Graphic Design in London 2008
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Summer 2008 Graphic Design in Britain:
Typetour of Typographic London
Graphic Design in Britain, which was offered in the London Liberal Arts Program, emphasized London’s rich visual tradition, as one of the world’s most important cities for graphic design. The city’s design literacy is nurtured by generations-old signage and graphics of the London Underground, its museums of fine and applied arts, as well as the largest concentration of design and advertising firms in the world. Taking advantage of the resources within London allowed students to make meaningful connections in their own work.
The course provided a thorough grounding in problem-solving skills related to graphic design, with emphasis on the selection and communication of appropriate pictorial images, symbols, and typography. The study of methods and procedures used in the practice of graphic design were taught in relation to the culture of England. Sessions focused on several areas through in-class projects and workshops: London concept book, gallery postcard design, National Theatre poster design, and the history of graphic design with particular emphasis on the contribution and influence of graphic design work by English-born artists. Projects included research at various cultural institutions and libraries in London, design strategy, composition, and print techniques. In addition to the use of typographic systems and structures to solve practical communication problems, exploration of typography as an expressive element was emphasized. The impact of technology on the visual arts was examined and discussed from contemporary and historical perspectives. Guest speakers and design studio visits complemented the coursework. Graphic design students had the option to participate in an internship along with their two courses.
The following assignments included in this exhibition were created by current students who have taken the Graphic Design in Britain elective.
Assignment 1: The British Experience Concept Book
The objective of the assignment was to take a closer look at the personality of London. Doubleday challenged the students to think about how living in or visiting a city influences how we think and what we see. He asked the students to create short, multi-page books integrating images of London that would visually communicate the visual culture of the city. Doubleday asked the students to think about how the visual concept fits the mood and temperament of the subject matter; the students experiences and impressions of London from their point of view. Doubleday calls this approach a Cultural Concept Book Study.
To carry out the project the students collected images from London by various methods such as hand drawings, painting, and digital photography. The students scanned and photocopied the London material. The students were asked to consider integrating typography and explore alternative methods of visualizing narration: continuous text, typographic expression, diagrammatic representation, timeline or map construction, and text/image combinations. Each student also focused on the cinematic aspects of multi-page design, unity, pacing, contrast, and rhythm. The final designs comprised a series of cultural concept books.
Assignment 2: Traces of London
How does living in or visiting a city influence our way of thinking, our perceptions, our way of looking as graphic designers? What possibilities and opportunities does London offer us to visually articulate this city considering its geography, web sites, web logs, city maps, photographs, postcards, public transportation, traffic, statistical numbers, weather, language, noise, music, clothing, religion, history, social structures, and communication?
To find answers to these questions, students participated in a two-day workshop conducted by the German graphic designer and educator Armin Knoll.
The objective of the workshop was take a closer look on public life, personal places, signs and typefaces in the streets. Knoll gave each student a small booklet with blank pages. Following a slide lecture about London, he then asked them to conceptualize, juxtapose and utilize gathered material and create new designs in the context of traces within London.
Assignment 3: Architecture & Advertising in Piccadilly Circus
The theme of this assignment and workshop is visual “temptation”. The design brief was to have each student make a series of sketches with results of at least three visualizations of the trinity: architecture & advertising – Eros & architecture – advertising & Eros.
The objective of the assignment and workshop was to create three visual impressions of Piccadilliy Circus by taking a closer look at this spectacular area of London.
Piccadilly Circus is a famous traffic intersection and public space of London’s West End in the City of Westminster. Built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly (the “circus” refers to “circular open space at a street junction”), it now links directly to the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue as well as the Haymarket, Coventry Street (onwards to Leicester Square) and Glasshouse Street. The Circus is close to major shopping and entertainment areas in a central location at the heart of the West End. Its status as a major traffic intersection has made Piccadilly Circus a busy meeting point and a tourist attraction in its own right.
The Circus is particularly known for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, as well as the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue known as ‘Eros’ (sometimes called ‘The Angel of Christian Charity’, which would be better translated as ‘Agape’, but formally ‘Anteros’ – It is surrounded by several noted buildings, including the London Pavilion and Criterion Theatre. Directly underneath the plaza is the London Underground station Piccadilly Circus.
The final designs were a series of three abstract compositions.