One major point of study in my design schooling was the international typographic style. I really wish I had paid more attention. Years later I find myself trying to recall the things I know I should have learned but just can’t seem to remember. Famous names of designers and works I KNOW I studied, but at the time it was just for a test, and not to influence my personal style and career.
I’ve been working at Microsoft now for about 6mo under a creative director who is heavily influenced by Swiss modernism. And for good reason; it’s minimal, clean, structured, and objective. These attributes translate very well over to interface design, which he leads at Microsoft OneNote. He speaks (preaches?) openly about how simplicities and complexities can combine together; how we need to think beyond what our work is today and how it will look in the future; he name-drops knowing Massimo Vignelli every chance he can get.
I also work with a fantastic, world-renowned designer who is greatly influenced by organic movement and stylistic photography. He is an incredibly humbled and experienced designer, and has much appreciation for this Swiss design style that is so different from his own. He created a tribute poster series for Vignelli upon his death, with the late designer’s most famous quotes.
In school I didn’t do much stylistic exploration outside of class time, and now I feel compelled to do so. To relearn some of my design history by experimenting, since I’ve never experimented with styles so different than my own. I began to see an opportunity.
My boss is well versed in some great critique methods, including dropping some awesome one-liners that range from very inspiring to pretty outrageous. I decided to jot these quotes down, and create a Sean Wolcott poster series.
This Part 1 blog post is going to give a glimpse of the process. The next blog post (after I’ve completed all of the posters) will be the finish products.
If you have never tried to design a Swiss poster, it’s incredibly difficult. Maintaining a rigid grid system, using color and geometry to illustrate the text rather than illustrations or imagery, and smartly laying typography into the colors and the grid as to show that this, of course, is correct the solution. This was a difficult exercise in the beginning, but then all of a sudden the canvas burst open and the possibilities were endless.
Enjoy the process and the final posters!