My approach to Graphic Design: Identity & Ethics

For the majority of my life, I have been surrounded by design from packaging of the food  I eat or branding of the clothes I wear. So it comes as no surprise that all these elements have molded who I am as a designer and my physical approach to design.

Fig 1 ‘History of the Title sequence’ by From Form 2011

I have always had a strong love for the cinema, mostly in the title sequences before or a film as the typography to me, sets the whole mood and creates the right atmosphere for the audience. One of my favourite designers for this being Saul Bass (1920-1966) who was responsible for some of the greatest and  title sequences such as ‘Psycho’ (Fig 4) , ‘Vertigo’ (Fig 2) and ‘North by Northwest'(Fig 3) . His use of kinetic typography (moving text or type) was innovative of the time and has inspired many homages such as the opening sequences for ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Catch me if you Can’. I elected to take animation for my second year at University inspired by title sequences of films. I highly admire not only his motion design, but his logo work and his ability to create a strong brand identity through simple means.

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Fig2    Screenshot from the title sequence of ‘Vertigo’   1958   Fig 3 Screenshot from the title sequence of ‘North by Northwest’ 1959

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Fig 4   Screenshot from the title sequence of ‘Psycho’ 1960

This in turn has created an obsession of Graphic Design and illustration from the 1960’s. I am heavily influenced with this design period as designers and illustrators were trying to find new ways of showing things in more minimalistic way through limited colour palettes and bold graphic shapes. America was at the height of its consumerism and this can be seen through its advertising. The market was flooded a variety of products and advertisers had the hard task of being able to communicate its worth effectively to an audience. This is most prevalent by the work of Bill Bernbach who most famously did the Volkswagen campaign titled ‘The lemon’ (Fig 5) and ‘Think Small’ c.1960’s.

Not only is the advert amusingly well written, but it shows clever advertising as Americas car market was heavily dominated by large American cars. Who would have wanted to buy a funny little German car before this?

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Fig 5 ‘The Lemon Advert’ c.1960’s by DDB

My adoration for typography has influenced my field of study to animation and packaging in my Graphic Design degree. Both of which I hope that I can create design with elements strong graphic identity, inspired by Saul Bass, and a more humourous approach to design like Bill Bernbach.

Image Listing

Fig 1 http://www.Youtube.com

Fig 2-4 http://www.artofthetitle.com/

Fig 5 http://www.powerwriting.com/vw-lemon-ad.html

Bibliography

Jennifer Bass, Pat Kirkham (2011) Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design. Laurence King.

Jim Heimann (2012) Advertising from the Mad Men Era. Taschen.

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