Postmodernity is a term used to describe the social and cultural implications
of postmodernism. The term is used by philosophers, social scientists,
art critics and social critics to refer to aspects of contemporary art,
culture, economics and social conditions that are the result of the unique
features of late 20th century and early 21st century life. These features
include globalization, consumerism, the fragmentation of authority, and
the commoditization of knowledge (see "Modernity"). "Post-modernity"
is also used to demark a period in art, design and architecture beginning
in the 1950's in response to the International Style, or an artistic period
characterized by the abandonment of strong divisions of genre, "high"
and "low" art, and the emergence of the global village. Postmodernity
is said to be marked by the re-emergence of surface ornament, reference
to surrounding buildings in urban architecture, historical reference in
decorative forms, non-orthogonal angles such as the Sydney Opera House
and the buildings of Frank Gehry.
Deconstruction is a term which is used to denote the application of post-modern
theory, to a "text". A deconstruction is meant to undermine
the frame of reference and assumptions that underpin the text. Jacques
Derrida, who coined the term, argued that the existence of deconstruction
implied that there was no intrinsic essence to a text, merely the contrast
of difference. This is analogous to the scientific idea that only the
variations are real, that there is no established norm to a genetic population,
or the idea that the difference in perception between black and white
is the context. A deconstruction is created when the "deeper"
substance of text opposes the text's more "superficial" form.
According to Derrida, one consequence of deconstruction is that the text
may be defined so broadly as to encompass not just written words, but
the entire spectrum of symbols and phenomena within Western thought. To
Derrida, a result of deconstruction is that no Western philosopher has
been able to escape successfully from this large web of text and reach
that which is "signified", which they imagined to exist "just
beyond" the text.
more common use of the term is the more general process of pointing to
contradictions between the intent and surface of a work, and the assumptions
about it. A work then "deconstructs" assumptions when it places
them in context. For example, someone who can pass as the opposite sex
is said to "deconstruct" gender roles, because there is a conflict
between the superficial appearance, and the reality of the person's gender.
In graphic design deconstructivism gave its name to one of the major typographic
movements, starting in the early 1980's and continuing into the late 1990's:
Deconstructive Typography. Taking on a more experi-mental approach to
typography, the Dadaists and Futurists in the 1920s and 1930s, and later
Concrete Poetry during 1950s and 1960s experimented with floating type
compositions and fragmented typographic treatments, releasing type from
its linear structure. Further developments of the deconstructivist typography
in the 1990’s shifted the typographic practice towards a spatial, non-linear
process: ‘Communication for the deconstructivist is no longer linear,
but involves in-stead the provision of many entry and exit points for
the increasingly over-stimulated reader.’ [Cahalan 1994, p.1] The page
is no longer to be just "read" but also "perceived",
beyond the pure textual content, into all of its associative conjunctions:
We are meant to "feel" rather than "read" a page.
The end of the century, with the rising issues surrounding global economies,
ecology and rising poverty in developing countries was a time when graphic
designers took a long, hard look at the nature of their work; at its ephemereal
qualities, its associations with consumerism/capitalism. The outcome took
into account unexpected resources; the ordinary, the often-used, the soon
to be discarded - as indeed is most of the output of graphic design itself.
Designers sought inspiration in unlikely items such as old ticket stubs,
torn billboards and discarded packages and the expression and legitimisation
of the vernacular.
was also one of the inspirations, along with 'postmodern' fiction for
the science fiction genre known as 'cyberpunk'. The technological potential
unleashed by desktop publishing and graphics software allied with the
methodological potential offered by variously by punk and French deconstructionist
philosophy produced a style of graphic design and typography known sometimes
as deconstructionist graphic design, and sometimes as 'The New Typography'.
Though obviously coming out of different contexts and circumstances, these
developments shared a fascination with contemporary technology and in
both its utopian and dystopian possibilities, as well as its glamour.
They also evince similar tropes and strategies, of appropriation, juxtaposition,
detournement, montage, collage, repetition, facilitated by or reflecting
upon the extraordinary capabilities of that technology. The deconstructionist
graphic design's use of layers and experimentation with typography all
reflected a world of diffused and distributed communication mediated through
networks of powerful information technologies.
embroidery samplers, cafe menus, ticket stubs - vernacular as "perceptual"
object for typography.
Design at the end of the millenium
The reaction to the increasing severity imposed by modernism and minimalistic
movements such as the Swiss Style on graphic design was slow but inexorable,
resulting in new typographic investigations and trends. Compounding this
was the disillusionment that designers and art director's increasingly
felt towards the requirements and bland approach of the advertising sector
by which they were largely employed.
important point was reached in graphic design with the publishing of the
First things first 1964 Manifesto which was
a call to a more radical form of graphic design and criticized the ideas
of value-free design. This was massively influential on a generation of
new graphic designers and contributed to the founding of publications
such as Emigre magazine. The First Things First manifesto was written
29 November 1963 and published in 1964 by Ken Garland. Today we may not
understand the significance of the document which at the time caused consternation.
It was backed by over 400 graphic designers and artists and also received
the backing of Tony Benn, radical left-wing MP and activist, who published
it in its entirety in the Guardian newspaper. Reacting against a rich
and affluent Britain of the sixties, it tried to re-radicalise design
which had become lazy and uncritical. Drawing on ideas shared by Critical
Theory, the Frankfurt School and the counter-culture of the time it explicitly
re-affirmed the belief that Design is not a neutral value-free process.
It rallied against the consumerist culture that was purely concerned with
buying and selling things and tried to highlight a Humanist dimension
to graphic design theory. It was later updated and republished with a
new group of signatories as the First Things First 2000 manifesto.
Deconstructivist typography by "Substance" design agency,
London, UK, mid 1990's
Deconstructivist Typography: Cornell Windlin (left), Neville Brody (right)
First things first 2000 manifesto
was an updated version of the earlier First things first 1964 Manifesto.
it was published in 2000 by some of the leading lights of the graphic
design, artistic and visual arts community. It was republished by Emigre,
Eye and other important graphic design magazines and has stirred controversy
(again) in Graphic design.
essence, the question of value-free design has been continually contested
in the graphic design community between those who are concerned about
the values in design and those who believe that design can be value-free.
Those who believe that design can be free from values feel that the graphics
industries themselves should not be concerned with the underlying political
questions. Those who are concerned with values believe that graphics and
the designers themselves must be critical and take a stand, for instance
by not promoting industries and products perceived to be 'bad'. Examples
of what might be classified as bad are adverts and designs for cigarette
manufacturers, arms companies and so on. This has been particularly influential
on AdBusters, for example, and is related to ideas of detournement
(In detournement, an artist reuses elements of well-known media to
create a new work with a different message, often one opposed to the original)
and culture jamming (Culture jamming
is the act of transforming existing mass media to produce negative commentary
about itself, using the original medium's communication method. It is
a form of public activism which is generally in opposition to commercialism,
and the vectors of corporate image. The aim of culture jamming is to create
a contrast between corporate image and the realities of the corporation.
This is done symbolically, with the "detournement" of pop iconography).
things first 1964 manifesto >>>
things first 2000 manifesto >>>
also known as Emigre Graphics, is a type foundry in Berkeley, California,
founded by Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko. It also published Emigre
magazine between 1984 and 2005. Note that unlike the word émigré, Emigre
is officially spelled without accents. Emigre
was founded in 1984 as an independent foundry, developing typefaces without
an association with a typesetting equipment manufacturer. Through a good
part of the late 1980s and most of the 1990s, some of the most cutting-edge
typefaces were developed or released by Emigre. Its magazine, in the meantime,
provided an outlet showcasing the potential of its typeface designs, and
was well known for its graphical experimentation. Emigre has also published
a number of books related to graphic design.
Emigre magazine: Issue cover and spreads
Further Reading and images:
Neville Brody (1957 - ) is an alumnus of the London College of Communication
and is known for his work on The Face magazine (1981–1986) and Arena magazine
(1987–1990), as well as for designing record covers for artists such as
Cabaret Voltaire and Nine Inch Nails. He
was one of the founding members of FontFont (now FontShop) in London and
designed a number of notable typefaces for them. He was also partly responsible
for instigating the FUSE project an influential fusion between a magazine,
graphics design and typeface design. Each pack includes a publication
with articles relating to typography and surrounding subjects, four brand
new fonts that are unique and revolutionary in some shape or form and
four posters designed by the type designer usually using little more than
their included font.
Neville Brody, advertising poster (left) software identities for Macromedia
working in record cover design, Brody made his name largely through his
revolutionary work as Art Director for the Face magazine. Other international
magazine directions have included City Limits, Lei, Per Lui, Actuel and
Arena, together with London's The Observer newspaper and magazine. Brody
has consistently pushed the boundaries of visual communication in all
media through his experimental and challenging work, and continues to
extend the visual languages we use through his exploratory creative expression.
Neville Brody for FUSE
Neville Brody, Advertising brochure, mid 1990's
1994, together with business partner Fwa Richards, Brody launched Research
Studios, London. A sister company, Research Publishing, produces and publishes
experimental multi-media works by young artists. The primary focus is
on FUSE, the renowned conference and quarterly
forum for experimental typography and communications. The publication
is approaching its 20th issue over a publishing period of over ten years.
Three FUSE conferences have so far been held, in London, San Fransisco
and Berlin. The conferences bring together speakers from design, architecture,
sound, film and interactive design and web.
(1956 - ) is best known for his innovative magazine design, and use of
experimental typography. His
first actual contact with graphic design was made in 1980 at the University
of Arizona on a two week graphics course. Later on in 1983, Carson was
working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology when he went to Switzerland,
where he attended a three-week workshop in graphic design as part of his
degree. This is where he met his first great influence, who also happened
to be the teacher of this course, Hans-Rudolph Lutz.
David Carson, advertising design 1990's
the period of 1982–1987, Carson worked as a teacher in Torrey Pines High
School in San Diego, California. In 1983, Carson started to experiment
with graphic design and found himself immersed in the artistic and bohemian
culture of Southern California. By the late eighties he had developed
his signature style, using "dirty" type and non-mainstream photography.
He would later be dubbed the "father of grunge."
Editorial design: "Beach Culture"
Editorial design: "Ray Gun"
other things, he was also a professional surfer and in 1989 Carson was
qualified as the 9th best surfer in the world. His career as a surfer
helped him to direct a surfing magazine, called Beach Culture. This magazine
lasted for three years but, through the pages of Beach Culture, Carson
made his first significant impact on the world of graphic design and typography
with ideas that were called innovative even by those that were not fond
of his work. From 1991-1992, Carson worked for Surfer magazine. A stint
at How magazine (a trade magazine aimed at designers) followed, and soon
Carson launched Ray Gun, a magazine of international
standards which had music and lifestyle as its subject. In 1995, Carson
founded his own studio, David Carson Design in New York City.
book and magazine covers.
November 1995, Carson published his first book the
End of Print. His second book, 2nd Sight, followed in 1997. It
is said that this book simply changed the public face of graphic design
(Newsweek). In 1998, Carson worked with Professor John Kao of the Harvard
Business School on a documentary entitled "The Art and Discipline
of Creativity." The third book that Carson published was Fotografiks
(1999) which earned Carson the Award of Best Use of Photography in Graphic
Design. Carson’s fourth book, Trek, was released in 2000. Carson has also
helped in the development of The History of Graphic Design by Philip Meggs.
age of the computer
In 1950 the British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing published
a paper describing what would come to be called the Turing Test. The paper
explored the nature and potential development of human and computer intelligence
and communication, while the first commercially successful electronic
computer, UNIVAC, was also the first general purpose computer - designed
to handle both numeric and textual information was also designed the same
year. The implementation of this machine marked the real beginning of
the computer era.
In the mid 1980s, just 30 years later, the arrival of desktop publishing
and the introduction of software applications introduced a generation
of designers to computer image manipulation and 3D image creation that
had previously been unachievable. Computer graphic design enabled designers
to instantly see the effects of layout or typography changes without using
any ink in the process. not only did computers greatly speden and fascilitate
the traditional design process, they also gave a completely new outlook
to sketching and idea formation, enabling designers to virtually create
endless generations of one work/concept.
was one of the first to recognize the vast potential of this new medium,
quickly establishing herself as a pioneer of digital design.
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, published a website
in August 1991, making him also the first web designer. His first was
to use hypertext with an existing email link. Early on, websites were
written in basic HTML, a markup language giving websites basic structure
(headings and paragraphs), and the ability to link using hypertext. This
was new and different to existing forms of communication - users could
easily open other pages using browsers. Programmers were the original
web page designers in the early 1990s. Currently most web designers come
from a graphic artist background in print, where the artist has absolute
control over the size and dimensions of all aspects of the design. On
the web however, the Web designer has no control over several factors,
including the size of the browser window and the size and characteristics
of available fonts.
design crosses multiple disciplines of information systems, information
technology and communication design. The website is an information system.
The observable content (e.g page layout, user interface, graphics, text,
audio) is known as the front-end. The back-end is the functional design
and programming or software engineering. Depending on the size of initial
design, a multi-skilled individual web master may be required, or a project
manager may be require to oversee collaboration design between group members
with specialized skills.
Web interfaces, flash and html
Although mainstream graphic design applications, print or digital, rely
heavily on the presence of interfaced, intuitive, proprietrary software,
one of the many exciting manifestations of digital design has been the
merging of programming and design environments, creating new hybrid professions
and areas of expertise, skills and transdisciplinary collaborations.
Design By Numbers
was created for visual designers and artists as an introduction to computational
design. It is the result of a continuing endeavor by John
Maeda to teach the “idea” of computation to designers and artists.
It is his belief that the quality of media art and design can only improve
through establishing educational infrastructure in arts and technology
schools that create strong, cross-disciplinary individuals. DBN is both
a programming environment and language. The environment provides a unified
space for writing and running programs and the language introduces the
basic ideas of computer programming within the context of drawing. Visual
elements such as dot, line, and field are combined with the computational
ideas of variables and conditional statements to generate images.
Pages from Maeda@Media
is an open source project initiated by Casey Reas
and Benjamin Fry, formerly of the Aesthetics
and Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is "a programming
language and integrated development environment (IDE) built for the electronic
arts and visual design communities", which aims to teach the basics
of computer programming in a visual context, and to serve as the foundation
for electronic sketchbooks. One of the stated aims of Processing is to
act as a tool to get non-programmers started with programming, through
the instant gratification of visual feedback. It is a language that builds
on the graphical side of the Java programming language, simplifying features
and creating a few new ones.
These illustrations, created in Processing for the New York Times
Magazine, are the result of a physics-based model of keywords connected
by springs. The strength of the virtual spring connecting a pair of keywords
together is dependent upon their rate of cooccurrence on the Internet,
a measure of their degree of relationship to each other. In addition to
the three tiles shown above which are featured in the online version of
the article, the cover of the magazine and the following pages of the
print article all feature different views of the model.
with Processing by Lisa Strausfeld and James Nick Sears.
Processing: Metropop Denim by Clayton Cubitt and Tom Carden
Fashion photography meets print resolution physics-inspired generative
Processing by Daniel Rothaug: "digital acoustic cartography"
is an interactive experiment in mapping sonic events into a concrete visual
language. source material for the visualizations are images (db and frequency-sequences)
recorded by the "acoustic camera".
Processing has spawned another project, Wiring, which uses the Processing
IDE together with a simplified version of the C programming language as
a way to teach artists how to program microcontrollers. There are now
two separate hardware projects, Wiring and Arduino, using the Wiring environment
and language. Another spin-off project, Mobile Processing by Francis Li,
allows software written using the Processing programming language and
environment to run on Java powered mobile devices.
(or data-), and Information visualization are branches of computer graphics
and user interface which are concerned with the presentation of interactive
or animated digital images to users to understand data. For example, scientists
interpret potentially huge quantities of laboratory or simulation data
or the results from sensors out in the field to aid reasoning, hypothesis
building and cognition. The field of data mining offers many abstract
visualizations related to these visualization types. They are active research
areas, drawing on theory in information graphics, computer graphics, human-computer
interaction and cognitive science and also, of course, visual communication
design, for which this is promising to be a very rewarding field of investigation.
More and more scientists and engineers are entering collaborations with
graphic designers in the realisation of data visualisation systems. Scientific
visualization deals with data that has a natural geometric structure (e.g.,
MRI data, wind flows). Information visualization handles more abstract
data structures such as trees or graphs. Visual analytics is especially
concerned with sensemaking and reasoning.The distinction between "natural"
and complex data structures, however is blurred, keeping in mind that
graphs can in general represented by adjacency matrices.
Walrus: information visualisation is used here to create abstractions.
in the presentation sense, is not a new phenomenon. It has been used in
maps, scientific drawings, and data plots for over a thousand years. Examples
of this are the map of China (1137 a.d.) and the famous map of Napoleon's
invasion of Russia in 1812, by Jacque Minard. Most of the concepts learned
in devising these images carry over in a straight forward manner to computer
visualization and can be incorporated in courses in visualization. Edward
Tufte has written two critically acclaimed books which explain many of
Graphics has from its beginning been used to study scientific problems.
However, in its early days the lack of graphics power often limited its
usefulness. The recent emphasis on visualization started in 1987 with
the special issue of Computer Graphics on Visualization in Scientific
Computing. Since then there have been several conferences and workshops,
co-sponsored by the IEEE and ACM SIGGRAPH, devoted to the general topic,
and special areas in the field, for example volume visualization. There
have also been numerous books and research articles on visualization in
the past several years. Some of the most popular examples of scientific
visualizations are computer generated images which show real spacecraft
in action, out in the void far beyond Earth, or on other planets. Dynamic
forms of visualisation such as educational animation have the potential
to enhance learning about systems that change over time.
from the distinction between interactive visualizations and animation,
the most useful categorization is probably between abstract and model-based
scientific visualizations. The abstract visualizations show completely
conceptual constructs in 2D or 3D. These generated shapes are completely
arbitrary. The model-based visualizations either place overlays of data
on real or digitally constructed images of reality, or they make a digital
construction of a real object directly from the scientific data.
visualization is usually done with specialized software, though there
are a few exceptions, noted below. Some of these specialized programs
have been released as Open source software, having very often its origins
in universities, within an academic environment where sharing software
tools and giving access to the source code is common. There are also many
proprietary software packages of scientific visualization tools. Models
and frameworks for building visualizations include the data flow models
popularized by systems such as AVS, IRIS Explorer, and VTK toolkit, and
data state models in spreadsheet systems such as the Spreadsheet for Visualization
and Spreadsheet for Images.
Game Design and Educational Environments
One of the greates impacts on Visual communication Design that the computer
has generated has been the advent of three dimensional design. while graphic
designers historically have always been involved in three dimensional
design, especially where the implementation of typographic elements in
architecture are concerned, the virtual 3D environment has greatly increased
the involvement of graphic designers, indeed creating hybrid professions
between architecture, cinematography and graphic design, which involve
knowledge of narratology, scenarios, storyboarding, camera handling, light,
modelling as well as the design of 2 and 3 dimensional elements such as
space and typogrpahy.
Screenshots from "Planet Half-life", created by GameSpy
offshoot of game design are game modifications/Videogame art which involve
the use of patched or modified computer and video games or the repurposing
of existing games or game structures. Often this modification is through
the use of level editors, though other techniques exist. Some artists
make use of machinima applications to produce non-interactive animated
artworks, though it is a mistake, however, to regard artistic modification
as being synonymous with machinima as these form only a small proportion
of artistic modifications.
art relies on a broader range of artistic techniques and outcomes than
artistic modification. These can include painting, sculpture, appropriation,
in-game intervention and performance, sampling, etc. Videogame art also
includes creating art games from scratch, rather than by modifying existing
games. It is useful to regard these as distinct from art mods as they
rely on different tools, though naturally there are many similarities
with some art mods. Like games, artistic game mods may be single player
or multiplayer. Multiplayer works make use of networked environments to
develop new models of interactivity and collaborative production.
Game modification: The Nybble Engine by Margarete Jahrman and Max
dimensional environments and applications are also used widely for educational
Educational software for Mathematics: http://www.teber.biz/
or user interface engineering is the design of computers, gadgets, appliances,
machines, mobile communication devices, software applications, and websites
with the focus on the user's experience and interaction. Unlike traditional
design where the goal is to make the object or application physically
attractive, the goal of user interface design is to make the user's interaction
experience as simple and intuitive as possible—what is often called user-centered
design. Where good graphic/industrial design is bold and eye catching,
good user interface design is often subtle and invisible.
Interface design is involved in a wide range of projects from mall kiosks
to software applications to car navigation systems to e-commerce sites;
all of these projects have some things in common yet also require some
unique skills and knowledge. As a result, user interface designers tend
to specialize in certain types of projects and have skills centered around
their expertise, whether that be software design, web design, or industrial
design. What all these projects have in common is, of course, the focus
on how the user interacts with the device/system/application.
Industrial design and interface design. Output: VA215, Sina Çetin
Graphic User Interfaces
graphical user interface (or GUI, often pronounced
"gooey"), is a particular case of user interface for interacting
with a computer which employs graphical images and widgets in addition
to text to represent the information and actions available to the user.
Usually the actions are performed through direct manipulation of the graphical
and themes are
custom graphical appearances that can be applied to certain software and
websites in order to suit the different tastes of different users. Such
software is referred to as being skinnable, and the process of writing
or applying such a skin is known as skinning. Applying a skin changes
a piece of software's look and feel — some skins merely make the program
more aesthetically pleasing, but others can rearrange elements of the
interface, potentially making the program easier to use.
Custom skins for the Windows operating system.
Desktop wallpapers: An emerging design genre.
Motion graphics are graphics that use video and/or animation technology
to create the illusion of motion or a transforming appearance. These motion
graphics are usually combined with audio for use in multimedia projects.
Motion graphics extend beyond the most commonly used methods of frame-by-frame
footage and animation. Computers are capable of calculating and randomizing
changes in imagery to create the illusion of motion and transformation.
Motion graphics stills
Since there is no universally accepted definition of motion graphics,
the official beginning of the art form is heavily disputed. There have
been presentations that could be classified as motion graphics as early
as the 1800's. Perhaps one of the first uses of the term "Motion
Graphics" was by animator John Whitney, who in 1960 founded a company
called Motion Graphics Inc. Among those in the motion graphics profession,
most agree that Saul Bass is the most significant pioneer in animated
graphic design, and that his work marks the true beginning of what is
now commonly referred to as motion graphics. His work included title sequences
for popular films such as The Man With The Golden Arm (1955), Vertigo
(1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho
(1960), and Advise & Consent (1962). His designs were simple, but
effectively communicated the mood of the film.