The Vignelli Cannon

One of the things I covet most in any work that I do is ease of use and understanding.  It’s the first thing that will turn me away from someone else’s work, so it’s the first thing I consider in mine.  I like what Vignelli said on this point, and concur in whole.  When I was younger, I used to clutter my writing with big words that made me feel smart when I used them.  As I got older, and a bit less pretentious, I started to value simplicity and accessibility in my work.  I think the Einstein quote “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” is pretty relevant in this situation.  If it’s not easily understood, you’ve failed.

Another point that really resonated with me was listening to what the thing wants to be.  It’s painfully obvious when someone designs something with a per-conceived notion of what a thing should be when it’s done, then doesn’t adjust their work as it develops.  It can become unnatural, cumbersome, and downright weird.  I believe there needs to be a flexibility when you’re creating something.  You need to be dynamic in your plan as your work takes shape to keep it from being too rigid and generic.  I think this can also be a double edged sword though, as things can tend to creep out of control too.

I liked the part about designing away from fashions and trends as well.  I think that ends up being hollow and pandering.  It also stifles innovation, it’s safe, it’s not as creative, it doesn’t feel genuine.  When the class first started I talked about my problems with the modern horror genre, and I consider catering to trends and fashions to be part of the cookie cutter horror formula.

I’ve only just had the revelation that I can use different type-faces for things.  I end up following Vignelli’s advice by accident because I’m still squeamish when it comes to the crazier ones.  For most of my life it was TimesNewRoman4life son!  I am definitely gaining an appreciation for the style that’s added by varying the fonts for different sections of text, and I will take to heart the advice to keep it simple.

 

The horror you never see

I chose the directors cut of Alien as my film.  I like it because there is less than 10 minutes of Alien in the one and a half hour film, but it’s entirely memorable.  From the start you have the opening sequence, which looks like Alien writing or hieroglyphics before it ends up spelling Aliens.  It looks like most of the outside parts are filmed with either blue light or a blue filter, which makes it feel cold and space like.  The set is both intentionally and pragmatically claustrophobic, because it’s a space ship.  You can tell immediately where is safe and where is dangerous, because the safe areas are all white with big bright lights, and the unsafe areas are all poorly lit, with smoke every where, dark walls, and flashing lights.  When the safe areas start to become unsafe as the movie progresses you see their lights start to flicker as well.  The set design in this movie has a peculiar obsession with doors, at first, the doors are the only well lit parts of the ship, no matter how the rest of the ship looks around them.  The Alien itself is a giant demon penis monster that rapes it’s victims, which is utterly horrifying.  Did that shock you?  Have you ever looked at H.R. Giger’s work?  There is a reason why he was chosen. The original design for the Alien had a giant penis instead of a tail, and there are also multiple nods to orifices throughout his work and the set, which I have chosen not to go into.  But if you think the navigation machine where they first discover the dead pilot isn’t a big penis with testicles attached to it, you’re in denial.

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That’s not how I would have done it (Radio Show Idea)

“That’s Not How I Would Have Done It” is a show where we talk about a work that we consumed this week and what we liked and disliked about it’s writing and execution, and most importantly, what we would have done differently if it had been us producing it.  A lot of compromise goes into for profit media production, sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen, sometimes politics gets in the way of a good idea, and sometimes there’s just not enough money in the budget.  This show is not intended to disparage the work, just tweak it in a way more palatable to your tastes, throw it at a communal wall, and see if it sticks.