Month: February 2016

Layout and Grids

  • Writing system
  • Brings organisation to your design
  • Hierarchy
  • Grids serve as frame for fields of text
  • Its main purpose is to help designers place content in a coherent way
  • As a designer you should make the decision and set your starting point
  • Some people use grids to establish a certain communication for their design
  • Visible and invisible become defined
  • Newspapers and magazines tend to apply it on regular basis




I hear what I want to hear

If cinemas is divided and described in form of visual anatomy, then does portraying the sound as the ear offer it a fair vindication? How do we go about explaining this in a visual context? How about identifying sound in cinema as a spine that provides posture – while allowing for movement and flexibility in form of visual narrative through character and camera movement. Music would be the type of posture that would add psychological depth and insight to the visual story.

The human mind translate sound and noise as a way of communication, which we heavily rely on regular basis to understand our surroundings. We also interpret sound in cinema based on our previous experience that may result in provoking emotions. 

In 1887, Edison wrote , “the idea occurred to me that it would be possible to devise an instrument which should do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear, and that by a combination of the two all sound and motion could be recorded and reproduced simultaneously”.

With that methodology I believe that in cinema sound and image are no longer separate mediums, but they work together collaboratively to form a perspective. What started as a simple and soundless visible enactment for entertainment purposes, has evolved to a hybrid of complex technologies (graphic elements, sound effects, animation, digital effects) where visual communication provide a sensory contact with the audiences. 

In the early days of cinema the need for sound and music was a striving element to achieve. Directors were aware that to gain response from their spectators sound would have to be present in their visual storytelling. By 1930s optical sound track was developed where notes were strategically and manually put on to the 35 mm film. This method changed cinema.

However, music has been around much longer than cinema. I believe that cinema is a technique of visualising our emotions; something that classical music has done for years. Composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) to name a few, have come to revolutionise the way we emphasize, interpret, and convey music. 

In ”King Kong” (1933), one of Hollywoods best known composer Max Steiner developed a music language that allowed the audience to connect with a fictional character, which in this film was with a large plastic creature. Steiner’s way of conducting music was evident in every genre that he worked with. He paid careful attention to physical movements in cinema and pioneered the click track where he could compose music that carefully applied to each movement. Throughout the film he allowed the audience to empathise with each character with a full emotional embrace by creating music that brought mystery and panic. 



Another example that caught my attention while researching sound history in cinema was “Vertigo” (1958) an American psychological thriller directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. A movie that has been described as “greatest American picture ever made” where music played a vital role. Bernard Herrmann was the composer of choice for “Vertigo” where in one sequence he projects a suspense and intensity followed by an unexpected confusion. This is the scene where Kim Novak’s character suddenly jumps in the water and shifts the story into a emotional tension . The music did not warn the audience of what was expected ahead which resulted in shocking scene where John Steward transfers his character from a spying detector to a compassionate man falling in love.

The way I would describe cinema as ear would be in this manner; when art is produced in form of a moving image the communication is extremely important through the sound of music. The sound should emit and reflect experience that raises the film to new heights. It should also work as a tool that scores a notion that provides grace to the story lines. 

Color and Typeface

Underground Logo

The London underground logo trademark has strategically been designed to help passengers distinguish between locations. Edward Johnston, a typeface specialist designed this timeless typeface in 1913, which has become easily recognizable as a font that represents London. The typeface Sanserif combined with the union flag colors has a classic identity that is hard to miss from miles away. 



Peter Miles, an art director based in New York City designed the new logo for the French fashion house Celine in 2008. The new logo described as “contemporary minimalism” by Celine’s creative director Phoebe Philo, which was clearly intended for its modern target audience. Celine’s new typeface is Semplicita (1931), which was designed by an Italian type creator Alessandro Butti.

Hannes Famira, was commissioned by Miles in 2005 to reconstruct and update the font for its envisioned purposes. The black color against a white empty background evokes authoritativeness yet the simplicity of its typeface conveys are classic aesthetic.


Cinema as an eye

This term can be translated in many ways depending on how cinema is perceived, but in my personal opinion, I regard cinema as a visual storytelling tool offered through someone else’s perceptiveness. We receive graphic impressions through projection of lights and use our senses as instruments to comprehend the stories. As observers we are placed in an immobilized position over our mental and emotional state when a film is being unfolded before us. However, we are also a part of the equation that will complete the storyline. A movie will not meet its objective without the presence of the spectators.

Frequently, a movie is constructed with the intention of allowing its audience to follow the characters from different angles in attempt to include them in their experiences. At times, the natures of these mental images are closely related to our previous occurrences and therefore sometimes our subjectivity can be challenged.

American film director and producer Martin Scorsese has exhibited a trademark editing by filming his character’s eyes from a very close up positions. These types of shots establish a sense of understanding of a particular characters intention. It also enables us to contribute a certain level of emotional participation with the actors throughout the film.

Neue Haas Grotesk

As a central component of a creative design process, typography is intended to communicate a certain tone, mood and an over all message of a brand. In this field of design typography has had a radical shift after the global digitalization. In addition, with this new digital era and the exploitation of design and modern typefaces designers are able to find visual solutions that meet the need of their clients. 

After watching the Helvetica documentary it became clearer how this contemporary font has had a cultural impact since its release in 1957. Helvetica has been the visual identity for many corporations, fashion brands and organizations because of its neutral characteristic. Before Helvetica became an international typeface decorative fonts with characters and bold colors were dominating the advertising market.

Helvetica responded to a demand that was obviously needed, but had yet not been met. It was a new font that helped designers visually reinvent their designing process. However, certain designers have described Helvetica as a safe choice and not a challenging one. For example, I personally like to design with typefaces that are simple and straightforward. A typeface that also sets the tone for personal aesthetic. Therefore, it is vital as designers we learn to separate our personal taste with the message that a brand wants to convey, but concurently maintain our signature style as creatives.


UAL’s new logo in Helvetica