Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PAOLO- 30`s 40`s - JEAN CARLU

Jean Carlu originally began training as an architect but turned to commercial art after an accident in which he lost his right arm. During the 1920’s and 1930’s he was a leading figure in French poster design. Along with A. M. Cassandre and Paul Colin, Carlu translated the influence of Cubism into symbolic and architectonic imagery.Carlu sought to create a symbolic language in which color, line, and content would represent emotional values. His work thus achieved a distinctive, streamlined economy of form, rarely incorporating narrative or illustrative elements. In 1937, he was chairman of the Graphic Publicity Section of the Paris International Exhibition. He came to the United States to organize an exhibition at the New York World’s Fair, for the French Information Service. He remained here when Paris was captured by the Germans. It was during his time in the US the he designed one of his most famous posters - “America’s Answer! Production” This poster won him a New York Art Directors medal as well as being voted poster of the year. He also designed work for Container Corporation of America and Pan American Airways. In 1953, he returned to France and continued his work as a poster designer and consultant for many companies, including Air France and Firestone France. He was the International President of AGI from 1945 to 1956 and retired in 1974.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Govinda: 30's & 40's Italian Travel Brochures

Italy was one of the leading countries in generating and propagating the design styles of the thirties. Italy and other central European countries produced the best graphic design in that period influenced, no doubt, by the Bauhaus and Italian Futurism. Art Deco, a popular international design movement of the time, was also influential.

A good example of Italian design is the countries travel brochures which deeply reflect the styles of the day. Bold colour, geometric shapes and lines and a simple, minimalistic look where all used by the tourism companies in their advertising. The designs where uncluttered and space was embraced.
These travel brochures depicted scenes of beautiful beach, landscapes and happy, beautiful women to attract people’s attention. The colours were rich and the designs modern. Solid shapes were filled with solid colour creating a collage effect similar to that of Matisse’s work.
But as WWII broke out, the travel industry all but diminished, bringing an end to these brochures. Many of the art styles of the day also ended.

Monday, May 26, 2008

ALEC:1930s and 1940s - Harry Sternberg

 Harry Sterberg

The great depression left America wounded both morally and financially. As a result of this President Franklin Roosevelt implemented a series of programs and promises labelled the New Deal. Its objective was largely to alleviate pressure on the economy created by the great depression and to boost the moral of the American people especially the labourers and workers.

The Treasury Department, under the New Deal commissioned artists to create murals and sculptures for postal facilities across America. They were selected by way of competition, which led to some of the most talented artists working for the New Deal.

One of those artists was Harry Sternberg.  In 1935 he was appointed technical advisor of the Graphic Art Division, Federal Art Project (FAP) were he became politically active in union and socialist causes. The following year he spent time studying the conditions of workers in steel mills and coal mines which was more than enough inspiration for many of his works.

Sterberg’s murals depicted workers in heroic posses and labouring in unison toward the completion of a public project. They were often very busy with vector lines dissecting the mural creating energy and life. This feeling was enhanced by his quick brush stokes and use of positive and negative space. The works were sometimes overcrowded but for the most part achieved harmony and balance through a contrast between light and dark colours and tones.

To me Sternberg was one of the great contibuters to the New Deal due to his studies within the steel mill and coal mining communities. He was at the forefront of social commentary portraying the culture and character of Blue collar America as one of unity and strength.






Ben Shahn immigrated to New York City with his family having to flee the Russian empire after is father was exiled to Serbia for alleged revolutionary activities. Shahn was first trained as a lithographer, which lead him to work in graphic design.  His early training became evident in his later works that combined both text and print, making bold social commentaries which became hugely popular among social realists.

 Shahn first became famous for his work during the great depression.  During this time he created a series of commercial works commissioned by the government and notably he served as an assistant to Californian labor leader Diego Rivera, at which time he created the infamous Rockafeller Centre mural.  This established Shahn as a communicative artist.  His social vision informed his art and he set out to break down the pretensions of the art world and communicate more with the general public.

 During WW2 also worked for the Office of  War Information (OWI).  This was short lived however, due to the lack of patriotism in his work only two of his posters were ever published.  After this he actively expressed his distain for war and created a series of paintings such as ‘Death on the Beach’ which depicted the horrors of war.  After this time he went on to work as a commercial artist, for such organizations as Time and CBS.  One of his most famous works was a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

 Shahns vision and symbolism set him apart from other artists of this time period.  He uses contrasting scales and colors to create tension, however he is also noted for his precision and detail that is clearly influenced by lithography and shows in his interpretations of his photography.


Tane - Joseph Binder Designs

Joseph Binder (1898 – 1972)

Joseph Binder was an Austrian-born designer who influenced most of Europe and the U.S.
In 1924 Binder founded his own studio, Vienna Graphics, and built a reputation as an advertising artist and poster designer.
In 1927 he acted as one of the founding fathers of the national Austrian designers association, Design Austria, who continue to remember him through an international design competition, the Joseph Binder Award.

His designs aim for a reductive, postmodern approach derived from Cubism. This applied to all his posters, including ones commissioned by American Railroads, American Airlines, the Red Cross and many tourism firms.

Binder’s style is very distinctive and eye-catching, hence his success in the advertising industry.
The absence of outline and heavy reliance on bright block colours suggests Cubism monopolized Binder’s influences. The shapes are simple and geometric in appearance. However, beyond block colours is the suggestion of texture, shading and dimension, particularly in posters featuring his painting skills which are mostly used as background effects and bases. The forms are abstract indeed, yet recognizable and distinguishable. In this way, Binder’s Cubist practices met his great love of painting, creating the perfect advertising material for the 1930s era.

I could find no further links on the net – sorry!

Josh - Paul Rand

Paul Rand was an important advocate of employing a wide variety of techniques such as typography, painting, collage, photography, and montage. In doing so created a combination of elements to produce a distinct and modern image, whether it was a poster, magazine cover design or a corporate identity design/logo. In terms of typography, Paul Rand’s distinctive style came from his talent and extensive design education. It inspired him to merge modern typography with nineteenth-century engravings which resulted in a success. Typography was one of his strongest command areas, and with his impeccable understanding of both visual content and technical content, he produced designs which lasted decades. Rand united letters, finding new graphic ways of bringing together letters of a word. Personally I think he excelled at that, as seen in his logos for IBM, EF and Yale University Press.

Rand had a simplistic approach and was quick to point out himself in A Designer’s Art that “ideas do not need to be esoteric to be original or exciting”. The simplicity became a common element with what he created, whether it was a page design, magazine cover, ad, or logo. Rand always thought that the design of a logo must be simple, in order to appeal aesthetically.

Rand broke away from the conventional standards of typography and layout, In the 1940s. He started incorporating a Swiss style of design into his creations. He merged American visual culture into European ‘modern art’ design, integrating Cubism, Constructivism, and the Bauhaus into his work.

Corporate identity designs are Rands most seen and known works. Being his main achievements. His talent and excellent execution was apparent in the logos he designed for many firms from a vast range of industries like IBM, Apple, UPS, ABC Television, NeXT, Enron, the Cummins Engine Company, El Producto Cigar Company, Compton Advertising and Westinghouse Electric Corporation to name a few. The main image that virtually became Paul Rand’s identity was his corporate identity design/logo for IBM. The logo with the three letters in bold font was a design concept that gave birth to corporate and public awareness at the same time.


Kurt- Cecil Beaton

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton was born in Hampstead England 1904 and died in 1980.The Beaton family were actually timber merchants by trade and at an early age while Cecil was attending St Cyprian`s School his artistic talents were recognized.
Through out his childhood his nanny possessed a Kodak 3A Camera and was forever teaching him how to photograph he would take photos of his sisters and send the pictures to high society magazines recommending himself as a photographer. He then went on to study art, history and architecture at St Johns College Cambridge.

Cecil Beaton was most famous for his fashion and portrait photography of high society and Hollywood; he was a staff photographer for both Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines

He was never really known as a highly skilled or technical photographer, he instead took time and focused on the model and scene always focusing on the perfect moment to shoot.

Beaton regularly photographed the royal family and there weddings and in 1972 was knighted.

During the Second World War he was posted and given the task of recording images from the home front during this time he took one of the most famous photos of 3-year-old Eileen Dunne.

After the war Beaton took to Broadway designing sets costumes and lighting his most well known work was achieved on sets for musicals such as “My Fair Lady” and “Gigi” both of which he won academy awards for.

Beaton was so in tune with the changes in fashion his career maintained its momentum for a span of five decades.


GEMMA - Ben Shahn

Ben Shahn – Political Artist

Ben Shahn was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1898. His family then moved to America in 1904 and Shahn became a lithographer's apprentice after he finished schooling. He
 continued his studies at night school and eventually attended New York University and the National Academy of Design.
 In the 1920s Shahn became a Social Realist and his work was more than often inspired by news reports in reality.Text and lettering formed an integral part of his designs. Shahn held strong socialist views and his art often referred to cases of social injustice. Ben
 Shahn’s social-realist vision informed his approach to art. Although he often explored polemic themes of modern urban life, organized labor, immigration and injustice, he di
d so while maintaining a compassionate tone.
Ben remained to diplay pictorial realiti
es in his works, rather than abstract forms. He believed, known forms allow the artist “to discover new truth
s about man and to reaffirm that his life is significant.” References to allegory, the Old Testament, humanistic content, childhood, science, music and the commonplace are other motifs Ben Shahn draws upon to make the universal personal for his viewers.
He incorporates evocativ
e juxtapositions in which characterize his aesthetic. He intentionally paired contrasting scales, colors, and images together to create tension. The appearance of his art is striking but also introspective captivating figures trapped in their own worlds. Many of his photographs were taken spontaneously, without the subject’s notice. Although, h
e used many mediums, his pieces are consistently thoughtful and playful.