Category Archives: Research and Reflection

Typography

In my previous research I concentrated more on images than typography. I found a very interesting use of typography on non-format.com, my main focus was to concentrate on designs containing letters.

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The main purpose of those designs is to present type in a catching and intriguing way. There are also some playful fonts presented, they would not be suitable for continuous text as they are not easily read, but I am sure they would grab one’s attention while used in headings. I found the manner that the meaning of the letters and numbers not being immediately obvious but requiring me to look longer than normal compared to plain text to be a very good approach to drawing in a viewer’s attention. That the font stands almost alone in the images is a good indicator of its strength, this is in the sense of the font not complementing an image or other element of the composition but standing on its own.

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Jozef Mroszczak

Jozek Mroszczak was a Polish graphic designer and representative of the Polish School of Posters. I came across Jozek Miszczak’s work while studying poster designs on 50watts.com.

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His cover for ‘Elektryczne Schody’ by K.I.Galczynski (first illustration) reminded me of Ed Kutz’s designs, that I researched early in the course. His designs are very colourful and painting-like. Placing elements on top of each other and merging into one is a method that is often used. His work is simplistic, there is a great deal of colourful blocks creating the final design. It seems his designs convey a message with minimum means.

Bruno Monguzzi

Bruno Monguzzi (born 1941) is a Swiss graphic designer. He blends photography and typography in his striking designs.

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Most of his work consists of a mix of basic figures: circles, rectangles, long blocks arranged together forming a bold design. The background is usually white, that allows for the figures to be more prominent and dramatic. Bruno Monguzzi’s designs do not contain many elements, his use of colour is also quite modest. He seems to favour black, white and red in his work.

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His designs are dynamic, that is achieved by the use of typography that varies in size, as well as different figures that are put on the top of each other, they lean on each other or are placed together in a way that seems to disobey rules.

Alan Kitching

Alan Kitching is a British graphic designer, animator, architect and software developer. He is one of the world’s foremost practitioners of the letterpress typographic design and printmaking. His previous clients include: Dazed & Confused, Royal Mail, Penguin Books, Clarks Shoes, AOL and The Guardian.

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He is best known for his atypical use of the letterpress, as well as for his pioneering work in computer animation. His huge achievement was creating a general-purpose animation program called ‘Antics’.

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I particularly liked his letterpress designs, they are bold and he is also very playful with the size and positioning of the letters. The letters are usually quite striking thanks to their large size and brave use of colour. A simple white background seems to be a popular feature in his designs. His work has a very ‘handmade’ and ‘painted’ feel, worlds apart from the current digital age. His work just goes to show how much can be shown and expressed by his clever ways of playing with letterpress composition.

Saul Bass

Saul Bass (1920-1996) was an American graphic designer and Academy Award winning filmmaker. He is well-known for his corporate logos, film posters and designing opening and closing credits for films. He began his career by designing print advertisements for films in Hollywood in 1940’s. After he got noticed, he started creating innovative title sequences, which introduced the mood of the movie within the opening moments. He worked for many successful filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese.

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As Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ is one of my favourite movies, I had a closer look at the creating process of this striking poster. Bass presented Kubrick with a number of different designs and all of them were rejected. The rejected versions have director’s handwritten comments on them. It is interesting to see what the director exactly thought of the designs, the way he did not want the maze to be included in the poster and how he found the title hard to read.  In the end Bass’ bright yellow poster with a face with an unsettling expression made the cut.

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He was also very successful at designing logos. He created some of the most iconic logos, such as Kleenex, Bell, United Airlines and Quaker Oats.

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Abram Games

A while ago I came across a programme on television about Abram Games. His designs really interested me, so I researched his work further. Abram Games (1914-1996) was a British graphic designer. His work was very influential and he created many memorable designs. He was a freelance artist at the beginning of his career. He created a number of memorable posters when he became an official war artist during WW2. He designed maps and book covers first and later designed war, propaganda, advertising and information posters.

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One of his most famous posters is the ‘Join the ATS’ recruitment poster. It had to be changed several times as it was deemed too glamorous and it sparkled a lot of controversy. The other well-known poster is ‘See Britain by Train’, encouraging using railway as a way of transport. The map of Britain is filled with an image of a train carriage and floats above train tracks. It creates a dynamic and straight-forward illustration.

What I find gripping about Abram Games is how he used his talent to help others. He was a child of Polish and Latvian immigrant Jewish parents and he worked in support of Jewish refugees, trying to help the displaced survivors after the war, he believed that they should start a new life in Palestine.

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He designed a number of posters to promote this cause, as well as designing stamps for the Israeli Post Office and graphics for the Israeli schools and synagogues. The examples are ‘Give Clothing for Liberated Jewry’ and ‘Out of the Depths to Palestine’ posters. Most of his powerful work for this cause was done for free.

A.M. Cassandre

Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron Cassandre (1901-1968) was born in the Ukraine and moved with his whole family to Paris in 1915. He enrolled at the Academie Julian where the more progressive artists have been thought and he became a painter. By 1922 he had begun his career as a commercial illustrator. His work created a bridge between fine art and commercial art and proved to be successful in Europe and the USA.

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Cassandre’s most famous posters advertise the luxurious ways of transport that characterised the modern lifestyle. He created a number of posters in the 1920’s for the Chemin de Fer du Nord – a railway company, and his ocean liner poster for the Normandie from 1935 is the most iconic of all of his work. He used stencils and an airbrush to create his images that are full of dynamism and energy.

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cassandre10Apart from his advertising posters, Cassandre designed several art deco typefaces: Bifur, Acier Noir and Piegnot. Cassandre’s Bifur typeface has made a huge impact on typography and was used in advertising. This typeface is very characteristic to the Art Deco era. It is composed of thick lines and thin filler lines. It is suitable for headings and display text.

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His legacy is also the design of the famous logo for Yves St Laurent. He understood the power of the poster. It is interesting to see how strong and current his designs still look, even though some of them were made nearly a century ago.