TaDa! Opening Celebration
Saturday, August 9, 2014
116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA
25 conceptual graphic designers from Vermont College of Fine Arts’ graduate program visualize “TaDa!” as graphic design using varied media, sizes, dimensionality, and styles.
The Masters of Graphic Design program at Vermont College of Fine Arts is less concerned with what graphic design should be and instead has embraced the idea of what graphic design could be. The students, faculty and alumni of the program have made a practice of using graphic design processes to produce what, at first glance, may not look like graphic design product.
In this exhibition, graphic design communicates through a visual medium. Graphic designers work on the screen, in print, and multi-dimensionally, with light and sound and intangibles and make incursions into territory traditionally occupied by other arts. The media of the works in this show range from embroidered pillowcases, to video, to painted wooden shapes, to upcycled car parts, to trash. The designers’ intend variously to heal, to challenge, and to create social change as well as to explore traditional design barriers and create communicative form. Two of the designers in the show, Christine Valerio and Rachael Hatley, have received national recognition for their community design projects. Troy Patterson received a Design Ignites Change Awards Program. Others have been exhibited in art shows across the country and written for design publications. The work that VCFA designers do is expanding the reach of design practice.
TaDa! is unique in that these works are not graphic design as fine art, but graphic design as a vehicle of communication. In the tradition of the VCFA educational model, each designer has used vigorous training in design — typography and visual hierarchy and color theory and design history —to “conjoin the visual with language and intention.” (Sondra Graff)
Emily Claire Coats says of her own work, “See This | Not This is a work of graphic design as it incorporates a variety of graphic elements, designed together to elicit participation from others and communicate between them. Because the finished work will reflect a collaborative effort and place a focus on the process of creating the piece, it may fall under the category of conditional design (where the process is the goal). However, the finished piece, including the additions of participants, is designed to create a visual conversation that explores the nuances of revealing oneself to others.” TaDa! recontextualizes preconceived notions of graphic design by shifts in form, content and thinking.
Leslie Tane, VCFA GD 10.2013, is a curator, designer, educator, and writer living in Easthampton, Massachusetts. After more than 20 years of design practice she currently works as a contributing writer for Beautiful/Decay and in the Art Discovery Center of the George Vincent Walker Smith Museum in Springfield, MA. Her design project Curatorial 365 is scheduled to be exhibited at Hosmer Gallery in Northampton, MA in 2015.
I recently participated in the XD24 International Design lecture roundtable and workshop at Hongik University, initiated by faculty member and amazing host Chris Ro.
I did my usual song and dance – this time about socioeconomic foundations and graphic design foundations.
Included were discussions of Fordism and Modernism,
as well as a suggestion as to socioeconomic order in the startup 2.0 age,
and a definition of graphic design in the startup 2.0 age.
The lecture was half-dystopian / half-utopian, as I see how most people see this Post-PostModern age as being. The other speakers were my fellow VCFA faculty Yoon Soo Lee and Ziddi Msangi, as well as Apple type designer Min Bon. The roundtable was moderated by Jiwon Lee, one of my favorite, favorite human beings.
Kwong Nayoung and Kkong Mira (above) provided amazing translation into English AND Japanese. Jungwook Kim provided general assistance.
The lecture was preceded by a workshop about oppositionality as a base methodology for constant engagement (and thus actual creativity and innovation) in graphic design.
Students were asked to create a visual kit-of-parts that was comprised of 25 formal elements (color, pattern, form, image, texture, type, and lettering) based on three speculative potential future vocations unreliant on the laws of physics.
They made weird stuff.
And they made interesting stuff.
But most of all, they made a lot of stuff, and they (including faculty member Chris Ro) stuck around for an extra six hours to ensure that everyone got a full critique. (Bonus: Chris and I bought pizza and beer for everyone.)
And then they mimicked the supernatural beings in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, with Chris being the Gloved One. It was, in short, awesome.
I just got a nice writeup in the new issue of CalArts Magazine in a feature about Graphic Design Department alumni. It was good to be featured alongside some of my favorite compañeros and compañeras like Mark Kulakoff, Caroline Oh, Jon Sueda, Geoff McFetridge, Brian Roettinger, Hillary Greenbaum, and Andrea Tinnes. The issue’s design by Cassandra Chae and Jin Son is amazing, as well!
Kimbo does magical, magical things with vectors – both in creating new shapes not natively in Illustrator and for assembling vector objects based on symmetry, abstraction and ornament.
Kimbo is super versatile – check out the user manual to see how extensive it really is.
We just finished up designing a tour-only CD of oddball tracks and rarities for Kind of Like Spitting called “Professional Results”, which include a number of tracks from when Ben Gibbard of Deathcab for Cutie was in the band. Catch them on tour this summer!
I’m going to be giving a presentation about typography and type design tools called “Talking Type” at UXTalk in Tokyo on June 25th at 7pm at the Gengo offices. Details should be announced here shortly.
We just picked up an amazing book that we are carrying over at Wordshape—the very best book on the work of Jan Tschichold to date!
The most comprehensive showing to date of the work of typography master Jan Tschichold—the father of New Typography. Published on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition of Tschichold’s work at Ginza Graphic Gallery in 2013, this beautifully designed and printed book covers an immense amount of his output. Included are type designs, book covers from all stages of his career, poster designs, interior typographic layouts, and hundreds of rare Tschichold works—all photographed beautifully.
The book also contains a new essay on the work of Tschichold by his biographer Christopher Burke, as well as an excellent essay on Tschichold’s interest and focus on Japan and Japanese aesthetics by Taro Yamamoto.
This title is highly recommended and is one of the most beautiful books we have ever carried, both in terms of content and design. 148 pages, beautifully written, photographed, designed and printed. You can, and you should, pick it up here.