Design Unleashed Reports Example
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In the year 1957, a new writing font was introduced to the globe. This particular font was developed in Switzerland in a foundry known as Haas. It would later go on to become one of the most popular and recognizable typefaces across the globe (Hustwit et al., 2007). The particular font being referenced is Helevetica. During its 50th anniversary in 2007, a feature length documentary film on the font was released. This documentary explored the history of this typeface and how it had evolved and thrived throughout the years as well as its role in the current art culture.
The film features countless interviews with graphic designers and other design professionals who voice their views and opinions about this particular font or typeface. The opinions of these designers are indeed very varied, and it emerges that there are those who love this typeface while others can’t actually stand it.
It is from these opinions and interviews that one establishes the importance and the influence that this typeface has had in the world of graphic design, visual communication and branding.
The growth of Helevetica is attributable to its embracement by a wide range of advertising agencies. Since its inception, countless advertising agencies have sought to use this type surface for various adverts because of its relative appeal. It has appeared in various adverts and signs including corporate logos, fine art prints, transportation systems signage among many others. One particular company that has cemented the ubiquity of this typeface is Apple. Apple adopted this font for its famous home computer, the Macintosh in 1984 and from there, the popularity of the font rose to enormous levels.
The typeface has revolutionized the graphic design world by introducing a font characterized by modern sensibilities and sleek lines, something that many companies and in fact other users of graphic design had been looking for a long time. Many corporations have invested greatly in this typeface. This has led to this typeface becoming associated with a business or a corporate culture to some level.
(The Helevetica Alphabet)
Helevetica has also introduced some sense of professionalism in graphic design and visual communication. The fact that that its uses horizontal and vertical strokes have made it appear to have a professionalism element. This typeface is also characterized by monotone stroke weights, and this is another feature that has managed to attract many. In fact, several of the designers in the film mention these as some of the aspects that make this typeface hugely desirable. Another characteristic that has also increased it appeal to visual communication, graphic design and branding work is that even in motion, this font still remains legible. This aspect has particularly made it a favorite for automakers and in airline logos. Legibility has mentioned as one of the key attributes of the design that has propelled its usage and popularity.
In spite of the relative sense of professionalism that this typeface exudes, it has nevertheless introduced some sense of neutrality to art (Hustwit et al., 2007). As some of the designers in the film mention, this font was developed with the intention of not giving any impression or any inherent meaning for that matter for whatever element it was being used to represent. Consequently, the typeface is very adaptable for various design projects, and this is why it is popular with graphic designers who can turn to it anytime.
One designer mentions that Helvetica provides a fine line between modern and classic design and, therefore, some of the designers who are oriented towards classic art but still want to have a modern touch turn to Helvetica (Hustwit et al., 2007). Other use a host of adjectives to describe it terming it as elegant, relaxed, and even conservative. The influence of Helevetica in the current world of graphic design, visual communication and branding is crystal clear. As mentioned earlier, it has been embraced by various corporates for visual communication and branding purposes with Apple being the most notable one. From the documentary film, other companies that are described as using this typeface include American Airlines and American Apparel among many others. This usage has continued even today where it is for example used in unique brands such as the famous social networking site Twitter. It has also appeared numerous times in films and televisions to depict titles and credits. This not to mention the various signage across many towns and cities all over the world that have been articulated using this type of font, some even right here in Melbourne, Australia.
Simply put, the influence of Helvetica to the current world of graphic design, visual communication and branding has been nothing short of phenomenal. The use of this typeface looks to continue increasing as small adjustments are made to the typeface to make it even more appealing.
Hustwit, G., Siegel, S., Geissbuhler, L., & Dots, S., 2007. Helvetica.
Chapter 2: Mediacy and Hypermediacy in Waltz with Bashir
Waltz with Bashir is an Israeli animation documentary film that was directed by Ari Folman. The film is based on Forlman real life experiences. It deals with his relentless pursuit of lost memories on his involvement in the Lebanese invasion by Israel (Landesman, 2013). In this animated film, this pursuit is manifested physically as Folman journeys across Israel and Europe looking for his old comrades. In spite of this physical journey, the style of the film is actually dictated by the internal journey taken by the protagonist.
(Visuals from Waltz with Al Bashir)
Animation indeed appears to be perfect mode for presenting this story that is about disassociation, as well as the gaps between reality and memory (Landesman, 2013). At the end of the film, the protagonist finishes his journey and for the first time, he is able to come face to face with the reality of his past endeavors. The film makes use of a unique animation style that produces a significantly realistic effect that almost resembles the style of rotoscoping but at the same time makes immense use of traditional illustration methods. Because of this aspect, the audience of the film find themselves enormously immersed in both the action as well as the story of the film. This creates an immediacy where the audience feels part and parcel of the story unfolding in the film.
However, as much as the directors and producers incorporate this aspect of immediacy into the film, they can also be seen to be critiquing it. Immediacy makes an audience to feel like it is part of a story and because of this, it is very easy to forget what is real and what is not. When the aspect of immediacy is so strong in a film, one may forget his or her real scenario and become so engrossed in the virtual reality. In Walsh with Bashir, if the audience gets so lost in the film, then just like the protagonist Folman, this audience may be unable to confront reality.
The film is also characterized by the use of hypermediacy. This is in spite of the fact that the author manages to keep the film quite immersive and realistic for the audience. He, however, takes advantage of the various visual freedoms that animation accords to filmmakers to introduce hypermediacy moments in the film. For instance, in the film, Folman in his pursuit of lost memories visits a former friend known as Sivan. This friend tells him that memory is actually dynamic, and that is also alive. Sivan then begins explaining an experiment whereby the participants were induced into recalling completely fake memories using the power of suggestion, that is, suggestions about some past fictional events were provided to the participants in a convincing away until they became convinced that the memories were real while in actual sense fake. This message is passed to the audience through a fairground image together with several rudiments of the fictional memories appearing on the screen, for example, a hot air balloon. Sivan finishes explaining this particular experiment, and the camera shot goes back to the kitchen where the two characters are situated. However, something interesting happens because behind Folman, instead of a view of the street that is besides Sivan’s house, there is fairground as well as the balloon from the experiment that Sivan was just explaining. This is inadvertently a refined transgression of the scene’s acceptable reality and an exhibition of hypermediacy. By doing this, Folman is essentially making a suggestion to the audience members that his own memories are not trustworthy. This has huge implication because being the director and the main protagonist of film and undermining his own trustworthiness, the reality sense presented by the film to the audience is brought into question and at the same time, the immediacy of the film is also dented.
In another similar scene, the memories of Folman are slowly reflected in a taxi’s window that he is traveling in. The window in way one or another acts as a fragile barrier that separates the audience from its memories. Simply put, the director seduces the audience of the film using the immediacy brought about by the animation style but even before this is over, the audience is yanked out of its acceptance of the animated world when real figures and faces of war victims are shown. The director juxtaposes animation and archive footage of war events to first draw in the viewer (immediacy) and then immediately yank him or her out of the virtual reality (hypermediacy).
Landesman, O. 2013. Reality Bytes: Reclaiming the Real in Digital Documentary. Doctoral dissertation, New York University.
One of the subcultures of branded fashion that has appeared in recent days is the chav subculture. The term Chav gained popularity in 2005 and originated from the United Kingdom. Since this time, the name has become synonymous with a group of individuals, most of who are youth who in most cases are not highly educated and who follow, almost religiously, a particular brand of fashion, most it having to do with designer labels (Martin, 2009). For, example when it comes to girls, the emphasis is on stilettos and short skirts. One of the status symbols of the chav subculture is baseball hats, and these are worn by followers of this subculture at every presentable opportunity. Chav are generally seen as a representation of poverty and incompetence. In the modern fashion sense, however, chavs are people who wear branded sportswear (mostly tracksuits) and excessive jewelry (Martin, 2009). In simple terms, there is an absence of subtlety in the dressing appearance of the chavs. There are several designer brands that characterize this subculture with the most notable one being Nike Inc where baseball caps as well sneakers from this particular brand are very popular with members of this fashion subculture.
Most chavs are in fact embarrassed to go out without designer clothing and many view it as part of their identity. Owning clothing brands from recognizable companies including Burberry makes the members of this subculture feel sell fulfilled (Martin, 2009). The chavs adopt such brands because they want to attach themselves to the brand because it comes with a certain ego of wealth and might.
This subculture has had quite an influence on mainstream fashion today. The subculture which started in the UK has slowly found itself across the globe and has made a large impact in mainstream fashion. Many fashion brands have identified the huge market that lies within this subculture and this has seen an increase in the proliferation of fashion elements such as sportswear and caps in the market, something that was not therefore previously.
For a long time, mainstream fashion has revolved around two sets of clothing; casual clothing and official clothing. However, the chav subculture has introduced an entirely new element into the mainstream fashion and this has grasped the attention of major brands in the word like Burberry and Nike who brands are particularly very popular among this chav subculture. The chav subculture has however largely remained a subculture of the youth and therefore in terms of mainstream fashion, it is often viewed as fashion for the youth (Martin, 2009).
Such has been the proliferation of this culture among the youths in the society that these days, it might not even be easy to tell whether a certain youth who dresses in certain way is a follower of this subculture. Fashion brands have taken advantage of the proliferation of this subculture that they are now making brands that although not fully part of the chav subculture are pretty close and can be worn by the youth who still espouse the characteristics of the chav subculture but who do want to be labeled as such
As seen, Burberry is one of the contemporary fashion designers that has perhaps benefited the most from this subculture as most of its designs has found wide usage in this subculture known as the chavs.
Martin, Greg., 2009. Subculture, style, chavs and consumer capitalism: Towards a critical cultural criminology of youth, Crime, media, culture 5 (2), pp. 123-145.
The Golden mean has been used extensively in art architecture over the years. For example, the concept was employed in the construction of the Venetian Church of St. Mark.
It has for a long time been used as the standard proportion of the width to height ratio in window sizing, in determining the proportion between the first and the second storeys of buildings and even in determining the dimensions of picture and painting frames (Kak, 2011).
Originating from Greece, the method of proportion has become synonymous with a lot of building construction. There are indeed both modern as well as classical pieces of architecture that were constructed using this golden mean which is occasionally referred to as golden ratio (Kak, 2011).
One of the postmodern architectural pieces that utilized the golden mean in its construction is the CN Building in Toronto, Canada. This is the tallest freestanding structure in the word and has utilized the golden mean or ratio in its design.
(the CN Tower in Toronto)
The ratio of the tower’s observation deck to the height of the building is 0.618 which is the phi or reciprocal of Phi. The observational deck is 342 meters while the height of the building is 553.33.
The CN serves as both an observational as well as a communications tower. Visitors who come to the tower on a clear day are able to observe sceneries that over 70 miles away. For example, visitors ate the top of the tower on a clear day can see the Niagara Falls and can also see deep into the United States. Sometimes, visitors can even see as far as Lake Erie. In addition to being one of the tallest free standing structures in the world, this tower also has the highest glass floor in the world. This glass floor is actually located about 1222 ft. up in the air. The building also has one of the world’s longest staircase. This staircase has a total of 2579 steps.
As mentioned, the CN tower was constructed using the proportions of the Golden mean or the golden ratio. The ratio of the building's total height to that of the observation deck is equal to the famous Greek the golden ratio.
The gold ratio is actually arrived at after a series of mathematical manipulation but in simple terms, it can be interpreted as the dissection of a line segment or section into two distinctive segments such that the ratio of the initial line segment to the large division of the two segments is actually equal to the ratio of this large division of the line segment to the smaller division of the line segment ((Kak, 2011). In reference to the CN tower, the meaning is that the ratio of the total height of the building (including that of the observational tower) to the height of the building excluding that of the observational tower is actually equal to the ratio of the height of the building (excluding the observational tower) to the height to the observational tower. This golden ratio is usually indicated by a number known as Phi. There are two case of Phi with the upper case Phi being equal to 1.618 while the lowercase phi equals 0.168.
As mentioned. This golden mean has been used readily in history and in fact, it is clearly visible in many historical buildings and structures in the world including g the Partheon in Rome, the Notre Dame, the Taj Mahal among many others.
This method of proportionality has successfully been used even in other modern buildings apart of the CN Building. Another notable building, for example that has utilized this method of proportionality is the United Nations. The golden mean is, in fact, a very appropriate proportioning system in postmodern environmental design. This is especially because many modern and postmodern buildings tend to be quite tall and in such situations, there are accentuated risk of interfering with forces of gravity. Construction of very tall building is a risky affair, and various mathematical manipulations have to be conducted to ensure that the gravitational effects are well catered for, and the building does not collapse. The golden mean contributes to this by providing a standardized system that offers harmonious proportions that also add to the aesthetic appeal of the building. It represents harmony, balance and beauty in physical form, something that both classical as well as modern architects hope to achieve in all their constructions.
Kak, S., 2011. The golden mean and the physics of aesthetics. In Ancient Indian Leaps into Mathematics. pp. 111-119.
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