Sunday, August 28, 2011

Matrix Info Dump (Folly Jazz Poster)

My ten symbols chosen to represent Nnenna Freelon are: a microphone, mouth, water, love, show(wo)manship, dress, soul, stage, voice, and education. The task was to generate ways to incorporate these symbols into rhetorical tropes to create a clearer picture of who Nnenna is and what her music is like.

Rhetoric in Design Find + Share


Alexey Brodovitch designed this cover for Harper's Bazaar in 1940. He uses the butterfly itself as a symbol to stand in for the summertime while the overlapping of the butterfly and woman suggests summer fashion.


Peter Behrens created this poster in 1914 to suggest that design is a "humanizing social force" (Meggs, History of Graphic Design). The torch bearer stands in for Behrens, a designer, as a leader.


Herbert Bayer created this poster in 1943 to convince farmers of the need of their eggs during World War II


Saul Bass created this logo for the film Man with the Golden Arm in 1955. The film is about a man recovering from a heroin addiction. The term "golden arm" intensifies the damage his arm has suffered from the addiction.

Rhetoric and Poetry reading response

We're all poets and didn't know it? How cliché but true. When one stops to think about this it turns out to be plenty true. What I found remarkable is how these metaphors enter our everyday dialogue and we tend to be entirely unaware of our rhetorical speaking. The Poetry For Everyday Life reading points out several examples of words used to figuratively describe everyday activities or thoughts. The stock market climbs and falls, marriages can be healthy and we devour and digest the information in books. Each of these examples provides a visual idea of how we communicate these ideas. The visual representation is used to create a better and more interesting idea of what is actually occurring. These rhetorical phrases can be considered examples of deconstructive language. The descriptive words (like climb, fall, and healthy) are not used in a literal sense but in a figurative one.

Figures of speech occur in our daily lives on a level of subconsciousness most people will never be aware of. As designers part of our job is to consider the subconscious workings of our audience and to tap into the subconscious mind when possible to create messages that are understood immediately without any consideration or questions asked. Using some figures of speech and applying them to graphic design, some designers can get ideas across quicker and clearer than if they were to explain the message in words.

Amsterdam Type exercises

First set of exercises for typography 3 class. The type setting of our names was done so that our teacher could see how we set our names and see how the typeface, point size, position of name on page, etc. reflected us students as designers. 

The type compostions were created after reading a passage of text describing the city Amsterdam. Our task was to create an expressive composition using type to convey messages in the text and make the text digestible for readers. In my first composition I call out parts of the text to emphasize ideas using the letters in an illustrative manner. In the second composition, I follow a system of setting nouns, adverbs, verbs, adjectives, etc. in a certain typeface and carry that trend through the composition. The final composition is more an exploration of type and drifts away from actually expressing the message of the text (a mistake on my part I must say). My goal in the composition was to create a field of text with varying weights and qualities. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Narrative Type Find + Share

 A narrative on the development of the Trixie typewriter typeface. The video explains some of the technical tactics employed in creating the ever changing Trixie typeface. It also gives some of the statistics and traits incorporated in the typefaces construction. The moving type is implemented to reference the letter by letter typing of a typewriter while a typewriter in action acts as the backdrop for the text throughout the video.

Sleepyhead from melissa gorman on Vimeo.

This is a motion graphic final for Gail Anderson's Just Type class at the School of Visual Arts. It's the narrative of a solitary "z" emitted from a sleepyhead. Apparently our "z's" get down when we're asleep.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nnenna Freelon Research and Mood Board

Patrick, Mckenzie, and I received the jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon as the subject of our Folly poster designs. Our first step in the curating of this poster was to create a mood board. This mood board compiled colors, textures, words, typography, and a few objects that expressed the music and persona of Nnenna Freelon. 


Nnenna Chinyere Pierce was born in Cambridge, MA in 1954. She first dabbled with 
her  vocal talents in a church gospel choir as a child. She did not, however, even begin thinking of a music career until her later 30’s after she had already married and had children. She studied at Simmons College in Boston and received a degree in health care administration. With her freshly acquired degree she joined the social services work force for the Durham, North Carolina hospital corporation.
In 1979, Nnenna married the architect Phillip Freelon, thus changing her name. 
A few years, and three children later, she finally began considering a music career. 
She trained under Yusef Lateef and harnessed her vocal splendor by listening 
and singing to jazz horn players. After learning and singing jazz independently for seven years, she came to a massive turning point in her career when she met Ellis Marsalis. 
In 1990, the two found each other at the Southern Arts Federation’s jazz meeting where Marsalis was doing A&R work for Dr. George Butler of Columbia Records. Butler was on the search for a female singer at the time and was delighted to come across such a 
vocal splendor like Nnenna. Two years later she was signed to Columbia Records and made her musical debut with a self-titled album. This album was absorbed by the masses with mixed feelings. Critics and jazz fans alike commended and condemned 
her imitation of Sarah Vaughn’s vocalistic style. Nnenna recorded two more albums 
with Columbia Records before parting ways with the  label to more openly explore her own style.
Nnenna signed with Concord Records in 1996 and earned her first of five Grammy nominations with her album Shaking Free. She further expanded her horizons in 2000 with the self-produced album Soulcall. The album earned her two more Grammy nominations for her résumé. Over the next ten years she recorded a hand full of 
albums two of them being cover albums for Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday the latter of which tallied her another Grammy nomination. Her latest album Homefree was released in 2010. 
Nnenna’s influences include Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone, Betty Carter, Billie Holiday Stevie Wonder and several other vocal performers. Her vocal style takes on a contemporary and pop flavored vibe that soothes the ear with a smooth and elegant vocal range. Her roots in gospel and soul music remained evident throughout her career. The musical counterpoint to her vocals ranges from slow tempo and drone of the blues to the upbeat tempo of swing.
In addition to her career as a performance artist, Nnenna has also done extensive 
work with her Babysong workshop project. Launched at Duke University Medical Center, this program stresses the importance of parents singing to their children to promote brain development. 
In addition to five Grammy nominations, Nnenna has received the Eubie Blake Award, the Billie Holiday Award and performed live at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Mood Board

Cool colors dominate the board with interruptions of warm bursts of color. The smooth cool colors suggest the steady flow of jazz and blues in the music that accompanies Nnenna's vocals. The bursts of warm color reflect the beauty, grace, and power of Nnenna's vocals. In a way her voice is a burst of light and energy amongst the slow steady and calm jazz she sings to.

The photos chosen for the mood board reflect Nnenna's vocals and her stature as a glamorous soul/R&B singer. Shiny and dominantly golden objects suggest the glamour, while the microphones stress the dominance of her vocals in her music.

The typography chosen expresses the elegance of her stage presence. The type also suggests the sophistication of her voice and vocal control.