Monday 14 March 2016
Guest blogger: Kim Ihre

Kim Ihre

http://typequality.com

When I was accepted as a student at Beckmans College of Design I was thrilled. But early on I started to worry about doing things wrong. I felt inadequate, insecure and like I wasn’t good enough. I started to question if I could live up to this fantastic school. Being a young woman, questioning yourself doesn’t come as news. My feminist awakening changed my life and how I looked at myself. Suddenly I could put into words why I had felt inadequate all my life.

Within my creative work I started to realize that my insecurity could be the result of the lack of women role models within my field. Even though there are an even number of men and women at the school, it was obvious the men had the success, reputation and cult of genius surrounding them. It’s a problem that students mostly hear about the men who changed design history in different ways. Of course they are relevant to our education, but as a young woman it can be hard to identify.

Typography is a big part of the education we’re given as graphic designers and art directors, we are taught how to work with type in different contexts. Rules about how to set type for books, which typefaces are used for what and so on. We learn what typefaces are well known and who drew them. A discipline involving apparently 0 women. To exemplify with some well known typefaces; Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Futura, Gill Sans, Akzidenz Grotesk, Baskerville … All drawn by men.

I always felt extra insecure in typography. When I did an internship with Brita Lindvall and Alexandra Falagara at Bastion Studio, I realized it was due to the fact that I didn’t have anyone to identify with in the discipline. Through BL and AF and my own research I realized there were many women typographers. BL and AF became my role models together with other women, and I realized I wanted to share this with other young women who felt like me. What I mainly wanted to do was to highlight /invite female typographers into typography.

Typequality.com, a platform to share and find typefaces drawn by women, became my bachelor project at Beckmans 2015. During the working process I realized the importance of creating an open platform for sharing. I felt tired of the notion that one person could have the privilege to decide what’s to be seen and not, or to decide what’s good enough, and that is the reason why anyone can share typefaces on typequality.com.

4

Today there are 208 typefaces on the site. To me it’s fantastic to see the site has 120 returning visitors, in other words – people are using it, meaning change is possible when it comes to a more equal usage of typefaces.

5

Discovering female role models gave me confidence in my role as a designer. It also made me passionate about creating design that matters to me. I think it’s important that young women dare to make their statements, but without role models to lean on it’s so much harder. Everyone wants design to be a level playing field for men and women, but if we don’t see any alternatives to the norm, it’s hard to get there. I hope that Typequality will make more people reflect and inspire different perspectives on design schools, work places and the society as a whole.

 

ahoj

Ahoj by Veronika Burian, Irene Vlachou, Sonja Stange, Elena Veguillas

BrezelGrotesk-Stefanie Preis

Brezel Grotesk by Stefanie Preis

Posted by: 19:50

Categories: Guest blogger

Saturday 13 April 2013
Guest blogger: Vejde Gustafsson

Vejde Gustafsson

Vejde Gustafsson is an art director, graphic designer and illustrator at design studio EBDC in Stockholm. He co-founded the now folded Swedish interview magazine Sex in 2002 together with Editor in Chief Ika Johannesson, and has since art directed magazines like Arena and 365. Among his favorite magazines are 032c, Carl's Cars, Butt, Foam and New York Magazine. He never reads books, only looks at pictures and currently has 3 494 followers on Pinterest.

Is Editorial Content the Future of Advertising?

While journalists, publishers and media companies are discussing the death of the magazine, the world’s big corporations seem to hold a different opinion, at least if you’re looking at magazines as carriers of »content«. Content marketing seems to be the new cure-all for branding in a world increasingly suspicious of regular advertising and the onslaught of web banners.

The idea behind content marketing is to provide some interesting information or entertainment – the content – that isn’t directly a sales pitch. What it aims to give you is a better (as in better for the company) understanding of a brand. One of the longest running examples of successful content marketing is the Michelin Guide, a travel book offering information on where to stop for food, to rest or to repair your car. It doesn’t necessarily tell you to buy their tires, but it shows you Michelin is a good companion on the road. Coca Cola has for example replaced their regular corporate website with an »interactive digital magazine« and other big brands like Red Bull and American Express are also developing content driven websites and open forums for sharing information and creating community.

cover-Alpine Review

In the first issue of Canadian magazine The Alpine Review, writer and editor Kati Krause describes how magazines like Monocle and Wired now host conferences and sell products, and are viewed as not only reporting the future but also creating it. They have successfully established communities, and subsequently brands, around their print publications.

Community is one of the basic appeals of the magazine. In the podcast interview with Janet Froelich here on the Hall of Femmes website, she talks about her background in fine arts, and how it often left her feeling lonely. When she started working with a group of women around the feminist publication Heresies, she discovered how much she enjoyed the meetings and the collaboration.

heresies

A magazine is a collective effort based on a form of collage, it is an ongoing and complex discussion with a multitude of voices expressed through text, photography, illustration and the relationship between them all. A magazine is a storehouse for ideas and thoughts that can catch the spirit of a group or time. Magazines, when successful, become something you want to identify with, a world you might want to inhabit, or even a friend. This is where the idea of the customer magazine comes in, because that kind of loyal following, that kind of devotion, is something big corporations are dying to get.

On the website for trade organization Swedish Content Agencies, there’s a study that claims, »No other marketing channel is as measurably effective at simultaneously building brands, driving sales and generating loyalty«, and »Customer magazines increase brand loyalty by 32%. The study shows that customer magazines build both brands and sales simultaneously«.

One of the members of Swedish Content Agencies is Spoon Publishing. On their webpage you can find a statement under the headline »Så tänker vi« (»What We Think«). It’s a text that’s almost a manifesto. They state that they believe in marketing departments that see themselves more as publishers and less as ad buyers, who »want to be the content, not the irritating interruption«. They also claim that the future belongs to brands that manage to communicate in ways that people actually want to listen to.

Editorial content, whether digitally published or printed, seems to be part of a bright future – or on the brink of destruction and threatened by commercialism, depending on who you ask. But the magazine as a tool for sharing and receiving information seems to be a natural form of communication in our societies.

In the end, the oldest rule in magazines still applies: It doesn’t matter how well you design or package it; without an original voice, something worthwhile to say or an interesting editorial point of view, your readers will leave you.

Vejde Gustafsson is an art director and graphic designer at studio EBDC. Follow Vejde on Pinterest

Posted by: 10:01

Tags:

Categories: Guest blogger, Janet Froelich

Friday 15 March 2013
Guest blogger: Julia Meer

Julia Meer

Julia Meer is both a designer and design historian, which is why she both designed and – together with Gerda Breuer – edited the book Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012. After more than two years of research, picking authors, and choosing which designers to write a short biography on and whose images to show, here is how she remembers the time.

Women in Graphic Design

Working on the publication of Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012 was very special, both with regards to content and the emotional side. There were, for example, the reactions when we told people what we were currently working on. There seems to be a widespread insecurity when it comes to this particular topic: everyone assures you how interesting the topic is, and it subsequently gets lost in platitudes. Not so when it comes to people who were already dealing with these matters. We experienced great enthusiasm and support – so it was very easy to get information and material. At least when it came to the currently active designers.

It becomes much more difficult when you go back to the time before 1970, when it becomes hard to get in contact with the designers. Even more difficult is the time before World War II, when it is extremely hard to find work samples. When it comes to the years before 1900, you are happy if you at least find a name. But that isn’t much. Then you know there have been women working as graphic designers, but you don’t know anything about their education, life, clients or ideals. That’s why we realized quite early that the »traditional« method of research, that focuses on the designers and their work, wouldn’t be enough. It was necessary to ask structural questions like: why were there this many women active and in which fields? When and why do designers become visible? Were there ambitions to change working conditions?

WomenGraphic_0010_2

WomenGraphic_0017For me it was very fascinating to »re-read« the history of graphic design and understand history, even more than before, as something that is written and constructed. I think our book is a good foundation for this re-reading, but the task of re-writing history is still pending. Hopefully we helped to widen the perspective, and encourage women and men to ask critical questions. I guess, when it comes to that, the fact that Gerda Breuer, my co-editor, and I were socialized in different generations enriched the research. It makes it obvious to the reader that there is a history of feminism as well, that merges with the history of graphic design. There were, and are, a lot of different ideas and approaches, which makes the discussion very vivid and productive. These different positions also reflect in the interviews, which were probably the most memorable part of our work.

I very much look forward to the Hall of Femmes series. It is both impressive and calming to meet successful women and hear them talk about their work and themselves. I think young designers especially need to get a concrete/palpable example of ›successful women‹. Otherwise they only have an abstract and often vague idea of what is necessary to become successful. And that image is often debilitating and causes pressure and doubts about whether one is capable of all that oneself. If you then meet Irma Boom or Julia Hoffmann and realize that they have not planned and organized every single minute and aspect of their lives and are a massive paragon of ambition, that helps you to get a better perspective. They still work because they love their work. Summarizing all that: we really hope the book not only gives impulse to design historians, but is also inspiring and motivating for designers.

WomenGraphic_0019

Julia Meer has worked at the institute for art and design studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal since 2008. In addition to pursuing the completion of her dissertation on typography in the 1920s, she works as a freelance designer and organizes lecture series, most recently on the architecture of the 1950s. She has served as editor of the magazine ff. since 2006. Find the book here and Julia’s web page here.

Posted by: 21:43

Categories: Guest blogger, Julia Meer

Sunday 10 February 2013
Guest blogger: Julia Meer

Julia Meer

Julia Meer is both a designer and design historian, which is why she both designed and – together with Gerda Breuer – edited the book Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012. After more than two years of research, picking authors, and choosing which designers to write a short biography on and whose images to show, here is how she remembers the time.

Women in Graphic Design

Julia Meer is both a designer and design historian, which is why she both designed and – together with Gerda Breuer – edited the book Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012. After more than two years of research, picking authors, and choosing which designers to write a short biography on and whose images to show, here is how she remembers the time:

Working on the publication of Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012 was very special, both with regards to content and the emotional side. There were, for example, the reactions when we told people what we were currently working on. There seems to be a widespread insecurity when it comes to this particular topic: everyone assures you how interesting the topic is, and it subsequently gets lost in platitudes. Not so when it comes to people who were already dealing with these matters. We experienced great enthusiasm and support – so it was very easy to get information and material. At least when it came to the currently active designers.

It becomes much more difficult when you go back to the time before 1970. It becomes hard to get in contact with the designers. Even more difficult is the time before World War II, when it becomes extremely hard to find work samples. And when it comes to the years before 1900, you are happy if you at least find a name. But that isn’t much. Then you know there have been women working as graphic designers, but you don’t know anything about their education, life, clients and ideals. That’s why we realized quite early that the »traditional« method of research, that focuses on the designers and their work, wouldn’t be enough. It was necessary to ask structural questions like: Why were there this many women active in which fields? When and why do designers become visible? Were there ambitions to change working conditions? And so on.

WomenGraphic_0010_2

WomenGraphic_0017For me it was very fascinating to »re-read« the history of graphic design and understand history, even more than before, as something that is written, that is constructed. I think our book is a good foundation for this re-reading, but the task of re-writing history is still pending. Hopefully we helped to widen perspective, and encourage women and men to ask critical questions. I guess, when it comes to that, the fact that Gerda Breuer and I were socialized in different generations enriched the research.

It makes it obvious to the reader that there is a history of feminism as well, that merges with the history of graphic design. There were, and are, a lot of different ideas and approaches, which makes the discussion very vivid and productive. These different positions also reflect in the interviews, which were probably the most memorable part of our work. Therefore, I very much look forward to your Hall of Femmes Talk series.

It is both impressive and calming to meet successful women and hear them talk about their work and themselves. I think young designers especially need to get a concrete/palpable example of a ›successful women‹. Otherwise they only have an abstract and often vague idea of what is necessary to become successful. And that image is often debilitating and causes pressure and doubts about whether one is capable of all that oneself. If you then meet Irma Boom or Julia Hoffmann and realize that they have not planned and organized every single minute and aspect of their lives and are a massive paragon of ambition, that helps you to get a better perspective. They still work because they love their work.

Summarizing all that: we really hope the book not only gives impulse to design historians, but is also inspiring and motivating for designers.

WomenGraphic_0019

Julia Meer has worked at the institute for art and design studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal since 2008. In addition to pursuing the completion of her dissertation on typography in the 1920s, she works as a freelance designer and organizes lecture series, most recently on the architecture of the 1950s. She has served as editor of the magazine ff. since 2006.

Find the book here and Julia’s web page here.

 

 

Posted by: 22:03

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Guest blogger

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