Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"When you can do anything, You often make a mess."

Hamish Muir always enjoyed making things, it wasn't until later he realised he was interested in taking photographs. It was these traits that made him enroll on an art course. He left university being taught by some of the greats of the graphic design world, such as Zehnder, Wolfgang and Weingart, who all taught at the Basel school of design.

Hamish spoke of his journey through university, the starting of his company with two other friends and the work they had created pre and post computer. His lecture was very interesting and thorough, he talked of the techniques he had used and gave us tips on professional and technical practice. I have to say I did prefer the pre computer part of the lecture. I found it interesting the way Hamish and his team had created these wonderful pieces and the aspect of change from when the piece was created using collage and when it was printed.

A lot of the work shown was that created by hamishs’ company 8vo. Most predominantly they created work for factory records and the Hacienda in Manchester. The posters and album covers that they designed were all worked on at full size, they used collage processes and real type that was usually hand drawn. Because in this period of 8vo it was pre computer it was hard for them to save the different designs and mistakes they had created. It was this element of surprise that meant they never really knew how the work was going to turn out. I suppose that this is linked to the comment made by Hamish about liking to find their work, out in the wild and on the streets to see how it looked lined up against the other promotional pieces that would wallpaper the urban sprawl.

The next piece that Hamish showed us was an album cover he created using sheets of glass to collage layers of imagery and text. This ‘collage’ was then photographed and that would be the basis of the album cover. 

The next part of Hamishs’ presentation was about the magazine they created called octavo. This was also pre computer. This was to be the international journal of typography.The first issue was released in 1986. The predominant typeface used in the magazine was univer and the magazines principles were all about breaking form and content. It was this that lead on to the point which I found really useful, which was about making mockups on all the work you make. Hamish told us to not always trust our computer screen. I couldn’t agree more. 

In 1989 8vo bought their first computer. Because it was so expensive they could only afford the typefaces that were already on the computer. This is when they had to first start working with Helvetica, when really they didn't like it at all. 

The main points that I took from this lecture were those about form and content and about collage. It was nice to be given an insight into how graphic design worked before the trusty computer. I will definatly take on Hamishs’ advice about creating mock ups of the final idea before completing them to final piece standards. A lasting comment that I noted down was that, design is all about content, but sometimes its nice to work on something without content. Sometimes it is this ideal I like to work with, Why does they always need to be a concept?

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