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Learning Activity – Focusing on Design With a Conscience 

“Frank Shepard Fairey is an American contemporary graphic designer and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his ‘Andre the Giant Has a Posse’” (…OBEY…) ( sticker campaign, in which he appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News.

His work became more widely known in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, specifically his Barack Obama “Hope” poster.
Write one page (about 350 words) on your opinion of this design and substantiate your answers with examples.

Analyse his poster for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election and give your opinion on the use of style and its efficacy. Also critique the use of pastiche and typography.



The poster from the 2008 U.S Presidential election has a simple style, it showcases a realistic illustrated portrait of the ex-president Obama painted with a three-tonus effect, it uses few colors and in the lower part we can clearly see the word HOPE showcased in a bold sans-serif typeface in all caps. The designer did not eve bother to write the name of the subject or  the name of the campaign in the poster, the poster is focusing on the only important message, this man is the hope for America. He does not bother on writing additional information because there is no need for that since it was election time and everybody was familiarized with the candidates.che

The minimalistic style of the poster reminds us of previous propaganda art where only a person would be the focus of the poster and there would be a minimalistic color palette, the pictures would often be in black and white with often one color for accentuation. The most similar poster that was obviously an inspiration for this one is the one created by Jim Fitz Patrick of El Che Gevara. A poster that abstracted the famous photograph of El Che  to its minimal form of just the highlights in white and shadows in a black color, with a red background and minimal information on the corner.  Since both El Che and his picture were already famous worldwide, the designer minimized the details of the photograph until there was just a symbolic silhouette  that would come to represent not just the man itself but also his ideologies and deeds.

By comparing these two posters we have to agree that we can find a level of pastiche in the latter, both to poster are illustrating a political figure that is pointing his gaze upward in a heroic pose, both men seem to have a serious and focused look. It is clear that the Shepards poster has been highly influenced by Patricks and that he is using this style that people recognize as a symbol of revolution, heroism and socialism to portray Obama in the same light, as a hero of the people.  According to Lazo, “the Che Gevaras image continues to be framed into the last selfies of socialism by tourists passing through what was once called Civic Square and is now the Plaza of the Revolution and even Barack Obama, during his visit in March 2016, paused with American and Cuban officials for a group photo with Korda’s Che in the background”(Orlando Luiz Pardo Lazo, 03.09.2016). This scene brings us a direct connection between the two men as well.

Sources and References

The story behind Ches iconic photo,  Orlando Luiz Pardo Lazo, 03.09.2016

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Learning Activity – Research on Late Modernism

Research on the Swiss International Style

After you have done research on the style, give a description of your own. How would you define the style? Do a write-up of about 350 words and discuss the characteristics of the style, the typefaces that were prominent and the philosophy behind it.

——————————————————————-Swiss international style was a style that emerged and flourished shortly after the second  war was over. Graphic designers and artists in Switzerland had been perfecting and experimenting with a new style during the war, because of their country’s neutrality. According to the book “graphic style” one of the first pioneers of this movement was  Max Bill, who afterwards went on to become the director of the influential “hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm” and then his ideologies spread throughout Europe(Heller, Chwast, page 196).

I would characterize the style by saying that it is really dependent on rules and grids. It is focused on delivering information and not just making something beautiful. They use typography a lot in their designs, and always a sans-serif bold font. The style focuses also on simplicity, the compositions are very simple and are often a balance between two important elements.

Typography was an important factor in the works of the people who lead this movement, it was popular to use bold sans-serif typefaces to increase readability and simplicity in the design. One of the most famous designers on this era was Adrian Frutiger, he developed several typefaces that would become very popular both during this period and throughout the 20th and 21th century, among others Universe, and Frutiger. Another important designer, Josef Muller-brockmann, started using only lowercase letters on his typography, because only the most important elements would make it to the final design, and in his opinion the less elaborate the letterform, the more capacity for function.

The style that max Bill helped create was perfectionated by several young designers. During the period the style flourished in, there existed two relevant schools, one in Zurich were Joseph-Muller-brockman was a teacher and the other in Basel where Armin Hofmann taught. Both schools focused on a philosophy were the information presented and the way it was presented was more important than a beautiful design.

In 1955 Joseph Muller-Brockman had the idea of creating a magazine for rational and constructive graphic design to, he asked other graphic designers as Lohse, Neuberg and Vivarelli and together they created Neu Graphic Design. The most influential works that came out from this period were  print works on the form of posters books and magazines.

Influences on Swiss International Style

Do a write-up of about 350 words on what you think the main influences were on the Swiss International Style. In other words, what motivated designers to create and follow this style? It may be useful to study specific designers, such as Josef Müller-Brockmann and Armin Hofmann, pay attention to what they themselves (or other designers amongst their peers) have said about the philosophy of the style.

—————————————————————As explained earlier was Max Bill one of the first designers to develop the Swiss international style. According to the book “Graphic style ” was Bill a Bauhaus student and one of the developers of the movement, his methodology was also based on constructivism(Heller, Chwast, page 196). Described by Joseph Muller-Brockman in the following way:

“copy and a picture are arranged and related in accordance with objective and functional criteria. The areas are sensitively organised with an assured touch of in mathematical portions and due attention is paid to the rules of typography” This description on constructivism fits very well with the Swiss international styles ideologies of a simple and constructive style were only the most important elements would conquer the design.

Two other important designers of this movement were Joseph Muller-Brockman and Armin Hofmann teaching in each their different school. Joseph Muller-Brockman started by turning toward the constructivist design and away from illustrative and subjective period around 1940(Joanne Meister). He manage to do this by the inspiration and collaboration with teachers, peers and social surroundings, and by doing this he obtained freedom for the more highly charged organizational forms that were appropriate to his subject.

This movement he pursued, constructive design, was all about a defined arrangement of the pictorial and typographic elements. His use of the grid as an organizational tool resulted in harmony between image and type and thus a unified composition. One of Muller-Brockmann’s preoccupations was to remove all of his personality from his designs to focus on the objective quality of the design, this would also help to create a more effective communication assigning the subject with its own set of values and characteristics. He managed to do this by using linoleum prints which also helped him to reach high contrast and vivid colours.

According to the AIGA article on Armin Hoffman was he a legendary Swiss graphic designer and educator, recognized for his immeasurable influence on generations of designers. He taught the power and elegance of simplicity and clarity through a timeless aesthetic that was always informed by context(Poynor, 2011). He belonged to a generation that sought to find a new visual language that would be appropriate for a complex technological world. His designs were guided by a strong conviction about cultural moral and social issues. In addition to these he also sought a kind of musical resonance to which he gave the german word “klang”.  This means that his designs always had a form for movement and balance to them.

After studying and reading about several of the designers that pioneered this style I came to the conclusion that they were highly influenced by the movement of constructivism, especially by the works of El Lissitzky. Lissitzky style was the use of abstract geometric shapes to express the spatial relationship in his compositions, he also had been inspired by the idea of suprematism that believed in the simplification of shapes in third space  but developed the style further to include Three dimensional forms. the style was very experimental on its grid and composition just like the one we find in swiss design.

I also believe the pioneers were also highly inspired by The Stijl movement, a movement that strived for ultimate simplicity an abstraction to which a utopian idea of harmony and order was established through reduction of elements into pure geometric forms and primary colors. We can see at the  swiss international brought this ideology even further by focusing only on black and white only and the use of color to highlight important information.

Analysis of the Swiss International Style

Read up on the different schools within the Swiss International Style: The Zurich School of Arts and Krafts and The Basel School of Design and do a write-up of the similarities between them and the differences in their approaches. This write-up should be your own conclusions, based on example of work and stated facts and should be approximately 350 words long.

——————————————————–I found it really difficult to find a concrete definition of the study philosophies and teaching methods of both swiss schools. Because of this I decided to study the individuals teaching at each of the schools and their works, something I have already done to an extent in the previous texts. I will first start by analysing the zurich school of design and then go over to the Basel school.

As explained in the previous texts Joseph Muller-Brockman taught in the Zurich school, here he would instruct in a way of design that detached the designer completely from the work, because he believed that the designs should stand for themselves. He also strived to make a defined arrangement of the pictorial and typographic elements using the grid as an organisational tool and focused a lot on typography as means of communication.

The Basel school of design, also known as the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule had several important teachers in this period, here I will talk about Emil Ruder(1914-1970) and Armin Hoffmann(1920-2001). Ruder studied first as a compositor in the Zurich school of arts during 4 years, in 1947 he joined the Basel School as a typography instructor. This means that he probably took with him some of the zurich philosophies to Basel or at least got inspiration from there. He directed his students in striking a correct balance between form and function, as well as the importance of legibility and readability when dealing with type. He advocated systematic overall design and the use of grid structures as well, all elements should be in harmony with each other while allowing for design variety. He also addressed problems of unifying type and images. The last thing I want to remark about Ruder is his realisation of the implications of the typeface Univers and the creative potentials unleashed by the unity of proportions. He and his students explored the contrast, textures and scale possibilities of the new typeface.

Armin Hofmann applied deep aesthetic values and an understanding of form to both teaching and designing, he sought dynamic harmony, where all the parts of a design were unified and saw relationships of contrasting elements to invigorate visual design.

To summarize I would say that the Basel  school focused on a balance between form and function, legibility and readability, systematic design created with the help of grids, creating harmony between elements, and contrast. The Zurich school would focus on detachment from the design, simplicity and eliminating all but fundamental elements, and using the grid as an organisational tool. Both schools valued contrast, using fundamental elements, using color strategically and focusing on elemental forms to create compositions.




  • Graphic Style. 3rd Edition, Steven Heller and Seymour Schwast, 2011.
  • What Exactly is Swiss Design, Anyway?,  (by Alex Bigman)


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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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Learning Activity – Creating an Animation in After Effects

  • Work through my sunrise example step-by-step. Upload your version of this project to your WordPress blog. Please note, you will make a better impression if you make this animation your own. Don’t be scared to take things a little further and experiment.


  • Now you need to come up with a unique animation concept of your own. Create a storyboard for this concept. (Make sure that your idea is not too complicated, but don’t limit yourself by making it overly simple.) Scan your sketches in and upload it to your WordPress blog.


I decided to animate an illustration I had made for a mandatory assignment we had in the first year. Here are my sketches and a storyboard!

  • HODEond eller god sekvens
  • The next step is to create the file and folder structure. Please take a screenshot of your folder structure and hand it in along with your project.

In this animation I only needed to use an illustrator file as my main asset, so here is my folder structure.


  • Create your animation in After Effects. Upload your project file and your rendered animation to your WordPress blog. 
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Learning Activity-Applying basic animation principles

Create a character. This character can be a letter, a person, an animal or any type of illustration, use your imagination. This character will play the main role in your animation.

Take this character and draw it in five different exaggerated poses. In each of these poses the character has to express some kind of emotion (like love, anger, dislike, distaste, happiness and so on). Keep the animation principles in mind when you draw your character.

Please scan your drawings and upload it to your WordPress blog.



Here is my character and his little story:




Enjoy the rest of the day! 🙂

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Learning Activity – Visualise Your Ideas

I would like you to create a mood board and storyboard using a word and its meaning as the concept.  For example, you could use the word “prop”. You could then use the “r” to prop up the “p” that keeps falling over. That’s just to give you an idea, be creative and use a word and concept of your own.


I chose the word “Flourish” and created the following moodboard:

and storyboard:


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Learning Activity- Playing with ideas

If the idea is at the heart of everything, then I would like you to think of a movie that you love. Then look at its current title sequence and come up with a new one.

Sketch up the rough idea in the form of a storyboard. Your storyboard needs to be at 30 frames and should be for at least 1 minute of motion design

Please scan and upload this activity to your WordPress blog.


I have been indulging myself in the world of motion graphics this week, it has been inspiring and I have learned a lot of things. I am really exited to start with the mandatory assignment for this course so I tried to get the learning activity out-of-the-way so I could start focusing on the big things. However this was far from an easy task, so in the process I still learned a lot of things.

The first thing is that it takes a lot of time to plan a sequence, you must have a clear idea in your mind, pay attention to detail and draw the same things over and over. While I searched through my favorite movies I found a lot of awesome and clever opening titles, these inspired me a lot.

The movie I ended up choosing is “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain”. I actually really loved the opening titles of the movie but decided either way to make my own version.


Here is my sketch:


And here are the screenshots of the notes I took while watching the Lynda video about After Effects:

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