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Entropy_in_Graphic_Design_RishiGhanThesis

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                                                                                                                1	
  


                            Entropy	
  in	
  Graphic	
  Design:	
  
        Analysis	
  of	
  how	
  the	
  manifestations	
  of	
  order	
  and	
  disorder	
  have	
  	
  
                            affected	
  graphic	
  design	
  practices.	
  
                                                             	
  
                                                             	
  
                                                             	
  
       A	
  Thesis	
  Submitted	
  to	
  the	
  Faculty	
  of	
  the	
  Graphic	
  Design	
  Department	
  in	
  
       Partial	
  Fulfillment	
  of	
  the	
  Requirements	
  for	
  the	
  Degree	
  of	
  Master	
  of	
  Fine	
  
                           Arts	
  Savannah	
  College	
  of	
  Art	
  and	
  Design	
  
	
  
	
            	
   	
     	
  
	
  
                                                           By	
  

                                       Hrishikesh	
  Chandrakant	
  Ghan	
  
	
  
	
  

                                                   Savannah	
  GA	
  	
  
                                                    May	
  2010	
  
	
  

	
  

	
  
	
  

	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  

	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                                            2	
  


Table	
  Of	
  Contents	
  
	
  


	
  


1.	
  Literature	
  Review	
  	
         	
        	
        	
       	
     	
     	
                                   4	
  


2.	
  Manifestations	
  Of	
  Order	
  in	
  Graphic	
  Design	
   	
        	
     	
                                   9	
  


3.	
  Order	
  in	
  Design	
  Movements	
   	
              	
       	
     	
     	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   15	
  


4.	
  Dadaism	
  and	
  Disorder	
   	
            	
        	
       	
     	
     	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   19	
  


5.	
  Entropy	
      	
        	
        	
        	
        	
       	
     	
     	
                                   22	
  


6.	
  Plurality	
  in	
  Design:	
  Useful	
  Entropy	
   	
          	
     	
     	
                                   26	
  


7.	
  The	
  Equilibrium	
  State	
   	
           	
        	
       	
     	
     	
                                   32	
  


8.	
  Conclusion:	
  New	
  Contexts	
  and	
  Continuously	
                	
     	
                                   36	
  
	
  	
  	
  	
  Increasing	
  Entropy	
  
	
  


	
  


	
  


	
  
	
       	
   	
     	
        	
        	
        	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                             3	
  

	
  
Literature	
  Review	
  

	
  
Entropy	
  is	
  broadly	
  defined	
  as	
  the	
  measure	
  of	
  disorder	
  in	
  a	
  system.	
  The	
  second	
  

Law	
  of	
  Thermodynamics	
  states	
  that	
  in	
  a	
  closed	
  system	
  (one	
  that	
  does	
  not	
  interact	
  

with	
  the	
  outside	
  environment	
  in	
  any	
  way)	
  the	
  entropy	
  will	
  increase	
  indefinitely.	
  


Entropy	
  in	
  this	
  case,	
  precludes	
  the	
  possibility	
  of	
  a	
  state	
  where	
  the	
  countering	
  

forces	
  in	
  the	
  system	
  are	
  at	
  rest	
  (equilibrium).	
  The	
  implications	
  of	
  the	
  Second	
  Law	
  

can	
  be	
  studied	
  in	
  the	
  realm	
  of	
  Graphic	
  Design,	
  where	
  creative	
  forces	
  are	
  always	
  

interacting	
  with	
  each	
  other	
  and	
  sometimes	
  countering.	
  


Graphic	
  designers,	
  who	
  are	
  continually	
  engaged	
  in	
  the	
  creation	
  and	
  

communication	
  of	
  visual	
  information,	
  are	
  well	
  aware	
  of	
  the	
  importance	
  the	
  

underlying	
  order	
  of	
  their	
  design	
  construct.	
  This	
  order,	
  called	
  useful	
  order,	
  is	
  

apprehended	
  first	
  by	
  the	
  senses,	
  the	
  observer	
  perceives	
  shapes	
  and	
  colors	
  and	
  

sounds	
  facing	
  him.	
  (Arnheim,	
  2)	
  This	
  order	
  helps	
  the	
  viewer	
  to	
  establish	
  a	
  

relationship	
  between	
  various	
  design	
  constructs	
  he	
  sees	
  within	
  the	
  message,	
  

which	
  further	
  aids	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  interpretation	
  of	
  this	
  order.	
  Perceivable	
  order	
  

	
  is	
  understood	
  as	
  a	
  reflection	
  of	
  the	
  underlying	
  order.	
  This	
  is	
  most	
  apparent	
  	
  

when	
  the	
  observer	
  understands	
  the	
  designer’s	
  message	
  in	
  the	
  same	
  	
  

way	
  as	
  the	
  designer	
  intended.	
  


Order	
  is	
  a	
  prerequisite	
  for	
  survival;	
  therefore	
  the	
  impulse	
  to	
  produce	
  orderly	
  

arrangements	
  is	
  inbred	
  by	
  evolution	
  (Arnheim,	
  2)	
  The	
  social	
  organization	
  of	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                              4	
  

animals,	
  the	
  spatial	
  formations	
  of	
  birds	
  and	
  fishes,	
  webs	
  of	
  spiders	
  and	
  conch	
  

spirals	
  are	
  examples.	
  There	
  is	
  a	
  natural	
  inclination	
  for	
  orderly	
  living	
  in	
  the	
  human	
  

mind,	
  for	
  good,	
  practical	
  reasons.	
  


	
  However,	
  design	
  needs	
  are	
  rarely	
  simplistic;	
  they	
  often	
  involve	
  the	
  execution	
  of	
  

complex	
  and	
  multi-­‐layered	
  messages.	
  Although	
  orderly	
  arrangements	
  facilitate	
  a	
  

simpler	
  learning	
  curve,	
  there	
  is	
  a	
  trade-­‐off	
  to	
  be	
  addressed	
  when	
  dealing	
  with	
  

significant	
  complexity.	
  As	
  an	
  example,	
  we	
  can	
  consider	
  typeface	
  design.	
  


There	
  are	
  numerous	
  parameters	
  under	
  consideration—the	
  medium	
  (book,	
  

poster,	
  billboard	
  etc.),	
  the	
  audience,	
  the	
  aesthetic	
  preference,	
  usage	
  with	
  other	
  

type	
  families	
  and	
  many	
  others.	
  In	
  addition	
  to	
  serving	
  the	
  purpose	
  of	
  legibility,	
  a	
  

typeface	
  should	
  function	
  both	
  by	
  its	
  construction	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  connotation.	
  The	
  role	
  

of	
  order	
  in	
  this	
  scenario	
  becomes	
  clear.	
  


This	
  practice	
  is	
  a	
  continuation	
  of	
  the	
  Modernist	
  typographic	
  ideals	
  instilled	
  in	
  the	
  

graphic	
  design	
  praxis	
  by	
  Jans	
  Tschicold	
  in	
  his	
  Die	
  Neue	
  Typographie.	
  Modernist	
  

typography	
  emphasized	
  the	
  importance	
  of	
  production	
  and	
  distillation	
  of	
  function.	
  	
  


Kurt	
  Schwitters	
  famously	
  said,	
  “Futura	
  is	
  the	
  appropriate	
  typeface	
  in	
  all	
  sizes	
  and	
  

all	
  styles	
  for	
  all	
  purposes”.	
  (Remington,	
  26)	
  	
  In	
  Holland,	
  the	
  De	
  Stijl	
  movement	
  

was	
  attempting	
  to	
  simplify	
  form	
  in	
  the	
  most	
  pure,	
  basic	
  and	
  concrete	
  way	
  

possible.	
  The	
  Bauhaus	
  emerged	
  as	
  a	
  major	
  influence	
  of	
  several	
  Modernist	
  

canons—the	
  drive	
  for	
  function	
  and	
  structural	
  simplicity.	
  The	
  typefaces	
  of	
  the	
  

modernist	
  era	
  bear	
  testament	
  to	
  this.	
  Futura,	
  Memphis	
  and	
  other	
  sans-­‐serif	
  

variants	
  became	
  the	
  new	
  norm.	
  The	
  sparest,	
  most	
  rigorous	
  architecture	
  of	
  the	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                              5	
  

twentieth	
  century	
  had	
  its	
  counterpart	
  in	
  the	
  equally	
  geometric	
  typefaces	
  

designed	
  at	
  that	
  time,	
  by	
  the	
  same	
  people.	
  (Bringhurst,	
  132)	
  


This	
  striving	
  for	
  order	
  was	
  not	
  an	
  incident	
  occurring	
  in	
  isolation.	
  A	
  movement	
  

called	
  Dadaism	
  was	
  the	
  driving	
  force	
  behind	
  creating	
  a	
  sentiment	
  of	
  anti-­‐art	
  and	
  

anarchy	
  in	
  design.	
  Born	
  out	
  of	
  the	
  bitterness	
  and	
  atrocities	
  of	
  World	
  War	
  I,	
  

Dadaism	
  was	
  unabashed	
  about	
  its	
  intentions.	
  Dadaist	
  activities	
  often	
  involved	
  

flamboyant	
  mockery	
  of	
  “high	
  art”.	
  	
  Dadaists	
  were	
  expressive	
  in	
  their	
  techniques	
  

and	
  liberally	
  created	
  collages	
  out	
  of	
  cut-­‐up	
  newspaper	
  clippings,	
  which	
  came	
  to	
  

be	
  entered	
  in	
  the	
  New	
  Typography	
  first	
  as	
  “composite	
  photography”	
  and	
  later	
  as	
  

“photomontage.”	
  (Heller,	
  Meggs,	
  132)	
  	
  


The	
  Dadaist	
  drive	
  for	
  anarchy	
  was	
  as	
  strong	
  and	
  resolute	
  as	
  the	
  Modernism’s	
  

drive	
  for	
  order.	
  While	
  Modernists	
  sought	
  purpose	
  and	
  order	
  in	
  form	
  and	
  function,	
  

Dadaists	
  sought	
  lack	
  of	
  meaning—In	
  all	
  aspects,	
  the	
  Dadaists	
  were	
  ‘decisively	
  

against	
  the	
  future.’	
  (Bartram,	
  70)	
  


There	
  is	
  an	
  aspect	
  of	
  causality	
  to	
  Modernism	
  and	
  Dadaism;	
  though	
  they	
  are	
  only	
  

two	
  amongst	
  the	
  many	
  design	
  movements	
  that	
  occurred	
  over	
  a	
  period	
  of	
  time.	
  

The	
  behavior	
  of	
  artists	
  and	
  designers	
  within	
  this	
  movements	
  bears	
  resemblance	
  

to	
  the	
  countering	
  forces	
  in	
  a	
  system.	
  The	
  Second	
  Law	
  of	
  Thermodynamics	
  states	
  

that	
  the	
  entropy	
  in	
  a	
  closed	
  system	
  will	
  continue	
  to	
  increase	
  indefinitely	
  till	
  an	
  

equilibrium	
  state	
  is	
  reached.	
  	
  


Modernism	
  and	
  Dadaism	
  sought	
  a	
  change	
  of	
  order	
  through	
  their	
  pursuit	
  of	
  

creative	
  endeavors,	
  which	
  gave	
  the	
  design	
  world	
  sans-­‐serif	
  typefaces	
  and	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                  6	
  

photomontages.	
  Both	
  Modernism	
  and	
  Dadaism	
  dissipated	
  into	
  a	
  flurry	
  of	
  other	
  

design	
  movements,	
  each	
  of	
  which	
  resulted	
  in	
  more	
  design	
  precedents,	
  in	
  other	
  

words,	
  they	
  added	
  to	
  the	
  plurality	
  of	
  design.	
  	
  


Entropy	
  can	
  be	
  compared	
  to	
  a	
  deck	
  of	
  cards	
  before	
  shuffling;	
  if	
  the	
  initial	
  state	
  is	
  

considered	
  as	
  order,	
  then	
  after	
  shuffling,	
  you	
  have	
  reasonably	
  perfect	
  disorder.	
  

(Arnheim,	
  7)	
  This	
  sets	
  the	
  premise	
  for	
  discussing	
  how	
  entropy	
  in	
  the	
  design	
  can	
  

never	
  reach	
  an	
  equilibrium	
  state.	
  Equilibrium	
  makes	
  for	
  a	
  standstill–no	
  further	
  

action	
  can	
  occur,	
  except	
  by	
  outside	
  influence.	
  It	
  also	
  represents	
  the	
  simplest	
  

structure	
  the	
  system	
  can	
  assume	
  under	
  the	
  given	
  conditions.	
  This	
  amounts	
  to	
  

saying	
  that	
  the	
  maximum	
  entropy	
  attainable	
  through	
  rearrangement	
  is	
  reached	
  

when	
  the	
  system	
  is	
  in	
  the	
  best	
  possible	
  order”	
  (Arnheim,	
  25)	
  Put	
  differently,	
  if	
  an	
  

equilibrium	
  state	
  is	
  reached,	
  it	
  would	
  mean	
  that	
  our	
  creative	
  processes	
  have	
  

come	
  to	
  an	
  end.	
  


Based	
  on	
  Arnheim’s	
  contention	
  that	
  there	
  is	
  Useful	
  Entropy	
  in	
  the	
  universe,	
  we	
  

can	
  attribute	
  designers’	
  creative	
  tendencies	
  as	
  the	
  contributors	
  to	
  this	
  entropy.	
  

Many	
  designers	
  make	
  clear	
  and	
  persistent	
  efforts	
  to	
  reach	
  an	
  equilibrium	
  state,	
  

which	
  may	
  be	
  demarcated	
  by	
  a	
  standardized	
  design	
  praxis,	
  where	
  everything	
  

looks	
  and	
  feels	
  the	
  same.	
  


Clearly,	
  the	
  visual	
  realm	
  experiences	
  an	
  increase	
  in	
  entropy	
  faster	
  than	
  it	
  can	
  

equilibrate	
  owing	
  to	
  the	
  tireless	
  creative	
  endeavors	
  of	
  designers	
  with	
  

dramatically	
  differing	
  tendencies,	
  practices	
  and	
  personalities.	
  Suffice	
  to	
  say	
  that	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                       7	
  

this	
  rich	
  visual	
  environment	
  that	
  we	
  are	
  accustomed	
  to,	
  is	
  because	
  of	
  entropy	
  and	
  

not	
  in	
  spite	
  of	
  it.	
  


	
  
	
  

	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  

	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                                  8	
  

	
  
Manifestations	
  Of	
  Order	
  in	
  Graphic	
  Design	
  

	
  

The	
  perception	
  of	
  order	
  in	
  the	
  visual	
  realm	
  is	
  a	
  point	
  of	
  contention	
  amongst	
  	
  

the	
  practitioners	
  of	
  visual	
  culture	
  (designers,	
  artists	
  et	
  al.)	
  Graphic	
  design	
  

	
  has,	
  through	
  its	
  long	
  history,	
  striven	
  to	
  achieve	
  its’	
  penultimate	
  purpose–

communication;	
  of	
  messages,	
  of	
  detail.	
  Graphic	
  design	
  strives	
  to	
  achieve	
  	
  

the	
  synthesis	
  of	
  form	
  and	
  function.	
  It	
  intends	
  to	
  address	
  issues	
  pertaining	
  to	
  

visual	
  communication	
  and	
  creates	
  design	
  vehicles	
  in	
  various	
  fields–from	
  politics	
  

	
  to	
  thermodynamics.	
  The	
  practitioners	
  of	
  graphic	
  design	
  consolidate	
  ideas	
  for	
  

communication	
  and	
  set	
  precedents	
  for	
  more	
  effective	
  visual	
  communication.	
  

Visual	
  communication	
  constructs	
  collectively	
  affect	
  our	
  senses	
  through	
  myriad	
  

vehicles–print,	
  television,	
  digital	
  and	
  many	
  others.	
  	
  Designers’	
  intentions	
  and	
  the	
  

sheer	
  numbers	
  of	
  vehicles	
  that	
  they	
  use	
  to	
  convey	
  their	
  messages	
  are	
  both	
  the	
  

contributors	
  and	
  outcomes	
  of	
  entropy.	
  	
  Figuratively,	
  entropy	
  is	
  defined	
  as	
  a	
  

gradual	
  decline	
  into	
  disorder.	
  Robert	
  Smithson	
  summarized	
  it	
  in	
  an	
  interview	
  

conducted	
  in	
  1973	
  by	
  stating:	
  


       	
  “One	
  might	
  even	
  say	
  that	
  the	
  current	
  Watergate	
  situation	
  is	
  an	
  example	
  of	
  

       entropy.	
  You	
  have	
  a	
  closed	
  system,	
  which	
  eventually	
  deteriorates	
  and	
  starts	
  

       to	
  break	
  apart	
  and	
  there's	
  no	
  way	
  that	
  you	
  can	
  really	
  piece	
  it	
  back	
  together	
  

       again.	
  Another	
  example	
  might	
  be	
  the	
  shattering	
  of	
  Marcel	
  Duchamp	
  Glass,	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 9	
  

                                and	
  his	
  attempt	
  to	
  put	
  all	
  the	
  pieces	
  back	
  together	
  again	
  attempting	
  to	
  

                                overcome	
  entropy.	
  “1	
  


Entropy	
  manifests	
  itself	
  as	
  the	
  multiplicity	
  of	
  design	
  processes,	
  which	
  directly	
  

affects	
  the	
  design	
  solution.	
  	
  Design	
  as	
  a	
  medium	
  of	
  furthering	
  visual	
  culture,	
  

presupposes	
  creativity	
  on	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  designers	
  and	
  creativity,	
  by	
  its	
  definition,	
  

presupposes	
  creation	
  of	
  original	
  ideas.	
  To	
  constantly	
  create	
  something	
  

original	
  means	
  deviating	
  from	
  what	
  was	
  established	
  previously	
  as	
  a	
  	
  

precedent.	
  In	
  an	
  environment	
  saturated	
  with	
  visual	
  information,	
  graphic	
  

designers	
  often	
  face	
  the	
  problem	
  of	
  making	
  a	
  visual	
  construct	
  communicate	
  

amidst	
  a	
  clutter	
  of	
  other	
  communication	
  vehicles.	
  By	
  the	
  nature	
  of	
  our	
  appetite	
  

for	
  consumption	
  of	
  information,	
  this	
  clutter	
  only	
  tends	
  towards	
  an	
  increase,	
  	
  

which	
  means	
  that	
  the	
  designers	
  have	
  to	
  manipulate	
  the	
  constructs	
  accordingly,	
  

so	
  that	
  they	
  adapt	
  to	
  an	
  environment	
  of	
  ever-­‐increasing	
  interference	
  formed	
  	
  

by	
  the	
  proliferation	
  of	
  visual	
  information.	
  	
  Consequently,	
  the	
  nature	
  of	
  graphic	
  

design	
  has	
  increasingly	
  shifted	
  from	
  simple	
  form	
  making	
  to	
  solving	
  complex	
  

communication	
  problems.	
  Graphic	
  designers	
  have	
  to	
  discern	
  the	
  appropriate	
  	
  

methodology	
  for	
  constructing	
  the	
  design	
  vehicle	
  to	
  deliver	
  the	
  intended	
  	
  

message–addressing	
  various	
  concerns	
  pertaining	
  to	
  the	
  target	
  audience,	
  the	
  

medium	
  to	
  be	
  adopted	
  to	
  deliver	
  the	
  message	
  and	
  ultimately,	
  formulation	
  of	
  

the	
  message	
  itself,	
  all	
  within	
  the	
  increasingly	
  fragmented	
  visual	
  realm.	
  	
  This	
  is	
  



	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
1	
  Flam,	
  Jack,	
  “Robert	
  Smithson:	
  The	
  Collected	
  Writings	
  2nd	
  Edition”	
  (The	
  University	
  of	
  California	
  
Press,	
  Berkeley	
  and	
  Los	
  Angeles,	
  California	
  1996)	
  45	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                    10	
  

why,	
  it	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  take	
  into	
  account,	
  the	
  entropy	
  graphic	
  designers	
  encounter	
  

at	
  various	
  levels	
  in	
  their	
  design	
  processes.	
  


If	
  entropy	
  is	
  considered	
  as	
  a	
  manifestation	
  of	
  increasing	
  disorder	
  in	
  design,	
  	
  

we	
  must	
  begin	
  a	
  discussion	
  on	
  the	
  aspects	
  of	
  order	
  first,	
  to	
  evaluate	
  the	
  effects	
  	
  

of	
  entropy	
  on	
  design	
  outcomes.	
  


We	
  can	
  evaluate	
  the	
  manifestations	
  of	
  order	
  on	
  several	
  levels	
  of	
  a	
  brand	
  

development	
  process.	
  A	
  graphic	
  designer	
  must	
  first	
  research	
  the	
  nature	
  and	
  the	
  

scope	
  of	
  the	
  business	
  the	
  company	
  is	
  involved	
  in;	
  apply	
  this	
  research	
  to	
  the	
  

creation	
  of	
  a	
  theme	
  that	
  resonates	
  with	
  its	
  philosophy.	
  A	
  second	
  level	
  of	
  thought	
  

involves	
  key	
  aspects	
  of	
  the	
  design	
  process–delving	
  more	
  deeply	
  into	
  the	
  psyche	
  	
  

of	
  the	
  target	
  audience,	
  finding	
  out	
  what	
  aspect	
  of	
  the	
  brand	
  would	
  appeal	
  the	
  

most	
  to	
  the	
  target	
  audience.	
  This	
  translates	
  into	
  what	
  colors,	
  textures,	
  materials	
  

and	
  shapes	
  should	
  be	
  used	
  in	
  developing	
  the	
  brand	
  and	
  the	
  “brand	
  language”.	
  It	
  is	
  

worth	
  repeating	
  that	
  this	
  brand	
  language	
  is	
  used	
  to	
  solve	
  a	
  basic	
  communication	
  

problem:	
  How	
  to	
  make	
  the	
  brand	
  speak	
  the	
  language	
  that	
  its	
  target	
  audience	
  

comprehends	
  and	
  responds	
  to	
  instantly?	
  


The	
  designer	
  continually	
  asks	
  this	
  question	
  to	
  himself	
  during	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  

developing	
  a	
  logo	
  and	
  applying	
  it	
  to	
  different	
  brand	
  vehicles–business	
  collateral,	
  

promotional	
  materials,	
  packaging	
  etc.	
  The	
  logo	
  is	
  more	
  than	
  just	
  a	
  form;	
  it	
  is	
  the	
  	
  

first	
  point	
  of	
  contact	
  for	
  the	
  consumer	
  of	
  the	
  brand.	
  The	
  form	
  itself,	
  along	
  with	
  	
  

type,	
  the	
  interplay	
  of	
  individual	
  design	
  elements	
  with	
  each	
  other	
  serve	
  a	
  bigger	
  

purpose	
  than	
  just	
  being	
  a	
  design	
  construct–they	
  establish	
  communication	
  with	
  	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                                        11	
  

the	
  target	
  audience	
  and	
  over	
  time,	
  create	
  a	
  gestalt–the	
  logo	
  becomes	
  more	
  than	
  	
  

the	
  sum	
  of	
  its	
  individual	
  design	
  constituents.	
  	
  

	
  

A	
  logo	
  simplifies	
  the	
  complex	
  underpinnings	
  of	
  the	
  company	
  philosophy	
  by	
  

becoming	
  an	
  identifier,	
  a	
  visual	
  embodiment	
  of	
  what	
  the	
  company	
  stands	
  for.	
  

This	
  eases	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  establishing	
  a	
  clear	
  path	
  for	
  communication	
  between	
  

the	
  brand	
  and	
  the	
  target	
  audience.	
  The	
  logo	
  for	
  Apple,	
  the	
  computer	
  hardware	
  

	
  and	
  software	
  maker,	
  is	
  simply	
  a	
  symbol	
  of	
  a	
  bitten	
  apple.	
  Apple	
  is	
  also	
  one	
  of	
  	
  

the	
  few	
  companies	
  to	
  not	
  use	
  its	
  name	
  in	
  its	
  logo	
  mark.	
  One	
  of	
  the	
  powerful	
  	
  

connotations	
  it	
  has,	
  is	
  that	
  of	
  being	
  a	
  fruit	
  of	
  wisdom	
  from	
  the	
  tree	
  of	
  

	
  knowledge,	
  which	
  caused	
  the	
  Biblical	
  Adam	
  and	
  Eve	
  to	
  be	
  cast	
  out	
  of	
  Eden.	
  	
  

Gravity	
  was	
  discovered	
  when	
  an	
  apple	
  fell	
  on	
  Newton’s	
  head–a	
  discovery	
  that	
  

changed	
  the	
  way	
  the	
  world	
  was	
  perceived.	
  This	
  aligns	
  with	
  Apple’s	
  positioning	
  	
  

in	
  the	
  computer	
  industry	
  as	
  a	
  company	
  that	
  always	
  takes	
  radical	
  design	
  decisions	
  

and	
  shifts	
  paradigms.	
  	
  This	
  example	
  goes	
  a	
  great	
  length	
  to	
  say	
  that	
  a	
  logo	
  	
  

encompasses	
  more	
  than	
  just	
  the	
  plain	
  description	
  of	
  its	
  business–it	
  infuses	
  

	
  a	
  layer	
  of	
  personality	
  and	
  emotion	
  into	
  what	
  would	
  otherwise	
  be	
  considered	
  	
  

as	
  a	
  money	
  making	
  machination.	
  A	
  logo	
  aims	
  to	
  give	
  form	
  to	
  the	
  intangible	
  	
  

attributes	
  such	
  as	
  trust,	
  prestige	
  and	
  luxury;	
  it	
  structures	
  the	
  information	
  that	
  	
  

the	
  brand	
  wishes	
  to	
  convey.	
  


Businesses	
  whose	
  activities	
  span	
  a	
  wide	
  array	
  of	
  specialties	
  need	
  to	
  consolidate	
  

their	
  position	
  and	
  present	
  themselves	
  to	
  their	
  consumers	
  and	
  investors	
  as	
  a	
  

unified	
  whole.	
  The	
  logo	
  serves	
  as	
  a	
  tool	
  to	
  attain	
  this	
  unification,	
  which	
  is	
  vital	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                            12	
  

to	
  sustain	
  the	
  brand’s	
  longevity.	
  By	
  reducing	
  complexity,	
  the	
  brand,	
  as	
  an	
  	
  

entity	
  becomes	
  easier	
  to	
  grasp.	
  	
  When	
  the	
  information	
  from	
  the	
  research	
  of	
  	
  

the	
  brand	
  is	
  condensed	
  to	
  only	
  those	
  aspects	
  that	
  reflect	
  the	
  essence	
  of	
  the	
  

business,	
  the	
  brand	
  becomes	
  cohesive.	
  This	
  cohesion	
  is	
  representative	
  of	
  a	
  

systematic	
  and	
  orderly	
  functioning	
  of	
  the	
  brand	
  in	
  tandem	
  with	
  the	
  philosophy	
  

that	
  drives	
  it.	
  To	
  the	
  target	
  audience,	
  it	
  is	
  this	
  cohesion	
  that	
  is	
  of	
  utmost	
  

importance.	
  To	
  the	
  consumer,	
  it	
  is	
  an	
  indicator	
  of	
  the	
  underlying	
  order	
  of	
  	
  

the	
  company.	
  	
  

A	
  more	
  explicit	
  discussion	
  on	
  order	
  in	
  its	
  literal	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  figurative	
  

representation	
  in	
  graphic	
  design	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  understand	
  how	
  it	
  affects	
  	
  

the	
  design	
  process	
  as	
  it	
  pertains	
  to	
  the	
  creation	
  of	
  design	
  constructs:	
  


       “Order	
  translates	
  into	
  clear	
  and	
  consistent	
  formulation	
  of	
  content	
  and	
  	
  

       form.	
  Order	
  makes	
  it	
  possible	
  to	
  focus	
  on	
  what	
  is	
  alike	
  and	
  what	
  is	
  	
  

       different,	
  what	
  belongs	
  together	
  and	
  what	
  is	
  segregated.	
  When	
  nothing	
  

       superfluous	
  is	
  included	
  and	
  nothing	
  indispensable	
  is	
  left	
  out,	
  one	
  can	
  

       understand	
  the	
  interrelation	
  of	
  the	
  whole	
  and	
  its	
  parts.	
  The	
  spatial	
  layout	
  

       of	
  a	
  building	
  reflects	
  and	
  serves	
  the	
  interconnections	
  of	
  various	
  functions;	
  

       the	
  layout	
  of	
  a	
  magazine,	
  together	
  with	
  the	
  typographic	
  treatment,	
  pictures	
  

       and	
  negative	
  space	
  all	
  culminate	
  in	
  the	
  communication	
  of	
  the	
  content	
  that	
  

       dictates	
  it.	
  Since	
  outer	
  order	
  so	
  often	
  represents	
  inner	
  or	
  functional	
  order,	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 13	
  

                                orderly	
  form	
  must	
  not	
  be	
  evaluated	
  by	
  itself,	
  that	
  is,	
  apart	
  from	
  the	
  relation	
  

                                to	
  the	
  organization	
  it	
  signifies.”2	
  


Order	
  helps	
  us	
  grasp	
  the	
  hierarchical	
  scale	
  of	
  significance	
  by	
  which	
  some	
  

features	
  of	
  a	
  structure	
  are	
  dominant	
  and	
  others	
  are	
  subordinate.	
  Any	
  constructs	
  

of	
  design–a	
  building,	
  a	
  car	
  or	
  even	
  a	
  poster	
  have	
  formal	
  hierarchical	
  relationships	
  	
  

among	
  their	
  constituent	
  components,	
  which	
  reflect	
  their	
  inner	
  order.	
  Our	
  

kinesthetic	
  sense	
  can	
  inform	
  us	
  if	
  that	
  construct	
  works	
  with	
  a	
  smooth	
  ordering	
  

of	
  its	
  components.	
  

In	
  graphic	
  design,	
  type	
  is	
  a	
  key	
  element,	
  which,	
  when	
  used	
  effectively	
  with	
  	
  

other	
  visual	
  elements	
  such	
  as	
  illustrations,	
  pictures	
  or	
  even	
  white	
  space,	
  creates	
  

a	
  powerful	
  and	
  compelling	
  design	
  construct.	
  Type	
  is	
  constituted	
  of	
  letterforms,	
  

which	
  are	
  nuanced	
  by	
  features	
  such	
  as	
  x-­‐height,	
  serifs,	
  ascenders,	
  descenders	
  etc.	
  

Each	
  nuance	
  gives	
  the	
  individual	
  letterforms	
  a	
  definition–it	
  gives	
  the	
  letterforms	
  a	
  

characteristic	
  appearance	
  that	
  is	
  dictated	
  by	
  mathematical	
  parameters.	
  These	
  

nuances	
  serve	
  to	
  create	
  a	
  semblance	
  of	
  order	
  across	
  all	
  letterforms,	
  unifying	
  them	
  

so	
  that	
  their	
  overall	
  use	
  in	
  words,	
  sentences	
  and	
  paragraphs	
  suggests	
  that	
  they	
  

belong	
  to	
  a	
  unit–a	
  typeface.	
  	
  	
  


The	
  typographic	
  grid	
  is	
  a	
  notable	
  manifestation	
  of	
  orderly	
  form	
  in	
  graphic	
  design	
  

praxis.	
  It	
  can	
  be	
  perceived	
  as	
  a	
  module,	
  a	
  fixed	
  element	
  within	
  a	
  structure,	
  which	
  

is	
  used	
  to	
  design	
  typefaces.	
  This	
  grid	
  is	
  a	
  reference	
  unit	
  for	
  constructing	
  


	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
2	
  Arnheim,	
  Rudolf,	
  	
  “Entropy	
  and	
  Art”,	
  (The	
  MIT	
  Press,	
  1973),	
  pp.	
  188-­‐189	
  	
  

	
  

	
  
	
                                                                                                                                     14	
  

letterforms,	
  because	
  of	
  which	
  they	
  look	
  consistent.	
  It	
  correlates	
  the	
  point	
  size	
  of	
  

the	
  type	
  with	
  the	
  width	
  of	
  the	
  text	
  block,	
  the	
  line	
  height	
  with	
  the	
  line	
  spacing,	
  it	
  

decides	
  the	
  total	
  amount	
  of	
  lines	
  in	
  a	
  text	
  block,	
  it	
  defines	
  the	
  foreground	
  and	
  the	
  

background–it	
  aims	
  to	
  create	
  an	
  orderly	
  structure	
  within	
  the	
  page.	
  	
  


While	
  the	
  grid	
  is	
  actually	
  a	
  constraint	
  that	
  designers	
  impose	
  on	
  themselves,	
  	
  

there	
  are	
  virtually	
  infinite	
  permutations	
  that	
  can	
  be	
  achieved	
  with	
  something	
  	
  

as	
  simplistic	
  as	
  a	
  nine	
  by	
  nine	
  pixel	
  grid,	
  while	
  still	
  retaining	
  the	
  consistency	
  of	
  

the	
  outward	
  appearance	
  of	
  letterforms.	
  

This	
  inner	
  order,	
  in	
  the	
  form	
  of	
  a	
  grid,	
  works	
  in	
  concord	
  with	
  the	
  way	
  in	
  which	
  

several	
  typefaces	
  are	
  used	
  together	
  with	
  visual	
  elements	
  to	
  create	
  external	
  order.	
  

This	
  order	
  is	
  translated	
  into	
  highly	
  legible	
  type	
  and	
  overall,	
  good,	
  dynamic	
  	
  

interplay	
  of	
  the	
  textual	
  and	
  visual	
  elements,	
  which	
  results	
  in	
  an	
  objectively	
  good	
  

design	
  construct.	
  

	
  


Order	
  in	
  Design	
  Movements	
  


Historical	
  movements	
  such	
  as	
  Modernism	
  and	
  Constructivism	
  have	
  informed	
  the	
  

manifestations	
  of	
  order	
  in	
  graphic	
  design.	
  Modernism	
  finds	
  an	
  important	
  place	
  in	
  

our	
  discussion	
  on	
  order,	
  because	
  of	
  how	
  it	
  came	
  into	
  existence.	
  Modernism	
  

emerged	
  after	
  1900	
  as	
  a	
  radical	
  rejection	
  of	
  traditional	
  values,	
  rejecting	
  the	
  

embellishment	
  and	
  the	
  ornamentation	
  of	
  the	
  Victorian	
  era	
  to	
  embrace	
  a	
  simpler,	
  

progressive	
  approach	
  that	
  fitted	
  the	
  twentieth	
  century.	
  Embodying	
  Modernism’s	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 15	
  

philosophy,	
  painter	
  Hans	
  Hoffmann	
  said,	
  	
  “The	
  ability	
  to	
  simplify	
  means	
  to	
  

eliminate	
  the	
  unnecessary	
  so	
  that	
  the	
  necessary	
  may	
  speak.”	
  3	
  	
  


The	
  visionaries	
  that	
  paved	
  the	
  way	
  for	
  the	
  Modernist	
  ideal,	
  looked	
  for	
  

a	
  new	
  kind	
  of	
  functionalism	
  in	
  what	
  Hoffmann	
  called	
  the	
  ‘necessary’.	
  After	
  World	
  

War	
  I,	
  architects,	
  graphic	
  designers	
  and	
  artists	
  were	
  challenging	
  the	
  established	
  

forms.	
  The	
  postwar	
  period	
  was	
  one	
  of	
  extreme	
  tension	
  and	
  turmoil.	
  The	
  war	
  

shattered	
  the	
  channels	
  of	
  artistic	
  expression	
  and	
  the	
  destruction	
  it	
  embittered	
  	
  

the	
  artists	
  and	
  proponents	
  of	
  creativity.	
  The	
  overarching	
  effects	
  of	
  the	
  war	
  	
  

served	
  to	
  inspire	
  two	
  radically	
  different	
  schools	
  of	
  thought–one	
  that	
  sought	
  

reconstruction	
  and	
  uphold	
  the	
  authority	
  of	
  reason	
  after	
  the	
  mindless	
  destruction	
  

that	
  the	
  war	
  had	
  inflicted	
  and	
  the	
  other,	
  disenchanted	
  with	
  the	
  state	
  of	
  affairs,	
  

wanting	
  to	
  renounce	
  art	
  altogether.	
  The	
  former	
  embodied	
  the	
  thoughts	
  and	
  ideas	
  

that	
  would	
  culminate	
  into	
  the	
  Modernist	
  ideal.	
  


The	
  syntax	
  of	
  Modernism	
  as	
  it	
  pertained	
  to	
  graphic	
  design	
  was	
  typified	
  by	
  

simplicity	
  of	
  form,	
  unbroken	
  lines,	
  application	
  of	
  pure	
  colors,	
  contrasts	
  in	
  light	
  

and	
  shadow	
  and	
  an	
  honesty	
  of	
  materials.	
  (Remington,	
  30)	
  Jan	
  Tschichold	
  made	
  

major	
  contributions	
  with	
  his	
  book	
  The	
  New	
  Typography,	
  where	
  he	
  codified	
  the	
  

principles	
  of	
  Modernism	
  as	
  they	
  applied	
  to	
  typography,	
  printing	
  and	
  graphic	
  arts.	
  

These	
  rules	
  included	
  asymmetric	
  page	
  organization,	
  use	
  of	
  photography	
  over	
  

illustrations,	
  use	
  of	
  primary	
  colors	
  and	
  use	
  of	
  sans-­‐serif	
  typefaces,	
  primarily	
  

Futura.	
  Jay	
  Hambridge	
  published	
  The	
  Elements	
  of	
  Dynamic	
  Symmetry	
  in	
  1920.	
  
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
3	
  Remington,	
  Roger,	
  Bodenstedt,	
  Lisa	
  ,	
  “American	
  Modernism:	
  graphic	
  design	
  1920-­1960	
  “(Yale	
  
University	
  Press,	
  2003)	
  16	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 16	
  

Dissatisfied	
  with	
  the	
  incoherence	
  of	
  design,	
  Hambridge	
  studied	
  nature	
  in	
  art	
  and	
  

in	
  design.	
  His	
  work	
  extending	
  over	
  a	
  period	
  of	
  twenty	
  years,	
  resulted	
  in	
  the	
  

identification	
  of	
  two	
  types	
  of	
  symmetry	
  in	
  layout,	
  called	
  active	
  and	
  passive.	
  His	
  

research	
  brought	
  an	
  interest	
  in	
  structure	
  to	
  art	
  and	
  design	
  of	
  the	
  printed	
  page.	
  

(Remington,	
  43)	
  


1919	
  saw	
  the	
  establishment	
  of	
  the	
  Bauhaus	
  by	
  the	
  German	
  architect	
  Walter	
  

Gropius.	
  As	
  a	
  school	
  of	
  design,	
  it	
  became	
  a	
  landmark	
  of	
  modern	
  thought–it	
  

symbolized	
  the	
  “heroic	
  age”	
  of	
  Modernism.	
  It	
  differentiated	
  itself	
  from	
  the	
  

parallel	
  movements	
  in	
  the	
  1920s	
  by	
  institutionalization	
  and	
  a	
  synthetic	
  concept,	
  

social	
  utopianism	
  and	
  an	
  optimal	
  degree	
  of	
  formal-­‐aesthetic	
  purity	
  and	
  perfection	
  

far	
  ahead	
  of	
  the	
  available	
  technological	
  means	
  of	
  realization.4	
  	
  


Information	
  on	
  the	
  rise	
  of	
  the	
  French,	
  Dutch	
  and	
  Russian	
  avant-­‐gardes	
  described	
  

principles	
  and	
  visual	
  qualities	
  that	
  also	
  applied	
  to	
  the	
  Bauhaus.	
  Bauhaus	
  had	
  the	
  

visionary	
  and	
  the	
  revolutionary	
  character	
  of	
  an	
  avant-­‐garde,	
  which	
  was	
  reflected	
  

in	
  its	
  resolve	
  to	
  shift	
  away	
  from	
  purely	
  artistic	
  interests	
  and	
  seek	
  integration	
  	
  

of	
  art	
  into	
  a	
  new	
  structure	
  of	
  societal	
  consciousness.	
  (Kentgens-­‐Craig,	
  37)	
  	
  

The	
  Bauhaus	
  represented	
  a	
  paradigm	
  that	
  excluded	
  subjective,	
  stylistic	
  and	
  

arbitrary	
  forms.	
  In	
  the	
  eyes	
  of	
  many	
  architects	
  and	
  designers,	
  the	
  Bauhaus	
  	
  

stood	
  for	
  an	
  embodiment	
  of	
  a	
  new	
  form	
  of	
  order.	
  




	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
4	
  Margret	
  Kentgens-­‐Craig,	
  “The	
  Bauhaus	
  and	
  America:	
  first	
  contacts”,	
  1919-­1936	
  (MIT	
  

Press,	
  2001)	
  14	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 17	
  

The	
  principal	
  intent	
  of	
  Modernism	
  was	
  to	
  no	
  longer	
  work	
  in	
  the	
  spirit	
  of	
  history	
  

but	
  in	
  the	
  knowledge	
  of	
  its	
  substance.	
  Informed	
  by	
  research	
  and	
  driven	
  by	
  a	
  

desire	
  to	
  base	
  design	
  decisions	
  on	
  reason	
  rather	
  than	
  intuition	
  marked	
  the	
  

beginning	
  of	
  an	
  era	
  that	
  introduced	
  a	
  paradigm	
  shift	
  in	
  graphic	
  design.	
  


Typefaces	
  incorporated	
  characteristics	
  of	
  twentieth	
  century	
  painting,	
  poetry	
  and	
  

architecture.	
  The	
  modernist	
  typefaces	
  had	
  unmodulated	
  strokes,	
  absence	
  of	
  serifs	
  

and	
  equal	
  weight	
  with	
  the	
  main	
  strokes.	
  The	
  sparest,	
  most	
  rigorous	
  architecture	
  

of	
  the	
  twentieth	
  century	
  had	
  its	
  counterpart	
  in	
  the	
  equally	
  geometric	
  typefaces	
  

designed	
  at	
  that	
  time,	
  by	
  the	
  same	
  people.	
  These	
  typefaces,	
  like	
  their	
  Realist	
  

predecessors,	
  made	
  no	
  distinction	
  between	
  the	
  main	
  stroke	
  and	
  the	
  serif.5	
  	
  

	
  

Futura,	
  a	
  typeface	
  designed	
  by	
  Paul	
  Renner	
  between	
  1924	
  and	
  1926	
  was	
  based	
  

on	
  geometric	
  shapes	
  that	
  had	
  become	
  representative	
  elements	
  of	
  the	
  Bauhaus	
  

design	
  style	
  of	
  1919-­‐1933.	
  In	
  designing	
  Futura,	
  Renner	
  avoided	
  the	
  decorative,	
  

eliminating	
  non-­‐essential	
  elements.	
  The	
  lowercase	
  has	
  tall	
  ascenders,	
  which	
  rise	
  

above	
  the	
  cap	
  line.	
  	
  


Another	
  typeface	
  called	
  Memphis,	
  designed	
  in	
  1929	
  by	
  Rudolf	
  Wolf,	
  an	
  art	
  

director	
  at	
  the	
  Stempel	
  foundry	
  was	
  an	
  example	
  of	
  such	
  geometric	
  solidarity.	
  

Memphis	
  weighed	
  virtually	
  the	
  same	
  throughout	
  the	
  letterform.	
  Memphis	
  was	
  

designed	
  to	
  be	
  almost	
  completely	
  monolinear,	
  a	
  sleeker	
  and	
  a	
  more	
  practical	
  

revision	
  of	
  the	
  past.	
  Memphis	
  letterforms	
  were	
  created	
  to	
  appear	
  streamlined.	
  
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
5	
  Bringhurst,	
  Robert,	
  “The	
  Elements	
  of	
  Typographic	
  Style”	
  (Hartley	
  and	
  Marks	
  Publishers,	
  2004),	
  
132	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                              18	
  

Wolf	
  factored	
  in	
  a	
  lot	
  of	
  optical	
  adjustments,	
  creating	
  a	
  perfectly	
  circular	
  ‘O’	
  and	
  

a	
  ‘r’	
  that	
  had	
  a	
  unique	
  circular	
  ear.	
  	
  


Examples	
  such	
  as	
  the	
  ones	
  above	
  serve	
  to	
  explain	
  that	
  there	
  was	
  a	
  concerted	
  

effort	
  in	
  the	
  realm	
  of	
  graphic	
  design	
  to	
  move	
  towards	
  a	
  systematic	
  approach	
  to	
  

design,	
  one	
  that	
  was	
  holistic	
  and	
  scientific	
  in	
  nature.	
  


Modernist	
  design	
  was	
  partly	
  a	
  response	
  to	
  the	
  destruction	
  of	
  the	
  World	
  War	
  and	
  

partly,	
  an	
  intent	
  to	
  engage	
  in	
  the	
  conditions	
  of	
  industrial	
  production.	
  	
  In	
  either	
  

case,	
  its	
  drive	
  to	
  establish	
  simplicity	
  of	
  form	
  and	
  functional	
  minimalism	
  was	
  

nothing,	
  if	
  not	
  the	
  drive	
  for	
  seeking	
  formal	
  order.	
  


	
  


Dadaism	
  and	
  Disorder	
  


It	
  is	
  equally	
  important	
  to	
  note	
  that	
  there	
  was	
  another	
  school	
  of	
  thought	
  that	
  

responded	
  to	
  effects	
  of	
  World	
  War	
  I	
  in	
  a	
  manner	
  that	
  was	
  completely	
  antithetical	
  

to	
  the	
  Modernist	
  school.	
  In	
  1919,	
  a	
  collective	
  comprising	
  of	
  writers	
  and	
  artists	
  

launched	
  a	
  protest	
  against	
  everything.	
  They	
  named	
  it	
  Dada,	
  which	
  means	
  “hobby	
  

horse”	
  in	
  French.	
  According	
  to	
  these	
  artists,	
  everything	
  was	
  nonsense:	
  literature,	
  

art,	
  morality	
  and	
  civilization.	
  The	
  Dadaists	
  held	
  public	
  meetings	
  at	
  which	
  poets	
  

made	
  brash	
  statements	
  about	
  art,	
  literature	
  and	
  many	
  other	
  things.	
  Several	
  

people	
  read	
  manifestoes	
  at	
  once.	
  One	
  such	
  manifesto	
  was:	
  


       No	
  more	
  painters,	
  no	
  more	
  writers,	
  no	
  more	
  musicians,	
  no	
  more	
  sculptors,	
  	
  

       no	
  more	
  religions,	
  no	
  more	
  republicans,	
  no	
  more	
  royalists,	
  no	
  more	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 19	
  

                                imperialists,	
  no	
  more	
  anarchists,	
  no	
  more	
  socialists,	
  no	
  more	
  Bolsheviks,	
  	
  

                                no	
  more	
  politicians,	
  no	
  more	
  proletarians,	
  no	
  more	
  democrats,	
  no	
  more	
  

                                armies,	
  no	
  more	
  police,	
  no	
  more	
  nations,	
  no	
  more,	
  no	
  more,	
  NOTHING,	
  

                                NOTHING,	
  NOTHING.	
  Thus	
  we	
  hope	
  that	
  the	
  novelty,	
  which	
  will	
  be	
  the	
  	
  

                                same	
  thing	
  as	
  what	
  we	
  no	
  longer	
  want	
  will	
  come	
  into	
  been	
  less	
  rotten,	
  	
  

                                less	
  immediately	
  GROTESQUE.6	
  


As	
  opposed	
  to	
  Modernism,	
  Futurism	
  or	
  Constructivism,	
  Dadaism	
  had	
  no	
  utopian	
  

vision.	
  By	
  1918,	
  according	
  to	
  the	
  Romanian	
  poet	
  Tristan	
  Tzara,	
  a	
  leading	
  member	
  

of	
  the	
  Dada	
  school	
  of	
  thought,	
  Dadaists	
  were	
  against	
  the	
  Futurist	
  aim	
  of	
  making	
  

the	
  universe	
  more	
  joyful,	
  to	
  accomplish	
  complete	
  recreation	
  through	
  ordered	
  

reconstruction.	
  They	
  were,	
  he	
  said,	
  ‘decisively	
  against	
  the	
  future.’7	
  	
  

	
  

Kurt	
  Schwitters	
  who	
  was	
  a	
  poet-­‐artist	
  devised	
  compositions	
  that	
  consisted	
  of	
  

letters	
  and	
  numbers,	
  transliterated	
  to	
  emphasize	
  their	
  sound	
  value.	
  He	
  used	
  

different	
  typefaces	
  in	
  different	
  weights	
  to	
  achieve	
  this,	
  breaking	
  the	
  every	
  tenet	
  of	
  

modern	
  typography.	
  Interestingly,	
  Schwitters’	
  most	
  extraordinary	
  work	
  in	
  this	
  

manner	
  was	
  ‘Ursonate’	
  ,	
  which	
  was	
  given	
  immaculate	
  deadpan	
  typographic	
  form	
  

by	
  the	
  most	
  precise	
  and	
  elegant	
  typographer	
  of	
  the	
  day,	
  Jan	
  Tschichold.	
  This	
  was	
  

almost	
  a	
  Dada	
  act	
  in	
  itself.	
  




	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
6	
  “The	
  Age	
  of	
  Anxiety:	
  Europe	
  in	
  the	
  1920s”,	
  2000/Goodreports.net,	
  
<http://www.goodreports.net/essays/thedeathoftheauthor.htm>	
  
7	
  Bartram,	
  Alan,	
  	
  “Futurist	
  Typography	
  and	
  The	
  Liberated	
  Text”	
  	
  (Yale	
  University	
  Press,	
  2005)	
  70	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 20	
  

Though	
  ostensibly	
  bent	
  on	
  destroying	
  all	
  art	
  tendencies	
  by	
  laughing	
  them	
  out	
  of	
  

existence,	
  the	
  Dadaists	
  could	
  not	
  escape	
  the	
  powerful	
  influence	
  of	
  Picasso.	
  They	
  

seized	
  upon	
  that	
  part	
  of	
  his	
  work,	
  which	
  looked	
  to	
  them	
  least	
  like	
  art–his	
  papiers	
  

collés,	
  paste-­‐up,	
  compositions	
  using	
  cut-­‐up	
  newspaper,	
  imitation	
  wood,	
  and	
  other	
  

materials	
  for	
  their	
  texture	
  values.	
  Working	
  half-­‐seriously	
  with	
  anti-­‐art	
  materials	
  

and	
  experimenting	
  with	
  accidental	
  compositions,	
  they	
  developed	
  a	
  medium	
  of	
  

expression,	
  which	
  was	
  to	
  enter	
  the	
  New	
  Typography	
  first	
  as	
  “composite	
  

photography”	
  and	
  later	
  as	
  “photomontage.”8	
  

	
  


Consistent	
  with	
  the	
  Dadaists	
  preference	
  for	
  photography	
  and	
  photomontage,	
  

which	
  were	
  deemed	
  as	
  the	
  original	
  expressions	
  of	
  the	
  industrial	
  age,	
  over	
  the	
  

more	
  antiquated	
  brush	
  and	
  paint	
  on	
  canvas,	
  publication	
  layouts	
  eschewed	
  the	
  

more	
  conventional	
  formats	
  and	
  the	
  established	
  hierarchy	
  of	
  headlines	
  and	
  

subheads.	
  Columns	
  of	
  type	
  were	
  skewed	
  beyond	
  conventional	
  margins;	
  multiple	
  

type	
  weights	
  and	
  faces	
  from	
  different	
  families	
  were	
  used	
  unharmoniously	
  in	
  a	
  

single	
  composition;	
  and	
  hot-­‐metal	
  type	
  material	
  (heavy	
  rules	
  and	
  stock	
  

illustration)	
  were	
  strewn	
  willy	
  nilly	
  throughout	
  the	
  pages.	
  A	
  typical	
  Dada	
  design	
  

looked,	
  in	
  printer’s	
  terms,	
  like	
  the	
  contents	
  of	
  a	
  hellbox	
  (a	
  receptacle	
  for	
  smashed	
  

and	
  broken	
  type	
  bodies)	
  This	
  willful	
  typographic	
  anarchy	
  is	
  reflected	
  in	
  the	
  chaos	
  




	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
8	
  Heller,	
  Steven	
  and	
  Meggs,	
  Philip,	
  “Texts	
  on	
  Type:	
  Critical	
  Writings	
  on	
  Typography”	
  	
  (Allworth	
  
Press,	
  2001)	
  132	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 21	
  

in	
  the	
  wake	
  of	
  the	
  Great	
  War,	
  but	
  more	
  importantly,	
  it	
  marked	
  the	
  battle	
  lines	
  

between	
  archaic	
  tradition	
  and	
  bourgeois	
  mediocrity.9	
  


In	
  many	
  ways,	
  Dada	
  was	
  in	
  the	
  vanguard	
  of	
  typographic	
  disruption.	
  	
  Dadaism	
  

represented	
  the	
  typographic	
  code	
  that	
  signaled	
  a	
  revolution	
  in	
  graphic	
  design.	
  

Hans	
  Arp	
  characterized	
  the	
  goal	
  of	
  Dadaism	
  as:	
  “Dada	
  wanted	
  to	
  destroy	
  the	
  

deceptions	
  of	
  reason	
  and	
  discover	
  an	
  irrational	
  order.”10	
  Dadaism	
  craved	
  for	
  a	
  

state	
  of	
  anarchy	
  that	
  it	
  eventually	
  achieved,	
  abolishing	
  the	
  gap	
  between	
  ‘elitist’	
  

art	
  and	
  ‘low’	
  art.	
  	
  It	
  became	
  the	
  expression	
  of	
  the	
  particular	
  attitude	
  of	
  mind	
  	
  

with	
  which	
  international	
  youth	
  reacted	
  to	
  the	
  social	
  and	
  political	
  upheavals	
  of	
  

the	
  time.	
  They	
  formulated	
  their	
  opposition	
  in	
  anarchical,	
  irrational,	
  contradictory	
  	
  

and	
  literally	
  ”sense-­‐less”	
  actions,	
  recitations	
  and	
  visual	
  art-­‐works.	
  (Elger,	
  

Grosenick,	
  7)	
  


	
  


Entropy	
  


Angrist	
  and	
  Hepler	
  formulate	
  the	
  Second	
  Law	
  of	
  Thermodynamics	
  as	
  follows:	
  	
  


"Microscopic	
  disorder	
  (entropy)	
  of	
  a	
  system	
  and	
  its	
  surroundings	
  (all	
  of	
  the	
  

relevant	
  universe)	
  does	
  not	
  spontaneously	
  decrease."	
  In	
  this	
  sense,	
  therefore,	
  

entropy	
  is	
  defined	
  as	
  the	
  quantitative	
  measure	
  of	
  the	
  degree	
  of	
  disorder	
  in	
  a	
  


	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
9	
  Heller,	
  Steven,	
  Fili,	
  Louise,	
  “Typology:	
  type	
  design	
  from	
  the	
  Victorian	
  era	
  to	
  the	
  digital	
  age”	
  
(Chronicle	
  Books,	
  1999)	
  66	
  
10	
  Dietmar	
  Elger,	
  Uta	
  Grosenick,	
  “Dadaism”,	
  “Before	
  Dada	
  was	
  there,	
  there	
  was	
  Dada”	
  (Taschen,	
  
2004),	
  7	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                             22	
  

system-­‐a	
  definition	
  that	
  can	
  be	
  applied	
  to	
  the	
  function	
  of	
  design	
  movements,	
  in	
  

our	
  case–Modernism	
  and	
  Dadaism.	
  


The	
  work	
  driven	
  by	
  Modernist	
  and	
  Dadaist	
  ideals	
  (pertaining	
  to	
  graphic	
  design)	
  

points	
  to	
  their	
  existence	
  as	
  two	
  strong	
  and	
  opposing	
  forces,	
  that	
  strived	
  to	
  change	
  

the	
  prevalent	
  order,	
  in	
  wake	
  of	
  the	
  post-­‐war	
  chaos	
  and	
  in	
  an	
  environment	
  of	
  

growing	
  rejection	
  towards	
  traditional	
  values.	
  Comparing	
  this	
  observation	
  with	
  

the	
  Second	
  Law	
  as	
  formulated	
  by	
  Angrist	
  and	
  Hepler,	
  we	
  find	
  that	
  the	
  work	
  of	
  the	
  

designers	
  who	
  were	
  influenced	
  by	
  these	
  design	
  movements	
  was,	
  in	
  fact,	
  

increasing	
  the	
  overall	
  entropy	
  in	
  the	
  contemporary	
  design	
  realm.	
  	
  

A	
  closer	
  look	
  at	
  how	
  typography	
  evolved	
  during	
  this	
  period	
  explains	
  this	
  more	
  

clearly.	
  The	
  Modernist	
  principles	
  gave	
  form	
  to	
  the	
  New	
  Typography.	
  The	
  first	
  

book	
  on	
  New	
  Typography	
  was	
  set	
  in	
  a	
  light	
  sans-­‐serif	
  midway	
  between	
  Venus	
  

and	
  Futura.	
  Between	
  the	
  period	
  1920	
  to	
  1935	
  Herbert	
  Bayer,	
  Jan	
  Tschichold	
  and	
  

Karl	
  Teige	
  and	
  others	
  experimented	
  with	
  reform	
  alphabets,	
  all	
  working	
  more	
  or	
  

less	
  on	
  the	
  principles	
  stated	
  by	
  Bayer:	
  	
  


       	
  “Geometric	
  foundation	
  of	
  each	
  letter,	
  resulting	
  in	
  a	
  synthetic	
  construction	
  	
  

       out	
  of	
  a	
  few	
  basic	
  elements.	
  Avoidance	
  of	
  all	
  suggestion	
  of	
  a	
  hand-­‐written	
  

       character.	
  Even	
  thickness	
  of	
  all	
  parts	
  of	
  the	
  letter,	
  and	
  renumeration	
  of	
  all	
  

       suggestions	
  of	
  up	
  and	
  down	
  strokes.	
  Simplicity	
  of	
  form	
  for	
  the	
  sake	
  of	
  

       legibility	
  (the	
  simpler	
  the	
  optical	
  appearance	
  the	
  easier	
  the	
  comprehension).”	
  	
  


Bayer	
  formulated	
  the	
  Universal	
  type,	
  after	
  which	
  the	
  letters	
  in	
  “The	
  New	
  

Bauhaus”	
  were	
  modeled.	
  Paul	
  Renner’s	
  typeface	
  Futura,	
  followed	
  soon	
  after.	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                             23	
  

Tschichold	
  also	
  produced	
  a	
  typeface	
  based	
  on	
  a	
  phonetic	
  alphabet,	
  which	
  

reflected	
  the	
  strong	
  geometric	
  urge	
  persistent	
  in	
  the	
  Modernist	
  typographic	
  ideal.	
  


The	
  Dadaists,	
  on	
  the	
  other	
  hand,	
  were	
  against	
  the	
  typographical	
  harmony	
  of	
  the	
  

page.	
  As	
  an	
  integral	
  part	
  of	
  this	
  revolt,	
  they	
  created	
  compositions	
  that	
  challenged	
  

legibility	
  and	
  questioned	
  the	
  purpose	
  of	
  the	
  order	
  that	
  the	
  typographic	
  grid	
  

represented.	
  While	
  the	
  modernists	
  were	
  driven	
  to	
  strip	
  away	
  any	
  semblance	
  of	
  

emotion	
  from	
  type,	
  Dadaists	
  were	
  doing	
  the	
  opposite	
  by	
  creating	
  phonetic	
  

poems–making	
  type	
  “talk"	
  through	
  the	
  use	
  of	
  different	
  weights	
  and	
  point	
  sizes.	
  .	
  

The	
  typographic	
  grid	
  was	
  broken	
  and	
  contorted	
  by	
  the	
  Dadaists	
  to	
  the	
  point	
  of	
  

making	
  the	
  type	
  appear	
  purposeless	
  and	
  diffuse.	
  Hugo	
  Ball’s	
  phonetic	
  poem,	
  

Caravan,	
  used	
  different	
  used	
  dramatic	
  type	
  changes	
  to	
  convey	
  different	
  voices	
  

and	
  different	
  forms	
  of	
  expressions	
  from	
  low	
  growls	
  to	
  whispers.	
  Kurt	
  Schwitters	
  

believed	
  that	
  words,	
  letters,	
  syllables	
  and	
  phrases	
  were	
  the	
  key	
  elements	
  of	
  

poetry	
  and	
  that	
  meaning	
  arose	
  only	
  if	
  it	
  was	
  employed	
  as	
  one	
  of	
  those	
  elements.	
  


The	
  Dadaist	
  love	
  for	
  activism	
  came	
  to	
  the	
  fore	
  with	
  the	
  publication	
  called	
  Der	
  

Dada.	
  The	
  cover	
  of	
  the	
  third	
  issue,	
  published	
  in	
  April	
  1920,	
  featured	
  a	
  collage	
  of	
  

text	
  and	
  image	
  by	
  Heartfield.	
  It	
  contained	
  an	
  incongruous	
  juxtaposition	
  of	
  

typography	
  and	
  photographs	
  to	
  set	
  up	
  an	
  aggressive	
  confrontation	
  with	
  the	
  	
  

user.	
  Heartfield’s	
  collage,	
  in	
  typical	
  Dada	
  fashion,	
  exhorted	
  “free”	
  typography	
  

and	
  layout.	
  	
  


The	
  overall	
  Dada	
  programme	
  of	
  non-­‐logic,	
  discontinuities,	
  disruptions	
  and	
  a	
  

transitional	
  manipulation	
  of	
  language	
  would,	
  it	
  was	
  hoped	
  create	
  a	
  new	
  kind	
  of	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 24	
  

poetry.	
  (Bartram,	
  70)	
  It	
  was	
  believed	
  that	
  each	
  word	
  carries	
  several	
  meanings	
  

and	
  it	
  was	
  the	
  imaginative	
  participation	
  of	
  the	
  reader	
  that	
  allowed	
  various	
  

evocative	
  thoughts	
  and	
  ideas	
  to	
  be	
  awakened.	
  


The	
  Dadaists	
  followed	
  the	
  Futurists	
  is	
  disrupting	
  normal	
  syntax	
  but	
  consciously	
  

abandoned	
  the	
  constructive	
  formulation	
  of	
  new	
  forms	
  in	
  a	
  pursuit	
  of	
  illogic	
  and	
  

chance.	
  To	
  the	
  Dadaists	
  lack	
  of	
  meaning	
  was	
  the	
  meaning.	
  


This	
  analysis	
  of	
  Modernist	
  and	
  Dadaist	
  typography	
  finds	
  its	
  parallel	
  in	
  the	
  Second	
  

Law	
  of	
  Thermodynamics,	
  which	
  states	
  that	
  the	
  entropy	
  in	
  the	
  world	
  strives	
  

towards	
  a	
  maximum–though	
  the	
  energy	
  in	
  the	
  universe	
  is	
  constant	
  in	
  amount,	
  it	
  

is	
  subject	
  to	
  increasing	
  amounts	
  of	
  dissipation	
  and	
  degradation.	
  We	
  find	
  that	
  

Modernism	
  and	
  Dadaism	
  were	
  trying	
  to	
  achieve	
  the	
  same	
  goal–change	
  of	
  order,	
  

and	
  adopted	
  different	
  ideologies	
  to	
  that	
  end.	
  However,	
  Dadaism	
  soon	
  imploded	
  

under	
  the	
  weight	
  of	
  its	
  own	
  ambition–the	
  Berlin	
  Dada	
  group	
  began	
  to	
  lose	
  its	
  

cohesion	
  as	
  early	
  as	
  1920,	
  and	
  had	
  faded	
  away	
  completely	
  by	
  1923,	
  the	
  artists	
  

involved	
  each	
  pursued	
  their	
  own	
  interests.11	
  The	
  Modernist	
  typographic	
  ideal	
  

diffused	
  into	
  different	
  pastiches	
  and	
  influenced	
  a	
  litany	
  of	
  typographic	
  

breakthroughs	
  that	
  would	
  later	
  be	
  termed	
  as	
  postmodern.	
  


It	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  note	
  that	
  even	
  within	
  its	
  short	
  lifespan,	
  Dadaism	
  had	
  created	
  its	
  

own	
  typographic	
  vocabulary	
  and	
  new,	
  innovative	
  compositional	
  strategies,	
  in	
  

addition	
  to	
  the	
  ones	
  created	
  by	
  the	
  Modernist	
  ideals.	
  Indirectly,	
  the	
  Dadaist	
  call	
  


	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
11	
  Eskilson,	
  Stephen,	
  “Graphic	
  Design:	
  a	
  new	
  history”,	
  (Yale	
  University	
  Press,	
  2007)	
  	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                           25	
  

for	
  freedom	
  had	
  diffused	
  into	
  contemporary	
  culture	
  and	
  influenced	
  designers	
  to	
  

adopt	
  a	
  more	
  open	
  attitude	
  towards	
  non-­‐traditional	
  typographic	
  solutions.	
  	
  


In	
  this	
  way,	
  Both	
  Modernism	
  and	
  Dadaism	
  had	
  infused	
  plurality	
  into	
  the	
  graphic	
  

design	
  realm.	
  Designers	
  working	
  within	
  both	
  movements	
  had	
  aspired	
  to	
  create	
  a	
  

new	
  order	
  with	
  their	
  newfound	
  principles	
  and	
  to	
  an	
  extent	
  both	
  had	
  succeeded.	
  

They	
  moved	
  away	
  in	
  their	
  own	
  directions,	
  creating	
  new	
  influences	
  and	
  giving	
  rise	
  

to	
  new	
  design	
  movements.	
  This	
  plurality	
  added	
  to	
  the	
  entropy	
  in	
  the	
  design	
  realm	
  

and	
  in	
  essence,	
  diminished	
  any	
  possibility	
  of	
  reaching	
  a	
  state	
  of	
  equilibrium.	
  


This	
  is	
  where	
  our	
  discussion	
  on	
  entropy	
  becomes	
  interesting:	
  What	
  effects	
  does	
  

this	
  plurality	
  have	
  on	
  the	
  overall	
  entropy	
  of	
  the	
  design	
  realm?	
  Is	
  the	
  design	
  realm	
  

ever	
  going	
  to	
  attain	
  equilibrium?	
  If	
  so,	
  what	
  constitutes	
  this	
  state	
  of	
  equilibrium?	
  	
  


	
  

Plurality	
  in	
  Design:	
  Useful	
  Entropy	
  


The	
  Dadaists	
  were	
  extremely	
  skilled	
  publicists,	
  knowing	
  exactly	
  how	
  to	
  keep	
  the	
  

expectations	
  of	
  the	
  public	
  on	
  the	
  boil.	
  In	
  Zurich,	
  the	
  dynamics	
  of	
  the	
  Dadaist	
  

movement	
  soon	
  started	
  to	
  show	
  dissolution.	
  Eventually,	
  the	
  public	
  expectation	
  of	
  

being	
  entertained	
  by	
  Dadaist	
  provocation	
  ran	
  into	
  the	
  ground,	
  partly	
  because	
  the	
  

aims	
  of	
  the	
  movement	
  were	
  diluted	
  by	
  their	
  own	
  vagueness	
  and	
  partly	
  because	
  

major	
  proponents	
  of	
  Dadaism	
  ventured	
  off	
  in	
  their	
  own	
  directions.	
  Dadaism	
  was	
  

eventually	
  replaced	
  by	
  Surrealism	
  as	
  the	
  leading	
  artist-­‐activist	
  movement	
  in	
  

Europe.	
  As	
  opposed	
  to	
  negative,	
  destructive	
  and	
  perpetually	
  exhibitionist	
  attitude	
  

of	
  Dadaism,	
  Surrealism	
  professed	
  a	
  poetic	
  faith	
  in	
  man	
  and	
  his	
  spirit.	
  In	
  addition	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 26	
  

to	
  Salvador	
  Dali,	
  the	
  works	
  of	
  artists	
  like	
  Wassily	
  Kandinsky,	
  Käthe	
  Schmidt	
  

Kollwitz	
  furthered	
  the	
  experimental	
  new	
  techniques	
  and	
  demonstrated	
  how	
  

intuition	
  and	
  fantasy	
  could	
  produce	
  unique	
  visual	
  narratives.	
  12	
  


Design	
  movements	
  have	
  a	
  cause	
  and	
  effect	
  relationship	
  with	
  each	
  other.	
  	
  

A	
  single	
  movement	
  such	
  as	
  Dadaism	
  sprouted	
  into	
  Surrealism	
  and	
  later	
  into	
  

Expressionism,	
  each	
  with	
  its	
  own	
  set	
  of	
  objectives	
  and	
  influences.	
  Each	
  design	
  

movement	
  added	
  a	
  new	
  set	
  of	
  techniques,	
  visual	
  styles	
  and	
  methodologies	
  to	
  the	
  

already	
  existing	
  ones.	
  Pluralism	
  saw	
  the	
  rise	
  of	
  postmodernism	
  as	
  designers	
  

began	
  to	
  question	
  the	
  underlying	
  tenets	
  of	
  modernism.	
  In	
  design,	
  the	
  term	
  

‘postmodern’	
  was	
  attributed	
  to	
  the	
  work	
  of	
  architects	
  and	
  designers	
  who	
  were	
  

breaking	
  the	
  universal	
  style	
  that	
  had	
  become	
  prevalent	
  since	
  the	
  Bauhaus.	
  


Specifically,	
  typography	
  underwent	
  a	
  massive	
  shift	
  with	
  regards	
  to	
  the	
  emphasis	
  

placed	
  on	
  legibility	
  and	
  the	
  use	
  of	
  serifs	
  versus	
  sans	
  serifs.	
  Typefaces	
  already	
  had	
  

a	
  rich	
  legacy	
  to	
  build	
  up	
  on	
  and	
  the	
  plurality	
  of	
  stylistic	
  influences	
  that	
  design	
  

movements	
  brought	
  with	
  them,	
  made	
  them	
  even	
  more	
  varied.	
  Seigfried	
  Odermatt	
  

and	
  Rosemary	
  Tissi	
  designed	
  typefaces	
  that	
  produced	
  unexpected	
  letterforms.	
  A	
  

presentation	
  folder	
  designed	
  by	
  Tissi	
  for	
  Anton	
  Schöb	
  achieved	
  typographic	
  

vitality	
  by	
  overlapping	
  and	
  combining	
  letterforms.	
  Superimposing	
  text	
  on	
  

geometric	
  shapes	
  whose	
  configuration	
  is	
  generated	
  by	
  the	
  line	
  lengths	
  of	
  the	
  text	
  

was	
  a	
  technique	
  frequently	
  used	
  by	
  Odermatt	
  and	
  Tissi.	
  


	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
12	
  Meggs,	
  Philip,	
  Purvis,	
  Alston,	
  “The	
  Influence	
  of	
  Modernism”,	
  “Megg’s	
  History	
  Of	
  Graphic	
  
Design”,(John	
  Wiley	
  and	
  Sons,	
  2006)	
  264	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                  27	
  

Just	
  as	
  Herbert	
  Bayer,	
  Jan	
  Tschichold	
  and	
  others	
  employed	
  a	
  new	
  understanding	
  

in	
  designing	
  type	
  in	
  the	
  1920s,	
  roughly	
  forty	
  years	
  later,	
  the	
  cool	
  formalism	
  that	
  

was	
  a	
  hallmark	
  of	
  modernist	
  typography	
  was	
  challenged	
  by	
  Wolfgang	
  Weingart,	
  

who	
  joined	
  Armin	
  Hoffman	
  on	
  the	
  faculty	
  of	
  Basel	
  school	
  in	
  1968.	
  Weingart	
  

taught	
  type	
  differently	
  from	
  his	
  mentors;	
  he	
  questioned	
  the	
  typography	
  of	
  clean	
  

and	
  absolute	
  order.	
  He	
  felt	
  that	
  the	
  International	
  Typographic	
  Style	
  had	
  become	
  

overly	
  pervasive.	
  Rejecting	
  the	
  right	
  angle	
  as	
  an	
  exclusive	
  organizing	
  principle,	
  

Weingart	
  achieved	
  fresh	
  and	
  intuitive	
  typographic	
  design.	
  By	
  refuting	
  the	
  

established	
  rules,	
  he	
  turned	
  up	
  the	
  dynamism	
  of	
  the	
  structure	
  of	
  the	
  page.	
  	
  


Arnheim’s	
  example	
  of	
  a	
  deck	
  of	
  cards	
  is	
  a	
  good	
  analogy	
  to	
  the	
  increase	
  of	
  

entropy	
  in	
  design	
  movements:	
  


       “Disorder	
  is	
  not	
  the	
  absence	
  of	
  all	
  order,	
  but	
  rather	
  a	
  clash	
  of	
  uncoordinated	
  

       orders”	
  Another	
  model	
  for	
  the	
  increase	
  of	
  entropy,	
  is	
  shuffling.	
  The	
  usual	
  

       interpretation	
  of	
  this	
  concept	
  is	
  that	
  by	
  shuffling,	
  say,	
  a	
  deck	
  of	
  cards,	
  once	
  

       converts	
  an	
  initial	
  order	
  into	
  reasonably	
  perfect	
  disorder.	
  This	
  however	
  can	
  

       be	
  achieved	
  only	
  if	
  the	
  initial	
  sequence	
  of	
  the	
  cards	
  is	
  considered	
  an	
  order	
  

       and	
  if	
  the	
  purpose	
  of	
  the	
  shuffling	
  operation	
  is	
  ignored.	
  (Arnheim,	
  7)	
  


The	
  above	
  example	
  can	
  be	
  used	
  to	
  explain	
  the	
  behavior	
  of	
  designers	
  working	
  

within	
  these	
  design	
  movements,	
  who	
  continually	
  struggled	
  to	
  change	
  the	
  

contemporaneous	
  state	
  of	
  order–Modernists	
  stood	
  by	
  their	
  ideal	
  for	
  typography	
  

to	
  be	
  purely	
  functional,	
  Dadaists	
  experimented	
  liberally	
  with	
  every	
  typographic	
  

parameter	
  and	
  eventually,	
  the	
  Postmodernists	
  incorporated	
  elements	
  from	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                          28	
  

nearly	
  every	
  design	
  movement	
  to	
  create	
  their	
  own	
  typographic	
  pastiches–

typography	
  underwent	
  a	
  similar	
  ‘shuffling’	
  and	
  rather	
  than	
  having	
  a	
  fixed	
  

number	
  of	
  typefaces	
  obeying	
  universal	
  guidelines,	
  we	
  have,	
  as	
  of	
  today,	
  	
  

typefaces	
  that	
  number	
  in	
  the	
  millions	
  creating	
  a	
  situation	
  similar	
  to	
  a	
  deck	
  

of	
  cards	
  after	
  shuffling.	
  	
  


Postmodern	
  design	
  had	
  found	
  its	
  roots	
  in	
  the	
  dissolution	
  of	
  authoritative	
  

standards,	
  which	
  had	
  reached	
  the	
  point	
  of	
  saturation.	
  The	
  clarity	
  of	
  form	
  and	
  

function	
  that	
  Modernist	
  typography	
  had	
  sought	
  gave	
  way	
  to	
  fragmentation,	
  

impurity	
  of	
  form,	
  lack	
  of	
  depth,	
  indeterminacy,	
  intertextualism	
  and	
  a	
  return	
  to	
  	
  

the	
  vernacular.	
  	
  


In	
  1983,	
  shortly	
  after	
  the	
  announcement	
  of	
  Apple’s	
  Macintosh	
  computer,	
  	
  

Rudy	
  Vanderlans	
  and	
  Zuzana	
  Licko	
  founded	
  Emigre	
  magazine.	
  Capitalizing	
  	
  

on	
  the	
  explosion	
  of	
  the	
  digital	
  computer	
  as	
  a	
  medium	
  to	
  create	
  photo	
  lettering	
  

and	
  digital	
  type,	
  Emigre	
  soon	
  became	
  a	
  platform	
  for	
  leading	
  inventors	
  

and	
  practitioners	
  of	
  experimental	
  typography	
  to	
  sell	
  their	
  creations	
  in	
  the	
  

practical	
  arena.	
  	
  

As	
  pioneers	
  of	
  early	
  Macintosh,	
  Vanderlans	
  and	
  Licko	
  designed	
  custom	
  bit-­‐

mapped	
  fonts	
  for	
  the	
  magazine,	
  whose	
  layouts	
  rejected	
  Modernist	
  rigidity	
  	
  

in	
  favor	
  of	
  Postmodernist	
  improvisation.	
  Prominent	
  typefaces	
  from	
  Emigre	
  	
  

were	
  Template	
  Gothic,	
  designed	
  by	
  Barry	
  Deck	
  in	
  1990	
  and	
  Keedy	
  Sans	
  	
  

designed	
  by	
  Jeffery	
  Keedy.	
  	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 29	
  

Based	
  on	
  Helvetica,	
  Keedy	
  Sans	
  represented	
  schizophrenic	
  disparity	
  between	
  the	
  

thick	
  and	
  thin	
  strokes.	
  There	
  were	
  rounded	
  edges	
  and	
  sharp	
  angles	
  all	
  in	
  a	
  single	
  

letterform.	
  As	
  a	
  typeface,	
  Keedy	
  Sans	
  was	
  witty	
  and	
  unpredictable	
  enough	
  for	
  

some	
  critics	
  to	
  dismiss	
  it	
  as	
  “taking	
  vernacular	
  to	
  the	
  point	
  of	
  stupidity.”13	
  

However,	
  Keedy	
  maintained	
  that,	
  "Old	
  typefaces	
  have	
  been	
  used	
  up	
  in	
  endless	
  

rehashes,	
  If	
  you’re	
  going	
  to	
  do	
  new	
  typography,	
  you	
  need	
  new	
  type.”	
  


Imbued	
  with	
  eccentricities	
  and	
  nuanced	
  in	
  every	
  way	
  that	
  would	
  be	
  considered	
  

typographic	
  heresy	
  by	
  Modernist	
  ideals,	
  both	
  Template	
  Gothic	
  and	
  Keedy	
  became	
  

markers	
  of	
  change	
  brought	
  about	
  by	
  plurality–of	
  tools	
  (computers),	
  of	
  cultures	
  

(typographers	
  from	
  different	
  nations)	
  and	
  of	
  design	
  processes.	
  	
  

	
  

Arnheim’s	
  contention	
  is	
  that:	
  


                                “Today	
  we	
  no	
  longer	
  regard	
  the	
  universe	
  as	
  the	
  cause	
  of	
  our	
  undeserved	
  

                                troubles	
  but	
  perhaps,	
  on	
  the	
  contrary,	
  the	
  last	
  refuge	
  from	
  our	
  

                                mismanagement	
  of	
  earthly	
  affairs.	
  Even	
  so,	
  the	
  law	
  of	
  entropy	
  continues	
  

                                	
  to	
  make	
  for	
  a	
  bothersome	
  discrepancy	
  in	
  the	
  humanities	
  and	
  helps	
  to	
  

                                maintain	
  an	
  artificial	
  separation	
  from	
  natural	
  sciences”	
  (Arnheim,	
  6)	
  


Arnheim’s	
  understanding	
  of	
  entropy	
  is	
  strikingly	
  positive–he	
  considers	
  entropy	
  

to	
  be	
  the	
  inherently	
  useful	
  to	
  creative	
  tendencies.	
  Arnheim	
  further	
  extends	
  this	
  

observation	
  to	
  visual	
  culture,	
  in	
  which	
  two	
  stylistic	
  trends	
  have	
  resonated	
  

	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
13	
  Coupland,	
  Ken,	
  “The	
  many	
  faces	
  of	
  Mr.	
  Keedy”,	
  May	
  1,	
  1996,	
  Folio:	
  The	
  Magazine	
  for	
  Magazine	
  
Management	
  <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3065/is_n7_v25/ai_18214199/>	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                30	
  

strongly	
  throughout	
  its	
  rich	
  and	
  varied	
  history–on	
  one	
  hand	
  there	
  is	
  a	
  tendency	
  

to	
  display	
  extreme	
  simplicity,	
  which	
  is	
  seen	
  in	
  works	
  as	
  early	
  as	
  1913	
  by	
  Kasimir	
  

Malevich’s	
  Suprematist	
  black	
  square	
  on	
  a	
  white	
  ground.	
  The	
  other	
  tendency	
  

relies	
  on	
  accidental	
  or	
  deliberately	
  produced	
  disorder.	
  The	
  historical	
  analysis	
  of	
  

Modernist	
  and	
  Dadaist	
  design	
  in	
  the	
  previous	
  chapter	
  provided	
  a	
  good	
  analogue	
  

for	
  the	
  Second	
  Law	
  of	
  Thermodynamics.	
  These	
  movements	
  were	
  born	
  in	
  a	
  state	
  

of	
  disorder	
  (WWI),	
  which	
  acted	
  as	
  a	
  catalyst	
  for	
  creating	
  a	
  rich	
  plurality	
  of	
  design	
  

principles,	
  styles	
  and	
  aesthetics.	
  


In	
  the	
  writings	
  of	
  the	
  composer	
  John	
  Cage,	
  one	
  finds	
  observations	
  such	
  as	
  	
  

the	
  following:	
  

“I	
  asked	
  him	
  what	
  a	
  musical	
  score	
  is	
  now.	
  

He	
  said	
  that’s	
  a	
  good	
  question.	
  

I	
  said:	
  Is	
  it	
  a	
  fixed	
  relationship	
  of	
  parts?	
  

He	
  said:	
  Of	
  course	
  not;	
  that	
  would	
  be	
  insulting”	
  (Arnheim,	
  6)	
  


The	
  direct	
  inference	
  from	
  this	
  observation	
  is	
  that	
  Cage’s	
  concept	
  of	
  a	
  composition	
  

is	
  not	
  a	
  simplistic	
  gestalt.	
  He	
  implicitly	
  attributes	
  his	
  assertion	
  on	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  

creating	
  compositions	
  based	
  on	
  chance	
  and	
  on	
  disorder.	
  We	
  can	
  further	
  infer	
  that	
  

over	
  the	
  period	
  of	
  time	
  in	
  which	
  postmodern	
  design	
  has	
  become	
  ubiquitous,	
  the	
  

popular	
  use	
  of	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  entropy	
  has	
  changed.	
  If	
  during	
  the	
  last	
  century,	
  it	
  

served	
  to	
  explain,	
  diagnose	
  and	
  deplore	
  the	
  degradation	
  of	
  culture,	
  it	
  now	
  

provides	
  a	
  positive	
  rationale	
  for	
  savoring	
  the	
  pleasure	
  of	
  chaos.	
  (Arnheim,	
  7)	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                           31	
  

It	
  follows	
  that	
  the	
  plurality	
  that	
  postmodern	
  typography	
  built	
  itself	
  on,	
  is	
  

desirable	
  and	
  in	
  a	
  broader	
  picture,	
  even	
  necessary.	
  Typographic	
  plurality	
  	
  

directly	
  translates	
  into	
  more	
  design	
  choices	
  at	
  the	
  designers’	
  disposal.	
  The	
  

resultant	
  diversity	
  of	
  design	
  constructs	
  is	
  a	
  prerequisite	
  for	
  the	
  next	
  change	
  	
  

of	
  order.	
  


What	
  necessitates	
  a	
  change	
  of	
  order?	
  In	
  other	
  words,	
  why	
  do	
  we	
  see	
  a	
  relentless	
  

progression	
  of	
  stylistic	
  preferences	
  from	
  one	
  design	
  movement	
  to	
  the	
  other?	
  


The	
  answer	
  lies	
  in	
  a	
  designer’s	
  continual	
  struggle	
  to	
  be	
  creative.	
  Creativity	
  

requires	
  that	
  the	
  designer	
  deviate	
  from	
  the	
  established	
  norm.	
  It	
  requires	
  a	
  change	
  

of	
  order–	
  just	
  as	
  any	
  progress	
  requires	
  a	
  change	
  of	
  order.	
  A	
  revolution	
  must	
  aim	
  

at	
  destruction	
  of	
  the	
  prevalent	
  order	
  and	
  will	
  succeed	
  by	
  asserting	
  an	
  order	
  of	
  

its	
  own.	
  (Arnheim,	
  2)	
  


	
  


The	
  Equilibrium	
  State	
  

Arnheim	
  states,	
  regarding	
  equilibrium	
  that,	
  


       	
  “Now	
  Equilibrium	
  is	
  the	
  very	
  opposite	
  of	
  disorder.	
  A	
  system	
  is	
  in	
  equilibrium	
  

       when	
  the	
  forces	
  constituting	
  it	
  are	
  arranged	
  in	
  such	
  a	
  way	
  as	
  to	
  compensate	
  

       each	
  other,	
  like	
  two	
  weights	
  pulling	
  at	
  the	
  arms	
  of	
  a	
  pair	
  of	
  scales.	
  

       Equilibrium	
  makes	
  for	
  a	
  standstill–no	
  further	
  action	
  can	
  occur,	
  except	
  by	
  

       outside	
  influence.	
  It	
  also	
  represents	
  the	
  simplest	
  structure	
  the	
  system	
  can	
  

       assume	
  under	
  the	
  given	
  conditions.	
  This	
  amounts	
  to	
  saying	
  that	
  the	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                               32	
  

       maximum	
  entropy	
  attainable	
  through	
  rearrangement	
  is	
  reached	
  when	
  the	
  

       system	
  is	
  in	
  the	
  best	
  possible	
  order”	
  (Arnheim,	
  25)	
  


The	
  statement	
  is	
  extremely	
  interesting	
  when	
  applied	
  to	
  the	
  nature	
  of	
  graphic	
  

design	
  processes.	
  	
  As	
  designers,	
  our	
  minds	
  are	
  media,	
  aggressively	
  pursuing	
  the	
  

proliferation	
  of	
  more	
  media.	
  As	
  of	
  today,	
  the	
  visual	
  realm	
  is	
  saturated	
  with	
  

numerous	
  design	
  constructs,	
  many	
  of	
  which	
  are	
  influenced	
  by	
  the	
  work	
  of	
  past	
  

designers,	
  while	
  at	
  the	
  same	
  time	
  creating	
  precedents	
  for	
  future	
  generations	
  of	
  

designers.	
  In	
  a	
  realm	
  where	
  creativity	
  means	
  formulating	
  something	
  new	
  

constantly,	
  designers	
  will	
  deviate	
  from	
  basic	
  semiotic	
  conventions,	
  adding	
  to	
  

plurality	
  of	
  design	
  constructs	
  and	
  hence,	
  entropy.	
  


We	
  discussed	
  the	
  plurality	
  by	
  tracing	
  the	
  evolution	
  of	
  typography	
  in	
  graphic	
  

design.	
  If	
  entropy	
  in	
  graphic	
  design	
  is	
  increasing,	
  when	
  will	
  it	
  reach	
  equilibrium?	
  

In	
  other	
  words,	
  when	
  will	
  the	
  plurality	
  cease	
  to	
  spread?	
  A	
  short	
  answer	
  to	
  this	
  

question	
  is	
  never.	
  	
  To	
  explain	
  this,	
  we	
  must	
  first	
  explore	
  the	
  reasons	
  why	
  plurality	
  

is	
  persistent,	
  preventing	
  the	
  equilibrium	
  state	
  from	
  being	
  reached.	
  


Design	
  processes	
  are	
  often	
  a	
  culmination	
  of	
  the	
  designer’s	
  intent,	
  his	
  inspiration	
  

and	
  his	
  research.	
  However	
  methodical	
  a	
  design	
  process	
  may	
  be,	
  there	
  are	
  certain	
  

designers	
  who	
  do	
  not	
  adhere	
  to	
  a	
  ‘process’,	
  but	
  rely	
  on	
  ‘intuition’	
  i.e.,	
  they	
  don’t	
  

subject	
  their	
  design	
  decisions	
  to	
  conscious	
  reasoning.	
  Such	
  unconscious	
  drives	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 33	
  

are	
  the	
  ones	
  that	
  are,	
  as	
  the	
  Freudian	
  model14	
  suggests,	
  latent	
  or	
  repressed.	
  

Building	
  this	
  thought	
  further,	
  it	
  can	
  be	
  deduced	
  that	
  these	
  drives,	
  find	
  a	
  way	
  	
  

to	
  manifest	
  themselves	
  in	
  the	
  designers’	
  mind–they	
  could	
  exist	
  as	
  multiple	
  	
  

voices,	
  working	
  in	
  concord	
  or	
  even	
  conflicting	
  one	
  another.	
  Invariably,	
  their	
  	
  

effect	
  on	
  the	
  final	
  outcome	
  of	
  the	
  designer’s	
  intent	
  	
  (the	
  design	
  solution)	
  is	
  	
  

not	
  accounted	
  for	
  because	
  of	
  the	
  prevalence	
  of	
  a	
  general	
  tendency–if	
  the	
  final	
  

outcome	
  of	
  a	
  design	
  problem	
  communicates	
  well,	
  why	
  should	
  we	
  even	
  care	
  	
  

about	
  the	
  process	
  that	
  was	
  used	
  to	
  reach	
  it?	
  	
  


Furthermore,	
  design	
  processes	
  are	
  never	
  unified–they	
  tend	
  to	
  branch	
  out	
  

iteratively,	
  increasing	
  complexity	
  but	
  offering	
  different	
  possible	
  outcomes.	
  	
  

Our	
  efforts,	
  as	
  designers,	
  are	
  always	
  driven	
  to	
  reduce	
  this	
  inherent	
  complexity.	
  

The	
  term	
  design	
  evokes	
  the	
  act	
  of	
  thinking	
  proactively	
  and	
  simplifying	
  a	
  problem,	
  

finding	
  a	
  strong	
  voice	
  and	
  ultimately	
  simplifying	
  what	
  can	
  be	
  simplified.	
  

	
  

Most	
  people	
  believe,	
  for	
  most	
  of	
  the	
  time	
  that	
  they	
  are	
  ‘autonomous	
  and	
  unitary’	
  

individuals,	
  marked	
  off	
  distinctly	
  from	
  other	
  people	
  (Freud	
  1963:	
  3).	
  They	
  also	
  

believe	
  that	
  they	
  have	
  free	
  will	
  and	
  that	
  their	
  thoughts,	
  feelings	
  and	
  beliefs	
  are	
  

their	
  own.15	
  	
  The	
  designers’	
  world-­‐view	
  is	
  often	
  strongly	
  shaped	
  by	
  individual	
  

perception	
  and	
  not	
  by	
  the	
  dynamic	
  of	
  their	
  relation	
  to	
  others	
  that	
  may	
  share	
  the	
  
	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
14	
  According	
  to	
  Freud,	
  it	
  is	
  the	
  insistent	
  return	
  of	
  the	
  repressed	
  that	
  can	
  explain	
  numerous	
  
phenomena	
  that	
  are	
  normally	
  overlooked:	
  not	
  only	
  our	
  dreams	
  but	
  also	
  what	
  has	
  come	
  to	
  be	
  
called	
  "Freudian	
  slips"	
  (what	
  Freud	
  himself	
  called	
  "parapraxes")	
  

	
  
15	
  Malcolm	
  Barnard,	
  “Approaches	
  to	
  Understanding	
  Visual	
  Culture,”	
  (New	
  York:	
  Palgrave,	
  2001)	
  
78.	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                               34	
  

same	
  world-­‐view.	
  The	
  reason	
  for	
  this	
  is	
  the	
  designers’	
  propensity	
  for	
  simplifying	
  

things.	
  In	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  creating	
  new	
  constructs	
  to	
  reduce	
  complexity,	
  designers	
  

spawn	
  new	
  processes,	
  techniques	
  and	
  ideas	
  in	
  addition	
  to	
  the	
  ones	
  in	
  existence.	
  It	
  

is	
  hard	
  for	
  designers	
  to	
  accept	
  that	
  their	
  processes	
  are	
  in	
  fact,	
  adding	
  to	
  the	
  chaos	
  

that	
  is	
  the	
  visual	
  culture,	
  as	
  we	
  know	
  it	
  today.	
  


In	
  typography,	
  every	
  alphabet	
  is	
  a	
  culture	
  in	
  that	
  it	
  has	
  its	
  own	
  version	
  of	
  history	
  

and	
  understanding	
  of	
  tradition.	
  Other	
  alphabets	
  such	
  as	
  Armenian,	
  Cherokee,	
  

Devanagari,	
  Georgian,	
  Hebrew,	
  Japanese,	
  Korean	
  have	
  unique	
  histories	
  of	
  their	
  

own.	
  Their	
  histories	
  have	
  overlapped	
  at	
  some	
  points	
  and	
  diverged	
  at	
  others.	
  	
  

Typographers	
  working	
  with	
  different	
  alphabets	
  have	
  the	
  dual	
  gifts	
  of	
  knowing	
  

the	
  cultural	
  history	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  work	
  with	
  the	
  intricacies	
  and	
  nuances	
  of	
  that	
  

alphabet.	
  Postmodernism	
  and	
  globalization	
  converged	
  the	
  world	
  and	
  made	
  

international	
  designers	
  within	
  easy	
  reach	
  of	
  each	
  other.	
  At	
  the	
  same	
  time,	
  

publications	
  like	
  Emigre	
  espoused	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  bringing	
  them	
  together	
  to	
  

celebrate	
  the	
  plurality	
  of	
  typographic	
  history.	
  Zuzana	
  Licko’s	
  typographic	
  

pastiche,	
  Mrs.	
  Eaves	
  upheld	
  the	
  spirit	
  of	
  its	
  source,	
  Baskerville,	
  while	
  achieving	
  

perfect	
  contrast	
  between	
  the	
  thick	
  and	
  thin	
  strokes.	
  	
  


Arnheim’s	
  explanation	
  of	
  equilibrium	
  holds	
  true	
  in	
  this	
  regard.	
  The	
  realm	
  of	
  

graphic	
  design	
  is	
  in	
  a	
  state	
  of	
  constant	
  flux	
  and	
  with	
  every	
  shift	
  in	
  stylistic	
  

preference,	
  strives	
  to	
  attain	
  the	
  simplest	
  possible	
  form–in	
  the	
  wake	
  of	
  

postmodernism,	
  plurality	
  represents	
  a	
  state	
  of	
  maximum	
  entropy–the	
  

equilibrium	
  state.	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                             35	
  

Conclusion:	
  New	
  Contexts	
  and	
  Continuously	
  Increasing	
  Entropy	
  


The	
  previous	
  chapter	
  served	
  to	
  explain	
  how	
  plurality	
  of	
  design	
  constructs	
  

reaches	
  a	
  point,	
  which	
  can	
  be	
  considered	
  equilibrium.	
  However	
  this	
  is	
  not	
  a	
  	
  

state	
  of	
  permanent	
  stasis.	
  That	
  is	
  because	
  the	
  graphic	
  design	
  realm	
  is	
  not	
  a	
  

perfectly	
  closed	
  system–even	
  if	
  the	
  design	
  outcome	
  is	
  created	
  within	
  a	
  tightly	
  

controlled	
  set	
  of	
  parameters	
  (specific	
  typefaces,	
  colors,	
  photographs	
  and	
  

illustrations),	
  the	
  context	
  in	
  which	
  the	
  outcome	
  is	
  going	
  to	
  eventually	
  exist	
  is	
  	
  

out	
  of	
  the	
  designers’	
  control.	
  The	
  design	
  outcome	
  is	
  meant	
  to	
  exist	
  outside	
  its	
  

controlled	
  environment	
  to	
  interact	
  with	
  other	
  outcomes	
  (of	
  other	
  processes).	
  

When	
  the	
  outcome	
  travels	
  across	
  boundaries,	
  it	
  undergoes	
  examination	
  outside	
  

of	
  its	
  original	
  context.	
  Till	
  this	
  point	
  is	
  reached,	
  we	
  continue	
  to	
  encounter	
  an	
  

increase	
  in	
  unexpected	
  behavior.	
  	
  	
  


As	
  discussed	
  in	
  previous	
  chapters,	
  artistic	
  movements	
  in	
  general	
  and	
  Dadaism	
  in	
  

particular	
  can	
  serve	
  as	
  a	
  perfect	
  example	
  to	
  illustrate	
  this.	
  In	
  a	
  society	
  where	
  war	
  

brought	
  about	
  chaos	
  and	
  despair,	
  Dadaism	
  represented	
  the	
  redefined	
  context	
  in	
  

which	
  the	
  arts	
  reflected	
  pure	
  disorder.	
  	
  


Marcel	
  Duchamp,	
  who	
  ushered	
  in	
  new	
  anti-­‐art	
  proved	
  to	
  be	
  very	
  instrumental	
  in	
  

challenging	
  and	
  subverting	
  conventional	
  art	
  processes	
  in	
  this	
  post-­‐World	
  War	
  I	
  

context.	
  Duchamp	
  claimed:	
  	
  


“The	
  creative	
  act	
  is	
  not	
  performed	
  by	
  the	
  artist	
  alone;	
  the	
  spectator	
  brings	
  the	
  

work	
  in	
  contact	
  with	
  the	
  external	
  world	
  by	
  deciphering	
  and	
  interpreting	
  its	
  inner	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 36	
  

qualifications	
  and	
  thus	
  adds	
  his	
  contribution	
  to	
  the	
  creative	
  act.”16	
  Design	
  

constructs	
  are	
  also	
  subjected	
  to	
  similar	
  interpretation	
  when	
  they	
  move	
  out	
  of	
  

their	
  own	
  controlled	
  environment.	
  Individual	
  interpretations	
  wildly	
  differ,	
  which	
  

means	
  that	
  the	
  original	
  intent	
  of	
  creating	
  the	
  construct	
  is	
  not	
  met–the	
  meaning,	
  

which	
  was	
  instituted	
  in	
  the	
  construct	
  by	
  its	
  designer,	
  is	
  not	
  understood	
  because	
  of	
  

the	
  changed	
  context.	
  


Duchamp	
  pioneered	
  the	
  act	
  of	
  redefining	
  contexts	
  and	
  changing	
  meanings–his	
  

most	
  seminal	
  and	
  controversial	
  work	
  titled,	
  “The	
  Fountain”	
  was	
  on	
  of	
  his	
  most	
  

poignant	
  pieces	
  that	
  had	
  shifted	
  the	
  focus	
  of	
  art	
  from	
  physical	
  craft	
  to	
  intellectual	
  

interpretation.	
  Under	
  a	
  pseudonym,	
  “R.	
  Mutt,”	
  Duchamp	
  submitted	
  Fountain.	
  It	
  

was	
  a	
  prank,	
  meant	
  to	
  taunt	
  his	
  avant-­‐garde	
  peers.	
  For	
  many,	
  it	
  raised	
  the	
  

question–was	
  Duchamp	
  equating	
  art	
  to	
  a	
  toilet-­‐fixture?	
  Was	
  art	
  dissociating	
  itself	
  

from	
  what	
  it	
  originally	
  intended	
  to	
  change?	
  	
  Was	
  Dadaism	
  the	
  marker	
  of	
  

equilibrium,	
  a	
  logical	
  step,	
  given	
  the	
  continued	
  rise	
  of	
  entropy	
  through	
  all	
  the	
  

events	
  following	
  World	
  War	
  I?	
  


When	
  a	
  system	
  undergoes	
  change	
  to	
  grow	
  or	
  expand,	
  its	
  new	
  size,	
  complexity	
  and	
  

function	
  call	
  for	
  a	
  correspondingly	
  modified	
  order.	
  (Arnheim,	
  26)	
  Dadaism	
  was	
  

the	
  marker	
  of	
  this	
  modified	
  order–the	
  simplest	
  state	
  that	
  the	
  system	
  of	
  artists	
  

could	
  assume	
  under	
  the	
  conditions	
  prevalent	
  after	
  the	
  war.	
  




	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
16	
  Marcel	
  Duchamp,	
  “Session	
  on	
  the	
  Creative	
  Act”,	
  Convention	
  of	
  the	
  American	
  Federation	
  of	
  Arts,	
  
Houston,	
  Texas,	
  April	
  1957.	
  


	
  
	
                                                                                                                                    37	
  

Dadaism	
  made	
  a	
  major,	
  irrecoverable	
  change	
  of	
  identity	
  in	
  European	
  modernist	
  

art,	
  changing	
  ideals,	
  shifting	
  paradigms	
  and	
  ultimately	
  creating	
  a	
  point	
  in	
  time	
  

where	
  art	
  stood	
  for	
  nothing.	
  It	
  is	
  at	
  this	
  point,	
  that,	
  in	
  spite	
  of	
  the	
  conditions	
  

leading	
  to	
  its	
  creation,	
  Dadaism	
  represents	
  equilibrium–the	
  logical	
  state	
  that	
  

contemporaneous	
  art	
  assumed	
  under	
  conditions	
  of	
  gradually	
  increasing	
  disorder.	
  


A	
  similar	
  contention	
  can	
  be	
  made	
  about	
  Modernist	
  design.	
  It	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  note	
  

that	
  the	
  context	
  in	
  which	
  these	
  design	
  movements	
  have	
  taken	
  shape	
  is	
  

instrumental	
  in	
  deciding	
  what	
  represents	
  entropy	
  and	
  what	
  represents	
  

equilibrium.	
  Compared	
  to	
  the	
  mathematical	
  model	
  of	
  shuffling,	
  where	
  no	
  

structural	
  forces	
  other	
  than	
  the	
  shaking-­‐up	
  of	
  independent	
  elements	
  are	
  present,	
  

entropy	
  is	
  not	
  a	
  lawful	
  force–it	
  does	
  not	
  describe	
  a	
  process	
  of	
  nature	
  but	
  simply	
  

notes	
  its	
  numerical	
  effects.	
  (Arnheim,	
  26)	
  


	
  The	
  system	
  that	
  designers	
  reside	
  in,	
  involves	
  several	
  key	
  parameters	
  such	
  as	
  

mercurial	
  trends,	
  subjective	
  opinions	
  regarding	
  design	
  outcomes	
  and	
  multiple	
  

voices	
  on	
  several	
  levels	
  as	
  discussed	
  in	
  the	
  previous	
  chapter.	
  Owing	
  to	
  constantly	
  

changing	
  parameters,	
  the	
  system	
  is	
  in	
  a	
  state	
  of	
  constant	
  flux–in	
  service	
  to	
  the	
  

system	
  reaching	
  equilibrium.	
  	
  

	
  

In	
  response	
  to	
  criticism	
  of	
  his	
  book,	
  Entropy	
  and	
  Art,	
  Rudolf	
  Arnheim	
  explained:	
  


       “The	
  tendency	
  towards	
  orderly	
  equilibrium	
  in	
  physical	
  systems	
  has	
  its	
  

       parallel	
  in	
  the	
  striving	
  towards	
  orderliness	
  of	
  the	
  human	
  mind,	
  including	
  that	
  

       of	
  the	
  artist.	
  But,	
  as	
  this	
  tendency,	
  when	
  unchecked,	
  leads	
  to	
  the	
  boredom	
  of	
  



	
  
	
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 38	
  

                                relieved	
  simplicity	
  and	
  ultimate	
  homogeneity,	
  there	
  is	
  need	
  for	
  a	
  

                                countertendency,	
  which	
  in	
  keeping	
  with	
  the	
  nature	
  of	
  the	
  organism	
  as	
  an	
  

                                open	
  system,	
  makes	
  up	
  for	
  the	
  increase	
  of	
  entropy	
  by	
  importing	
  energy	
  from	
  

                                the	
  environment.	
  In	
  a	
  work	
  of	
  art,	
  this	
  interplay	
  between	
  the	
  structural	
  

                                theme,	
  as	
  I	
  called	
  it,	
  and	
  the	
  ordering	
  tendency	
  results	
  in	
  richness,	
  complexity	
  

                                and	
  dynamic	
  vitality,	
  on	
  the	
  one	
  hand	
  and	
  the	
  legibility	
  of	
  highly	
  organized	
  

                                form	
  on	
  the	
  other.	
  Order,	
  in	
  nature	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  in	
  art,	
  comes	
  in	
  a	
  range	
  of	
  

                                levels,	
  extending	
  from	
  the	
  simplicity	
  of	
  mere	
  orderliness	
  to	
  the	
  turmoil	
  of	
  

                                illegible	
  shapelessness.	
  


                                Considerations	
  of	
  this	
  kind	
  are	
  not	
  required	
  for	
  the	
  interpretation	
  of	
  

                                particular	
  works	
  within	
  the	
  precinct	
  of	
  art.	
  There	
  is	
  no	
  need	
  to	
  talk	
  about	
  

                                entropy	
  when	
  one	
  interprets	
  a	
  Gothic	
  Madonna.	
  But,	
  if	
  one	
  is	
  searching	
  for	
  

                                the	
  place	
  of	
  art	
  in	
  the	
  world	
  of	
  nature,	
  then	
  the	
  reference	
  to	
  entropy	
  is	
  not	
  

                                only	
  admissible	
  but	
  indispensable.”17	
  


          	
  


This	
  explanation	
  enforces	
  that	
  entropy	
  is	
  a	
  concept	
  not	
  restricted	
  to	
  

thermodynamics,	
  but	
  has	
  far	
  reaching	
  implications	
  in	
  art	
  and	
  design.	
  Also	
  in	
  	
  

the	
  light	
  of	
  this	
  explanation,	
  the	
  role	
  of	
  Dadaism	
  as	
  a	
  systemic	
  entity	
  becomes	
  

clearer.	
  As	
  an	
  entity	
  that	
  fed	
  on	
  the	
  disorderly	
  state	
  of	
  society,	
  it	
  represented	
  a	
  


	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
17	
  Arnheim,	
  Rudolf,	
  On	
  Entropy	
  and	
  Art,	
  Leonardo,	
  Vol.	
  6,	
  No.	
  2	
  (The	
  MIT	
  Press,	
  1973),	
  pp.	
  188-­‐
189	
  	
  
	
  

	
  
	
                                                                                                                             39	
  

state	
  of	
  maximum	
  entropy	
  and	
  simultaneously	
  equilibrium.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  an	
  

embodiment	
  of	
  disorder	
  that	
  represented	
  the	
  most	
  simplified	
  organization.	
  	
  


Designers	
  design,	
  in	
  other	
  words	
  try	
  to	
  attain	
  a	
  semblance	
  of	
  equilibrium	
  by	
  

trying	
  to	
  counterbalance	
  the	
  increase	
  of	
  entropy	
  in	
  the	
  system.	
  This	
  effort	
  is	
  

largely	
  based	
  on	
  the	
  understanding	
  that	
  entropy	
  has	
  two	
  faces–orderliness	
  and	
  

chaos.	
  In	
  doing	
  so,	
  they	
  only	
  succeed	
  partially	
  because	
  the	
  realm	
  of	
  design	
  creates	
  

multiplicity	
  faster	
  than	
  it	
  can	
  equilibrate.	
  It	
  is	
  vital,	
  as	
  designers,	
  for	
  us	
  to	
  

understand	
  that	
  the	
  visual	
  culture	
  that	
  we	
  consider	
  ourselves	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  is	
  

because	
  of	
  this	
  entropy	
  and	
  not	
  in	
  spite	
  of	
  it.	
  	
  


	
  


	
  


	
  


Works	
  Cited	
  


       1. Flam,	
  Jack,	
  Robert	
  Smithson:	
  The	
  Collected	
  Writings	
  2nd	
  Edition	
  (The	
  

            University	
  of	
  California	
  Press,	
  Berkeley	
  and	
  Los	
  Angeles,	
  California	
  1996)	
  45	
  

       2. Arnheim,	
  Rudolf,	
  	
  Entropy	
  and	
  Art,	
  (The	
  MIT	
  Press,	
  1973),	
  pp.	
  188-­‐189	
  

       3. Remington,	
  Roger,	
  Bodenstedt,	
  Lisa	
  ,	
  American	
  Modernism:	
  graphic	
  design	
  

            1920-­‐1960	
  (Yale	
  University	
  Press,	
  2003)	
  16	
  

       4. Margret	
  Kentgens-­‐Craig,	
  The	
  Bauhaus	
  and	
  America:	
  first	
  contacts,	
  1919-­‐

            1936	
  (MIT	
  Press,	
  2001)	
  14	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                         40	
  

       5. Bringhurst,	
  Robert,	
  The	
  Elements	
  of	
  Typographic	
  Style	
  (Hartley	
  and	
  Marks	
  

            Publishers,	
  2004),	
  132	
  

       6. Good	
  Alex,	
  “Death	
  of	
  The	
  Author”,	
  2000/Goodreports.net,	
  

            http://www.goodreports.net/essays/thedeathoftheauthor.htm	
  

       7. Bartram,	
  Alan,	
  	
  Futurist	
  Typography	
  and	
  The	
  Liberated	
  Text	
  (Yale	
  

            University	
  Press,	
  2005)	
  7	
  

       8. Heller,	
  Steven	
  and	
  Meggs,	
  Philip,	
  Texts	
  on	
  Type:	
  Critical	
  Writings	
  on	
  

            Typography	
  (Allworth	
  Press,	
  2001)	
  132	
  

       9. Heller,	
  Steven,	
  Fili,	
  Louise,	
  Typology:	
  type	
  design	
  from	
  the	
  Victorian	
  era	
  to	
  

            the	
  digital	
  age	
  (Chronicle	
  Books,	
  1999)	
  66	
  

       10. Dietmar	
  Elger,	
  Uta	
  Grosenick,	
  “Dadaism”,	
  Before	
  Dada	
  was	
  there,	
  there	
  was	
  

            Dada	
  (Taschen,	
  2004),	
  7	
  

       11. Eskilson,	
  Stephen,	
  Graphic	
  Design:	
  a	
  new	
  history,	
  (Yale	
  University	
  Press,	
  

            2007)	
  

       12. Meggs,	
  Philip,	
  Purvis,	
  Alston,	
  “The	
  Influence	
  of	
  Modernism”,	
  Megg’s	
  History	
  

            Of	
  Graphic	
  Design,	
  (John	
  Wiley	
  and	
  Sons,	
  2006)	
  264	
  

       13. 	
  Coupland,	
  Ken,	
  “The	
  many	
  faces	
  of	
  Mr.	
  Keedy”,	
  May	
  1,	
  1996,	
  	
  

            Folio:	
  The	
  Magazine	
  for	
  Magazine	
  Management	
  

            <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3065/is_n7_v25/ai_18214199/>	
  

       14. 	
  Felluga,	
  Dino.	
  "Modules	
  on	
  Freud:	
  On	
  the	
  Unconscious."	
  Introductory	
  Guide	
  

            to	
  Critical	
  Theory.	
  Nov.	
  28,	
  2003	
  Purdue	
  

            http://www.purdue.edu/guidetotheory/psychoanalysis/freud2.html	
  




	
  
	
                                                                                                                           41	
  

       15. Malcolm	
  Barnard,	
  	
  Approaches	
  to	
  Understanding	
  Visual	
  Culture,	
  (New	
  York:	
  

            Palgrave,	
  2001)	
  78.	
  

       16. Marcel	
  Duchamp,	
  Session	
  on	
  the	
  Creative	
  Act,	
  Convention	
  of	
  the	
  American	
  

            Federation	
  of	
  Arts,	
  Houston,	
  Texas,	
  April	
  1957.	
  

       17. Arnheim,	
  Rudolf,	
  On	
  Entropy	
  and	
  Art,	
  Leonardo,	
  Vol.	
  6,	
  No.	
  2	
  (The	
  MIT	
  Press,	
  

            1973),	
  pp.	
  188-­‐189	
  

            	
  

            	
  

            	
  

            	
  


	
  




	
  

				
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