Why oh why those crazy East Germans thought it appropriate to drink a glass of beer before racing an ambulance on a motorcycle I'll never know. And why oh why they'd celebrate such irresponsibility on a stamp is beyond me. Thankfully, we now all live in more enlightened times. Even the East Germans.
Sunday saw us at Castle Espie, a nearby Wildfowl Trust centre, with lovely friends and lots of ducks. Fat ducks not in the slightest bit interested in the seed we were throwing at them. Smug, fat ducks; over fed, overpaid and over there, not eating our seed. They were, nevertheless, entertaining: some dipped below the surface and were never seen again; some made unusual and amusing sounds; and others fought, quacking and screeching, pecking and flapping. But what impressed us most was the variety on offer (I haven't, unfortunately, captured some of the most striking specimens in residence). There were of course, the traditional ducks; the classic, timeless ducks we all know and eat (crispy); but then there were the others, the rare and endangered: the punk ducks, the goth ducks, the camp ducks, the prim ducks, the ducks with utensils for beaks and the modernist ducks, in all their minimalist black and whiteness. But still they ignored our seed.
Very happy to have been asked to do the promo material for the Nicholas Felton talk next week. And very excited about his visit; it's the first time Nicholas has talked in the UK. Special thanks have to go to Nicholas, of course, for taking the time out and to Rita and Chris for funding. Also, big thanks go to Andy for persuading Mr F to come over.
This is a rare chance to hear a super-talented designer. Here's the blurb from the poster:
Award winning, New York-based graphic designer Nicholas Felton has gained an enviable reputation for creating sophisticated and innovative information graphics. In particular, for his series of introspective annual reports in which he displays data compiled from his everyday activities throughout the year using ingenius charts, diagrams and maps. These are self-published under his personal project alias Feltron.
From his professional studio, Megafone, Nicholas has designed information graphics for Esquire, New York Times, Metropolis, Wired and Print.
He is also co-founder of Daytum; an online information depository that converts the data surrounding subscribers habits and routines into elegant graphs and charts.
18.00 for 18.30/02.04.09
The Conor Lecture Theatre, University of Ulster, York Street, Belfast
In 1969, the erection of a new televisual transmissioning mast thingy must have been pretty damn exciting, especially in East Germany, hence the two excellent stamps I posted a few weeks ago and this more recently discovered Mini Sheet.
I've just started reading the classic Hochuli/Kinross book Designing books: practice and theory and although I'm really just a few pages in I'm already excited and encouraged to read on. It's already very interesting. Hochuli kicks off by exploring the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry and suggests the idea that what we tend to consider to be typographic symmetry is really, specifically and merely axial symmetry and that the original, broader idea of symmetry (referencing the word's Greek origin) is more about harmony and balance than what is actually bilateral similarity; inferring that a symmetrical page doesn't really have to have a central axis within it, about which the typography sits or have an exactly reflective layout. That's interesting isn't it? Hochuli, being Hochuli, goes on to argue that bilateral symmetry isn't really symmetrical in the way we think it is anyway because if you look at it in detail (as Hochuli does) the words of course, aren't bilaterally symmetrical.
Another, related, thing he explains is that while many consider the starting point for book design to be the double page spread, it is in fact the central spine axis and the relationship of elements to it. I'd never thought about that before. But then, I'm not a book designer...perhaps all this is common knowledge to those that are.
And then there's a bit that I found most encouraging and reassuring to read. He talks about his modernist (Swiss) background and how his colleague, Rudolf Hostettler, helped him break away from it's dogma. Hochuli relates this to Tschichold and how he turned his back on modernism in favour of traditional typography. After a discussion with Hostettler, Hochuli realised that not everything could be dressed up in the trappings of modernism and that, in his own words, "...Tschichold was more than just a traitor to modernism..."; that rather than subscribing dogmatically to one particular orthodoxy it is better to find the most appropriate solution for the job in hand.
This seemed very important to me. Tschichold's call to "uphold the principle of identity between content and expression" formed the backbone of practically everything I've done as a designer and I always felt that while many, I think, see his shift in position to have been contradictory, I always thought he hadn't moved that far; he'd just decided to do a different kind of work; a kind of work more suited to traditional typography. I've always felt that he'd remained true to his "identity principle".
Not sure quite how valid that is; I'm not a design historian or anything, I've just read a bit of stuff here and there.
Anyway, a great book so far. Hope it stays this interesting.
Like with last week's post about Rothley, I doubt many will be that interested in my new beardiness. Thing is, although I'm knocking on a bit now, it is my first and I'm rather enjoying all the stroking and twiddling. So partly out of necessity and partly because I like to do things properly I've been exploring methods of facial husbandry. First off: The Vintage German method.
Two days hard labour more often follows a petty crime. Despite cries of, "I ain't done nuffink", that's what it took to turn a pile of wood and stuff, into a mighty fine, six-by-six, plot-based shelter/store/den; two days of lo-tec drilling, screwing, unscrewing, hammering, climbing, falling and swearing.
I'm way behind with blog posts; have a pile of stuff to upload. Lots to do at the day job, I've one or two side projects on, a plot to prep for spring and, to be honest, am having loads of fun on the Interweb's best waste of time, Twitter. Wozza showed me Twitter about a year or so ago and i just didn't get it at all. Then a little while back I got an invite to sign up (thanks Vicki) and just haven't looked back. Haven't blogged much since either (yeah, thanks Vicki) so am determined to get back on track.
Philatelically speaking, I've been spending quite a bit of time exploring Germany and amongst my finds are these excellent flat coloured flight stamps that take me right back to my early days as a technical illustrator.