1. Short research – Didot

I fell in love with this typeface while working on one of my projects for my major course. However, I hardly ever get to use it because of its strong characteristics. Didot portrays such a strong contrast between the thin/thick strokes and shifted traditional classifications of type. It greatly affected the print industry. I wanted to complete a short research regarding Didot to study the designers and the  reason behind its design and how it’s used in media today. 

Didot is known as a serif typeface under the modern classification with a strong vertical emphasis. It was the first modern roman typeface created in 1784. However, not many realize that the name Didot, is an actual name of a French family. The typeface, Didot was created by one of the members in the family, Firmin Didot who was born in 1764 in Paris, France. The members of the Didot family held positions as designers, printers, publishers, type-founders, inventors, and writers for almost 100 years in the 18th and the 19th century in Paris.

Francois Didot was the first active member of the family in the type industry. He started out as a printer and as a bookseller by opening up a bookstore in 1713 and continued on to work in the same industry until the 19th century. Francois-Ambroise Didot was the second generation of the family, the son of Francois Didot, to carry on the same career path. In 1730, He adapted and improved the Didot point system with 1/72 of French inch. Francois-Ambroise’s type measurement was widely used throughout Europe, and it became to be the most common of type measurement. During this time he was also examining and was striving to improve the letterforms by increasing the contrast of thick and thin lines. He was also the founder of family business, FA Didot Foundy, now known as Firmin-Didot et Cie in Paris.

Two sons of Francois-Ambroise continued on the same profession. Pierre and Firmin Didot were engaged in printing and typefounding. While Pierre published books, Firmin designed and cut typefaces. The older son, Pierre Didot was born in 1760, and Firmin was born in 1764. Pierre was well recognized and was awarded through exhibitions, and Firmin was acknowledged for inventing stereotypography and designing the modern typeface, Didot. Firmin Didot was the most important figure of the family. He worked as a punch cutter, type founder, publisher, and printer, devoting his whole life in the type industry until his death in 1836. He began his type designing process by revising his father’s roman alphabets. With numerous adjustments, Firmin was able to design and cut the Didot typeface. He concentrated on forming a strict vertical emphasis and strong contrast between thick and thin strokes, with a flat and un-bracketed serif. Firmin was also a inventor of stereotypography, which allowed to print at low costs. From 1801 to 1805, Firmin concentrated on publishing “Racine,” which was awarded few years later for being the “most perfect typographical production of all time.” Firmin was then appointed as a director of the Imperial Foundy by Napoleon, and worked at the foundry until his death.

Since the third generation of the Didot family, the members in the family continued to hold the same business. Typeface, Didot was the most important invention from the Didot family, because it was known to be the first typeface to approach the modern style. Modern style was idealized in the late 18th century, and Firmin was known was the master of modern face along with Bodoni.  The modern face became to be the “new visual interest” because it replaced the old, traditional styles. However, Didot was not perfect. Its execution and the visual aspect of its form were successful, but it was criticized by the public because of its legibility. People believed that was not the most  readable type, and they also believed that the typeface was suggesting a cold and harsh sense of feeling. Even with some criticisms, Didot continued to be widely utilized, especaily in book-printing industry. With a sensitive interpretation and modification completed by Adrian Frutiger and Alexy Brodovitch’s use of Didot in logo designing, Didot remained its popularity. In addition, since its appearance as the logo of the popular magazine, Harper’s Bazzar, it became a major part of fashion industry as well.




2. Independent Project – documentary photography


documentary photography

documentary photography

Since fall semester, I spent numerous hours reading history of photography books at the bookstore. I only perceived the meaning of photography from just what was presented before my eyes. I never realized there was much information to consider behind one photo. I recognized historical values of photography. I was amazed by various photographic styles and techniques, especially by its technical transformation from past to modern days. The most intriguing element to the art of photography was camera documentation. Before I was introduced to the importance and the true value of documentary photos, I could not notice any appealing characteristics. However, I have discovered that documentary photo truly captures the reality. Regardless of beauty, it depicts the truth of our surroundings by defining the factual nature.  So I decided to adapt what I have studied to capture my surroundings. 

I was interested in camera documentation, and I was inspired by photographic documentations captured by numerous photographers such as, Edouard Denis Baldus, William England, and Auguste Collard. These photographers’ creations like Pont de la Mulatiere, Niagara Suspension Bridge, and Roundhouse on the Bourbonnais Railway, Nevers, reveal an objective documentation that provides information of industrial development to the public. Specifically, it was intriguing to realize that William England’s works were about representing a scenery that portray combination of human interest, an engineering marvel, and contrast of old and new technological development of transportation. 

The development of industrial productions has been rapidly increasing and changing with a great collaboration and teamwork of designers, architects, engineers, carpenters, laborers, and many other involvements. Without their brilliant intelligence, the public would have not been able to live in this pleasing, healthy environment. However, the society only recognizes the final invention of an industrial production while the process is an important factor to consider as well as the final outcome. Many hands and efforts are involved in constructing one structure, but they are not identified by the public. I believed that a camera would be a perfect device for capturing not only the real life of the workers at the workforce, but also the presence of time, mechanical standard, and the architectural intention.

I waited for a perfect day with flawless sunlight to capture a clean and a clear view. I visited all the construction labor forces around the campus.  I did not want my images to involve any theatrical arrangement or look as if it was reset purposefully. I remember glazing through photos like Southworth and Hawe’s who rearranged an operation scene at a hospital. Although the scenery was was interesting and powerful, it did not seem “real.” I was striving for a natural scene to illustrate what is unseen by the public. I recorded the workers working, hiding behind a fence so the workers were not being aware of the camera. I wanted to capture an action and movement, their everyday routine of their job.


documentary photography

documentary photography

After traveling around the town, I finally captured what I visioned. It was time to refine images using photoshop. I did not want my image to be distracting from various colors. I wanted to keep it simple and have more identifiable contrast. Therefore, I set my image as grayscale and increased brightness/contrast intentionally because humans are more sensitive to difference in the color/shade. 


As I looked through the images that were captured, I kept finding myself relating to the images. These images of workers.. Not only was I attempting to show the scenery of industrial development of work forces, present construction machine standards, and show other objective information of our current time frame, but also the humanistic side of the workers. The statistics of construction workers collected from the U.S. Department of Labor state that the most construction employees work over 40 hours a week, and working as full time, the workers suffer from physical pain because the requirement of heavy lifting, standing for a long duration of time, bending, and various movements.The workers are also breathing in polluted air, which has an impact on their health. In addition, numerous cases of injuries have been reported to the Bureau of Labor Department because of the danger in handling risky machines. As an immigrant, my parents worked at various places like factories, grocery stores, construction work forces, and even as a custodian, cleaning up other’s mess. They tried to work for anything that would just pay for needed expenses to raise my brother and me. My father never complained and worked continually at labor forces where countless movements and heavy lifting were required. He was always hurt. He experienced serious backaches, headaches from awful working environment, and he was just always tired from working so much. However, the amount received as a wage compared to the amount of work that was required to work was not very acceptable. it requires them to use strengths more than their skills, but too little was given for too much work, I thought. Additionally, these laborers are never credited; usually, the architects, designers, and other professors at a higher positions are recognized when construction is finalized. With this consideration, I wanted portray one’s contribution to the massive industrial development. 3. Independent Analysis – CHANEL //spring 2009 couture collection


 3. Response to a painting pissarropont-neuf

As I gazed through collections at Krannert Art Museum, I recognized a painting that was discussed during my art history class during my sophomore year. The painting was painted by Camille Pissarro, who painted mysteriously throughout his life. He was a French Impressionist, and devoted himself to painting series of figures and rural versus urban landscapes during the nineteenth century. Pissarro focused on the idea of Post-Impressionism to develop his paintings with improvisation. Such a freedom is depicted through one of Pissarro’s city landscapes, The Pont Neuf: A Winter Morning, created in 1900.  As opposed to the Neo-Impressionist technique of applying colors on a surface with dried paints, Pissarro used a wet-on-wet technique to show the interaction of freshly applied colors on this canvas. This wet-on-wet technique reduced the duration of time spent on a single canvas, which also gave him an opportunity to paint the scenery with a single motif, the first impression of the scenery. He integrated thick layers of vivid color palette with various textures to enhance the rhythm and the movement of the urban life in the cities. It is known that Pissarro painted this almost towards the end of his life. He was such an old man with a bad eyesight; however, Pissarro captured such a great sense of emotion of the scenery by depicting the phase of the time. It really seems like Pissarro’s intention was to capture the exact emotion and phenomenon of the place at a specific time. While capturing the physical aspects of the city, Pissarro also captured sensation of the city based on his initial impression of the scenery. Collectively, Pissarro’s motifs were brilliant, because his styles captured varying factors of a scene such as the light, shadows, atmosphere, weather, seasons, and the industrial effects, all the elements to an inner beauty of the city. Pissarro used high-pitched color palette consisting shades such as crimson, brown, blue, and purple, but applied glimpse of white paints throughout the whole canvas to tone down the opacity of the vibrant hues. Warm and cool colors separate the elements in a same scene. The pastel-like effect from the use of whites creates misty vision and indicates how cold and frosty the weather is. The weather may have had an effect on the usage of limited color palette and the texture treatment, because not much color are involved during winter. The impression of morning is also depicted through layering of white paint that creates misty affect on the surface of the painting.  From the indication of shadows among the figures, one can also identify the sun trying to break through the cold winter clouds, which may suggest a transition of cold weather to warm weather. The sign of weather or temperature changes is very difficult to pursue with paint; however, Pissarro applied crimson or the reds to deliver the appearance of warm weather approaching the city. Although the tree in the center of the canvas dominates the canvas with crimson, the crimson is not very strong. They are not very heavy or dark, but rather, are light and seemingly weak. A use of crimson also shows a warm and misty sensation of the rising sun and avoids dark appearance. The general effect of the light gently touches winter tree, monuments, river, and people on their way to work for a gloomy and foggy appearance of morning. The overall landscape of the city is dull and grimy, however, the elements that surrounds the atmosphere are colorful.

While the colors play the role of capturing the overall mundane city of a morning scene, the brush strokes capture the rhythm and the movement. Swirl-like strokes are applied for a longer and softer look. Thin brush strokes are  portrayed at the end of each brush mark, which shows lifting of a paintbrush; This seems very delicate and creates movement. One can see that Pissarro captured the atmosphere with such a careful observation. With his style, each object on the surface shows off its specific characteristics in accordance to the weather or the time frame of the place. The bleakness of the buildings during winter is captured through patches of white and gray colors, and the disconnected strokes create the shimmering effect in the water. Details are not a big concern for the figures, rather, there is just an indication of them with very limited brush strokes. However, the monument in the middle of the canvas, obtains a bit more detail than other elements of the city. The monument has a clear quality to it, and it is the most distinctive and characterized with its geometric and solid forms. Other elements act as just blurry objects that surround the monument. 

The Composition seems a bit odd – a considerably large and tall monument stands tall, directly in the middle of the painting. Juxtaposition of the overall landscape and the monument seems strange. With such a beautiful, expressive environment of the city, it is just a little surprising to see an appearance of a bold, dark, and structural memorial monument. Just a notion of slight divinity triangle is presented through the placement of the tree and the figures. A group of people on the right, the tree in the middle, behind the monument, and a group of people on the left, surround the monument relatively and create a triangular shape. Pissarro also uses angles to create a perspective that ultimately leads the eye to the monument placed in the center of the canvas. The square platform is directly placed in front of the eye, and the edge of the building on the left side of the canvas creates another angle that directs the viewpoint to the monument. The horizontal line created by the bridge in the background also connects to the monument, and the two streetlights in the front, frame the monument. In addition, one can easily notice that the city was painted from the above, looking down from the building that is almost directly across from the monument. The sky pervades half of the canvas as the bridge acts as en element to separate the sky and the foreground.The overall scene of the place portrays composition of the natural and the unnatural sides of a cityscape. From the peaceful sky and the calming effect from the flow of the river against the structural monument and the buildings to the lines of trees and few groups of people on their way to early morning business, Pissarro captured the stillness and the vacancy of a winter sunrise by arranging and treating all of these elements naturally.

4. Short Research –  Times New Roman

I wanted to know more about Times New Roman, because it throughout grade school, majority of documents/essays were required to be written in Times New Roman. 

The most widely used printing type; Times New Roman is applied to any use including books, magazines, reports, office documents, displays, advertisements, etc.  It is common and is utilized in various ways. Times New Roman is a serif typeface, and its typographic design was influenced by Plantin1. Times New Roman was commissioned by the British newspaper, The Times and was supervised under the direction of Stanley Morison when he was asked by the public to improve the existing Times type.

 Morison strived to refine the type by improving the legibility and by enhancing the visual space. After approaching various ways to improve the type, it was finally decided to take the modern approach and apply more sharp serifs. The final design was drawn by Victor Lardent within two months, who at the time was an artist from the advertising department of The Times. The final design was released in October 3, 1932, and throughout the years, the times strived for success with continuing refinement2.

Until Times New Roman reached its final representation, two type foundries competed against each other to produce better version of Times typeface. In 1945, the Linotype Company of America registered with the name, “Times Roman2.” Then during the 1980’s, “Times New Roman” was legally issued to the Monotype Corporation, regardless of the Linotype’s registration of the type as “Times Roman2.” After the legal movements of registration, Linotype, Adobe, and Apple used the name, “Times Roman,” and the Monotype and the Microsoft Typography used the name, “Times New Roman.” Not only the registered names were different, but also the structure of the type varied slightly. Monotype therefore redesigned “Times New Roman” to fit the Adobe version of the “Times Roman,” and when its final recreation of Times New Roman was completed, the monotype claimed that it was better than Adobe’s version by having a “smoother curve, better detailing, and a greater sensitivity to the original designs3.” Adobe then upgraded their version as well using digital masters and claimed it to be a better version than that of Monotype’s. Two recreations produced by Monotype and Linotype competed based on refinement, sensitivity, originality, authenticity, and creativity. These components could not be identified at ten points because the differences were very minor, visually. 

1 http://www.identifont.com/show?WP

2 http://www.truetype-typography.com/articles/time.htm

3 http://www.typolis.de/version1/engl/ftimes.htm


 5. Review – Chanel couture spring 2009 collection

Chanel’s couture spring 2009 collection was just absolutely astonishing. The collection really showed how simplicity can represent elegance and creativity. 

Karl Lagerfeld played a huge role in Chanel’s collection by accessorizing the models that left the audience in awe. The whole concept was based on “a white page.” a simple white paper was cut into various floral shapes. Although the forms were amazing, people were more interested in these accessories rather than the collection itself. But I think that was the whole point. The overall collection showed simplicity through geometric shapes and black/white colors to enhance the complexity of the floral forms. The collection showed juxtaposition of organic and geometric forms and how those two forms can cohesively dance around the runway. Many stated that Chanel’s overall collection portrayed ‘graphic modernism.’ The collection was also showed romance and purity. 

It’s remarkable to see such a femininity through boxy jackets, straight- A- line silhouettes, and knee-length skirts. I believe it’s best to describe Chanel’s collection as ‘simple perfection.’ This spring couture collection reflected not only Chanel’s traditional concepts, but also depicted modern twist through symmetrical balance and constructive forms. This spring 2009 collection also showed a little sign of 1940s fashion, depicting classy and sleek styles of women’s suits. The overall collection seemed timeless. It was current yet timelessly valuable. Rich craftsmanship was shown in each piece. Many would believe that if something is more complex visually, it’d require more work and precision, but because craftsmanship can easily be noticed on a clean/flat surface, simple designs require perfection. 



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