Archive | October 2012

The power of Logo Design

Many people show their ignorance towards Graphic Design. Throughout my studies, I have been asked on numerous occasions – “What is Graphic Design? Do you make posters and that?” My blood boils every time. I always reply, “look around you!”  I point at the bottle of juice they are drinking, the clothes they are wearing, the magazine they are reading, the signage for the shop we are browsing – the list goes on. Everything around us is some way or another graphic design.

Whether or not an individual takes in an interest in Graphic Design, it’s impossible not to be affected by it. A perfect example of this was presented to me at a recent lecture. Opened with a quick and cheerful quiz – small sections of Logo designs appeared on screen and students were asked to identify the company. Although I understand the power of branding, I was shocked to see how quickly other students (illustrators and animators) recognised them – whether it was the flick of a letter, a typeface or colour. To further emphasise the effects of branding, I presented the same images to my girlfriend, who has little knowledge of the subject – with the exact same results.

Here are some examples;

 ɐloɔ-ɐɔoɔ sn,ɹ,sʎoʇ ɯqı ʌɯɥ ƃɹǝqslɹɐɔ

Illustration – The Book of Kells

Illustration is seen by many as the oldest form of visual communication and one that has had major influence over the way in which people have perceived life. Dating as far back as 2000 years, illustration has recorded many subjects such as social and cultural change, religion and politics.

Before my introduction to illustration I thought I had a decent understanding of the subject – I was wrong.  I underestimated the historical value, the symbolism and the effort put into producing them. What really interested me was the use of illustration to spread the word of religion, most notably that of the book of kells. The manuscript which contains the four gospels was originally produced in a monastery on the Isle of Iona, Scotland. However is now preserved in Trinity College, Dublin. The book was crucial for Christian belief, offering widespread exposure and understanding.

Having both Scottish and Irish relations, I have always had an interest in Celtic illustrations and designs. The sheer intricacy and effort put into each illustration and decoration is mind-blowing. The book format increased space for better composition between text and imagery, improving the experience of reading. Containing 680 individual pages of unique illustrations and type, It seen by many as the finest surviving manuscript produced in medieval Europe. With details so fine, the use of a magnifying glass is often needed to see more clearly.

“Look closely at it and you will penetrate the innermost secrets of art; you will find embellishments of such intricacy, such a wealth of knots and interlacing links that you might believe it was the work of an angel rather than a human being.”  Giraldus Cambrensis, 13th century scholar

The Book of Kells, Christ Enthroned. Image from the National Museum of Ireland and published on Wikimedia.

page 309 “Text from John’s Gospel”
written in Insular majuscule by the scribe known as “Hand B”

page 200 “Luke’s Genealogy of Jesus”

How a horse helped animation

Before today’s lecture I must admit I under-valued the history of Animation – taking modern technology for granted. Growing up with classics such as Toy Story (pixel) and the lion king (Disney), even as a child, often asked my father – How do they make cartoons? How do they make them move? As I have grown older and studied Art and Design for several years, I have gained a certain level of understanding, yet still not explored the beginnings and what advances where made from as early as 2000 bc.

What really grabbed my attention was the groundbreaking experiment carried out by Photographer Edweard Muybridge. He was commissioned $25,000 by ex governor Leland Stanley to use his skills in photography to prove whether or not, a horse lifts all four feet from the ground at anytime when running? This may sound like a waste of money to settle an age old debate, however the outcome proved to be the foundation to animation and stop motion as we see it today.

In order for this to be achieved Muybridge created a device which consisted of 24 separate cameras, which captured each motion seconds apart. This was never performed before, the results where astonishing! People still did not believe Muybridge and his claims, so he used huge projection for the gathering sceptics to prove it. In order to project a moving image, he invented a piece of equipment called a Zoopraxiscope. This projected images from rotating glass discs rapidly, creating a impression motion. It was only then people believed. After this triumph, Muybridge advanced in his studies towards human motion. Laying further foundations for today’s amazing cinematography and animation.

Edweard Muybridge
Galloping Horse 1878


Of course his experimentations were vital, but just as important, if not more so was his inventions and advancements in technology. Muybridge’ work has not only been responsible for cinema as we see it today, but also other medium such as CGI and computer gaming. The invaluable knowledge of human and animal movement and form provided by Muybridge has helped create an exciting world of entertainment.