For the group project, I and my team members decided to create our presentation on the Pioneers of Postmodern Design drawn to the colourful and individualistic design outcomes the movement produced. This was a great project to work on and my team worked well together in dividing up the work and steadily contributing each week. My workflow throughout the four weeks was as follows:
On week 1 we had our first group meeting and quick video call to discuss topics. After having spent some time researching each topic we decided to make our presentation on the pioneers of postmodern design. We then set a target of completing more thorough research on the area.
Monday meeting- Following the completion of our initial research I proposed breaking the subject area down into 3 sections: the international style and new wave typography, the Memphis group and retro and vernacular design. We each chose a category and decided to look at a number of key designers in each area for the next meeting.
Following feedback on from Pauline in our first meeting we decided to look at only 1 or 2 designers each as it was going to be difficult to cover more than that within the 10 minute time frame
I spent this week researching my topic in more detail. While I had originally planned to look at Siegfried Odermatt, Rosmarie Tissi and Wolfgang Weingart it quickly became clear that I would not be able to cover all three in adequate detail and therefore I decided to only cover Odermatt and Weingart.
I began by researching the designer’s education and employment history to get a better idea of what inspired their fresh approach to design and typography. I then looked into their design work and selected a number of outcomes that I felt best exemplified the movements to be included in the final presentation and dropped this information into the slides we had set up on google drive.
In week three I researched various postmodern designs and created a background slide to be used throughout the presentation. I pitched this design to the group and we agreed to use it throughout, it was also decided that Emily would create a title slide and Emma would create a closing thank you slide to allow all members of the group to contribute to the design of the presentation.
During our feedback, we were advised to keep out content on the slides concise and therefore reduced the number of points I had included in each slide.
Throughout week 4 I finalised my script and timed myself presenting my portion to make sure I was hitting around the 3-minute mark. I also practised this a number of times with Emily in order to formularise myself with presenting online (this was my first experience of an online presentation)
While I was very happy with the outcome I still found myself getting nervous which may have impacted on the effectiveness of the delivery of my portion. While I do not particularly enjoy public speaking this is an area I definitely need to work on and therefore I will need to seek out opportunities to speak publicly to improve these important skills.
I began by reading Megg’s and Purvis’ History of graphic design chapter on Postmodern Design. This allowed me to break the movement up into 4 phases: Early Swiss Postmodern design, New Wave Typography, The Memphis and Francisco school and Retro and vernacular design. For my portion of the presentation, it was decided that I would look more closely at Early Swiss Postmodern design and New Wave Typography. I began my research by looking at two key players in early Swiss postmodern design: Siegfried Odermatt and Rosmarie Tissi.
The two worked closely together founding their own graphic design studio Odermatt and Tissi in 1968 in Zurich. Tissi was born in Thayngen Switzerland in 1937 and trained as a graphic designer in the school for design in Zurich and has shared a studio with Odermatt since graduating. Tissi had achieved many independent feats in her career developing a unique and playful style standing out against the more rigid Swiss typography style.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I had to cut the portion of my presentation that included Tissi and her work simply because I had taken a more in-depth look at Siegfried Odermatt at that point. However, Tissi’s work as shown below is truly amazing.
I love her bold use of colour and the inclusion of geometric shapes as well as her use of layering. In the Offset outcome shown above left Tissi typography becomes a work of art with bold contrasting colours, vertically and horizontally placed lettering with varying cases, sizes and weights combined with a playful use of layers with features such as the ‘O’ hanging from the ‘F’ and partially hidden behind the ‘S’. While in outcomes such as Tissi’s poster for the Swiss poster of the year competition shown to the right we see the overlapping of typography and geometric shapes creating a beautiful frame like effect in the outcomes with these being drawn once again with the use of bold contrasting colours. I find the above outcome to be inspirational and would love to have the opportunity to work with type is this way at some point in the future.
Siegfried Odermatt prides himself as a self-taught graphic designer and began his career working as a delivery boy for Graphis Press at which point he became exposed to the work of graphic artist and painter Hans Falkand would later collaborate with Falk on freelance work with Falk between 1943 and 1946. Odermatt also worked under prominent Swiss designers such as Max Huber which is also said to have inspired him to become a graphic designer. Odermatt self-taught approach is said to be evident in his work in which he brakes with the traditions of the International Style in his organisation of space along with his use of colour and cropping.
This can be seen in the above designs created by Odermatt. In his Union Safes Advertisement Odermatt uses a disorganised placement of the word union, which he repeats three times with the text even overlapping in places it is said to be squeezed together in this fashion to “reflect the strength and potency of the product”. Evidence of the postmodern style can also be seen in the haphazard placement of body text running at various angles throughout the arrangement. What really amazes me about this outcome is that is has been used in a corporate setting I can imagine it to have been pretty unique at that time.
In the Linol Cities Druck outcome Odermatt can be seen to be pushing the boundaries with his use of layering and in the cascading placement of the body text sitting on shifting axes and even interrupted by the vertically placed header. In the Seranaden 89 outcome, we once again see shifting axes in his header and use of layering to create an edgy postmodern feel. Throughout each of these compositions, the influence of Swiss/ International style is very apparent particularly in the Unions Safes and serenaden 89 outcomes which are more minimalist in the arrangement and use quite a bit of white space.
Wolfgang Weingart is best known for his work as a pioneer of New-Wave typography. New-Wave typography again pushes the boundaries of the international style and this is very evident in the work of Wolfgang Weingart however he is still characterised as a Swiss Typographer. Weingart was born in Southern Germany spending part of his childhood there and returning to attend the Merz Academy in Stuttgart where he studied applied graphic arts for 2 years learning linocut, woodblock printing and typesetting. This was followed by a three-year apprenticeship at Ruwe Printing. After having met Emil Ruder and Armin Hofmann Weingart moved to Basel to study as an independent student at the Basel School of Design and was requested to teach typography in Weiterbildungsklasse für Grafik, a newly established department in 1968. However, his teaching style was very different from Ruder and Hofmann’s that would have taught Weingart typography in the clean organised style rather Weingart introduced a more expressive and experimental approach to typography, with both he and his students becoming influential around the world with this new approach.
Above some examples of Weingart’s work. The compositions are filled with text, shapes and images with little to no white space. The introduction of various mediums is clear with the inclusion of collage a design element very prevalent in Weingart’s work particularly in his 1979 poster shown to the left with the inclusion of a torn paper effect and various textures with the typography almost being lost in its random placement throughout the composition. In the centre poster the inclusion of patters overlapping outcomes can be seen as well as the incorporation of geometric shapes and sharp jagged lines throughout. In the Das Schweizer Plakat shown to the right 2 colours are included which interact to create a really interesting cloud-like outcome that would have been so innovative and different at that time.
It is interesting to note that the above work was not made digitally but would have involved multiple film positives and masks that would have been stacked and exposed to produce one negative. Weingart also used many different experimental techniques including even the printers camera to produce these incredible outcomes.
Designing the presentation slide background
When looking at the design of the presentation I wanted to show the clear influence of the postmodern style and therefore began by generating a mood-board of different outcomes that I liked and felt I could draw inspiration from to create our presentation slide backgrounds.
I really love the outcomes and how bold and crazy they all our. However, as I wanted to make a more muted outcome in order to avoid the background detracting from the slide content I drew a lot of my inspiration from the navy and cream outcome shown above as I was immediately drawn to its clever use of framing, more muted colour palette and bold use of typography. I, therefore, drew heavily from this in my own work.
I began by sketching out the design I wanted to produce and digitised it using illustrator and the typeface Barriecito Regular as I felt it’s lack of consistency in form and waiting throughout the letters was an effective representation of the postmodern style. However, when adding text and content onto of this background I found the typography to be too distracting.
I, therefore, increased the size of the cream portion of the layout and had the text place around the border moving off the layout, I also added a crumpled page effect by layering an image of a crumpled piece of paper over the layout and reducing the opacity see above right. I was pleased with this outcome but still, get the typography was too bold. I, therefore, decided to reduce the size and opacity of the typographic element and remove some of the blue portions, as I was concerned this looked a little bland I decided to add in scribbles using the pen tool. When adding to the presentation I was finally happy that the slide background was not detracting from the content and was still effectively communicating a postmodern feel. Overall I am very pleased with this outcome.