Monday, September 29, 2008

The Tassel House Victor Horta

The Tassel House was designed during the Art Nouveau era in 1893, now called Hotel Tassel. The Hotel Tassel is a town house built by Victor Horta in Brussels in the Art definitively broke with this traditional scheme. In fact he built a house consisting of three different parts. Two rather conventional buildings in brick and natural stone - one on the side of the street and one on the side of the garden - were linked by a steel structure covered with glass. It functions as the connective part in the spatial composition of the house and contains staircases and landings that connect the different rooms and floors. Through the glass roof it functions as a light shaft that brings natural light into the centre of the building. In this part of the house, that could also be used for receiving guests, for the Belgian scientist and professor Emile Tassel. It has a highly innovative plan and a ground breaking use of materials and decoration. This architecture fits perfectly in to the Art Nouveau style. I think that the serpentine lines really play a large role in the design. Which is one of the key components Nouveau style. At the Hotel Tassel HortaHorta made the maximum of his skills as an interior designer. He designed every single detail; doorhandles, woodwork, panels and windows in stained glass, mosaic flooring, stair railings, electric fittings and even the decorative wall paintings and the furnishing.

It is a great example of the Art Nouveau style, and the line quality really contributed to the type which was used during this style.

Exterior view of the building. Still using the curvilinear lines in the design.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rare Book Collection

As a whole, I thought the Rare Book Collection at Wash U was very fascinating and thought provoking.  Although the older books were very interesting, I leaned more towards the contemporary books.  I think the contemporary books grabbed my eyes more because of the colors, patterns, and different fonts used.  I can't recall the name of the book shown in the picture I uploaded, but I chose this picture mainly because of the colors and textures used.  When I first caught a glimpse of this page, I thought it was the alphabet printed extremely large.  However, I was wrong.  I can't completely make out what the page says, but you can see the words "out" and "eyes" and towards the middle of the page in light colored wording you can read, "they fear nothing on......except that the sky should fall."  Also, seeing the Gutenberg Bible first handedly was wonderful.  The color used was so dark, pictures don't do it justice.  

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rare Book Collection

The field trip to Olin Library was a great way to see everything we have talked about in class from a different perspective. Erin started by talking about a receipt made from clay from B.C.E. and moved all the way to contemporary works from our time. It was interesting to see that everything has stemmed from something else. I enjoyed being able to actually see that connection up close instead of through a book.

The Dover Bible in particular caught my eye. We had looked at a slide of the first page in class, but slides couldn't do it justice. The page was neat and designed in order to convey something. The Dover Press wanted the type to to be appreciated, so it was manipulated and designed in order to do so. Erin told our group that Washington University also has other versions of the first page and the different ways that the letters were manipulated. It makes me think that the designers were just like designers today. They had many versions and tried many things until they reached an end product that they were happy with.

The contemporary works in the gallery were diverse and unique. Each one had something special about it but they all had a cohesive feeling. I enjoyed seeing the different ways that the books were bound as well as the use of color in each one. The whole field trip was great because I got to see things from a different perspective and up close. Being able to touch the works and see them so closely was very exciting and makes it easier to learn about the history of graphic design.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Wash U. Book Collection

The book I chose to write about was a more contemporary piece. I really thought this book was very interesting. Although there was no text I found the visual components to be very interesting. There was a lot of texture to this piece. The texture was not only visible texture, but it was also physical. Each page was a different image that was printed on it. There was different materials used, collage, bright colors, and was also separate pages that were rubber. I thought that was very unique in the book design. It was interesting to see how the designer put all of the elements of the piece together. I really enjoyed looking at this piece.

This is one example page of the book. I thought this page was interesting do to the fact of the use of texture and the bold colors that were printed on the page.

This is also another example page from the book. This example shows the use of rubber in the book design. There was a jagged hole cut out in the center, to be able to view the image on the next page.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Industrial Revolution Poster

This poster combines an all-caps sans-serif font with another font that appears to be hand-rendered. It combines multiple colors and point sizes. I think that the combination of these elements adds to the poster's appeal. However, I would reconsider the use of a gradient on the words Pennsylvania Railroad and New York. The words stand out against the back image of the New York skyline. This adds to the layout of the poster. I think that a good amount of thought and planning went into this design and that is something that i can appreciate.

The poster is advertising a railroad, one of the most successful railroads in the time period. This is a common theme of posters during the Industrial Revolution. It emphasizes the "new" and "mechanical" aspect of the era. The backdrop of New York city hints at urban living. The railroad was a huge part of the Industrial Revolution because it changed how people lived their daily lives. This poster aims to entice individuals to take the railroad by making it appear glamorous and fresh. This theme would most likely develop and evolve into the advertisements that we see today for new products and technologies.



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Industrial Revolution Poster

The advertisement I found is for a masked ball, and created by Jules Cheret. Along with other posters and advertisements from this era, there are several colors and movements happenings. Even though the colors help catch the viewers' eyes, it could be toned down a bit. The capitalized fonts also show that this advertisement is during the Industrial Revolution. I like how Cheret made the people look energetic, which is how one should feel when going to a ball.
As a designer, I would want to focus on tuning everything down a notch or two. The lettering doesn't have to be so big and bold, and there isn't always a need for a large color palette. Cheret has been called "the father of the modern poster," and I think he could vary his style as compared to others to make himself stand out even more.
sources: Britannica Encyclopedia Online

Victorian Advertisement

This is an advertisement from the Victorian Era, of Birds Crystal Jelly Powder. Assuming this is some type of "Jell-o". In this ad there are a couple different typefaces which would be a good identifier for the Victorian Era. Also all of the children have the rosy cheeks, and look just a little too happy. I really think that this era just provided advertisement with a little too much activity going on in each ad. It feels really cluttered and it is difficult to really get the main idea of the ad. Although this ad is pretty direct, there are still some confusing points to it. Most of the ads that I looked at had multiple points to them (or they made you think they did). Which could be another good identifier for this era.

If I were a designer in this era the next idea I would bring is a more simplistic one. I would use less typefaces and try to keep the viewer in one direction. I would also stick to more simplistic colors, to really get my point across. Finally I would pick one major idea for the ad and go for it, by doing this there would not be so much confusion and there would not be so much going on in each ad.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


When I accessed the AIGA design archives I found an example of Garamond on a book design. The image to the left is cover of the book "100% Evil" by Nicholas Blechman and Christoph Niemann. It was designed by Aviva Michaelov in 2004. In the description on AIGA's website, the purpose of the cover design was to "present evil in an innocent context". I believe that the designer chose Garamond to compliment the nature of the book.

I think that this project required a calm, classic, and widely recognizable typeface. The book is composed of illustrations only so that it is accessible to people from all over the world. The use of Garamond correlates with this viewpoint because it is such a classic typeface. It accents the book and I think that it was a great choice for the designers to select it.

I found it interesting that the majority of book designs that contained Garamond also had a clean, simple, and elegant feel to them, just as "100% Evil" does. I don't think that it is coincidence. Some more examples of the use of Garamond on book designs are below.

Sources: and

Since my picture didn't upload, I will try it again!


I found the book The Anatomy of a Dish by Diane Forley on AIGA's website.  The book is full of recipes for the determined chef.  The chosen typeface for the cover is Baskerville, which I believe is a great fit for the cover.  The straight, tidy letters compliment the roundness of the foods chosen to be on the cover.  It also shows that this book is full of kitchen knowledge because of its scholarly look. Even though the font is more widely used in books with a large amount of text, it is still used quite nicely with the pictures inside this book.  Although, I must say that at times it gets hard to read because the letters have such thin lines.  John Baskerville, the creator, was criticized for this at first.  Now, it is one of the most used typefaces we have today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Stempel Schneidler

Bernini and the art of architecture is a book I found on the AIGA website. It was designed in 1998 and the type is Stempel Schneidler. Which is a typeface which is related to the humanist type.

This a book cover of Bernini's Architecture, printed in the Stempel Schneidler typeface. This specific type is based off of the humanist type we discussed in class. It appears very scholarly. Stempel Schneidler has characteristics relating to the humanist type in the aspect that there is a low contrast in the thick and thin strokes.

The choice of the type really makes you understand that this book is full of knowledge and creativity, and it really makes you want to open it up and look inside.

Stempel Schneidler also relates well to the humanist type due to the fact that, the humanist type was used to imitate the Renaissance scholars handwriting. Bernini was an Italian artist who was a great architect and scholar so the type really reflects those aspects.

(This image to the left is an example of the Stempel Schneidler typeface.)