I started  by reading  “Graphic Design: A History” by Eskilson as a way of getting an over view of the subject. It was interesting to see how styles and designs altered and flowed and was so much influenced by history (World Wars) and politics (communism) as well as the various art movements that were occurring. I felt that in this way Graphic Design (more than Illustration) very much holds a reflective surface up to the times as they occur.

I have always been passionate about the aesthetic of the Japanese artists of the Ukiyo-e period, Toulouse Lautrec, Schiele and Beggarstaff and was surprised to discover that they form such a connected, well established line of influence in Graphic Design.

Overall I discovered a lot of areas that left me cold. For example, I am able to admire the Russian revolutionary posters, Dadaism and the International Style but they don’t strike a chord.

I very much admire Saul Bass and the work of Alexy Brodovitch in the 50’s and 60’s but after that I’m struggling. The chapters on computer based design left me worse than cold, I felt alienated from them and the current, multiple platforms that have developed. I’m aware this may be an age thing? I am happy to use the internet and websites that are slow and not intuitive to use, I find very frustrating, but I’m not interested in tinkering under the bonnet. I particularly find animated GIF’s very annoying. I have to scroll away from them, to get them off screen. As I write this I’m thinking that I am a migraine sufferer which occasionally gets triggered by bright sunlight, so maybe this is a specific issue of mine?

The most current design which attracts me is from a book I picked up a few years ago on japanese design, Japanese Graphics Now! First published in 2003, it is a book of packaging, posters and print which I was very strongly drawn to.

Revisiting the book I was struck how many of the cosmetic packaging looked very similar to luxury brands available in the UK currently. I guess this reflects the way the Western world has picked up on the attractive, minimalistic, natural style. The packaging I was especially drawn to was the cute or “clever”, without too much embellishment.

I looked at the posters next and again I liked the clever, quirky, minimalistic designs. Considering my Illustration tendencies, I was surprised that I often liked the posters with clever photography rather than an Illustration.

Next I reviewed my Pinterest boards. I looked at “Graphic Design” and started a Japanese board. I’m hoping to add to these over the course, I’ve found Pinterest in the last course to be very helpful for leading to websites and other boards for ideas.

Eskilson, S, (2012). Graphic Design: A history, 2nd Edition. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Kozak, G & Wiedemann, J (2006). Japanese Graphics Now! Cologne: Taschen.

I’m interested in Graphic Design that……..

is produced by the following artists and designers:

Japanese artists of the Ukiyo-e period,

Toulouse-Lautrec, Beggarstaff, Schiele,

Saul Bass,

Alexy Brodovsky

Current Japanese design studios

is quirky, ambiguous, playful, narrative, minimalist, stylised.

provides visual solutions.  I prefer organic shapes and hand lettering to the geometry,  precision and attention to detail of Type.

works with paper or cardboard. I like producing something you can hold (and even manipulate) in your hand.

So I like posters, books, magazines, 3D models, infographics and  packaging.


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