Artist Research – Herb Lubalin

You can do a good ad without good typography, but you can’t do a great ad without good typography”

Herb Lubalin was an American graphic designer and typographer. He collaborated with Ralph Ginzburg on three magazines: ErosFact, and Avant Garde, and was responsible for the creative visual beauty of the publications. For the last of these, he designed a typeface, one of my personal favourites, ITC Avant Garde – a font which could be described as a nod to the art-deco style of the 1920s. It was used heavily in the 1980s, 90s and the early years of the 21st century, and is even still used in moderation today.

Lubalin’s interest in typography as a communicative implement manifested at an early age, and he was particularly interested in the differences in the interpretation one could impose by changing from one typeface to another. He was very fascinated by the look and sound of words as he expanded their messages with typographic impact. As such, the vast majority of Lubalin’s work was based heavily on typographic experimentation and manipulation. In my personal opinion, his clever use of type allowed him to communicate incredibly efficiently and effectively.

Game Overview

Our game, entitled Space Shoes, will be a 2D platform-based game set in outer space. The game itself is set many hundreds of years in the future, although the exact year hasn’t been specified as of yet.

The main character, an anonymous female astronaut, is travelling from Pluto to Mars, in search of a pair of “space shoes” she left there on her last visit. On her way to Mars, her ship crashes into an Asteroid field, damaging the ship. The aim of the game is to collect pieces of the ship scattered around the Asteroid field, so she can repair it and continue on her journey.

The premise of the game is an uncomplicated one, one which is meant to be as light-hearted as possible, meaning it can be played by people of all ages. When designing the game, we wanted to make it as stripped back and basic as possible, to give it a really retro feel.

Artist Research – Josef Muller-Brockmann

Part of the Swiss International Style, Josef Muller-Brockmann was influenced by the ideas of several art and design movements, including De Stijl, Constructivism, Suprematism and The Bauhaus. Perhaps the most well-known Swiss designer, his most decisive work was done for the Zurich Town Hall, as poster advertisements for its theatre productions.

He is recognised for his simple designs, and his clean use of typography (most notably Akzidenz Grotesk), shapes and colours, which inspire many graphic designers in the 21st century. He developed a grid system for producing his designs, one which is still used in some regards to this day. josef-mueller-brockman-1975The design above is an advertising poster for an exhibition in Germany in 1975, for a Japanese lighting company called ‘Akari’. What strikes me most about this piece is how simple it is. The vibrant, glowing colours draw the eye into the centre of the design, and the dark background makes the design stand out even more. The piece itself is elegant, crisp and formal, with the symmetry and clean typography complimenting one another very well. Muller-Brockmann uses shape and typographic elements to great effect in the vast majority of his pieces, which makes him my go-to designer when considering layouts/spreads. 

Kazimir Malevich – Study Page

Kazimir Malevich was the founder of the artistic and philosophical school of suprematism, and his ideas about forms and their meaning in art would eventually represent the underlying values of non-objective, or abstract, art.

He worked in a number of styles, but his most important and well-known works focused on the exploration of pure geometric forms (squares, triangles and circles) and their relationships to one another, and the pictorial space they occupy. He conceived the idea if Suprematism prior to the Russian Revolution in October 1917, but its influence was already significant amongst the Russian avant-garde. His use of non-representational imagery and interest in dynamic geometrical form in pictorial space influenced the art of Lyubov Popova, Alexander Rodchenko and EL Lissitzky.

The main reason Kazimir Malevich is my favourite artist is because he is the first artist I really looked at in real detail, and the first artist who captivated me and made me want to learn more about his work. His revolutionary way of working and his huge influence on modern art is staggering, and incredibly inspirational. The simple use of shape to create work is something I definitely try to include in my own designs, and I owe this mainly to Malevich.

Matthew Cooper – Study Page

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The sleeve design for Chasing Yesterday by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, designed by Matthew Cooper

Matthew Cooper studied Illustration at Harrow College of Higher Education in London, and works as a freelance designer. He is particularly interested in the use of typographic and strong graphic elements in his work. He works primarily for the independent music sector.Projects he works on range from sleeve design, through to the design of adverts and promotional material.

Among his more well known clients are Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Noel Gallagher and Paul McCartney, to name but a few. Inspirations of Cooper’s include CY Twombly, Robert Rauschenburg, Kurt Schwitters and Constructivist/Suprematist artists such as Kazimir Malevich and EL Lissitzky.

The above images are sleeve designs for three of Gallagher’s singles from the Chasing Yesterday album – Riverman, In The Heat Of The Moment, and Ballad Of The Mighty I. The thing that I like most about these is that it is pretty much the same image of Noel Gallagher used in all three singles – and the original album sleeve – keeping the identity of the music and the band as being Noel’s.

Brian Cannon – Style Exploration

First I started by recreating the Definitely Maybe handwritten title that Cannon created for the album of the same name.

I then reproduced the infamous Oasis logo, used by the band from 1994 – 1999. I’m relatively happy with it, although I think the “S” letters need a bit of work.

Here is my attempt at a personal branding using Cannon’s Oasis logo. The typeface used is Helvetica Neue Bold Oblique. I’m very happy with how this turned out and will probably be taking this further to use in my final piece(s)

Here I used a graphics tablet to try and digitally experiment with Brian Cannon’s Definitely Maybe handwriting style. Obviously it’s not great but it’s a start. This could go somewhere…

Brian Cannon – Study Page

Brian Cannon is a British graphic designer, art director, band manager and music video director. He is best known for his “Microdot” design company, and its work during the 1990s, which created the album cover for Oasis’ record breaking debut album, Definitely Maybe, in 1994. He is noted grandiose, ridiculously time consuming photo shoots, and has produced a number of record sleeves for UK number 1 albums – including Urban Hymns (The Verve), 1977 (Ash), along with two further Oasis albums – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and Be Here Now. Most of the photography for his Oasis designs was shot by Michael Spencer Jones.

I have chosen to look at Brian Cannon because the designs he produced for Oasis were for some of my favourite albums. Oasis and The Verve are two of my most preferred artists in music, and as such I’ve seen a lot of their album artwork. I first found Brian Cannon’s wider design spectrum on his personal Instagram account – microdotcreative.