Hammer Museum: Graphic Design Now in Production

Extra credit, Hammer Museum

Does the exhibit convey the graphic design entity as us designers understand it?

-think about it as contemporary art

What is Graphic Design as we know it?

It is a commercial art.  The intersection of art and commerce.  Graphic design is a productive communication.  A productive endeavor.  It offers solutions that are functional yet distinctive, innovative, imaginative, inspired and new.  Graphic design is a structured arrangement of type and images.  Never one without the other.  Graphic designers have the power to change the way people see the world.  Designers produce mass market imagery that become part of our collective consciousness.  Like TV shows, movies and pop music, graphic design is absorbed into the mainstream culture.  As purveyors of pop culture, designers alter the landscape of what’s “cool” and what’s not.

The exhibit portrayed this translation of “graphic design” well.  Graphic Design: Now in Production incorporated a conglomerate of printed works, digital works, motion, posters, bound books and magazines, 3-D sculptures, interactive material, visual as well as audio sensors and physical space.  A highly refined curration of the highlights of what graphic designers can do to communicate a message of visual persuasion while at the same time incorporating aesthetics.

Chris Do//Director of Blind: Guest Speaker at CSUN

Chris Do was bold in saying, “Forget about being great.”  A desire for something can be a disease.  It was enlightening for me to hear him say on “Focus on good enough, when you get good enough, you become awesome.”

He was inspired by Woody Allen, an a renowned film director who is so humble, he originally thought his work was horrible, but was accepted as his second greatest film directed.

Learn to say fuck you to the world sometimes.  Just do something, do something and do anything.

He recommended to check out the site: Ingredienttx.com

Artist psychology

There is no secret, Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, You are confined only to the walls you build yourself in. He claims that we put ourselves in a suffocating box.  We need to expand upon these walls.

Chris Do was also inspired by Tony’s book,  who owns Zappos.  It changed his life and how he perceived people.

Chris Do’s 4 guides of happiness:

•Perceive you have control

•Perceive progress  >what high you get>

•Belonging to a group: can’t do it by yourself

•Have faith and power that is greater than you

When you’re happy you can do everything. A Plan a or b mentality bring results.

When it comes to balancing private life with professional life, it can be a challenge.  Chris Do claims that there is very little difference in the level of a finished work that’s done in three months compared to a work done in three hours.  “I try to do the work in 3 hours time.”

Another inspiration: Nancy Duarte, “We all have a really good idea.  Ideas are best told in stories.”

Chris Do’s main message: Don’t worry about making it your best.  Work, put effort, be persistent, and accept good enough.

What is the difference between font and typeface?

In my interview with three people, I have received an assortment of answers!

Non designers:

1. Typeface is what I see in print, font is the different choices i use to design.

2.Hmmm well a typeface is the shape of letters and a font describes the type of typeface.

3. I really don’t know.  And wouldn’t googling it defeat the purpose?

Graphic designer:

1. Jung, “the same thing aren’t they? hang on, I’ll wiki for you…”

Helvetica, the Movie

“Helvetica was a real step from the 19th century typeface… We were impressed by that because it was more neutral, and neutralism was a word that we loved. It should be neutral. It shouldn’t have a meaning in itself. The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface.”

-Wim Crouwel, Graphic Designer

Considered to be the fascist font by some designers, while others consider it to be the revolution of getting the message across to the audience.  Helvetica, is a very clean and crisp font.  Rather than creating an identity for the text, the context is able to speak clearly.  Helvetica is everywhere, it’s “like air, you have to breathe.  If you don’t use it, you’re considered an idiot.”  The typeface is in our city, on our stores, our transportation, our advertisements, on our user interface, our iPhone text messages.  This typeface has become so accepted, in fact celebrated, in our society, to use another typeface would almost seem blasphemous.

You can see it in your public bathrooms, on your coffee mugs, on your neighborhood garbage trucks.  It doesn’t stop.  Some consider it as over used as Comic Sans, or as ugly as Papyrus.  The vast majority accept it as a corporate identity.  Since its development in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann, it has dominated the typography world, and even been claimed as number one on FontShop Germany’s list “Best Fonts of All Time”.  This itself is quite the feat for the typeface family.

It’s loved as a clean, and not being able to stand out, type of font.  It gives a security feeling to the context.  Helvetica made it’s modern break through after the grunge period of the 90’s.  Typography was so broken after this few year term, designers and typographers had to go back to the old ways of type, to properly communicate.

I see Helvetica as a very clean and professional font.  Maybe that’s because I use it everyday in my class notes, my text messages, my guide to tell me where things are in my city, my fashion conscious as to what clothing I should buy, and what I should eat.  My society and culture has engraved it into my visual sense so much that it’s second nature.  I appreciate this typeface, but at the same time I respect it.

From what little I know, and what more I continue to learn about the roots and the history of typography, as big of a subject as it is, I will not, and refuse to let something die for me out of misuse.  I would like for anything to live with me through moderation.  Everyone and everything uses this font, and I will not follow the masses.  There are other typefaces that can be used in design to communicate effectively.  Helvetica is the cleaner, and “dumbed down” form of type that can be understood by the vast majority of today.  A revolution will happen with type.  This is only the plateau.

It’s bold, clean, and easily recognizable as a legible font.  In design, such as advertisements, Helvetica is so blunt, that it gets the message across.  “Drink Coke. It’s Coke.”  It smacks you in the face, just what the corporate company wants.  There is no beating around the bush with Helvetica.  Helvetica runs our society by telling us little tiny messages so that we may function properly as a citizen.  Without Helvetica, it is guaranteed that our culture will go awry without proper and clear communication of our society’s messages. After 50 years of use, it has proven to be timeless.  In time, a new font will be used just as much.

Sources Cited

Rana, Sunalini. “All About Helvetica Font.” Everything About Helvetica Font. SloDive, 2011. Web. 04 Sept. 2012. <http://slodive.com/web-development/helvetica-font/>.