Wednesday seminar: Elisa del Galdo

Elisa del Galdo will give a talk, ‘International User Experience: Designing Outside Your Borders’, on Wednesday, 24 November.

A specialist in user-centred design, Elisa has published widely on Internationalisation of products and systems (Designing User Interfaces for International Use, edited by J. Nielsen, and International User Interfaces, edited by E.M. del Galdo and J. Nielsen).  She is the co-founder and past President of Products and Systems Internationalisation Inc., the organizers of the International Workshop on the Internationalisation of Products and Systems.

The talk, open to all, will be at 4.30 in Typography, E1.

Paul Gehl on the calligraphic tradition in Chicago design, 1900–1950

Raymond Daboll lettering

The Department welcomed Paul Gehl to its Wednesday afternoon series of guest lectures. Paul, who is Custodian of John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing at The Newberry Library, Chicago, spoke about the calligraphic tradition in Chicago design between 1900 and 1950. He drew our attention to the liberal attitude many Chicago designers had toward calligraphy that enabled them to draw freely on its traditions to arrive at new inventions. The results found wide application in advertising design and gave Chicago work a distinctive regional (some would say provincial) flavour. This later stood in contrast to design in Chicago that was influenced by European modernism, an influence that gained in strength from 1937 when the New Bauhaus was founded in the city. The uneasy relationship between these approaches came to typify Chicago design and was one of Paul’s themes. He also spoke in detail about Raymond DaBoll, a calligraphic designer Paul felt merited new appreciation. DaBoll’s work offers a vibrant counterpart to the lettering and calligraphy of his more famous colleague, Oz Cooper.

Throughout his talk Paul remarked on the rich resources available at The Newberry for scholars working in the fields of printing, lettering, typography and the books arts. You can hear Paul speaking on a related calligraphy topic here.

[Images: book jacket by Raymond DaBoll (above), magazine advertisement by Elmer Jacobs (below); images courtesy of The Newberry Library.]

Elmer Jacobs lettering

Wednesday seminar: Rob McKaughan

Rob McKaughan is one of those people who can be trusted to come up with an interesting angle on things. Coming to the MATD from software engineering, he researched pattern languages (a methodology created by Christopher Alexander for architecture, which has spread to software and interaction design, amongst other fields) and their application to typeface design. Here’s a good explanation of pattern languages, from Rob’s introduction to his dissertation:

Each pattern in a pattern language is a rule of thumb abstracted from existing proven designs. More specifically, a pattern is a description of a problem and its solution in a particular context. These patterns are not recipes; they balance concrete physical descriptions while abstracting the pattern’s concepts for use in other designs. The patterns focus on the characteristics of the product, and not the process used by the designer.

Rob outlined the generation of pattern languages, and gave an illustration of how patterns can be used for typeface design (for his dissertation Rob focused on newspaper typefaces, with interesting observations on small size / low resolution text typefaces in general).

The lively discussion (including my immodest observation that some design courses follow a very similar approach to teaching, bar the nomenclature) touched on exciting topics, not least the relationship of pattern languages to innovation in design – much on the forefront of MA students at the beginning of their year…

Overlayed letters from newspaper typefaces

Overlayed letters from newspaper typefaces

Wednesday seminar: Max Gadney

Max Gadney will give a talk ‘Working in Information Design’  on Wednesday, 26 October.

Max is an information designer who describes his brief as ‘making useful data products’. He led the Design Team at BBC News Online for several years and now works as a consultant with clients including The Guardian, Channel 4 and Manchester City. He runs the Design of Understanding conference.

The talk, open to all, will be at 4.30 in Typography, E1.