Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Final Drop Caps

Typography 01 is officially over for me. Here are my final drop caps:

Project Description:
Hundreds of years ago, the illuminated letter was created and used to designate the beginning of a text. The illuminated letter was most often very ornate, decorated with gold leaf, and used in religious writings. The contemporary counterpart of the illuminated letter is the drop cap. The formal definition of a drop cap is the first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to "drop" down two or more lines. It can be as simple as a regular typeface with one letter enlarged, or it can extremely decorative and complex.
            The objective of this project was to create three drop cap letters from the first letter of 3 chosen artists’ first or last names. Each drop cap was to express the visual language of that artist, taking on the style and elements characteristic of their work. My chosen artists were M.C. Escher, Alexander Rodchenko, and Sebastian Onufszak. 

Project Overview:
Creating in the style of another artist proved to be more substantial than I could foresee. While replicating the visual language of the artists, I discovered that I had to think in different ways in order to produce the styles in an authentic and believable way. Although it sounds strange, I found it extremely beneficial to literally take on the persona of my three artists, trying to undertake their emotions and thought processes, while creating their drop caps.
In retrospect, the most difficult component of this project was fighting the desire to overinvest my time in one drop cap, which would result in slighting the other two. I found that I became engrossed in the visual language attributed to Sebastian Onufszak, which enabled me to put the most dedication to replicating his style. I was less interested by the elements of either Escher or Rodchenko’s work, and thus found it was much more difficult to work in their style.
The greatest lesson garnered from this assignment was that consistency is what facilitates an artist to have a visual language. As I had to extract what makes my artists’ work characteristic so as to replicate their style in the drop caps, it became evident that consistency of artistic method between the works of the artists is what allowed their work to be seen as distinctive, and therefore worth reproducing. Studying the development of the artists’ works ascertained that this consistency of visual language is made concrete through a multitude of experience and the process of discovering and embracing the core instigator of why you create.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For those of who prefer the ancient method...

I'm an illustration major, so my favorite part of typography is making changes to the actual letter forms; In essence, re-illustrating the letters so they're different and unique. Exactly opposite of what creating a uniform typeface does. Here the link to a site I draw inspiration from:

Check out the beauty and character inherent in hand-drawn lettering. It's something that can't be duplicated in a typeface...which I think is the whole point.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

droppin' the caps

Continuing on with the drop cap research, here's the color palates, style word-associations, and key images I will be using to develop my illuminated letters...


Sunday, November 21, 2010

and then there were three...

I have narrowed my options for project four from 6 down to's who made the cut:

M.C. Escher

From an early age I have admired M.C. Escher’s illustrations, most probably because my older brother had an Escher 365 day flip calendar, and everything my brother did or had was cool. It wasn’t until I was in high school, however, that I truly realized the genius behind his mathematically precise designs.

Maurits Cornelis Escher (June 17, 1898 - March 27, 1972) was a Dutch artist most known for his woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints, which tend to feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, and interlocking geometric patterns which change gradually into completely different forms.                                   
             Maurits Cornelis, or Mauk as he was to be nicknamed, was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. He was the youngest son of hydraulics engineer George Arnold Escher and his second wife, Sarah Gleichman. In 1903, the family moved to Arnhem where he took carpentry and piano lessons until the age of thirteen.
              From 1912 until 1918, he attended secondary school; though he excelled at drawing, his grades were generally poor, and he had to repeat the second form. Later, from 1919, Escher attended the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts; he studied architecture briefly, but then made a switch to decorative arts, studying under Samuel Jesserun de Mesquita, an artist whom he would remain in contact with until de Mesquita, his wife and son were murdered by the Nazis in early 1944. In 1922, Escher, having gained experience in drawing and particularly woodcutting, left the school.
             Escher travelled to Italy regularly in the following years, and it was in Italy, too, that he first met Jetta Umiker, the woman who would become his wife in 1924. The young couple settled down in Rome after marriage and stayed there until 1935; when the political climate under Mussolini became unbearable, the family moved to Ch√Ęteau-d'Oex, Switzerland, where they stayed for two years.
             Escher, however, who had been very fond of and inspired by the landscape in Italy, was decidedly unhappy in Switzerland, so two years later, in 1937, the family moved again, this time to Ukkel, a small town near Brussels, Belgium. World War II forced them to move a last time in January 1941, this time to Baarn, the Netherlands, where Escher lived until 1970.
Most of Escher's better-known pictures date from this period; the cloudy, cold, wet weather of the Netherlands allowed him to focus entirely on his works, and only in 1962, when he had to undergo surgery, was there a time when no new images were created.
Escher moved to the Rosa-Spier house in Laren in the northern Netherlands in 1970, a retirement home for artists where he could have a studio of his own, and died there on March 27, 1972.

"M.C. Escher:Visions of Symmetry", written by Doris Schattschneider

Alexander Rodchenko

After studying Alexander Rodchenko in art history last year, I have since been fascinated not only by his works but also by the history in which he lived in and helped create. As a Russian avant-garde artist emerging out of the tumult of the Russian society in the early 20th century, his wide breadth of success across multiple medias as well his contribution to Constructivism makes him a figure to be admired.

          Born November 23, 1891, in St. Petersburg, Rodchenko died on December 3, 1956. He attended the School of Arts in Kazan, Russia, from 1910 to 1914, then studied graphic arts at the School of Applied Arts in Moscow (1915). The artist was influenced by the Futurists, Cubism and Art Nouveau, and his mentor was Vladimir Tatlin.
          Rodchenko's first job was as an assistant to Tatlin at a 1916 Futurist exhibit in Moscow, at which ten of Rodchenko's pictures were shown. In 1918 Rodchenko helped found the Museum of Artistic Culture and became its first director. By 1920 he was one of the most active members of the Institut Khudozhestvennoy Kultury - also known is Inkhuk - and he taught a Vkhutemas (High-Grade Art - Technical Workshops). Beginning in 1918 he was active for several years with the Committee of Applied Arts, a government agency. In 1921-22 he did illustrative work in theater, films, typography and advertising, and continued throughout the 1920s to provide cover designs for a remarkably wide range of publications - from the poet Mayakovsky's books (1925-29) to scientific and technical literature for Moscow publishers. He also designed the cover of Kino-Fot, a periodical of the Russian Constructivists which began in 1922 and in which Rodchenko was regularly published.
           He took up photography in 1924 and gave a short series of talks on the medium at Vkutein (Fine Arts Technical School) in the early 1920's. From 1920 to 1930 he taught at the newly organized Free Public Art Studio (formerly his alma mater, Stroganov School of Applied Arts), where he also served as dean of the faculty of metal-work. Rodchenko began photo-reporting in 1926, working for the magazines Ogonok, Radioslushatel, Prozhektor, Krasnoye Studenchestvo, Dayosh, Za rubezhom, Smena, Borba klassov and the daily Vechernaya Moskva, among others. In 1932 the photographer, whose work was - and still is - widely exhibited, began working in photomontage.
          During his first and only trip abroad Rodchenko was awarded four silver medals at the Paris Exhibition of March 1925.
          Also involved in the film world, Rodchenko shot a newsreel series directed by Dziga Vertov, originally called Kino-Pravda and later called One-sixth of the World, which was begun in 1922. Between 1927 and 1930 he was "constructor-artist" of the films The Woman Journalist, Moscow in October, Albidum, The Puppet Millionaire and What Shall I be?. He also directed the documentary The Chemicalization of the Forest. Seemingly unlimited in his versatility, Rodchenko was also involved in theater, designing the costumes and props for Glebov's Pendulum and The Bed Bug in 1929, and was one of Russia's foremost painters, collagists and poster artists.
           A Constructivist, Rodchenko was one of the earliest photo-collagists. Some of his favorite themes were sports, the circus, festive processions and the Soviet way of life. He successfully experimented with close-up photography, and "the lens of his camera discovered objects of unusual architecture, rhythm, and plasticity" in objects removed from their usual surroundings. 

"Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism" edited by Margarita Tupitsyn 

Sebastian Onufszak

Sebastian Onufszak first caught my attention through his illustrations on the “Colorize” series of Ray Ban ads. I was instantly enthralled by his juxtaposition of vivid color, realistic detail, and fantasy style. His techniques are ones that I wish to explore in my own work
       Born in Breslau, Poland in 1978, Sebastian Onufszak is a German visual artist focusing on print, interactive media and motion graphics.
       Since 2002 he has been working for an international range of high-end clients.   Additionally he is reknowned for his experimental live visuals which supported Funkstoerung, Mouse on Mars, Michael Fakesch and many more.
       His works were featured in numerous publications and exhibitions worldwide. He is founder of the well-known artist collective "Propagandabuero".
       Having worked as Creative Director at Parasol Island for more than two years, he is now available as a freelance designer and director.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What is the illuminated letter? Or the contemporary counterpart the drop cap?
  • Illuminated Letter: in Medieval manuscripts, embellished initial capital letters (hand-illustrated); often spilled into margins and borders and  almost invariably introduced gold in either leaf or powdered form
    • Examples:
     Christ Pantocrator seated in a capital "U" in an illuminated manuscript from the Badische Landesbibliothek, Germany.

      The illuminated letter P in the Malmesbury Bible  
      From the Lindisfarne Gospels
  • The Drop Cap: he first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to "drop" down two or more lines, as in the next paragraph. Drop caps are often seen at the beginning of novels, where the top of the first letter of the first word lines up with the top of the first sentence and drops down to the four or fifth sentence. 
    • Examples:
    • by typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische
      by Jessica Hische
        by typographer Helen Gordon     

Monday, November 15, 2010

makes me VOMIT

I stumbled upon this poster while doing research for a paper for my ADS 540 course. I though it was significantly humorous, as 20 minutes before finding it I had become frustrated with my characteristics poster and sworn to loath it for all eternity. Just thought I would share : )

p.s. obviously typography does not make me vomit...we just have a budding love-hate relationship sometimes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saul Bass and the new title sequence

In my ADS 540 course, we watched this title sequence created by Saul Bass. I couldn't help but admire its simplicity and also marvel at how far moving type has transformed in just a short amount of time. This sequence looks like something any one in our class could create, yet there is something so moving about the tension between the geometric rules and the division of the type. I guess that just goes to show you that everything I am trying to say is already present within the text. The task, then, lies with reducing my thoughts and expressions to their most pure essence...that is, to create with great design.