Archive for May, 2012


Stephen Sagmeister, and his double

Stephan Sagmeister is a graphic designer who can also be said to be a typographer. Much of his work leans heavily on typography to convey its message.

For Sagmeister the medium quite literally is the message, and sometimes the only appropriate medium is floral…

…or bananas

Banana wall


Much of Sagmeisters work has been in poster form, and perhaps this is why typography has become such a central part of his design work. Words do convey a great deal of meaning, and the way they are laid out, the type face used, the material used to make the words, and their setting are all important elements of Sagmeisters work.


Happiness is a warm gun

Even this image created to celebrate the apostrophie, utilises nothing but typographic elements.

“the apostrophie is used to eliminate a letter. Hence a warm gun”

A distinct part of Sagmeisters work is his somewhat dark dry humour, which is conveyed throughout his work. Yet, while his work has often been controversial he is an optimist, and expresses some very thoughtful sentiments.

Image made entirely of coins, from the typographic book ‘Things I have learned in my life so far’.

Sagmeister is a man who lives up to his name. ‘Sag’ translates from German as ‘say’, and ‘meister’ as ‘master’. He is a master in communicating through image, and typography, text and images that speak.


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It was Gideon Sundback who having spent the better part of twenty years perfecting the device patented the “Hookless fastener, No. 2” in 1917. However, it was Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, who came up with the original design looking for a device to securely fasten shoes and boots, without the need for time consuming hook and eye, or button fasteners.

The popular ‘zipper’ name came from the B. F. Goodrich Company, when they decided to use Gideon’s fastener on a new type of rubber boots or galoshes and renamed the device the zipper, the name that lasted. Boots and tobacco pouches with a zippered closure were the two chief uses of the zipper during its early years. It took twenty more years to convince the fashion industry to seriously promote the novel closure on garments.

It wasnt until the 1930’s that the Zipper became widespread in clothing. It was first popularised by marketers as a device in childrens clothing, to help them dress themselves. However, it was not considered for ladies attire, as it would make undressing too easy, and thus lower the moral standards of the nation.

Some designers loved that idea, and ran with it. It was Elsa Schiapelli who first incorporated zip fasteners into her designs. She made a feature of them, revelling in their racy connotations.

Most fashion designers only began to see the myriad of possibilities after after the zipper beat the button in the amusing “Battle of the Fly” in 1937 ; Esquire magazine concluded the “new” zippered fly would end “the possibility of unintentional and embarrassing disarray,” tapping into that somewhat imagined “gaposis” crisis of the ’20s. Conservative tailors who disdained zipper flies as vulgar but who couldn’t argue with its ultimate popularity created a fold of cloth to conceal the zipper, which is, of course, the standard in flies today.

By 1939 approximately three hundred million zippers were being sold. The success of the zipper was ensured. Thus it continues to be the fastener of choice that we all now take for granted.

Check out these excellent references:


Poster by Victor Moscoso

The Psychedelic era of the 1960’s had its roots in the experiments involving LSD in the late fifties, particularly Timothy Leary’s Harvard University studies in the therapeutic and psychological effects of the (then legal) drug. By the early sixties a few groups, led by the likes of Leary, Ken Kesey and others were pioneering what would within a few years become the “counter-culture”, embodying and advocating free love, intentional communities, long hair on guys and the use of psychedelic drugs.

As people experimented with this lifestyle (were “turned on”), their modes of expression changed drastically. This is very evident in graphic design.

The Beatles album cover for Revolver

Much of the mainstream visual aesthetic of the early sixties was very innocent, not very rebellious, and quite “straight” in its look. Once Psychedelia took hold, the dominant style turned into a very different animal.

Colours became vibrant and clashing. Designs became hallucinatory. Typography became a visual puzzle to be pored over for hours. Also, certain aesthetics of the past were appropriated by the “hippies” (as they were becoming known). Art nouveau became fashionable again, with flowering curves and borders gracing many a rock poster. Paisley became a pattern of choice in fashion and art, and the look of old Victoriana was seen in many designs and typography.

Art Nouveau style poster art by Victor Moscoso

Poster by Wes Wilson

The psychedelic movement also used cultural influences from around the world, with Arabic flourishes and patterns being used by many designers.

By the late sixties, what had been a sub-cultural movement started to be consumed by the mainstream, often dressing up very commercial, mainstream establishment ideals and products in quite psychedelic trappings. At this point, psychedelic design was more a superficial style than a true lifestyle choice. But, the original idealism and vision, not to mention playfulness, can be seen in much of the great work by such luminaries as Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, R. Crumb and Wes Wilson.

Aoxomoxoa cover by Rick Griffin

Album cover by R. Crumb


Jake – Post 12: Otto Treumann

Posted: May 29, 2012 by jakecheeseman in Uncategorized

Otto Treumann (1919-2001) fled his home in Furth, Germany with his Jewish family in order to escape Nazi Persecution. His work is primarily influenced by Swiss typography and the Bauhaus, which is distinguished by an easy-to-read combination of visual elements and a revolutionary usage of colour. These benefit from his wide knowledge of printing techniques, which he acquired during World War II when he forged documents for the resistance.

Treumann is regarded as a major pioneer in the modernization of graphic design in the Netherlands after World War II, achieving top quality and innovation in the arena where economics meets culture.









The logos that Otto Treumann designed are very simple, yet very sophisticated. They hold strong geometric forms and are timeless, leaving a lasting mark in the audiences’ memory.

His work has proved to be very suitable for house styles and logos, including those for

– Wolters Noordhoff the publishers,

–  Kroller-Muller Museum,

–  Royal institute of Dutch Architects and El Al Airlines.

He also designed posters for the Industries Fair in Utrecht,

– The Rotterdam Ahoy,

– And Tattoo in Delft.

Many outstanding posters in many different approaches.

Awards in the 1960’s

1960 Received Gerrit Jan Thiemeprijs, Dutch publisher’s award

1966 Made an honorary member of Graphic Designers Association of Israel


POST 12 – 1960’S ANDY WARHOL – Monique

Posted: May 29, 2012 by moniquemwilson in Uncategorized

Andy Warhol
(August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987)

Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist.

Andy Warhol’s artwork ranged in many forms of media that include hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1985, just before his death in 1987. He founded ‘Interview Magazine’ and was the author of numerous books, including ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties’.

Warhol did a lot of Celebrity Portraits in the 1960’s, they are shown below…

Marilyn Monroe

Warhol paints Marilyn Monroe because she is the typical icon of the “glamorous women”. Every female portrait he completed was in the same format which included emphasis on lipstick, eye shadow and frozen camera smile. He wanted to portray Marilyn as the comtemporary sex goddess , packaged for the public as a consumer item. Warhol uses a wide range of colors and off the registar printing to show variations on the image.

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger was another example of a sixties icon and a tragic symbol. Jagger encompassed the sex, drugs and rock and roll world that Warhol was fascinated with. Warhol painted this portrait from pictures he had taken of Jagger himself.

Liz Taylor

This portrait of Liz Taylor was based on a famous mass media photograph. It is an offset lithograph printed on white paper. Liz like Marilyn Monroe represented the “glamorous women” that Warhol became obsessed with.

In the 1960’s wars were being fought and violence was everywhere and Warhol illustrated this with a bold death and tragedy theme. During the 1960’s Warhol was influenced by the Realists, they laid the foundation for a trend of current, socially commited , and visually arresting painting that niether favored nor discriminated against an issue.
Warhol’s paintings depict situations and events that were happening in the world with emphasis on New York City.

Dollar Bill $

The Dollar Sign images are another example of Warhol’s preference for symbols over objects. They are supposed to represent how the art system is linked to the commercial marketplace. This theme of consumerism runs through most of his work. The art work itself is to be seen as a money making opportunity for artists, dealers, and collectors. The image should remind the viewer that art is judged by its dollar value, art represents money on the wall.

Soup Can

The Soupcan is one of Warhol’s most famous and recognized paintings. It was done in 1962 and is an oil on canvas. This painting defines his personal artistic repertoire of low cost consumer items. The soupcan is a mass market article of the American consumer and a recognisable symbol of American way of life.


The Gun is one of Warhol’s most famous still life’s on the subject of death. Death and destruction can be seen as a theme for a series of his paintings. Warhol saw this still life as depicting reality in a time were violence was surronding him politically and socially. This piece is also an example of his use of symbols that make a strong, controversial statement.

Andy Warhol was a legend in his lifetime, and is still a legend today. He set the bar high for all Pop Art and is still an icon that influences many artists and designers around the world today, including myself.



Posted: May 28, 2012 by stacypollard in Uncategorized

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swiss design, apollo 11 first manned lunar landing, the mini skirt, the beatles, hippie culture, herb lubalin, milton glaser, saul bass, otto preminger, ken garland, john mcconnell -pentgram, rick griffen, ken kesey, pscychodelia, contraceptive pill, sexual revolution, roger excoffon, the bikini, elvis, portable tv, kodak brownie 127, david bailey, ibm typewriter 72, ibm computer system 360, barbarella, pierre cardin – moon girl, ‘oz’ magazine, martin sharp, ‘women and beauty’, ‘time’, ‘paris match’ ‘look’, peter blake , sgt peppers lonely hearts club band, tadnori yokoo, kobe workers music council poster, dick elffers, the paper dress show hirokatsu hijikata, ,Andy Warhol, Kappa book covers, Hisami Kunitake ‘wozzeck’, jan lenica, wes wilson, john riebens, ‘neue grafik’, josef muller-brockmann, ‘foultitude’ pop art, robert rauschenberg, litchenstein, folon, tibor reich textiles, astrid sampe textiles, grillo phone, 1960s penguin book covers, Otto Treumann, Malcolm Grear, Donald Brun, Pino Tovaglia, Dick Bruna covers, Alan Fletcher, valentine portable typewriter, ibm golfball typewrite, tschichold , sabon 1964, fluxus, functionalism, stanley mouse, victor moscoso, chet helms, fonts ortem, cruz swinger, windsor, windsor elongated, peace open, peace solid, peace outline, love stoned, love open etc. 

Post 11- Christine- 1950’s

Posted: May 23, 2012 by christineslabb in Uncategorized

William Golden started out as a lithographer and a photo engraver at the age of 17. Moved onto promotional designer for Hearts Journal American. Worked for the US Office of War, making information posters and publications during World War II. Yet his big break was yet to come and change the whole game plan on design in America.

Golden secured himself a job at CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System), as a Creative Director. From his previous experience working in advertising Golden created a new logo for CBS known as the ‘eye’. Golden had done eye designs before but new that this design could go corporate. He pushed other corporations to spend more money on advertising so that CBS would have a new logo, promoting a fresh image of CBS, respect and responsibility. This way of thinking, promoting and design ethic set an entirely new standard for America design.

Golden designed the eye to be balanced, and used good proportions between the outer circle, the inner circle, and the white space around the “pupil” of the eye. In many advertisements, the white space in the design functioned as negative space while the outer and inner circles were overlaid with a photograph or still-frame from a television program. This is one way in which the simple Eye design could be used over and over to imprint the Eye into the American consciousness as a symbol of CBS, and to tie the CBS corporate identity to the programs that aired on CBS.