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?