xx, Signature Style

Design Feature - xx, Signature Style - TAXI Design Network
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by Alicia Tan

The substance of style is a reservedly intimate entity to a designer. Like the appreciation of fine wine or music, it is really dependent on the individual’s personal taste. Style and design work in tandem but when critiquing the issue of good or bad, it is the design element rather than style which is held accountable. In contrast to the earlier stages of graphic design, the design discpline today is highly reliant on technology and thrives on competition; hence the essence of a personal style will distinguish one designer’s portfolio from the superfluity of talents in the industry.

The Evolution of Design

(Paul Rand Miscellany cover for Design Quarterly and him on a "Think Different" poster in his later years. Images and text courtesy of Wikipedia ®)
The term ‘graphic designer’ was first coined in the 20th century, and much like the fine art of the same period, it was a reaction against the decadence of typography and design of the late 19th century. The hallmark of early modern typography is the sans-serif typeface which was highly inspired by vernacular and industrial typography of the 19th century.

Bauhaus had a massive role in the beginnings of design and till today, many works can be seen as ‘Bauhaus-inspired’ due to their overwhelming influence on designers. The emigration of the German Bauhaus School of Design to Chicago in 1937 brought a "mass-produced" minimalism to America, introducing a new wave of modern architecture and design. Renowned and legendary designer, Paul Rand, took the principles of the Bauhaus and used them to popularize advertising and logo design, applying a European minimalist approach while pioneering the subset of graphic design known as corporate identity.

(Eye Bee M poster designed by Rand in 1981 for IBM and the unimplemented logo designed by Rand for Ford Motor Company. Images and text courtesy of Wikipedia ®)

The reaction towards the importance of graphic design was nonetheless never as severe as it is today nor was it an ideal choice of vocation.

Hand Skills: Dexterity of the Past. Computers: Necessity of the Present Day.

The phenomenal personal computer which made its presence in 1984 was particularly influential in design as it marked the end of reign of the Bauhaus designer - the era in which hand skills were paramount and practitioners were considered artists. As with every great change, response was divided, with some embracing it whilst others denying it. Between the the period of DIY and the sudden accessibility of technology, it was inevitable that the design industry had been affected, albeit in a positive way.

The ABC logo, developed by Paul Rand, has been in use since 1962 and remains unmodified to this day. Rand said that he designed it for durability, function, usefulness, rightness, and beauty. The typeface used for the famous logo is a simple geometric design inspired by the Bauhaus school of the 1920s. Image and text courtesy of Search-this.

The 90’s had seen developed countries shift away from actual production-based to focus on the concept of ‘ideas’. Design benefited from this change and began to explore its roots in a wider context. Innovation was the new hot term which saw design striving to be more innovative not only in its products but also in its business elements of strategizing and planning. Innovation, it seems, is still fresh as ever.

This profession, once uncommon and rarely chosen, witnessed the surge of many young talents who wanted a piece of the pie in the growing robust industry. In the age of digital media, communication is imperative and instant feedback from users has been made possible through the web, something which is rare in print. This new medium is the ground which brings the design community together and the designers closer to its suitors.

Inherently, the tide is changing yet again. No man is an island and collaborative work these days is a common vision most graphic designers welcome. Why so? Because through collaboration, designers can land bigger deals from clients and learn different skills from fellow counterparts, something no school can teach.

Rife Competition. The Drive to Success.

Graphic design has projected a tremendous growth rate. With the viability of the economy, more people require the skills of designers and competition for these positions continue to be fierce as new talented and competent freshies are popping up as rapidly as the snap of a finger.

As more businesses look to the Web for information and as the entertainment market expands, there is definitely an escalation in demand for graphic designers.

In this fast-paced society, graphic designers have to rise to the occasion and results are needed almost instantaneously. Today’s young designers do not need to worry about apprenticeship or being bogged down by a certain style. They are open to freelance, to experiment and to hopefully perform some technological mastery to wow critiques and clients. Perseverance and nurturing a personal style is the key to stay on top in this highly aggressive industry.

The Crux of the Issue: Relevance of a Personal Style.

Jon Bon Jovi, famously adored for his raspy cooing intonations whilst Jim Carrey, fondly remembered for his slapstick comical humor, have both carved a persona for themselves, which is highly recognized by their fans. Likewise, designers too need to find their character and nurture a style by which people can identify or closely associate themselves with. (...) [Ler mais...]> Design Feature - xx, Signature Style - TAXI Design Network