Learning Acitivity – Focusing on Pioneering Designers

Within the broader milieu of Neo-modernism, we focus on Marian Bantjes, who set design trends with her unique application of typography, loose illustration and well-balanced compositions.

Watch the Interview with Marian Bantjes on Lynda and answer the following questions:

Objetive observation. During the interview, Marian mentions, “When I worked at Digitopolis, I was working almost entirely on the computer, basically the computer and with photography. And now I am using a wide variety of materials, sometimes still involved with a computer and sometimes just with the materials themselves. But having a space like this allows me to obviously store them all, and to work on these various surfaces in different media.”

What is your opinion on the use of the computer combined with different media? Write one page (350 words) on your opinion of the importance of media and design and what your take is on the use of computer technology.


Personally I have always loved creating things with my hands and admired other people’s handcrafted creations, there are a lot of things one can do and a lot of possible outcomes one can get as well. On the other hand the computer has also brought a lot of possibilities to our work, we can do a lot of things much faster and more precisely and we can share our work with billions of people a lot easier. So in my opinion combining this two mediums can lead to incredible outcomes and astonishing work.

It is easier to sometimes get carried away by only using one or the other, and in nowadays society it always happens with the computer. This can sometimes restrict your point of view and the possibilities of things you can create as well. I often find myself in this situation, only creating things that can be created using digital tools, specially when we have to deliver the projects digitally. The documentary of Marian Bantjes really inspired me to try out different things before settling on a project or to not throw away ideas just because they cannot be done digitally, or to not just transform ideas into the digital platform but to actually make them in their physical form and then film them or photograph them if they work better that way.

One of SCAMPERS methods to come up with creative and innovative ideas is to combine existing ones. Therefore I really believe in combining digital media with handcrafted media, both of them are fantastic and using them together can lead to wonders. Another reason they work so well together is that they complement each other.

Design is about finding solutions, about communicating a message to a specific kind of people or to the whole world, it is about simplicity and complexity, it is about being creative and thinking in new and old ways. I therefore believe that by using different media you allow yourself to have more options and increase the changes of designing and creating the perfect work for that specific project or target group. In addition to that maybe by going back to another media in a project were it is not expected, you can find a connection and create something new that stands out.

Pushing technology and changing philosophy. While describing her development of style, Marian states,“I am not an expert on illuminated manuscripts by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a couple of purposes of it. But one of those purposes is definitely to invoke wonder in this way that was very interesting to me and was feeding directly into my ideas about that symbiotic relationship between graphics and text.”

How do you think this links to the philosophy of the Swiss International School? How is it different? Has technology given us an advantage in expressing the symbiotic relationship between image and text? What about Marian’s work? Is this reflected in her work? Do a write-up (350 words) on the relationship between image and text, as seen in Marian’s work and relate this back to the Swiss International School. Substantiate your answers with relevant facts. You may use a visual example of both Marian’s work and that of the Swiss International School to facilitate your analysis.

The Swiss International Schools philosophy was centered on the simplicity of design and the goal was to design things that were easy to understand and that communicated the information or idea behind it. It was also to separate the designer from the work in a way where the work would speak for itself and be created with only the information or idea to portray in mind. Marians work on the contrary has a lot of herself in them, she makes things that interest her while communicating what she wants to portray. Her work is also a little difficult to understand right away, instead the viewer gets captivated by the complexity of her designs and end up understanding it by putting up the work to do it. This means that this approach is the total opposite of the one in the Swiss style were people would get the meaning of the design easily and right away.

One characteristic of the Swiss International Schools work  was the use of photography instead of illustrations, the photographs would be in black and white and very simple, with a subject against a black or white background, and very legible sans-serif typography would be used balancing out the photograph in the composition with the help of a grid. Colors would only be used to mark important information. Marian designs are also the complete opposite in this characteristic, she does a lot of illustrative work in addition to working with photographs, this means that she varies her work a lot more depending on what she is working on. she also creates her own typefaces and they are mostly very thin elongated and difficult to read, she includes them in her design to create an overall form with the letterforms as well as to evoke her message.  Her compositions are also very complex and cluttered, many of them have none white space whatsoever, an important aspect in the Swiss style. And she uses colors to express feelings and to create effects and not only as means of clarifying things or making a hierarchy.

I would say the way her and the Swiss movements work are linked together is by creating a relationship between graphics and text, In my opinion Marian manage to do this in a more successful way by actually merging the two and not just balancing them in a composition like the Swiss School did. On the other hand the Swiss School managed to create this effects in a very clear and simple way that feels almost effortless and easy.


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