Week 8 Graphic Design History 2

Last session covered early form of visual communication in ancient times to graphic design in WW2. This session started with definition of modernity.

What is modernity?

  • Current
  • Quality of thought
  • Contemporariness
  • Quality or condition of being modern

Modernity is related to the term modernism which is quality of thought, expression or technique and heavily influenced the practice of literature, art and design. For instance, before Modernism, Realism was prevailed and in realism literature objective view point of narration tells a story which basically knows every thing. However, perception of Modernism literature is that no one knows everything.

I made a mistake that session today didn’t start with the term of modernity, it started with  use of photography.

Why use photography?

  • Propaganda
  • Reality
  • It can convey a message more accurately than illustration or painting

Photography seems to have sense of reality even though most of it in adverts are staged. Also it gives sense of authenticity.


Alexander Rodthenko, Lengiz Book Poster 1925

How does design express ideology?


Fraktur: the most famous font Nazi used, the use of it has a particular ideology behind it. It represents heritage to express return of great Germany from the past.

Ideology played an important role in 20 century. For instance, Nazi evoked sense of nationalism, before the rise of Hitler German society was exhausted then he offered people sense of pride: return of great Germany using graphic design as well as his speech. Nationalistic ideology fits war time. He effectively used land scape painting to convey nationalistic ideology. The reason why he used land scape painting is that it is difficult to subvert.

After WW2, communism raised and it led ideological battle capitalism against communism: Cold War.

Communism still exist today but it’s not as powerful as before. Ideology today kind of disguise, question is “Are you conscious about it?”. There is an ideology behind what you buy, for instance.

Which ideology you express?


Helvetica 1957  It has neutrality that also has ideology behind it; communication should be clear and objective.


Whole earth Catalogue between 1968 and 1972

This image of the earth is first photo taken and give sense of what the earth looks like. Before the photo was taken, people knew the earth is a sphere but look of it wasn’t known. It has changed perception of the earth. The book gave first opportunity to raise green ideology and ecology.

How does design convey meaning?


Louis Danziger, American Painting exhibition poster, 1966

He used visual strategy. The use of metaphor was developed as technique of semiotics in mid 20th century. In this image, a signifier is a paint brush and signified is painting even though every artists don’t use paint brush. The blue square and red borders are signifier and these signified America. Combination of these signified American painting. The text plays minor role in this poster.


IBM, Paul Land 1981

The eye, the bee and M have different level of complexity. The images eye and bee signified a letter ‘I’ and ‘B’, the letter ‘M’ obviously signified ‘M’.

Where  design comes from?

paula scher poster DaFunkBig

Paula Scher, Poster, 1995

A term ‘vernacular design’ was introduced at the lecture. Kristian Bjørnard stated what vernacular design is, “vernacular design is more than a collection of quotable styles and false nostalgia—it is a systematic method for creation that can guide us toward more sustainable practices. Systems thinking is a leading development in contemporary design and those systems re- quiring the least resources will best serve design on its path toward sustainability. Vernacular design offers a valuable model as its aim is accomplishing the most with the least.”

Tim told us vernacular design comes from anywhere which is post-modernism way of thinking. Personally I have been thinking that appropriately applying various past design practices to projects could be my design strategy for some reason on the other hand I have   been also thinking this method isn’t ideologically strong enough as using different design theories that has ideology behind these. Anyway he made me realized that the thought is post-modernism way of thinking. I am not sill sure this theory is effective or not, though.

Vernacular design emerged as role of graphic designer has been changed as development of softwares and equipments.

Post-modernism doesn’t concern form and function. It is more like how we express things we know and what level of personal freedom you got.

Kristian Bjørnard, Principles of Vernacular Design (and their application today), at http://www.response-abilityconference.com/paperspdf/Bjornard-VernacularPrinciples.pd (accessed 1 March 2016)


Personal exhibition poster, Stefan Segmaister, 1999

Carved typography on his own body that has strong visual impact whether you like it or not. It evokes me pain of carving letters, although it conveys message pretty well that the exhibition would present his personal view point in graphic design and the word ‘strips’ on the box in his left hand refers that too. Visual strategy he used advanced from that of past times.

What is future of design?

  • Digital
  • The internet plays an important role.
  • Physical
  • Resistance to authenticity
  • Work place-from house/office
  • Better work balance
  • Also technology plays an important role.
  • Resistance to technology
  • Balance of high tech and analogue

Internet of things-automatically tells you what you need. e.g. telling low level of ink by computer.

Tim told us “how open are you to find alternatives?” and “think about thins you really don’t like.” I find these quite important to do design as I tend to look at only thing I like. These are very important to progress!!




Week 7 Graphic Design History 1

Lecture today was titled Graphic Design History 1, it covers the cave painting earliest form of visual communication to propaganda WW1 and WW2.

First question was ‘What is graphic design?’

  • Problem solving
  • Addressing a need
  • Communication (Visual Communication)
  • Commercial
  • Mass communication
  • Response
  • persuasion
  • Practice
  • Clients
  • Directive

These were answers by peers and my definition of graphic design is graphic design as visual communication.


Serra da Capivara, Piauí, Brazil. Dated to: 28,000 to 6,000BC (couldn’t find the same image shown the lecture)

  1. ‘Is this graphic design?’

As my definition of graphic design is visual communication, the answer is ‘YES’. It seems to depict hunting situation so literally communicating with visual. But it needs to say that it doesn’t have some aspects graphic design has today, for instance lack of sense of commercialism, however it can be said that it is roots of graphic design.

Tim advised us if you think this is graphic design, then this is first point of graphic design history to look at.

2. ‘ Where does typography begin?’



  • Communication
  • Visual forms of speech
  • System


Egyptian Hieroglyphics 1250BC


Summerion writing 3000BC

Again it is not exactly typography today but it can be said that it is roots of typography. Because it is written forms of something before letter was created. it has sense of classification and navigation to read but sense of alignment is poor compared to typography today.

3. Mass production


Block book


Gutenberg bible

These have more simirality with modern typography than Egyptian Hieroglyphics and  Summerion writing, particularly Gutenberg bible as kind of wood types were used. The invention of printing technique made mass production possible so that information spread more efficiently than hand written books. Mass production led standardization and imitation, also killed craftsman. In response to that William Morris led Arts and Craft movement. Late 19th century Graphic design has got commercial context.


  • Doesn’t encourage creativity.
  • Fame
  • Lost of craft

4. What role does design play in war?

  • Propaganda


This poster depicts Hitler as father figure to convey the message Hitler is the father of nation.


This British propaganda poster was designed to appeal emotion.

Research Method

We learned method called psychogeography.


Psychogeography is an approach to geography that emphasizes playfulness and “drifting” around urban environments. It has links to the Situationist International. Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”Another definition is “a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities… just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.






Week 6 Big Bang Data exhibition visit

Today we get a lot of benefit from technologies such as cashless payment, Oyster card, SNS and so on, whether we like it or not we digitally left our footsteps using those technologies with exchanging with convenience. “Big Band Data” exhibition in Somerset House basically gives me insight into technologies related to data as well as the most advanced technology, which has been held between 03 December 2015 and 20 March 2016.

A first work I saw was a work called “Internet Machine” by Timo Arnall, which literally showed physical objects of internet servers in different angles in multiple screens. These were cold, artificial, precise and beautiful. It was located in a corridor so that I believe it was situated intentionally all visitors to see it in order to remind us the internet has kind of physical bodies which we are not aware of.

Next work I saw, revealed in a computer screen what appearances of datas  is like, which work made by Ryoji Ikeda, titled “Data. Tron (WUXGA version).Basically what i saw was sea of pixels and numbers that were calculated by mathematical formulas and data sets. This work gives physical forms to calculated datas. Also note that data can be other physical forms by ways of handling data sets. After I saw these works, pretty much my awareness in technology surround me raised.

A neon yellow backgrounded introductory statement stated this exhibition’s aim that is to explore issues surrounding the datafication of our world as technology has rapidly developed and ‘Big bang’ of data occurs today. This room is pretty big and divided three themed sections. It seemed the first section emphasis physicality of data transmission process. First objects presented in this section were evolution in design of 12 submarine cables produced between 1896 and 1990’s. What fascinating is that  early appearance of these and these produced in 90’s have similarity in visual. Development of technology allowed us to produce thin and light cables which I think coincidentally has similar appearance. Also images of global internet based company’s data transmission center are hanged from ceiling with description in background.

This section is titled “We are data”. Works presented in this section raise awareness of how much data left by internet activity as well as everyday life activity. Technology today can surprisingly generate a face from cigarette butt. Next section is titled “Data for the common good”. Data can be used to increase our quality of life. That is basically what section is about. Last section is titled “ What data cannot tell”. This section states disadvantage of data-centrism.

After the visit of that exhibition, my awareness of data of myself and internet world certainly has been raised. It is certain that internet led technology will develop more and more in the future. And we are surrounded two worlds; one is physical world we mainly live in and world of the internet. These technology including the internet are good tools to collect datas that we used to put lots of effort to collect. It can be said that what we are doing is basically the same but these technology help to gather data in the most efficient way. To know many aspect of technology related to data is vital iand to have digital literacy is essential in life in 21 century. So this exhibition is for everyone and they should go and see it.


I don’t have any bases regarding data gathering and analysis so to write manifesto related to the exhibition, I’m pretending a person who deal with datas.


NOW WE DECLARE;  when handling datas, we only use them for public interest.

we don’t use them for our own interest.

After data is used we will destroy them completely.

Outcomes of data analysis will be presented openly to the public.

we will fight for freedom in the internet world until the achievement








Week 2

Today we are introduced various manifestos. Started with Karl Marx’s manifesto which is backbone of socialism and communism. The tutor told us 3 values Marx advanced.

Use value-

Exchange value-value of object. Barter.

Universal value-money involved activity, all service are exchangeable to money in the value

Then using that manifesto as example, he told us a manifesto consists of three element:

Resistance- explaining a situation or social system you want to resist.

Response-how you respond to these to resist.

Resolution-Shift is in focus, balance required.

Next, we were asked to investigate Futurist’s manifesto as a group work.

Resistance-tradition, authority that advocated past history.

Response-embracing machine

Resolution-destoroying things related to tradition advocate machine and stated people had to work like machine, and Futurist painter used geometry.

Futurism would be relate to fascism and nazism later and as response to Futurism, humanism was raised.

Next lesson, oral history was the keyword and it is a method of research.