After tonight’s lecture one can’t help notice the often strong, if not violent, reactions to the designers and movements, and sometimes simply a typeface, of the first half of the 20th century, especially in Germany with the Bauhaus School (“cultural Bolsheviks”, “revolutionaries”) and The New Typography led by Jan Tschichold (arrested by Nazis, “anarchist”). Strict rules of what could or could not be art and design were harshly enforced by the powers that be throughout Europe and Russia.
So I wonder if our visually astute generation (and especially we cosmopolitans who are inundated with hundreds of pieces of graphic design on an almost daily basis) has the capacity to experience such strong reactions (whether positive or negative) to graphic design anymore? Have our senses become dull from overexposure, or honed to razor sharp keenness?
In your essay, answer this question first, and then try and think of a piece of graphic design that you feel or have felt strongly about, either positively or negatively. Ideally this would be a poster, a print ad, some typography, etc, but we can expand the definition here and include industrial/package design (book cover, CD, food). This could be a favorite piece of graphic design you have, or just something you see or have seen, if you can remember it.
I want you to choose a work strictly based on aesthetics, that is, describe a work that you feel strongly about simply for the way it looks, and NOT because of its subject matter. In my opinion subject matter/content can always have the ability, relatively speaking, to be shocking or controversial, and thus illicit strong reactions.
What is it about the look of it that attracts or repels you? Specifically explain your answer in detail. Describe the visual elements of the work (line, shape, color, balance, harmony, etc), and explain WHY you think (you may not know, or have given it much thought) it attracts/repels you. Remember our discussion in class regarding “identity” and how our individual identity is linked to design, and “familiarity’ with graphic elements that we associate with. This may include observations on your personal sense of style, and how this work reflects or contrasts that. Try to define your “demographic’ that advertisers and designers are targeting. Perhaps this was a favorite product of yours that underwent a graphic redesign. How did this make you feel? Think about the idea of “conspicuous consumption”, and how image and product are linked through graphic design.
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