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"collage" Tag


Design’s Delight by Jan van Toorn


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Design’s delight is a book of which as well the content as the design are by Jan van Toorn, a dutch graphic designer. The aim of his book is to question and to comment the way designers work now. You can tell this by both the content and the way it is designed.

cover

The cover of the book is rather simple, but shows already some of the characteristics of the graphic designs of Jan van Toorn. Various thicknesses of letters have been used, to make distinctions between different sorts of text, the text in the top right corner, for example, is shown as well in English as in Dutch, but to divide these two the English part has been set in bold type.

Another characteristic of Jan van Toorns design is making a text that should incite the reader to “active reading”. He does this by putting the text on a page in different directions, you can see this at the bottom of the cover, where the text has been put upside down, but also at the sides of the cover, where the text has been turned. This stimulates the reader to read the book in an active way, by having to turn it around to read everything it says.

idea ideea

The first pages of the book are used to offer an introduction to the further part of the book. Different pages has been used to write the sentence “design is a good idea desperately seeking images and other forms of truth”, which actually is the core idea behind the book. By spreading the sentence over a few pages, more attention of the reader is asked to figure out exactly which point is made. With every page, a new word is added. Again the text is shown in both English and Dutch, and these two are again divided by setting them in different thickness and types.

essay essaycollage

After the introducing pages the book continues with an essay on ‘thinking the visual’, placed on the page in a simple, clear way, again both in English and Dutch in different typefaces. Still, in the essay, van Toorn keeps adding sentences that have been turned around in the middle of the pages, and the pages after the essay are filled with little pieces of text that have been placed in an almost collage-like way, spread out and turned around over the pages, sometimes even combined with images, encouraging the reader to turn the book around and play with the book in order to read what it says.

afbeldingen

After this part, the biggest text part of the book, van Toorn starts working out the main idea of his book, showing it in a lot of pages filled with different images that have been taking from media like newspapers, television, magazines and various advertisements. Every single thing that is shown in these media has been given a form by a designer. The book is on the role of this designer, and the influence a designer has on the way information is given. In these pages, the most important part of the book, Jan van Toorn explores the opportunities of the role of a designer. He makes various juxtapositions of images from different media, and by doing this he adds a different meaning to them, encouraging the reader to think about these different meanings, and, indirectly, the role of the designer who puts these images together.

afbeeldignen

Most of the pages exist of one big image, shown as a spread, only leaving some white space at the bottom of the pages, where text is shown. Across most of the images other images have been places, but the design changes a lot, sometimes only 1 images are shown or images are placed next to each other in a row. The text below the images, again, has been placed upside down and turned around. Because the text is below the image you make, as a reader, a connection between the two, as if the text is a description of the image shown above. Which often is not the case, but the texts mostly illustrates the meaning of the juxtaposition of the images shown in the pages.

Also a number is shown in this white space, indicating the current chapter you are in, and the title of this chapter is always shown in the top left corner of the right page. At every first page of a new chapter the title of the chapter is also shown in handwritten letters, next to the number of the chapter. Because of this continuous showing of the chapter you are in, there is something that you can hold on to during the reading of the book, because of the chaos of the combination of all the different images, in which a lot happens and which contain a lot of colors, you would otherwise easily lose grip of what you’re reading.

eenalaatste

The next part of the book is again a small text part, on the method and means of dialogic practice. It is designed in a similar way as the essay at the beginning on the book, but now the English and Dutch part are not divided in two columns on the same page, but one page is filled with English and the other with Dutch. The same typefaces are used again to make the separation.

always failing

After this text part different pages are used to write one sentence, just as in the beginning of the book. The design is very similar, only the sentence and the images behind it are different, but as a reader you understand directly that it refers to the start of the book.

nawoord

The last part of the book is the afterword, which is designed the same as the preceding text part.

rug

The book has a glue binding, and because the book contains a lot of images the spine of the book has a blend of all different kinds of colors, which kind of reminds you of newspapers and magazines, and it might as well be a reference to these media, where the images in the book are coming from. You can unfold a part of the back of the cover, which at the inside shows a poster-like design of a text in different sizes. At the outside of this part, the part that is the last page of the book when it isn’t unfold, the colophon and the contents of the book are shown.

achterflapdicht achterflap

All in all, I think the design of the book serves it’s content very well. The combinations of the images and text are very well done, they complement each other on every page. The basic design is very continuous throughout the book, which works very well because the chaos of the images keeps changing. Design’s delight by Jan van Toorn was an intriguing book to research, because of both its content as its design.

 

private collection

Ecosophical Roadmap


Friday, August 30, 2013

intro

Haeckel_Orchidae

“The drawings in Kunstformen Der Natur express Haeckel’s fascination and devotion to the study of nature. Haeckel himself described his fascination for the world he was investigating, mostly referring to his main discovery, the Radiolarius [x], a single cell organism discovered in the depth of the ocean.
“It’s hard to believe that these creatures are single cells, some are like grids, broken nets or stems, others like tiny balls, helmets or bells when others appear to us like tender houses, windmills, fantastic towers.”

These words reflect on how much the artistic impulse of Haeckel seemed to have taken over his wish to be perfectly accurate and neutral as a scientist. His drawings are projections of real observations but they are as much projections of the inner interpretation of the artist’s vision of reality. Kunstformen der Natur was a way for him to unite these two projections in a single work. He by doing so “began to see not only the outer forms but also the inner content, the nature and the history of things”. He’s been trying to see nature as a “single unfolded work of art” by trying to understand the sequences allowing the Radiolarius to be present in such a multitude of forms. By doing so he achieved an astonishing body of work that can be seen as a suspended moment in time, a witness of this wish to leave space enough for observations and fantasy in a single picture. Following Goethe’s attempt to present nature in its diversity and trying to find unity in it at the same time, Ernst Haeckel created hybrid specimens that reflected on his subjective way to create the marvelous and the poetic in order to try to decode the genesis and the evolutionary systems of nature. That lead him to coin the word “ecology” itself.”

Excerpt from “The Curious, the Marvelous and the Particular”
(thesis by Rudy Guedj can be downloaded as pdf at the end of the article)

 

roadmap

By exploring the potentialities of ecological worldviews, old and new, through theory and art, WHERE ARE WE GOING, WALT WHITMAN? seeked, to accelerate, accumulate, animate and activate our poetical and political understanding of the world. (Introduction of the Studium Generale 2012-2013 “Where are we going, Walt Whitman? An ecosophical roadmap for artists and other futurists”)

The visual campaign for the Studium Generale — designed in collaboration with Sophie Rogg, Olya Troitskaya and Martin Huger –all graduates from the Graphic Design department in 2013— revealed itself progressively. It was trying to both map knowledge acquired during the past lectures, and project on a fictional level thanks to a visual pollution which was growing exponentially on all the mediums we used.

billboard1

The first layer of the campaign, the map, was created before the Conference-Festival as a simple topology arranging references into a single spacial representation. Day after day, the basic map, as all the different supports we used to communicate with, was taken over by a visual infection.

DSC_0030

The creation of each of the collages has been realized as a reaction to the existing publication Kunstformen der Natur (Ernst Haeckel, 1899-1904). These bold interventions on top of the existing drawings shaped a fictional journey throughout the campaign and provided endless interpretations of the very broad topic of ecology today.

Collage_Orchidae calabi-yau-2 poster_3 Haeckel_Kunstformen_Page_065_2
< illustrations Rudy Guedj, Sophie Rogg, Olya Troitskaya and Martin Huger >

“A welcome pendant to the overload of terms and theory is the online Ecosophical Roadmap: an ongoing encyclopedic exercise accumulating (visual) footage that inspired the speakers. (Ecosophical Roadmap) I dare say this experiment is the only contribution to the Studium Generale that practices what it preaches: it actually embodies our way of interacting with the material world, mediated through technology and immaterial digits.”
From : Metropolis M (online reviews)

DSC_0110 DSC_0127
< Studium Generale poster, physical translation Roadmap >

The online roadmap was a way for us to respond to the immediate and ephemeral format of the lecture by gathering notes and other references mentioned during the discussions. It functions today as a remaining archive, an attempt to visualize the many connections that were progressively built up and to emphasize on the important role that plays serendipity in our daily use of technological medias.

text by Rudy Guedj [graduate student department of Graphic Design]

thesis

 

Pdf-icon Download my thesis: ”The Curious, the Marvelous and the Particular“

 


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