Month: April 2016

The Curly Kale

This project was presented to us as a live project for the college canteen. The final design concept may be chosen to be used to represent the company on all 3 campus canteen’s.

We are to produce the following:

  • Logo
  • A4 Menu Template
  • Chalkboard Design
  • Inspirational Quotes to be used on the tables
  • A3 Poster on benefit of a particular fruit or Veg.

I also plan to provide as an added value bonus a business pack consisting of a business card, letterhead, Facebook banner image, food ingredient sign & a compliment slip.

 

We began with a meeting with Maria from the Curly Kale where she set out their, initial, needs for the design. These would change as the project progressed but that just gave us a good insight into how clients approach the process of presenting their thoughts to a designer so it was good experience.

From this initial meeting I began to tease out some early concepts.

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Having researched the Kale plant I found that it has a very distinctive view from above. The edges have a very serrated edge that I felt could become a strong basis for the core of my concept.

purple-kale-01
Curly Kale

I began with some early sketches to play with the idea. I realised from early on that my logo would concentrate on a representation of the Kale from above. I also felt that it would be rendered as a digitally created file, for two reasons.

Firstly, my drawing skills could not produce something like this to a commercially acceptable level. I could of course contract an illustrator to do this were it a totally live project but being a college project I believed this would be unacceptable.

Secondly, from a design standpoint, I felt that the Kale was far too busy looking a plant to be faithfully & cleanly rendered so I planned to create a minimalistic  representation of it. Below is the evolution of the early concept.

This PDF shows the evolution of some of my logo ideas. CurlyKale copy

I also conducted a bit of research on the company themselves but being a very young business there was nothing available about them.

I then decided to speak with the 3 owners of the company to see if I could get any more information. From a number of meetings I was able to get a general idea of the style of content they wanted though nothing more than an idea.

I presented the clients with a design brief in which I had laid out what I thought the best approach was, what kind of tone I believed the company was aiming for and other questions & statements. I left this with the owners for 2 weeks so they could consider it in depth & make changes & additions to it where the felt they had something to contribute.

They did not make ANY changes to the brief.

I also included a SWOT analysis in the brief, the complete document can be found here.

Curly Kale Brief & SWOT

After researching a number of vegetables & their benefits I decided to use the humble Sweet Potato as my chosen vegetable. Partly because I liked what you can do with one but mainly because I think it’s a damn fine looking Veg. It has character.

Sweet-Potato-Web
Sweet-Potato

I sketched 2 versions of the sweet potato before choosing one for use in my set of quotes & poster.

I drew them on acrylic paper to give the image texture & a bit of depth. I drew it in black ink then imported it into Photoshop where I colourised the potato & leaves.

I felt the finished image looked really well on the poster & quotes, though in the end I decided to place the quotes on the A4 menu which would be on each table. I felt this would give the best exposure to the quotes.

Print Print

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I began to further develop my logo concept to a point where I could get some feedback. It was suggested that while the logo was on the right path, it was perhaps a little too clean & digitally produced. A bit more of a random & organic look to the design might benefit the logo.

When looking for inspiration for the colour palette I found examples in many places. I found that I was been drawn to a very light pastel range of colours, pastels being one of the requirements from the client. I found a menu that incorporated these kind of colours & also a wall sign in the airport.

15964043451587.560749e77b1e5
Fade street social menu.
20151212_211912
Wall sign at Dublin airport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other inspiration for menu & palette design.

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Kale-17
Kale colour palette.

The final colour palette can be seen here.

 

 

 

Kale Business Pack-18
Final Logo Design

 

 

Taking the regular feedback meetings on board I produced a logo that I felt was a good fit for the company. It incorporated the colour palette I had chosen to work with & had a much more organic look to the way the curves of the plant interacted. I then began to apply the logo to the rest of the design elements.

As you can see I used an uneven spreading of the various rings, some almost overlapping completely. I also used a much thinner stroke for each ring. These two changes gave the design a lot more subtlety & a natural feeling.

 

I designed the other elements around the logo & colour palette. I used the logo placed on the side of the chalkboard & left a very simple layout of the information in the centre. I made the decision to keep it fairly simple due to the very un-organised  & chaotic layout of the previous design.

I then designed the A4 menu to be displayed on the tables. I made a conscious decision to design this as a landscape menu for a number of reasons. Firstly I felt that a flat A4 menu on the table doesn’t add any character to the table. It’s easy to just fall in to the habit of printing an A4 sheet out & planting it on the table. My design was to make an uprite  DL shapped tri-fold menu to be held in an acrylic holder as below. This would add a little more personality to the canteen.

I also designed it with the space to insert a random saying or message that could be changed at any time. The entire menu was formatted as a word document so that the staff could change it as needed.

acrylic_table_menu_holder_2
Tri-Fold menu holder.
21a-restaurant-menu-design
Alternative menu display.

Menu Designs.

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The business pack & all the other designs can be found on the final A2 layouts here.

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Finally, I presented a style guideline document for the client to refer to should they decide to add any elements to their identity. Logo Guidelines Kale

 

Butlers Chocolate Typography & Packaging.

Butlers Chocolate Typography & Packaging.

In creating the packaging design for the Butlers Vintage range I decided to create the sub-logo in the typeface Bifur. This allowed me to put a visible Art Deco association to the product when viewed by the consumer.

The use of a very strong Art Deco style font helped to communicate the essence & mood that comes with anything Art Deco namely the style & quality of the 30’s.

I have shown my process in exploring alternative solutions to this project in the posting Here. However I went with a very structured design rather than the usual look of fruit etc.

IMG_002

Aside from the Sub Logo, I used standard font for use on the back of the packaging as per standard convention. Using Bifur for the contents & ingredients as well as specifications would not be suitable or very readable.

Butlers Wrap 2
Type conventions for ingredients.

A lot of the work we produced through the year had a large impact on my designs.

The word as image project, altering the look of  a word to communicate the meaning to the viewer. By playing with the typeface or adding in an element you can communicate a visual message even when the viewer may not be able to read the word its self.

Word-As-Image_Playful Word-As-Image_Energy

 

 

 

 

 

The anatomy of a typeface & the Modular font project gave us the opportunity to better understand the terminology at mechanics of font. This allowed us to better understand the relationship between the typographical elements & design elements of our project.

TypeSampler-SansCrit-53-Web

 

 

 

 

 

The Movie Poster project was another opportunity for us to work with & understand the relationship between type, elements & space. As well as developing the ability to communicate an idea or message through the use of design.

The Birds 1

The Eye Magazine Layout project brought a lot of elements together & asked us to design a pleasing & functional layout. I was forced to utilise aspects of design such as the use of a Grid structure (Swiss Style), the relationship between Type & space, the choice of imagery suitable to the article. While I was constrained by specifications to use a particular font & point size, I did have to make some choices regarding the size of headings & sub-headings. It was also very useful working out the use of templates for presenting the finished design.

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For the finished Butlers project I brought all of these elements together in the final designs.

I had to follow recognised conventions when it came to laying out the ingredients & other info on the back of the packaging, but I was able to choose a typeface that suited my chosen style of Art Deco.

I then used the experience gained in earlier projects when choosing where to place all the elements such as the Logo, Sub-logo & main design elements.

All the research done when looking at the many periods of art history was a great help when trying to  generate a coherent design style for my packaging.

All in all I feel I have presented a set of designs that meet the briefs for the Butlers Packaging Project.

Title Sequence Part 2: SALT.

Having created my first sequence with Premier Pro in The Hunt For Red October I reviewed the original brief and what I found was that while I had all my research & ideas in the right place I had failed to begin from the right spot, namely the title, “Stop Motion Title Sequence”. It was pretty obvious that I had gotten carried away with the whole software end of it & missed the target entirely.

Here’s the finished sequence. (See the comments in the critical analysis regarding YouTube)

 

So. SALT, (an assassin played by Angelina Jolie) is an actual “Stop Motion” sequence. Again, my research covered, but was not limited to, artists such as Sagmeister & Walsh’s sequence “The Happy Film” & “Food Fight” by Tourist Pictures.

The background is black card, I have used a paper print of a pistol, the main character is of course Lego.

I have also used string & twine for the ground & rope, the star scape is table salt & the bullets & decomposing character are made with rock salt.

The blood is done with smoked Paprika.

I sourced the music from the titles of both Reservoir Dogs & the movie Salt. The Foley effects were sourced from Audio Micro

After sketching out my storyboards with the bones of my idea I then listed the elements I needed to begin shooting.

I positioned the background & taped the twine across it for the ground. I then spread table salt for the stars & placed rock salt for the moon & shooting star. (Just as a bit of interest.)

I sketched in the door & placed the gun behind a slit made in the background. Then I positioned my character & placed my camera above the scene. The camera was placed so that it would take in the entire scene without having to be moved. I wanted to keep the same camera angle & compression throughout the entire sequence. The scene was lit with a large window from the top & a directional table lamp from the left.

20160418_185038.jpg

 

 

SALT-Gif
Simple GIF of unedited images of sequence.

Once I had photographed the action, moving each piece, character & sky elements, I brought them into Photoshop to tidy up any stray pieces of salt or anything else. I also removed the open door from all frames before where the gun appears.

I imported the images into Adobe Premier Pro & created a timeline where I added the needed audio clips, transitions & other effects. There were a couple of effects that I had not worked with before when I created The Hunt For Red October such as laying a transparent video layer over my timeline & creating a slight vignette. I also used the Nested frames feature to allow me to reduce the playback time for slow motion scenes. This was done for both images & audio.

The nesting feature also allowed me to apply a universal transition or filter to images such as the opening scene where I zoom in for a close-up introduction of “The Mark”.

 

Website Embed.

Once I exported the final title sequence I uploaded it to both Behance & You Tube. I was then able to revisit my responsive website project & embed the sequence in the video page. I have included a screenshot below.

I learned a few things when trying to upload to the web that are new to me. Firstly, Behance will not take a video file if it is larger than about 65mb in size.

Also, YouTube now gives  you an option to smooth the shakiness out of your video. !!! DO NOT DO THIS !!! When I did this to my sequence it actually rounded my movements, so where my zoom moved sharply in then back out, it now looked like one continuous circular motion. You can see this in the YouTube link above. The Behance link below has the Non-YouTubeinated version as I intended it.

Title Sequence Screenshot
Title Sequence on Responsive Website.

Critical Analysis.

The final sequence, while great fun & not bad at all I feel, for a first attempt, still has a lot of room for improvement.

I would redo the sequence with a lot more images, instead of aprox 280 images I would probably use about 1000. I would also look at using the salt for more elements of the shoot, such as the gun & the ground.

I have also found that when 2 or more layers of images have been overlaid in the timeline of Premier Pro it can leave a line on the side of the sequence. I have found this in both “SALT” & “The Hunt For Red October”. I have read through the Adobe forums & found this to be a common complaint. It can be remedied only by outputting your sequence then dropping that finished sequence into a new sequence document & stretching it to go outside the boundaries of the new document thus hiding the line.

I would, given a more powerful PC, probably shoot in a higher resolution to allow for clearer images in the final sequence, although in comparing the two sequences mentioned above, Sagmeister & Walsh use what looks like time lapse video which is very clear but in Food Fight the artist uses what appear to be very low quality Jpg’s. I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other, but they both suit the end product equally well. In fact,  in the case of the Food Fight the low res images actually add to the emotional impact of the sequence with the artist even using differential focus to add depth & drama to some scenes.

I also realise that the Lego character has been done extensively & to a much better standard so I would probably not use that again. However, I wasn’t overly concerned with using Lego & was more concerned with keeping to the “Stop Motion” aspect of my brief.

I’m not happy about the way YouTube rounded the “Shakiness” out of my sequence but I have left it online to highlight the problem. The Behance version is as intended.

I identified a number of sources of images to make this sequence namely a mobile phone/app, a video camera to shoot time lapse images, a compact camera & also a GoPro type camera. There were a number of reasons why these did not suit my project such as the wrong focal length of the lens or an inability to control the focus.

I settled on a Canon 1Ds SLR, while it is a much bulkier camera it did allow me a lot more control over the images I created. It also allowed me to create images of a lower resolution in Jpg format for use in Premier Pro. All images were then sorted in a local folder but were not renamed on this occasion to allow the software to sort them by file name.

 

Overall I feel that on this occasion, while the overall quality & smoothness of the sequence could be improved, and the movements of the elements & the elements themselves could be refined with a lot more patience, I do feel that I have kept to the spirit & requirements of the brief.

This Title Sequence can also be seen on my Behance page below.

https://www.behance.net/gallery/36333625/SALT

The Art Deco Movement.

ART DECO

Hugh Shelley HND 01

So what is Art Deco.?

As diverse as its origins & its influences are, so too are the artists who are associated with the Art Deco style. Leading figures in the movement come from all over Europe, the USA & elsewhere.

While it has been recognised as a style movement in its own right it has not been without some controversy, it wasn’t generally recognised as an art style or movement in its own right until the mid 1960s. A key aspect of Art Deco is the symbolism & iconography that it borrows from other styles & influences from around the globe, it is often described as a Pastiche of styles having an eclectic combination of influences, materials & shapes.

From African symbols & Egyptian iconography to Japanese inspired architecture, the style is inspired by a mixture of styles from Constructivism, Cubism & Futurism along with elements of Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau among others. In Europe it was driven by the steadily increasing availability of travel where people could now see other cultures in situ. In the United States it was also heavily influenced both by the industrial machine age and also the futuristic escapism entertained by the public in the depression years.

Fallingwater – Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright & built in Arizona shows an understanding of blending architecture with the landscape surrounding it.
frank-lloyd-wright_fallingwater
Fallingwater
 

ArtDeco RugIts vast number of influences have encouraged the argument that Art Deco is not a style in its own right, however, the argument that Art Deco has not only enjoyed its own era of popularity but also a significant resurgence of interest & demand for Art Deco works and has also influenced subsequent art styles, lends strength to the argument in its favour.

This rug, inspired by the Art Deco movement was commissioned in the late 90’s and shows the continuing demand for the style that Art Deco lends.

(Modern Retro N. Bingham & A. Weaving 2000 – Ryland,  Peters & Small.)

 Recognising Art Deco.

We are all at some point confronted with a piece of design that is either entirely or in part influenced by the Art Deco movement. But how do we recognise it.?

Art Deco drew its look from concepts as global as the rustic tribal designs of Africa, the sleek sophistication of Paris, the elegant geometry and sculpture used in ancient Greco-Roman architecture, geometrically influenced representational forms of Ancient Egypt and the stepped pyramid structures and bas relief carvings of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica. (http://artdeco.org)

Design elements included everything from the luxurious Egyptian motifs of King Tut’s tomb—the discovery of which in 1922 stirred the world’s imagination—to the futuristic art movements of Fauvism, Cubism, Bauhaus, and others. Initially a very luxurious style, partly in response to the austerity of the war, it used expensive materials and lacquers. But in later depression years the trend moved to introduce more mass produced materials such as plastics & chrome.

Typically, Art Deco works would tend towards the flamboyant decorative features such as those 0b89e-vlcsnap-2010-08-08-13h08m55s103on the Grand Rex theatre in Paris & the Radio City Music Hall in New York, but most works make use of elements taken from its many influences such as the strong shapes, angles & colours of Cubism & Constructivism, Egyptian elements such as Sun Rays, Pylons & Pyramids and also elements that influenced the futurist inspired Hollywood movies and industry such as Flash Gordon & Metropolis by Fritz Lang.

Paramount Building
Paramount Building
chrysler2_skyscraper_1
Chrysler Building

 

Art Deco in use.

The American Art Deco movement saw the influence of the industrial age & the Hollywood era on the style. Designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright & William Van Allen lead the architectural charge of Art Deco in America with their designs of the Falingwater House in Arizona (above) & the Chrysler Building (above left)in New York.

The Paramount Building (above right) in New York designed by C.W. and George L. Rapp is very much styled after a Mayan Ziggurat. Each building had a stepped pyramidal structure & highly decorated façade, although the designers were constrained by New York’s planning laws namely the Setback Law which endeavoured to protect the light falling on the streets below as the buildings became higher & higher, they could easily have created something with much less style & personality.

 

Mowhawk Power
Niagra Mowhawk Power Corp.

The Niagara Mowhawk Power Corporation created a series of posters that were heavily inspired by the Art Deco movement.

This series of four posters uses elements such as bold shapes, sharp angles & curves, rays of light/energy, rich gold hues & the strong Art Deco typeface.

They give a very strong feeling of industry & futurism along with a hint of almost opulent class. If you were aiming to glamorise a power company & its product then this was a great way to do it.

(Images taken from American Art Deco)

 

Art Deco Today

Although it has lost its popularity after the World War II, Art Deco was revitalized during the sixties with the rise of the consumerist culture. Due to its global visual language and its nature that responds well to the requirements of the mass production, the heritage of this decorative style is still present today, mostly in the field of fashion, product and industrial design. Art Deco items are also becoming increasingly popular in the art market. http://www.widewalls.ch

   Egyptian Arch Templar ClockYou can see the appropriation of the Ancient Egyptian temple form in the Cartier Temple clock. There is no attempt here to hide the origins of the designers’ inspiration.

 

 

 

The most common Mesoamerican influence in Art Deco architecture, decorative arts and design is the ziggurat, or stepped pyramid form. This can be seen when comparing the Mayan Ziggurat to the top of the Paramount Building. (http://artdeco.org)

Mayan Temple
Mayan Temple
Parramount Building
Parramount Building

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Key Figures of the Art Deco Movement

Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954)

Born in Montana, USA, Kauffer was sponsored by a Professor Joseph McKnight after seeing the promise in his work. He travelled to Paris & Munich then to London at the outbreak of WW1. While in London he struck up a friendship with the publicity manager for the London Underground, eventually he produced a prolific 140 posters for them.

On a brief trip back to the USA, Kauffer found that his work was not as well received as in the UK so he returned there. He reluctantly returned home to the USA at the onset of WW2. This time he found his work was received favourably & received many commissions and awards and a position as Honorary Advisor to the Department of Public Information of the United Nations.

He found renewed energy & inspiration on a trip to the mid west & continued to create until his death. (Design Museum)

In terms of style, McKnight Kauffer used a very painterly range of shapes & colours in an organic way. His use of fluid shapes rather than bold strokes & geometrical shapes gave his posters for the London Underground a very comfortable, personal connection with the viewer.

        

Kauffer 01
Kauffer 01
Kauffer 02
Kauffer 02
Kauffer 03
Kauffer 03

 A.M Cassandre (1901-1968)

Cassandre was a painter, commercial poster artist and typeface designer. His inventive graphic techniques show influences of Surrealism and Cubism and became very popular in Europe and the US during the 1930s.

After setting up the advertising agency Alliance Graphiqe with several partners they gained a broad client base through the 1930s. Cassandre is notable for his magazine & poster work such as the posters for the Normandie transatlantic route. His use of bold colours, strong lines & very different viewing angles put the viewer in a different seat & gave the images much greater impact.

In contrast to Edward McKnight Kauffer, Cassandre’s use of very bold lines & shapes and his choice of perspective bring a much more dynamic & exciting feel to his images. His experience as a typographer shows much stronger in his work than some of his contemporary’s. Whether it’s the treatment of the font in use or the energetic planes he places it on, he uses the message as a very active part of the composition.

If I was thinking of traveling at the early part of the century these posters would definitely be catching the eye & the imagination.

Cassandre-cotedazurlargea
Cassandre-cotedazurlargea
Cassandre-nord_express1
Cassandre-nord_express1
Cassandre-Venice
Cassandre-Venice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In summary

Art Deco was probably the most popular art style between the two world wars.

A style that, when romance and nostalgia are thrown into the mix, provides an infectious energy and ‘snap’ that resonates beyond its diehard fans to the public at large. (http://artdeco.org/what-is-art-deco: Alastair Duncan)

Unlike other Art movements such as the Bauhaus, Art Nouveau or the Arts & Crafts movement, Art deco was not motivated by political or idealistic agendas; it was instead motivated by the love of art & design for its own sake.

In Relation to Butlers.

The design brief for this project was to produce a vintage style packaging for a luxury range of chocolates. This would include a box & a single bar of chocolate.

We are to research various types of materials and, using our chosen art movement, create a colour palette for use in the packaging.

I have chosen to design a look that gives the customer a feeling of quality & richness that is sometimes evoked when you look at a high value product. For instance, when you look at the latest Mercedes car you might not know what the various add-ons are, what kind of interior it has or even what kind of engine. What you do feel is an instant recognition of a quality product & a touch of an impulse to want to own one.  You have that instant recognition of quality.

I also wanted to create a look & feel of a vintage product that was reminiscent of the 30s USA & nothing says that better than Art Deco.

When you look at the advertisements & posters offering something of value since the 30s, they very often have that glamorous model minimally presented with jewellery & fine cloths. They can often be placed on a very simple sometimes dark background with a minimum of text to distract. They are almost selling the feeling as much as the product itself. This is the look & feel I am aiming for.

Art Deco Poster
Art Deco Poster

I have used 3 elements to convey my message, Colour, Shape & Icon. I have used a rich brown as the base colour the Box & a deep black in the 100G Bar. I have then used Gold for the logo, the lines around the shell icon & on the line pattern. I have used a representation of a shell & sunburst as icons to evoke the art deco feeling.

The colour palette I have chosen uses a mix of rich browns, gold & black. While I have used the original company logo & tagline I have created a sub logo using the typeface Bifur which is very much in the Art Deco style.

I also looked at using a thick card to stick my designs onto as making a box from just the printed paper left me with a very flimsy & not well defined box. However, although the card was the original type used in Butlers packaging it was still too bulky when the design was attached.

To overcome this I printed the design onto normal paper then used a second sheet, laminating the two together. This gave me a very flexible material but not so thick that is was difficult to manage.

I then hand created the design elements such as the background & the shell pattern. The shell is slightly reminiscent of Cassandre’s poster for the Normandie as viewed from low down & to the front.

GE Building
GE Building
Cassandre
Cassandre – Normandie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is also suggestive of the stepped back style of the New York buildings adhering to the city’s planning laws while using the inspiration of Art Deco. (GE Building Above left)

For the background design I created a handmade reproduction of the art deco pattern one often see’s on posters, products & even in architecture. The overall look will, I hope, convey my intended feeling of playfulness & quality. Recognition of that vintage feel and that “snap” of resonance with the purchaser.

100g Wrapper
100g Bar Wrapper
Box Sleve 1-2
Art Deco Inspired Box

 

 

 

Links

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.widewalls.ch/what-is-art-deco-decorative-style/

http://artdeco.org/what-is-art-deco

(http://artdeco.org/what-is-art-deco/origins)

http://design.designmuseum.org/design/page74546.html

http://www.widewalls.ch/what-is-art-deco-decorative-style/

http://artdeco.org/what-is-art-deco/origins 2016

FallingWater – Frank Lloyd Wright http://arizonaexperience.org/people/featured-artist-frank-lloyd-wright

Images from American Art Deco – Alastair Duncan 1986 – Thames & Hudson

Image of rug from Modern Retro – Living with Mid-Century modern style.  N. Bingham & A. Weaving 2000 – Ryland,  Peters & Small.

Paula Scher – Designer & Offset Speaker.

Cover Ver 01
Cover Ver 01

Brief intro & Achievements

Paula Scher has accomplished a great many things in her career & is famed for her personal work on typographical maps. She has been a partner in the global design consultancy, Pentagram, since 1991 and has designed projects that can swing wildly from the corporate world of Citi Bank to a simple, little known concession stand in Central Park called Shake Shack, and again to personal projects such as painting politically driven representative maps from all over the world.

Early years.

Having graduated from the Tyler School of Art in 1970, Paula began her career designing children’s books before moving on to design album covers for some of the era’s great musicians. The process of hand making & assembling the artwork using different medium, hand drawing the typography & presenting the design to each client was very formative & also very rewarding  for her.

In a presentation to Offset in 2012 Paula recounts how she would spend a couple of weeks preparing a design for presentation to the artist.

“My art became making comps to present to recording artists at the record company. When I went in to present it to Charles Mingus it was just a painting as it was too expensive to make it. I would cut out something called Sellotac that was flat colour, & rub it down, draw the type by hand, draw the inline by hand & try to make it look as neat as I could before taking it to the artist for approval. It was an enormous amount of hand work which was wonderful. So when I went to work everyday a big pat of my work was making stuff with my hands”

Its obvious that Paula Scher has a love of typography that shows in almost everything she touches. She has had a passion for type since her early days where she recalls that it wasn’t easy finding different kinds of type, they weren’t always in a book, you had to go looking for them. She was also very influenced by the work of her father who was a photogrammetric engineer, so she spent a lot of time around maps & grew to love the details & the typefaces used.

After college Paula began designing for the music business becoming the senior art director at CBS records (now Sony) at the age of 26. She was responsible for the design and production of about 150 albums a year & learned how to work in nearly every style but was obsessed with period typography.

“A lot of the work I did was later referred to as ‘postmodernism’ but I didn’t know what that was at the time I did the work. I can trace almost every project I’ve worked on back to the music business”, says the artist.

In 1982 she began teaching in the New York School of visual Arts and continues to enjoy teaching.

 

Popular work.

“So much of my work is for theatre or dance or other forms of popular culture.  even when I am designing identities for corporations, I seem to operate through the lens of the entertainment industry.” – Paula Scher.

Paula’s work isn’t just restricted to the music industry, though she has produced a prolific amount of that, she has worked in such a broad spectrum of fields. It could be said I suppose that she risked becoming a jack of all trades but I prefer to believe that she was so versatile as to be able to create quality work in any field she put her hand to.

In an interview with Eye magazine in 2013 she says:

“I don’t believe I’m a craftsman, anything I do where I think I make a break through, 5 minuets later someone comes along who’s gonna do it better than I did. I have to keep moving, I’m never gonna develop a craft well enough and that’s been true my whole life.”

It is often said that her work has been inspired by movements such as Russian Constructivism & Art Deco. While I can see these elements in some of her work I don’t believe it is limited to this. The images below definitely show the Art Deco & Constructivist elements but also very definite elements of the Arts & Crafts movements in the piece for Stravinsky by Leonard Bernstein, and of Swiss style in the poster for Swatch where she pretty much rips off or parodied Herbert Matter’s Swiss styled posters for the Swiss Tourist Board.

Kafka Stravinsky Paula_Scher_Changes_One_and_twoBest of Jazz 1979 Patti Labelle

While Paula took a lot of criticism from some quarters for her “almost plagiaristic” version of this poster, some also believe that her dissenters simply lacked a sense of humour.

Herbert Matter
Herbert Matter
Paula Scher Swatch
Paula Scher

 

 

 

 

 

Personal work.

In her book, “Make It Bigger”, Paula refers to the fact that she rarely mentions the massive changes in technology over the past 40 years, she is more interested in people than in technology.

“I feel about computers the way I feel about cars: I need them, I drive them, I’m fond of them, but I don’t want to hang around & talk about them.”

A lot of her work can also be very politically motivated as in the case of her typographical map paintings. Paula would take all the information available to her on subjects such as the election voting patterns, results & other numbers & information, and created a map of the Florida region. She began making these maps as a personal project inspired by her fathers work & her love of typography, however, after they became noticed & desired they stopped being for love & became just another aspect of business which changed how she viewed the project.

Paula continues to create in all areas, for business, for art, municipal projects and also for not for profit organisations. She continues to be an educator & a student and doesn’t plan to stop pushing herself into new areas that test & stretch the mind.

Probably some of my favourite work from Paula Scher is her environmental Graphics such as those done for the 42nd Street Studios where she has taken all the information available to her, including the unwritten knowledge about things like the performers taking their stage positions from markings on the  floor, and developed a style that wound all this into a signage system that I think embraces both the building & the people who visit it.

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Make It Bigger – Paula Scher 2002, Princeton Architectural Press.

Interview. – http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/reputations-paula-scher – First published in Eye no. 77 vol. 20.

http://www.designboom.com/design/paula-scher-interview/

http://www.aiga.org/medalist-paulascher/

Pentagram – http://www.pentagram.com/#/partners/109681

http://www.lennyletter.com/culture/interviews/a272/you-dont-proofread-art/

The New Yorker – http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/29/paula-scher-abstract-expressionist-geography