Thursday, 9 June 2011

No3 The Death of the Handwritten Script?...

Reflective Journal Entry No3 09/06/11

As with most skills these days, it is the craft of writing by your own hand, which is now being seriously undermined by 'modern technology'. While the advance in digital technology is in the main a good thing, I believe that it has also allowed a high degree of complacency and in some cases lazyness to creep into contemporary communications. It was certainly very different for me as child when from the age of nearly 5 I was encouraged to practice, practice and still practice my handwriting, and when I mentioned this fact it is viewed with a sense of bewilderment by a younger generation, who's ease with the modern digital technologies in most cases they just ask 'why?'

I do find that over the last 15 years in particular, both from my own Professional Practice in it's latter stages and into my first foray into Teaching, the loss of basic skills, writing a handwritten letter, even signing their own signatures and basic note taking, appears to be beyond generations below the age of 25? I found it deeply worrying when I would be looking at young designers or graduates CV's and letters of application who had applied for the advertised position, just how many who could not write a 'both upper and lower case' many with just joined up caps, these would not be on the candidate list.

As I said this is a personal view and some might say this is wrong? Well lets debate this, get a discussion going put the topic out there and see what people think?

For this latest aspect of my blog I want to test this out and these 'Reflective Journal' entries are now part of this process, and will feed directly into my dissertation.

No2. The Death of the Handwritten Script?...

Reflective Journal Entry No2 07/06/11

What do we mean by 'the death of handwritten script?

It is really not surprising that a point in time would be reached in our human evolution, where we would no longer write in the classical sense, letters, the 'documents of legality'. When you look back over the last 1000 years of evolution, there are those significant periods in time were advances in communications were made. A large part of this was the control of the information to the masses. Acknowledging this control  which was primarily down to the church and then government but the church firstly, In Britain for many centuries the church controlled the level of information given to the population, a fair percentage of whom could not read or write ,and it was down to the appointed scribes of the day to record all dealings with Church and State, events including punishments.

I have delivered lectures on, The Gutenberg Bible, Caxton, Garamond, early Letterpress, and the beginnings of the modern newspaper and quite uniquely who this all relates to Manchester and it's position in the world of communications and publishing. I will explore these background details to support my Typographic direction in the coming Journal entries.

Recently through my Teaching Practice on the HND Graphics course, I taught the Image Making Module. This module was split into 2 parts, the first area being Photomontage and the second was dedicated to Historical Headline Typography, take from this brief was the following information I had researched and put together to give the students the historical timeline they needed to research.

Example as follows:

As a way of helping you with the periods of time, I have detailed below, the specific groups from the last 10,000, I have broken them down and set them into specific groups. In addition I have included a number of extra notes, in particular post 1950's where the beginnings of Pop Music became the popular culture and started to influence art and the media of the day. The first group deals in 2 parts the different ages of man, leading up to the Roman Empire. The second shows the post fall of Rome into what became known as the Dark Ages, and then moves forward to the Industrial Revolution and the Edwardian period. Taking us up to the 1920's. I have not gone into too much detail on these early periods, as I will also give you an additional handout showing periods and influential artists. This handout covers more in-depth the modern periods (Post 1950's) and major influences of the day.

Group 1.

Stone Age (Paleolithic/ Neolithic) Iron Age, Ice Age, Bronze Age, Copper Age, Egyptian, Ming Dynasty, Mesopotamia, Mayan, Aztec, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome.

Group 2.

Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Elizabethan, Tudor & Stuart, Restoration, Napoleonic, Georgian, Victorian, Industrial Revolution, Edwardian.

The last group, shows from the 1920's onwards to the present day. The style or trend at the moment and certainly for the last 5 years has, most definitely been retro, the arguments for and against this are many, and really don't form part of this exercise, however this exploration of the last 45 years, from the Beatles onwards, has seen significant developments in design trends and look.

The last big movement in design and music trend was the Punk Movement of the late 70's, prior 1976/77 the 70's had suffered a jaded 60's hangover, with glam being the fashion of the day. In 1976 this all changed. The Sex Pistols, Neville Brody, The Clash, Peter Saville, Joy Division, The Buzzcocks, Factory Records, Iggy Pop, to name but a few, spearheaded a new look and sound. Design changed almost overnight. This then led into the more marketing orientated style of the 80's and really the whole of the 80's became the modern basis for todays' style and thinking and marketing. The selections are not complete and are only for a guide!

Group 3

1920's/1930's (Cubism, Picasso, Dali, Bauhaus, Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Esher)

1940's/1950's (Elvis Presley, The Worlds Fair, Pollock, First Man in Space, WW2, Post War Britain, Neo-Liberty, Neo-Classicalism, Rationalism)

1960's/1970's (Beatles, Pop Art, Warhol, Philip Castle, Michael English, Hockney, David Bailey, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Vivienne Westwood, Psychedelia, Roger Dean, Woodstock, 1st Man on the Moon, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Punk Movement, Sex Pistols, Apple Mac)

1980's/1990's (Neville Brody, New Romantics, Michael Peters, MTV, Live Aid, Wally Olins, Terence Conran, Mobile Phone, Liverpool, Richard Branson (Virgin Group) Manchester, U2, Émigré, Apple iMac, Hip Hop, Indie, Drum n' Base,)

2000 + (Wireless Internet, ipod, itunes, Global Warming, Recycling, The Environment, Tate Modern, Muse, Green Day, The Killers, Ibiza, Damien Hirst, Banksy, Social Networking)

Peter Godkin 2011

***The main purpose of this exercise was for the students to establish a time and period direction.