El Lissitzky

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

He is a Russian graphic designer, artist, typographer, photographer and architect. He is one of the leading figures of Russian avant-garde. Together with Malevich, he developed suprematism. Suprematism is a movement that is based on using primary geometric forms. Lissitzky designed several exhibition displays in favor of the Soviet Union. He was also very important because this movement and his work influenced other important art movements such as Bauhaus and other constructivist art movements. On the other hand his work is very important in terms of twentieth century graphic design. One of the most important principles that Lissitzky’s career was based on was that he believed that an artist had to achieve goal-oriented creation. This basically explains the approach of a graphic designer, especially in advertisement. This means and a designer can add his her personal style and have a different approach on a project but he or she must respond to what the “client” or “ main goal” of the project asks from him or her.

He worked with important figures of Bauhaus and De Stijl while his stay in Germany where he worked as the Russian cultural representative.

In 1919 El Lissitzky returned to Vitebsk to teach graphic arts, printing, and architecture at People’s Art School. Lissitzky participated in design and print of propaganda posters. However later on, he chose to keep quiet about this period of his works most likely for the reason that one of most important subjects of these posters was the send away of Leon Trotsky. The quantity of these posters is satisfactory to consider them as a separate type in the artist’s production.

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Camera Obscura

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Camera obscura means darkened chamber room in Latin. In sixth century CE, the camra obscura was used in Byzantine by the Greek professor called Anthemius of Tralles. It is an optical piece of equipment that projects the images of objects. It is an important device because it is one of the most important milestones that led to the contributed in the photography that we have today.

The camera obscura is in fact a very simple device. It is a box or a room that has a small hole on one side in order to let the light pass. The light passes through this hole and the image is created with its proper color and perspective. The only thing that is different is that the image is created upside down. The image produced can be printed on paper or used as a representation of the objects that the image is produced from. Later on mirrors were used in order to create images with the right direction. However this development was much later in the eighteenth century. A camera obscura may have a pinhole or a lens and this difference changes the images that are created. For example in camera obscuras that have a pinhole, the size of the pinhole changes the characteristics of the images created. As the pinhole gets smaller the image becomes sharper, this means it has a larger depth of field. All the images created are very sharp, however the images become less bright. On the other hand it is more useful to use a lens in camera obscuras because the aperture is wider. This means that the camera can let more light in without losing its focus.

Pinhole Camera

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Pinhole camera is the originator of the camera obscura. It is simply a box that doesn’t let light inside. Instead of a lens, it only has a small hole that serves as an aperture. The light passes from this hole and creates an upside down image. A Chinese philosopher called Mo-Ti founded the principles of the pinhole camera. He called his camera as a “ collecting plate” or “locked treasure room”. He was also the initiator of Mohism. Mohism is the philosophy that is simply based on universal love. However the pinhole camera goes back fourth century BC to philosophers Aristotle and Euclid. Later on in tenth century Alhazen developed the idea. He found out that the size of the pinhole affects the image sharpness. Later on in 1600 a lens was added to the pinhole camera.

A pinhole camera has a manual shutter. This means the person using the camera decides the length of the exposure time. The person lets the light in as long as he/ she wants and later on covers the pinhole with something that doesn’t let light in. The exposure time can change from five seconds to many days. It is up to the result that the photographer wants to obtain. For example the pinhole cameras are used to capture the movement of the sun, this gives an idea about the exposure time of pinhole cameras.

A Scotish scientist took the first photograph with a pinhole camera in 1850. He was named David Brewster.


November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is an intellectual, cultural and scientific movement. It is called as “siècle des lumieres”.

This means that this period is completely opposite of the middle ages it follows. In this period what dominates is the reason instead of the dominating power of the church. The foundation of the principle thoughts of enlightenment goes back to renaissance. It puts in the center a new way of perception of the world and the society. Rationality, reason and ideal of progress gain importance. The idea of progress gains importance because people start to believe that it is only possible to escape from the slavery of tradition this way. By ideal of progress people can be happy and free.

Superstitions of Middle Ages

November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Superstition is a noun that is defined as:

1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.

2. a system or collection of such beliefs.

3. a custom or act based on such a belief.

4. irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, esp. in connection with religion.

5. any blindly accepted belief or notion.

As it is explained above there isn’t really a logical explanation for the existence of superstitions. However they always continue their existence because there are always situations that are difficult to explain rationally and it is easier to believe they are related to a certain mystical cause that we can’t control. On the other hand their existence is also related to the religion because in fact I think that religion is the most believed superstition. By saying this I mean to say that even though it is based on some kind of supernatural power that we can’t see, most people do not even question its existence. It is actually a comforting way that makes people feel as if they have less responsibility than they usually do. It is always easier to make yourself believe that you have control over incidents until some point. Therefore it is also easier to control people by using superstitions because people don’t usually want to risk facing the negative results that “may” happen if they don’t believe superstitions. Dark ages were the period when these superstitions were an important part of people’s everyday lives.

There are many examples of these superstitions:

In the Dark Ages, a cat was mortared, while still alive, into the foundation of a building to ensure good luck to the inhabitants. People also believed in spirits and fairies, they thought that fairies lead them when it was very dark in forests at night. It was also said that a person was mislead by fairies if that person died a night in a forest. People also believed in werewolves and it was believed that these creatures ha internal hair. Therefore many of the people were cut open in order to see if they were werewolves or not. Another superstition was the most known one. People believed in witches and actually these witches were people who had the ability to cure others by using herbs. Some of them were sick people who had visions because of their mental sicknesses. As the werewolves their existence was not proven.




November 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is an old style typeface cut by Francesco Griffo in 1495. This typeface has all the characteristics of an old style typeface such as not having much contrast in thick-thin relationship, having a small x-height, having ascender height higher than cap height, having an angle to left. As all the old style typefaces Bembo is suitable to be used in books and long texts this means it can be used in continuous text. It is easier to read the continuous texts written with old style typefaces.

“In February 1496, Aldus published a rather insignificant essay by the Italian scholar Pietro Bembo. The type used for the text became instantly popular. So famous did it become that it influenced typeface design for generations. Posterity has come to regard the Bembo type as Aldus’s and Griffo’s masterpiece.” —Allan Haley, Typographic Milestones

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Old Style Typefaces

November 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Old style typefaces appeared in fifteenth century before modern typefaces. They are closely related to calligraphy. This can be understood from their common characteristics such as having curved strokes and from the similarities in thick thin relations. In old style typefaces it looks as if the letters are drawn with ink and pen like in calligraphy. In old style typefaces the contrast based on the thick thin relation is not that obvious. There is not much contrast. Another characteristic of old style typefaces is that the letters have an angle. This means that if a line passes from the thinnest strokes, for example the letter “o”, the line has an angle to left. This characteristic also allows old style typefaces to be used in continuous texts because the angle and the thick thin relationship allow the text to be easier to read. Examples of Old Style fonts include Garamond, Gaudy Old Style, Perpetua and Minion Pro.

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