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Listen Up, Look Sharp, Graphic Designers—Bauhaus Moving Image Proves Good Design Isn't Just About Communication | | Eye on Design
“As evidenced by a long-lost short film by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy”



“His sentiments around type and print are echoed across his vast output—painting, drawing, photography, collage, sculpture, film, theater, and writing—but one of its most fascinating distillations is in a recently rediscovered film, Tönendes ABC (ABC in Sound), from 1933. What the piece also conveys is a cheekier side to Moholy-Nagy’s practice, and a brazen approach to “appropriating” other people’s work.

ABC in Sound, a minutes-long experimental optical sound film was missing for more than 80 years, before being found at the BFI National Archive in London and identified as Moholy-Nagy’s for the first time by BFI curators. Its screening coincides with a wider László Moholy-Nagy London exhibition at Hauser & Wirth gallery, which is showing his 1930 film Ein Lichtspiel: Schwarz Weiss Grau (A Lightplay: Black White Grey); alongside works on paper, photographic pieces, and the mesmeric kinetic sculpture Light Prop for an Electric Stage (also 1930), which the aforementioned Lightplay documents in deliciously abstract modes.

The reason ABC in Sound remained undiscovered for so long is partially because, as it turns out, it’s not as original in concept as much of Moholy-Nagy’s other works. ABC in Sound existed, but not in isolated form, or credited to the artist: In 1936, the original nitrate for ABC in Sound was accidentally spliced to a copy of Oskar Fischinger’s Early Experiments in Hand Drawn Sound from 1931 by an archivist for a screening program at the London Film Society.”

[See also: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-abc-in-sound-1933-online

"Inspired by advances in sound recording and fascinated by the production of synthetic sound, Hungarian artist and Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) explored the idea of reverse-engineering an alphabet of sounds from the visual representation they produced by the grooves on gramophone discs. Taking this a step further, after the release of Rudolph Pfenninger’s Tönende Handschrift (Sounding Handwriting), he produced this film of ‘visual sounds’ which showed the image of the track that was passing through the sound head of the projector - so that the audience could directly compare the image with the sound that it made.

In later years Moholy-Nagy recalled that the soundtrack for Tönendes ABC “used all types of signs, symbols, even the letters of the alphabet, and my own finger prints. Each visual pattern on the sound track produced a sound which had the character of whistling and other noises. I had especially good results with the profiles of persons”. In this it differed from its companion piece, Oskar Fischinger’s Early Experiments in Hand Drawn Sound, which used purely abstract shapes in the same way; Moholy-Nagy even wittily uses the word ‘Handschfift’ printed onto his soundtrack. The films were shown together at the London Film Society on 10 December 1933 and the combined print donated to the newly formed BFI, where it was recently rediscovered.

Moholy-Nagy would have undoubtedly seen Fischinger’s film before he made his own. Fischinger’s many experiments with “ornamental animation in sound,” predated ABC in Sound. The films made by the pair are remarkably similar in concept, realization, and form (see screenshots from some of Fischinger’s experiments below): in each we hear synthetic sound, created by white patterns that appear visually along one side of the screen. The variations in the shapes of the lines generate the changes in the sounds—some of which seem quite beautiful, in a strange, non-human way; others more like bone-shaking blasts of a pneumatic drill; all—as was imperative for their creators—impossible to create using the conventional instruments of the time, or the human voice."]

[On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui_FU-KAZMM

"Missing for over 80 years, this experimental film by Bauhaus teacher and artist László Moholy-Nagy was found by BFI curators embedded in a reel of film that also contained Oskar Fischinger’s Early Experiments in Hand Drawn Sound.

László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) was a tenacious, restless creative who associated with various early twentieth century vanguard art movements. Teaching at the legendary Bauhaus school, which this year sees its centenary, his early optical sound films experimented with the formal properties of film and blurred the lines between sound and image and the act of hearing and seeing sound. Newly scanned at 4K, the restoration of ABC in Sound / Tönendes ABC will receive its world premiere at BFI Southbank on 18 June."]
film  sound  design  graphics  graphicdesign  play  tinkering  filmmaking  video  materials  type  typography  print  appropriation  audio  oskarfischinger  rudolphpfenninger  bauhaus  lászlómoholy-nagy  communication  classideas 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Alphabettes
"Alphabettes is a showcase for work, commentary, and research on lettering, typography, and type design."
typography  type  lettering  design  graphicdesign 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Tools | LettError
"Once an alert designer has become familiar with the software, it is to be hoped that questions will arise which the software is incapable of solving. This can be frustrating. You think of an image or a solution that requires a specific combination of functions, and then it turns out not to exist. Or you want to repeat an action a large number of times, while the program does not offer any way of doing it automatically. The toolhorizon comes into view. Should you begin to have doubts about yourself as a designer? On the contrary. It simply means that the people who devised the program did not take your idea into account, so it is a relatively new idea. And it is no bad thing for a designer to have new ideas. All the same, good advice is a rare commodity when you run up against the limits of the tool-kit in the middle of the thinking process. Should designers slow down and adjust their ideas to what the computer can handle? As we know, to design is to make images within given limitations. But not all limitations are the same. Limitations and demands imposed by a client are easier to accept than the arbitrary limitations of your digital tools."



"The critical outsider will note that this method also has its disadvantages. After all, sometimes designing proceeds faster and more securely if nothing is left to chance, if work starts straight away as on the computer with a precision of a hundredth of a millimeter (‘exactly one cm’ is also possible). Is it really handy to generate the layout of a calendar with a program that can shift parameters endlessly? You have to write a program like that first, and that takes a lot of time. Of course not, will be the answer, the first time naturally takes more time and trouble, but that is what makes it so much fun. Design is hardly a challenge any more, but programming is. The paradox of designing like Just and Erik is that a lot of individually written tools are only efficient (in the sense of saving time) if the same sort of design is repeated a large number of times; but that is a very rare occurrence. Explorers, and that is what they are, do not want to do the same thing twice. They prefer to leave that up to ordinary designers, and studios. Which brings us to the second paradox: such designers may never get around to programming. They hope that the scripts and programs of LettError will simply be available on the internet one day. Ready to use."
design  type  computers  toolmaking  making  digitaltoolkit  onlinetoolkit  janmiddendorp  2000  via:tealtan  tools 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Fontself
"Did you ever wish you could send a messages that would reflect you mood or let you express the more creative side of your personality?

[via: http://twitter.com/nicolasnova/status/17717212062 ]
fonts  generator  handmade  handwriting  interactive  graphics  typography  type  drawing  free  software  tools  webdesign  webdev 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Google Font Directory
"The Google Font Directory lets you browse all the fonts available via the Google Font API. All fonts in the directory are available for use on your website under an open source license and served by Google servers.
google  fonts  typography  javascript  html5  html  webdev  api  css  design  webdesign  free  type  googlefonts 
may 2010 by robertogreco
kaoiro | gung
""Kaoiro" (which means "facial expression" in Japanese) is japanese emoticon stamp pretending to be the date stamp. This stamp that mixing digital culture with a old style stationary has 7 belts and around 20 symbols. You can create real kaomoji (japanese emoticon) of 2000 or more by combining them. If you always have it ready on your desk at school or office, you can share your emotion to your lover in real world with a secret . \ (^ о ^) /"
emoticons  japan  japanese  type  stamps  via:britta  design  gifts 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Playing to Type by Virginia Postrel
"A revolution in typeface design has led to everything from more-legible newspapers and cell-phone displays to extra-tacky wedding invitations."
typography  design  fonts  atlantic  virginiapostrel  typeface  typesetting  economics  culture  graphic  formatting  usability  theatlantic  type 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Nick Sherman > Senior Degree Project > A Modern Day Specimen Book > Introduction
"As an alternative to tools currently in use, I proposed to develop a prototype of a new dynamic tool for navigating the universe of typography, which will inherently connect the user with more appropriate typefaces for their needs."
classification  typography  taxonomy  design  type  process  research 
march 2008 by robertogreco
The History of Visual Communication
"attempts to walk you through the long and diverse history of a particular aspect of human endeavour: The translation of ideas, stories and concepts that are largely textual and/or word based into a visual format, i.e. visual communication."
aesthetics  anthropology  architecture  art  books  communication  caves  craft  creative  culture  design  drawing  graphics  history  icons  illustration  infodesign  infographics  information  visual  visualization  via:kottke  typography  type  toread  painting  memory  photography  print  printing  literature  technology  words  writing  process  reference 
february 2008 by robertogreco
A List Apart: Articles: Understanding Web Design
"Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity."
accessibility  design  webdesign  webdev  definitions  culture  css  criticism  creativity  communication  development  website  typography  type  graphics  ideas  process  web  alistapart  jeffreyzeldman  layout  meaning 
november 2007 by robertogreco
PingMag - The Tokyo-based magazine about “Design and Making Things” » Archive » Dainippon Type Organization: Fun With Japanese Characters
"the Dainippon Type Organization breaks Japanese Katakana, Hiragana, and the alphabet into pieces to recompose the parts and produce new characters - like turning Katakana in Kanji looking characters and the other way round"
art  design  japan  japanese  media  type  typography  toys  hiragana  katakana  letters  symbols  english  language  writing  play  pingmag 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Underware
"Irony mark, and the need for new punctuation marks."
fonts  irony  type  typography  punctuation  humor  writing 
june 2007 by robertogreco
PingMag » Toward Design Literacy: Essential Graphic Design Literature
"What follows is a ramshackle list of design texts that I consider utterly invaluable to the education of a graphic designer."
graphics  design  books  typography  type  typeface  information  infographics  visualization  pingmag 
january 2007 by robertogreco
Typetester – Compare fonts for the screen
"The Typetester is an online application for comparison of the fonts for the screen. Its’ primary role is to make web designer’s life easier. As the new fonts are bundled into operating systems, the list of the common fonts will be updated."
tools  typeface  tutorials  web  internet  fonts  coding  typography  design  interactive  information  howto  html  type  css  comparison  graphics  webdesign  visualization  reference  resources  webdev 
february 2006 by robertogreco

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