The first movie I watched was the History of Typography. It is a short, 5 minute movie. Here is a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOgIkxAfJsk. The video discusses the beginnings of typography from the first ever typeface, Blackletter to the very modern typeface Helvetica. It explains the difference between serif fonts (fonts with “numbs” on the end of letters) and sans serif fonts (smooth fonts without any extra flairs).
It also shows the difference between old style (thick serifs and not much difference between thick and thin lines), transitional (medium serifs and some difference between thick and thin lines) and modern (thin serifs and a large difference between thick and thin lines) serif fonts.
In addition to being very informative, the video is also a really interesting animation and is similar to part of a movie that I helped out with at Veneer this week (see further down). The History of Typography movie also touches on how computers have revolutionized type and how so many more typefaces are available because of the convenience of creating them on the computer.
Paul Scher, a well known graphic designer and the first female partner of the prominent design firm Pentagon, also touches on how computers have changed design in her interview. (Also pretty short, check it out! http://hillmancurtis.com/artist-series/paula-scher/)
She began working as a designer in 1972 when design was done completely by hand and designers used acetate to paint on typography. She talks about how she feels limited and not able to use her hands with computers in contrast to how she used to do design. Aside from a few projects where my teachers required that we make the typography by hand, almost all of my design work has been done on the computer so I do not feel limited or strange using the computer programs instead of my hands. Instead, I feel like I have more freedom and more opportunity to achieve the effect I want using a computer because I am not limited by what my hands can or can’t do and I can always go back a step or try out many possibilities using a computer. However, I can imagine that making the transition from moving things and creating things with material in front of you to using a computer to create designs must have been tough. Scher also discusses her thought processes for some of her designs. She talked about the importance of thinking about type as a shape or design element instead of as words. I did a project at the RISD pre college program I went to last summer about this concept. I created a series of 10 posters where I was asked to use the letters of the word I was assigned as if it were a shape in the composition instead of as if it was a word.
Here is a link to my project: http://sophiaspitulnik.com/2014/07/23/asymmetrical-color-posters/
Here is a piece of Paula Scher’s work where she uses type as a design element:
It is important that the typography is a meaningful part of a composition instead of just words added into a composition that do not necessarily work well with the other graphics. Another topic that really stuck out to me from Paula Scher’s interview was her statement about how she either got an idea for a design right away or never really got it. I completely agree with this. Sometimes a teacher will be describing a project or someone who is asking me to design something for them will be explaining what they want and I will immediately start picturing designs in my head and other times I have to play around with sketches and layouts on my computer for a while before I get a design I like. I feel that the designs that come to me right away are always my best work and the designs that take lots of brainstorming are sometimes forced and not my strongest work. This might be because intuitive design is easy for other people to understand and simple whereas, design that isn’t as intuitive, although it might look nice, isn’t usually understood immediately by the audience.
I also watched the documentary Helvetica, directed by Gary Hustwit. The documentary explains the history behind the typeface helvetica and what its impact has been on society and graphic design. The documentary explains the important role the sans serif fonts, such as helvetica, have played in influencing graphic design trends. The movie also discusses the role that helvetica has played in advertisements and how advertisements have affected global culture and urban areas. Although not the original intent of its creators, layouts that use helvetica are now seen as a very corporate, big business aesthetics. Helvetica is such a famous typeface because of its simplicity, clean curves and because it was created during a time when sans serif fonts were/are very trendy. Here is the movie poster written in helvetica:
Type is very important to graphic design and the type face that you use has a huge impact on the message that a logo or poster is sending to the viewer, so picking the right typeface is very important!
It is very appropriate that I am writing about media research because I helped out with filming a video and doing video research for Veneer this week! On Monday, the members of Veneer set aside the whole day for filming videos. They worked on one for The Food Business School, one about the work that they did for The Food Business School to put in their portfolio and one for a chip company called Ocean’s Healo. Here are pictures of one of the more interesting shots:
For this scene in The Food Business School movie, the Veneer staff took bits of their food, put their sandwiches back down on their plates, used their napkins and drank from their water glasses for a few minutes while I read the script of what would be said during that sense of the movie. The camera was on a really tall tripod and pointed down so only the hands of people, the plates and the table could be seen in the shot. Many of the other scenes for this movie included hands bringing pieces of paper with text on them into the shot or taking them away just like the History of Typography video that I talked about above. I helped with a few of the scenes by using my hands to bring in pieces of paper. I also held my phone in one hand and scrolled through The Food Business School mobile website with my other hand and clicked on different links for another scence. Earlier in the day, Kiefer texted me and asked if I could come in earlier then usual to help out with the video since they had so much work to do. I had to say no because I was already at school. It was a little disappointing to have to say no because I wanted to help out and the work at Veneer is much more interesting than most of my classes.
On Thursday, Paige asked me to do some research for a video that they are planning to make for Annie’s Pasta. The video is supposed to be from the point of view of kids, so she had me look for video advertisements for other food products that were filmed from the perspective of kids to give her ideas and inspire her. Here is one interesting one that I found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urJ6InLXndE
While I was searching for these videos I found this really cool Chipotle advertisement. Its not from the perspective of kids but it’s really cool animation! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE