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Apr 21 / Nicole Eley

Dead History: a lecture from Laurie Haycock Makela

This lecture was a memorial to Haycock-Makela’s husband, the late Scott Makela. The two were lecturers at CalArts and Cranbrook together.

Scott Makela is most well known for his font design. His most famous font is Dead History. He also designed the fonts used in the opening sequence of Fight Club and in Michael Jackson’s Scream music video. The font for Scream was a pioneer of 3D type styles.

All of his work from the lecture was made in the late 80’s through the 90’s, when Photoshop was just being introduced. He was fascinated with the program and experimented with it extensively. His work was aggressive and and unreadable, and was highly controversial.

Laurie also played some of Scott’s music for the audience, which was a mess of gritty, industrial grunge. It paralleled his design work: busy and potentially off-putting, yet the longer you listened to it/ viewed the design, the more you liked it.

Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse poster, 1990

Feb 15 / Nicole Eley

notes on The Armature, the Grid, and Grid System by DG Crisp

  • Armatures underly and bind elements through deliberate but fairly random placement ruled by “intuitively” divided space” (Crisp 1)
  • Commercial artists of the 19th and 20th century structured advertisements and posters using armatures, and it remains a useful approach today.” (Crisp 1)
  • Grids underlie and bind elements but with structural in addition to visual rules: margins, gutters, columns, etc. They are mechanical and precise.
  • abstracting typography began with Constructivism, DaDa and De Stijl artists and designers, and was refined by Bauhaus designers
  • the grid system was first mentioned by Swiss designer “Josef Müller-Brockmann, who published a brief account of his theory of organizing space entitled The Grid System as an Aid in the Design of Advertisements, Catalogues, Exhibitions, which served as prelude to Grid Systems in Graphic Design, published in German and English in 1981. (Crisp, 2)”
  • Today columnar standards in publishing software are residual evidence of this idea though in Swiss typographic terms columns aren’t modules exactly because the equal, repeating parts, are yet reducible to text lines.” (Crisp 1)
  • ” ‘working with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity. the use of the grid system implies: the will to systematize, to clarify; the will to penetrate to the essentials, to concentrate;
    • the will to cultivate objectivity instead of subjectivity;
    • the will to rationalize the creative and technical production processes;
    • the will to integrate elements of color, form and material;
    • the will to achieve architectural dominion over surface and space;
    • the will to adopt a positive, forward-looking attitude;
    • the recognition of the importance of education and the effect of work devised in a constructive and creative spirit.’ Müller-Brockmann, p.10 (Crisp 2)”

To my understanding, grid systems refer to modular grids. A grid system is made of symmetrical modules, as is a modular grid.  When the author refers to grids, she means asymmetrical grids/grids with modules of varying sizes. Armatures are based off ‘eye-balling’ the placement of elements in a design.

Jan 26 / Nicole Eley

reference links

Primer: First Things First Manifesto (2000) link

Project: Design for Good link

Jan 13 / Nicole Eley

notes on The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander

“A pattern is a rule which desciribes what you have to do to generate the entity which it defines”

systems of patterns form language

simple language contains: set of elements/symbols, rules for combining symbols

pattern language language is a system that allows users to create infinite variety of patttern

both are finite systems that allow infinite combinations.

They are responsible for building every building [piece of design] in the world

“It is only because a person has a pattern language in his mind that he can be creative when he builds”

every single part of the environment is governed by pattern language(languages for layout of fields, arrangement of streets, fixing walls, etc)

In design, grid lines are the pattern language. Having a grid saves a designer from the tedious task of laying out every piece of the design by hand, which will not be precise. Grids give the designer an easy way to layout the design with perfect proportions without really thinking about it. Many people may think the grid is constricting but, just like the pattern languages written about in the text, it allows the designer to be creative.

Jan 7 / Nicole Eley

Hello world!

I’m Nicole Eley, a Graphic Design major/German minor at Wayne State University. I am interested in typography and Bauhaus design styles, as well as cartoons and animation. This blog will contain designers I find interesting, as well as research and notes for class assignments.