Monday, March 29, 2010

Magazines & David Carson

David Carson is well known for his unique design contribution to various magazines in music, skateboarding and surfing during the 80’s and 90’s. As a professional surfer in the 70’s Carson was influenced by the rebellious messiness of the 80’s scene of that time and developed his own distinctive style that is often referred to as having a “grunge” appearance. His designs in Transworld Skateboarding and Beach Culture (lasting only for six additions) were chaotic and abstract in style, which he often experimented with the use of typography. Carson’s designs would often display words that would disappear into illustrations, photos that bleed off pages in mid images along with stories which were so densely layered the images often appeared to be almost unreadable.

In 1992 Carson became art director for Ray Gun magazine, an alternate

rock and roll magazine. He was recognised world wide for his unique ability to transform the norm of conventional magazines by experimenting with unusual ways of communicating, using different varieties of mediums. Carson defied the rules of design even though he claims he never learnt the rules to begin with and designed magazine covers with an unconventional appearance. His designs appeared as visually stunning and often illegible, which captured a wide audience including appealing directly to the youth market. USA Today quoted Carson’s magazine designs in Ray Gun “may actually get young people reading again”.


Design is thinking made visual : Saul Bass

the more i think about the quote the more layers i find. simply;

ideas are images.

thinking is a way of life. imagine the world if all our ideas and thoughts were real and created. I'm not saying they would all necessarily be great, but think of the endless possibilities.
thinking or/ ' the process of using one's mind to consider or reason about something'
when we think we create visual images in our minds. it is not verbal. we don't think inwards.
for designers' thinking is learning and coginition. designers thoughts branch into memory, attention, planing and problem solving.

designers are capable to influence what people remember and they know how to grab attention through brain storming.

i like the idea that designing is problem solving. creating a visual response to a problem. designers bring ideas to life, communicating ideas visually to the world.

"design thinking is a process that makes brain - storming more productive and more actionable" (Tiernann. M. 2007)

Saul Bass clearly followed this as a Graphic Designer, forming a new way of thinking about the design and elements relating to film and forever changed the designers role in the industry

he worked as an identity designer generating some of the most powerful and most visually significant brands. most of which are still in use today.

..........what people think.

"Perception is reality. Reality is not reality, it is only what people think."-Paul Rand

In the movie Rashomon (by Kurasowa), a woman is raped and her husband is murdered. what transpires in the movie are three versions of the same event, that of the bandit, that of the woman, and that of the husband (via a medium). The individuals viewpoint all paint themselves in a more favourable light. A fourth viewpoint is supplied by a woodcutter, who gives the most subjective, 'honest' point of view. (....but we don't know if his opinion is coloured by a childhood trauma).

Marge:"C'mon Homer,Japan will be fun. You liked Rashomon." Homer:"Thats not how I remember it!"

Reality is reality! (or at least it seems to be). Renee Descartes said "I think, therefore i am." Perhaps he should have said : I think, therefore I think I am.
We stand in the present day and say, of course the world is round, and of course the earth moves around the sun! But back in time, with less information, and we probably think it looks pretty flat, and it is so bleedingly obvious, that the sun travels from one side over to the other.
Even though we know all we know about the movement of the earth around the sun, we still call it sunrise and sunset, Reality is reality, but only because we say it is, and we get someone to agree with us.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."-Einstein

When the atheist, Philip Adams, stands in his paddock, on a moonless night, looking up at the visible universe, he states that he experiences (a) numinesence (sp?) , an awe and wonderment at the unimaginable infinity of it all. He does not believe in the reality of god (et al), but his perception of the universe, and of the numinescence, sounds deeply moving. If it is a very warm night, and he stood on an agressive, venomous snake, his perception of reality would be more focused on avoiding getting bitten, or bandaging his wound and getting to hospital. The universe is still there, but his perception is elsewhere.

Perception is reality! and as Sagmeister quotes the old chinese mans t-shirt: "so many dogs, so few recipes!".........the chinese mans reality would not be the same as an RSPCA officer!

Clearly things change through our perception of it, "it is just what people think!"

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become."-Buddha

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."-Henry Ford

"Everything you can imagine is real."-Picasso

"Your imagination is your preview of lifes coming attractions."- Einstein

"You create your own universe as you go along."- Winston Churchill

"Whatever a persons mind dwells on intensely and with firm resolve, that is exactly what he becomes."- Shankaracharaya

"We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are."-The Talmud

"BE the change you want to see in the world"-Ghandi

"There are two ways to live: you can live as nothing is a miracle; you can live as everything is a miracle"-Einstein

"He is able who thinks he is able."-Buddha

"I'm not crazy about reality, but it is still the only place to get a decent meal!"- Groucho Marx

6:PENNY Meaning of Quote: Style = Fart

Style = FART
“was the headline of a theory that style and stylistic questions are just hot air 
and meaningless”

Style – a particular or characteristic way, form or technique of making or producing a thing especially a work of art; a way of executing a task; a manner of performance.

Fart – an emission of wind from the anus.

“I discovered that this is simply not true. Through experience, I found that if you have content that is
 worthwhile, the proper expression of that content, in terms of
 form and style is actually very important. It can be a very
 useful tool to communicate that content.”

Style, when applied to Graphic Design, refers to the distinct look or feel a particular designer or group of designers will use as a standard across different products and mediums. Naturally, people will have a certain way of expressing themselves and their ideas; however, to ride a style through a career is lazy and boring. Forming, copying or endlessly repeating a style creates bad design and is meaningless hot air.
However, style can be important, especially when aiming at specific demographics. When creating design, steering away from style for the sake of being different, is to ignore devices which work. In Graphic Design the aim is to convey meaning, content or ideas. If a style is the best means to do so, then style is a good thing.
I believe that becoming entrenched in a style is a bad thing and can cause stagnation not only in a designer, but in Design as a whole. I also believe that style has its place and is not something to shy away from.

“To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.“

Milton Glaser,Jerome Quinert

the quote pretty much speaks for its self,i feel its saying if a designer is creating something its gotta be able to communicate and send out a clear message in order of a clear understanding of the designers work....

for over the course of several decades he "reinvented'' himself as a creative force by exploring new graphic techniques and motifs Milton Glaser, 1929, is a native of New York where he attended the High School of Music and Art, and Cooper Union Art School.

In 1954 Glaser was a founder of the Push Pin Studios formed with several of his Cooper Union classmates. Glaser's work is characterized by directness, ''simplicity'' and ''originality'. He uses any medium or style suggested by the picture problem in his design for book jackets, record album covers, advertisements and direct mail pieces, as well as for magazine covers and illustrations.

During the 1980s and 1990s Glaser became increasingly interested in illusisons and dimensionality. Drawings are presented as dimensional objects in ways that intensify their meaning.

when Glaser creates his work he likes to keep it simple but affective he wants the audience to be able to relate and think about and understand what the message he wants to try and send out,he likes to stick with what he feels most confiendent with,so that he can make his work the best it can be
RaY GUn magazine

David Carson was the Art Director of Ray Gun magazine. breaking out from the typical walls of graphic design through Ray Gun. he was self taught and followed his own style to smash restrictive boundaries.
Carson is known best for his work with experimental typography and his cutting-edge magazine design.
ray gun was an American, alternative Rock and Roll magazine. it was first published in California during 1992. David Carson founded the experimental magazine of graphic design. his work with the magazine has him seen to many as one of the most significant graphic designers of the nineties.
his results produced a 'chaotic, abstract style, not always readable but distinctive in appearance'.
davids new direction into design targeted at youth brought him into the eyes of corporate America. large companies such as Nike and Levis saw an opportunity in Davids design to increase youth sales and commissioned him to design prints ads and direct television commercials.
he was so influential to the magazine, his ideology was kept even after David left the magazine.
Ray Gun produced over 60 issues from 1992 to 2000.

5:PENNY Music/Magazines: Stefan Sagmeister

The intent of Stefan Sagmeister in beginning his own Graphic Design company was to allow himself the freedom to design CD covers for the music he appreciated. Over the years, Sagmeister has designed covers, graphics and packaging for musicians such as the Rolling Stones, David Byrne, Lou Reed, Aerosmith, and Pat Metheny. His work in this genre has received four Grammy nominations, and has won many international design awards.

Sagmeister won a Grammy for his work on the Talking Heads collection which features paintings by the Russian contemporary artists Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov.

“they contain all of my favourite visual icons: babies bears severed limbs and bare naked people”

Even during Sagmeisters famed year long sabbaticals, he set aside time to design covers.

“The most enjoyable was designing a CD cover every Thursday from 9am to 12pm. I would put any CD that was lying around into the player, start working immediately, and then be done with the whole thing, complete with soft-page booklet and CD label by 12 o'clock.”

Many of Sagmeisters typographical works and experiments have also made their way into magazines and onto posters.
‘Starting A Charity Is Surprisingly Easy’ became the dividing pages opening each new chapter for the Austrian magazine ‘Copy’. Sagmeisters book, ‘Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far’ contains a list of 20 personal quotes, such as ‘Trying To Look Good Limits My Life’ and “Everybody Who Is Honest Is Interesting”, many of these became magazine spreads, billboards, light boxes, annual reports, and fashion brochures.
Post 6 | Quote Review - by M'Shell

"Applied good taste is a mark of good citizenship. Ugliness is a form of anarchy…ugly cities, ugly advertising, ugly lives produce bad citizens"

- Lester Beall

The above quote really struck a chord with me at this stage of my life because I feel very interested in good taste, style and all that is visual, and I agree wholeheartedly that ugliness negatively affects citizens. I realise that beauty and ugliness are very subjective ideas, but I propose that, in essence, they are not. Rather, most people can agree that some things are essentially ugly or essentially beautiful.

For example, consider attending a school where all of the classrooms have paint peeling off the walls and the outside of each grey building shows random graffiti (not the artistic kind, the amateur texta-tag kind). There are no trees and no grass, just concrete and dirt. How would you feel about attending school? About learning? About life? Even imagining this sort of ugliness makes me feel trapped, hopeless, angry – emotions that make my life appear to be pointless, not ones that would create good citizens.

The same applies to our current capitalist environment that is filled with advertisements and limitless examples of graphic design in action. If we are going to be surrounded by these examples constantly, those responsible for creating and designing them have an obligation to make them visually appealing.

Every day, good graphic designers enter into a fight – a fight against ugliness. In this way, they seek to creatively contribute to improving the mood and emotions of the masses, making the world a more beautiful place to live.


Josh Agle - Poster Designer.

Josh Agle, more commonly known as 'Shag', is an Illustrator, Painter and a Designer in Southern Cali. He initially wanted to become an illustrator-for-hire, but this plan changed when a number of galleries and collectors took a large amount of interest in his work.

Shag has had a number of successful solo exhibitions in Australia, America, Europe and Japan.

The Outré Gallery describes Shag's work as: "The paintings are visually influenced by avant-garde animation of the early fifties and sixties (Terry Toon animated shorts when Gene Deitch headed the studio, Disney's educational short-subjects, beer & cigarette commercials) as well as generic advertising art of the same era (sci-fi pulp art, sixties clip art, etc.). His highly collectable paintings celebrate consumerism through depictions of characters who smoke, drink and socialise in fantasy settings. High profile fans of Shag include Seth Green (Dr Evil's son), Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller, David Arquette who all have Shag originals in their collections."

Shag does the majority in his studio, which overlooks a wooded valley in the hills above L.A. This studio is a part of the home he shares with his family. He is currently in the process of creating a number of works for exhibitions in NY, Paris and Tokyo.

Helpful Shag links:-
x Shag's website
x About the book
x Shag's Wiki
x Earl McGrath Gallery info on Shag
x Outré Gallery

4:PENNY Posters: Audrey Beardsley

"I have one aim—the grotesque. If I am not grotesque I am nothing."

Beardsley was one of the most controversial artists of the Art Nouveau era. He was greatly influenced by Japanese ‘shunga’ and the style’s giant genitalia figured greatly in his later work which often featured grotesque erotica and perverse illustrations.

He was a close friend of Oscar Wilde and illustrated his play ‘Salome’. Among his more famous work is the illustrations for the deluxe edition of Sir Thomas Malory’s, Le Morte d’Arthur.

His work as a Graphic Designer is evident in his work on ‘The Yellow Book’, a magazine at which he was the art editor for the first four editions. ‘The Yellow Book’ was a quarterly literary periodical containing a wide range of literary and artistic material. He was also key in establishing ‘The Savoy’ another magazine of the same style.

He worked in the Arts, creating Posters for theatres, books, plays and magazines; he became a huge influence on the French Symbolists and the Poster Art movement of the 1890’s.

At 25, after a prolific life as an artist, writer and musician, Beardsley died of the tuberculosis which had been slowly killing him since he was a child.,_self-portrai.aspx


- Neville Brody
The reason as to why i chose this quote is it applies to what I think design and communication should be. If something is interesting of course it's going to stick in your mind! It's going to make you think, Hey! I remember that product or advertisement it was funny or entertaining. If somthing is entertaining it's going to make you think about it and talk about it to your friends, therefore from a products point of view there prodcut is getting out there free of charge.
If communication wasn't entertaining, the world would be a boring place!! There wouldn't be a 'pick me up, make me feel good' advertisement to make you feel better on a bad day. There would be no conversation helpers if communication was boring.
When our eye meets a page it wants to be entertained, it wants rythem, it wants to be guided around a page, if everything thing was black and white and in helvetica imagine how 'un'entertaining that would be!!
I strongly agree with this quote as i believe it is 100% true and every designer should stick to it!!

Post 2 -Candy Typography

Paula Scher

Paula's thoughts and views on Helvetica .

Paula became a designer during the Vietaman War and strongly equates helvetica as fascism, but not the fascism of the 30s and 40s but rather of the 60s and 70s. At the time the Corporate visual language was strongly influenced by Helvetica and all looked similar, they all had that clean look.

The clean look reminder Paula of having to clean her messy room as an adolescent, and thought that it was a conspiracy by her mother to keep her house clean, and that her childhood rebellion was coming back to get her in the form of helvetica. Even though she uses fascism in its childish form doesnt mean she can't connect the font to real world violence.

She was morally opposed to helvetica because she viewed the large corporations overused the typefaces and were sponsors to the Vietnam War. So she believed that if you used the typeface, then you were a supporter of the War. So how could you use it?.
When Paula was asked if Helvetica was the typeface of the Vietnam War?, What is the typeface of "the Iraq war" , she quickly replied with "Helvetica". Helvetica caused it. Paula had rejected Helvetica because of what it had represented to her, her rejection was repeated through architecture, art, film, and literature.