Week 27 – Learning Acitivity – Focusing on Pioneering Designers

Week 27 – Learning Acitivity – Focusing on Pioneering Designers
Learning Acitivity – Focusing on Pioneering Designers (1 day)
Within the broader milieu of Neo-modernism, we focus on Marian Bantjes, who set design trends with her unique application of typography, loose illustration and well-balanced compositions.
Watch the Interview with Marian Bantjes on Lynda and answer the following questions:

  • Objetive observation
    During the interview, Marian mentions, When I worked at Digitopolis, I was working almost entirely on the computer, basically the computer and with photography. And now I am using a wide variety of materials, sometimes still involved with a computer and sometimes just with the materials themselves. But having a space like this allows me to obviously store them all, and to work on these various surfaces in different media.”
    What is your opinion on the use of the computer combined with different media? Write one page (350 words) on your opinion of the importance of media and design and what your take is on the use of computer technology.
  • Pushing technology and changing philosophy 
    While describing her development of style, Marian states,I am not an expert on illuminated manuscripts by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a couple of purposes of it. But one of those purposes is definitely to invoke wonder in this way that was very interesting to me and was feeding directly into my ideas about that symbiotic relationship between graphics and text.”
    How do you think this links to the philosophy of the Swiss International School? How is it different? Has technology given us an advantage in expressing the symbiotic relationship between image and text? What about Marian’s work? Is this reflected in her work? Do a write-up (350 words) on the relationship between image and text, as seen in Marian’s work and relate this back to the Swiss International School. Substantiate your answers with relevant facts. You may use a visual example of both Marian’s work and that of the Swiss International School to facilitate your analysis.


Objetive observation

I think it is important as a tool to allow yourself to be more creative. The more tools you have, the more creative you can be. A computer doesn’t necessarily make you a better designer. You have to master your tools, being on a computer or using a pen and paper. It is the designer that is in charge of the final product. There is no button on a computer or a short cut that says create a fantastic design, you actually have to create the design yourself.  

Marian is using the computer as a tool to refine her designs. You can see that she uses illustrator after she has done her design on paper. She scans her design, and then she uses it as a tool to make the design more ‘perfect’, like adding colours, overlapping shapes, she draws in Illustrator again what she has drawn on paper. She does not use image trace, she does the design again, but with her drawn design as a template.  

You can say that with a computer you have the ability to enlarge or shrink your design. You can with a computer mass produce your design for the purpose it is intended to be used in. It is like with music, some people will argue that analog music have a more organic sound to it than digital music, and some might say the same about design. For me, I like to use both, I think it gives me the ability to be more creative, like a toolbox.  

With computer technology I can use my sketches or design, scan it, and use it as a template, I can then with computer technology try out different versions with ease, like the use of colour, shape, etc, without having to draw my design in different versions on paper to see the changes.  

Today we live in a modern society, where the computer plays a big role, everything is digital, and what you create whether it is digital or if it is on paper, is digitalized. Who do you want to reach with your design is also a big question, do you want your design to hang in a gallery, without the use of a computer, or do you want to reach the masses.  

Somehow, you will today encounter the use of computer technology. If you are writing a book with illustrations, a brochure, t-shirt design, posters, you will have to use computer technology in some way, if your goal is to make more than one example in your lifetime. Working with computer technology is time saving, but for me, I really like the ‘organic’ feel to a design, and there is no reason that your design can’t keep that feeling by using computer technology.  

I think it is really important to see how different media can work together and enhance each other, it is different toolboxes that in our modern-day society where everything is digital, works hand in hand. What you create on paper, you can create a thousand times on a computer, today you have the ability to create whatever you want, it is only your imagination that sets your boundaries. What is right or what is wrong, is a personal taste question.  

Puching technology and changing philosophy

Marian talks about getting the message across, that people look twice at her work, and spends time with her piece, this is somehow different, because in the Swiss Style, the message is very clear. But, they both have some of the same philosophy, that the content has to be in focus. That the design captures interest and attention, and that the message is getting across clearly.   

Swiss Design style and Marian are both using strong colours in their designs. Both can look messy at first glance, but there is an obvious use of composition and grids, in both designs.  

While in Swiss Design Style there should be no personal touch of the designer, you can see a whole lot of personality in Marian’s designs. And you can easily recognize her style, as her own.  

The Swiss Design Style keeps the message clearly in focus, while Marian has sometimes hidden her message in her design. She makes design that makes you want to take a closer look, while in Swiss Design you should immediately understand the message or concept.  

Marian creates her own typography, while in Swiss design they use strictly Sans-Serif typeface, like Helvetica. Marian changes her ‘concept’ as she evolves as a designer, but the Swiss Design Style, stays the same. The Swiss Design Style is very strict in aligning text flush left, but Marian place the text wherever and however she feels like for that task.  

Marian is free to choose how to design whatever she wants for the clients, they come to her because they are familiar with her work, and her special style, that she always creates something unique, and special. But in Swiss Design Style, you are not so free, because your personal style is not important, it is all about getting the message out and staying true to the Swiss Design principles.  

Computer technology have made it easier to play around with typography and the symbiotic relationship between text and images, as you can move things around on your screen and try out different results. A lot of Marian’s work is symmetrical, and this is not so much in Swiss Design Style.

Swiss Design Style



Marian Bantjes


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