Hello Me And Memphis Group Imitation Analysis

A contrast and comparison between a contemporary project by Hello Me and the Memphis Milano furniture design from the 1980's.

Hello Me is a contemporary design studio that involves themselves in graphic design projects along with art direction alike.

About the Critical Objects project:

'”Critical Objects” is a series of items that balance on the border between functional furniture and sculptural form without taking a definite position within either concept. In this self initiated project, graphic design studio HelloMe explores the curious nature of everyday objects.

From the preface of the catalogue:

”Till Wiedeck has created objects that are only allegedly functional. His Critical Objects are furniture made out of tubular steel, wood, concrete and luxurious Calacatta marble. With their clear, almost constructivist design, their static structure is exposed. But ultimately they are distorted, their function is deferred and contorted. Till Wiedeck’s objects undermine the iconography of design. What had firmly established itself in our visual understanding of a certain type of object is suddenly reduced to absurdity, reversed, warped, travestied, de- and overfuctionalised. (...) The redundancy of statics, playful use of color and material and aesthetic distortion of his Critical Objects render them sculptures. His peculiar objects clear the way for an aesthetic joy that is to be found in the ungrounded, in the artistic.” — Sophie Jung

The underlying concept of ”Critical Objects” is based on the thought that reactions to a matter are not simply derived from the perception of the object itself but attached to said object is an emotional reaction. The immediate action and reaction to a form can be restricted by the conventional ingrained response — you see something with four legs and a surface, your mind tells you it is a table, because you learned it is a table. ”Critical Objects” challenges the perception of the initial disposition to the object by altering the context of the subject.

”Critical Objects” is the result of an experiment without any predetermined goal. Through the re-interpretation of everyday objects and the rearrangement of their functional properties, the fundamental nature of the form is changed. Their function is reduced, amplified, or even annihilated. Hereby a new perspective of their altered potentials is achieved. The real challenge, however, lies with the recipient – the challenge of one’s very own perception of things.'

Memphis group

Dissertation Progress Presentation

A presentation delivered for the progress of the context of practice 3 module.


Memphis Influence On Contemporary Graphic Design

Style over substance.

The Ettore Sottsass pattern:

Proliferation of the same design used in graphic design today.


Memphis Group

Design Museum Article.

MEMPHIS was a Milan-based collective of young furniture and product designers led by the veteran Ettore Sottsass. After its 1981 debut, Memphis dominated the early 1980s design scene with its
post-modernist style.

The rule-breaking had begun in December 1980 when Ettore Sottsass, one of Italy’s architectural grandees, met with a group of younger architects in his apartment on Milan’s Via San Galdino. He was in his 60s and his collaborators - Martine Bedin, Aldo Cibic, Michele De Lucchi, Matteo Thun and Marco Zanini – were in their 20s. With them was the writer, Barbara Radice. They were there to discuss Sottsass’ plans to produce a line of furniture with an old friend, Renzo Brugola, owner of a carpentry workshop.

Originally dubbed The New Design, the project was rechristened Memphis after the Bob Dylan lyric "Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)" stuck repeatedly at "Memphis Blues Again" on Sottsass’ record player. "Sottsass said: ‘Okay, let’s call it Memphis," wrote Radice, "and everyone thought it was a great name: Blues, Tennessee, rock’n’roll, American suburbs, and then Egypt, the Pharoahs’ capital, the holy city of the god, Ptah."

Within the design world, Memphis was a watershed. "You were either for it, or against it. "All the boring old designers hated it. The rest of us loved it," recalled Bill Moggridge, co-founder of the IDEO industrial design group. Among the old guard was Vico Magistretti. "This furniture offers no possibility of development whatsoever," he declaimed. "It is only a variant of fashion."
Memphis was seen as equally sensational outside the closed confines of the design community. The packed opening party, cool graphics and hip young designers – male and female, from different countries - proved irresistible to the mass media. Perfectly in tune with an era when pop culture was dominated by the post-punk flamboyance of early 1980s new romanticism, Memphis was also a colourful, clearly defined manifestation of the often obscure post-modernist theories then so influential in art and architecture.

Like Miles Davis, who resolutely refused to replay old music, throughout his long career, Sottsass always insisted on moving forward rather than reliving past glories. For him, quitting Memphis at the height of its fame was the only logical course of action. "Acclaimed as a symbol and persecuted like a rock star, far from feeling satisfaction or pleasure, he (Sottsass) sank into one of the worst crises of his life," wrote Barbara Radice a few years later.


David Harvey: The Condition Of Postmodernity

Harvey, D. (1990) The Condition Of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Cambridge MA and Oxford UK: Blackwell Publishing.

p. 7 Introduction

"No one exactly agrees as to what is meant by the term, except, perhaps,  that 'postmodernism' represents some kind of reaction to, or departure from, 'modernism'. Since the meaning of modernism is also very confused, the reaction or departure known as 'postmodernism' is doubly so."

p. 11

"To begin with, modernity can have no respect even for it's own past, let alone that of any pre-modern social order."

"The transitoriness of things makes it difficult to preserve any sense of historical continuity."

p. 44

"I begin with what appears to be the startling fact about postmodernism: it's total acceptance of the ephemerality, fragmentation, discontinuity, and the chaotic."

"It does not try to transcend it, counteract it, or even to define the 'eternal and immutable' elements that might lie within it. Postmodernism swims, even wallows, in the fragmentary and the chaotic currents of change as if that is all there is."

p. 46,47

"Lyotard (like Foucault) accepts that 'knowledge is the principle force of production' these days, so the problem is to define the locus of that power when it is evidently 'dispersed in clouds of narrative elements' within a heterogeneity of language games. Lyotard (again like Foucault) accepts the potential open qualities of ordinary conversations in which rules can bend and shift so as 'to encourage the greatest flexibility of utterance.'"

p. 49

"Most postmodernist thinkers are fascinated by the new possibilities for information and knowledge production, analysis, and transfer."

"Lyotard (1984), for example, firmly locates his arguments in the context of new technologies of communication and , drawing upon Bell's and Touraine's thesis of the passage to a 'postindustrial' information based society, situates the rise of postmodern thought in the heart of what he sees as a dramatic social and political transition in the languages of communication in advanced capitalist societies."

"There is more than a hint in Lyotard's work, therefore, that modernism has changed because the technical and social conditions of communication have changed."

"Postmodernists tend to accept, also, a rather different theory as to what language and communication are all about. Whereas modernists had presupposed that there was a tight and identifiable relation between what was being said (the signified or 'message' ) and how it was being said (the signifier or 'medium' ), poststructuralist thinking sees these as 'continually breaking apart and re-attatching in new combinations.'"

p. 346

"'In principle a work of art has always been reproducible,' wrote Walter Benjamin, but mechanical reproduction 'represents something new.'"

"The consequences that Benjamin foresaw have been emphasized many times over by the advances in electronic reproduction and the capacity to store images, torn out of their actual contexts in space and time, for instantaneous use and retrieval on a mass basis."

"The increased role of the masses in cultural life has had both positive and negative consequences. Benjamin feared their desire to bring things closer spatially and humanly, because it inevitably led to transitoriness and reproducibility as hallmarks of a cultural production system that had hitherto explored uniqueness and permanence."


Barney Bubbles

Colin Fulcher aka Barney Bubbles

Eye magazine article.

'It is from this unlikely background that Barney Bubbles came. Now, more than eight years after his suicide in 1983, he is rarely mentioned. Many people who knew his work did not know who designed it, because he almost never put his name to it, preferring to sign himself by his VAT number, any amount of joke names or nothing at all. With only the scantest appearance in the design manuals of his day, even the most assiduous design historian could have remained completely unaware of him.

Yet many of the British designers who made their names in the 1980s – among them Neville Brody and Malcolm Garrett – cite Bubble’s eclectic appropriation of twentieth-century art and suburban kitsch as a vital influence. It also looks as though Bubbles is at last beginning to find his way into the canon. Richard Hollis, author of a history of graphic design to be published by Thames and Hudson in 1993, will include material on Bubbles. Hollis describes him as ‘much the most interesting graphic designer’, saying: ‘He’s a key figure, he can be put on an international level. He had a direct line to creativity. Designers tend to manipulate imagery, not create it; Bubbles was like a real artist.’

On the record

Bubble’s favourite medium was the record sleeve. Trivial, ephemeral, and available to everyone, it suited his lack of preciousness about his work, while giving him almost total creative freedom. Remembered with awe by one generation of rock fans for his foldout album covers for Glastonbury Fayre and Hawkwind in the early 1970s, Bubbles is equally revered for his work for punk and new wave bands on the Stiff, Radar and F-Beat record labels. Superficially, his career might seem to span an unbridgeable gulf from the love-and-peace of the hippies to the hate-and-gob of punk. It is an indication of his intuitive grasp of what was right for the moment, and his seemingly instinctive ability to be in the right place at the right time, that his work is seminal to two such different eras.'

- As Bubbles created his work for the music industry, have album covers always been ephemeral, or are postmodern ones particularly trivial and ephemeral in this way?

 Barney Bubbles, Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass -
Nick Lowe

Barney Bubbles, Elvis Costello Cover

Front, 7″ and 12″ sleeve, Keep Us Together, Sad Café,
Charisma, 1983


Summative Evaluation

By looking at, and analysing theory first and foremost, this should shape the way other research is looked into for the rest of the project. The designers that have been looked at so far in relation to postmodernism were starting to produce design outside of modernist conventions. The reaction to modernism that has been looked at so far covers the very surface as far as graphic design from the 70s and 80s goes. After this stage of research, latter methods and approaches to design must be looked at, and the theory looked at needs to be applied to it. It has been hard to apply theory directly to the designer, but easy to apply it to the aesthetic. This could be  more of a comment on how postmodernism has developed than the designers themselves, and that postmodernism is instinctual by nature rather than conscious in it's conception.

Research into contemporary design needs to take place, along with primary research. The primary research could take the form of an survey, asking people if they know what postmodernism is, and then this may shed light on the overriding confusion postmodernism seems to have. Along with sending out a survey, emails to practising designers should be carried out. Bringing up the subject of postmodernism may have adverse effects, and the emails may just simply be ignored, though there is no harm in trying.

Overall, there needs to be far more light shed on the route of why people associate certain aesthetics with the word postmodernism, and how postmodern theory can explain this, and inform it. Contemporary design will have more of a complexity to it, in comparison to design by designers like Greiman, Weingart and Kalman, that conceived the idea that design may be postmodern by characteristic. The added influence of internet usage has to be taken into account, and the how people use this for creativity in graphic design. How does using the internet influence the way in which designers search for inspiration?

Peter Saville: Postmodern Album Covers

Peter Saville.

I found an article by The Guardian, interviewing Saville about all of the most well known album covers he has designed

Closer  Joy Division (Factory, 1980)

Peter Saville: “This cover for the band’s second album was like a work of antiquity, but inside is a vinyl album, so it’s a postmodern juxtaposition of a contemporary work housed in the antique. At first, I didn’t believe the photo was an actual tomb but it’s really in a cemetery in Genoa. When Tony Wilson (Factory co-founder) told me Ian Curtis had died I said, ‘Tony, we have a tomb on the cover.’ There was great deliberation as to whether to continue with it. But the band, Ian included, had chosen the photograph. We did it in good faith and not in any post-tragedy way.”

- The album cover design feels postmodern because it references something pre-existing, and the 'work of antiquity' references classicism.

Power, Corruption & Lies New Order (Factory, 1983)

The title seemed Machiavellian. So I went to the National Gallery looking for a Renaissance portrait of a dark prince. In the end, it was too obvious and I gave up for the day and bought some postcards from the shop. I was with my girlfriend at the time, who saw me holding a postcard of the Fantin-Latour painting of flowers and said, ‘You are not thinking of that for the cover?’ It was a wonderful idea. Flowers suggested the means by which power, corruption and lies infiltrate our lives. They’re seductive. Tony Wilson had to phone the gallery director for permission to use the image. In the course of the conversation, he said, ‘Sir, whose painting is it?’ To which the answer was, ‘It belongs to the people of Britain.’ Tony’s response was, ‘I believe the people want it.’ And the director said, ‘If you put it like that, Mr Wilson, I’m sure we can make an exception in this case.”

- Such an iconic cover, and again Saville, as an instinctual designer felt something when he heard the name of the title and this led his senses to a pre-existing art movement, renaissance, and then by accident, a comment on one of the postcards he had bought, Saville then used this instinct to use the floral still life for his work, as they also brought up a series of feelings, and power, corruption & lies, fitted into this feeling.

Unknown Pleasures Joy Division (Factory, 1979)
"This was the first and only time that the band gave me something that they’d like for a cover. I went to see Rob Gretton, who managed them, and he gave me a folder of material, which contained the wave image from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy. They gave me the title too but I didn’t hear the album. The wave pattern was so appropriate. It was from CP 1919, the first pulsar, so it’s likely that the graph emanated from Jodrell Bank, which is local to Manchester and Joy Division. And it’s both technical and sensual. It’s tight, like Stephen Morris’ drumming, but it’s also fluid: lots of people think it’s a heart beat. Having the title on the front just didn’t seem necessary. I asked Rob about it and, between us, we felt it wasn’t a cool thing to do. It was the post-punk moment and we were against overblown stardom. The band didn’t want to be pop stars."

Technique New Order (Factory, 1989)

"I’d moved on from being interested in 80s consumer products and had begun going to Pimlico Road to look at antique shops. Which was where I saw the cherub statue we used on Technique. It was a garden ornament and we rented it for the shoot. It’s a very bacchanalian image, which fitted the moment just before the last financial crash and the new drug-fuelled hedonism involved in the music scene. It’s also my first ironic work: all the previous sleeves were in some way idealistic and utopian. I’d had this idea that art and design could make the world a better place. That even bus stops could be better. In some ways it’s also quite neo-Warhol. And before he’d even seen the sleeve Rob Gretton suggested ‘Peter Saville’s New Order’ as the title of the album. As in ‘Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground’. That went down like a lead balloon with the band."

- An ironic piece  by Saville, that parodies something.


Tibor Kalman

AIGA Tibor Kalman profile.

In the mid-1980s two names changed graphic design: Macintosh and Tibor. The former needs no introduction. Nor, with various books and articles by and about him, does the latter. Tibor Kalman, who died on May 2, 1999, after a long, courageous battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, was one of the few graphic designers whose accomplishments were legend within the field and widely known outside as well. Tibor may not be as influential on the daily practice of graphic design as the Mac, but his sway over how designers think—indeed, how they define their roles in culture and society—is indisputable. For a decade he was the design profession's moral compass and its most fervent provocateur.

- Tibor as a 'moral compass' as AIGA describes him describes Kalman's postmodern way of thinking.

Farrelly, L. (1998) Tibor Kalman: Design and Undesign.
London: Thames & Hudson.

Not since the height of American Modernism during the late 1940s and 1950s had one designer prodded other designers to take responsibility for their work as designer-citizens. With a keen instinct for public relations, a penchant for Barnum-like antics, and a radical consciousness from his days as an organizer for SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), Tibor had, by the late 1980s, become known as (or maybe he even dubbed himself) the “bad boy” of graphic design.

Tibor saw himself as a social activist for whom graphic design was a means of achieving two ends: good design and social responsibility. Good design, which he defined as “unexpected and untried,” added more interest, and was thus a benefit, to everyday life. Second, since graphic design is mass communication, Tibor believed it should be used to increase public awareness of a variety of social issues. His own design firm, M&Co (named after his wife and co-creator, Maira), which started in 1979 selling conventional “design by the pound” to banks and department stores, was transformed in the mid-1980s into a soapbox for his social mission.

- Kalman described appropriation work as morally wrong, though took existing imagery to create his own designs, though this existing imagery was not 'designed', this was still slightly contradictory. Kalman saw graphic design as 'mass communication', and so graphic design was inherently part of mass culture.

Colors was “the first magazine for the global village,” Tibor announced, “aimed at an audience of flexible minds, young people between fourteen and twenty, or curious people of any age.” It was also the outlet for Tibor's political activism. In his most audacious issue devoted to racism, a feature titled “How to Change Your Race” examined cosmetic means of altering hair, lips, noses, eyes, and, of course, skin color to achieve some kind of platonic ideal. Another feature in the same issue, “What If...” was a collection of full-page manipulated photographs showing famous people racially transformed: Queen Elizabeth and Arnold Schwarzenegger as black; Pope John Paul II as Asian; Spike Lee as white; and Michael Jackson given a Nordic cast. “Race is not the real issue here,” Kalman noted. “Power and sex are the dominant forces in the world.”

- Colors as a publication does function to sometimes shock the audience, although Colors has always been conceptualised around a single subject, does this aspect in itself feel postmodern, where new concepts function for publication design?

Paula Scher

An interview with Paula Scher on Design Boom.

DB: please could you tell us about your background and how you came to do the work you do now?

PS: I was an illustration major at tyler school of art.  I really didn’t draw well, but I learned to illustrate with type. I began designing for the music business in the 1970 when i got out of school and was senior art director at CBS records (now sony) when I was 26. I was responsible for the design and production of about 150 albums (12 x12 format) a year.  I learned how to work in every style and became obsessed with period typography. a lot of the work was later referred to as ‘postmodernism’ but I didn’t know what that was at the time I did the work.  I was merely experimenting with early modernist typography. I can trace almost every project I work on back to the music business.  so much of my work is for theater or dance or other forms of popular culture.  even when I am designing identities for corporations, I seem to operate through the lens of the entertainment industry.

- Scher instinctively used popular culture to influence the aesthetic of her work. She also took inspiration from modernist typography, this was something she simply liked, and used it in a new way, which was labeled postmodern, of which Scher was not aware.

Poster for CBS records (1979)

DB: what were your first significant projects?

PS: a series of album covers for the best of jazz where I experimented with russian cobstructivism.  the in-store posters were the best part of the series. I also still like my poster for elvis costello. another would be a series of jazz albums that relied of large scale objects for bob james (tappan zee records) and a number of intricate typographic albums.

- Jazz in America was considered as a modernist music genre, and jazz captured the mood of the time, though Scher looked toward Russian Constructivism for her inspiration, which was unrelated to jazz. Taking an eclectic mixture of cultural references was how Scher worked, and this wasn't a conscious effort to make anything postmodern.

Swatch Swiss campaign (1984)

The Diva is Dismissed (1994)


Wolfgang Weingart: Work

AIGA profile of Wolfgang Weingart.

Although strong evidence of Swiss orderliness could be seen creeping into the simple letterheads and business cards that Weingart designed during his time at Ruwe, his work possessed a spontaneity and deliberate carelessness that transcended the precepts of Swiss design of that period. Even at this early stage in his professional development, Weingart’s innate understanding of the limitations of perpendicular composition in lead typesetting, coupled with the strict technical and aesthetic discipline of his apprenticeship and his inherently rebellious nature, drove him inexorably to pursue a more experimental approach. A dropped case of six-point type served as the basis for his round compositions. He scooped the type up from the floor and tied it up to form a disc. By printing both the faces and the bottoms of the bodies of the metal type sorts, he achieved the illusion of depth. The discs became spheres.

During his 37-year tenure, Weingart’s students included April Greiman, Jim Faris, Franz Werner, Robert Probst, Jerry Kuyper and Emily Murphy. The design process he employed was deceptively simple: students were first asked to consider the appropriate size, weight and style of the letters they wanted to use. They set the type by picking the lead letters individually from the type case and placing them side-by-side in a composing stick, carefully determining the proper letterspacing, end-of-line spacing and leading. The finished composing was printed in a letterpress proofing press and dried with baby powder. Students then cut it apart and began to design. In order to eliminate the shadows of the cut paper and see their compositions as one plane, a piece of glass was gingerly lowered over the surface. If anything didn’t feel right—type size, weight, style—the whole composing and printing process had to be repeated.

“We were learning about order and systems and structure in his class,” recalls Terry Irwin, head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, who studied with Weingart from 1983 to 1986, “but he was not lecturing us about those things. That, I think, was the beauty of a Basel education.” Instead, students were encouraged to engage in a process of investigation. “You’d have multiple sketches laid out on your table, and you were trying something here, and then you were moving it around here,” she explains. “He would come around and tell you the impression it was giving, so you were trying to figure out what that meant. And you’d move it around a little more—probably still confused—and he’d come around and say, ‘Yes, better.’ And then he’d leave. And you’d be trying to figure out why it was better. But you came to understand ‘why’ yourself through these comments....It was an incredibly impactful way to learn.”

Weingart insistently sought new ways of creating images, adopting the halftone screens and benday films used in photomechanical processes as his new tools beginning in the mid-1970s. He used the repro camera to stretch, blur and cut type—a radical new approach for marrying continuous-tone images and letters. He would boast that his design process relied solely on these film manipulations and overlapping colors, seen perhaps most strikingly in his work for the Basel Kunstkredit—black-and-white world-format posters designed between 1976 and 1979 and a series of color posters made between 1980 and 1983.

Through his experimentations, Weingart was inventing his own visual language. As former teaching colleague Gregory Vines once wrote: “He pursues an idea until he is sure if it works or not. In the manner of Gutenberg, typesetter, printer and inventor Weingart realizes his publications or posters from beginning to end by himself. He chooses to be involved in the entire process, from the concept to preparation of the film montage for the printer....When looking through the copy camera or while developing film, new ideas and possibilities become evident, even mistakes trigger fascinating possibilities.”

Wolfgang Weingart

Paradis, L. (2011) Wolfgang Weingart. Typographische Monatsblätter (TM)  [Online], January. Available from: <http://www.tm-research-archive.ch/interviews/wolfgang-weingart/> [Accessed 15 December 2013].

Wolfgang Weingart was also interview for the Typographische Monatsblätter, and is an online article now, found here.

LP   During that period, the professions of typographer and graphic designer were two separate entities. I mean, they were obviously linked, but still different jobs.

WW   A graphic designer is a graphic designer, and a typographer is a typographer.

LP   But at some point those disciplines started to merge, right?

WW   Hmm no. Ruder was a very strict typographer. He didn’t like that a typographer made graphic design. He was very stubborn. Hofmann didn’t care, but Ruder was not really happy with a typographer making graphic design. Ruder made pure typography and passed that on to his students. It had nothing to do with graphic design, that is clear. This was also the time when Univers came onto the market and opened a lot of possibilities. It was the big time of Ruder. There was Ruder-type experimentation, which for me is wallpaper typography. Repetition typography, for me, is not typography. In the beginning maybe repetition typography looked new, looked strange, but if you see it too much, it is boring.

- Weingart talks about significant modernist designers, wether typographers or graphic designers, they had opposing opinions on confinements and restrictions in definition of trade. Postmodern designers may wish to obscure this preconceived idea of staying within confines of a practice that may have been specifically studied.

LP   Do you define yourself as a typographer or a graphic designer?

WW   Oh nothing. I am kind of an artist. You probably know my book. I did woodcuts and linoleum cuts. They are very artistic.

- Weingart interestingly considered himself an artist more than a designer, though he is known as a graphic designer with a strong interest in typography...wether his statement is meant to feel sarcastic is unknown, however by observing Weingart as an artist rather than a design, this may explain why some of his work is illegible and outside of modernist conventions at the time. Weingart's work did not aim to be functional, but rather more aesthetic, style over substance.

LP   Do you think you contributed to the merging of the two professions?

WW   I don’t think about it. No typographer was doing the kind of work I was doing; it is closer to art. When I took the direction I did when I was 15 … I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was inspired by artists like Kirchner and the Die Brücke … I always had an internal fight about what to do in the future. Then I became very enthusiastic about Swiss typography, as you can read in my book. I did a piece for my examination in Germany in 1963. I almost didn’t pass it.

LP   How come?

WW   I grew up with a very classical kind of typography. The examiners lived in this kind of world.

- Weingart puts across a negative view of regulation in regards to the types of people that would disregard his more conceptual design/art work. He makes a reference to his incredulity towards modernist ideals.

LP   So Swiss typography at that time was not very well known?

WW   Only to insiders. In Germany in general it wasn’t. In the beginning of the 60s, it was almost unknown. The Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm existed; it started in 1953 but its work was unknown and strange for Germany. Germany had had the Second World War, it got bombed, it lived in this old world.

LP   Yes. You made a huge contribution to typography and graphic design. I think your work made every designer look at typography differently; even people who didn’t appreciate it.

WW   There were a lot of people against it at the beginning. But slowly they saw the value. Gottschalk and all those people were against it. But in the end they hired some people from Basel. Because they saw they had no other choice—they had to change something. How much? That’s another question. But they had to change something.

- Does this mean that design education must allow for individual interpretation, as it meant in this circumstance? Postmodernism could also mean individual interpretation and room for experimentation, wether this had content or context behind it.

LP   There was a lot of change in technology. You started with lead type and then you saw the computer invasion. Did those changes affect your design?

WW   No. Some teacher in Düsseldorf said that I was the first Photoshop pioneer, and he was not wrong. What you can do now with Photoshop very easily, I did it with film. So the computer brought nothing new for me. I thought I could make different things with the computer, but it was only wishful thinking. For me, manual use, manual results matter much more than pushing buttons. But you cannot be against computers, because they are as necessary as food today.

- Weingart used his instinct to create his work, and as he layered images and type onto film, then producing it to create an abstract effect, so the same process was duplicated with Photoshop, and so if only a longer process, Weingart preferred a manual way of working as he had started out with in the first place. As the generation of young designers today have probably grown up with computer technology, so they regard it as second nature. Utilising computer technology to create designs, in an efficient way.

LP   But the change from lead type to phototypesetting seems to have affected you, right?

WW   That is another thing. Photocomposing and computer composing are a totally different thing. Photocomposing was over film. There were the negative plates of the alphabet, then you made the text step by step, and if you made a mistake you had to start another film. I never worked with photocomposing machines, but I worked with lithography film materials. I used the stet camera, repro camera. I have some examples here. I got new results through transparency. Transparency was my great chance. It is the same principle with the computer: you have the layers.

LP   Other than technical changes, I think there were changes in the way of thinking, in the ideas that were developed, during the period we’re discussing, in graphic design and typography.

WW   You mean the visual changes?

LP   The visual changed but also the ideas presented. For example, there is a series made by Hans-Rudolf Lutz during that time—the series of pastiche covers he made for TM. They brought the idea of contextuality, which was totally new for Switzerland.

- When Weingart replies to the question about visual change he refers to a series of magazine cover designs, that use pastiche as the driving concept to initialise this 'change'. It references technological change, and does not necessarily display progress, just change in itself.


April Greiman

Information about the designer was sourced here.

'The graphic designer April Greiman was born in New York in 1948 in New York. She attended both the Allgemeine Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland, and the Kansas City Art Institute before working as a graphic designer in New York while teaching at the Philadelphia College of Art. In 1976 April Greiman moved to California and opened "Made in Space, Inc.", a graphic design studio, in Los Angeles. April Greiman's graphic designs unite American Postmodernism with the rational clarity of the Swiss school. Often similar to collages, April Greiman's works consist in layered lettering and pictures whose constituents seem to hover. With her work, April Greiman exerted a formative influence on the Californian New Wave style. In the 1980s April Greiman was among the very first graphic designers to realize fully the design potential afforded by the new Apple MacIntosh and Quantel Painbox digital technology. Acclaimed as one of the most influential graphic designers using the digital media, April Greiman became head of the design department at the California Institute of the Arts in 1982. In 1990 April Greiman's book "Hybrid Imagery: The Fusion of Technology and Graphic Design" was published. April Greiman has worked as a designer for the MAK Center for Arts and Architecture in Los Angeles, AOL/Time Warner, Microsoft, the US Postal Service, and the architects Frank O. Gehry, RoTo Architects, and others. April Greiman has received numerous awards and distinctions for her work.'

Greiman's work was well known for it's hybrid of style and technology all fused into one aesthetic that would be labelled postmodern.

In A TM interview, Greiman talks about her influences here.

Paradis, L. (2010) April Greiman. Typographische Monatsblätter (TM)  [Online], August. Available from: <http://www.tm-research-archive.ch/interviews/april-greiman/> [Accessed 15 December 2013].

Selected Excerpts:

LP   Why did you go to Basel after graduating from Kansas City Art Institute [KCKI]?

AG   I had three teachers from the Schule für Gestaltung Basel when I was at Kansas City—Inge Druckrey, Hans Allemann and Christa Zelinsky. They were all from Europe and had to leave when their visas expired. Feeling incomplete with my undergraduate education, I decided I would do graduate work in Basel. It was in 1970. We didn’t have a type shop in Kansas City and we were using Letraset, which wasn’t professional enough for me. I also always liked and used words and their roots in my design work, making words “editorial” and narrative in their own right. So I just knew I needed to know more about fine typography to complete my design education. That is why I went to Basel, really.

LP   Were you expecting to encounter a modernist style there?

AG   I was probably one of the youngest people in the class, and I really didn’t have any expectations. I just needed to learn typography. We also had an important exhibition of Armin Hofmann’s posters at our school in Kansas City. I just remember it to be such a pivotal experience for me. I didn’t know who he was when I walked into the gallery. I mean, I heard his name and we looked at his published books, but when I saw the posters in person, I felt like I needed to go directly to the source, which is what I did! He was such an influential force in my earlier years.

- Greiman was not aware of modernism at this time, and simply aimed to learn typography from professionals in Europe. Armin Hofmann was an influence for Greiman, and although he was seen as mildly experimental, his design was fundamentally modernist in it's concept and execution. It was not an aim for Greiman to become a figurehead in postmodern graphic design.

LP   Did you know that Wolfgang Weingart was teaching there?

AG   No, because he only started teaching a few years before and had nothing published yet. I was really quite uninformed, but truly inspired by my seeing Hofmann’s work.

LP   Do you think your time in Basel had a strong influence on your work?

AG   Yes. Weingart likes to take a lot of credit for everything that is formal, and he certainly is deserving of it, but one of the important things I learned from him was how to work; a healthy process. It was more of a process of discovery and exploration than of trying to make something that looks like the teacher’s or anybody else’s work. When he gave an assignment, he would encourage us to work on 20 different iterations all at the same time. I found that method very useful. Also, when I got a computer I could do the same kind of thing, because you can archive so many different versions and save them, then pick the one which is the most appropriate. They may all be good solutions, but maybe only one is really appropriate. I think that is the strongest thing I learned from Weingart: a playful, beginner’s-kind-of Weingart mind. In retrospect, I remember I was so nervous about going to Basel, thinking it was going to be hard to learn how to be a typesetter and run a printing press, but once I got there, oh my God, the atmosphere in the class was very delightful and full of spirit. In his class there really weren’t any mistakes, and you just tried things. Weingart was so very encouraging.

- This new way of working, for Greiman, was encouraged by Weingart at first, by way of experimentation and exhaustion. Technology, as Greiman used it, was never used in the modernist era, and as mac programmes would grow in quality, Greiman would utilise this profession within her practice as a designer.

LP   There have been a lot of technological changes since you entered the field of graphic design. Hand typesetting, phototypesetting, computers …

AG   I actually took a computer-programming course at Yale in the early 1970s as well, because I wanted to learn about new technology. In order to use certain of their computers, I had to take a programming class which gave me a migraine every week. And about halfway through the course, when I was failing, because we had to learn Fortran—a very serious mathematical programming language—the teacher asked me, “What are your goals?” I replied, “I just want to learn how to use these computers because they are hooked up to phototypesetting devices.” He said, “I had no idea you were in the arts, you don’t need to take any more tests. Why don’t I just observe you using this equipment?” So I would just work on phototypesetting and explore. I don’t have any of that computer work anymore, because it was on photographic paper, and there was no way to fix the print, so it lasted as long as it lasted. From this summer course at Yale, I made a lot of things and learned how to actually use phototypesetting equipment. I don’t remember exactly what I did with it, maybe a calendar and some other posters, but the teacher gave me an A grade. Then in 1982 I became head of the design program at California Institute of the Arts, and in 1984 I changed the program name from Graphic Design to Program in Visual Communications. I also became interested in videography in the early 80s. I purchased my own professional equipment and I started shooting video and bringing it into my print graphics. There are some posters I made using video imagery. Next I had to learn how to use a high-end camera, because at that time the only way to get an image was to shoot off of a video monitor. Then I started to work on Video Paintbox, and I started renting time in different post-production facilities. And they caught on that I was not in the entertainment business; that I was trying to export imagery, kind of a hybrid between graphic/photographic/computer graphics. So the owners let me have time for free, and I did some professional work on $700-per-hour equipment. However, they let me take the graveyard shift to save money, and so I would go there at 10 o’clock at night and stay up all night working, exploring. I would do that for a week and they would provide a Paintbox “operator” who knew how to use the half-a-million-dollar software. Then the Macintosh came out. Oh, and I had an Amiga first …

- Greiman talks about early technology she used, where her desire for learning a new process took her to use various kinds of programmes. As with her drive to learn typography, and going to the source of her inspiration in Basel, so she took the same drive to use technology to a design and produce typography in an efficient and new manner. It could be argued that this process was modernist in it's integrity, though truly postmodern in it's hybrid aesthetic.

LP   So basically, every time a new technology came out you felt scared but you needed to overcome it?

AG   When I find something so terrifying I usually have to conquer it. It is like jumping into deep water without knowing how to swim. That would be me!  The Harry and the Henry were the first editions of Quantel Paintbox, and they were video-resolution designed for broadcast use, which didn’t require being as high-res as was necessary for print graphics. So I learned a bit about them and their thinking, and that helped me a lot, having then a feeling for the technology and capabilities that would be our future.  However, those Paintboxes couldn’t handle fine typography, designed more for a spinning logo, or a word that moved across the screen quickly.

- Greiman reiterates her drive and passion to achieve something, by using technology. The technology in itself though became a commodity for Greiman.

Fredric Jameson: Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

Jameson, F. (1992) Postmodernism: Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. 9th ed. USA: Verso Books.


"It is safest to grasp the concept of the postmodern as an attempt to think the present historically in an age that has forgotten how to think historically in the first place. In that case, it either "expresses" some deeper irrepressible historical impulse (in however distorted a fashion) or effectively "represses" and diverts it, depending on the side of the ambiguity you happen to favor."

- Jameson could be passively referencing the effects of media on us, in societies that have experienced late capitalism. so developed societies are bombarded by media of all kinds constantly, effecting our semiotic nature, and so designers and creatives will react to this.

"Postmodernism is what you have when the modernization process is complete and nature is gone for good. It is a more fully human world than the older one, but one in which "culture" has become a veritable "second nature."

- Advertising in America was at it's peak preceding the second world war, and the media was everywhere, permeating everyday lives. Without realising, people would take this mass media culture as 'second nature' as Jameson describes for the way they acted and the way they began to create and design.

Introduction x

"in postmodern culture, "culture" has become a product in it's own right; the market has become a substitute for itself and fully as much a commodity as any of the items it includes within itself: modernism was still minimally and tendentially the critique of the commodity and the effort to transcend itself."

- A difficult quote to decipher in it's entirety, Jameson suggests that culture is a commodity. An example could be Andy Warhol, who started to display this symptom, where mass culture would become re-produced for a second time, in a different way, using pastiche. A re-representation or imitation without mockery. 'Blank pastiche'.

"Postmodernism is the consumption of sheer commodification as a process."

1 Culture

"As the word itself suggests, this break is most often related to notions the waning or extinction of the hundred-year-old modern movement (or to it;s ideological or aesthetic repudiation)."

"The enumeration of what follows, then, at once becomes empirical, chaotic, and heterogenous."

p. 6

"The exposition will take up in turn the following constitutive features of the postmodern: a new depthlessness, which finds its prolongation both in contemporary "theory" and in a whole new culture of the image or the simulacrum; a consequent weakening of historicity, both in our relationship to public History and in the new forms of our private temporality"

p. 7

"In Van Gogh that content, those initial raw materials, are, I will suggest, to be grasped simply as the whole object world of agricultural misery, of stark rural poverty, and whole rudimentary human world of backbreaking peasant toil, a world reduced to its most brutal and menaced, primitive and marginalized state."

p. 8

"Andy Warhol's Diamond Dust Shoes evidently no longer speaks to us with any of the immediacy of Van Gogh's footgear; indeed I am tempted to say that it does not really speak to us at all"

p. 9

 "The first and most evident is the emergence of of a new kind of flatness or depthlessness, a new kind of superficiality in the most literal sense, perhaps the supreme formal feature of all the postmodernisms to which we will have occasion to return in a number of other contexts"

p. 17

"In this situation parody finds itself without a vocation; it has lived, and that strange new thing pastiche slowly comes to take it's place Pastiche is, like parody, the imitation of a peculiar or unique, idiosyncratic style, the wearing of a linguistic mask, speech in a dead language. But it is a neutral practice of such mimicry, without any of parody's ulterior motives, amputated of the satiric impulse, devoid of laughter and of any conviction that alongside the abnormal tongue you have momentarily borrowed, some healthy linguistic normality still exists."

- 'Parody without a vocation' so to reiterate what pastiche is, this is as Jameson describes it 'speech in a dead language' that describes pastiche so accurately, and works to explain how a designer, creative or architect could be using this new postmodern language of pastiche with or without knowing where the aesthetic, or conceptual value originated. This could apply to many contemporary designers, that do not know the value of the aesthetic they use, or where it may have come from in the first place.

p. 17,18

"For with the collapse of the high-modernist ideology of style - what is as unique and unmistakable as yout own fingerprints, as incomparible as your own body (the very source, for an early Roland Barthes, of stylistic invention and innovation) - the producers of culture have nowhere to turn but to the past: the imitation of dead styles, speech through all masks and voices stored up in the imaginary museum of a now global culture."

- Mass culture is Jameson's main focus, and his comments on how mass culture has resulted in postmodernism is partly explained by 'imitating dead styles' and how the 'producers of culture have nowhere to turn but to the past', and so this negative standpoint on postmodernism could mean that Jameson is biased toward modernism, and it's ideology of creating something new.

p. 18

"This situation evidently determines what the architecture historians call "historicism", namely, the random cannibalization of all the styles of the past, the play of stylistic allusion."

- Again Jameson applies a negative connotation to his statement on 'historicism', where architects have been using the term for many years prior to postmodernism to create hybrid styles of architecture. He describes postmodernism as random here too, suggesting that it has no trajectory. Imitation, more over is pastiche when it is not aiming to poke fun at or mock past styles.

p. 55

"The problem of postmodernism - how it's fundamental characteristics are to be described, whether it even exists in the first place, whether the very concept is of any use, or is, on the contrary, a mystification - this problem is at one and the same time an aesthetic and a political one."

- Does this suggest that Jameson does not see postmodernism as a movement as modernism was considered?

p. 60

On Lyotard's theory:

"The ingenious twist , or swerve, in his own proposal involves the proposition that something called postmodernism does not follow high modernism proper, as the latter's waste product, but rather very precisely precedes and prepares it, so that the contemporary postmodernisms all around us may be seen as the promise of the return and the reinvention, the triumphant reappearance, of some new high modernism endowed with all it's older power and with fresh life."

p. 64

"it seems at least possible that what wears the mask and makes the gestures of "populism" in the various postmodernist apologias and manifestos is in reality a mere reflex and symptom of a (to be sure momentous) cultural mutation, in which what used to be stigmatized as mass or commercial culture is now received into the precincts of a new and enlarged cultural realm."

"Postmodernism theory seems indeed to be a ceaseless process of internal rollover in which the position of the observer is turned inside out and the tabulation recontinued on some larger scale. The postmodern thus invites us to indulge a somber mockery of historicity in general."

p. 67

"Capitalism, and the modern age, is a period in which, with the extinction of the sacred and the "spiritual," the deep underlying materiality of all things has finally risen dripping and convulsive into the light of day; and it is clear that culture itself is one evident but quite inescapable."

- This may be a comment on America exclusively, as Jameson is an American himself, may intrinsically feel that capitalism is the same everywhere, though American modernism is far different to that of European. America was built on capitalism, as it is a new country in comparison to Europe.

"culture has become material that we are now in a position to understand that it always was material, or materialistic, in it's structures and functions. We postcontemporary people have a word for that discovery - a word that has tended to displace the older language of genres and forms - and this is, of course, the word medium, and in particular its plural, media."


JF Lyotard: The Postmodern Condition A Report on Knowledge

Lyotard, J, F. (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. 10th ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


"The object of this study is the condition of knowledge in the most highly developed societies".

- Only developed 'societies' i.e.. America, the UK and parts of Europe (in Asia Japan). Lyotard only concentrates on these geographical areas, as it cannot be analysed in less developed countries because there is no late capitalism displayed.

"I have decided to use the word postmodern to describe that condition. The word is in current use on the American continent among sociologists and critics; it designates the state of our culture following the transformations which, since the end of the nineteenth century, have altered the game rules for science, literature, and the arts. The present study will place these transformations in the context of the crisis of narratives."

- Lyotard describes postmodernism as a kind of 'crisis of narratives' which could suggest that the way that modernism aimed to progress was starting to split and warp, and this then resulted in a number of different and separate narratives. This supports Lyotard's theory of postmodernism as an 'incredulity toward metanarratives'. Postmodernism becomes multiple in meaning, and does not stay within the confinements of rules as modernism did.


"Science has always been in conflict with narratives".

"Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives."

"The decision makers, however, attempt to manage these clouds of sociality according to input/output matrices, following a logic which implies that their elements are commensurable and that the whole is determinable. They allocate our lives for the growth of power. In matters of social justice and of scientific truth alike, the legitimation of that power is based on it's optimizing the system's performance - efficiency."


"Postmodern knowledge is not simply a tool of the authorities; it refines our sensitivity to differences and reinforces our ability to tolerate the incommensurable."

p. 3

"Our working hypothesis is that the status of knowledge is altered as societies enter what is known as the postindustrial age and cultures enter what is known as the postmodern age."

- Lyotard used technology to explain his theory on postmodernism.

"Scientific knowledge is a kind of discourse."

"The relationship of the suppliers and users of knowledge to the knowledge they supply and use is now tending, and will increasingly tend, to assume the form already taken by the relationship of commodity producers and consumers to the commodities they produce and consume - that is, the form of value."

p. 4

"Knowledge is and will be produced in order to be sold."

- A difficult concept to grasp, Lyotard looks at knowledge in an objective way, and suggests that there are controllers of this knowledge, and this could mean that the status of knowledge is perceived, not justified, as is distributed by those who are in control.

p. 7

"Scientific and technical knowledge is cumulative is never questioned."

- Lyotard questions the authority that science often has on society and categorises this in the same vein as other discourses, such as applied arts etc. and explains that science is not a means to progress. Lyotard simply describes scientific knowledge as a narrative. In relation to postmodernism, this is also applied to the incredulity postmodern thinkers have to narratives, and so any kind of discourse is never acknowledged as being an absolute.

"scientific knowledge does not represent the totality of knowledge; it has always existed in addition to, and in competition and conflict with, another kind of knowledge, which I will call narrative."

Rick Poyner | No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism

Poyner, R. (2003) No More Rules Graphic Design and Postmodernism. 2nd ed. London: Laurence King Publishing.

p. 10

"it could be argued that graphic design, as currently practised, is a prime example of a popular, accessible medium exhibiting symptoms of postmodernism."

-  Poyner starts by stating that graphic design is able to display symptoms of postmodernism, and is one of the most accessible and most practised, and so it needs to be looked at why this is.

"Critical introductions to postmodernism and the arts routinely deal with literature, architecture, fine art, photography, pop music, fashion, film and television, but they show little sign of even noticing, still less attempting to 'theorize', any form of design, despite it's obviously central role as a shaper of contemporary life."

"few graphic designers have been eager to define their output as postmodern."

"Those who have laid most positive and even argumentative claim to the label have tended to be American. Many of the designers, American and non-American, who are identified in No More Rules as producing work which relates to postmodernism and it's themes would reject the term vehemently."

- This is one of the problems with postmodernism, as it is negatively associated with the term that was overused during the 1980s. Postmodernism in graphic design is still displayed in a lot of work today, though the designers may not call describe their work this way, and so contacting contemporary designers, and asking them their personal opinions on this subject.

"For other designers, postmodernism is too closely identified with a particular historicist style of architecture current in the 1980s and it is consequently rejected on the grounds of aesthetic taste as much as anything."

p. 11

"many commentators point out that postmodernism is a kind of parasite, dependent on its modernist host and displaying many of the same features - except that the meaning has changed. Where postmodernism differs, above all, is in its loss of faith in the progressive ideals that sustained the modernists, who inherited the eighteenth-century Enlightenment's belief in the possibility of continuous human progress through reason and science."

- Negative connotations towards postmodernism from a modernist point of view. This would suggest a brief look at what made modernist graphic design popular and successful.

"The Enlightenment project, writes David Harvey in The Condition of Postmodernity, 'took it as axiomatic that there was only possible answer to any question. From this it followed that the world could be controlled and rationally ordered if we could only picture and represent it rightly. But this presumed a single mode of representation which, if we could uncover it ... would provide the means to enlightenment ends."

"The products of postmodern culture may sometimes bear similarities to modernist works, but their inspiration and purpose is fundamentally different. If modernism sought to create a better world, postmodernism - to the horror of many observers - appears to accept the world as it is."

- Postmodernism does not seek absolute truth, it rides the waves of culture as it fluctuates, and comments on the current climate.

"Where modernism frequently attacked commercial mass culture, claiming from its superior perspective to know what was best for people, postmodernism enters into a complicitious relationship with the dominant culture."

"In postmodernism, modernism's hierarchical distinctions between worthwhile 'high' culture and trashy 'low' culture collapse and the two become equal possibilities on a level field."

p. 12

"The dissolution of authoritative standards creates fluid conditions in which all appeals to universality, expertise, set way of doing things and unbreakable rules look increasingly dubious and untenable, at least in the cultural sphere. As many cultural critics have noted, the products of postmodern culture tend to be distinguished by such characteristics as fragmentation, impurity of form, depthlessness, indeterminacy, intertextuality, pluralism, eclecticism and a return to the vernacular. Originality, in the imperative modernist sense of 'making it new', ceases to be the goal; parody, pastiche, and the ironic recycling of earlier forms proliferate. The postmodern object 'problematizes' meaning, offers multiple points of access and makes itself as open as possible to interpretation."

- postmodernism challenges conventions or rules that were once widely regarded as constituting good practice. Opposing terminology often describes postmodernist characteristics within design and other creative practices.

"the modernist poet T.S. Eliot observed that 'It's not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them' and the commonly held view that one should master one's discipline before seeking to disrupt it also held true for design."

"In Typography: Basic Principles (1963), John Lewis, a British designer and graphic design teacher, includes a chapter titled 'Rules are Made to be Broken'. 'Before you start breaking rules, 'he writes, 'you should know what they are."

p. 13

"Graphic designers have continued to invoke the need first to absorb, but then to resist and transcend the rules of professional design. 'Rules are good. Break them,' Tibor Kalman urged colleagues, as recently as 1998."

- Kalman suggested that rules were needed in order for them to be broken. Postmodern thinkers would break these 'rules' closely related to the principles of modernism.

p. 14

"The literary critic Fredric Jameson notes how in schizophrenia - a term that he uses as description rather than as diagnosis - as temporal continuities and spoken language breakdown, 'the signifier in isolation becomes ever more material ... As meaning is lost, the materiality of words becomes obsessive, as is the case when children repeat a word over and over again until its sense is lost ... a signifier that has lost its signified has thereby been transformed into an image.'"

- Poyner references Fredric Jameson here, a theorist that will be looked at and applied to graphic design in relation to this dissertation.

p. 18

"When postmodernism first began to be mentioned in connection with graphic design, the search, among commentators, was for a definable style that could be labelled 'postmodern graphic design'. To an extent these observers succeeded in their aim and by the end of the 1980s, when this 'style' has seemingly run its course, it was possible to believe that postmodernism design was over and that other stylistic approaches had taken its place."

- A 'definable term' was wanted or needed to apply to graphic design that could be described as postmodern so that it could be labelled and referenced as this. Culturally, a label may have negative or positive connotations.

"While there was a kind of graphic design that bore some relation to trends in architecture also labelled 'postmodern', the use of postmodern graphic design as a contained stylistic category is misleading because it implies that the design that succeeded it in stylistic terms no longer has a relationship with postmodernism."

p. 19

"In the 1970s, the term 'postmodern' continued to be applied to architecture by various critics and architects, but it was Charles Jencks who did most to establish the idea, with his book The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977). Postmodern architects, he argues, are still partly modern in terms of sensibility and use of technology. Consequently, the postmodern style is 'hybrid, double coded, based on fundamental dualities'."

- Postmodernism as a 'buzzword', now carries baggage with it, often negative connotations. Perhaps people are afraid of something they don't know the definition of? This needs to be investigated - primary research.

"This could entail the juxtaposition of old and new, or the witty inversion of the old, and it nearly always meant the architecture had something strange and paradoxical about it."

"was a seminal figure in the development of the 'new wave' that came in, in time, to be called postmodernist."

p. 20

Weingart speaking:

"It seemed as if everything that made me curious was forbidden."

- Postmodernism as an instinctual creative shift, by designers? This could be looked at by investigating into how designers practice, through sending emails asking them what their thought processes are.

"He was fascinated by the effects of letterspacing and he stretched words and lines until the text came close to being unintelligible."

p. 22

Talks about a Weingart work:

"Weingart's complex pictorial spaces, unprecedented at the time, fused typography, graphic elements and fragments of photographs on equal terms. He exposed sections of the grid, violating its purity with jagged outlines, torn edges, random shapes and imploding sheets of texture"

- Weingart was taught by 'modernist' designers, so it interesting to look at how he made a shift from rules and purity in design to the opposite of that, illegibility and experimentation.

p. 23

"Greiman's covers for the CalArts Viewbook and for an issue of the West Coast magazine Wet in 1979 exemplify many of the characteristics of the new work. Her eclectic visual language draws from Surrealism, Art Deco and ornamental pattern-making."

p. 28

"Memphis objects were most striking for their use of plastic laminates printed with  a wild variety of of colourful patterns. Like roadside neon signs, laminates were identified with ordinary, 'undesigned' environments: coffee shops, ice cream parlours, milk bars, fast-food restaurants, and kitchens and bathrooms in the home."

- The designers at Memphis were inspired by 'undesigned' environments, along with pop art and art deco, simplistic shapes and observations, as a result of these things simply existing. When did the shift from creating new aesthetic change to finding existing? Perhaps when everything was already there, culture and images everywhere resulted in this observation. People see images all the time, they cannot get away from this. American modernism and advertising, along with capitalism as the catalyst would have created this environment.

"Memphis applied this cheap-looking material to luxurious pieces for the living room that were as wilful and bizarre as they were aesthetically compelling."

- Why was this aesthetic appealing, was it it's ugliness? difference? A shock to the senses? The bizarre nature of Memphis has grown and spread like a virus, manifesting in various ways across the graphic design world. How did architecture inspire graphic design so much?

p. 28,30

"The whole Memphis idea is oriented toward a sensory concentration based in instability, on provisional representation of provisional states and of events and signs that fade, blur, fog up and are consumed. ... Communication - true communication - is not simply the transmission of information ... communication always calls for an exchange of fluids and tensions, for a provocation, and a challenge."

p. 30

"Memphis does not claim to know what people "need," but it runs a risk of guessing what people "want".'"

- Another example of instinctual design, following tastes of the time.

"Memphis graphics spoke in the same provisional, polyglot style as the furniture and objects. The cover of the first Memphis catalogue (1981) presents a jagged collision of sheets of pattern and Memphis logos are similarly patterned, angular and block-like"

"It was not surprising then that the startling forms and imagery of postmodern architecture and furniture design should inspire graphic commentary from designers and image-makers."

One example cited that references the influence of Memphis architecture's influence on graphic design is shown in the album cover art for Yello, by Jim Cherry (1981) and is decorated with Memphis like texture.

p. 36

"He was an instinctive rather than theoretical postmodernist who understood the new cultural mood from his first sight, in 1978, of Phillip Johnson's proposals for the AT&T building, a postmodern New York skyscraper with a broken classical pediment for a crown. 'Within 12 months, neo-classicism and the influence of architectural postmodernism were everywhere,' Saville recalls."

- Saville on his inspiration, yet again, another instinctual designer. Saville simply felt and knew this new aesthetic was what people wanted to see. His work may have given across a feeling, as well as a 'style'.

"'People in New York were buying columns to put in their apartments. My contribution was the graphic equivalent."

p. 37

"As the 1980s unfolded, designers began to apply postmodern theory to a more self-conscious deconstruction of design's inbuilt assumptions and of its persuasive power as public communication."

p. 38

"Postmodern theorists have repeatedly questioned the boundaries between high (valuable) and low (inferior) forms of culture, pointing out with ease with which audiences move between different types of cultural experience"

p. 44

"With the tendency termed 'deconstructionist' (and sometimes, confusingly, 'deconstructivist') design, the conventions of professional graphic design, both modernist and eclectic, were subjected to deliberate interrogation, destabilized and repudiated."

- Not to confuse this term with a pre-existing art movement.

p. 73

"throbs with kinetic energy"

about bubbles

p. 79

On Paula Scher

"Paula Scher's understanding of historical form - Futurist, Constructivist, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Pictorial Modernism - and her eclectic ability to reinvent it in the service of her clients made her an influential figure."

- Scher designed by using a method called appropriation, using existing graphic design in order to create something similar to a parody, pastiche, where no mockery is intended, but flattery, in the knowledge of the design that is imitated.

p. 79,80

"In 1990, at a conference on the theme of 'Modernism & Eclecticism' in New York, Tibor Kalman gave a keynote lecture in which he addressed the uses of history in graphic design, good and bad, and a revised version of the text, co-written with J. Abbott Miller and karrie Jacobs, was subsequently printed in Print Magazine. 'Designers abuse history,' they argue, 'when they use it as a shortcut, a way of giving instant legitimacy to their work and making it commercially successful ... historical reference and down and outright copying have been cheap and dependable substitutes for a lack of ideas."

On Scher's poster for Swatch that references Herbert Matter's travel poster from 1934

"Scher's poster is neither parody (it has no obvious satirical intention) nor is it quite pastiche (it isn't a wholly new image in the general style of Matter). It is closer in visual approach to Saville's appropriations, but without the attempt to create a third idea in the imaginative space between image and subject matter."

p. 81

"Kalman's position as a critic was in any case complicated by the use made in his own work of existing source material."

- Kalman used 'the vernacular' and so how was this different? Slightly different in that the vernacular is not designed, or intentionally aesthetically designed, more functional. Perhaps this is not quite pastiche, but parody, as it almost mocks the imagery it uses.

Kalman said -

"'We're interested in vernacular graphics,' he explained, 'because it's the purest and most honest and most direct form of communication. We will unabashedly steal from vernacular work.'"

p. 84

"M&Cos's work was extremely witty, but its relationship to the vernacular was not without its contradictions If it was unacceptable to steal ideas from design history, why was it acceptable, even desirable, to 'unabashedly steal' from vernacular sources?" paraphrased

p. 96

"As some critics were quick to point out, the fragmented and intricately layered designs made possible by the computer often resembled a kind of neo-Futurism or neo-Dada and this was true even when no conscious parody was intended."