In this post I will discuss the idea for my Typo Text and look to gather sources of inspiration to help develop what vision/s I currently Have.
So, as I’m doing 2 written pieces I decided that I wanted to produce a physical item for my third piece. I had previously done a project making (a similar style to) tarot cards, and although in a digital format, I really enjoyed the process of creating something where there were already established conventions to work within (size, theme and frequency etc…).
So I have decided that I would create playing cards, which gives me 2 sides (x and y) to design. My initial plan therefore is to produce my written work and using these (especially the academic piece) I can summarize and draw out key points from this which I can use as the foundations for my designs. Below I will look at existing examples of this and comment on my thoughts and how it helps influence my own work. In my next post I will talk through some ideas and issues that I have already established and outline a rough statement of intent for my third idea.
I started my idea research through Google Images and found some quite visually appealing designs which I think work very well.
I really like the contemporary and clean design. I think they make good use of white space but the images are all very centralized, other than the 7th image; at the minute this is not something I wish to base my design around. I think having text and imagery breaking off the perimeter of the card was a nice effect in McLuhan’s The Medium of the Massage and can really help in some cases enhance the message. A final note to make is of the use of numbers, the first three for example are quite creative and could almost be messages within the numbers as a result of the design and I like this aspect very much.
This example really reminds me of the McLuhan and Coupland books because of the typeface and text layout. I think having every card designed in this manner would be too overpowering as they can be quite hard to read, and therefore this causes problems. It can distract the reader from decoding the intended message and it is unnecessary noise if over used. However I think that implementing this technique sparsely in some cases could work very well and be a nice reference to McLuhan’s work. I also want to bring attention to the card in the top left hand corner – I really like that the text is positioned diagonally. Again, this is something which is a nice touch if used once or twice and I would definitely look to do something similar.
I have used this image as an example as I feel the cards are too repetitive and become tedious to look at. This is definitely something I need to address when designing my cards. However I do very much like the design on the back of the card and I think that this is the area where there should be a strong sense of continuity as it helps establish the branding of the piece and also it can help the reader know what number card it is.
I chose to talk about these cards as the black background appealed to me and I thought it really stood out as obviously it is quite unconventional. Having said that though I think it could be ineffective designing on a darker background as opposed to white. Of course there can be some cases where I chose to use a darker image on the background and this would then introduce a distinguished change in design that could allow me to represent a particular point. This way however I can choose the frequency as opposed to being restricted to a black background every time.
I really liked these card designs for their reference to space invaders and their ability to bring about a sense of nostalgia through minimalistic design that works very well. My topic being the Internet as a learning tool; I could incorporate something similar that makes reference to an early notion of my subject that would provoke that feeling of nostalgia. I think trying to encourage that feeling could be very beneficial in widening the readers opinion. For example by making them look back, they can see how much has developed and it gives them the opportunity to appreciate the extreme change in this medium.
A final note to make would be that the colour scheme of all of these cards is red and black. I really like the visual style of this and this is certainly something I would consider. After looking at David Carson’s Book of Probes I am not very fond of colour as I think it can cause unnecessary noise and distraction. I also really liked the black and white effect in McLuhan and Coupland’s books and so that aspect is something I am considering more so than colour. So I think adding a touch of one colour would be very appealing in a visual sense.
During my searches I very unexpectedly came across some work by McLuhan – and yes, this is the part which explains the post title.
Between 1968 and 1970 Marshall McLuhan issued a series of newsletters, titled, DEW-Line, an acronym for “Distant Early Warning Line” and became a metaphor of McLuhan’s work on the role of art and the artist at a time of rapid social and technological change and he repeated the idea frequently. The newsletter included ancillary texts that included papers on the nature of media, society and advertising, reproduced advertisements and typographic experiments. One of these was a card deck released in 1969 (shown below). The deck was intended to encourage problem solving and to stimulate thought, described as a ‘problem solving device’ on the website that still sells the decks and it even includes an instruction sheet. – http://ericmcluhan.com/bookshop/#cards.
Obviously these are intended for use as playing cards as well as probes into McLuhan’s concepts. Whereas mine will not be for play use, but just as probes – so similar to The Medium is the Massage and The Age of Earthquakes. Therefore I will have more opportunity to be more provocative in the design. Although I have to say that I am very fond of the way he uses quotes – very minimalistic and simple and I think this really enhances the power of its message.
To wrap up everything in this post, looking at what I have has really allowed me to see different techniques of using Image and typography to be very creative with the design of these cards. From that, as I have stated, I have really developed my own thoughts on the cards I will produce in terms of the visual style and so this has been very useful in progressing this side of my project.
Figure 1. Image available at: https://m1.behance.net/rendition/modules/10246705/disp/8c2a00c475188aa6a75a0b1016122f0e.png [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Figure 2. Image available at: https://m1.behance.net/rendition/modules/4792589/disp/4f9e6c897db547a038bf8c1d24383f97.jpg [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Figure 3. Image available at: http://blog.ellusionist.com/wp-content/uploads/cards-typography.jpg [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Figure 4. Image available at: http://coolmaterial.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Stealth-Playing-Cards-1.jpg [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Figure 5. Image available at: http://www.arcade-lounge.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/space_invader_playing_cards.jpg [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Figure 6 & 8. Image available at: http://designenvy.aiga.org/distant-early-warning-marshall-mcluhan/ [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Figure 7. Image available at: http://ericmcluhan.com/bookshop/#cards [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Figure 9. Image available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/86954993@N00/sets/72057594094068031/ [Accessed on 02/4/15]
McLuhan, E. (2012) The McLuhan Book shop. [online] Available at: http://ericmcluhan.com/bookshop/#cards [Accessed on 02/4/15]
Belonax, T. (2013) ‘Distant Early Warning: Marshall McLuhan’. ‘Design Envy’, Blog. [online] Available at: http://designenvy.aiga.org/distant-early-warning-marshall-mcluhan/ [Accessed on 02/4/15]