History with the traditional and abstract two-dimensional imagery.

History of 100 years of graphic
design

 

Introduction

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El Lissitky’s theoretical work is significant
to the art history of graphic design because he shows professional design
practices throughout his work. For example, he expresses a special composition
contrast between elements, asymmetrical balanced, relationship of form to
negative space, use of Sean-serif type bold, and geometric shapes of black and
red. He was very good at using color in basic shapes to make strong political
statements. The Russian Avant Garde artists combined architecture and three-dimensional
space with the traditional and abstract two-dimensional imagery. El Lissitzky
created his series of architectonic figures after seeing a production of
Victory Over the Sun. El Lissitzky design “The Three-Dimensional Design of the
Electro-Mechanical Show “Victory over the Sun”” was published in
Hanover in 1923. It is a three-dimension design and used ten color lithographs
to show the main character. This “victory” drawings imply the geometrical
choreographies of constructivist for the coming age. The movements of figures
are suggested by using shifting axes, multiple perspectives and directional
signifiers. Lissitzky’s lyrical sense of humor is not withstanding whilst
dealing with the tensions between pure abstraction, narration and
representation.

Herbert
Matter who was born in Switzerland in 1907. He was an essential member of
modern designers, who was known for his excellent printing techniques and
photography. He was master of using photomontage, color and typography in an
expressive manner, transcending the boundaries between arts and designs. His
advanced techniques in graphic designs and photography become a part of his
visual narrative.  Herbert Matter’s eight-page
brochure for the printing company Gebruder Fretz AG is a striking and
innovative piece of design that contributed greatly to Graphic Design and its
step forward within technology to get it where it is today in modern times. It
provides a source-book of print examples, which demonstrate how recent advances
in offset lithography and gravure allowed complex arrangements of graphic and
pictorial elements, ideas that had not been elaborated before.

Back in the day, certain compositions of imagery and text had
been impracticable with letterpress printing. Now photographic images could be
masked, framed and arranged in new ways?—?even combined with textual and other
graphic characteristics. Upcoming print technology at the time recognized the
power of the image, as well as the possibilities of the fresh visual language
that emerged later in the 1920s and 30s, in which the spatial organization of
elements provided structure and dynamism. This synthesis of qualities reflected
Matter’s own broad range of experiences: a photographer, painter and filmmaker
as well as a graphic designer. where the text
is placed, rather than the layout being dominated by columns of the text (the
norm at the time). We progress through the printing processes via a sequence of
black-and-white images that winds its way through the brochure, leading the eye
to blocks of text. In addition to skewed frames, some images are rotated so
that they no longer align with the vertical or horizontal axis, and many are
masked or dropped out of their background. A number are also displayed as
vignettes, which fade out into the white of the page, and black-and-white
photographs or line drawings occasionally over-print monochrome images,
producing a layered effect. Rather than just an exercise in hollow virtuosity,
such interventions reveal the connections that could be made between images.

the man with the golden arm 1955 movie poster.

The
cover of the book sports a detail of the design Saul Bass did for the Otto
Preminger movie ‘The man with the golden arm (1955). When Bass worked for film
studios he offered them a package: main and credit titles, a symbol or
trademark, a screen trailer, posters (half sheets, one sheet, three sheet, six
sheet, twenty-four sheet), an insert, lobby cards, a window card, trade ads and
magazine ads.  Saul Bass created identities for movies. A brand. One
single designer who was responsible for the look and feel of the entire
marketing campaign of a film. Today it’s different. Various companies are hired
for the design of posters, trailer and commercials. The industry has become so
fragmented that the amount of movies with a recognizable identity is decreasing
each year.

The
images on this page show how the initial design changed according to the shape
and sizes of the items it was printed on. The first image is Bass’ initial
design, before it was ‘diluted’ by the studio. It was screen printed during the
1980s. Rich or generous people can buy me a copy here. The last poster is the version that was used for the
re-release of the movie in 1960. 

The design also appeared on the and   (three different versions). I don’t own a copy
of the press book, which makes it impossible to tell if this collection of
movie marketing material is complete.

 

Wim Crouwel

New Alphabet

1967

 

The New Alphabet is an abstract typeface and is characterized by the
vertical/horizontal lines and 45 or 90 degree angles on the corners.
 Letters were distinguished by small variations in the vertical lines and
understrokes.  The x-height of the letters equals the width, so this
typeface can be used in grid systems of varying sizes which meant it can be
printed clearly regardless of the size of the screen.  When the typeface
was first presented, it was criticized for being too abstract, but Crouwel maintains
that it was only created as a theory and to show that designers have to push
the boundaries into the future and not just let history dictate their work.

David Carson is a prominent contemporary graphic designer
and art director. His unconventional and experimental graphic style
revolutionized the graphic designing scene in America during 1990s. He was the
art director of the magazine Ray Gun, in which he introduced the
innovative typographies and distinct layouts. He is claimed to be the godfather
of ‘grunge typography’ which he employed perpetually in his magazine issues.

Ray Gun 1980

While the contents of its
pages were not related to graphic design, Ray Gun magazine proved to be an
exploration of typography, layout and visual storytelling that would shift the
approach of many graphic designers. The magazine was founded in 1992 and led by
the work of David Carson, who served as its art director for the first three years of
its career, which lasted 7 years and over 70 issues.

Carson’s style of typographic experimentation influenced the
development of the deconstruction style of design and a whole new generation of
designers. The experiments by Carson and other Ray Gun designers were chaotic,
abstract and distinctive, but sometimes illegible. The magazine’s radical
subject matter often related to music and pop culture icons and the magazine
became a reliable source for the prediction of up-and-coming stars.