A while ago one of my colleagues at Killhope Lead Mining Museum gave me a book (thank you so much Alex). To be honest I don't think many people would get very excited by a book entitled "Grid Systems", but if you know me and my work you would understand that I could hardly wait to get it home.
It has taken me longer than I would have liked to have a good look at this book, but as anticipated it is a treasure trove of images and a ideas centering on typography and design.
Mair and I both use text in our art work, it is an area that we are considering in relation to the collaborative element of this project. I'm getting more and more into the idea, I like the fact that lead was used to create typeface and that this printing technology enabled ideas to be circulated over ever increasing distances, contributing to the formation of networks of people who shared those ideas.
I also like the language that has been used in this book. Josef Muller-Brockman (the author) is so passionate about his subject I thought I would share the section called Grid and Design Philosophy with you.
"The use of the grid as an ordering system is the expression of a certain mental attitude in as much as it shows that the designer conceives his work in terms that are constructed and oriented to the future.
This is the expression of a professional ethos: the designer's work should have the clearly intelligible, objective, functional and aesthetic quality of mathematical thinking.
His work should thus be a contribution to general culture and itself form part of it.
Constructive design which is capable of analysis and reproduction can influence and enhance the taste of a society and the way it conceives forms and colours. Design which is objective, committed to the common weal, well composed and refined constitutes the basis of democratic behaviour. constructivist design means the conversion of design laws into practical solutions.
Work done systematically and in accordance with strict formal principals makes those demands for directness, intelligibility and the integration of all factors which are also vital in sociopolitical life.
Working with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity.
The use of the grid system implies
the will to systematize, to clarify
the will to penetrate to the essentials, to concentrate
the will to cultivate objectivity instead of subjectivity
the will to rationalize the creative and technical production processes
the will to integrate elements of colour, form and material
The will to achieve architectural dominion over surface and space
the will to adopt a positive, forward-looking attitude
the recognition oft he importance of education and the effect of work devised in a constructive and creative spirit.
Every visual creative work is a manifestation of the character of the designer. It is a reflection of his knowledge, his ability, and his mentality."
So there you go......... Vive La Grid!!!
The tone of this passage really reminds me of Robert Owen's writings about the formation of a New Society.
Muller-Brockman's book also gives a lovely potted history of some of the early type face or font designs. For example GARAMOND which was designed in 1535 by Claude Garamond in Paris.