Archive for the 'history of graphic design in south louisiana' Category

So Noted: In Search of Monograms

August 28, 2009

Nancy Sharon Collins, A/K/A the engraving lady, is seeking submissions of engraved social stationery, read about it in the Mohawk paper website.

4monograms

read more about it.

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Heavy Metal Ephemera: The Resurrection of Two Social Engraving Presses

August 13, 2009

This is the story of a 5-year journey in search of an engraving proofing press. Once ubiquitous in small print shops throughout the country, these presses were used to impress small engraved monograms, logotypes and other elements into stationary, envelopes, calling cards, folders and the like.

http://www.ephemerasociety.org/articles/heavymetal.html

SHAME ON YOU. Are there really No Sustainable Printers in New Orleans?

March 7, 2009

In a town now being cited for many new green initiatives I must wag my finger at my adopted home, I just did an online look to see who of our local printers advertises sustainable practices and I found none.

Not one of these local printers advertises sustainable practices on the home page of their website:

Garrity Printing Inc., http://www.garrityprinting.com/
MPress, http://www.mpressnow.com/
H & H Printing Service, http://www.hhprint.com/
Pel Hughes, http://www.pelhughes.com/
Harvey-Hauser Printing Company, http://www.hauserprinting.com/
Davis & Sapi Printing, http://www.davisprintingcompany.net/
Wendel Printing, http://www.wendelprinting.com/web/content/homePage.aspx
Mele Printing, http://www.meleprinting.com/

In North America, New Orleans boasts the first press established outside of the original colonies back when this country was being formed. While waiting for his press and types to arrive from France, Denis Braud engraved plates himself. A resident since at least 1762, Braud printed letters of exchange for the treasury.* Also, the debate has never been conclusively resolved about just where the first type foundry “to operate in a Southern state”, Virginia or New Orleans.**

Can this legacy of great type and print innovation be made right?

Come on boys and girls of the letter and word, get on the stick. Otherwise, conscientious typographers and designers such as myself will have to source printing from sustainable printers in Alabama!

* Florence M. Jumonville, Bibliography of New Orleans Imprints 1764-1864
** Maurice Annenberg, Type Foundries of America and their Catalogs

New Exhibit of Engraved Letters, Glyphs, Monograms and Symbols

March 5, 2009

History in Small Places, mini-exhibit of pigment prints by Nancy Sharon Collins from February to March 28 at the Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Hill Memorial Library

LSU Library

History in Small Places

History in Small Places

2009 NEW ORLEANS GREEN SALON

January 30, 2009

2009greensalon_logoAIGA New Orleans and Loyola University New Orleans will hold its second annual Green Salon on March 14th at Loyola. The all-day event will feature presentations and panel discussions about the nature of sustainability and what the New Orleans community can do to become more sustainable.

This event will be webcast in real time!!

Salon will focus on the question “How can I make a difference?” Keynote speaker, Elllen Lupton.

The day will address these issues:

What can I do to act in a sustainable manner in my use of energy?

What can I do to act in a sustainable manner in my use of materials and construction?

How do I act in a sustainable manner when thinking about issues pertaining to social justice?

In keeping with New Orleans’ rich musical culture, 2009 Green Salon will also feature local bands entertaining us in between each of these notions.

“Sustainability” and “Green” have become buzzwords for environmentally friendly practices, but the terminology’s meanings are often lost in vague or overwrought descriptions that overwhelm the average person, who cannot understand what to do as an individual.

Our purpose at 2009 Green Salon is to cut through the murkiness, discussing how environmental issues affect us and the changes each person can make. By bringing together experts from many fields making an impact on sustainability, we will explore contributions that can reduce waste and create a more sustainable community.

The event is FREE OF CHARGE. Food and drink will be available to purchase and donations are welcome which go to the annual Green Salon fund servicing the general New Orleans community.

http://www.aiganeworleans.org/events/green-salon

Nancy Sharon Collins, Director of Special Events, AIGA New Orleans, nscstationer@earthlink.net

Timothy Samaha, Sustainability Chair, AIGA New Orleans, its4tim@msn.com

Daniela Marx, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Loyola University, dmarx@neo1.loyno.edu

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47098069726&ref=mf

Meet the Original Mad Men of New Orleans

January 25, 2009

The original graphic arts rat pack that became AIGA New Orleansgd_sl4


Does Paper Impact Type?

January 22, 2009

strathmor-parchment

I have a lot of old paper, printing paper, some art paper.  I own an old manual typewriter or two as well, and some type specifying books and catalogs from typesetters and foundries long gone.

Recently I heard about a font that was developed to use less ink making it more “sustainable”.

Remember when Bell Gothic was developed?

Do you remember when we went from hot to cold type?

How does the substrate impact our types?  Now that we spend at least as much time reading on a TV screen, what’s happening to the words we print on paper?

http://typophile.com/blog/14410

http://www.nancysharoncollinsstationer.com

AIGA New Orleans People’s History of Graphic Design, the rough cut

November 7, 2008

View the rough cut created from 13 interviews of graphic artists, type setters and designers in the deep south for the 2008 Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC). These craft and trades folk range in age from 21 to 96 and live in south Louisiana in an area flanked by Pineville to the north, Thibodaux to the south west and Covington to the east including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

This is a work-in-progress trailer for a feature-length version of revisionist history of type and graphic design focusing on the American south.

See the history here.

Journey of the Proofing Presses

November 2, 2008

Engraving is the highest form of printmaking known, some of the shapes in letterforms today originated with the restrictions and idiosyncrasies of engraved lines. The contemporary font “Burin” is base on engraver’s lettering styles.

But what has become of this noble art, now relegated to museums, art history books and sometimes, wedding invitations.

This is the story of a 5-year journey in search of an engraving proofing press. These presses have not been made since before the 1950s. Once ubiquitous as the many small print shops in any decent-size town, these little presses proofed engraving dies or were used for deep impressions on blind embossing.

(For the complete story, download the .pdf file attached to this article.)

proofing-press-journey

In a nutshell, two presses were finally located in New Haven, CT. Grant funding was secured but between the time the grant was written and the funds were awarded, gas prices had sky-rocketed, making the trucking charges exceed the grants. Also, by the time we were ready to ship, the original trucker had closed down the operations in Louisiana, which is where the presses were to go. The presses were trucked from New Haven to Conway, AR where we went to pick them up in our truck.

They were delivered on a busted palette which was loaded in the bed of our vehicle.

Together the presses weigh about 500 pounds, individually the components consist of the press containing the “force” which is like a big screw and a cross bar with two, heavy metal balls on each end. Through the sadly mangled shrink-wrap, the manufacturer was almost readable.

It is 400 miles from Conway, AR to where we live in south Louisiana. The presses were moved from the truck bed to our garage by a 2-ton shop crane.

Here they are assembled, the tall one is 28 inches in height and the cross bar is 34 inches wide. Each ball is approximately 5 inches diameter.

http://typophile.com/blog/14410

Mark Making

August 22, 2008

Daniela Marx, my great collaborator and friend, and I are working on a paper for the upcoming SECAC (Southeastern College Art Conference) conference here in New Orleans.

http://www.unc.edu/~rfrew/SECAC/

Our “paper” is revisionist history of graphic design, specifically we are re-writing the notion that our history—the history of typography and, therefore, graphic design—was made on the fossils of dead, white, western European males. To do this we have video interviewed a dozen practitioners, ages 21 through 96, living and working in south Louisiana. We call this our “design giant” project, because, we believe there are so many unsung heros of type and design, someone should start to document them.

The video will be fifteen minutes in length, edited from about a dozen hours of audio and video capture. While writing the “hard-copy” (the actual paper to be published by SECAC as the product of this conference) I have been looking up the definitions of “design”. The idea of controlling order and making choices is a common theme in these definitions:

Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis, Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, Fourth Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, Preface vii.

“Since prehistoric times, people have searched for ways to give visual form to ideas and concepts, to store knowledge in graphic form, and to bring order and clarity to information. Over the course of history, these needs have been filled by various people, including scribes, printers, and artists. It was not until 1922, when the outstanding book designer William Addison Dwiggins coined the term ‘graphic design’ to describe his activities as an individual who brought structural order and visual form to printed communications, that an emerging profession received an appropriate name.”

Susan Yelavich edited by Stephen Doyle, Design for Life, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Rizzoli, 1997, 12.

“Design” is both a verb and a noun. For this reason, the Museum [Cooper-Hewitt] has always been as interested in the process of design as in the end result. Those results—the ordinary objects that we all use to both survive and enjoy life—are preserved to understand the past and hopefully to make the future better.” Diane H. Pilgrim, Introduction, 8. “The act of designing is carried out in many different ways, from the personal choices we make ever day when we set the table or plant a garden, to the collective decisions made in the marketplace of at a city hall. Because it occurs on many different levels, employing different processes and degrees of expertise, design can be understood variously as craft, style, engineering, invention, planning, refinement, as an exercise in taste or an act of choice.”

In addition to order, idea/concept and communication, the word “mark” comes up periodically. The above picture is of marks made in the early morning dew on the window opposite where I write. Tree frogs leave these marks while feasting on bugs attracted to the light, I’ve watched a frog turn a 360 degree aerobatic leap to nail a tiny moth. Is the frog conscious of the mark it makes? Does it exist once the dew evaporates?

Richard Hollis, Graphic Design; A Concise History, Thames & Hudson Inc, 2002, 7.

“Graphics can be signs, like the letters of the alphabet, or form part of another system of signs, like road markings…Graphic design is the business of making or choosing marks and arranging them on a surface to convey an idea.”

Our friend’s Jack Russell terrier “marks” the perimeter of our yard when she visits. In “Never Cry Wolf” by Farley Mowat, he describes the behavior of wolves marking then re-marking their territory when competition pushes the boundary. When we author something, are we merely marking it as our own (as if to say, “this is my idea”.)

Printers and book sellers have been the scoundrels of intellectual property (The Statute of Anne, published 1710, the first copyright law: “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned.” http://www.copyrighthistory.com/quotations.html.) If you really read the statute it appears the stationers (printers) managed to keep a hold of some of the rights for reproduction of other people’s property (authors), just in a more convoluted manner. Are we just pirates appropriating concept and meaning and making it into forms that please us or suit a personal need?

Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis, Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, Fourth Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, Preface vii.

“Since prehistoric times, people have searched for ways to give visual form to ideas and concepts, to store knowledge in graphic form, and to bring order and clarity to information. Over the course of history, these needs have been filled by various people, including scribes, printers, and artists. It was not until 1922, when the outstanding book designer William Addison Dwiggins coined the term ‘graphic design’ to describe his activities as an individual who brought structural order and visual form to printed communications, that an emerging profession received an appropriate name.”

Personally, I liked when we were responsible for the product of our thoughts, when we were craftsmen and women, our work unmediated by anything more complex than a simple tool—

Jeffrey L. Meikle, Design in the USA, 2005,14, 15.

“…design emerged during the Industrial revolution. Before then, an artisan labored by hand to produce an object whose outline was set by tradition but whose final form varied according to imperfect materials, minor accidents in working with materials, and a customer’s wishes. An artisan’s intention moved from mind’s eye through hand’s motion to the shaping of a physical object. This simple process, involving minute variations in oft-repeated motions under the intuitive direction of a single individual, yielded to a more complex process when the factory replaced the workshop, when production of a series of nearly identical objects replaced the fashioning of unique artifacts. The task of planning and conceiving work was separated from the task of carrying it out. An new type of worker, the designer, devised two-dimensional patterns or three-dimensional prototypes to be copied by other workers using precise machines.”

—when what I made with my own hands defined my vision, and success. Somehow, being that little tree frog, jumping wild, aerobatic loops getting supper seems more noble than dancing my fingertips along an illuminated piece of equipment writing digital words.