The Shape of Fashion

See what Laura Volpintesta has to say about shape in the world of fashion from this chapter from her book The Language of Fashion Design

shape \ sheyp \ n 1: the quality of a distinct object or body in having an external surface or outline of specific form or figure. 2: this quality as found in some individual object or body form. Something seen in outline, as in silhouette.

Fashion is a form of sculpture. Amazingly, it works with a medium weight (fabric) that is basically two-dimensional, to create three-dimensional silhouettes and shapes, whether on the garment’s surface, in the shaping of its components, and/or in its overall appearance. In the atelier, fabric is either cut flat by instinct, with flat patterns, or draped on a dress form or model to create the patterns for reproduction—there is no absolute method, and there are many approaches. Individual pattern pieces that come out of the creation process are a set of two-dimensional shapes that, joined together, build the three-dimensional one. The basic fitted pattern shapes are called slopers: a basic sleeve, bodice, shift dress, princess-line dress, jacket, pant, and skirt pattern. From these basic fitted pieces, using a traditional dressmaker’s approach, new pattern shapes can be created, controlling the actual shaping of each seam or panel, and thus, the shape of the finished garment. Pattern shapes can be combined to create new shapes. For example the sleeve can be morphed with the bodice to create a one-piece front and back if the armscye is dropped and the shoulder seam extends all the way to the wrist, as in a dolman, batwing, or kimono sleeve. This gives a line that can be manipulated and shaped, adding or subtracting volume to the designer’s will (if the fabric cooperates) to create a whole range of silhouettes.

This dress pieced from semi-sheer and lightweight nude and cream tones reveals the shape of each pattern piece, carefully formed to create this silhouette and follow the body’s contours. Seams are curved, and subtle color differences in exquisite fabrics emphasize the design and craftsmanship of each panel.

Sonia Rykiel’s ribbed, heathered knit sculpts the body softly and comfortably into a tailored suit shape for a woman’s needs. The front has slight shaping into the waist seam, but the silhouette is really defined in back by a peplum waist and vertical seaming releasing into swaying flares below the derriere. A warm roll of functional collar builds the shape beautifully.

“A bag on her shoulder and a child in each hand,” according to Sonia Rykiel, is the Rykiel woman. Sonia Rykiel was born May 25, 1930, Russian-Romanian Jewish, the eldest of five daughters, in Neuilly, France. She has had retrospective exhibits and is known as a successor to Chanel for her simple, innovative, modern, and feminine fashions. A self-declared “universal women’s designer,” she addresses work, dreams, and family life in her designs. Known as the Queen of Knits in the United States, she, to this day, does not know how to knit. Jean Paul Gaultier is known to tease her for this. Rykiel fell into fashion design (and, ironically, says she spent the first ten years trying to get out of it) when she became pregnant and wanted to be “the most beautiful pregnant woman.” She had married the owner of a French boutique called Laura and started designing knitwear when she couldn’t find any fashionable maternity clothes. She used one of her husband’s knit suppliers to produce her first pieces and continued designing for the well-to-do French women who shopped at Laura through the 1960s. Rykiel started to build a following in the United States, known for her “poor boy” sweater and skinny knits in neutral, muted colors and striped patterns (although she prefers to wear black herself). She has been quoted saying that she couldn’t relate to the first fashion she made, even though it was fashion … it didn’t relate to her life, the life of a woman, mother, and worker, and that she envisioned her woman surrounded by “bags and children,” busy, out and about. (She has two children of her own.) This is what guided her work, along with her professed value of “seduction.” Her passionate singularity of vision has been the foundation of her success. Rykiel wanted to “undo” fashion until it would meet her life: clothes that traveled, stacked, reversed, transformed from day into eveningwear. One of the first deconstructionists, she started putting the seam allowances on the outside. She was also an early proponent of “high-low” fashion, mixing the expensive with the inexpensive. In the 1990s, she designed  in a range of fabrics, including crepes, tweeds, velvet’s— all popular with the body-conscious, gym-toned bodies of the era. Her clingy knits are combined with loose, boxy, and flowing pieces. She has designed two casual collections per year since the 1980s, consisting of a dress, trousers, pullovers, cardigans, and jackets combining to create clean silhouettes. Rykiel has authored many books and considers herself “more of an author than designer” who writes a “new chapter” each season, based on the life she sees around her. Also, it is common to see English or French words blazoned across her garments, such as Plaisir (pleasure), Artist, or often her own name. Her Boulevard de St. Germain lifestyle boutique opened in 1990, and her first Paris boutique celebrated its forty-year anniversary in 2008. Today, she works hand-in-hand with her daughter Nathalie, who also maintains that no matter how many people are helping, she needs to be at the center of her business for it to succeed.

These garments feature a squared, built-up sleeve cap and collar shape. Armhole and neckline seams are replaced with a single overarm/ shoulder seam shaped at the collar, shoulder, and sleeve hem for a distinctive, clear silhouette.

Strong overall triangular form with soft, flared finish at the hem balances angles with curves. The secondary shape story is the full-circular cut of the cape, over a minuscule pattern of circular snaps trailing down the pants leg, and square belt buckle.

Sketchbook. These sketches show variations on a blocking-only theme using lines, angles, and panels to create an evening group with widely varied silhouettes. The shape of individual garment panels is explored as much as how they relate to the overall shape.

Using a single, solid, and firm fabric with classic dressmaker details emphasizes the importance of the overall shape reminiscent of the fifties: fitted bodice, darts and pleats, full skirt, cap sleeve, and belted waist for nostalgic elegance. The expert fit lends its shape to the body inhabiting it.

In another example, the sleeve can cut into part of the bodice, creating a raglan line that can extend into a shaped stand-up neckline in-one with the bodice. Similarly, a two-piece jacket-sleeve cut has many more shaping options than a sleeve with only one seam. A basic straight skirt can be slashed and opened at the hem to create an A-line, flared, or full-circle skirt. If volume or length is added to only one side of the pattern, the result will be asymmetrical shape. Necklines, armholes, hemlines, and princess seams (vertical seams dividing a garment into usually fitted panels) all are vulnerable to the designer’s vision and are able to take on the specific cut-out shapes desired. Alexander McQueen, Francisco Costa, Byron Lars, and Thierry Mugler are some masters of shaped seaming exploration. Patch pockets, pocket flaps, collars, lapels, belts, yokes, and waistbands are other garment foundations that can be bent and twisted into any shape that can be imagined, while still retaining the use they were intended for. Prints, patterns, and textures are the more minute carriers of shapes, but when used this way, shape remains two-dimensional.

The basic shift-dress pattern, anchored to the right shoulder, is slashed and opened down the left side seam, adding godets’ of fabric excess, which are then lifted and tacked (stitched with right sides together to expose 4 inches [10.2 cm] of seam allowance falling outside). All in richly colored silk, the basic shift’s shape is retained but with all of that added weight. The shoulder seam also joins in the flow.

A straight, raglan-sleeved column dress has a busy geometric print (micro-shapes arranged in horizontal rows) that takes center stage. Its shape is punctuated by a wide, contrast-pleated neckline ruffle and floor-length, circular flared sleeve ruffles with square hems.

Shaped edges are explored using solid colors for clarity, whether in soft silk or firm gilded woven fabric. Asymmetry through overlap is part of the theme.


The clean-cornered collar and shoulders and shirt-sleeve cuffs in this shirt-dress pull maximum drama by contrasting with rounded shirttails elegantly, softening the A-line silhouette.

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Check out more fashion vocabulary from this book


1000 Music Graphics

For nearly seventy years, music graphics have been instrumental in documenting and helping to define the evolution of both the musical landscape and popular culture. Even now, as the music industry struggles to cope with new formats and profit demands, design for music continues to be a hotbed for innovative and experimental graphics and typography. Much like its close relative, book jacket design, the appeal of music graphics for most designers lies in its ability to bridge the gap between art and commerce.

Since the convenience of the digital download has yet to pair with a captivating, downloadable equivalent of the CD package, bands and labels have in turn amped up their online presence, resulting in some truly noteworthy design. Ed Mullen, with his collaged approach for bands like Blanche, manages to cleverly combine the simulated tactile appeal of print with the added attraction of interactivity, to truly engaging effect.

Sub Pop Records, USA

Stefan Kassel Design, Germany

Form, UK

karlssonwilker inc., USA

Patent Pending, USA

Excerpted from 1000 Music Graphics by Clifford Stoltze

1000 Ideas for Graffiti and Street Art

 Every graffiti artist is a typesetter on the inside, or so it would seem given the intricate, complex, and often quantum (due to their impenetrability) works on the following pages. This chapter includes the ground zero of graffiti, i.e. total abstraction. From tags and 3D style to the more recent organic graffiti, letters and tags are the starting point from where the other schools and trends in urban art have evolved. Although it may seem otherwise, figurativism appeared on the graffiti scene much later than letters and abstraction. At first, figures and caricatures were used to accompany letters and were conceived as a secondary element, although the great majority of urban artists are currently 100 percent figurative and show no abstraction in their work. The influence of comics and illustration is evident, as is the world of cartoons. Many figurative artists also incorporate a degree of realism, which is surprising when you consider that their weapon of choice is a spray can and not a paintbrush. Although the characteristic tool for graffiti is spray paint, thousands of urban artists have opted to work totally or partially with alternative tools, such as stickers, stencils, rollers, and different types of paint or ink (plastic, acrylic, markers, etc.) Stickers and conventional brushes can achieve a degree of detail that is practically impossible with a spray can, even with the usual tricks of obstructing the nozzle to give finer lines. Stencils make it possible to repeat a single piece and even cover the streets of any city. Paint rollers let artists cover huge surfaces and create murals the size of a façade several stories high. 

0013 Darco FBI. Paris, France / 0014 Koes. Bassano del Grappa, Italy / 0015 Astrid AKA CHOUR (3PP crew). Paris, France / 0016 MFG Freight Crew (ECTOE, RTYPE, HAIKU, KOLA, SMUT). Oakland, CA, USA / 0017 Dyset. Munich, Germany

0031 Wolfgang Krell. Dortmund, Germany / 0032 MFG Freight Crew (ECTOE, RTYPE, HAIKU, KOLA, SMUT). Oakland, CA, USA

0052 Via Grafik. Wiesbaden, Germany / 0053 Above. San Francisco, CA, USA

0376 Danny “casroc” Casu. Antwerp, Belgium

0803 Dr. Hofmann. Barcelona, Spain

Excerpted from 1000 Ideas for Graffiti and Street Art by Cristian Campos

Center Yourself

It’s important to find some time to relax and find inner peace. Paint Lab gives you a great way to do this by painting mandalas.

Mandala study #2, gouache and watercolor on pape

It is common advice to tell beginning students to avoid placing form in the center of the picture as this can cause a static nonmoving effect. Yet, there are times when you desire to create an image where your eye can gaze peacefully. Creating a mandala painting is the perfect opportunity to play with symmetry and centeredness as a motif. Working this way is a path to quieting and calming your overall sense of self


• pencil
• paper
• water-based paint, 
small brushes 


1. Find a sunny and pleasant tabletop working space.

2. On a square piece of paper, estimate (no rulers) the center of the paper and begin to draw your first central shape. Do not predetermine this shape; let spontaneity guide you in choosing this form (fig. 1).

3. Choose a limited palette of three or four colors and create a painting from mixtures of these so that your color remains harmonious and not too busy (fig. 2).

4. Alternate forms on opposite sides of the central image to create an axis of symmetry (fig. 3).

5. Keep building this fanning out of forms until you feel that the overall form fills the page in a pleasing way (fig. 4). 


Similar to mandalas, yantras are two- dimensional and also geometric and circular in form. They are intended
as talismans and charms to ward off obstacles and demons, and to bring good fortune, power, a rich harvest, abundance of wealth, and happiness. 


Designing the Editorial Experience: Anatomy

Stay on top of how to properly handle the elements of design for print, web, and mobile outlets. Each need to be demonstrated properly to make your content and work appear as professional as possible. Parts of the “anatomy” such as the “kicker”, “lead”, “body”, “art”, as well as many others, require different set-ups. Believe it or not, the “kicker”, “head”  and the “lead” are three different elements that must be handled and written differently. They’re not the same thing? Nope. Authors Sue Apfelbaum and Juliette Cezzar of Designing the Editorial Experience explain the nineteen different elements of the anatomy of media/print content and how to write them. We learn something new everyday, why not learn nineteen different things today?


A positive editorial experience is built on the consistent practice of naming and handling elements within a design. If elements are sufficiently distinct, a reader learns quickly to find and identify the information to guide what is being read and how it relates to other content from the same publication, whether in the same issue or over time.

A study of the anatomy of editorial design across platforms reveals why and how interactive and mobile platforms are challenging. The total number of potential elements more than doubles, while space shrinks. It is far easier to distinguish six elements rather than twelve, and twelve different things, presented slightly differently, are guaranteed to make a layout look cluttered and hopeless. At the same time, strong decision making about the appearance and behavior of each element strengthens the identity of the publication.

Here we will start with descriptions of elements that are present in both static and interactive editorial designs and move toward additional elements found only in interactive work. Some of the elements here are paired with the lingo that is often used when working on layouts. The lingo is deliberately misspelled, which is useful to attract the attention of proofreaders or when searching through documents, as they are often put in as placeholders as copy is being written or finalized.

1. Kicker

A kicker is a short tag that helps the reader understand the context of what will follow. It usually indicates either a subject category (such as “arts” or “music”) or type of writing (such as “opinion” or “essay”). For a habitual reader, kickers also link articles that would otherwise have no obvious connection through either headlines or photographs.

2. Headline or Hed

The headline is almost always the largest element presented on an article page. For print publications, headlines are often written to predetermined lengths dictated by the design, while online, headlines are carefully crafted so that they can be found when readers search for particular content. Headlines also get removed from their accompanying layouts and images, so a headline that could be a clever pun when combined with an image can completely fall flat when decontextualized to a search listing. For publications that publish on multiple platforms, this dilemma often results in publishing the same article with different headlines.

3. Subhead or Dek

A subhead can be a phrase below a headline, a few sentences, or even a question. Its purpose is to clarify and contextualize the headline so that the reader knows whether to invest in the body of the article or move on. Subheads are usually less prominent than headlines but significantly prioritized over body copy. Some publications, such as The New York Times, rarely use subheads in print and almost never use them online. The Economist, however, uses a long subhead combined with a short headline for almost every article, and the combination is an important part of its editorial and visual identity.

4. Lead-in or Lede

The lead-in or lede introduces a story to further entice the reader to commit to reading the article. While strong writing is the best way to distinguish a lede, a visual boost is helpful, in part because short sets of sentences are often read without implied commitment. The lede is part of the body text and should be obvious as such. If it ends up looking like another subhead, a reader may skip it and be puzzled by an article that seems to start in the middle of a thought.

5. Byline

The byline indicates who wrote the story, and where photographs are significant, it will indicate the photographer as well. For some publications, columns, or articles, the authors or photographers are a bigger draw than the subject, which may not be very distinct. In other cases, the authorship is secondary, and may not even be listed, or it may be shared. Whatever the relationship, the design has a responsibility to present it in a way that best fits the publication and the piece.

6. Body

Body copy is the candy in the wrapper. Once reading is under way, the task of the designer is to make reading as comfortable as possible, stopping and punctuating at appropriate points. The challenge is that once these conditions have been fulfilled, it’s difficult to be distinctive, especially for publications that do not have the luxury of commissioning custom typography.

7. Pull quote

Not all publications use pull quotes, but when done well, they can be a very useful tool to both draw a reader into an article and punctuate the reader’s rhythm, highlighting key points. Pull quotes are often several times larger than body copy, offering visual hierarchy on continuing pages or scrolls without titles and subheads. When overused, however, they can clutter or disjoint the reading experience.

8. Art

“Art” is a term generally used to refer to commissioned illustration and photography. In some cases, as with a photo essay or information graphic, the art is the content. In all other cases, the art serves one of two purposes: enticing the reader to engage with the content, or demonstrating something in the content that the reader would like to see. For more, see “Elements: Art” on page 38.

9. Caption

Not all art needs to be captioned, but where captions are used well, they either illuminate something not obvious in the image or present commentary that echoes sentiments in the article body. Captions need to be clearly connected to the images they are associated with, which can be a challenge to differentiate with other short pieces of copy, such as credits or similarly sized pull quotes.

10. Credit

Every image must be paired with a credit that indicates where the image came from. These are usually the smallest elements on a page, and are often set in all caps or even sideways (alongside the image or in the gutter) to distinguish from other short pieces of text. In some cases, it makes more sense visually for the credit to follow the caption instead of creating an additional style.

11. Folio

A folio is a printed page number, and may be accompanied by the name of the publication, its date, a kicker, section name, article name, or author name. The purpose of a folio is to allow a reader to find an article referenced in a table of contents or a citation in another publication. Folios do not need to appear on every page—always avoid placing them over art or advertising.

12. Publication time and/or date

While printed material is bundled according to date, online content is often divorced from context, and

a publication date is essential to determine its recency. Breaking news is particularly time sensitive, because readers often look for the latest update for an unfolding situation. While most articles on the web find a date stamp or date and time stamp sufficient, relative descriptions of time are sometimes called for.

13. Share tools

For content on the open web, most readers arrive through links shared by friends, family, or the publications themselves. While the specific tools change continuously, share tools are critical to retaining and increasing readership, especially on mobile platforms where copying and pasting a link is more difficult than on a desktop or laptop computer. Share tools are a useful measure of interest, too. The analytics provide the publisher with data about which articles are shared, along with how and when.

14. Subscription tools

Dedicated readers of multiple publications often subscribe to them through electronic feeds. A feed reader works much like email: bringing in content from multiple sources and showing whether they have been read or not. Subscribing can be especially helpful to readers who want to stay informed, regardless of whether your publication posts often or sporadically. Not having the tools visible doesn’t prevent someone from adding the link to their feed reader, but having them there does encourage subscription.

15. Links for previous and next articles

Previous and next links can help a reader avoid returning to an index page and keep them with the publication. These links can be as minimal as arrows or as elaborate as full titles and subtitles, and are expected to lead to content immediately published before or after. On mobile platforms, a left or right swipe often stands in for the same function, though the button may still be present.

16. Tags

Tags, metadata, and keywords are almost always present behind the scenes of a properly coded site, because they help with both search and accessibility. Tags were undeniably popular in the Web 2.0 era, rightfully lauded for their ability to categorize and connect content under multiple categories. Over the years, however, analytics have shown that social media is the champion referrer and the overt presence of tags (such as tag clouds) has mostly gone away.

17. Navigation and taxonomy

It’s important to provide readers with navigation, not just to help them find their way but to also show what’s discoverable. Until recently, almost all complex websites placed their navigation and taxonomy in a fixed order at the top of a page, with drop-downs menus for each category. As with tags, analytics have repeatedly shown that these navigational links are not used as often as expected, and links at the top of a page are awkward for mobile users. More contemporary layouts now tuck these indexes into a drawer to the left or right, or drop them down from a single link.

18. Related links

Related links are second only to social media in driving traffic, but their number and location determine when and how they are effective. For some publications, especially news publications, links that refer to previous content on the same subject is the most successful, while for others, readers look for the most emailed, most clicked on, or most currently engaged content.


When well executed and moderated, comments can encourage debate and discussion among a community of readers. Each comment usually includes identifying information about the commenter, their comment, a date and time stamp, and reader actions, such as recommending or flagging a comment. Comments can also include sharing tools. Threaded comments allow readers to respond directly to other readers. A unique style might be used for editorially selected comments or comments from the author. Some editorial sites have dropped commenting because of the difficulties of moderating it well or the lack of activity, as discussions happen more often on social media platforms.

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In a world of media that seems to be ever-changing, how do we define what a newspaper, magazine or journal physically is? Are we drinking our morning coffee on a Sunday as we sit down and read our newstablet? Look around any doctor’s office waiting room and you will find two people reading the same magazine, one holding the paper version, another on their phone. With so many mediums, designers need to evaluate the best formats to convey an editorial vision. In Designing the Editorial Experience, authors Sue Apfelbaum and Juliette Cezzar will discuss what it means to design for multiple media. It features advice from professionals in both the design and editorial fronts —and digital strategists too— about what is constant and what is changing in the field. Inside, you will find examples of the best editorial design being produced today. In addition, explore the audiences for content, what forms the content takes, and how workflows are managed. This book provides a primer on the elements of editorial design that result in rich, thoughtful, and rewarding editorial experiences.

Just Add Color: Day of the Dead

Sarah Walsh is a Kansas City–based artist and illustrator. She’s inspired by animals, magical creatures, coffee, music, a good story, her friends and family, bravery, vintage children’s books, and mid-century anything. Sarah has designed typefaces, illustrated for various card lines, dabbled in animation, and designed surface pattern. One of her favorite things about being an artist is that she gets to create a little world for someone to enjoy.

day of the dead sarah walsh coloring book adult art illustration

Question: How would you describe your work?

Sarah Walsh: Fresh use of color, imaginative, joyful, controlled, strong yet vulnerable, and quirky.

Q: How did you learn your art and design skills?

SW: I started out in fine art and then switched to graphic design. But professors at St. Rose in Albany were very progressive about their teachings of visual problem solving. If an illustration was the solution, that’s what you did. If it was typography? Go to it. There’s no steady answer and you have to be open to trying different things.

day of the dead sarah walsh coloring book adult art illustration

Q: What inspires your artwork?

SW: I’m often inspired by other cultures but sometimes it’s random stuff, a color palette found out in nature or at a coffee shop…mid century anything, folk art, pattern, animals, my old children’s book collection-love it so much! people’s stories….my family and friends…other artists…Nature has really been inspiring me lately.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you struggle with as an artist and how do you deal with it?

SW: Actually, a big challenge I had was with the coloring books! The issue I faced was that there was no color. Just black line. 90 illustrations of just black and white. I LOVE color. Up until recently color drove a lot of my work. But I discovered that even with black and white you can have a form of color when you use variety…, pops of solid black, thick and thin lines, texture etc.

day of the dead sarah walsh coloring book adult art illustration

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring artists/ designers?
SW: Sounds cliche but just don’t be afraid to work your butt off. Study other artists and what they do. how they do it, who they learned form. Collect imagery you like…Pinterest is awesome….so is a thrift store. or a museum. The world is a big place with inspiration everywhere. Especially where you least expect it. My teachers always told us to research, research, research! This is huge. Never stop being a student. Be curious and also patient with yourself. You’ll get there. Draw everyday. Build your own visual language. But remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This stuff takes time. And most importantly, have fun! Or else why are we doing this!?
day of the dead sarah walsh coloring book adult art illustration

Excerpted from Just Add Color: Day of the Dead, artwork by Sarah Walsh

day of the dead sarah walsh coloring book adult art illustration

Sarah Walsh lives in Kansas City, Kansas. She has experience working as an in-house designer/ illustrator for Hallmark, and her current work as a freelance artist and illustrator allows her to work on a variety of projects including fabric, books, editorial, fine art, and greeting cards. To see more of Sarah’s artwork visit her website, or her blog,

Also included in the Just Add Color series:

Designing Time

It’s not a concrete thing, and therefore it can be very difficult to design. We use time to do many different things, such as plan our days and remember events in history. Design for Information tells you the different ways we perceive time and how they can be used to create the perfect time-based designs.

This 1496 manuscript shows medieval calendars with depictions of the positions of the Sun and the Moon. 

Time is an abstract concept and, thus, not inherently visual. Much of the terminology we use for time is based on our concrete experience of space and of the physical environment. In the seminal book Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson explain that the expressions we use to describe temporal experiences in most idioms emerge from our concepts of “containers” and “moving objects.” “The ‘time is a moving object’ metaphor is based on the correlation between an object moving towards us and the time it takes to get to us. The same correlation is a basis for the ‘time is a container’ metaphor (as in ‘he did it in ten minutes’), with the bounded space traversed by the object correlated with the time the object takes to traverse it. Events and actions are correlated with bounded time spans, and this makes them ‘container objects.’”

There are two ways in which we conceive of time moving:

- The subject is moving (ego-motion) and time is stationary, as in the expressions, “the weeks ahead" (expressing the future); "all is behind us” (past);

- Time is moving and we are stationary, as in the expressions “the following weeks” (future); “the preceding weeks” (past).

These two orientations are used without contradiction, such as when we say, “We are looking ahead to the following weeks.” As Lakoff and Johnson explain, we tend to assign a front/back orientation to moving objects, with the front facing the direction of motion.For example, we designate a “front” to a satellite, which is spherical, based on the direction of its orbit. The same holds true when using the moving object metaphor to reason about time, such that if we are the moving targets, we move in the direction of time, as in “time is ahead” or “I look forward.” If we consider time moving toward us, then time faces us, as in expressions like “the time has arrived” and “I face the future.” In other words, how the motion is viewed, whether the subject or time is moving, will determine the front/back relationship: “What we have here are two subclasses of ‘time passes us’: in one case, we are moving and time is standing in common is relative motion with respect to us, with the future in front and the past behind. 


It’s interesting to note that most of our systems for measuring
time are cyclical, such as clocks and calendars. Furthermore, these systems are also anchored in our physical experiences, as Umberto Eco recalls: “All the ‘clocks’ used by man, at least until the invention of mechanical time-pieces, were in their way linked to our bodily location. Time was measured against the visible motion of the stars and the ‘rising’ and ‘setting’ of the Sun, that is, movements that only exist in relation to our point of view (indeed, objectively speaking, it was the Earth that was moving, of course, but we did not know it and we did not really care).”

The history of measuring time is a rich one, and unfortunately outside the scope of this book. But, it is worth recalling that these are conventions established and agreed upon. For example, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory, there are six principal calendars in current use around the world: Gregorian, Hebrew, Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Julian calendars. However, most countries in the world have adopted the Gregorian calendar for their daily civic activities and international interactions. Pope Gregory XIII introduced the calendar in 1582, which is based on a solar set of rules, with days as the elemental cycle provided by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. Because of its roots in Christianity, many countries have kept their original calendars for religious purposes, such as the Islamic lunar calendar, and the Hebrew, Indian, and Chinese lunisolar calendars 

Wesley Grubbs (creative director), Nicholas Yahnke (programmer), Mladen Balog (concept artist) at Pitch Interactive, U.S.: “Popular Science Archive,” 2009.  

Another aspect of our temporal experiences is the time perceived, as when we express that “the day was too long.” Discussions around the nature of time can be traced back to the fourth century, as Eco describes: “Augustine tells us, we can measure neither the past, nor the present, nor the future (since these never exist), and yet we do measure time, whenever we say that a certain time is long, that it never seems to pass or that it has passed by very quickly. In other words, there is a nonmetric measure, the sort we use when we think of the day as boring and long or when a pleasurable hour has gone by too swirly. And here, Augustine pulls off an audacious coup de théâtre: He locates his nonmetric measure in our memory. The true measure of time is an inner measure. Centuries later, Henri Bergson would also contrast metric time with the time of our consciousness or ‘inner durée’”.

Martin Wattenberg, U.S.: “Idea Line,” 2001. 


Logo Design Workbook

Ten years ago, AdamsMorioka was asked to produce a logo for a major Los Angeles institution. We began the project sketching on a pad and playing with type on the computer. The more time we spent designing logo options, however, the more questions we asked. If the client were to change his business in a year, would the logo need to change? If the logo promised community involvement, would the client deliver? Very quickly we began to understand that making a formally successful logo was important, but making something that communicated as a base for all the client’s endeavors was critical. A strong logo and subsequent visual system is one of a corporation’s greatest assets. As the international corporate structure has expanded in the past fifty years, so has the need for distinct corporate identification. The world is now filled with every imaginable icon and monogram, as well as all forms of logos. Our task, as designers, is to take the commonplace—letterforms, geometric shapes, and images—and make them distinctive and meaningful. This is a unique time, however, and we are now able to design in ways unimaginable in the past. The breadth of opportunity and the possibilities for the designer’s involvement in multiple media, combined with the strategies of our clients’ business, make the logo more than a nice decoration; it becomes a vital component in a company’s success.

When we deconstruct how memory is made, we find there are four critical attributes of the process: (1) We see shape and color. All our visual recognitions are based on this. Is something square and red, or round and yellow? From the way we read letterforms, to the way we identify faces, shape and color form the basis of this skill. Once the shape and color of a form have been determined, we (2) position it within our understanding of historical continuity. We ask ourselves, “Does this look contemporary, Victorian, or Medieval?” “Does this have relevance to me at this time?” (3) We then use the information we have from learned responses to form meaning. We are taught very specific ideas: blue is masculine and pink is feminine, a red light means “stop,” a green light means “go.” (4) Mnemonic value is linked seamlessly with emotional association. This is the “wild card.” It is personal and difficult to predetermine. If a green car hit you when you were a child, you may have an aversion to green. If your mother wears Chanel No. 5, you may feel warm (or other more complicated emotions) when seeing the Chanel logo. Being aware of and utilizing these four attributes provides the tools to produce mnemonic value.

Logo Palette/ Color Palette

Move Our Money

Excerpted from Logo Design Workbook by Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka with Terry Stone

Universal Principles of Art: Conceptual Art

We all really enjoyed our series on the 10 Rules of Color that ended last month. So, we got to thinking of the next series and decides that we’d like to take a peek into the upcoming book, The Universal Principles of Art by art writer John A. Parks. 

Conceptual Art - IDEAS AS ART.

An artwork can be simply an idea or something generated totally by an idea, an approach known as Conceptual Art. Although examples of such artworks go back at least to the readymades of Marcel Duchamp in the early twentieth century, Conceptual Art emerged as an identifiable movement only in the 1960s. In Art Forum, in 1967, American artist Sol Lewitt wrote, “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”

 Art Language No Secret Painting XI, 2007 universal principles of art john a parks graphic design artist education art ed

Art & Language No Secret Painting XI, 2007, Painting and text: Part 1 (painting) 2 × 21/16 in (5.1 × 5.2 cm); Part 2 (text) 357/16 × 25/8 in (90.0 × 6.7 cm) © the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London


Imaginary Works
The artist supplies a description of something that would be impossible or very difficult to fabricate. The audience engages the work through imaginative contemplation.

Philosophical Examination
The artist gives up the task of making objects in favor of a philosophical examination of the nature of art and art practice. This approach is favored by the English group Art and Language. They published magazines and articles from the late 1960s onward in which they applied the methods of linguistic philosophy to pursue a semantic investigation of art.

Instruction List
The artist invents the artwork as a concept and provides a list of instructions whereby anyone can fabricate it. In this approach, the art object is demystified; it is no longer imbued with the aura of uniqueness that is traditionally associated with a work of art. For instance, Sol Lewitt (1928-2007) made many wall drawings that exist as lists of instructions. They continue to be executed after the artist’s death.

The artist designates an object or occurrence in the world as an artwork. For example, in 1960, Dutch artist Stanley Broun declared that all the shoe stores in Amsterdam constituted his art object.

An event, object, or activity is documented, and the documentation is then exhibited as evidence of an artwork that can be contemplated but which may no longer exist.

Political/Social Statement
The artist employs the forum of the art exhibit in order to focus attention on a political or social issue. In 1971, artist Hans Haacke presented Real Time Social System, an investigation into the real estate holdings and commercial practices of a wealthy New York family, as an exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum. The museum abruptly cancelled the exhibition.

We’ll be sharing more from this book in the next few weeks, but there’s far more concepts to discover in the pages of this book. Grab yourself a copy today.