Sunday, November 9, 2008

[Analysis] 'Werkbund Idea and Werkbund Work' Exhibition Poster

. 'Werkbundidee und Werkbundarbeit' exhibition poster
. basel gewerbemuseum, swiss| 1938-1939
. designer: hermann eidebenz


. this work is made for an exhibition of the Basel district group of Swiss Werkbund, held in winter, 1938-1939. There were many works form different participants, including architects, weavers, graphic designers, furniture makers, and so on, shown there. (Richard, 2006)**

. how do you feel when you first saw it? It's clearly that you can tell what is dominant in this poster. Is it the black circle in the middle. I think it's dominant too. On contrary, smaller circles around can be considered as sub-dominant elements, and the subordinate ones are the title on the top and information that the designer placed in the bottom.

. but what make something dominant or subordinate in this poster? When I firstly took a look on it and showed it to my friend, we agreed that our eyes were directed firstly in the center of the poster, where the black circle is placed. There might be several explanations for this. However, to me it's because of the contrast it makes. Firstly, while other elements like circles around it and background are in light-color, a little bit of yellow I think, black actually makes the circle standing out of other ones. Furthermore, its size is also bigger than other.

. hermann was really clever when he drew lines running away from the black circle to others to create the continuance. These lines play a role as instructions for viewers' eyes efficiently. From the circle in the middle, they direct our attention to other circles around. If you take a quick look, lines seem to lead you to each circle. But how? From the middle circle let's follow a random line, you'll catch a small circle. Now let's your eyes be free, is the line which you're following leading you back to the big circle, and continuing to lead you to the other small circle, and back, and to another likes it never ends. And it makes sense. The black circle is the most important. Plus texts inside each circle, I realized how clever Hermann was when he silently give us the metaphor of this poster; 'Werkbundaribiet 1938 is graphiker, goldschimied, weber, and blah blah'.

. dividing this poster into two parts; one is the image in the center including all of circles and lines, and other is the rest (title, and the bottom information). After that, we analyze the quality of each part. We clearly see the image is organic, and the texts are represented in the technical form with vertical-straight line. This creates the attractions, and lowers the boringness of the poster, which only has texts, circles, and lines.

. once more thing that makes the poster becoming more interesting is type. Hermann used san-serif font for type of this poster, but in lowercase. And if you pay attention to how each word is adjusted, you will see all of them except for ones inside small circles are placed on the horizontal line. However, according to Gestalt theory, this also creates the similarity to the poster.

. take a look on this poster in general, I feel like I'm looking at the solar system, when the black circle in the middle is the sun, and circles around it is planets and stars moving round. And it seems like they are absorbing light from the sun.

. to finish this entry, I want to suggest you to read the book ' Swiss Graphic Design' written by Richard Hollis. And you will catch this poster on page 122. Look and read carefully.

(*) Eidenbenz, H. (1938) 'Werkbundidee und Werkbundarbeit', Swiss Graphic Design: The Origins and Growth of an International Style, London: Laurence King Publishing, p.122.

(**) Hollis, R. (2006) Swiss Graphic Design: The Origins and Growth of an International Style, London: Laurence King Publishing.

1 comment:

Dim Sum said...

That was quite a thoughtful analysis of the poster's design. Interesting to read.