Experimental graphic design

37 

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Rochester Institute of Technology

RIT Scholar Works

Theses

Thesis/Dissertation Collections

4-29-1989

Experimental graphic design

George C. Wenzel

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Recommended Citation

(2)

Rochester

Institute

of

Technology

A Thesis

Submitted

to the

Faculty

of

The

College

of

Fine

and

Applied Art

in

Candidacy

for

the

Degree

of

MASTER OF FINE ARTS

Experimental

Graphic

Design

Lester Beall

/

SITE

by

GEORGE A. WENZEL

(3)

Advislin":

R.

Roger Remingt.n

Associate Advisor: Dr. Barbara J. Hodik

Date:

/dJ..

~

(/Z'j

Associate Advisor: Heinz Klinkon

Date:

/~

I!,

&1/

Special Assistant to the Dean for Graduate

Affairs: Philip Bornarth

Date:

~_+_~-).<5___,-f_~-?-1----I (

Dean, College of Fine and Applied Arts:

Dr. Robert Johnston

I George Wenzel

_

prefer to be contacted each time a request for

production is made. I can be contacted at:

60D Pennwood Dr.

(4)

Proposal

and

Preliminary

Research

1

Lester Beall's Experimental Design

Work

1

Beall

Text from Poster.

3

Quotes

8

Design

of

Beall

Book/Poster.

12

Application

of

Research

to

Applied Part

of

Project

14

Site Project

15

Production

Method

of

Site Book

20

Meeting

with

Alison

Sky

and

Feedback

21

Conclusion

22

Appendix

1.

Illustrations

23

Appendix 2.

Printed

Sample

27

Appendix

3.

Timeline

30

Footnotes

31

(5)

Proposal

and

Preliminary

Research

In

the

field

ofgraphic

design,

there

have

always

been

those

designers/artists

who

have

gone

beyond

themainstreamofacceptable commercial

imagery.

The

ideas

and concepts

developed

in

their

experimentalwork

later filtered down

and

have

been

used

acceptably in

mainstreamcommercial

design.

My

interest

centers onthose

innovators

who stretched the

boundaries

and

lead

theway.

My

thesiscentered aroundtwoprojects: aposter of

American

designer

Lester Beall's

experimental

workand a promotional

book

for

the

Architectural

firm,

Site. The

purposeofthis

book

is

toreflect

their

philosophy

and purpose andtoprovidea vehicle

for

my

personal

design

experimentation and exploration.

My

research

began

witha general overviewof prominent

designers

consideredto

be

onthe

cutting

edgeoftheir

field. Some

ofthese

included

the

Russian

Constructivists, Futurists,

andthe

workofother

European

designers from

the

30's. I

studied

American

designers

suchas

Lester Beall

from

that time

period,

aswellas

innovative

work

of

contemporary

designers

and corporations.

From

this

preliminary

research,

I

focused

onthe

workof

American

designer

Lester Beall.

There

wereseveralreasons

for

thischoice.

The

first

being

(6)

material

from

the

Lester

Beall Collection

part of

RIT's

Graphic Design Archive. Samples

ofthe

majority

of

Beall's

work,

are contained

in

this collection.

Drawings,

sketches, roughs,

comprehensives and

finished

printed pieces are

included.

Letters,

notes,

speeches and other

writings

detail his design

philosophy

and

his

creativeprocess.

He

also wrote and spokeof

his

theorieson

design

education and sources of

inspiration.

The

second and most

important

reason

for

the

choice of

Lester Beall

is

that

he

wasoneofthe majorcatalysts

in

American

design

in

the

30's

and

40's.

He

was

influenced

by

theworkofthe

European

avant garde.

In

the

April 1939

issue

of

Gerbrausgrafik,

his

work

is

described

as

follows:

"the

typicalrepresentative

of

those

definitely

intellectual

artistswhosecreativework

is

based less

upon

spontaneity

thanupon reflection.

His

work

displays

an

almostmathematical

accuracy

and architectonic

clarity;

one

feels

in

looking

at

it

that

it

has been

executedwith careful considerationandwitha

feeling

of

responsibility.

Further

it

revealsa

perfect

command

of

the typographicalmediumand an

unerring

feeling

for

the properarrangement

of

surfaces.

It

also

betrays

the obvious

desire

toexpress withthesimplest

possible

means,

easily

comprehended

impressions

of

striking

forcefulness.

Despite

these traits

however,

Lester

Beall's

work

is

anything

but

the

cleverly

solvedresults

of

a

lifeless

and

bald

constructivism,

simply

because his

artist's

inventive is

everywhere

sufficiently

visible and

finds

its

naturalexpression

in

an

astonishing

use

of

formal

orcoloured media

in

the

proper

place."

Beall

wasa successful and

distinguished

businessman,

considered

by

someto

be

the

businessman's designer.

He

successfully

combined theexperimentation ofa creative

designer

withthe

sensibility

ofa

businessman.

His

work

for Scope

Magazine

is

a typical exampleofthis

blend

ofrisk

(7)

The

late

Herb Lubatin

said

that,

more than anyone

else,

Lester Beall

wasresponsible

for

taking

American

graphic

design

ofthe

30's

outof

its

mundane,

tasteless

form

into

the

beginnings

of

what wenow

know

as effectivevisual

communication.*

1

Beall's

work

has been

exhibited

in

museums and

galleries aroundtheworld

in

places

like

New

York,

London, Paris,

Melbourne,

Tokyo

and

Stockholm

just

tomentiona

few. He

has been

thesubjectof

numerousarticles

in

periodicals,

magazines and

publicationssuch as

Industrial

Design, Print,

Communication

Arts, Graphis,

Gebrausgraphik,

Domus,

Idea

and

others,

aswell aswinnerof

numerous awards

from

the

Art

Directors'

Club,

New York

and

Chicago,

The

American Institute

of

Graphic

Arts,

The Lithographers

National

Association

and more.

It

is

hard

toreada

design

magazine

from

the

40's,

50's

and

60's

without

finding

anarticle about

Beall

or

seeing

oneof

his

design

projects.

Up

to

1929

his

workwas rather

conventional,

but

afterthat therewasa

drastic

change.*

2

There

weretwomajorcatalystsofthischange:

Beall's

personal

study

of

Abstract

painting

at

Chicago

Art

Institute's

Library

and

further

exposureto thework

of

European

avant garde artists andtypographers

through

his

association with

Fred

Hauck,

who studiedwith

Hans

Hoffman

andvisitedthe

Bauhaus.

Beall

was

inspired

by

the

Abstract

painters,

like

(8)

Picasso

experimentedwiththevalues of materials

andthesurface

treatment,

thus

freeing

the

component planes ofthepicture.

The

primitive artist used available materials

from

outside

his hut

or a

feather from

some

bird.

Picasso

usedwallpaper,

newspaper and

leaves

nottorepresent their

form

but because

oftheir texturalqualities.

He

peeled

and scratched

canvas,

mixedgluewith

pigment,

smeared wire ropeswithpaint and glue.*3

Beall

refersto the

early

Dadaists,

embodying

dynamic

excitement

in

theirtypographicalexperiments.

In

a talkon

June

7,

1939,

Beall

referstothe

experimental

photography

andphotomontage of Moholy

Nagy

andthepaintings of

Klee,

Kandinsky

and

Breuer,

aswellas

giving

us

insights

into

his

Bauhaus

inspired

experimental

design

process.

Beall

placed agreat

deal

of

importance

on creative

expression,

emotionand a childlike

curiosity

of

everyday sensory

experiences.

He

was

constantly

exploring

and

developing

his

creativity

through

his

drawings,

photography,

typography

and

design.

Beall

felt

that traditionwasthe

primary

handicap

ofthecreative

designer,

whether

it

be

conservative

traditionalismorthesun

worship

of avant gardism.

He

comparedtheproblem oftraditionalism to the

illustration

of

hitching

a

horse

toa

1940's

streamlinedautomobile and

tearing

up

Fifth

Avenue

at

4

milesper

hour.

According

to

Beall,

traditionshould

be

viewedas an

historical

accomplishment,

upon whichthe

designer

must

grow,

but

thengoonand grow

farther

and apart

from.

The

avant

garde,

though

it

freed

the

designer

from

tradition,

was

primarily

concernedwith

opportunismand

being

"the

first."

It

lacks

sensitivity

to theotheraspectsofthe

design

problem.

*4

Each

designer

creates

from

a

purely

personal

perspective,

and must set

individual

standards.

Beall

advocateda newtradition

in

design,

constantexaminationofthenew aswellas traditional

forms,

a traditionof experimentation.

(9)

to

increase

communication ofthoughtand emotion.

He

comparedgraphic

design

toa

highly

geared visual machinethatwhen

perfectly

oiled and pitched was able toevoke

any

degree

of emotional response

in

theviewer.

He

was critical of

designers

whothough

mechanically

proficient are

mentally

barren,

interpreting

neitherthe spiritual northeaesthetic reasons

behind

thevisual result.

He

portrayed a

designer

whogoestoan

exhibit,

finds

a piecethat

he likes

and says

"I'll

have

touse that

idea

sometime,"

then

he

does,

creating

a grotesque conglomerationof visual

effects out of contextwithone

another,

an

inharmonious

andunhandsome

hybrid.

Throughout

his

career,

Beall's

experimentation

with

drawing,

photography

and

typography

filtered

into

his

commercial

design

work.

The

dividing

line

between

experimental andpractical

is

almostnon

existent

in

thework

he did for Scope

magazine as well as

in many

other examples.

Beall

considered

himself

anartist

first.

He

wasnot

willing

tostand

placidly

by

andwatch

his

individuality

be denied.

He

believed

that

design

couldnot

be based

on safeeconomic

strategies,

or

ona set of rules and

formulas found

in

a

book.

This

leads

tosterile

design.

One

of

his favorite

subjects

for

exploration of

form

wasthe

figure. This

wasthesubjectof

many

of

his

drawings,

paintings andphotography.

The

consistent

importance

of

figure

drawing

played a

key

role

in

his

creative

process,

appearing

and

reappearing

in many

applications.

The

intuitive

hand

of anartistwasalways evidentthroughan

underlying

structure.

This

structural

quality in

his

workwas

largely

due

to

his

drafting

and technical

background.

Beall

quotes

Herbert Read

from

anarticle

from

Quandrum,

May

1956,

in

aspeech

he

gaveonthe

Art

and

Science

of

Typography,

to the

Type

(10)

"The

artist

begins

witha

background

that

is

mysterious,

unformed,

andthis

he

may actually

prepare

automatically

by

scribbling

or

doodling

withthis

paintbrush.

But

then

he begins

to

elaborate,

to

delineate,

never

resorting

to

logical

or verbal

processes,

but

neverthe

less

proceeding

by

purposefulstepsone

stroke or spot

determining

theshape and

place

of

the

next stroke or

spot;

until

finally

he

is

left

withan

image

whose origins or significance

he

cannotexplain

(and

does

not

desire

to

explain)

and yetwhichconstitutes

for

him

something

valid,

something true, something

deeply

necessary,

avitalpresence."

In

the

previously

mentionedspeechand

in

a

speechto the

Art

Directors'

Club

on

May 28,

1964,

Beall

quotesthe

writing

ofthreepeople:

Harold

Taylor,

in

apublication

by

the

Museum

of

Modern

Art

in

1960;

James

Johnson

Sweeny,

in

an

addressontheoccasion ofthe

75th

Commencement

exercises ofthe

School

ofthe

Art

Institute

of

Chicago,

on

June

1954;

and

Paul

Valery,

in

his

monogram

"Degas,

Manet

and

Morisot."

His

selection ofthese threequotesgive

us a

further

understanding

of

his

philosophy

ofart and

design.

"We

are

being

pushed

into group

thinking

at atime

whentoo

many

people

are

willing

to

strip

themselves

of

their

individuality

in

orderto

become

clusters

of

approved characteristics

held

in

place

by

a

desire

to

be

liked

andto

be

successful."

Harold Taylor

"An

artist's

prime

responsibility

to

his

profession

is

to

be

anexplorer, tocultivate some

fresh

comer

of

the

field

of

expressionthroughthemedium

of

his

art;

in

this

way,

in

a

sense,

to pushout

its

boundaries,

towiden

its

frontiers. The

sense

of

traditionon which theartist

might

lean

was neverapparent

in

the

best

work,

but

the

dynamism

thatcharacterized

the

greater

part

seemedto

be

fed

by

this

pioneering

excitement,

this

feeling

thatat

any

momenttheartistwasto

discover

a newworld."

(11)

"Perhaps

conditionsare

changing,

and

instead of

this spectacle

of

an eccentric

individual using

whatever comes

his

way,

therewill

instead

be

a

picture making

laboratory,

with

its

specialist

officially

clad

in

white rubber

gloves,

keeping

toa

precise schedule,

armedwith

strictly

appropriate apparatus and

instruments,

each with

its

appointed

place

and exact

function.

..

So far

, chance

has

not

been

eUminated

from

practice,

or

mystery

from

method,

or

inspiration

from

regular

hours:

but

I

do

notvouch

for

the

future

.

"

(12)

Quotes

The

following

quotesweretaken

from

manuscripts

in

the

Lester Beall

collection

located

at

RIT

"One factor

that

has

increased

therole

of

the

designer is

that

he has

effectively

sold

his

attitude

of

constantand

intuitive

experimentationas opposedto

allowing

himself

to

be

'researched'

into

and out

of

alltheso'called answers.

The

fact

that

he

is,

in

effect, oftenapioneer

in

his

approachtoseriousgraphicproblems

does

not mean

he

is

agambler.

Indeed

his

conceptsarecreated

against a

background

of

experience

in

bringing

to

forceful

usean

intuitive

approachto

his

workpluscold

logic

sothat

his

efforts

successfully

reachoutto the

people."

from:

Modern

Trends

in

Graphic

Art

by

Lester

Beall

"

At

the

Bauhaus,

thestudents

among

otherthings

gatheredtogethervarious materialsandassembledthem

in

tactiletables.

Some

tableswere

for

pressureand vibration.

They

ranged

from

smoothto rough, and

from

hard

to

soft,

fluted

and soon.

At

thesame

time

thestudent experimented withthesurface treatment

of

materials,

tackswere scattered on

glue,

various

brush

treatments

of

paperandcanvas,

hammering

and

punching

of

wood,

mixing

cottonandrubber

cement,

etc.

I

mentionthisas asuggested experiment

for

die

acquisition

of

amore complete visual

knowledge

of

the

importance

of

textures.

Try

a

few

simpleexperiments

of

thistype.

At first forget

about

analyzing

the problem

and

have

some

fun. There

is

another

thing

to

be learned

from

thissort

of

playing tooif

you

like

tocall

it that,

that

is

the

handling

of

graphic elementsasphysical

elements.

What 1

mean

is

thenext

time

you

have

a

design

problem,

cut allyourelementsout

of

paperyour color

areas,

your

illustrations,

your

body

type,

your

headlines

etc.

Spread

themona white sheet and

put

the

whole

business

onthe

floor.

Then

moveyour elements

(13)

around until you gettheresultthatworksthe

best.

This

is

not

only

good

practice

in

general,

but

sometimes

it is

the

only

one.

This

sort

of

practice

is only

the

first

stage

in

becoming definitely

an

experimenter,

searching

for

new

forms

and

elements,

not

for freak

effects,

but

for

better

workability of

the

design

involved.

.

.ofcourse even allthesenewtoolsare

lifeless

in

the

hands

of

someone who

does

not

feel.

Try

to

bring

about an emotional reactiontoyourparticular problem.

In

other

words,

get

into

a

'fever

heat'aboutthe

job

at

hand

and

stay

that

way

untilthe

job is

finished.

..

The

point

is

though thatyou

have

gotto

have

someemotional

responsetoyour

problem.

"

from: Foundations

of

Design

for

aspeech on

June

7, 1939,

sponsored

by

The

Government

Printing

Office

given atthe

National Archives

Building.

"All

of

thisresearch embeds

into

theconsciousness

of

theexperimenter aquickercomprehension

of

material

texturesandtheir

functions. Objects

are rediscovered

for

theirstructural and

functional

individuality.

The

mind

begins

toreachout

in

search

of

new applications

for

old aswellas new materials andtextures.

Adventurous

minds

happily

searchabout

for

entirely

newmaterials,

arriving

ata new means

of

feeling

through

vision"

from:

Foundations

of

Design

speech

by

Lester Beall

July

7,

1954

"The

human form

itself

contains countless

potentialities

for

abstractexpression, thecurve

of

the

breast,

the

shape

of

the

hand,

the texture

of

the

hair,

themovement

of

acoiffure, etc.

But

toseethese

possibilities

one must almost

literally

exchangeone's eyes

for

anewset.

Visually

gearedtoseeobjects

in

both detail

and

in

their

abstract

form."

from:

Modern Trends

in

Graphic Art

by

Lester

Beall

"I

am

constantly

drawing

withparticularemphasison

(14)

terms

of evolving something

that

is

not

completely

abstract

but

certainly

not

literal

or realistic."

"The

overriding,

one single

tendency

that

is

fast

becoming

a

fact,

is

the

drift

toautomation

in

thought

processes

andthe

diminishing

importance

of individual

responsibility.

This

digitizing

of

human factors

should

be

of

immediate

concerntoourprofessionaswellas

everyday

societyfor

growth,

human

understanding

and true

creativity

can

only

come

from

the

human

spirit

and not

from

a machine."

from:

A Plea

for

the

Individual

and

Individuality

speech

by

Lester

Beall, May 28,

1964

"A

qualified

designer

is

a

wandering sensory apparatus,

detecting

experiences,

absorbing

some,

deflecting

others,

but

building

up

awealth

of

human

phenomena.

His

experiences

may

excite,

repeland/ormotivate

creation.

The

sourcesare

infinite

and

they

vary

according

to the

sensibility of

the

designer

and

his

accumulated

past

experiences.

For

in

orderto

effectively

design

an

advertisement,

a

package

ora

product,

the

designer

must

be

sensitiveto the

psychologicaleffects

of

alltheelements

of

design,

andto thecomplex

psychologies of

its

audiences: their

receptivity

levels,

environments,

sensory

characteristics,

tastesand

intelligence."

from:

A Plea

for

the

Individual

and

Individuality

speech

by

Lester

Beall, May

28,

1964

"Typography

and typographical

design,

besides

being

a science aswellas an

art,

is

tome anemotional

experience.

Regardless

of

theexplicitness

of

the

requirements

of any

problem there

is

a

fascinating

experienceat

hand

in exploring

and

developing

the

direction

of

thecreativeeffort.

The

image

that

is

a

result

of

this

effort,

it

seemsto

me,

should not

be

a predeterminedonenoramechanical manifestation:

if

we

do

notwish

to,

evenunknowingly, weaken

its

potential

function.

"

from:

The

Art

and

Science

of

Typography

speech

by

Lester

Beall,

April

29,

1958

(15)

"Over

refinementandover simplification

in many

fields

of

typographic

design

are,

in my

opinion,

the

forces

that tend to

dull

the

designer's

awareness.

And

I

believe

there

is

much evidence

in

today's

work

of

over

refinement.

Over

refinementcan

lead

tosterility...

Therefore

we can not categorize to the

point

of

defining

thesimple approach as themost effectiveapproach.

Simplicity

of

design

requires great

discipline,

as

does

all creative

design,

but

overemphasis on

discipline

which,

1

believe,

is

inherently

a

factor

in

thesimple

approach,

inevitably

tightens

the

ring

aroundthe

designer's

creative

circle;

andthrough

his fear

of

making

a

'mistake'

a 'mistake'outlawed

by

his disciplined

concept,

makes

it

increasingly

difficult

to

free

his

creativity into

untriedareas.

The

designer becomes

in

effect,

afraidto

explore."

from:

The

Art

and

Science

of

Typography,

speech

by

Lester

Beall,

April 29,1958

(16)

Design

of

Lester Beall

Book/

Poster

My

main goal

in

designing

thispart of

my

thesis

wastogive examplesof

Beall's

experimental

photography,

drawings

and paintings

along

with examplesof

his

commercial

work,

and toshowthe

comparisons.

I

had

first

thoughtofthe

idea

ofa

time

line

sequencing

ofthese

images,

but

mostof thework centered aroundthe

30's

and

40's

and

there wasn'tsuch aclear

distinction

in

the transitions.

The

next problemwasto

incorporate

photographs

of

Beall

and

my writing

about

him,

with

photographsof

his

work

along

with

his

quotes.

I

chose the

format

ofanaccordian

folded book

so

that

it

could

be

viewed as a wholeorviewed as a

book

a spread at a time.

The

overall

design

theme

wastogo

from

an active angular compositionto a

strictly

vertical and

horizontal

one.

The

reason

for

this

format

wasto

be

able torelatethe

dynamic

experimental

design

to

Beall's

experimentalwork

but

toalso

be

abletoshow

in

agrid

like

informational

format

theconnections

in

his

work.

I

used

primary

colors and

black

because

thesewere

thecolorsthat

Beall

used

predominantly in

his

work.

Some

ofthemore experimental concernsof this piece are theplacementofthe titleor"first" page atthecenterofthe

book. This

is

alsousedas a

device

to separatethe twomainsections.

The

very

large letters

BEALL

serve as a

focal

point

in

thecomposition andrun

vertically

and almost

upside

down. The

picture of

Beall

jumping

is

also

(17)

placed at a severe angletorelate to the

name,

and give a

feeling

of

activity,

andexperimentation.

There

are subtle angles used

in

theplacement of

thecolumns oftypeonthe

left hand

sideofthe

piecetoadd

interest

to theotherwise

long

columns of

information.

On

theright

side,

however,

the type

is

placedontheextreme rightof allthe

spreadstogivethema

consistency

among

some otherwise

very

active

images.

The

geometric shapes of

primary

colors areusedas

atransition

from

one side toanotherand

highlight

and emphasize

Beall's

work.

Another

transition

device

that

is

usedareseveral small photos of

Beall

jumping

andrunning.

I

feel

that the overalleffect works well

visually

and servesthepurpose

in

both

formats.

(18)

Beall's

philosophy

ofexperimentation and

individuality

is

atrendseen

among

today's

designers.

The

idea

of

individualism

andthe

designer

as a

personality,

instead

ofthe

designer

as atechnician

has been

cropping

up

in

many

cities.

A

handful

of

designers

suchas

Neville

Brody

in

London,

David

Sterling

and

Tibor Kalman

in

New

York,

Rick Valicenti

in

Chicago

and

Lucille

Tenazas

and

Tom Bonauro

in

California

are not

designing

by

thesamerules.

A

sense of

honesty

aboutwhat

they

cancontribute

is

emerging.

Their

clients are now

starting

to

include

such companies as

I.B.M.

and

Nynex. Rick Valicenti

in

the

March

89

issue

of

Communication

Arts

predictsthat

in

the

future

we're

going

to

find

designers' portfolios

being

preferredmuch

like

Ralph Lauren's

clothes.

They

each willmakean

individual

statement.

This

brings

anexcitementto theworkthat

is

being

done,

because

each

individual

approachesthe

problem witha

different

personality,

background

and a

different design

viewpoint.

They

each

deal

witha

different

setof personal

issues,

while

solving

a client'sproblem.

The

solutions

have

a

human

quality

lacking

in

some ofthesterile graphics created

by

the techniciansof modernism.

The

ideas

of risk

taking

andexperimentation seemto

be

the

commonthread

in

thiswork.

(19)

The

second partof

my

thesis

is

anexperimental

design

project

based

onthe

issues,

concerns and

influences

that

I

have been

dealing

withthepast

twoyears.

I

chosetoworkon an applied

promotional piece

for

thearchitectural

firm,

Site.

Their

philosophy

and workareexperimental

in

nature and

lend

themselves toanexperimental

graphic

design

project.

At

thesame

time,

there are the restrictions of a

functional

piece.

I

find

myself

addressing in my

own workthe

issues

with which

Site

deals

in its

work.

The

multi-level

layering

of

images,

referencesand theirmental

connectionsgive theirworkaprovocative

depth

andrichness.

These

are thesame concernsthat

I

have been

developing

in

my

work, theexpression

ofamessage with as

many

levels

of

meaning

as

possible.

The

imagery,

typography,

color,

form,

juxtaposition

of elementsandtheoverallsequence and rhythm

in

thepagescommunicate on several

levels-emotional,

physicalandpsychological-and

createarichness,

depth

with greater

impact

in

the

final

visualresult.

The

pitfall

for

a

designer

can

be

confusionandmisinterpretation

if

careful attention

is

notgivento the

delicate

andsensitive

balancing

oftheelements.

The

correlation

between

Site's

workand

my

workwas

interesting

for

meto

explore.

Site

views architecture asartrather than as

design.

In

this

piece,

my

premise will

be

that the

designer

is

an artistandnot

just

avisualcommunication

technician.

I

chosenottocontact or

involve

the

architectsat

Site

in

the

development

process.

Later,

though,

I

did

meetwith

Alison

Sky

one of theprinciples and

founders

to

discuss

my

results.

I

wantedthispieceto

be

my

personal

interpretation

oftheirwork.

A

sense ofsurprise,of

humor

and of

juxtaposing

(20)

contrasting

elementsare the

primary

themes

in

Site's

work.

This

was an areathat

I

wantedto

incorporate graphically

into my

work.

Narrative

Architecture,

the termusedto

describe Site's

work,

refers to

the

idea

of a narrativetheme

running

throughout

a

building.

The

designer

obtains

inspiration

from

sources such as

novels, plays,

events

in

history

ratherthan

from

architectural

history

itself.

My

concernwithnarrative content

involves

the

weaving

of several storiesornarratives

throughout

the

book

sothatcommunicationtakes

place on several

different

levels.

I

was concernedwiththe

form

ofthe

book

enhancing

and

clarifying

thecontentratherthan

just

using

a prescribed

format.

This

idea

seemed

appropriate

because

architecture

is

three

dimensional.

By

looking

at a

book

asathree

dimensional form

its

architecturalcontentcan

be

enhanced.

Site

pokes

fun

at

architecture,

and

deals

withthecontradiction of architectural

values,

standards and concernsof structure.

I

wantedto

duplicate

this themeand re-examine graphic

design's,

especially

book

design's,

values and traditions.

My

first

idea

wasa

very

angular

book

thatwas

architectural

in

feeling

and used

many vanishing

points

in

the photographic

imagery

tocreate a

dynamic

space.

The

folds

were at

different

angles

andtherewasconsiderableoverlapping.

I

felt

that this

first

attempt

did

not

really

address the

issues

of

Site,

because

the

form

was

overpowering

the

content.

Site

tendstouse conventional

building

forms

as a

base

towork

from

and

is

not as

concernedwith

manipulating

the

design

ofthe

building.

My

second andmore successfulattemptwasthe onethat

I

finally

chose.

I

useda more standard

book format.

I

chose a

horizontal format because

thename

Site,

implies

the

idea

of

location. It

is

a

homonym

for

"sight"

which

implies

visionandthe

idea

of a

visionary

looking

overthe

horizon

and

(21)

looking

into

the

future. Site has

certainly

been

a

visionary

force

in

the

field

ofmodern architecture.

The

cover

is violated,

torn

down

thecenter

exposing

a series of

die-cut

horizontal

bands

onthe

inside

flap. A

semi

transparent

page

is

revealed

through

whichthe

first

pagecan

be

seen.

This

givesa sense of architectural structure similarto

the

tearing down

ofa plaster

wall,

exposing

the

studs and

framework

underneath.

Once

underneath clues

may

be found

to the

life

that

existed

in

thisplaceor ofthe

history

ofthe

building. This

multiple

layering

leads

into

the

layered

imagery

onthe

first

page andgives a clue

about whattherestofthe

book

will

be

dealing

with.

The

contrast

between

shiny

and

dull,

positive and negative

space,

tornandsmoothedges

and

black

andwhitealso supportthe

predispositionof

Site

touse

contrasting

and

opposing

elements.

A

translucent

full

bleed

image

ofa pile of

iron

ore onthe

inside

coverpage

begins

a narrative on steelproductionto

be

further

explored

in

the

book.

Steel

is

of vital

importance

in

theconstruction and structure of modern

architecture so

it

seems appropriateto

have

this

narrativeasa structurethroughout the

book.

A

contrast also exists

between

the

translucency

and

lightness

ofthepage and theweightand

solidity

of

iron

ore

itself.

The

image,

as a pileof

rocks,

alludes

alsoto the

idea

of

decay

and

destruction,

a

prevalenttheme

in

Site's

work.

The

images

onthe

first

page center aroundthe

Best

warehouse

building,

perhaps one of

Site's

mostwell

known

works.

The top

ofthe

building

appears

decayed

witha pileof

bricks

thatappears

to

have

tumbled

down

onthe

facade.

This

image is

juxtaposed

withaphotograph ofthenatural

decaying

processofa ruins.

Natural

decay

is

contrastedwithcontrived

decay.

Along

withthis

there

is

a repeatofthecover.

Torn

photographs

violate the

images,

revealing

a setof

horizontal

bars

underneath,

echoing

the themeof

underlying

structure.

The

typography

awkwardly

appears

(22)

through the

bars, hiding

the

face

ofa

contemplative

young

man.

The

idea

of youthand growth

is

contrastedwiththe

idea

of

death

and

decay.

Mussolini's

statues

introduce

yet another

narrative

theme,

leading

to thenextpage.

The

text onthispage

deals

with

Site's

work

being

difficult

to

understand,

the

idea

of

deceit,

confusionandthe

controversy

associatedwiththework.

The

sacredness ofthe

book

is

again violated

by

the torn page.

The

next spread

deals

withthe

building

thatwas

proposed

for

the

Museum

of

Modern

Art

in

Frankfurt,

Germany. Although

this

building

was

never erected

it

wasproposedtoexistona site

where a number of

bombed buildings

remained

after

World War II. The

building

wastoreplicate these

buildings

andthen

be

intersected

withaglass

wedge,

playing

withthe

idea

of

internal

and

external spaces.

The

crumbled sideofthe

building

referenced the

history

oftheplace.

I

juxtaposed

this

image

witha

ruin,

this timeonethatwas

created

by

a natural

disaster,

theeruption ofa

volcano.

The

opposition ofanatural

disaster

and a manmade

disaster

are superimposed with

images

of

World

War II

bomber

planes.

Youth

and

life

contrast

death

and

destruction

withthe repeat photoofthe

boy

from

theprevious page.

At

the

far

right ofthe

page,

there

is

an

image

ofa

passageway.

Above

thispassage

is

awoman

entering

a

room,

emphasizing

the

play

between

inside

and

outside,

but

also

alluding

to the

idea

ofa transitionora

passageway

of

life

or oftime.

The

phallic shapeofthe

doorway

suggestsanothertype

of

transition,

perhaps

from

youth,orthe

idea

of

procreation.

The

following

threespreads

deal

withtheconflict

between

manandnature.

Abandoned

cars suggest

anothertypeof

decay

brought

on

by

planned

obsolescence.

The

waste of modern

society is

juxtaposed

againstarich

foliated background.

Site's

work

for

the

Canadian

Expo

is

shown onthis

(23)

spread.

This

exhibit

is in

the

form

of amodernrelic

orexcavation site.

Several

typesofvehicles areall

traveling

on a super

highway

thatcomesoutofthe

ocean and

breaks

off and goes

up

into

thesky.

The

idea

of an

evolution,

of a

journey

and ofthewaste

of mass production are allpresent

in

thisexhibit.

The typography

onthispage relatesto

Site's

peeling

building.

The

typeappearsto

have been

peeled off

leaving

thereversed

image

behind.

Two

images

ofmodern

industrialization

are

juxtaposed

against a

translucent

forest

oftrees.

A

picture ofan

aqueduct

indicates

the

harmony

between

manand

nature.

Another

narrative

begins

withthe

image

ofthe

two

fencers,

contributing

to the

idea

ofaconflict.

The

concentrated

typography

from

theprevious

page contrastswiththe

typography

onthis page

whichspreads outand runs offthe edgeofthe

paper.

The

idea

ofsteel production

is

dealt

with

further

in

thenextspread.

The

image

ofthesteel

melting

pots addsto theconcept of

industrialization

and

its

conflictwithnature.

The

fencers

are

continued,

along

witha graphic

decomposition

or ofa

transformationofgeometric shapes

into

random

free form

shapes.

The typography

onthispage also

undergoes asimilar

transformation,

and the

die-cut

shape ofthepage reveals

something

ofwhat

is

to

continue.

A

ghost

image

ofthe

deconstruction

oftheshapes

entwineswiththe

typography, splitting

and

overlapping

withacounterchangeof

black

and

white.

The

highrise

of

homes

is

thenextof

Site's

workto

be

featured,

a seriesofsingle

family

suburban

dwellings

stackedon

top

ofone another

in

anurban setting.

The

book

continues with similar

juxtaposing

of

images

andthe

interplay

oftype.

The

contrast and

comparison

between

the

complexity

ofnature and

(24)

the

complexity

of an urban

landscape

follow.

The

idea

of

loneliness

and

isolation in

a populated

environment

is

expressed

along

withthe themeof

being

trapped

and cagedwhichopposesthe

idea

of

simplicity,

freedom

and solitude.

The

last

image is

oftwo

Amish

boys

walking

down

a

country

road.

I

felt

that

in

some

way

this

image

compared with

Site's

ideology

but

in

another

way

it

contradicted

it.

The

honest,

simple and

direct

way

thatsome ofthe

issues in

theirworkare

dealt

with

seemtocomparewiththeseboys'

honest

simple,

innocent

and

direct

lifestyle.

But I

don't

think that

the work of

Site

is innocent in

a naiveway.

The

primary

reason

I

chosethis

image

was

because

of

the

Amish

culture's

way

of

trying

tomake

everything

last

andto

try

to preserve and

keep

up

theirpossessions.

They

try

tocounteractthe

natural process of

decay,

whereas

Site

capitalizes on

thisprocess and workswith

it

ratherthanagainst

it.

The

ending is

an ambiguoussurprise.

A

beginning

for

theending.

A

door

slightly

decayed,

waitsto

be

opened.

The

method of production ofthe

book

is

vitalto

its

concept andto the workof

Site.The

last

paragraph ofthe

book

states,

theuse ofthe

hand

is

important

tothearchitects at

Site. This

book

was

printed

using

a turnofthe

century

hand

printing

press,

a

Goes

offsetproof press.

All

ofthe

productionprocesses

involved

theuse of

hand

work; themechanicals were

done

by

hand,

the

negativeswereshot

by

hand

and strippedtogether

by

hand.

In

addition,

theplates were

burned

by

(25)

hand

and

hand

processed.

Finally

each plate was

inked

by

hand

and each sheet wasprintedone at a

time

by

hand.

In

contrastto this

hand

process,

I

usedcomputerized

typography

onthe

Macintosh

and

I

usedsome ofthe

best

quality

machine made

commercial

printing

paper,

Frostbrite

coated

dull

and

Reflections,

both

by

the

Consolidated

Paper

Company.

There

was carefulconsideration

in

each

step

ofthisprocess androom

for

individual

interpretation

and adjustment plustheroom

for

error.

The

coverand

binding

were also

hand

made.

I

metwith

Alison

Sky,

one oftheprincipalsand

founders

of

Site,

on

March

6,

1989,

toshow

her

the

book

and get

her

opinion.

She

was

very

impressed

withthe

complexity

and therichness of

the

imagery

and wasabletounderstandright

away

severaloftheirconnections

in

the

imagery

totheir

work.

Because

of

her

closenessto

her

work,shewas

able to

draw

several connections

in

the

imagery

thatwere somewhat

different

than

I

had

expected,

yet still

in

line

withtheoveralltheme.

She

explained several ofthe

buildings

tome andtalked

especially

about

why

the

Frankfurt

building

proposalwasrejected.

Specifically

it

was

because

of

the

World War II

imagery

thatwas associated with

it

.

She

statedthatthemainthemeofthe

building

was an

interplay

ofthe

internal

and external

spaces, amuseumthatwas accessible to theoutside world andto thepeople.

The World War II

reference was

secondary

in

her

thinking,

but

unfortunatelyevena slightreferencetosucha

devastating

world event

far

overpowered

any

other

themesand

intentions.

She

alsostatedthat

many

graphicpieces

had been done

on

them,

but

that

(26)

Conclusion

mostofthemwere conventional

in

format

and

eventheirown publicationswere

in

astandard

format

and ratherconservative.

1

felt

that thiswork wasasuccessful one andthat

1

accomplished

my

goals

in

doing

it.

The

orchestrating

or"taming"of several conceptsand

ideas

was anenormoustaskthatrequireda great

deal

of sensitivity.

I

wasable to take

complexity

andcontradictionand

bring

it

together

into

a

unifiedandcoherent whole.

The

productionwas

alsoa

difficult feat

toaccomplish.

1

feel

that

I

have

gained a

heightened

ability

to

deal

withacomplex

project and

unify

it

onanumberof

different levels.

(27)
(28)
(29)
(30)
(31)
(32)

nostr.S?iv

t'.i:

,i

i-m-, *=-

'?ets

2^'

towards

a-fetvgfe

t&e '-' ' ::>":"

(33)

an

architectureand

arts

new

concepts

for urban

buildings and

spaces.

positie"i*

based on

eorhm'r

3rohi.eo.oro, or

describe-another way,

arc

^S^-netS"^^"-'

it

is

SITES,

objeot

increase the

cm^uni<^dVSuSic space!

buildings and

(34)

ucwoero. November88 December 88

January

89

February

89 March 89 April 89

May

89

Start

/

Initial

planningandmeeting

1 1/29/88

Preliminary

Reasearch

Roughs

of

Lester Beall

layout

Roughs

of

Site book

Research

in

Lester Beall Archive

Written

part of

Lester Beall

poster

Meeting

with

Barbara

Refinements

onwrittenpart ofLester

Beall

Meeting

with

Barbara

Final

draft

ofLester Beallpaper

Meeting

with

Barbara

Researchon

Site

Preliminary

comps of

Lester

Beall

Preliminary

comps of

Site

Meeting

withHeinz

Mechanicalsof

Site book

Negativesof

Site book

Plates

of

Site book

Printing

of

Site book

Meeting

with

Heinz

Meeting

with

Barbara

Finalproductionand

binding

of

Site book

MechanicalsofBeallposter

Photosshot

for

Beallposter

Finalstats made

for

Beallposterand

final

presentation

Refinementson thesis report

Final

corrections

Thesis

show

(35)

Footnotes

*1

R. Roger Remington

and

Barbara

Hodik,"Lester

Beall: A Look

Back,"

Communication Arts

(Sept/Oct

1985)

p.

88.

*2

ibid.,

p.

88.

*3

Lester

Beall,

Foundations

of

Design:

a talk

June

7,

1939

given atthe

National

Archives

Bldg.,

Washington, D.C.,

p.

3,

Lester Beall Collection

/

RIT

Graphic

Design Archive.

*4

Lester

Beall,

Inspired Typography 59:

speech given on

April

18,

1959

for

the

Type Director's

Club

Symposium,

p.

3,

Lester Beall Collection

/

(36)

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