Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Field Notes: Meggs' History of Graphic Design

I loved looking at all the pictures in this book!  It starts out with early languages and then page after page marches thru time with Art: illuminated books, early line drawings, German typography, Harper's Bazaar, Art Deco, Japanese woodcuts, war posters, 1960s rock posters -- all tumbling out in a fabulous timeline. 

It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon in Portland; I had gone to Powell's City of Books (ok definitely the world's largest bookstore; i let myself get lost both in it and in just the art section!).  A hot cup of tea, a comfy chair, the rain hitting the window: I didn't really want to form any opinion, I just wanted to look and admire, to let each page show me what it had. Some of these I have seen and it was like spotting someone you've met before, others were new.  I laughed when I got to graphics from when I was younger -- it makes me feel old that something I remember seeing when it was new is in a history book.  Yeah, we were cool.

I especially loved the Typography.  I was a typesetter and to me, letters are the personality of the block of text.  You can communicate so much with the right typeface.  So many of the pictures were about type: how it evolved, was defined then defied and re-defined.  Many of the faces from the late 70s and early 80s I typeset.  I remember the art directors and graphic artists I worked for and how they used them.  Some being "too modern" -- they look dated now -- and some for the clients that wanted to look hip.

I'm really looking forward to this class.

PS I'm also looking forward to getting my scanner to work and some pictures in here.  I'll do battle later this week and edit this.

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