Graphic Design Schoolwork

Analyse Frank Shepard Fairey’s poster

What is your opinion on the use of style and its efficacy. Also critique the use of pastiche and typography. 

The style brings me back to the posters that emerged after WW2.

It especially reminds me of the Che Guevara poster (left). The way the gaze look and the contrasting colors.

“his stylized visage has become an ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.”


If we put the posters next to eachother the similarities become even easier to see.

The campaign for Obama could definately be seen as “countercultural” as he would be the first african american president and much as Che Guevara spread hope in the liberation of Latin America, Obama served as a symbol of change and Hope for those who have not always had representation.

I love the colors. They fit very well together and I love how the poster is “split in two”. I like the simple sans-serif font but I don’t like the “pin” above the E. Since it has the same style as the Type, it looks like it’s a part of the E. I would either have integrated it in the O or removed it completely. I don’t feel it serves a purpose and it distracts from the whole poster. It almost looks as the poster was originally made to end underneath it, and then someone wanted to add HOPE as a last minute detail and the poster was extended. Without the little extra O that feeling wouldn’t be there for me anymore.

Graphic Design Schoolwork

Research on Late Modernism: Swiss Style

Discuss the charachteristics, typefaces and the philosphy behind.

The Swiss Style follow the principles of clean, readability and objectivity. It’s also said that the grid was born here. Not the grid in itself but the way it’s now used in design.

“Typography begins with a mathematical structure”. Why not follow the same harmonious “easy-to-read” structure for design? These ideas shaped the Swiss Style, and it was dominated by grids, assymetric layouts and the sans serif type fontface. Photography was also more prominent than illustrations.

One of (or more like: the one) the most prominent typefaces from the Swiss Style is “Akzidenz-Grotesk”, or as it was often called and sold as “Standard” or “Basic Commercial”. It’s these kinds of sans-serif fonts that started the movement.

The teachers of Swiss Style argued that “design should focus on content, not decorative extras. These are some of the fundamentals that define the movement. It’s meant to let information heavy design to be “read and studied” rather than admired and seen.

Another of the most influential fonts from the Swiss Style, and probably the one people know the best is Helvetica. It was created in 1957 by Max Mieldinger and Eduard Hoffman. I doubt that the designers could imagine that their font would inspire creators to this day. One example is the main character “Helvetica” in the book “All the invisible things”.

You can’t talk about Swiss Style typefaces without mentioning “Univers”. It was the first font-family, allowing for several variations of a font without changing the type. It was created by Adrian Frutiger, one of the most influential typeface designers of the 20th century.

As you can see on these images, a lot of Swiss Style plays with the font opacity, color and placement to create a simple yet interesting design. The message is clear as was discussed earlier. You can also see the grid and geometrical design.

Influencers and designers.

Ernst Keller, or as he’s also known “The Father of Swiss Design” worked as a teacher at “Kunstgewerbeschule” in Switzerland. It was his teachings of wanting design to be focused on content and love for grids that influenced the Swiss Style.

Armin Hoffman was a co-founder of “Schule für Gestaltung” (Basel School of Design) which was established in 1947. He was a student of Ernst Keller and just like his teacher he preffered typography over illustrations. His work was focused around graphic form, but like all other Swiss Style designers it was still simple and objective.

Josef Müller-Brockman was another one of Keller’s students. His work was heavily focused around grids and the “Standard” typeface. He took over Keller’s teaching position at Kunstgewerbeschule and his teachings helped spread the Swiss Style across the world. He managed to do so by establishing the “Neue Grafik” (New Graphic Design) journal. It was a magazine he co-edited with three others.

When I look at the designs these people created you can see the similar way of using typography. Words go over eachother but the use of opacity is what set the designers apart. The colors are often in monochrome aided by a strong constrasting color (which often seems to be red).

You can also really see KEller’s design language within his students (and those influenced by him) pieces. His art look like the modern days sketch, which the students present as the final expression.

Swiss Style Schools

The two schools “Zurich School of Arts and Krafts” and the Basel School of Design were run by Keller’s former students Josef Müller-Brockman and Armin Hoffman. The two schools similarities could be seen through the inspiration from their shared teacher.

Both schools helped to contribute with the use of grids, photography combined with typography and the use of assymetric layouts.

My personal thoughts on this after having looked at Müller-Brockman’s style and Hoffman’s is that the former, and the Zurich school of Arts and Krafts mainly contributed with grids and the latter and his school contributed more with photography. Of course all of this was combined with typograpghy and the sans-serif font and they both expressed themselves with grids and photography, but I think this is how the different schools mainly contributed to the Swiss Style.

Graphic Design Schoolwork

The Relationship between Image and Text

What Marian Bantjes statement “I am not an expert on illuminated manuscripts by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a couple of purposes of it. But one of those purposes is definitely to invoke wonder in this way that was very interesting to me and was feeding directly into my ideas about that symbiotic relationship between graphics and text.” has in common with the Swiss Style is that of Ernst Keller’s words “Design should focus on the content, not decorative extras”. While this was clearly visible in the Swiss Style, it’s not as visible at first glance in Marian Bantjes work. Hers is that of creativity and art and one could argue “decorative extras” but really if you actually look at it, the “decorative extras” are the content that need be portrayed.

Looking at these two pieces they are very different, but at the same time they’re not. It’s clear that the left (Bantjes) is not as simplistic as the right (Müller-Brockman) but you can still see the grid in both of them and the way the information is portrayed is very similar.

Here’s another piece from Marian Bantjes and the style is very far from Swiss Style, however I still feel that the ideology is there. The words, i.e the content, is the art. The “decorative extras” are a part of the words and make out the whole piece. In that sense I feel that she did her own adaptation to the Swiss Style teachings and made it her own, just as the students of Ernst Keller adapted his pieces and made them their own.

These pieces are very different from moth of Marian Bantjes work, but as stated before, the way she makes the message and content the art is what they have in common.

Graphic Design Schoolwork

The use of Computer Combined with Different Media

For school we were assigned to watch a video about Marian Bantjes and her work as an artist and graphic deisgner. There were many things about this video that I connected with. The thing that stuck to me most was that she wanted to create her own style and not create for someone else. Now people come to her because of her style and they expect her to “do her own thing”.

That’s what I want out of creating. I want to be able to develop my own unique brand that people can recognize. I come from a very creative family, and my brother has managed to do a lot of the things that Marjan talked about. He started out as a musician when he was in highschool and got noticed for his unique production skills. As he grew up his music developed and the sound became different from where he started out, but even if you listen to his first music, the ones he made at school, can you hear his distinct sound. His music changed how Swedish hip hop developed and albeit he’s not well-known to the common person, he’s very well known in the music industry and has a very nieche audience. He’s stopped creating music but keeps selling collectors items like vinyls and even casettes.

Listening to Marian Bantjes and how people talk about reminded me of my family and how they have inspired me. My father creates designs by hand that looks computer generated. He combines math and creativity to create geometrical art inspired by MC Escher.

My father doesn’t create digitally at all, he creates everything with his hands. Because of a birth deficiency he doesn’t have full range of motions with one of his arms, which is even more inspiring. My father only paints for himself. It’s his form of meditation and it keeps him grounded. I think that if he combined his art with a computer he could make even more interesting designs and he could also better share his work and reach a larger audience. I think it’s important that we use several mediums and not only one so that we can grow as artists.

Another thing I found interesting about what Marjan spoke of was how if she doesn’t sketch she can’t create as well as if she skips the sketching progress. This is where I think Graphic Design will change in the future. The people growing up now have different mindsets that the pioneers of Graphic Design. The attention spans are shorter and it’s easier to access information. I have a drawing tablet and I prefer to sketch directly into my computer. I’m still using my hands but it’s just something I’m getting used to. In my two years of studies I haven’t seen anything that indicates this way of sketching is ok. I think that the important thing to teach is that we need to properly prepare and plan our work, but the way we reach the final product is different for different people.

In many ways do I feel that the “old” mindset of -doing things manually first- suffocates creativity for a new generation who are used to different things. A lot of young artists draw on their tablets and phones with their fingers. It should be made clear that sketching with your finger on an IPAD is as good as sketching with a pen. There are also some pieces of art that are doodles. Some people doodle directly into a computer program and I think that we need to make more space for a generation that is more digital.

Marjan Bantjes wouldn’t have realised what she enjoyed to do if she wasn’t let to do it her way. Her way was manual and by mixing elements. We need to let a younger generation find out how They like to create by not forcing them into old ways. For some people creating straight into a program will be as fulfilling as carving into wood is for Bantjes.

Graphic Design Schoolwork

After Effects Essential Training

I decided to practice After Effects a little different and I hope this is OK. Instead of following along and doing the exercise files I started on an animation where I will incorporate the effects practiced in the exercise files.

I made a remix of a song created by OWLA. Here’s the first draft (some masking needs fixing). While creating this I learned several things.

First of all, I made all the branches as different layers, but when I made the waves on the waters I realised I could make them as one layer with different paths inside.

Here’s the storyboard (it’s shown in the wrong order, where the top square is the end).

Graphic Design Schoolwork

Creating your Own animation

So, this was my first attempt of animating with After Effects, and as I am writing this blogpost I know I can do it better (and eventually I will).

Let’s break down the issue and concept.

I wanted to create a house where there’s one window which is the attic that then turns out to be the word HIDE.

As I did this I didn’t know how to manipulate letters (and not use shape layers or anything really) and I was mainly experimenting using YouTube tutorials to kinda get to the basics (as my school provided the basics AFTER they showed how layers etc worked and I just couldn’t grasp it at all that way).

Now that I’ve had access to the basics of After effects (by following along the exercise files which lead to the creating of this video) I know that I could do this a lot lot lot better.

I really like the idea and concept, but not the execution whatsoever.

Graphic Design Schoolwork

Learning Activity: Rise

Graphic Design Schoolwork

Exercise Files After Effects

Lately I’ve been learning After Effects. My biggest issue here is that…well I have ADHD, so my brain automatically looks for shortcuts and an “easy way out”. I already know how to use Sony Vegas, which is a different type of program (it’s a movie editing program) but it can achieve similar effects as AE if you’re good with it. It’s a lot more difficult and timeconsuming, but possible.

I postponed a lot of my schoolwork thinking, eh well I can probably whip something together using Sony Vegas (and also, the order of the assignments provided by my school for the learning activities were…how to say this without sounding too harsh…not ideal. In fact I cried a lot because the first video provided skipped a lot of steps so I gave up, while the video 4 weeks in explained After Effects from the start and enabled me to go back to do the previous assignments).

Then, I realised I’m not studying to study, I’m studying (and paying a lot of money) to learn. I took a big bite of the sour apple, got some tissues and sat down ready to cry in anxiety because of the lack of ADHD friendly content my school provides (ok, not always, but def in this segment and order of assigments).

And, what did we procure? A little animated flower.

The good thing about this segment and learning after effects is that I love video editing and making content that is intended to move people and tell a story. This is the first school assigment that managed to put me into hyperfocus where I find myself losing hours and hours exploring and experimenting. It has really taught me where I should put my focus in the future and what I should learn more about.

The bad part about this segment is that doing the exercise files is very timeconsuming, stressful and doesn’t allow me to learn as well as other assigments. I can’t really skip doing them as that will result in less than 80% of the learning activities made and a failure of this class. I may be forced to alter the learning activities slightly to avoid blowing my brains out in boredom and distress.

Here are some screenshots provided as further “proof” of me doing the exercise files.

Graphic Design Schoolwork

Visualise your ideas

I would like you to create a mood board and storyboard using a word and its meaning as the concept.  For example, you could use the word “prop”. You could then use the “r” to prop up the “p” that keeps falling over. That’s just to give you an idea, be creative and use a word and concept of your own.

I chose the word “Hide” because as I was studying I was playing WoW and the word “Hide of the Wild” popped up on the screen. I used the word hide as in hiding, and not an animal part. I visualised a black screen, a house drawn in white that slowly disappears, the window in the attic slowly turning into the word HIDE, with the I popping out last, emerging from the H and blinking towards us before becoming an I.

I was supposed to create a moodboard but the idea just came out of nowhere.

Graphic Design Schoolwork

After effects; essential training

I tried doing the learning activity with the exercise files, but it’s not an intuitive workstyle for me. I can’t work with AE while watching the video, as to work on a new program I need to focus, and I can’t focus with unfamiliar sound in the back. The first chapters also skipped some steps I need to be able to understand a program. I need to go over the basics in a structured manner rather than starting out with a random shape. I will most likely have to go to YouTube so I can learn the basics first.