Friday, December 10, 2010

Most Posters in Basel

Both of these posters were placed side by side and were an interesting use of size hierarchy. From far away, parts of the poster are not invisible, such as the pattern in the text on the top poster and the small descriptive font in the bottom one.

Student Presentation in Basel

I returned to Basel to observe student presentations to see more of the practice side of the program. The project was a proposal for a rebranding of the kunstmuseum (art museum) in Basel. The idea for this presentation was to show the groups ideas for possible themes that can be applied to the rebranding. The first group chose the theme of "light" and had several ideations of this theme. Some groups had three or four ideas for themes and used the presentation to get a class reaction to find the own they should expand on.

The structure of the presentation was an inDesign presentation, and primarily showed their thought process and progress of the project. The first part showed their brain-stroming session in a flowchart sort of fashion. Next they displayed their research, light being a main part of exhibits, way finding, and other museums. They also showed how light is used in fine art and in physics, to give examples of how it works and how it is used in other mediums. After the research section, they showed their own ideas of how light can be applied to the rebranding. They had videos of different experiments they had with a projector, showing how objects can cover thing and then once removed the light shows what was missing. They had sketches of different ideas, which were very clean and organized. They also had possible new logos, which were derived from they're research of light.

It was a great presentation to sit in on, it was all about the students ideas and how they came to those ideas. There was a lot of work behind the research of the project and it was clear they spent a lot of time as a group working on ideas and trying new things.

Theory class in Basel

Nicolaj invited me to a lecture in Basel, every week on Monday, the students learn about a different topic and talk about the theory behind it. This week was about signs and symbols, which of course fits soundly into the broad master of iconic research. What I learned is this:

The study of signs and symbols is a facet of Analytic Psychology, called semiotics. A sign is an item that suggest presence of fact or a figure that stands for a word, phrase, or operation. They have been created and changed for hundreds of years. It is a form that a person can sense (look, smell, fell) about the object that it signifies.

The sign, the concept, and the object are all related to each other. Metaphors are a sort of sign, and can be used verbally or visually. When designing with images, using metaphors in images is often called Visualizations and can be seen all the time, some are more sophisticated that others.  Here is an example, the image is trying to warn against drinking while pregnant, the sign is the beer with a bottle nipple, the concept is a that a baby drinks from this, and the object is the beer being given to a baby. The signification is that when you drink while pregnant, the baby is drinking alcohol too.

This initial information was presented by a small group of students are the beginning of the lecture. Different examples were given and explained in such genres as fine arts, graphic design, and advertisement. After the students presentation, Nicolaj gave a more in depth lecture based on the book: Architecture and Symbols: Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi. The author described architecture in Las Vegas as either being 1) architectural features submerged in a symbol (think a building shaped like a tea pot) or 2) ornament being applied independently of architecture (cesar's palace). Venturi argues that the architectural structure itself should be a symbol of what it is, so that a hotel is visually a hotel and that the ornament act independent from it. Sometimes, symbols can be derived from architecture, as seen with the first McDonald's store. The arching yellow lines later became embodied in the corporate logo. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst

In Basel I went to visit the School for Design and Art. I admittedly wasn't quite prepared for meeting anyone, but I figured getting a look around would be helpful for when I came back after emailing some professors. When I started asking where to go, not many people spoke english, so I was passed from person to person. I started with a counselor I found, who then passed me to a english speaking counselor, who then passed me to someone who works in the office for the masters program, who then introduced me to a faculty member named Gregory who knew Sean Bolan, then I went to a classroom with 2nd year students in it and met that faculty member. Nicolaj Van Der Meulen was the professor, and he told me to come back at 3pm and until then I could talk to Clari. Clari is a 2nd year student, originally from Nigeria, who did her undergrad at the University of Miami, and is now getting her Masters. Everyone was very kind and helpful, and the structure of the building was very similar to UW. Each year had their own classroom, and each student their own desk. Also, the brochures and fliers for the school were very similar in appearance to UW's fliers. I will add photos soon to explain more clearly.

The professor I spoke to is named Nicolaj, this semester he is teaching "Theory of Practice: Art and Design"as well as overseeing their current project "Visual Communication in the Curatorial Field." The project is cooperating with the local art museum to create idea for new designs of the space. The students work in teams to create a proposal which is then presented to the museum board. Clari and Nicolaj both told me about this project, and one thing they both were extremely proud of was that students with backgrounds in Art History and Design are on these teams. This allows for the students to learn from each other and to consider elements that a designer may not think to consider. The "Theory of Practice" class is a weekly seminar where the students listen to a lecture that looks deeply into a facet of design. Usually the lecture is based on a particular book or author. Nicolaj invited back for the next lecture which is about signage and growth of Las Vegas. 

At the school there are two masters programs, one is a Masters of Fine Arts, and the other is a Masters of Art. The one that interested me most, and that Nicolaj is a part of, is the Master of Arts in Graphic Design and Iconic Research. The program is based on the theory and research of images, how images work, how the mind interprets them, at what level does one image change into another. The program also works to strengthen the students design skills. When Nicolaj was telling me about the program, it reminded me of the Visualizations courses I took at UW, which were my favorite classes. I love the psychology behind design, why some designs are good and why others are bad and the truth behind "a picture is worth a thousand words." Nicolaj thinks that the theory behind design is only just being discovered and this program is working to uncover one element of design, images. 

While talking with him, he asked me how I would benefit from this program. I admit that this question startled me, it's basically the same as asking "what do you want from this: job, life, trip, etc." Which is a really hard question for me, because I don't often know, I just want to experience something to maybe help me figure that out. Luckily I thought of a better answer for Nicolaj that was also true. I felt that my education at UW was unfinished. I am not confident in my knowledge of design, or my portfolio, or when I go to interviews. I do honestly feel like I would succeed in a studio, but I haven't been able to prove it to anyone who matters. He liked my answer and said that many students have felt that way when entering the program. 

The last interesting part of the program is the schools cooperations with a group called ImageLab. The two entities work on a project called Eikones which is the umbrella that covers the curatorial project and past project the school has done. In return for the students doing this research and these guided projects, their shows are set up in the local museum. Nicolaj provided me with a book about the students research/discoveries about ornaments (page ornaments, not christmas) and you can see information about it on the Eikones website under projects. 

Excited to go back on Monday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Posters in Basel, Switzerland

Good use of a grid and font size for hierarchy. The logo in the background is the only thing to break the grid, but being in a lighter color in the background, it is only noticed after the bolder images and text. The sub text is left aligned, so the grid lines are continued/emphasized with their clean rag. The duotone images provide a visual unity to the poster, allows them to be below the text, and not distracting. 

The font is reflective of the message, maze like shapes. The falling books give the impression of the chaos of a labryinth but is unclear how is it related. The font is illegible at first, but can be read. The word fades into the background giving dimension and depth to the poster. Sub information is in clear font, but put at an angle to continue the falling sense of the poster. 

Dynamic use of type, placed behind and in front of forms, as well as being broken up across the page. The large font draws the eye to the smaller font on the bottom, which is also in the direction of the museum. The font points the viewer in the direction of the exhibit. 
The image of things building up around the font give the impression of growth and development, or at least that something is under construction. Red makes me think of Swiss, but also conservative, strict, re-constructionist.

Bold use of primary colors. Works in a grid, but the font breaks the grid line. Eye moves from the top and then down in a diagnol line, hierarchy of font sizes also move down the page. Website is on the bottom, easy to find but not given a larger font. 
Imagery is simple, background colors are warm which allow the cool color of the font to be separated, allows for two planes to be seen on the poster. 

Awesome use of font. 2010 in big alternating colors breaks the poster into 4 quadrants, from the natural lines of the fonts the sub text is aligned. K’s in the background behind the black is giving depth to the poster. Subtext is aligned nicely along the 1 allows for easy to find information once the reader is drawn in, not placed at different areas. 

Interesting use of font. The poster has depth, both from the light being shown on the flat space in front, but also the folds and bends into the top right corner. In dull, less noticeable letters, the words that are illuminated are repeated. Is that for confirmation of what is being said? 
The subtext along the bottom is in classic swiss style (to the best of my knowledge) broken into three separate quadrants. Text is given heirarchy by size but also by color. 
Imagery makes me think the poster is about night event, maybe theater because or a movie because of the curtain like imagery. Being by the church, maybe its a night choir show. The light can be related to holy, religious connotations. The bottom texture is brick like, but also downwards slanting...why?