Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blog 16 Saatchi & Saatchi

The Abuse You Yell at Your Kids Stays in the Family for Generations

 I hate to end my blog on such an ugly, disturbing note but I think this is such a powerful poster, such an important issue, and such an awesome book.  This poster was designed for the Children and Younger Persons Services in New Zealand by graphic designer John Fischer of Saatchi & Saatchi.  I'll discuss the topic and design of the poster later - first the book.  If you haven't checked this book out of the Parkland Library yet, definitely make the effort.  It is an amazing book.  It dissects works of graphic design and looks at their origins.  For example, the piece that is posted here is related back to 30 works by other designers.  The book shows how the composition relates to the other designs through the use of typography, imagery, color, shapes, time period, perspective, theme, and many other ways.  Again, this book is just incredible.  I loved it so much, I had to buy it for myself.

Now for the message...  This poster's message is so important - stop verbal abuse of children.  I can't tell you how many times I have seen parents at the mall, in the grocery store, at the part, where ever, yelling, no SCREAMING at their children - saying horrible, horrible things.  I can only imagine that they learned that behavior from their parents, from the way they were treated as children.  This cycle has to stop and public awareness and education is the only way to stop it. 

The imagery in the poster is very powerful.  What better way to convey the immediate sense of uncontrolled parental rage than a tightly cropped mouth showing a frighteningly angry scream?[ Heller & Ilic]  The ugly mouth reflecting downward into the throat over and over is very intense and represents the viciousness and hurtfulness that words alone can cause children AND that this type of abuse tends to be cyclic.  If your parents made you feel bad about yourself, it is easy to say the same things to your children with the same consequences and the cycle continues.  The typography reminds me of refrigerator magnets that have been altered, aged: misaligned and raw, which fit into the theme so well.

Source:  Heller, Steven and Mirko Ilic, The Anatomy of Design, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, Massachusetts, 2009

Blog 15 STIM Visual Communications

Children Become Students at Birth

I thought this was an interesting advertisement for a Pre-K through Post Graduate(!?!) School.  I like the idea that children enter the world learning whether we are actively teaching them or not.  They are little sponges absorbing the environment.  The decision to put Stone Henge  as an illustration in the background of this ad is intriguing.  First, using it as an illustration solves the problem of having two competing strong photographs - the flatness of the illustration style separates it from the rest of the ad and causes it to recede to the background.  The obvious focal point is the picture of the little girl.  Also, the text is brought to the forefront.  Second, Stone Henge is used as a metaphor for the educational methods used in the past and how this school is different, new, exciting.

The type treatment is also interesting.  The title pops in the dark brown and large size.  The quote is less important in a lighter brown-grey but still the same size.  The rest of the text is presented in a single column with bold headline and baseline.

I think the most interesting thing about this advertisement is the juxtaposition of the old with the new - creating the metaphor between the past and present - fading out the past and bringing the new to the forefront.  Very clever.

Source:  Samara, Timothy, Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, Massachusetts, 2007

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog 14 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is an adaptation of a Arthur C. Clark's story The Sentinel.  The film was co-written by Clark and director Stanley Kubrick.  This poster was used during the film's initial release and became the primary advertising image for the film in the 1970s. [King]  I was unable to find the designer for the poster.

Humans are naturally attracted to the human face and even more attracted to babies because of the larger proportion of their eyes.  This poster uses the baby's face as the focal point.  It naturally pulls the audience in.  The eyes are enchanting and eerie at the same time.  The graininess of the photo creates a distance from the observer and the subject.  It also appears that the subject is glowing in an odd, supernatural way.  Yet we are still attracted to the beauty of the child...

The type treatment is simple - san serif, probably Helvetica -   "2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY" in upper case at the bottom of the poster and "the ultimate trip" in lower case at the top.  The poster leaves so much to the imagination and creates anticipation in the viewer.  I feel this is a highly effective movie poster because it plays off our emotions and our societal ideas of beauty.

Source:  King, Emily, A Century of Movie Posters from Silent to Art House, Octopus Publishing Group, Ltd, 2003.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blog 13 Alien

Movie Poster by: Steve Frankfort and Philip Gips

Ridley Scott, the director of Alien (1977), is highly involved in the promotion of his films. [King]  He wanted the poster for Alien to tantalize the audience with the chilling tagline "In space no one can hear you scream."  But he didn't want to give away anything else about the film. This film and its advertising campaign was so successful that it has become part of the current culture - "In space no one can hear you scream," and the visual of the egg hatching summon fears of distant and unknown terror.

The poster uses many design principles to create the successful image.  The focal point is the mysterious egg breaching with light and green smoke flowing out of the crack.  The black background and shadowing of the emphasis the egg further.  The san serif lettering (Helvetica?) is used for both the title and the tagline. The title lettering is large, open, and uses a bold, heavy font; whereas, the tagline is small, tight, and uses a lighter font. 

The piece is well balanced.  The eye is lead through the piece in a logical manner.  First drawn to the egg, the focal point, then the title, subtext, and then the mysterious grid at the bottom of the page.  Unity is created through the use of the same typeface, color, and grouping.  The green smoke is repeated.  The egg is grouped with the tagline - creating a tension - what is in the egg that will make you scream? 

Source:  King, Emily, A Century of Movie Posters from Silent to Art House, Octopus Publishing Group, Ltd, 2003.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blog 12 A TA ME!

Movie Poster by: Juan Gatti

Since the mid-1980's Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar has worked exclusively with designer and photographer Juan Gatti in the creation of the graphic identities of his films.[King]  According to King, they both draw heavily from the history of film design in putting together a series of motifs that not only promote the theme of the film but also define Almodóvar's work as a unit.

This particular poster screams SAUL BASS to me.  The hand drawn lettering, flat clean graphic style, the careful & limited use of color, and the application of simple shapes to create a powerful image epitomize Bass' style through and through.  The asymmetry of this piece is appealing to me and adds to the unnerving imagery.  The focal point couldn't be clearer - the bold white text jumps off the page.  The work is unified by color and shape and balanced asymmetrically.  Oh, translated the title means "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!"  It was released in 1989.

Source:  King, Emily, A Century of Movie Posters from Silent to Art House, Octopus Publishing Group, Ltd, 2003.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blog 11 Website

Social Circles Page

This is one of the interior pages for the website  It is a website for teens which is based on a public service program for thirteen- to seventeen-year-olds deal with appearance-related issues dealing with cancer treatment.  The website itself is easy to navigate.  The top bar has clickable pictures that bring you back to the home page.  The bottom bar brings you to other links of interest and the interior links take you more in depth into the topic.   The vibrant colors, characters, and typeface will appeal to teens.  The content is thoughtful yet not too heavy considering the difficulty of the situation.  It seems like the designers had to walk a fine line between being too upbeat and serious.  This seems like perfect compromise and a way to help teens through a especially challenging time.

Source:, Communication Arts, Interactive Annual 9, September/October 2002.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blog 10 Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich

Men of Letters & People of Substance

This is the two facing pages from the book by designer/illustrator Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich entitled Men of Letters & People of Substance.  The entire book consists of text images of important historical and literary figures.  I found this article fascinating and the art that de Cumptich makes with text and a bit of color unbelievable!  The images that de Cumtich created of Truman Capote and James Joyce really capture the facial features of the men themselves.  Of course, I've only seen pictures of them.  But the moody, dark, melancholy of Truman Capote can be seen in the text image as easily as a photograph.  The same can be said for the proud, learned, yet troubled, James Joyce.

Source:  CMYK Volume 47, Interview with Designer/Illustrator Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, pp. 80-83