated graphic designers in America, has always had us saying WOW!

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Glaser’s artwork is known worldwide and has been featured in exhibits including one-man-shows at both the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, shown here.

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Born in 1929, he was educated at the High School of Music and Art, NY, the Cooper Union art school, NY, and the Academy of Fine Art, in Italy. He then co-founded Pushpin Studios and New York Magazine, founded Milton Glaser Inc. and teamed up with Walter Bernard to form WBMG.

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Since the founding of WBMG, they have designed more than 50 magazines, newspapers and periodicals around the world, including the complete redesigns of three major newspapers, The Washington Post, La Vanguardia and O Globo.

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Beside his publishing success, Milton Glaser is best known for his Bob Dylan poster, the DC bullet logo and designs for the Brooklyn Brewery, but one of his all time famous pieces is the classic I heart NY logo.

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Shown here is the original sketch, that was drawn by Glaser when he was riding in a taxi. During this time, New York was in a state of chaos, high crime and a bankrupt economy. The city needed to revamp its image and provide hope, and that just what this logo did.

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Surprisingly, he was paid nothing for this design, and as a result, no copyrights are on this logo. It was designed for the use of anyone, in order to spread a positive message to residents and hesitant visitors.

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Today this image rakes in an estimated 33 million dollars every year appearing on t-shirts, key chains and other promotional materials.

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Some of Glaser’s designs appear to be so simple, but that’s the point. You understand immediately what the image is meant to evoke, and how it applies to the product being branded. Glaser once boiled down the essence of his work into one word, clarity.

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Not only has Glaser continued to deliver designs for multiple platforms, he is also a professor and board member at the School of Visual Arts in NY and wrote numerous books about art and design.

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Glaser has impacted graphic design so much, that his career prompted a 2009 documentary called “Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight.” Raveling his life and his life’s work.

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Glaser is considered an icon to the world of graphic design. Recently, he was one of ten recipients to receive the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honors for artistic excellence. Even though he has reached the pinnacle of his career, he will always inspire us to go above and beyond our artistic potential.

 

Nov 17 / Brian

Project 4: My work and final

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The objective for this project is to research our two words that we were given, find connotations and have a clear understanding of the feeling and emotion invoked in order to design a font that represents each word. My two words for this project were defamatory and splatter. The most challenging element in this project, in my opinion, was the fact that we could only use either all square modules or all circular modules to design the two fonts. This was a challenge because it limited the various design ideas that I originally had, and it forced me to think about the structure of the font and how it works within a space.

After analyzing my research, I concluded that the design for splatter had to be something random that moves outward from a point.  For defamatory, the design needs to be something that has been vandalized or broken down or deformed. Defamatory is better defined as verbal insults or hurtful words. This was the more changing word to design because it is not a word for the common tongue.

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These are my sketches, as you can see these design concepts represent the connotations of each word. After working with both types of modules, I found that circles were more reasonable to work with because it gives less of a geometric feel and was more versatile to work with.

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Here is my first draft of the design. For defamatory, I made the design of each letter weak and flimsy. I also took parts of the letter away to make it seem like it was broken or someone took parts of it away. For splatter,  I added little modules around the letter to make it seem like the word was thrown on the page. After review from my classmates, I found that I needed to make some changes.

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Here are the changes I made, as you can see for splatter I moved the letters around so they weren’t all on the same baseline. I did this to add to the randomness that splatter represents. I also added more modules around the letters to make it seem like it was dripping off a wall. With defamatory, I increased the weight of the font to make the structure read better. I also added pieces of the letter on the bottom to make it seem like the letters were punched, and the broken parts feel to the ground.

Oct 29 / Brian

Project 3: Fictional Letterforms final (Flew.rew)

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Here is my final letter. The name of this letter is a Flewrew (flew.rew). I put it between the “m and n” because it resembles the same width of an “m” and it also resembles the same style of both letters with the large serifs and wavy shoulders.

In conclusion, I feel like this project gave me a better understanding of the Baskerville font as well as creative ways to join letter parts by knowing how a font flows and works together in a space.

Oct 29 / Brian

Project 3: Fictional Letterforms part 3

Here are some examples of new letter forms that I created.

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I really liked the shape and feel of this new letter but it kind of looks like a “g” and not a traditional looking Baskerville “g”. I enjoy the flow of this letter but it is too wide for a standard letter, technically its a bit wider then a “m”. I put it next to a Baskerville “r” and “s” because this letter has a “s” like shape and resembles the rain drop looking terminal of an “r”.

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To me this letter is very unique. It does not resemble any sort of letter, it really stands on its own. Although, I will agree with my professor on this one and say it looks too alien looking. The shifting of the dot brings more of an alien like quality then a letter. The first design of this letter in my opinion was two complicated so as you can see I made it simpler.

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I thought this was the best design I came up with. This is a letter that not only matches Baskerville, but it stands on its own as a new letter. The flow of this letter is solid and it is something that is writable. The only thing I would change is the X-hight on the end of the letter to look more like a “u” then a flat serif.

Oct 29 / Brian

Project 3: Fictional Letterforms part 1 and 2

For this assignment, we must create our own letter form, that fits within the alphabet of the font we are working with. The font I chose was a transitional font called Baskerville (shown here).

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For the first part of this assignment, I attempted to sketch the Baskerville font as detailed as I could, in order to see where the cap-height, the x-hight and the baseline are located (shown here).

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Before I even begun to put together a new letter, I needed to analyze the font and its letter parts. I did a total of 72 sketches, 36 of them dealt with macro views of the font Baskerville (shown here).

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When I was done sketching this, I felt that I had a better understanding of what makes Baskerville, Baskerville. I now feel confident enough to identify this font just by looking at the letter parts. The “b, q” has the same pointy looking terminal. The “d, u” has the same ending stroke. The shoulders on the “h, m, and n” starts off with a small stroke and gets larger. The crossbar on the “t” connects with the terminal making a triangular shape. This font has serifs, brackets, dramatic hairline strokes and stem strokes. The “a,r and c” has rain drop looking terminals and the “g’ has an open loop. The acenders on the “b,d,h,k and l” are all the same shape and pointing in the same direction. Since doing this exercise, I now have the knowledge to make a new letter that matches the flow and style of Baskerville.

The next step is combining letter parts, these are 36 sketches of Baskerville letter parts being put together in new forms (shown here).

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By doing this, I am now brainstorming new a creative ways to combine letter parts in order to form a new letter.

Oct 22 / Brian

Alexander Timeless Way, Notes

  • Pattern language gives each person infinite varieties of new and unique buildings
  • Life cannot be made but only generated by a process
  • How is a farmer able to make a new barn lies in the fact that every barn is made of patterns
  • These patterns are expressed as rules of thumb, which any farmer can combine and re-combine to make an infinite variety of unique barns
  • We must see a pattern as something in the world
  • Pattern: activity and space which repeats itself over and over again in any given place always appearing each time in a slightly different manifestation
  • Patterns are created by us because we have other, similar patterns in our minds from which we imagine, conceive, create, build, and live these actual patterns in the world
  • Each pattern is a rule which describes what you have to do to generate the entity which it defines

 

The simplest kind of language is a system that contains two sets:

  • A set of elements, or symbols
  • A set of rules for combining these symbols

 

  • An ordinary language like English is a system which allows us to create an infinite variety of one-dimensional combinations of words, called sentences
  • A pattern language is a system which allows its users to create an infinite variety of those three dimensional combinations of patterns which we call buildings, gardens, towns

 

Natural Language

  • Words
  • Rules of grammar and meaning which give connections
  • Sentences

 

Pattern Language

  • Patterns
  • Patterns which specify connections between patterns
  • Buildings an places

 

  • Pattern language: a finite system of rules which a person can use to generate an infinite variety of different buildings
  • The use of language will allow the people of a village or a town to generate exactly that balance of uniformity and variety which brings a place to life
Oct 2 / Brian

Project 2: Final

In my opinion, this project gave me a better understanding of the versatility and form that makes Adobe Garamond Pro what it is. After working with this project for a couple of weeks, I feel that I am more familiar with the font and the characteristics of its letter parts. Brain storming the different words that define the font really opened my mind to the many ways people feel when they look at Adobe Garamond Pro.  This project was a challenge for me but I feel that it had a positive impact on me.

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words This is a link to all the words I came up with for the brain storm.

Oct 1 / Brian

Project 2: Comparing first drafts and final drafts

While completing the various parts of this assignment, I found that I had to make detailed revisions to parts 2.1 and 2.2 of this assignment.

Part 2.1

(first draft left, final draft right) When I first completed this part of the assignment, I felt that I did a job well done, but I was incorrect. For this part of the assignment I had to identify as many letter parts as possible within the words “Powerful” and “Elegant” (two words that defined Adobe Garamond Pro). I found that I was missing a lot of parts and was incorrect with one. I also had to make a few aesthetic changes.

My first interpretation of a “bowl” was incorrect. I thought the bowl was the actual letter of the “O” but the correct definition of a bowl is the curved part of the character that encloses the circular or curved part of a letter.

I also found out that I was missing the X-Height, Baseline, Cap Height, Ascender Height, Uppercase, Lowercase and Decender Height. Everyone is aware of an Uppercase and Lowercase letter, but it is considered a letter part, and needs to be identified.

After a class discussion, I also found out that my labels and label colors were either to large or to dark to make out when printed on 11×17 paper.  According to my classmates, it was a distraction to the overall word. To fix the problem, I changed the colors, lowered the font sizes of the labels, and moved the labels around to better display the word rather then the labels.

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Part 2.2

(first draft left, final draft right) My understanding of this part was very off. I had to start from scratch after the first draft. The objective for this part was to compare and contrast one letter part of the same letter in 4 different styles (Adobe Garamond Pro Styles: regular, italic, bold and bold italic). We had to do 4 compositions of this.

The main idea with this, is to compare the same letter part. In my first drafts, I was more focused on doing artistic compositions rather then a comparison. To fix this, I made every competition with a consistent font size to better compare, changed up the way I identified the letter part so it wasn’t all the same and then put the letters closer together to show a better comparison.

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Part 3.1

I haven’t posted anything about this part, but the idea with this is to pick two words that describe the font (Adobe Garamond Pro) and make a typographical piece that illustrates the word without giving away what the word is. Can you guess what the word is? We could use glyphs but it couldn’t be in color and we couldn’t skew the letters at all.

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Sep 22 / Brian

Project 2: Font Mannerisms part 2

For Part 2 of this assignment, we had to pick 2 of the 8 descriptive words that describe our assigned font (my font was Adobe Garamond Pro) and identify the letter parts within those two words. Within the two words that I picked (Powerful and Elegant) I was able to locate 21 letter parts (see example). Click to view large.

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For the next part of this assignment, we had to artistically portray the same letter within each font family (regular, italic, bold and bold italic) and identity one letter part for each letter. When completing this assignment, it was interesting to see how different each letter and letter part looked compared to one another.

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Sep 18 / Brian

Project 2: Font Mannerisms

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For this project, we were assigned a font and we had to represent the x-height, ascender, descender and cap height of that font and it’s families.  My font was Adobe Garamond Pro and the four font families were regular, italic, italic bold and bold.

This is a good diagram that illustrates the x-height, ascender, descender and cap height of a letter.

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Along with that, we needed to duplicate each font family with the same point sizes and leading in order to see how the different font families are written out compared to one another (see last example). If you look at the last document you can see that each family is portrayed differently even with the same point size and leading.

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