Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gerd Antz and His Beginnings

Gerd Antz was a master at creating pictographs.  He created over 4,000 in his life time.  His pictographs created a bridge between different languages and the illiterate to the literate.  

They are simple and convey their point quickly.  His idea combined with Otto Neurth’s encouragement and support, they created a new movement together with ISOTYPE.  

With ISOTYPE, they were able to motivate the proliterate into emancipating from socialism in Vienna with their newly-found literacy and empowerment through Antz and Neurth’s pictographs.  His work is now referred to as infographics in today’s world.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Modern Hieroglyphs

It may seem odd that there are modern hieroglyphs, but it is true.  We are so accustomed to them - we don’t realize that they exist in today’s world.  Signs such as the men and women’s bathroom signs come so naturally to us, it’s just an everyday sighting.  

Non-smoking signs is another good example of modern hieroglyphs.  We see them everywhere; they are used so often.  These are other signs we see, but normally in a computer lab, library, or even a store.  

A fun example of an usual hieroglyph, which isn’t really used in everyday life, but more as a moral reminder is shown in the image above.  The monkeys are a visual reminder of simple morals.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Symbols - Good or Evil? It depends.

It is possible for a single symbol to represent good or evil, depending on which side you take or represent.  In the case of a peace symbol, it was used by the Vietnamese to represent their anger and rage.  The US uses it as a sign of peace, like an olive branch.  It's most universally used as a peace sign nowadays, but it's origin was a sign of hate.

Just like there are two sides to every story, if you look at abortion, there is anti-abortion (life) and pro-abortion (choice).  People who are anti-abortion or pro-life do not want to have abortions, anti has a negative underlying tone, and makes abortion sound like a bad thing to do.  They try combating it with a different take on anti-abortion with pro-life to make it sound more positive, saving lives.  On the other hand, there is pro-abortion or pro-choice, which has a positive underlying tone and has the opposite effect of anti-abortion.  It sounds like abortion is okay and allows freedom.  These are two different stances on one thing - abortion.  This is similar to how there were two takes on the peace sign.

A good way to sum up this reading section is a yin-yang symbol.  This symbol represents constant change in a circle.  Day becomes night and night becomes day.  Happiness becomes sadness and sadness becomes happiness.  Birth becomes death and death becomes birth.  Friends become enemies and enemies become friends.  Evil becomes good and good becomes evil.  

It's possible for a symbol to change in representation of what it's referencing.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A History of Symbols/Brands/Logos

Logos are used to brand and define a company.  If done right, a glimpse of a logo should tell you what company it represents without any words or hints.  In the case above, it is quite obvious what the rebranded logo represents.  After 2010's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, British Petroleum's (BP) logo was seen everywhere.  With the dripping oil and fading colors from top to bottom, you can see what the artist is referring to with the re-made logo here. 

In this case, even with the company's initials "BP," and the play on initials, it is still representative of BP.  With having knowledge of what happened, you can see what the artist is tryting to convey.  Even if you didn't know what happened with the oil spill, it isn't hard to infer what happened. 

In the case of Google, they have yet to make any serious mistakes as BP.  Instead, they try to keep their logo interesting.  They change their logo for holidays and events.  With the consistency and with how widely known Google is as a company and browsing device, it is still easy to distinguish their logo.  Here are just a few creative examples of what Google has done with their logo since they've distinguished themselves. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Exercise 1: Icon Set

choose from one of the following typefaces:
Gill Sans
Cooper Black
Century Schoolbook
Times New Roman
Research the history of the typeface.
Use the alphabet (converted to outlines in Illustrator) to create a set of 5-9 icons based upon imagery/art/industrial or product design from the time period. (cut up with the knife tool and reassemble)
Your icons should work together as a system and relate in terms of level of detail and scale.
Do not change the letters scale.
Do not skew or distort the letters.
Do not fill in the counters.
Do not change the underlying path of the letters.

(note: this project is an expansion of Hellen Lupton's class project "Helvetica Nation" forGraphic Design II at the Maryland Institute College of Art)
Working with restraints
Conveying ideas through minimal means
Relationships between contemporary design across discipline
Relating parts of a set as development of a style