The next few posts will include the individual pieces of work that I produced to make my final montage on Key Developments in Visual Communication between 1915 and 1940. The first one is main image for Futurism.


The Futurists were founded in 1910, in Milan, by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. It was an artistic and social movement inspired by speed and the motor car, technology, youth, violence, patriotism and war. They were also supporters of Mussolini and Fascism. The Futurist manifesto was printed in Le Figaro newspaper at the time.


Not many posts lately because we have been busy silk-screen printing and have just begun new briefs. However, during my preparation for the infographic Key Developments in Visual Communication between 1915 and 1940, I was preparing an image depicting cubism and decided to cut a picture of Pablo Picasso and another of Georges Braque in half and join them together. The outcome was uncanny…


It was a perfect fit?

Well, what do you make of that?

I will be posting the complete infographic shortly.

Visit to Hereford Cathedral to view the Mappa Mundi

As a prelude to visiting the Cathedral we watched a film presented by Stephen Fry about the Gutenburg Press….

Johannes Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany in 1400. At that time all books were written by hand on velum and he recognised the need for a more efficient process. There were vineyards in the locality and so he probably based his design for a printing press on those that were used for extracting the juice from grapes. He also had to derive a letter set to go with it. By coincidence paper was being developed at the same time, to replace velum, which made the press viable.

After seeing the film we went to visit the Mappa Mundi permanent display in the grounds of Hereford Cathedral. Before this we were privileged to view old books in the library above the exhibition area, which has a collection of ancient books that were written by monks and nuns and then embellished with special characters by specialists. These characters indicated the beginning of new chapters (gospels).

A hand-written, embellished book of Psalms with side notes

In the middle ages most written works belonged and were produced by the church. Therefore, they had power through knowledge. Furthermore they were written in Latin which was the universal language at that time. The printed book opened up the path to knowledge to more unprivileged people.

An early printed book by William Morris

The Mappa Mundi was the largest map to be produced on a single piece of velum in about 1300. It described that world as it was known at that time.

Part of the exhibition included the chained library, where the books were secured because of their value.


Contexts and graphic design

We were asked to find three examples of graphic design in the library and then describe each one in as many contexts possible.

In May 2016 the co-op unveiled a new logo which was designed by studio North. This was a revival of the original classic clover-leaf design, Which first appeared in the late 1960s. And historical context was considered after researching the company’s visual history. The logo conveys trust, nature, and purity. One of the aims was to trigger nostalgic response from customers. Whilst it also suggests a modern brand of the future in the digital age.


The contexts in this example are historic, nostalgic, behavioural, social, commercial and loyalty.

My next choice was Tyrrell’s crisps. Their design was created by the company bigfish http://www.bigfish.co.uk. Similar to the co-op nostalgia is used to appeal to customers.

The photographic images are typical of the postwar period and the use of matt packaging material adds to the historic effect. At this time food was wholesome and shoppers were thrifty and so the brand conveys value for money with t a product that is made to traditional standards. There is also an element of humour which will appeal to young and old alike.

The choice of packaging, it’s thickness, feel and the strong colours plus the typeface all reinforce the historic/quality message.

Like the co-op, The contexts used are nostalgic, historic, behavioural and quality.

Because I am a fly fisherman I am inclined to buy gear that is technical, has a high performance, innovative and hardwearing. For these reasons, like many of my fishing colleagues, I am drawn towards Sage, a USA company, that produces the gear that satisfies my requirements.


The main context in this companies advertising is technological but there is also an element of fashion, comfort and certainly protection against the elements. http://www.sageflyfish.com. You can also throw in nature and the great outdoors for good measure.

You could say that all three examples address a behavioural context  as well and in these cases I am one of the typical target customers!

In the sage website photos of  big landscapes with solitary, small figures give the feeling of adventure, whilst the choice of lettering and a few select words convey technology and innovation.

Contexts used include the spirit of adventure, technological, emotional, fashion, high quality and exclusiveness.

Assignment 1.1

First draft of my assignment for feedback…..

John Symonds GMD4                                                                                   October 2016

 Critically discuss in terms of context, key developments in visual communication between 1915 and 1940.

By 1915 World War I had started and many new technologies were emerging, including electricity and methods of transport by land, air and sea.

During the latter half of the 19th century, across Europe, various left wing organisations were campaigning against the many autocratic right-wing establishments that were then in power. This resulted in the forming of the International and the Russian Civil War, a general revolutionary upheaval after the October Revolution, which resulted in the formation of the first Communist parties across the world and socialism [1].

In the history of graphic design, posters of World War I are usually acknowledged for introducing new, heightened level of psychological persuasion. The colour lithographic poster had been perfected in years up to 1914, and before cinema or radio could supersede them, posters were the major form of mass visual propaganda. Wall posters drew from the visual traditions of their respective countries and consequently indicated strong national styles. But, because they needed to address share concerns of public morale and war effort, many also indicate common techniques of visual persuasion.[4}

This is then was the background to several new movements concerned with graphics and other connected arts. We will use a collective term avant-garde.

The term avant-garde in French means front guard. This is often used in French and English to refer to people all works that are experimental or novel, particularly with respect to art, culture and politics. According to its advocates, The avante-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm willing definitions of arts, culture and reality. [2]

Avant-garde movements of the early 20th century specifically focused on visual communication design and implemented it as a modus operandi and were greatly influenced by the events of the time. [2]

For instance constructivism was mainly interested in the promotion of socialism and the spirituality of mankind. Futurism had a loathing of past ideas, especially political and artistic traditions and had a love of speed, technology and violence. Dadaism had an anti-war politic, concerned itself with anti-art and strove to have no meaning, was anarchic and irrational. Bauhaus had no teaching of history and was concerned with the unification of art, craft and technology. [2]

The Italian millionaire poet, writer and originator of Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founded the international magazine Poesia (Poetry) in 1905. Marinetti was on a personal crusade to liberate poetry and literature from the constraints of traditional punctuation and syntax. [3]. This heralded a typographic revolution.

Typography was all about communicating with the masses through signs, posters, newspapers, periodicals and advertisements. The avant-garde movements played with typefaces and made them larger and more compelling. They also made them more abstract and added photography to create montages.

My information graphic is an attempt to encapsulate the major avant-garde movements together with their ideologies, disciplines and advocates. It also shows later groups who were influenced by them.

I have tried to use the style of the time, with a minimum amount of colour, which in any case would only serve make the graphic more confusing, whilst in the form presented it is clear and easy to follow, in my opinion.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_communism

[2] http://www.citrinitas.com/history_of_viscom/avantgarde.html

[3] www.citrinitas.com/history_of_viscom/…/the-futurist-typographic-revolution.doc

[4} A century of Graphic Design – Jeremy Aynsley (Octopus Publishing Group)


pdf-iconClick here to see my mind map for this project