Visualising Boundaries between Architecture and Graphic Design - MA Thesis


Published on

I have included a copy of my MA thesis and final major project. Please note that the thesis is missing images and might have page number issues - I lost all original files(!)

Published in: Design, Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Visualising Boundaries between Architecture and Graphic Design - MA Thesis

  1. 1. Visualising the Boundaries of architecture and graphic design By Steven Price MA Communication Design, Central St Mar tins, London 2000.
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. 3 Visualising the Boundaries of architecture and graphic design By Steven Price MA Communication Design, Central St Mar tins, London 2000.
  4. 4. 4 Abstract This dissertation is an ‘observation’, not an argument of right or wrong, good or bad design. It is not about changing the world, it is about trying to observe and understand the boundry between architecture and graphic design, and how we as viewers, users, consumers, and products of, interpret the language of these two disciplines. It is a study concerning the relationship and interaction between the the public and built space. This dissertation was inspired from one quote, and an exhibition called ‘Paperjam’. Firstly, from the book ‘Envisioning Information’ by Edward R Tufte, I became immediately captivated in to the notion of how we interpret, visualise and conceptualise information; questioning how we can best escape the static flatland of screen and paper to visually represent the rich visual world of experience that we live in. The second source of inspiration is ‘Paperjam’, which involves a collaboration between myself, Red Design (who produced the brief), and other contributing designers: We have been asked, by Red Design, to challenge the current state of ‘standardisation’ and ‘conformity’ within flyposters that we all see smothered around our cities corridors, walls, doors, pillars, posts and billboards. It was this initial realisation that we have become accustomed to an ‘en masse’ of information; residing somewhere between architectural form, design and visual (design) information. It was this boundary that I found so intriguing, because these are two disciplines that have an enormous impact upon our everyday life. It was also the self realisation that I could not define the term Graphic Design, or my placement within that discipline; which is the precise reason I decided to partake in an MA to begin with.
  5. 5. 5 ‘The time has arrived for a scholar to write a doctoral dissertation on signs. He or she would need literary as well as artistic acumen, because the same reason the makes signs Pop Art (the need for high-speed communication with maximum meaning) makes the Pop Literature as well.’ Robert Venturi Learning From Las Vegas The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form, pg.80 MIT Press (1998).
  6. 6. Introduction 17 1.0 The realm of Architecture 23 1.1 The metaphysical language of The Lloyds Building 31 1.2 Inside:outside (the Lloyds building) 34 1.3 The process of movement 42 2.0 Defining the arena of Graphic Design 45 2.1 Visualisation of Information 49 2.2 Breaking Boundaries: Wipeout Three 54 3.0 Interaction of Boundaries 60 4.0 Epilogue: Authors of information? 67 Bibliography Appendix
  7. 7. 16
  8. 8. 17 ‘The world is complex, dynamic, multidimensional; the paper is static, flat. How are we to visually represent the rich visual world of experience and measurement on mere flatland?’ Edward R Tufte Envisioning Information, Introduction, page 9. Graphics Press. Cheshire, Connecticut.
  9. 9. 18 Introduction The purpose of the written and printed word has not changed since its early pioneers and 1 practioners began the art of the printed word in the fifteenth century . Its primary function is not just about captivating the reader, but to provoke a reaction: a thought, an emotion, a mental (and sometimes physical) response. The disciplines of Architecture and Graphic Design will be the main focus points of this dissertation. Together they have a far more literal presence and effect upon our everyday lives than probably most people are aware of. Similar to the written word, they provoke, and communicate information that challenges a response and reaction. Different forms and functions will inevitably create various reactions from the user, observer, or passer-by. This dissertation is not a formal argument of ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, it is a chance to investigate and reflect upon the new and varied ways in which designers and architects are using, or rather, should be using more varied and challenging methods of technology to convey the meaning, the message (an example would be John Warwicker's on-going project of the Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, See figure.27). It is the boundaries between the physiological language of the two disciplines that I see as interacting with each other. Except at the moment (in many cases) I feel there is a serious lack of any consideration or responsibility on the part of the designer concerning the sprawl of information we see attached to the walls and corridors of of urban environments. The structure of this dissertation will be divided in to three main segments. The first section will take an insight into the role of Architecture, outlining a brief physiological history of the necessity, evolvement, and understanding of the discipline. The section will explore the symbolic language and presence of Architecture and how those independently provoke meaning to our everyday experiences and visual dialogue. Proceeding this will be an indepth case study, analysing the Lloyds Building in London; assessing its function, form, its physiological language within its surrounding location, and the notoriety of its structural characteristics and language. Similarly, chapter two will study the discipline of Graphic Design, elaborating on what the current boundaries and conditions are, and what the role of the designer is in todays evolving state of flux. The section will discuss the objectives and evolvements of the discipline with the emerging, and ever expanding technological advancements; and how those progressions have enabled a more compatible link between the designer and the architect. Using examples I shall elaborate on this to further reflect, not necessarily a ‘correct’ or ‘right’ way to work, but of a more considered, responsible approach towards the interaction of the two disciplines: not only for the innovation or
  10. 10. Introduction 21 creation, but the for the contextual benefit of the user. This will all be supported by a case study to emphasise the evolvement and progression by investigating the Sony Playstation game ‘Wipeout’, which from the early stages of concept through to production was a creatively inspired collaboration between Psygnosis and the graphic design company, The Designers Republic. A design company renowned for their elaborate, visual statements within the printed realm, which is now crossing boundaries and progressing into (amongst others) the computer games world. This case study will address all these elements, discussing movement from the flat two-dimensional print 2 world to the three-dimensional flatland on screen, and how their own personal responses and 3 experiences from our ‘rich visual world of experience’ aided the process of discovery and creation. ‘The public realm is defined as much by graphic designers, as it is 4 by architects.’ The final section (3.0 interaction of boundaries), will encapsulate all of the elements discussed within sections one and two. I will investigate the routes and possibilities of interaction alongside the desire and necessity for there to be a more considered use space between the boundaries of Architectural and Information Design. Architecture and Graphic Design: two disciplines whose basic principles have universal application: Neither are restricted to unique theories, language or culture, and so evolve on a constant state of flux. This dissertation is about observation, not argument; it is a reflection, studying the current language of communication within architecture and graphic design. In theory it is an enormous field of study to cover, but I have specifically chosen to narrow that field by studying precise examples from both disciplines, which combine in section three to form a singular study of location, language, and contextual awareness, ahead of my final conclusion.
  11. 11. 22 Footnotes 1. James Moran Fit to be Styled a Typographer’, The Society of Typographic Designers, page 1. 2. The idea of ‘Flatland’ is based upon the classic by Edwin A Abbott, entitled ‘Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions’. (penguin classics) 3. Edward R Tufte Envisioning Information, introduction, page 9. Graphics Press. Cheshire, Connecticut. 4. David Heathcote Eye Magazine, ‘Growing up in Public’, page 4.
  12. 12. 23 ‘The masterly, correct, and magnificent play of masses brought together in light.’ Le Corbusier
  13. 13. 26 1.0 The realm of Architecture ‘No matter how much architecture evolves, its primary function is to provide 3 shelter.’ Architecture has had a consistent presence in history and the conscious mind. Since the early stages of evolution mankind has sought to survive and protect itself from the climate, predators, and the elements in varying forms. In doing so dwellings were constructed from natural materials, that became environments for rest and for the birth and raising of siblings. This progressed, and dwellings were soon modified, especially where climate was concerned. Builders (or chief Architects) began to adapt buildings according to the local climate, by benefiting from the usual local materials. It is these precise methods that are still in existence today (see figures 11 & 12), both in a physical form (the city of Perta in Jordan see figures 12 & 13), and contextually in the basics of Architectural education. Climates are broken down into three simple elements: Hot and Dry climates required thick walls to keep the heat out in the day, the use of light colours to reflect the suns rays, and small narrow windows to minimise glare. At night the heat captured in the thick walls helps to insulate the dwelling in the cool of the night. Cold and Wet areas require thick, dark walls; usually brick or wood to keep both the heat in and the cold out, and large windows to increase the source of natural light. Steep roofs were used to disperse off ice, snow, and rain, and buildings were built close together to provide warmth and outside shelter. Lastly, Hot and Humid areas use screens or thin walls to let air pass through, but to keep heat out; verandah's and over-hanging roofs provide shelter, and shade for outdoor areas. In the rainy season shallow overhanging roofs throw off rain, and houses/dwellings were built on stilts to provide protection from floods, insects, and larger predators. These simple, yet highly effective techniques that were evident then, are still used in modern construction techniques. It was as a result of these techniques, and the evolvement of society that gave birth to the early stages of civilisation. Bringing with it the development of Architecture which had, and still has a primary function within modern society: serving as a constant, and permanent, reminder of our history, whilst inspiring our future.
  14. 14. 1.0 The realm of Architecture 27 ‘Architects have been bewitched by a single element of the Italian landscape: the piazza. Its traditional, pedestrian-scaled, and intricately enclosed and is 4 easier to like than the sprawl of Route 66 and Los Angeles.’ Architecture is an aesthetic part of our heritage; additionally it causes emotional responses because of our conscious awareness of its aesthetic form. It exists everywhere, it sculpts the environments that we live, eat, work, and sleep in. Contextualising these points is made easy just by walking around the City of London where we can see the essence of Old English ‘Tudor’ Architecture at Liberty’s, and Roman Collesium elements in the facade of Selfridges, which ironically is now completely covered with a single piece of artwork (see figure 14) measuring nine hundred feet mong by sixty feet high. To emphasise the actual facade of the building Simon taylor stated: "I conceived this work as a contemporary version of the Elgin marble frieze from the Parthenon, peopled with modern day Gods', to adorn a temple of 5 shopping." These aspects emphasise the physiological significance of the buildings, simply through using elements of historical value. This draws on our previous knowledge, and enables us to determine interpretation and meaning. Architecture provides both public and private spaces for the populous to interact with, and use on a daily basis. It sculpts environments, spaces of movement and interaction, which is subsequently controlled by certain elements that determine the successful navigation and understanding of a space by the: Physical elements, which are the buildings themselves, the traffic that moves around them (continuous and controlled), by navigational factors: traffic lights, artificial lights, and signage. Sequential element, which is directly affected by the time of day: a cityscape/space will transform in appearance: at night time as a result of artificial lighting, albeit street lights, or neon/building illuminations. Buildings will take on the appearance of simple silhouettes projected against the night sky, unlike their appearance when bathed in natural daylight. Social elements, can project key forms of communication related to an area or space. For example Brick Lane in the heart of London's East End suggests
  15. 15. 28 1.0 The realm of Architecture ethnic community, and minority, namely the Sikh/Muslim religion, and significant cultural boundaries. By contrast, across the road and walk for five minutes and you find yourself in the heart of the Financial District, or ‘The City’. The environment here is suggestive of power, control, tradition, history, and leadership on an intimidating scale. All these factors , with our previous experience, shape our perceptions to varying degrees. Movement perception along a street is governed within the structural order of constants: the road, the lamp-posts, the pavement, the sky, and the buildings: constants, and purpose aid the comprehension of any space. Other methods of understanding form, and in particular, ‘new/ modern’ form, is to compare it with the value systems of those that preceded them, the previous, the past: ‘What is not new is not that the world lacks meaning or has little meaning, or has less than it used to; it is that we seem to feel an explicit and intense daily need to give it (the world) meaning: to give meaning to the world. This need to give meaning to the present, if not the past, is the price that we pay for the over abundance of events corresponding to a situation we call 6 ‘supermodern’ to express its essential quality: Excess.’ This quote reflects our using previous, and recorded knowledge to create meaning, but it is concerned with the element of actual time. The symbolism of Architecture is not just about chronological meaning, it is about dealing with the physiological aesthetics of structural form and function. Although a building can suggest a number of historical styles, its urban space owes nothing to historical space, like a new canvas, it precedes the last piece of work; because it is new; whether it is good or bad depends very much upon the skill, the understanding, and the consistency of the artist, or in terms of the following case study, the Architect. Nevertheless, in order have construct an understanding of these elements and forms, it is important to understand what is there, from a basic understanding of ‘a city’, to evolve the new theories and concepts of form more suited to the contemporary attitudes of contextualising concepts. Rather than the attachment of redundant, historical pre-determined beliefs.
  16. 16. 1.0 The realm of Architecture 29 Footnotes 1. Louis Hellman Architecture For Beginners. ‘What is Architecture’, page.1 2. Physiology, relating to the language of the functions and forms of architecture, not living organisms. 3. Philip Jodidio Building a New Millennium.’Places to Live’, page 20. 4. Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour Learning From Las Vegas, The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form. ‘Architecture as Space’, page6. 5. Taylor, Simon ‘XV SECONDS’ A specially commissioned installation for Selfridges Inauguration: May 2000 Until October 2000 6. Marc Augé Non-Places, Introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity. page 29.
  17. 17. 30
  18. 18. 31 ‘Buildings are not idiosyncratic private institutions: they give public performances both to the user and the passerby.’ Louis Hellman Architecture For Beginners. ‘What is Architecture’, page.1
  19. 19. 32 1.1 The metaphysical language of The Lloyds Building The Lloyds building is about movement. Whilst it is an iconic gesture of ‘modern’ architecture, it also represents one of the most respected and traditional financial establishments in the world. It has proved to be an overwhelming experience from an aesthetical, purely visual stand-point. A construction that demands and challenges the viewer to observe, and interpret. Like a canvas in an art gallery, it captures your attention from afar, its sheer magnitude draws you near for a closer inspection; only at this point will the full interpretation of its statement become clear. Its collaboration of functions, materials, solutions and myriadic facades captures the profoundness of the structure. It is patently impossible to separate the two great elements; of time and place, whose function has always been indispensable in any great architecture work. As you walk around the site you are confronted by a mass of very definite forms whose precise relationships change with every step you take. Forming a facade that has many permutations and statically evolves, creating an interdependent anatomy of interaction: ‘Wherever you look, whatever you see, composes into the equivalent of 1 pictorial compositions.’ Typical to the Rogers’ Partnership team, all the formal physical language manages to arrange and re-arrange itself with every step. Every detail of the building; a handrail, a spiral staircase, 2 door knob, or window frame acts as a microcosmic variant, so to label it a ‘High-Tech’ building is a fallacy, and an overall detraction from the idiosyncratic language and function. Similar to labelling a painting ‘Red’ just because the artist used red paint, ‘High-Tech’ is a label usually used to depict the materials and components that form the structural elements, but it is an inaccurate description to place on the artistic quality of the building. ‘High-Tech’ is a descriptive narrative to depict the materials and components, not the language or function which is a primary reason for the existence of any building. It is no more than the combination of all the particles that when assembled together, produce a three-dimensional form. The very notion of three-dimensional design involves ‘real-space’, or constructed space for the purpose of making it visible. All the particles constructed together in the Lloyds Building combine to produce the mechanism, the machine, the form, whilst individually functioning as delineator's.
  20. 20. 33 Still, all art, or design is a matter of organisational configuration of all the key elements. It is the relationship of one unit, one element to another, or one cluster or group of elements to another group. Individualistic interpretation gives rise to the term ‘artwork’. ‘We envision information in order to reason about, communicate, document, 3 and preserve that knowledge.’ A garden, for instance, already exists, but only when the elements of stones, pebbles, grass, flowers and weeds are assembled together. It is the nature of experience and language, it is about how we transform and interpret information to produce the message, the purpose: it is about envisioning information.
  21. 21. 34 1.2 Inside:outside the Lloyds Building
  22. 22. Figure 15.2 Architecture 3s The Lloyds building, London Pioneering British 'High-tec', Phaidon, London Photograph by Richard Bryant
  23. 23. Figure 15.3 Architecture 3s The Lloyds building, London Pioneering British 'High-tec', Phaidon, London Photograph by Richard Bryant
  24. 24. 1.2 Inside:outside the Lloyds Building 37 The Lloyds Building strikes a fine balance between permanence, transformation, and contradiction. Observing the building at close quarters, you are presented with an array of shapes that protrude from the building layer, upon layer. The aesthetics of these multiple layers and intervals, is not simply that the decoration emphasises the construction, but the visual splendour is multiplied by the knowledge that each feature has its individual function. Every single detail was conceived from a conceptual function; everything from air vents, and duct pipes, to the lavatory ducts on the outside of the building to allow for easier repair, and even complete unit replacement. Richard Rogers defined his aim at Lloyd’s as being: 4 ‘to create poetry out of basic enclosure, by translating technology into form.’ For many, the building may take on the appearance of a machine, and as previously referred to, a‘High-Tech’ structure with its many facets of steel, glass, concrete, and spiral staircases descending from the highest point of the building. The Lloyds building is not a simple structure as to the naked eye it appears complex. In contrast with buildings that take on a more refined, minimal, post-modern structure, for example The Seagram Building, in New York, designed by Ludwig Mies Vander Rohe in 1958 (see figure 16) its cubic structure is articulated by extruded bronze I-beams imposed on a dark glass curtain wall.: ‘The inescapable drama of the Seagram Building in a city already dramatic with crowded skyscrapers lies in its unbroken height of bronze and dark glass juxtaposed to a granite-paved plaza below. The sitting of the building on Park Avenue, an indulgence in open space unprecedented in midtown 5 Manhattan real estate, has given that building an aura of special domain.’ What is not distinguishable from the facade of the Lloyds building, is that it too built from the basis of a cubic rectangle, from the epicentre of the atrium inside the site, which is extruded and manipulated into many facets and layers. Much like a cubist painting from Pablo Picasso, or Ben Nicholson (see figures 17 and 18), it has an abstract form constructed of varied angular and obtuse surfaces to physical, disguise its original formation. This is also a contradiction, for whilst it has many permutations and surfaces, its purist ambience is functionality in its simplest form, turning the functions of a building inside out so that the physical functions are infact precisely the form that you view. ‘It is a place for individualists, a fact that Richard Rogers and his team could never forget when they were designing its new headquarters.’7
  25. 25. 38 1.2 Inside:outside (the Lloyds building). The Lloyds Building strikes a fine balance between permanence, transformation, and contradiction. Observing the building at close quarters, you are presented with an array of shapes that protrude from the building layer, upon layer. The aesthetics of these multiple layers and intervals, is not simply that the decoration emphasises the construction, but the visual splendour is multiplied by the knowledge that each feature has its individual function. Every single detail was conceived from a conceptual function; everything from air vents, and duct pipes, to the lavatory ducts on the outside of the building to allow for easier repair, and even complete unit replacement. Richard Rogers defined his aim at Lloyd’s as being: 4 ‘to create poetry out of basic enclosure, by translating technology into form.’ For many, the building may take on the appearance of a machine, and as previously referred to, a‘High-Tech’ structure with its many facets of steel, glass, concrete, and spiral staircases descending from the highest point of the building. The Lloyds building is not a simple structure as to the naked eye it appears complex. In contrast with buildings that take on a more refined, minimal, post-modern structure, for example The Seagram Building, in New York, designed by Ludwig Mies Vander Rohe in 1958 (see figure 16) its cubic structure is articulated by extruded bronze I-beams imposed on a dark glass curtain wall.: ‘The inescapable drama of the Seagram Building in a city already dramatic with crowded skyscrapers lies in its unbroken height of bronze and dark glass juxtaposed to a granite-paved plaza below. The sitting of the building on Park Avenue, an indulgence in open space unprecedented in midtown 5 Manhattan real estate, has given that building an aura of special domain.’ What is not distinguishable from the facade of the Lloyds building, is that it too built from the basis of a cubic rectangle, from the epicentre of the atrium inside the site, which is extruded and manipulated into many facets and layers. Much like a cubist painting from Pablo Picasso, or Ben Nicholson (see figures 17 and 18), it has an abstract form constructed of varied angular and obtuse surfaces to physical, disguise its original formation. This is also a contradiction, for whilst it has many permutations and surfaces, its purist ambience is functionality in its simplest form, turning the functions of a building inside out so that the physical functions are infact precisely the form that you view. ‘It is a place for individualists, a fact that Richard Rogers and his team could never forget when they were designing its new headquarters.’7 The building is occupied by a myriad of insurance underwriters. The financial district, or ‘The City’ as it is referred to, is an area steeped in financial tradition with a deep sense of the
  26. 26. 39 Figure 15.3 Architecture 3s The Lloyds building, London Pioneering British 'High-tec', Phaidon, London Photograph by Richard Bryant
  27. 27. 40
  28. 28. 1.2 Inside:outside (the Lloyds building). 41 1. Patrick Heron Architecture 3, Pioneering British ‘High-Tec’. Chapter 3, Richard Rogers Partnership, Lloyds Building. 2.Microcosm refers to the miniature detail of the ‘community’ of complex unity within the structure. 3. Edward R Tufte Envisioning Information, ‘Escaping Flatland’, page 33. 4. Kenneth Powell Architecture 3, Pioneering British ‘High-Tec’. Chapter 3, Richard Rogers Partnership, Lloyds Building. A Great London Monument. 5. A. James Speyer. Mies van der Rohe, page 30. 7. Kenneth Powell Architecture 3, Pioneering British ‘High-Tec’. Chapter 3, Richard Rogers Partnership, Lloyds Building. A Modern Marketplace. 8. Patrick Heron Architecture 3, Pioneering British ‘High-Tec’. Chapter 3, Richard Rogers Partnership, Lloyds Building. ‘Built Against The Odds’. 9. Richard Rogers From Barbie Campbell Cole and Ruth Elias Rogers, ed. Richard Rogers + Partners. p19. 10. ‘Wall Climber's’ is the title Rogers gave to the glass elevators that scale the Lloyds exterior. 11. Patrick Heron Architecture 3, Pioneering British ‘High-Tec’. Chapter 3, Richard Rogers Partnership, Lloyds Building. ‘Built Against The Odds’.
  29. 29. 1.3 The process of movement
  30. 30. 1.3 The process of movement 43 The materials used to construct the Lloyds Building also contradict the ‘norm’. It is not constructed using the favoured portland stone of the area, but concrete, combined with glass blocks that use triple glazing to produce a sparkle effect. It uses moulded steel that sculpts the service towers to create a ‘spinal’ appearance, emphasising the structural strength, and stability and power, together with the glass lifts (or ‘wall climbers as they are called, see figure 19), lavatory ducts and riser's. These serve to emphasise the visual expression of ‘served and servant’ in the basic strategy of core versus perimeter spaces. The many facets, of the source materials used also change the physical colouring of the site depending upon the time of day and weather. There is a different view for every individual, dependent upon where that person is situated, emphasising the building’s highly individual purpose, presence, and persona. ‘Buildings are not idiosyncratic private institutions: they give public performances both to the user and the passerby. Thus the architect's responsibility must go beyond the client's program and into the broader 9 public realm.’ The sense of movement is captured in the equipment that transfer, and convey employees, and visitors around the site. On the exterior the transparent fluidity of movement is 10 represented by the glass wall climber's . The power of the building is not the actual building perse, essentially it is the publics reaction and interpretation of it. Internally, escalators are used extensively throughout the building. Initially they were only supposed to service the first floor from the atrium, but were expanded to reach the fourth floor thus enabling a fluidity of movement to flourish by providing easier access. Escalators provide the perfect sense of motion for the occupants. It was this further attention to detail by Rogers that amplified the mechanical mechanism of the escalators by using glass panels. providing a simple, yet concise celebration of movement - much like the glass wall climber's. Detail which had clearly been inspired by his earlier work with partner Renzo Piano when designing the external escalators that scale the outside of the Pompidou Centre, which to this day remain the most popular iconic characteristic of the building: ‘A key part of the design strategy was that Lloyds should be, like the 11 Pompidou, a place of movement.’ The Lloyds building had not only the practical functions of the user in mind, but managed to represent every detail in the physiological language. The core to this site was communication.
  31. 31. 44 1.3 The process of movement Not just between the client and the Architect, but between the Architect’s interaction, communication, and consideration of the user. It’s a canvas that the architect uses to tell his/ her story. Essentially it is about narrative, visualising a journey of thought, a testimony to the architects process of creativity. During the final stages of writing this study of the Lloyds building, I endeavoured to take another visit to the site as I am still fascinated by it. As you leave the traditional facade of Leadenhall Market behind you, and enter Lime street you are immediately challenged to comprehend the posture, strength and conviction of a building that demands your attention. It is an architectural experience which enriches and serves to inspire the populous. It is impossible to surmise or define the effects of all types of architecture, by generalising about there interpretation. Interpretation is about indifference, personalisation, and above all a reflection our our individual journeys of experience and recollections, that we use to attach meaning, in order to interpret. The purpose of Architecture, like graphic design, is to communicate, to create order and understanding. To enable movement, shelter, protection, and control. There are many forms and factors leading to interpretational differences, but the point is the same, to influence and affect people.
  32. 32. 45 ‘Our “interface” with the world nearly always involves graphic design of some kind. The marks on the street, on the walls and in your wallet were lately someone’s brief. Our cars, our clothes and our litter are all covered with identity projects: graphic design is everywhere.’ David Heathcoate ‘Gowing up in public’. Eye Magazine Volume 9, issue 34 page 4.
  33. 33. 46 2.0 Defining the arena of Graphic Design 3 Graphic design is the most ubiquitous of all the arts; as David Heathcote states: ‘it is everywhere, much like architecture.’ The inspiration for this dissertation as previously stated, originated from the quote by Edward R Tufte that questions the visual world of information and interaction particularly within the urban environments that we encounter on a daily basis. Our cities walls and corridors have become overpowered by visual clutter that is is now part of the fabric of modern urban environment. The 4 flyposters , the billboards, the endless sprawl of information that invades our ‘space’, our ‘landscape’, our ‘environments’. We as designers are guilty parties in this pursuit and continue to be so. This chapter is about addressing those concerns. Discussing the language of the current environment of ‘Graphic Design’, and following on to debate how this current wave of conformity and standardisation needs to evolve, so that designers begin to acknowledge, and take responsibility for their direction and execution of projects. To distinguish not a ‘right’ way, but a more persuasive variety of new ‘possibilities’. ‘The key is the flow of information, no matter what form it takes. Some call it Globalisation, and fear that new, unknown competitors will take their place. Others view the flow of information as an unprecedented enrichment. Those who greet the present future with an open mine - understand that this revolution is not about standardisation but about diversity.’ 5 In a recent discussion, on this subject with John Warwicker of Tomato (see appendix for the transcription), I was directly propositioned to define what I meant by ‘Graphic Design’. Somewhat confused I simply replied: “Well that is why I am doing an MA!”, and so it is. From a personal perspective I did not understand the term ‘Graphic Design’, for it is simply a title. It has become a discipline that requires many diverse elements and skills, and the products of this discipline can be seen all around us. Graphic design is a contradiction in itself, and yet considered by some as a ‘dead’ title. “Graphic design is dead. I think it is, it died about a few years ago, it was a false thing anyway. I mean graphic design was constructed in the mid-sixties, by the 6 likes of ken garland who wanted to get more money out of advertising agencies.” After my discussion with John Warwicker, I felt that whilst there appeared to be some validity in his ‘opinions’, he was inhospitable in his attitude. Questioning why, instead
  34. 34. 47 containers. In doing so the strategies of design become translucent and self-effacing, rather like a paper back book, the design becomes invisible. Conformity and standardisation of graphic design becomes visible when the content becomes diverted by the attraction or appearance of the container. The conformity and standardisation of bold colourful pictures, large typesetting straplines, logo’s, sexual provocation, and brand identity; which can be seen in many of the flyposters sprawled across every wall, pillar, door and window. ‘The majority of information (so desperately conveyed) is lost in the bland 14 quagmire the individual posters create when viewed ‘en masse’’ This clutter of information breeds contempt to the content. Such examples of 15 ‘Chartjunk’ data would suggest that numbers, details, are tedious, uninteresting, and therefore need an element of brashness to enliven the message, the information, the content. This transformation using graphical or photographical cosmetics only emphasises the complete lack of consideration for the content, the process, the narrative. ‘As designers, we need to remember that our subject is not the art of 16 expression but the art of forethought.’ Worse still is the contempt for the audience. ‘Chartjunk’ designs can only suggest that the reader is ignorant and nonchalant about how information is displayed, when infact many are the complete opposite, as a result of the electronic information age. However, posters were meant to be read from a distance, with strong images, large typesetting, and simple data information. These formats of designing are not examples of ‘bad’ design, but designs that fail to escape from there flatland, there two-dimensional, static existence, instead they simply contribute to the mass sprawl. Much like the Duck shed (see figure 21) from Las Vegas, proving that we are all living in an age where simply constructing decoration albeit in graphic design or architecture, is no longer an acceptable standard of visualising information. The role of the designer has long since evolved alongside the progressive, and rapidly developing realm of information technology. We are now asked to design more than corporate identity, posters and record sleeves. The discipline demands that graphic designers not only understand the advancing mediums of new media, but can also
  35. 35. 48 Graphic design is complex; it combines words and pictures, numbers and charts, photographs and illustrations. Therefore in order to succeed graphic design demands the clear thinking of a particularly thoughtful individual who can translate these elements so that they all add up to something distinctive, or useful, or playful, or surprising, or subversive, or somehow memorable. They will attach personal experience to the visual language in order to effect translation. Graphic design, like architecture, deals with language and information, and simply put, it is about making marks that enable the art of visualising ideas: ‘Drawing is a very important tool for me. maybe the ultimate result is different from what was first intended, but through the tool of drawing you 11 travel through the project and understand the result.’
  36. 36. 2.1 Visualisation of Information
  37. 37. 50 2.1 Visualisation of Information ‘Layering and fragmentation, if used for stylistic effect, can also be a way to 11 avoid making a decision.’ To visualise information, is to interpret the interaction of colour, image, word, numbers and art. The formats of information, be it a road sign, or a page from the bible, is managed by the mediums of line, layout and colour, together with symbols and typography. These mediums are ‘standards’, which are there as a guide, derived from visual principles that apparently inform us of what mark to make, and the right place is to make it. On a daily basis we navigate through the complexities of our three-dimensional world. The information systems that guide our journey, however are entrapped within an 12 infinite world of two-dimensional flatlands , namely paper and screen. It is in this dimension that all communication takes place between the originator's and recipients. Parallel to architecture, graphic design, or the design of information can provoke emotion, response, and meaning to the recipient, without the knowledge that he/she is observing an item of designed, contextualised, and conceptual artwork. Unlike architecture, information is not always so apparent, so obviously constructed, and yet the resolution, the resolving power of the paper, the screen, the sign is of the upmost importance. The scales of which are as complex and diverse as architecture, yet the method, process, and objective is very similar; communication. ‘Like the other extensions of man, typography and psychic and social consequences that suddenly shifted previous boundaries and patterns of culture. In bringing the ancient and medieval worlds into fusion- or, as some would say, confusion- the printed book created a third world, the modern world, which now encounters a new electric technology or a new extension of 13 man.’ With the inevitable expansion of electronic mail and electronic technology as a whole (the internet, mobile telephones, digital television) it means that the movement of information is altering our typographical culture. As sharply as print modified the medieval manuscript and educational culture. Information, or rather the supply and demand of it is ever present on our streets, in our printed matter, and in our homes; it constantly surrounds us. Communicating information is about focusing in on content, rather that content
  38. 38. 2.1 Visualisation of Information 51 of questioning the lack of innovation, and challenging the disciplines mass appeal. Warwicker seemed to feel more content in engineering creative titles: ‘Strategists’, 7 ‘Creative Consultants’, and ‘Information Sculptors’ . Rather than making an inquiry and challenging his and his piers motivation and methods. ‘Graphic Design’ is present in both the private and public realms, it embraces concerns both economic and ergonomic, and is influenced by many disciplines including art and architecture, philosophy and culture, literature and language, science and politics, and performance. It touches everything we do, everything we see and everything we buy. We see it on everything from billboards to Bibles, on taxi receipts and on web sites, on birth certificates and on gift certificates, on the folded instructions inside jars of aspirin and on the thick pages of children’s' picture books. Graphic design is the street signage we use to navigate. It is the Nike ‘swoosh’ and the monochromatic front page of The Times newspaper. It is the tags on clothes in stores, postage stamps and food packaging, it was the propaganda posters inviting you to join ‘King and Country’ to fight for the ‘Honour and the Glory’, and it is the brainless junk mail which falls through our letter box each day. It is the rollovers, the buttons, arrows, tabs, and the so-called ‘functional’ elements of the ‘New Media’ that is now all pervading through every medium and channel of communication available within modern society. ‘So we click. Scroll up. Page down. life on the screen becomes a rigorous, cartesian journey from east to west, north to south, an aesthetically simplistic, curatorially ill-defined flip-book, in which four dimensional 8 experience is retrofitted to conform to the two-dimensional representation.’ The process of Graphic Design is a progressive journey, each project providing an experience, a process of directional thought much like architecture. It is a facility for expansion and extension of knowledge and placing a title upon this expanding discipline is made harder because we are in it, part of it, a product of it, and trying constantly to 9 understand it. The work produced is the evidence of the process of process . ‘all work is about experience and the mapping of that experience, and for us Tomato is where we go to compare these maps. In effect we bring a map (or maps) from one territory and overlaying one upon the another to see what happens. This is how our individual work evolves, and how we work 10 together.’
  39. 39. 52 2.1 Visualisation of Information program and develop there designs to perform within the various mediums. From Web sites to printing matter, to television sequences, cdrom’s, interactive booths, and even interfaces for computer games. The latter of which will be investigated in the following section, discussing the role of the designer Mike Place from The Designers Republic with the series of Sony 17 Playstation games Wipeout . Levels of involvement that required Mike Place to develop the interface for the game, identities for the virtual racing teams, animation sequences for the titles, and even virtual billboards and television screens that are mounted on the side of the three dimensional cityscapes; of which the architectural construction was also apart of the brief. Wipeout is a prime example of how the role of a graphic designer, who has previously made his mark in print, has diversified into the arena of constructed three-dimensional environments within a screen for the use of interactive entertainment.
  40. 40. Footnotes 1. Andrew Blauvelt 10. Catherine Slessor ‘Towards Complex and Simplicity’ ‘The Architect as illustrator’ Eye, The International Review of Graphic Design. Eye, The International Review of Graphic Design. Page 38, Issue 35, Volume.9 Spring 2000. Issue 35, Volume.9 Spring 2000 2. David Heathcote is a Cultural historian, residing in 11. Drentell Helfand, Jessica. London and York. Sensory Montage. Eye Magazine 25, Volume 7 Summer 1997. 3. ‘Flyposters’ refers to the posters that we see pasted to the walls of our cities; concerned mainly with advertising 12. Flatland is based upon the classic by Edwin A Abbott, (but sometimes propaganda) for the commercial sector, entitled ‘Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions’ aimed at the consumer to buy, and purchase everything (penguin classics). Also a more modern viewpoint: How from music, to computers, etc. can modern painting, abstractionism, escape flatland? came from, Frank Stella, ‘Working Space’ (Cambridge, 4. Philip Jodidio. 1986). Building A New Millennium, pages 12-13 13, Mc Luhan, Marshall (1997) 5. David Heathcote. Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man, page 171. ‘Growing up in Public’ Eye Magazine. 14. Hamish XXXXXXX, and Edward XXXXXXX, Paperjam brief. see appendix. 6. Rick Poyner ‘Information Sculpture’ Eye Magazine. 15. Edward R Tufte Envisioning Information, Escaping Flatland, page 34. 7. Jessica Helfand ‘The Univernacular Rules’ 16. Hobson, Jamie. Eye Magazine, The End of The Line. Eye Magazine 25, Volume 7 Summer 1997. 8. The ‘Process of Process’, Extracted from John Warwicker’s article 17. Wipeout: is a futuristic racing game set within on his/tomato's’ work ethic. constructed arenas and cityscapes. Process: A Tomato Project. 9. John Warwicker Process: A Tomato Project.
  41. 41. 2.2 Breaking Boundaries: Wipeout Three
  42. 42. 55 ‘Graphic designers are not just making pages, they have become Directors 1 of Information’ Graphic design is not an isolated or an independent discipline. It has become inspired and influenced by a dynamic cross section design disciplines, especially concerning the expansion of the ‘Information Age; where it is positioned at the very core of ‘Visual Communication’ . By trade graphic designers have been trained to analyse and research the visual empowerment of a product, from conception to actual design and realisation. Even though the general public are perhaps not aware of the discipline, they are most certainly aware of the marks and visual statements that are created, which have formal qualities, precise shapes and precise content, which the public understand, be it a book, a poster or a web site. They all communicate more than just aesthetics, they are informative containers that communicate content. ‘Within the broad province of the arts, design and visual communication, Graphic Design will remain recognisable as a discipline for some time to 2 come. But it will merge more and more with the other disciplines.’ The Designers Republic is an example of a company that has diversified into other mediums, be it architecture, new media, or interactive games. Currently they are collaborating with the 3 architects Sadar and Vuga from Slovenia, who commissioned DR to design a new book entitled ‘4 Texts and 1 Photograph’. This is not a new collaboration of the two companies mixing there mediums, DR have also worked with Sadar and Vuga on a recent exhibition in Orleans. ‘Alot of our recent work has involved architectural images. So it was good to be working on an actual building to deconstruct and explore. We’re known for our print work so the idea is that this book is a real display of that. It 4 uses all of our knowledge.’ In the introduction of this dissertation I stated that DR were perhaps best known for their print work, which is emphasised in the quote above. Michael Place, from TDR, also comments that the experience of producing the forthcoming book ‘4 Texts and 1 Photograph’ enabled them to display there work by draw on there knowledge of both the discipline of graphic design and their personal experience of the architectural discipline. This is not the first time that TDR have embarked on a project that both expanded and demanded an extensive inclusion of various skills, inspired from their individual knowledge.
  43. 43. 56 Back in September 1995 Sony Playstation launched Wipeout with graphics by Designers Republic (see appendix for detailed history). Together with the successful launch of the Sony Playstation and the highly successful game Wipeout, TDR embarked on a relationship that would see a further two progressive versions of the series Wipeout. Wipeout is primarily a futuristic racing game. Players chose a craft to race in, which individually have there own racing team logos and identities, then they chose a course with which to race on. Each track has its own levels of individuality; from the level of difficulty, to typographic representation which reflect that nature and environment of the course. Whilst deciding upon the best way to structure this dissertation I was introduced to Wipeout Three by a friend. From my existing knowledge of contemporary design it was relatively easy to distinguish the games booklet design to be that TDR’s. However, after studying the involvement that DR had had with the introduction sequence, and then the interface design, it became clear that the discipline of Graphic Design has indeed expanded. Every detail appeared to have been conceptualised and designed, in order to create an element of consistency within the product. The initial interface and infrastructure of the screens seemed to transport you from the idea that you were not in a Sony Playstation game, to a sophisticated, almost ‘non-game’ environment (see figure 23). The introduction sequence itself was of particular importance setting the mood with its irratic slow and fast motion graphical journey, that conveys a narrative, a story. ‘NW: Again that intro sequence was of great importance to us. We wanted to create something that felt different, that wasn’t all fucking techno, and drum and bass. With that in mind we reviewed the past storyboards, and decided we would reverse the action from being something slow and quiet to loud and fast, by mixing both emotions of movement. The result displayed a 5 narrative, a story that had no real meaning, but emotion: like a film.’ This section will concentrate on the conceptualisation, design, and language that were all factors of integrating the ‘look and feel’ for Wipeout 3. In a recent interview with Michael Place (the Designers Republic) and Nicola Westcott (Psygnosis, see appendix), we discussed the project, TDR’s precise involvement, direction, and their analysis on the project since then: ‘MP: Wipeout, for us, was not just about designing an interface for a game, it was an entire collaboration between Psygnosis and ourselves. Wipeout Three represented a progressive series’ of work, from the early concept stages of Wipeout One, to Wipeout three, we have continually progressed, questioning
  44. 44. 2.2 Breaking Boundaries: Wipeout Three 57 6 how we could not necessarily change the products aesthetics, but evolve it.’ The obvious connections with Wipeout and the architecture delve deeper than the fact that the collaboration of DR and Psygnosis developed environments of architectural resemblances. Like any other project that a graphic designer has, Wipeout had specific objectives and creative directions that had to be achieved, similarly to the objectives set by the development committee of Lloyds when they commissioned Richard Rogers Partners to design there new building. those links are about process, experience, language, information, communication, and narrative. “What does architecture do? it shapes the world. Good architecture takes your 7 breathe away, and makes places.” The introduction sequence in Wipeout could be equivalent to the initial appearance or emergence of a new building, intriguing to look at, to respond, to understand. Once your attention is captured you seek to investigate the game, or the building further, it captures something different which evokes a response, a quest for knowledge, experience, possibly involvement, or even interaction? It is a game, it is there to be consumed, and played. Most consumers perhaps have not even noticed the details which have gone into producing a game with such a magnitude, and even though it has not been the highest selling Wipeout game in the series, the people involved at Psygnosis and the DR have received highly acclaimed critical appraisal. “MP: Ironically, although the game did not sell that well, we have actually become best known for the work we did on the entire Wipeout series more so than our print work, and yet we are primarily, by passion, a print based 8 company.” The design and planning of information spaces, beit a billboard, magazine cover, web site, or flyposter has become an integral part of mirroring the temporal conditions of the built environment. Graphic designers, like there audience, are influence by the very essence of experience, and recreating that experience to produce work that astounds, affects, and causes response, and meaning. Wipeout is a good example of a product that appeals to a mass market, both in age and in size, it has a univernacular objective which is represented by stylish overviews and intellectual displays of navigational function. Similarly to the signage of a building, it informs and directs, and if successful, should perform these objectives with minimal clutter and confusion. As a discipline graphic design is expanding into mediums which have little or no boundaries, apart from ones of technological abilities.
  45. 45. 58 2.2 Breaking Boundaries: Wipeout Three ‘The young discipline of graphic design seems to be exploding at a time when 9 its theoretical characteristics and foundations have barely been formulated.’ 10 Graphic design, or ‘Visual communication’ as it has also been entitled, has become a complex territory of design disciplines. These disciplines have become intricately linked through an elaborate array of media; television, on-line media, various publication formats for print, CD-ROMS, performance and exhibition spaces, and film. It is here that the boundaries of graphic design become blurred, almost extinct, leaving the contextual production of communication to be merged into one another media’s. What is important in this multi- diverse discipline of visual communication and information is that it is possible: a word and an image, words and images, can have a meaningful connection, regardless of there medium. What must be questioned is the responsibility of the graphic designer, the visualiser of information within these spaces, and even more so within the realm of architecture. Does it have any meaning beyond the two dimensional representation fabricated realm of signage and identity within a built environment of architectural status? Can the designer, in collaboration with the architect, become more than just the messenger, but the author of information?
  46. 46. Footnotes 59 1 & 2. Bruinsma, Max. Learning to read and write images. Eye Magazine 25, Volume 7 Summer 1997. 3. DR or TDR refers to Designers Republic or The Designers Republic. 4. Place, Michael. The Well. Creative Review, August 2000, page 39. 5. Westcott, Nicola. Psygnosis. Interviewed on Sunday September 17th 2000. See appendix for full transcription. 6. Place, Michael. The Designers Republic. Interviewed on Sunday September 17th 2000. See appendix for full transcription. 7. Januszak, Waldemar. THE BBC PROGRAMME (get name) BBC2 programme, Wednesday 12th August 2000 8pm (check date). 8. Place, Michael. The Designers Republic. Interviewed on Sunday September 17th 2000. See appendix for full transcription. 9. Bruinsma, Max. Learning to read and write images. Eye Magazine 25, Volume 7 Summer 1997. 10. Warwicker, John. A Virtual City in a Global Square. Eye Magazine, Issue 34 Volume.9 Winter 2000
  47. 47. ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I chose it to mean - neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many 1 different things.’ Carroll, Lewis Through the Looking Glass, Chapter Six. Penguin Books (1994).
  48. 48. 3.0 Interaction of Boundaries. 61 The relationship between the human memory and that of images and words that it observes cannot easily be determined. The formation of the image by the human brain is a unpredictable process, made up of associations and expectations. We can all perhaps remember memories from when we were younger, memories, snapshots of events, places, occasions, perhaps even memories that have relevant explanation or meaning. Images derived from feelings and observations, reactions, sensations, emotions, we manage to attach values and meanings, which expands our experience and knowledge which becomes stored in the mind. It 2 is stored as a consequence of a delicate process of ‘psychological choreography.’ . The visualisation of a remembered image, or indeed a single word, is archived, like a sound bite of visual information. ‘What happens when people talk about architecture? Are sullen lumps of concrete, steel and glass animated by the words that we shower upon them? Or does every word spoken or written about it diminish a work of 3 architecture and deprive it of a part of its being?’ The relationship that a person has between what he/she is observing, and the process that they initiate to record that information is an underlining link between graphic design and architecture; because graphic design, like architecture, deals with language and information, both disciplines are concerned with making marks that enable the art of visualising ideas, beit a building a bus shelter, or a printed book. The connection between Wipeout and the Lloyds building, is that they both provoke interpretation, to create meaning and response, they both incourage interaction and use. Both graphic design and architecture communicate information, they each have a designated purpose, a function to interact and entertain, or in the case of the Lloyds building; to provide shelter, serve its occupants, and allow the passage of movement inside and around the building. Throughout this ‘observation’ of both disciplines, keywords have been repeated, on purpose, so that as you read them you recall them, you initiate a link, a record of words that combine together to form a contextual connection between the disciplines of architecture and graphic design. Words such as; meaning, function, form, movement, information, dominating, decoration and construction. The most important word is interaction, because through this process of interaction people interpret meaning, depending upon their individual taste and understanding. This dissertation and section of the ‘Interaction of Boundaries’ is not concerned with the individual or there preference for architecture or design. It is concerned with the interaction of the
  49. 49. 62 3.0 Interaction of Boundaries. disciplines that effect there everyday life. I have discussed both disciplines independently, in order to establish the conditions and boundaries of each discipline, and the means with which to understand them as independent disciplines, each existing in a realm of language, function and form of there own. ‘In order to understand and engage the city of space, it is necessary to examine the represent relation of urban space and built form. What must be confronted directly is that the relation does not presently exist; contemporary 4 urban space and form occupy mutually exclusive position.’ This quote serves as a means to symbolise the realm that I believe graphic design interacts with architecture, but because such a realm is under a constant state of flux it is almost impossible to define that boundary of interaction. Except to say that my initial inspiration for this subject matter is the exhibition Paperjam (see appendix for details), an exhibition which has challenged designers to examine their role within the urban environment. Portraying the contemporary state of flyposter design as existing in a ‘bland quagmire’, leading to an overload of information constructed under a template of ‘conformity’ and ‘standardisation’. This dissertation is not concerned with the infrastructor of the design within those posters, billboards, or adverts, but the awareness and observation of those boundaries. This section will produce examples which seem to have awoken to the awareness for a more responsible conceptualised approach to the realm of public/urban space and built environment, namely through collaborations between architect’s and designer’s. ‘Every message in any medium is affected by the interpretations of designers and viewers. The contexture and evanescence of erratic signs induce new 5 patterns of meaning.’ The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C (see figure 23) is another example of architecture and design collaborating to create a space of considered information. The memorial achieves its visual and emotional strength by means of micro design. From a distance the collection of names of 58,000 dead soldiers appear on the black granite emphasises what 58,000 actually means. As the viewer approaches the names appear from a blurred grey shape and resolve into individually carved names. The designer, Maya Ying Lin, proposed that the names appear in chronological order according the date of death rather than by name:
  50. 50. 3.0 Interaction of Boundaries. 63 ‘There were over 600 Smiths; 16 people named James Jones had died in Vietnam. Alphabetical listing would make the Memorial look like a telephone book engraved in granite, destroying the sense of unique loss that each name 7 carried.’ The combination of the detailed design and the architecture of the Memorial captures the spirit of the individual, for those listed among the dead and for those who visit to pay there respects. This is not an example of what designers should be doing instead of billboards, but it is an example of how design can communicate alongside architecture, through a more integrated and responsible process. Combining the fundamental enrichments of two disciplines enables the message to be emphasised through powerful, domineering, emotional piece that demands respect for the dead and those individuals visiting to find the names of there loved ones: ‘The busloads of tourists appear not so much as crowds but as many separate individual faces, not as interruptions at an architectural performance but 8 rather as our colleagues.’ In complete contrast to this piece is the language and function concerning the ‘information sprawl’ in our urban environments (see figure 24) that I have mentioned throughout this dissertation. Referring to the ‘en masse’ of public and built space that has become smothered in adverts, billboards, flyposters, flyers, and signs, gigantic digital screens; decorated on the sides of buildings, on doors, buses, and lorries. We have ’9 become witnesses to a realm of ‘Extreme signage , and a ‘Broadscape of visual 10 information overload’ . New York is perhaps the prime example of how London may 11 become, where entire wallscapes of ‘unique architectural space express difference’ , by being overun with adverts. Bites of information advertising cars, loft space, banks, and storage are suspended, elevated by steel frameworks infront of buildings, and on street corners. This ‘outdoor 12 advertising’ has become more than just a paper poster billboard, today it involves a progressing display of information through varied techniques and formats: wrapped around transit vehicles, taxi’s, vinyl mesh wallscapes, and eight stories high display screens purpose-built to wrap around the built environment. For decades Times Square in New York has been a spectacle of oversized illuminated or moving signs. In today’s climate is in display, such as the NASDAQ MarketSite Tower at number four Times Square:
  51. 51. 64 3.0 Interaction of Boundaries. ‘The “tower” is an eight storey, 10,000 square-foot curved panel of state-of- the-art-light-emitting diodes, created by Saco Smartvision in Montreal. It is architecturally integrated into the building and is the largest such display in 13 the world.’ Having seen the NASDQAQ screen first hand, I can confirm that it is quite a sight (see figure 25). However, at $16 million dollars, they are not going to be appearing on every street corner, but according to Gary Nelven, President of Smartvision, “these will one 14 day replace billboards” . The emergence of constructed billboards and wrap-around ‘light-emitting diode’ displays systems is perhaps an inevitability with the global expansion of the ‘information highway’, but perhaps if the actual form of these containers are constructed to emerge themselves in to the architecture, as does the NASDAQ screen, then perhaps that is at least is considerate to the public and built space. However, there are organisations in America, such as Stayfree Magazine, that tackle and protest against the invasions of public space, debating “about who actually owns public 15 16 space?” . This signage ‘renaissance’ was the sudden vacuum of space left behind the disappearance of the outdoor tobacco advertising since Spring 1999. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, the expulsion of tobacco advertising freed up enormous amounts of space that had been long held by the tobacco companies, further more the enhancement of the ecommerce, information highway, and global expansion of consumer brands has lead to an increase in demand for public spaces to become more than just unique areas of urban environment. ‘After 15 or 20 years in the profession I discovered that design is just a 17 language and the real issue is what you use that language to do.’ In the interview with John Warwicker (see appendix) I was also asked if the interaction between graphic design and architecture meant that a billboard could be defined as an architectural space? In answering that question now, after researching this subject I would have to say, no. It is merely a constructed container that can be attached to a piece of construction to act as decoration. As Tibor Kalmann states in the quote above; design is just a language, the issue is how you use that language to emphasise the meaning. Long after the question posed by John Warwicker, I came across an example of a billboard that, like any other billboard, contained an advert, but with a conceptual connection to its urban space (see figure 26). A poster conceptually produced by Nick Bell for the National Athsma Campaign, 1994 (in collaboration with Chris Arnold at Draft
  52. 52. 3.0 Interaction of Boundaries. 65 Worldwide Advertising Agency). The billboard poster is signpainted in glue to register pollution by airbourne particles adhering to it, thereby revealing the message: ‘This poster has been up for just two weeks. Imagine what your lungs must look like’ . Although this is still not an architectural space, it is a billboard, it is an advert, it does exist in a container constructed and attached within an urban space. The difference being that the language and concept of the content both reflects and uses its urban space and container emphasise the message. “Consumerism is running uncontested,” states the manifesto, “it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual 18 languages and resources of design.” The ‘Interaction of Boundaries’ has addressed examples of contemporary work that has resulted from either a direct collaboration between the disciplines of architecture and graphic design, or it has presented examples of work that questions the boundaries of information and advertising within the realms of public and built space. It is an observation, not a critique of the current state of design, nor is it questioning the moral and ethical values of our space and its intervention with advertising. What it does demonstrate is the parameters with which designers can now apply to designing within public and built spaces. It is simply not possible for designers to completely move the emphasis away from the product and marketing, and progress towards the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. Instead designers can challenge the continuing “reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse”, from simply being mediators for commercial clients. To successfully establish this as a new means of approaching work designers need to understand the specific cultural boundaries with which they work and our effect as mediators in the process of design.
  53. 53. 66 Footnotes 1. Carroll, Lewis 9. Voulangas, Angela Through the Looking Glass, Chapter Six. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Penguin Books (1994). Graphics International Issue 77, 2000. 2. Helfand, Jessica 10. Term envisioned by Ralph Ardill Describe/draw a favourite memory (Head of Marketing at Imagination), Eye Magazine. Issue 35, Volume.9 Spring 2000. at the ‘Creative Summit’ in Sunderland 1999. Extracted from: 3. Forty, Adrian Parrinder, Monika Words and Buildings Just say no...quietly. Thames & Hudson (2000). Eye Magazine. Issue 35, Volume 9, Spring 2000. 4. Pope, Albert 11, 12, 13 & 14. Voulangas, Angela Ladders, The Open City. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Princetown Architectural Press (1996). Graphics International Issue 77, 2000. 5. Bruinsma, Max 15. "How to Look at Billboards" The aesthetics of Transience By Howard Gossage Eye Magazine. Issue 25, Volume 7 Summer 1997. Extracted from: 6. Foges, Chris Consultancy Profile: Nick Bell 16. Voulangas, Angela Graphics International. Issue 65, May 1999. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Graphics International Issue 77, 2000. 7. Scruggs C, Jan & Swerdlow L, Joel To heal a Nation: The Vietnam Memorial (New York, 1985). 17. Kalmann, Tibor Extracted from: Interviewed by Moira Cullen Tufte R, Edward Eye Magazine. Issue 20, Volume.5 Spring 1996. Envisioning Information Micro/macro Readings 18. Parrinder, Monika (Graphics Press. Cheshire, Connecticut, 1990) Just say no...quietly Eye Magazine. Issue 35, Volume.9 Spring 2000. 8. Tufte R, Edward Envisioning Information Micro/macro Readings (Graphics Press. Cheshire, Connecticut, 1990)
  54. 54. 4.0 Epilogue: Authors of information?
  55. 55. 68 4.0 Epilogue: Authors of information? Graphic design can be seen as a narrative exploration and the process of visualising and conceptualising ideas and thoughts into a narrative map formed by experience. Graphic Design is not advertising, it is about visualising the context of information; advertising is just one medium where this is utilised. This study began with a quote from Edward R Tufte, speculating how we, as visualisers of information, can escape the static flatland of the screen and paper, to best reflect the rich visual experience of the world. The examples I have used, such as Nick Bell's billboard promoting awareness for Asthma and the diversification of The Designers Republics' involvement in the Sony Playstation series of Wipeout are relevant in this context. These expressed methods in which we can use the product or our experience to interject into the process of visualising our thoughts and ideas into any medium relevant to communicate the idea effectively. The boundaries between architecture and graphic design cannot be identified by a singular medium, image or written word. It exists in complex, multidimensional, parallel systems of information within further diverse mediums and formats. The relationship between architecture and graphic design can be seen as the interaction between two disciplines. This should, in theory, lead to the establishment of parameters for identifying functional responsibilities. Designers, however, will need to fully embrace the contextual aspects of both public and built spaces as well as any other deimnsaional space that requires a consider and challenged approach. Their contribution will need to be innovative if they are to be accepted by the wider audience, not as the mediator, the middle man between principal and client, but as the author of original information. Innovation by the graphic design community at large will be pivotal in designers ollaborating more closely to break down the historical barriers and myths about what it is we do. This development will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The question should be: is this likely? If so, how innovative will designers need to be and what form will this innovation adopt if designers are ultimately to collaborate with other disciplines more closely?
  56. 56. Bibliography: Books 69 Abbott, Edwin A (1998) McLuhan, Marshall & Fiore, Quentin (1967) Flatland The Medium is the Massage A Romance of Many Dimensions An Inventory of Effects. Penguin Books, England. HardWired, San Francisco. Augé, Marc (1995) Moran, James (1978) Non-Places Fit To Be Styled A Typographer Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity A History of the Society of Typographic Designers Verso, London, New York. Eva Svensson, Western Press, London. Bell, Michael & Leong, Sz Tsung (1998) Pope, Albert (1996) Slow Space Ladders The Monacelli Press, New York. Architecture at Rice 34 Princeton Architectural Press, New York. Carson, David (1996) David Carson: 2nd Sight Russell, S James (1998) Grafik Design After The End Of Print Architecture 3s Laurence King, London. Pioneering British ‘High-Tec’ Phaidon, London Forty, Adrian Words and Buildings Sobel, Dava (1998) Thames & Hudson (2000). Longitude The Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Hellman, Louis (1996) Scientific Problem of His Time. Architecture For Beginners Fourth Estate, London. Writers and Readers, New York. Tomato; Steve Baker, Michael Horsham, Karl Hyde, Koolhaas, Rem & Mau, Bruce (1995) Jason Kedgley, Rick Smith, Simon Taylor, S, M, X, XL Dirk Dooran Van, John Warwicker, Graham Wood(1996) Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Process; A Tomato Project 010 Publishers, Rotterdam. Thames and Hudson, London. Jodidio, Philip (1999) Tufte, Edward Rolf (1990) Building A New Millennium Envisioning Information Taschen. Kohn, London, Madrid, New York, Paris, Tokyo. Graphics Press. Chesire, Connecticut Le Corbusier (1999) Tufte, Edward Rolf (1983) Le Corbusier Talks With Students The Visual Display of Quantitative Information From the Schools of Architecture. Graphics Press. Chesire, Connecticut Princeton Architectural Press, New York. Tufte, Edward Rolf (1997) Lerup, Lars (2000) Visual Explanations After The City Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London. Graphics Press. Chesire, Connecticut. Lewis, Carroll (1994) Tufte, Edward R (1997) Throught the Looking Glass Visual Statistical Thinking: Penguin books. Displays of Evidence for MAking Decisions Graphics Press. Chesire, Connecticut. McLuhan, Marshall (1997) Understanding Media Venturi, Robert, Scott Brown, Denise, The Extensions of Man. & Izenour, Steven (1998) MIT Press. Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form. McLuhan, Marshall & Fiore, Quentin (1968) The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London. War and Peace in the Global Village HardWired, San Francisco. Venturi, Robert, (1998) Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture Harry N. Abrams, Inc,, New York.
  57. 57. 70 Bibliography: Web sites & Television programmes Architecture Week 2000: ‘Building of the year 2000’ Written and Presented by: Waldemar Januszczak Great Buildings Online: © Channel Four Television Corporation MM Manhattan Architecture: Online Encycopedia: Ludwig Mies Vander Rohe Quotation/inspiration: Richard Rogers & Partners: Royal Institue of British Architects Online Library: Sir Norman Foster & Partners: The Seagram Building: Ludwig Mies Vander Rohe: Wipeout 3: Smartvision: Stayfreemagazine: White-cube: Petra & Jordan: The Tate Modern:
  58. 58. Bibliography: Magazines/articles 71 Bilak, Peter Poyner, Rick TYP. Keywords: Chat-room. Dutch Design. Hotline. Design is Advertising. Internet. Friends. Max Kisman. Peter Mertens. Eye. The International Review of Graphic Design. Typography. Issue 29, Volume.8 Autumn 1998. • • • (Pilot issue) May 2000 graphic design/visual culture magazine. Slessor, Catherine ‘The Architect as illustrator’ Bruinsma, Max Eye, The International Review of Graphic Design. The aesthetics of Transience. Issue 35, Volume.9 Spring 2000 Eye. The International Review of Graphic Design. Issue 25, Volume.7 Summer 1997. Voulangas, Angela The good, the bad, and the ugly. Foges, Chris Graphics International, Issue 77. Consultancy Profile: Nick Bell, page 14. Graphic International. Issue 65, May 1999. Warwicker, John Work in Progress. A Virtual City in a Global Square, Eye. Heathcote, David The International Review of Graphic Design. Agenda. Growing Up In Public, page 4. Issue 34, Volume.9 Winter 1999. Eye. The International Review of Graphic Design. Issue 34, Volume.9 Winter 1999. Warwicker, John Archive. Learning From Las Vegas, Big Book, Helfand, Jessica Little Buildings page 46. Screen. The Univernacular Rules, page 8. Eye. The International Review of Graphic Design. Eye. The International Review of Graphic Design. Issue 34, Volume.9 Winter 1999. Issue 34, Volume.9 Winter 1999. Held, Ursula Interview with Jean Widmer The International Review of Graphic Design. Issue 34, Volume.9 Winter 1999. Helfand, Jessica ‘We know who you are...’ Eye, The International Review of Graphic Design. Issue 29, Volume.8 Autumn 1998 Holmes, Russell The work must be read. Eye. The International Review of Graphic Design. Issue 29, Volume.8 Autumn 1998. Poyner, Rick ‘Information Sculpture’ Eye. The International Review of Graphic Design. Issue 13, Volume.4 Summer 1994.
  59. 59. 72 Appendix: History of Wipeout, received from Nicola Westcott via email. From: <> To: "steven price" <> Subject: Re: INTERVIEW Date: Fri, Sep 22, 2000, 17:09 Concerning the whole series of wipeout, why did Psygnosis feel the necessity to outsource a large segment of the conceptual design work? >Wipeout- it was originally intended (by marketing) that DR would just do the packaging for the game, as it was being developed completely separately. I though that was a rather silly thing to do, so we extended the brief to include some of the in-game elements- that way the game and the box would at least have some relevance. Both sides were a bit unsure of the degree of involvement that DR could have in game because neither had done anything like it. As it became obvious that it was working we added more elements for them to do. At this stage all the work DR provided was entirely cosmetic as they had no involvement in any element that affected gameplay, with the exception of the weapons system icons which they developed taking into account all relevant factors (size/position on screen/ representation of information etc)- >>Wipeout2097- we all felt much braver with this one and able to be much more involved, so DR were actively involved in much of the decision making. EG: designing the front end menus with us and producing a much more involved weapon display system. They also worked on the teams providing a sort of corporate image for each, by doing team logos, colour schemes and artwork promoting the corporate sponsors to place around the track. I also wanted Mike to do artwork specially for the intro and worked with him to produce the flash screens, as well as loads of new logos just for the intro to jazz up the city (lady/ hoppa/angryman etc). These logos remain DRs but this was their origin. >>>wip3out- This was was the true collaboration of DR/Psygnosis where we worked really closely together throughout, and they truly conceptualised the style from the ground up, much more so than either of the previous two. I know that doesn't really answer your question but I hope it gives you a good idea of the evolution of the whole thing. cheers..nicky