November 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

In Anna’s lecture this week we talked about surrealism and surreal typography. This lecture was interesting because it related back to my E-sting work, which is inspired by Salvador Dali, who was a huge surrealist.

My notes…

Anna Powell- 28/11/14

[Next week lecture starts at 3:15-5:15]


  • Historic and contemporary
  • Gain understanding of ideologies and philosophies

  • Alphabet by Jindric Heisler, 1952
  • Origins of surrealism- cross over with dada
  • Peoples disillusionment with the world
  • What was happening in the world at the time (politically/socially)
  • What the were interested in- using the visual to express the mind
  • Andre Bretton- surrealist manifesto- wrote during the war
  • Started the literary journal
  • Surrealism is more structured than dada- not attacking everything, had more of a style to it

Theme 1- the unconscious mind

  • More structured/focused
  • Interested in Freuds work in relation to the unconscious mind- and trying to tap into the dream world of the unconscious mind
  • Real focus on Freudien theory
  • We then watched Sigmund Freuds manifesto on surrealism- about the inner conscious of the mind

Andre Masson- bout the subconscious taking over- Automatic drawing

  • About embracing culture

Theme 2- the ‘eye’ as a window

  • Rene Magritte- the false mirror, 1928
  • Developed a philosophy- how do you subvert the ordinary
  • The idea of eyes being a ‘window to the soul’- ‘eye’ used s a strange metaphor
  • Seeing and being seen at the same time

Theme 3- juxtaposition

  • About the order of things- taking ordinary objects ad putting them in strange orders and positions
  • Things that are unsettling that we have already come across but have been arranged/positioned in a way that makes them unsettling
  • Its about transforming things and putting them into a context (juxtaposition)- becomes unsettling

  • Bringing two things together that don’t go together

A ready-made- Marcel Ducamp- fountain, 1917

  • Taking something ordinary and then calling it art
  • Where the Idea is more important than the outcome
  • Doing what Freud and Bretton were talking about- taking something already mad and saying its art and making it disturbing.

Sigmund Freud- the uncanny

  • Freud had a huge influence on surrealism
  • Interested in how we act/who we are
  • Interested in being able to tap into the brain

It was a quite structured movement despite his interest in dreams- there is an order/focus to surrealism and surrealist thinking

Like with dada collage was quite popular…

Max Ernst- (German painter and sculptor)- surrealism and painting, 1942- looking at reflexivity

Salvador Dali- questioning scientific discoveries, celebrated surrealist

Surrealism- looking at the impossible/improbable

  • Uncanny
  • Surrealism and graphic design, the Moravian gallery, Brno, 2010, Czech republic- exhibition put together by Rick Poyner


  • Having lots of different forms
  • Kanel Teige- collage 323, 1946-
  • Conscious and subconscious

Another huge theme in surrealism- was how the ‘body’ was portrayed

Surreal typography

  • Alphabet by Roman Ceislewics for guide de la France mysteriouse, 1964
  • Sagmeister and Walsh- talk less say more, incorporating text with the human body

Elliot Earls, cranbook academy of art poster 2008

(‘Eye’ prevalent in al of design- rots in surrealism)

Edward Fella- coined the idea of automatic design

The marvellous as a theme in surrealism- Andre Bretton

The Quay brothers- animated film/ music poster, 1983

Walter Benjamin- essay- socilforschung

  • As history changes, and new movements emerge we have to find new frameworks to display and understand
  • There has always been different ways of recording the world (Walter recognised this) but he focuses on film and photography


November 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

In this lecture with Anna she put on a film about the bauhaus and we were asked to fill out a sheet- with questions to think about during the film-

The key themes that I picked out were, machine tamed for the benefit of man, utopian dream- Walter Gropius’s manifesto, developing craft skills, constructive thought, developed the convention of the art student and also form follows function.


November 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

In this lecture we looked mainly at propaganda posters- how they are meant to convey and emotion and how they manipulate your feeling and opinions. This for me was really interesting and I really liked the concept behind the advertising.

My notes…

Anna Powell- propaganda posters- 7/11/14

  • Convey emotions and manipulates peoples views/feeling/opinions on a topic
  • Evokes strong emotions

James Montgomery flag- ‘Uncle Sam’

  • ‘I want you for the U.S. army’
  • Ensued guilt in designers because they sold the war to youths

The image of women in war posters is common…


  • Motherhood/domestic (the Germans really endorsed this message)
  • In need of protection (passive)
  • Patriotic- sacrifice
  • Pure and noble
  • Women doing their part at home

Charles Dana Gibson

  • Gibson girl/shaking hands with ‘Uncle Sam’
  1. Howard Miller-

Howard Chandler Christy-

Another common theme was saving money

  • (Women and children) doing their part at home to save money (food intake/costs)
  • Doing more for less

‘Motif’ a recurring element that has a particular meaning- symbol- particular emotive response

Propagating Ideology- ‘iron fist’


Poster for salon dach exposition international- 1921- Galerie Montaigne…

My response

In this lecture I had considered writing my essay abstract on propaganda posters and how women were viewed at the time and also how it linked a little bit towards my conversation project, which was all about how women are viewed by society, however I decided that I didn’t want the two projects to connect too much and for me to confuse them and I also thought that it would be better for me in the long rune when writing my essay if the topic really interested me. A topic that is more interesting to me would be easier to write because information is more easily retained and thought through when you are interested in that specific topic and although I am interested in propaganda posters, it would be hard for me to write a good essay about them.


Modern Life Is Rubbish?

October 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

In this theory lecture with Anna we continued on a little from the last lecture and looked at the end of Art Nouveau and then moved on to look at cubism and futurism. I found that parts of this lecture interested me but there were also parts that I didn’t particularly enjoy- however here lecture was very well taught.

My notes…

Anna Powell- modern life is rubbish- 31/10/14


Modern life is rubbish?

Revolutionizing the image,

Style, cubism and futurism

The canon- what the ‘perfect’ body look was… (apparently)

-Mathematically correct/symmetry

The end of Art Nouveau…

  • Decorative elements not being modern enough
  • Fashion changes
  • Different trades coming together reduced hierarchy

Because of the First World War customer base changed towards propaganda…

Lucian Bernard- exposed to work by the Bergstaff Brothers- transitional period between Art Nouveau and Modernism

Lucian Bernardà Priester matches poster- ethos- addition by subtraction (less is more)


– Set of the idea of the object being designed for being place on the tin- ‘image on the tin’

Woodblock print showed the object with negative space- like the object/images are floating- no background

sex in the city poster


How you can see what the image represents- however without the text would it still be as well communicated?

Challenges the brain and the eyes with what you see and makes your brain work for it.

Cubism marked the dramatic shift in how people were represented in reality

  • Changes the way you look at the world
  • Bringing in movement and passing of time
  • Distorted and fragmented

(Pablo Picasso and George Brakk)

Juste De L’eau by Carlos De Carvalho- video

  • Cubism- Fernand Leger- attitudes to space- used experimentation- experimented with type
  • Jamie Reid (1997 sex pistols)

Sense of movement- as images move- your eyes/brain record it

  • Contemporary cubist influences
  • (Illustrated film covers)
  • Source code/total recall- film covers


  • Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, 1909 (born in Italy)
  • Embrace of the machine/modern city
  • Rejection of everything in the past
  • Had an impact on modernism



Iconology and Art Nouveau

October 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

In this lecture we looked at iconology which i really liked because I like analysing icons and there meanings and how useful they are. We also looked at Art Nouveau, which I also find interesting and i good part of design history.

My notes…

Anna Powell- Iconology & Art Nouveau- 24/10/14

Lecture recap

  • Design, art, fashion, humour
  • Looked at visual art being code
  • If there is not a natural connection- there is a cultural one
  • Signifier, signified and the sign
  • Iconology and culture
  • (Arbitrary- doesn’t mean anything)
  • The meaning isn’t always obvious
  • Language structure and other ways to communicate


  • Meanings are not always obvious
  • This can enhance the impact
  • Historical and theoretical impact (Erwin Panofsky- 1939)
  • Using visual evidence to unlock meaning
  • Looking as apposed to just seeing

Metaphor- where meaning is derived through association, comparison or resemblance

Take a painting for example….

  • Stage 1- what you see at face value- could suggest what style it is, what it is; shape/form/colour- is there any text?
  • Stage 2- reading between lines/behind image- understanding the concept

-Desperate housewives- old title sequence at the beginning of the show

-Jane Van Eyke- wedding portrait 1434

  • We then looked at St. Nick (Santa, Coca-Cola advert- 1963- jolly, red cheeks, chubby belly)
  • Pagan Santa- 1912- wearing green, without the text saying “Merry Christmas” and the holly we might not know what the image is portraying

-Richard Howells- 2003- painting…

-Erwin Panofsky- the 3 levels of ‘strata’ of iconological meaning

  • First ‘strata’- primary natural level of analysis
  • Second ‘strata’- conventional level- culturally specific
  • Third ‘strata’- intrinsic level- making assumptions

Jason Munn, MOMA screen-prints

The first image is an eye being panted, which could represent our eyes painting us a visual picture. It also has a line to make it look like a record, which could represent what we ‘record’ using our eyes.

The second image is of the eye as a camera, which could be what our eyes and minds visually record and remember from what we see in our lives. It can represent our memory and what it records.

We looked a postage stamp that has hands holding and is uniting the flags- shows a sense of community.

We looked at the abbey road poster and used the 3 levels of ‘strata’ to analyze the poster….


Art Nouveau


The ‘new’ style- ground breaking at the time- gone by the First World War

  • Peter Brehrens- 1898
  • Henry Van De Velde- 1899
  • Popularized through ‘Jugend’ (‘youth’) magazine in Germany- 1896

It was about…

  • Quality in materials
  • About the well being of a nation
  • Had to be good quality (non-machinery)


  • Response to urban growth, technological advances- people in the art world lost there sense of self because of machinery based design
  • This brought about Art Nouveau- lots of obscure patterns and shapes
  • Lots of things outlined in black and white
  • Rejecting lots of designs from before
  • Modernizing design
  • Abolishing the hierarchy of the arts- for example- like painting being better being a silver smith


  • Alphonse Mucha
  • Aubrey Beardsly

Elvira studio- Munich

  • Gesamtkunstwerk- everything being aligned and out on the same level- no one thing better than the other
  • Criticized for it flexible ethos- set rules and then they were broken slightly- some of the work was embellished


  • Vienna Secession….

(look up the arts and crafts movement- could have it in book/magazine form last year)


October 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have enjoyed Anna’s lectures so far- I think that they are really useful for our design practice and that the are useful to the work that we have produced and that we are producing. It’s a lot of art and design history but it is so useful to everything we do now as designers. I also like how she re-caps at the beginning of each of her lectures because this helps us keep what we have previously looked at fresh in our mind but also it is useful for those who have missed the session before.

My notes…

Anna Powell semiotics lecture- 17/10/14

Recap on last week-

  • Tools, vocabulary, confidence in your skills
  • You need to be able to talk about your own work and the relevance of it

Anthony Burrell- creative semiotics

All good designers are semioticians

Semiotics is the theory of using signs to create meaning- can be found in spoken and visual language

  • Can be individual
  • Have emotional impact
  • May be non-Linguistic
  • Can mean different things to different people


  • Creators and consumers
  • Participants in sharing ideas, collaborating
  • Good at reading codes- do this subconsciously

For example… we know what Danger tape at a crime scene means when we see it.

Good ideas can fail in communication aesthetically. You need to be able to communicate your ideas effectively so that others understand them.

We need to understand semiotics to communicate designs/concepts clearly

(Paul Rands IBM logo) -> rebus pictorial image of a logo- created in 1981. It permeated public awareness and shows that not all designs have to be complex.

Words + images and ideas +interpretations are used to make sense of the world.

Colour semiotics- what its about/what it does

  • Colours express certain coded information
  • Culturally different- different colours have different meanings in different cultures
  • Can be subconscious/habitual
  • Conventions- govern what we do- from our instincts from what we know and have been taught/our actions and thoughts

Branding relies heavily on colour to apply meaning

Colours have different emotional responses in different cultures

(Charles Sanders Peirce/ Ferdinand De Saussure)

  • Picture of object = signified
  • Word describing object = signifier
  • Object = sign

Arbitrariness -> when something is arbitrary it means that what is being shown is different to what is being said. What it shows is only linked to what it says because of what we have already been taught/already have accepted as normal.

For example -> CAT – makes us think of cats just because that is what we have been taught to know as a cat, what we have learned through behaviour.

‘Peirce’s elements’

3 categories of sign

Symbol- There is no logical connection between the symbol and what it refers to

  • It is linked as a result of habit/rules
  • For example the alphabet or flags.
  • (Telling you to do something like an arrow/)

Icon- resembles the sign/ meaning

  • Photograph or an accurate painting
  • An automatic connection is made
  • (Always a likeness between the sign and the icon)

Index- direct link between the meaning, sign and the object

  • Factual connection
  • For example- temperature and thermometer
  • Or time and clocks
  • Smoke is an index of fire

Semiotics: decoding the hidden message

ANTHONY BURRELL- Oil and water do not mix. He used oil and screen-printing to deliver his message. It follows “the medium is the message”

David Crow- “where there is choice, there is meaning” and also creativity.

Semiotics- the Heinz advert- even though you cannot see the bottle you can still tell what the object is and what it is advertising.

Semiotics and fashion-

  • Rolland Barthes
  • ‘Relationship from body to society’
  • People quite willingly accept a colour to mean something- like traffic lights

What you wear is always communicating something to someone else like black sometimes represents mourning, like at a funeral or just to symbolise death or people are labelled ‘Goth’ for wearing black. Other labels used for what we wear and our styles are ‘hipster’ or ‘geek’.

People like to justify for themselves who you are judging on what you wear.

Andy McCartney and Paul Humphreys.

Anchorage and relay


  • Text and image together- text anchors and pins down the meaning of the image.
  • Limits the chance of multiple meanings
  • Directs the reader viewer so that everything is clear


  • Where the words and images have equal weightage
  • They happen in parallel
  • Text is needed for the meaning because it creates context

Semiotics in art

Joseph Kosuth- conceptual artist

1 in 3 chairs

  • Picture of the chair = iconic signifier
  • Chair = signified
  • Description = sign

Questioning how image, meaning and text all come together

(The key of dreams- 1930’s)

Mismatched with different words to create different meanings

  • Subvert the norm
  • How we are taught to associate words with meanings/images

When an image is telling you that something is what it is- when really it isn’t it’s a picture or a painting of what it is telling you it is. Just because you are told it is something doesn’t mean it is.

Good examples of semiotics- the logo film

My response

I appreciated learning about iconology and thought that it would be very useful to my practice both now and in the future as a designer, especially when it comes to branding, which we will no doubt be briefed on branding something or to rebrand something in the future. This also helped me specifically because I am currently branding myself as a designer having recently started doing freelance work I thought that it would be useful to have an identity for my designs.

Design in context 2

October 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

In this lecture we met our new lecturer Anna and I really like her lectures, they are very clear and she has a lot of experience and you can tell that she really enjoys what she teaches. In this lecture she mainly went over our timetable for the term and told us about herself and her previous work history.

my notes…

Anna Powell lecture 1- 10/10/14

Design practice on context 2

  • Lecture 1- what is in a theory
  • Lecture 2- semiotics and the making of meanings. Text and image, semiotics and fashion
  • Lecture 3- style, form and iconography (iconology)
  • Lecture 4- Modern life is rubbish (revolutionising the image)
  • Lecture 5- Part 2 ‘futurism’
  • Lecture 6
  • Lecture 7
  • Lecture 8- postmodernity

Auteur theory

  • Tim Burton
  • Wes Anderson
  • Alfred Hitchcock

Theory, Practice and History- all interconnect

Anthony Burrell “I like it. What is it?”

We need the tools and language to be able to explain our practice and ideas.

Daniel Eatock

Conceptual designer

“The idea becomes the machine that becomes the art”- Sol Le Witt

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