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History of Graphic Design Timeline – Austin Northcutt

Graphic Art: based on drawing as opposed to painting, is parallel to fine art.  it is more linear, and includes printmaking techniques.  Design is the orderly arrangement of shapes and the composition into a unified whole.

Graphic Design: (Commercial Art) is a discipline of this century – with chemical pigments, computers, cameras, movie cameras, photocopying, montage – the using of mechanical aids.  It is the use of art commercially, with a clear way of communication – ‘What you see is what you get!’ – with no doubt as to the message.  It is closely linked with advertising.

William Morris was the founder of Graphic Art, bringing function together with aesthetics.  Between the Wars, the Bauhaas School was formed, to bring art and industry together, to show the importance of functional design.  The students learned the skills of both art and industry, e.g. to give aesthetics to chairs.  In 1936, before WWII, it disbanded in Germany to go to the safety of Switzerland and the U.S.A.

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Art and Craft of Printing – William Morris

Graphic Art is information conveyed without a doubt.  It is involved with 2D imagery, and includes film, posters, billboards, magazines, photos – in fact any still image on a 2D surface.  It is a 2D media.  Graphic Art is the visual media of advertising, highly dependent on the illustration or image and lettering or typography, e.g. a cartoon is Graphic Art, as graphic illustration is usually narrative.  Sometimes they need words as well as images to help put across the message.

16th Century book designers were the first real Graphic artists.  With the onset of literacy for the populace books were needed, and scribes produced these, not merely pages of words, but aesthetically pleasing pages.  The development of the printing press was a further jump – placing words on the pages with borders, taking care of the shapes of the letters.

The two major areas of Graphic Art are illustration and typography.

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White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland – illustrated by John Tenniel

Illustration: is not so much the technique, but the intentions – often linear, painted descriptively, and/or narratively.  It is when picture images are used for conveying specific information – Norman Rockwell illustrated the covers of the Saturday Post.  Methods used include painting, drawing, computer graphics, photos, or film, and can be kinetic – all to create art in the commercial sense.

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Saturday Evening Post covers -Norman Rockwell 

It used to be used to illustrate the written word, e.g. Egyptian entombing pictures, Greek pictures of healing herbs.  Romans illustrated aquaducts and architecture with perfect perspective, yet their frescos and mosaics didn’t use it.  In the Middle Ages, prayer books (psalters) were illustrated with informative images.  Leonardo drew pictures (of helicopters) where no words were available.  Early illustration used woodblock prints (Durer), then on to etching and printmaking.  In the 17th Century the Japanese produced multi-coloured woodcuts, which were adapted by the French Impressionists in the 19th Century.

The 20th Century Graphic artists made use of cameras, films, videos, lithography, compasses, rulers, photocopiers, and computers to help with the clarity of the detail.  They also had the availability of chemically produced pigments such as Cobalt Blue and Cadmium Red.  Each page has a visual impact of its own, but is allied to the page beside it.

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Chinese Characters with Pictures

Lettering:  In the Dark Ages hand printing or copying was done by monks.  In the 20th Century, between the Wars, there was more awareness of typography, of the quality of the words and letters themselves – e.g. curvilinear letters and style for love letters, typed letters for complaints, scribbled letters for shopping lists.  The quality of the written letters imparts feelings.  The Japanese and Chinese created their characters of calligraphy to have a quality of visual as well as for meaning.  Oriental calligraphic idiograms are called Characters: Egyptians calligraphic idiograms are called Glyphs.  The visual aspect of letters imparts a content – varying widths, spacing, curvilinear or rectilinear are all taken into account.  The letters are seen as shapes to be used as an artistic element in the design.  The art element of letters is manipulated when words are created visually.

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NewModern Typeface Design – Sawdust

Jud House  17/10/2016

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Sculpture is considered fine art as well as craft.  Good sculpture shows texture and invites you to touch it.  Its form includes line, shape, texture, colour plus material, technique and function.  Subject and material (content) defines its context.
Flowing:  use of open grain.
Mystery:  use of hard dark stone.
Compare the different content and context of the two sculptures called THE KISS – by Rodin, and by Brancusi.

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THE KISS by Rodin.

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THE KISS Series – by Brancusi

Sculpture materials have different personalities, e.g. different grains in timbers, veins in marble, textures in stones.  The artist is selective, choosing horizontal grain for relaxed mood.  Also the treatment of the material by the artist affects the content of the completed work.  Sculpture may be decorative, functional, or architectural.  Greek temples were sculptural – all views were beautiful, while Roman buildings were in relief – only seen from the front.

Hand-held Goddesses (fertility) were the first sculptures in many countries, until they were replaced by the menhirs (phallic) when it became obvious that women were made pregnant by men.  Steles (columns) were used to depict religious events and people (both mythical and actual).

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FOUR RIVERS FOUNTAIN – Berlini;  Bronze statues – Michaelangelo

The Greeks gave us Godlike, flawless statues of men, while the Romans’ statues were realistic – warts and all.  Michaelangelo used forms spiritually, usually figures and often with animals as supports. Bernini’s fountains were also works of art.  They were cast in metal, carved in wood or stone, and modelled in clay.

Modern sculpture uses the same techniques, but goes much further – we nail, glue, sew, screw, and saw, either figuratively or in abstract form.  We also use motorization, and water.  Sculpture is in relief (high and low), and free-standing (open or closed).

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  Piatt – wire & bronze; Mid-Century II – Alicia Dunn; Wishful Thinking – Wood

 RELIEF: is carved out from its surround – the relationship of the figure carved and the ground dictates whether it is high or low relief.  It is 2D art – the figure is viewed only from the front – not the sides and back, but includes depth because material is removed in its creation.
The Third Dimension of Depth is included:
Intaglio:  line incised into stone.
Bas Relief:  low relief, e.g. a coin, in which the design barely protrudes from its background.
High Relief:  this casts a shadow – the sculpture protrudes to a great degree, and may be undercut.

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Bas Relief;                                 Intaglio;                                  High Relief

FREE-STANDING:  Sculpture in the round, which can be seen from all sides.  It is the sum of all its viewing angles.  It need not stand, e.g. a tiki hanging around a neck is a free-standing sculpture.  It can be as small as an amulet, or as large as a mountain; open or closed in form.  If the viewer feels it’s complete, then it may be considered closed.  If it’s compact, then it’s closed.  If the interest is all contained within the work, then it’s closed.  If the sculpture interacts with the space around it, e.g. arms and legs akimbo, ready to throw, then it’s considered open – Hellenic Greeks showed weight shift in their creations poses.  Mobiles, lines leading out, and interest beyond the work would be open.  But a void in a sculpture is no necessarily open – the void might be part of the mass, which would make it closed.  Symmetry is usually closed – asymmetry is usually open.

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Ivory – John-Richard;  Samsara – Gill Brown;  Recumbent Figure – Henry Moore

Additional:  includes modelling, adding lumps of clay together, putting things togther by any means, e.g. Picasso’s Bull made from a bike seat and handle bars.
Subtractional:  by carving away superfluous material to expose the sculpture withing, in wood, stone, marble, or wax.
Substitutional:  the perishable material of original sculpture is replaced by more durable material, e.g. balloon by paper in papier mache, and casting of bronze.  To cast Bronze, a wax model is packed in clay or plaster, remove-by-melting the wax, pour in molten bronze till set.

A Votive Statue (also candles) replace s the person in a place of prayer – it has the person’s name on it.

Jud House  2/09/2016

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Notes on CRAFTS

Plastic Art is a work of art that is created manually in 3D, though some are actually produced in 2D, e.g. textiles.  Plastic paintings give the illusion of having 3D volume, while actual 3D works have tactile interest.

Crafts were originally only produced for their functional purposes, e.g.clay pots to store or cook in, and the weaving of cloth for clothing etc.  Gradually crafts began to be decorated, so they had aesthetic value as well as functional.  Cloth went beyond protection to fashion.

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Crafts have become functionally redundant now, e.g. cloth is now produced industrially instead of manually, and weapons are now used as decorations for walls rather than for hunting.  Crafts are now thought of as artistic rather than functional.

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Cool Yard Yonder

Originally, raw materials for the craftwork came from nature – stone, wood, glass, fibre, clay, ore, wax, feathers, fur, hide, and mud.  Today craftwork includes industrially produced materials – plastic, polyester, metals, polyethylene, etc.  it is still called craftsmanship.

Illustration, fine arts, and crafts are in separate areas, but are all equal – not one is more important than the another.
Craft: Skill, artistic ability, trade occupation.
Fine Art: Artistic skill,  creative and aesthetic.
Artisan: is one trained to manual dexterity and skill.

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Pipaluk Lake Glass

GLASS:  Molten, blown into shapes then cooled to solidity.  It may be painted, etched, sculpted, glazed, cut into pieces and reassembled, and used architecturally, either decoratively or functionally.

METAL:   Used for a long time, historically.  It may be hammered, rolled, moulded, cast, welded, rivetted, and in plate-form.  Damascus steel from the dark ages was stronger than the steel of today, but the formula can’t be reproduced.  Developed from 500AD to 900AD and used for coinage, weapons, agriculture, ornaments, jewellery, and in architecture both structurally and decoratively.

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Textile Art – Practical, 3D, Decorative, Figurative.

TEXTILES: Created by using fibres – cotton, linen, flax, silk, skin, hide, hair, wool, fur and treebark.  It may be woven, pressed, tanned, dried, stretched, knitted, crocheted, knotted as in macrame, and beaten down as in tappa (bark) to make cloth.  it was used as trade goods, e.g. Persian carpets and silk bolts of cloth were used as money, and for treaty settlements and dowries.

CERAMICS:   This is the oldest for known to man, the making of objects from clay.  The Lascaux caves contain clay bisque in relief on the walls. Clay was used to make adobe bricks, pots for drinking and eating, sarcophagi for burials (in terracotta), tablets for writing messages, and beads for trade.  A potter (or ceramicist) works with clay, creating funtional and decorative items, either hand-built or wheel-thrown.
Hand-built – rolling coils to spiral, then coil into pots, slab pots, pinch pots.

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Wheel thrown – shaping clay on a wheel – this was the first tool trade.
the clay is dried in the sun or kiln dried.  The heat changes the chemical composition of the clay.  The pieces are decorated with glazes baked on, painted before or after firing, and coloured oxides are used.  Different types of firing methods are reduction and oxidization.  They are classed according to the type of clay and firing temperature used:

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Jennifer McCurdy;   Clay and Glass – Art-O-Matic

Earthenware:  coarse clay, low temperature.
Stoneware:  finer clay, mid temperature.
China:  finer clay still, higher temperature.
Porcelain:  fine white clay (Kaolin), fired extremely high temperature to give a translucent affect.

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Cindy Weaver – Porcelain;       Lindsay Feuer Ceramics

For 3D ART:
Form:  includes material used, visual, how made, function, reason it’s made that way.
Shape:   not only outer contours but interior planes, and inner voids.
Mass:  is the actual physical solidity of it, but can be unshapen pliable material, e.g. mass of clay.

Jud House   2/09/2016

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Definitions for ART and DESIGN + Examples

ELEMENTS:  are point, line, shape,value and texture.
On their own they have no meanings, but jointly create visual messages, called Principles.


PRINCIPLES:  are contrast, repetition, subordination and harmony.
These are created by combining the Elements of Art.

POINT:  is the smallest visible entity, a set place in space, an indication of location, and can create strong visual energy.
One point indicates location; two points imply measurement and
direction; multiple points imply location, measurement, and direction; while different point sizes create all of the above plus vibration.




LINE:  can be described as a path left by a moving point, i.e. a path of action.
It indicates a position and a direction.  Energy travels its length and is intensified at each end.  Most important is directional force.
Horizontal:   supporting lines – stable.
Vertical:  gravitational pull – implied.
Diagonal:  dynamic, implying action.
Lines can be straight, curved, thick, thin, direct, indirect, unbroken, broken, and implied.

There is no absolute QUALITY of any visual unit.  Every element is influenced by its environment and any inter-relations which are operating – e.g.straight line illusions.


A Cheer                                                  2. A Screech
3 A Death                                                             4 Deviousness

5 Gentleness                                                      6 Breathlessness

7 Out of Line                                        8 Line of Least Resistance

9 Breadline

LINE IN SPACE:  Changing one parameter at a time.




SHAPE:  awareness of the space within and the space outside of outlines.
Also of positive/negative relationships, figure/field reversal, and shape/space support.  Shapes can be either static or dynamic.

VALUE:  the relative lightness or darkness of surfaces.
Also called tone, tonal scales,tints and shades, tonal values.  It is the means by which we show volume on a 2D surface.  No values are absolute.

KEY:  is a balance between High, Intermediate and Low Values, i.e. lights and darks, within the whole work.
High is light, Intermediate is medium, and Low is dark.  Can be used to create moods within a work, e.g. happy, sombre.

TEXTURE:  is the tactile quality of a surface, or the representation of the quality.
Texture can be actual or implied.

PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN:  involve the character or quality of relationships within the work and between the work and its surroundings.
We will deal with proportion; repetition and rhythm; unity with variety; contrast; and emphasis and subordination.

PROPORTION:  a ‘rapport’ between two dimensions – can have meaning without any sense of measurement.
Size relationship of parts to each other and parts to the whole.
Golden Mean/ Golden Proportion/ Golden Section: naturally occurring proportion – is the rate of all growth in the world. 1:1.618 or close to 5/8ths.
Fibonacci Series:  2; 3; 5; 8; 13; 21; 34; 55; 89; etc.  Take any rwo numbers and draw a rectangle e.g. 5 x 8 cms or 8 x 13 cms.  It also has its basis in nature.
5:8 = 10 x 16 or 2.5 x 4

UNITY WITH VARIETY:  is the appearance of oneness – with some diversity, which can be value, shape, texture, colour, or scale change.

CONTRAST:  is the interaction of contradictory elements, e.g. contrast of shape with unity of colour, or vica versa.

EMPHASIS & SUBORDINATION:  Emphasis establishes a centre of interest, while subordination supports a centre of interest.

Jud House  1/09/2016

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