Sunday, 25 July 2010

My first piece of published design

Well I kept my word, and here it is; I put this together for the company I work for as a back-page advert to a regional care guide publication. It'll run for a year, I think, and I had quite a lot of other work to do at the time so I was quite pleased I got something together.

I learned a bit about how difficult it can be to get the design process right when you're not working with other designers. I'm a big believer in getting the message and content very clear for what you want before you design anything but, of course, we can't always expect non-designers to understand that or the reasons why. The logo itself was done by another designer who was freelancing for the company before I was brought in to keep the brand in place and make sure it was being maintained. Anyway, just looking forward to seeing it in print now.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Filippo Negroli's armour

I've yet to put together anything worth blogging about so I thought I'd show you some pretty pictures from a book I got recently. (I'll post my recent advert design from work at some point).

Although the original 15th century Milanese armourers were the Missaglia family, the Negroli name surpassed its predecessor in both fame and prosperity, most likely because of the pleasure that Charles V of France took from the immensely detailed and finely worked crafts of the family.

15th century Italy was strongly affected by France – their stocky war-hardened knights and fearsome canons saw much of Tuscany and the surrounding regions when Cesare Borgia and his father, the pope, were unfolding their power-thirsty designs. The friendly relations between France and Florence are alluded to by the fact that the Medici coat of arms included the Fleur de Lis (above the 'palle'/balls). It was said that the Italians knew nothing of war and the French knew nothing of politics; this seems true if you consider that, at the time, the tyrants in Italy were Spanish, Swiss and French, and men like Machiavelli and Savonarola did so much through words.

I've yet to actually read in detail about the armour shown here and cannot offer any insight beyond saying that the first image looks, to me, as if Milan had its very own H.R.Giger to impress the masses and engross the powerful. I recently read something on proportion in aesthetics that I thought might be apparent in the armour here; it is the confluence of unity/order and complexity that results in beauty. Looking at Renaissance armour you can see this in action. The last image below demonstrates this aptly – it's immediately recognisable as a mirrored image so the 'order' is there, and the complexity of the illustration itself adds to the impression made on the viewer (which, the maker would hope, is one of awe).

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Female readers: a question for you

John Berger, in the book 'Ways of Seeing', gives quite a general description of the presence of a man, and that of a woman. I found it quite a bold argument to be making and wondered if you'd like to tell me how very wrong or right he is.

Berger's description of a woman's social presence is that she is always accompanied by an image of herself – in effect, she has two views of her life; a view from her own eyes and the imagined view that others will have of her. It sounds almost like a split personality; a woman might be going about a menial task but, in her mind, she is going through all of the ways she may be perceived by bystanders: criticizing herself here, praising herself there.

According to the author, men survey women before interacting with them in order to understand how they should be treated. This is the main difference he points out: men exert onto others, and women control how they are treated themselves – men view women, and women view themselves. Apparently it is the woman's tendency to survey herself in the first place that gives her some control over how she is treated by men. He claims that most actions of a woman are therefore accompanied by a purpose – to provoke others to treat them/act/react in a certain way. So, dare any female reader agree?? Do you often feel eyes on you? If so, Berger would argue it is your own way of protecting yourself. Leave a comment if you like.

I can understand why Berger makes this argument; I've heard plenty of male songwriters singing about a woman – how they see her, what they want to do for her etc. I think there are much fewer female songwriters who have written about a man in the same 'active' way; in fact I think modern society still, unfortunately, sees the 'wanting' of love as passion in men but desperation in women.

Another example to back his claim would be the long history of nude paintings. Nude – not naked – because 'nude' suggests the outer shell of a naked person. It's a state of mind in the model that blocks the viewer from 'stealing' anything from them. In painting the male view of the female (who, in turn, sees herself in the viewer's eyes) is commonplace and rarely do we see such a treatment of male models, unless it's an image of Narcissus and his river, say.

Images to feed your thoughts. Try replacing the women with men in your mind.

➔ Please do not copy any image from this blog without permission; I keep proof of ownership on all of my work ☺