Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Helvetica - Love it or hate it?

After watching the film Helvetica I instantly started looking around at shops, signs and magazines to see how often this typeface is used. The extensive use of this font was highlighted during the documentary, and it was fascinating to see the variety of products that it has been applied to. Its fair to say Helvetica is everywhere!

What I found interesting about the film though, was how it showed both sides of the argument. Some typographers argued that this is one of the best typefaces, which can be and often should be used in all areas of design. Others had the opinion that fonts can be expressive in their own right, and we should not be limited to two or three typefaces.

Throughout the film I had varying opinions, one minute I loved it and the next I thought it was over used. However by the end of the film I loved Helvetica. I think its a really well designed typeface which is clear and very easy to read. Its versatility makes it ideal for a range of products; everything from shop signs to t-shirts.

I am sure i will be using it in my designs in the future!

Monday, 28 September 2009

It means nothing?

One part of Fridays lecture which I found interesting was how we automatically associate colour with various meanings and give it a variety of connotations. This was highlighted when the lecture theatre was asked what the colour red meant. Most people, including myself, agreed it meant danger, love, power and passion. I have since learnt that red does not mean any of the above, it is simply a word. It means nothing.

This was demonstrated when a student stood up wearing a red top; the lecture theatre were not scared or felt any sense of danger, or indeed lust towards this student. Therefore the colour red is only associated with certain connotations when they are used within context.

It is natural to associate red with these topics as that is what the colour has been used to depict over the years. However what I find really interesting is that if for instance red traffic lights were changed to purple we would eventually start associating purple with stop and danger.

This idea made me think about how important colour is in design:
  • Would we buy a curry sauce if it was contained in blue packaging?
  • Would we trust a bank with our savings if their logo was made up of bright pink and lime green writing?
I think that colour is extremely important in design. And the connotations that colour have can influence many of the decisions we make.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Maize Maze

Last weekend I visited a Maize Maze. Even though the vast majority of those exploring this 'labyrinth of pathways' were under twelve I had lots of fun!

Each year the maze has a different theme and this year it looks at Global Warming. Children (and indeed young adults) are able to explore the maze with the goal of finding ten stations. Every station has interesting facts and information on an issue relating to Global Warming.

These stations are hidden within the many pathways of this 6 acre maze. Finding them can be rather difficult due to the 8 ft maize growing around you. Needless to say after an hour and twenty minutes of frenzied searching I completed the mega maze, and learnt a little along the way!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Little Black Book

I have been staring at the screen now for twenty minutes trying to come up with an interesting topic for my first blog. In order not to spend another twenty minutes trying I decided to use an idea listed in the Design Studies Handbook:

'find something in your room that evokes strong memories'

Whilst rummaging through my cupboards and drawers I found many possible items; certificates, CDs, items of jewellery and photographs. However the item that conjures up the most memories is a Little Black Book. It was given to me on my 21st birthday by my best friends. Flicking through the pages of this homemade present, provides the viewer with an entertaining look into my youth, with several snap shots of me in a range of dodgy outfits and wild hairstyles.

However despite the cringe worthy imagery this book really makes me think of all the good times I have had. Not only can I remember where and when these were taken I can also think of stories, songs and phrases associated with each and every snap shot.

As someone who has become camera shy over the years I fully intend to change this in order to have more fun memories that I can look back on in years to come!