Galaxy Type by Romain Roger
Although they have been knocking around for a while, I’ve only just discovered this series called “Galaxy Type Posters”, in which designer Romain Roger gets under the skin (quite literally) of various fonts with intricate deconstructions. Shown here are posters representing Clarendon, Avant Garde, Bauer Bodoni, Bello, Fette Fraktur and Helvetica.
these are absolutely incredible, i love the intense detailing of the letters in the posters
This comic “Hello Mr Hulot” really inspired me. It moved away from the stereotypical comic approach of speech bubbles and informative details on every other scene. Although yes i wanted to keep this traditional aspect of comics in my end result, i wanted to change the way it is done towards a more modern sleeker approach.
These are a few snapshots of the side on images i created with the help from research in the garfield comics.
For the research i looked at various comics ranging from Garfield, Beano and a French comic named Hello Mr Hulot.
At first my approach was strongly linked to the style of the Garfield and newspaper comics where they keep all the scenes at a side on view and progress on from each image/scene.I stuck with this style of comic for a a while and came out with some good images from around Ljubljana. These included the Castle, The pink church at the end of Copova ulica and the Pharmaceutical building (Which is a stunning building by the way).
For the Comic illustration brief, i decided to go with a comic about my ERASMUS exchange from Manchester to Ljubljana. Me and my lecturer talked about it and thought it would be a fantastic idea because it would not only be an interesting brief but also its personal so it would become something more than just a comic but an expression of my experiences on the first day of arrival.
The first edition of the book was published by Princeton Architectural Press; New York in 2004, then in 2010 the 2nd edition was brought out with more type crimes, activities and principles. Ellen Lupton is the lady who came up with this typographic book after she was searching for a book to present to her own class at Maryland Institute College of Art, where she is the Director of the Graphic Design MFA Program and also the Curator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. According to Amazon,
“Ellen Lupton is one of America’s preeminent design educators and PAPress’s all-time bestselling author.”
Ellen mentions the reason for creating this typographic guide was because whilst searching for books, she only saw books on classical pages, vast and encyclopaedic books over flowing with facts and details, including some relying on illustrations of their own work. She details that she wanted to create a book that was serene and intelligible where design & text combine to enhance understanding. Thinking with type will benefit you no matter what level of typographic understanding you’re at because it explains everything to you and doesn’t try to complicate things by adding complex terms, if she does include typographic terms she will explain what she means by it so you are not left hoping to understand it later in the book.
Having read the content over i feel this is one of the best type books i have read. Its features include the principles of type, examples, exercises to help you understand the principles, type crimes made by lack of type knowledge and fonts so it does cover a large area of typography.
One reason the book is so helpful is down to the fact it is not a encyclopaedia or history lesson on type design and layout, it is book on how to use type correctly. The book achieves this aim by including tiny extracts of type history but then applies it to a number of circumstances to increase your understanding. It increases your understanding because you see the history and knowledge but then see how it can be applied to modern design effectively. Ellen includes visual examples of incorrect type design & layout followed by how it should have been correctly done this re-enforces the awareness of the correct method and stops you from mis-interpreting the written information.
The book is split into three sections Letter, Text & Grid. The three sections touch on the history of how different movements used fonts going as far back as 15th Century Italy with Lettera Antica and how each typeface has been developed to deal with new technological methods. The anatomy of type is clearly detailed as is the classification & families of each font.
Coming from Manchester, England i had never before heard of Brumen. Having read more into the foundation it turns out it was named “Brumen” after a the Slovenian desinger Joze Brumnu (1930 -2000). The reason they named it after him was to help draw attention to his contributions in the field of design. Brumen is an independant institution whose aims and reasons for the existance are to promote and reward creators of high quality visual communications in Slovenia. Thus trying to overturn the lowering quality of the design criteria, as i read “Slovenia has resulted in a decrease of quality in design”. They invite a number of judges to decide on the best designers who have handed in work to the foundation and to also give feedback on their own experiences to help new designers conduct themselves in the right way.
The trio that stood out for me during the conference were Roger Black (a group creative director), Oliver Reichenstein who has a very clean approach to design and also Anette Lenz (Professor at The University of Art & Design, Geneva).
First up was Roger Black. Roger is an American who has worked as a Creative/Art Director for many years. Rolling Stones and Esquire being notable employers. Now Art Direction in the publications industry is the career position i want to be sat in years down the line, so for me this was a massive opportunity to learn a few things from somebody who has worked for many years at big publication firms as mentioned above. The most memorable topic during his speech was his view on the recent issue with owner’s mindset to “Modernise” current logos and how you don’t have to be a revolutionary to make an impact. Instead advising us to take the culture of a company/industry, understand it and build up from the structures. Just as he did with the Rolling Stones logo during his tenure at the publisher. He went on to mention the work he had done with Rolling Stones and Esquire which i found fascinating. He mentioned the story of how he went started at Esquire as the Art Director there and noticed how the logo they had at the time had changed so much and distanced itself away from the root culture the publication had. So he decided to re-introduce the hand type logo in 1992/3 to help bring back some of the history, According to Roger no one knew who created the original design, but he went back to tradition and included it once again. Which goes to show the result looking back at the history and culture of an organisation can help future designs, a clear message that Brumen is trying to get out to designers.
Anette Lenz currently lives in Geneva, Switzerland as a professor at the University of Art and Design as well as participating in international conferences. A number of her clients were The City of Paris, The French Ministry of Culture, Radio France and also Theatre D’Angouleme. But it was in the 90’s where she made her name; in 1990 she moved to Paris and worked with Alex Jordan in the famous cultural and political group “Graphic design”. Later as a Co-Founder of Nous Travailltons Ensemble she worked on the development of books, posters and corporate identity creation and cultural institutions. She is a poster enthusiast who looked at the approach from the 1970’s for inspiration as well as showing off her knowledge of German typographic tradition and bold images of the French influences.
She described thoroughly how she always went back to basics with her designs. She never tried to create something new or revolutionary instead took the current culture of which ever project she was working on, looked to see if it was working if not try a different approach and if it was working then built up from the current position to maintain its cultural identity. Just as Roger discussed moments ago, understanding the culture history of the industry and developing it can be much more effective.
Now we have the planner of the design process trio Oliver Reichenstein. I labelled him the planner because during my analysis, Roger presented the work he had done thus the end product of the design process. Anette discussed the process of trying out various approaches and how going back to historical roots helps. Finally Oliver whose speech revolved around how planning, spoke of how much smarter it was to plan than to jump into it and potentially create a mess, thus leading to the label “The Planner”.
He started by informing us of how much mess we create in the interactive world. He went on to share how many emails we send, how many Facebook status’ we create, how many Google searches we make. This was to emphasise how much ‘Crap’ we send to each other every day and to start thinking about how much cleaner the web would be if we didn’t.
Oliver has a high emphasis on planning, to me this stems from his hatred for mess or cloggy design. He mentioned how he believes “Web has become like TV” which if you look at what is on TV today isn’t a complimentary comparison in the slightest. One thing I noticed about Oliver was his laid back approach during the conference which potentially is linked to his design approach. The quote “Slowness is powerful” epitomises his design theory. Take a break, step back and go over it again slowly doing so will result in less “mess” and in return creates a better design.
Another tip he had for us was “if the process sucks, the result sucks”. Which I agree with if you’re communicating poorly with your target or in fact any audience for that matter it wouldn’t matter how well the design looked or how much planning you put into it, the design result will still falter.
Concluding the Brumen conference I spoke one to one with Roger Black for half an hour or so and he could not have been easier to talk to. I had many questions about how to get into Art Direction, how he gained experience, who were his influences. All these questions he answered with so much detail and openness, which is always desirable when you’re a young designer.
He gave me his business card and said to email him if i ever needed any help or experience with design or creative direction. So on a personal level Brumen has been a massive success and for Brumen it has to be seen as a mutual feeling as they have given a designer an opportunity to gain more of an insight into developing as a designer, which is one of their reasons for setting up the foundation.
As I mentioned before you can see the emphasis on how “New is overrated” as Oliver said. Oliver is the planner, Anette is the process and Roger is the end product/design. The Brumen foundation’s conference shows us the three stages of how to design leading to think how design in Slovenia should be developed, to help eradicate this “Lowering quality of the design criteria” here. It was a clever way to show us the importance of how current and past culture can help you more than looking to be a revolutionary designer, just looking at Roger Black’s idea to change the Esquire logo back to the hand scripted typeface rather than the modernised approach it had changed too before his arrival. After i had returned home from the conference i felt determined and motivated to start designing and planning on what i would include and how to include it. This is a sure sign that the Brumen foundation’s work is heading in the correct way and is conducting itself excellently towards design.
Overall the Brumen foundation seems to be promoting a way of design that is felt mutually by individuals from around the globe. My view is with a closer attention to the development of existing cultures and higher quality planning towards design, Brumen could be a source of innovative results and encourage more designers to plan, focus and to create less mess on the design front.
During this module we looked at typographic history and design fundamentals. A few weeks in we went to a design talk “Brumen” which featured design advice and guidance from various different designers. The designers who featured were Roger Black (Group Creative Director) who has worked as an Art Director for Esquire, Rolling Stones and Newsweek among others. The others were Oliver Reichenstein, Anette Lenz, Nedjeljko Spoljar and an Art Critic from New York Alice Twemlow.
As well as this brief we had another where we chose a design book from the list, read it and then analyse it in the form of an essay. My chosen book was Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide For Designers, Writers, Editors & Students 2nd Edition by Ellen Lupton.
The style of design i went with. It was between these three for the cover of the book
A few covers i came up with for the Franklin Gothic analysis booklet.
Various companies/posters that use some form of Franklin Gothic for their logo or headlines.