31.1.11

Alki1's collection of 20th Century Graphic Design

This is one of the best image repositories for 20th century graphic design (especially the early stuff, such as Bauhaus) that I have ever come across:

Alki1 (Maryellen McFadden), from Portland Oregon describes herself as a "Child of the Great Depression, member of the Greatest Generation, retired graphic designer, college faculty, vocational instructor, cooperative education placement person, lover of photography and Washington State Parks, eighty two years old."

And long may she prosper! Thank you Alki1, for this invaluable resource!

I am linking two images to show how absolutely brilliant this collection is: Above is a magazine cover which Alki1 thinks was designed by Herbert Bayer in 1929 (wow! - how often does one come across something like this?); and below is a Renå Binder and Max Eichheim poster for the International Press Exhibition Pressa, held in Cologne, Germany in 1928.



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Hiroshige

Not only is Ando Hiroshige a hugely important artist in his own right, but he is also to be reckoned with in terms of the influence that he and his fellow Japanese woodblock printers exerted over late 19th Century Western art & design: Hiroshige combines ideograms and imagery in his prints, often through a usage of boxes and rules as hierarchical aids. And it is this mastery over typographic hierarchies combined with complex imagery that was so ingeniously adapted to Western typographic systems by the likes of Alphonse Mucha, creating the typographic style of Art Nouveau. 

There are many resources showing Hiroshige's output online, but sometimes the most obvious place to look can also turn out to be the best one ;-). Although the images on wikipedia are much larger than what can be found there, nonetheless the richest image repository that I have come across has been put together in England and can be accessed from here:

I am linking the following images from the publication entitled "Famous Restaurants of the Eastern Capital" (1852/53), since these provide really good examples to Hiroshige's typographic mastery. Needless to say, this is only the very tip of the huge iceberg of what Hiroshige has to offer.



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In Aedibvs Aldi

The Legacy of Aldus Manutius and his Press

What this site lacks in appearance it more than makes up for in content. A modest, bare bones html interface takes you through the life and times and the work of one of the greatest book designers and printers of all time. Very good textual descriptions as well as lots of plates showing the beautiful book pages created at the Aldine Press.

Images below are Constantine Lascaris' "Erotemata" from 1512 (also showing the famous Aldine logo of the dolphin and the anchor) (top); Theocritus' "Idylls" from 1495/96 (middle); Gregory of Nazianzus' "Carmina" from 1504 (lower middle); and the binding of the "Vulgate Bible" from 1592 (bottom).





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Neville Brody

A really good collection of Neville Brody's output put together by Peter Gabor can be found here:

I am really happy to have found this, since decent sized online reproductions of Brody's work are not too easy to come across. In fact, I had a very hard time back when I was putting together the course website. So, this is really great! I am only linking one out of a huge collection of very well selected images - definitely check out the rest!


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Renaissance Dante in Print

http://www.nd.edu/~italnet/dante/

This exhibition presents Renaissance editions of Dante's Divine Comedy from the Dante Collection at the University of Notre Dame, together with selected treasures from The Newberry Library.

The site combines solid information and anecdotes surrounding both Dante's huge oeuvre, as well as the many tales of the printing community centered in Italy and particularly in Venice during this period. Also gives an illustrated list of all the editions of Dante's work published during the Renaissance, including one by Aldus Manutius.

The images below are from Francesco Marcolini da Forli's edition printed in 1544 in Venice (top); and Giovanni Antonio Morando's 1554 edition, again printed in Venice.



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Panteek: Antique Prints







A huge selection, everything from biological illustrations to fashion plates:
http://www.panteek.com/index.htm

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Kokka, A Gallery of Chinese and Japanese Painting

This site is actually the introductory site to a book published in 1908 by the Kokka Publishing Company, who published a series of at least four art reproduction books of this type during the period of 1906-1908. This was the last and most expensive book and it was priced at triple the price of the other books.

Images below are: "Plum Tree", by Korin Ogata (top); "A Mountain After the Rain", attributed to Kao Jan-hui (middle); "Fish in Nature", attributed to Fan Anjen (bottom).




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My student's blogs :-)

This year the main course requirement of my HVC course was keeping a blog to which at least one new post was to be added every week.

I have to say that the strategy seems to have paid off: The final exam grades were considerably higher than they were in previous years. (I give a pretty tough exam where students are asked to identify 40 or so thumbnail images, and they are only allowed to give a maximum of 3 keywords for each).

The good exam results are no wonder, since quite a few of their blogs carry remarkable content, which would have to mean that they really did become involved with the subject - as only they should, of course. After all, how can one ever hope to become a good designer without knowing the history of one's endeavor?

So, without further ado, here they all are:

http://va312su.wordpress.com/.
:-)

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Black Mesa: Game modification at its very best

While the input of many fields and huge teamwork is required to create a good game, visual communication design plays a big part in this work as well. Point in case, Black Mesa is a stunning example of visuality in game design: This is a conversion based upon the award-winning first person shooter game Half-Life from the late 1990's. The website, which also holds a wiki and provides many many screenshots, gives a very good overview of the whole process of designing/creating a game.




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Web Design History

http://www.innervisions.com.au/webhistory/index.html
This is a very good overview of the various phases which web design went through over the past two decades. Please note that this is a purely textual account, providing plenty of links to other domains in which the subject is also discussed.

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symbols.com

http://www.symbols.com/. Online version of the famous Symbols book by Carl Liungman. This may work even better than a book, since it lets you conduct a search based upon either graphic parameters or words, which lead you to excellent descriptions of the symbol, its usage, its context, etc.





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30.1.11

The Minerva Britanna Project

Henry Peacham's Minerva Britanna was compiled by the students of the Middlebury College first-year seminar, Emblem Literature, in the Fall of 2001:
http://f01.middlebury.edu/FS010A/STUDENTS/contents.htm



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Printing in England from William Caxton to Christopher Barker

The page of an exhibition held in England in 1977! Gives lots of information on the era. Some nice images also, but mostly text:

The images below are William Gilbert's "De magnete", printed in London by Petrus Short in 1600 (top), Galen's and "De temperamentis, et de inaequalia intemperie" from 1521 (middle), and James Pilkington's "A godlie exposition upon certaine chapters of Nehemiah", printed in Cambridge by Thomas Thomas in 1585 (bottom).





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29.1.11

The Linda Hall Library of Scientific Visualization

A magnificent portal housing a number of online exhibits, all revolving around Scientific visualization, covering a range of topics from Astronomy to voyages of discovery to a celebration of Darwin's theories of evolution. Not to be missed!




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The Wenceslaus Hollar Digital Collection

Huge archive of etchings of the artist, covers a huge range from costumes to architecture to maps and title pages. The image quality of quite a few of the reproductions is not the greatest, unfortunately.







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Ellen Lupton: Thinking with Type




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John Maeda interviews Paul Rand

http://acg.media.mit.edu/events/rand/ideamag.html. The title of this post is more than self-explanatory methinks...
;-)

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The Bioephemera Blog

Arguably, the Bioephemera blog may have nothing to do with the history of visual communication design. I beg to differ: Unless we think of visual communication as a process solely founded in typography (which I most certainly do not! ;-), then the contents of this extraordinary blog which brings together the output of two fields - art & design and biology - is more than relevant. Point in case:



















The Octopus Chair by Maximo Riera.

"the Octopus Chair places the animal and human being in harmony, where each is considered equal and one is not subject to the other. The octopus is not decoration; it is as intrinsic to the chair as the person sat upon it."

Read more on the Octopus throne here.

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Paper, Leather, Clay & Stone

This is a really great online exhibition, put together by Cornell University, which takes you through the history of writing based upon the materials that were used for such a purpose. The index page is built as a very simple to navigate table which takes you to all of the illustrated sub-sections which also provide short but excellent explanatory texts.


Cuneiform tablets. Produced in the city-states of Ur, Erech, and Babylon. Late third and early second millenia bce.


"The Book of the Dead". Egypt, ca. 332-30 BCE.


"The Jade book". Ch'ing Shêng-tsu, Emperor of China. Reigned 1662-1722.


 Denis Diderot. 1713-1784. "Encyclopédie, ou, Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts, et des métiers". Paris: Braisson and others, 1751-1780.

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The Prelinger Archive

The famous Prelinger archive is a collection of over 2000 vintage videos which are opensourced, so they can be used for teaching purposes, also in studio art classes:
http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger

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Paula Scher gets serious

A great video on the TED website by Paula Scher from Pentagram about solemn and serious design.

"Paula Scher looks back at a life in design (she's done album covers, books, the Citibank logo ...) and pinpoints the moment when she started really having fun. Look for gorgeous designs and images from her legendary career."

Again, the video is here.

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Great-great-great-granddaddy's typewriter



reblogged from here.

Great blog altogether by the way: http://www.designersfood.com/

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Vintage ads, and all sorts of other modernist ephemera...

... is brought to us by clotho98: A truly great repository of in-your-face modernist advertising design. I absolutely love it! clotho's interests also cover Victoriana and Art Deco. She has separated her collection into various categories and I will definitely be tackling some of the others later. For now, get a load of this lot:




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Mehmed Siyah Qalem

China, chinoiserie and Painting in Turkestan under the Timurids, ca. 1400: http://www.ee.bilkent.edu.tr/~history/turkis.html






























I love the miniatures of Mehmed Siyah Qalem, or Mehmed of the Black Pen. Although Mehmed Siyah Qalem was a Turk from Central Asia his work is very strongly inspired by Chinese art, which was imported into Turkestan by the Mongol invasions at the times, as well as by the strong trade links between Eastern and Western Asia.

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On-line catalogue of digitized books of the Archbishop chateau in Kroměříž

This is a comprehensive collection of books, mostly on Botanics, dating from the late Medieval period to the 18th century with some really stunning illustrations: http://digi.azz.cz/main.php?lng=2


Icones Plantarum Rariorum (1), by Nicolaus Joseph Jacquin (1727-1817).


Prodromos theatri botanici, by Casper Bauhin(1560–1624).


Le Jardinier Hollandois.../ Der Niederländische Gärtner...., by Jan van der Groen (ca 1635 - 1672).

This website also allows you to switch views between text only and image only folios, which does of course, make life a lot easier when you are doing a search.

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University of Toronto: Anatomia Collection

Very nice collection of Anatomical Illustrations, can be accessed from here:
http://link.library.utoronto.ca/anatomia/application/index.cfm.

The two plates below are from "Traité complet de l'anatomie de l'homme" by Marc Jean Bourgery (1797-1849). The book was published in Paris in 1831-1854. However, this is by no means the only book to be found here: The collection is huge, with ninety-five individual titles represented, ranging in date from 1522 to 1867, one more beautiful than the other.





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Dada Periodicals

A brilliant collection of Dada periodicals: http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/collection.html




cover for 391, by Francis Picabia.




3 Above: Merz pages by Kurt Schwitters, the central image is a centerfold from issue 8/9, which was actually designed by El Lissitzky.

Also on this site are lot of page reproductions of poetry books by Dadaist poets ranging from Eluard to Tristan Tzara; as well as pages from an exhibition catalog of Max Ernst's work (below).