Education Article :: Chapter 06 :: Visual Semantics/Egypt

Egypt :: Visual Semantics
Sun pyramids Eye symbol Moon pyramid Nile River Sun god

The word communication projects lead to the visual semantics problem that is usually a travel poster for Egypt. Here the student must communicate some aspect of Egypt through simple lines, shapes, colors and letterforms. The students implement aspects of the previous projects in this visual communication. Their designs can be figure and ground, line composition, color theory and visual expressions.

I encourage discussions with the students during class time and during group critiques. The other students develop a dialogue with them to discuss their design ideas. The critique process is essential to mature the students' ideas. The students reprocess their ideas into new designs after these discussions. This procedure helps the students learn by doing and not just listening to lectures about design.

Problem
The root two rectangle is constructed by measuring the diagonal of the basic square, in this case the 127 mm (5 inch) portion of the box below. The diagonal then becomes the length of the side of the rectangle. This proportion is commonly used in European (metric) paper systems. See: 'the grid' by Allen Hurlburt.

Letterform
E, slab-serif is recommended as a starting point, some variation is allowed
Forms
may include circles, squares, triangles, and other simple and/or geometric shapes
Colors
five hues; 1 (black/white) gray; 3 cool/1 warm or 3 warm/1 cool (same value/brightness)
Size
127 x 180 mm
Consider
figure/ground, line interval, grid/organic,curve line interval, word communication, gradation, spectrum, perspective

Project analysis
The Egypt project is an application of design principles, color theory, and visual semantics. Visual communication is introduced into the program very early in the process along with form development. Visual semantics is the use and manipulation of words or letters to illustrate an idea, an action, or evoke some particular pictorial image. This involves the treatment and arrangement of letters and simple geometric objects such as the circle, square, or the triangle in such a way as to make a word or idea visually self-explanatory.

My association with CalArts encompassed five years and many formats, examples of which have come to stand for New Wave graphic design in California in the 1970s and early 1980s.
April Greiman 'Hybrid Imagery' (California, 1990; pg. 31)

The problem of the artist is to defamiliarize the ordinary.
Paul Rand Brissago, Switzerland; 1981; during a lecture on the Mirò project


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