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Monday, October 28, 2013

"Make It Work": A Panel Discussion on Motivation through Graphic Design and Applied Psychology

Make It Work: Motivating Through Graphic Design and Applied Psychology
Panel Discussion
Thursday, November 7, 6pm
Room 22, McNeal Hall, UMN St. Paul Campus
FREE and Open to the Public

Graphic Designer and College of Design instructor Richelle Huff, along with Brandon Sullivan, Ph.D., director of employee engagement at the University of Minnesota, will explore the context and meaning behind the impactful posters in GMD's exhibition, "Say It with Snap!" Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-1929.

Richelle and Brandon will also explore how the themes of persuasion and shaping behavior play out today in the fields of graphic design and workplace psychology. Here, they offer an insight into the perspectives they will bring to the discussion.

The "Say it with Snap!" exhibition is on display in Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall.
Discussion attendees are encouraged to visit the gallery prior to the event.

Richelle Huff:
"As we look at the posters in the "Say it with Snap!" collection, we can observe how contemporary marketing, art and design were affecting everyday life. The collection reflects the influence of propaganda posters from WWI used in the United States, Britain, France and Germany with its strong imagery and bold statements. We can also see the use of flat color and typography guided by periodicals of the time such as Harper's Bazar and Life. Artists such as El Lissitzky saw technology and graphic design as a new way to influence the masses. The use of the lithography technique for printing created incredible colors and an amazing amount of ink coverage on the surface of the paper. It was the convergence of all these factors that shaped the look of the posters in the "Say it with Snap!" exhibition."

Images of posters and magazine covers from the 1920s (provided by Richelle Huff).

Brandon Sullivan, Ph.D.:
"It is amazing to see how the messages and motivations behind this collection of workplace posters from the 1920s still, in many ways, apply today. The large, complex organizations of 2013 continue to look for ways to inspire employees to work hard, produce quality products and services, and avoid making costly mistakes. Of course, there are a few newer ideas that are conspicuously missing from these posters. Also, it is striking how many of the specific images and words no longer resonate with today's workforce. Exploring these similarities and differences from the past provides an intriguing window into how organizations have tried to motivate employees over the past hundred years."

Friday, October 18, 2013

100 Years of Student Drawings: It's in the Details

jackliebenberg.jpg A Monument to the Early Explorers of Minnesota, Jacob J. Liebenberg, ca. 1916, pen and ink wash mounted on heavy half inch thick board, 64.5x87in.

The College of Design's Drawing Archives contain more than 2,000 drawings by architecture students from the last hundred years. This overwhelming collection shows the range of projects that have interested students and faculty, as well as the changing views about architectural representation. Student work of the past, much like ours today, either followed the current trends within the field or reacted against them. The student drawings display the individual's style of representation and the common beliefs of each generation, which are visible in the architectural design as well as the compositional details.

observatory.jpg Observatory, P.W. Kilpatrick, 1927, ink wash, watercolor on paper, 63.9x96.8 in.

For example, the representation of trees in these drawings varies significantly through time. They show contemporary views about the use of color and line weight, as well as the preferred media. There is a distinct difference between the carefully clipped greenery of early 20th century drawings done in monotone washes and the vibrant globular trees that begin to appear in the 30s. During the 40s there is a stylistic split in the student work between the free-form umbrella style and angular geometric trees that transitions into the leafless stick trees of the 50s.

Gateway to a Great City.jpg Gateway to a Great City, Albert Ameson, 1939, watercolor on heavy board, 97x63.5 in.

The trees also display the students' beliefs about the role of nature in architecture through their relative scale when compared with the surrounding buildings and the choice of which drawings to show them in. Even the purposeful lack of trees in many mid-century projects indicates the priorities of architectural representation at that time.

visualartcenter.jpg Visual Art Center, T.J. Schlink, 1962-63, graphite, ink, watercolor, plastic on board, 76x101 in.

A selection of student drawings will be displayed on the second floor of Rapson Hall and in the Architecture Library during the Centennial Reunion, October 25-27. Pause to look at these drawings and let their details inspire your own representational style.

by Madelyn Sundberg, GDIII M. Arch & M.S. Heritage Conservation and Preservation candidate