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Assessment Task: Case Study 1. Primary Sources From Print to screen: A History of Visual Communication Design
“Adrian Forty argues in Objects of Desire (1987) pp.6-10 that “The history of design is also the history of societies”. Design, he states, has the capacity to cast myths about who we are and aspire to be, into enduring solid and tangible form, so that they can seem to be a reality itself. Design is central to shaping what people think about the world they live in. Visual Communication in particular plays a key role in shaping our perceptions and imagination of the world: ideas and myths about people, places, politics and social beliefs, gender, race, age, activities and experiences, work, play, and so on.” The two design examples I have chosen to analyse are James Northfield’s Winter sport in Australie. 1931-32, poster, colour lithograph and Percy Trompf's Winter tours to central Australia, 1940, Poster, colour lithograph. In this assignment I will be analysing these two design examples and discussing how they promote and create ideas and myths about modernisation and modernity, and how they contribute to the ideas of what it means to be modern in Australia during the beginning of the last century. I will be discussing how modern ideas like travel, tourism, leisure and transport are present in these images as well as the imperialism/colonialism and social beliefs toward class and race are represented in theses design examples. The first example was a poster designed by on of the most prominent commercial artists of the time, James Northfield. Born in rural Victoria near Inverleigh in 1887 and was educated in lithography at the Gordon technical college in Geelong. Northfield eventually set up his own studio on Flinders St in Melbourne CBD, and due to his understanding of the new process of colour printing in commercial art established his expertise and artistic reputation, and he was commissioned by the Victorian Railways and the Australian National Travel Association to design travel posters. (Spearritt, Peter, 'Northfield, Isaac James (1887–1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/northfield-isaac-james-11259/text20083, accessed 8 April 2012.) The Australian National Travel Association was a formed in 1929 and was an organisation that created brochures and advertisements promoting Australia as a place for international tourists to travel to. The ANTA distributed to Great Britain, Canada, the USA,New Zealand, Egypt, South Africa, Poland,Java, Ceylon, Norway and Denmark with the British empire as the major marketing target (Peter Spearritt, Roger Butler. (1991).Trading places: Australian travel posters, 1909-1990, Monash University. Dept. of Visual Arts. Exhibition Gallery; Monash University. National Centre for Australian Studies, Clayton, Vic) Northfield’s Winter sport in Australie. 1931-32. was one such poster that was created for an international audience. This poster which was published by the ANTA in 1931, was “aimed at the Dutch in
in grey. The poster has been designed to have the most important elements in the foreground. Another image commissioned by the ANTA that I have analysed is also a winter image which. Percival Albert (Percy) (1902–1964)'. There are other important visual cues in the poster. There is no reference to the native Australian population. Although it's not only leave that are telling us where we are.” (Peter Spearritt. The typography treatment in this piece shows us modern serif and sans serif fonts. and the total sum of these elements creates a poster that is both striking yet conservative. Percy Tromf was born in Ballarat in 1902 and was educated at the Ballarat technical art school. and the characters in the poster appear to be of middle class.the children playing showing us Australia as a safe place. but anidea of leisure and luxury at the Australian Alps as well. In 1923 Tromf joined Giles and Richards commercial artists in Melbourne and began a careerer designing packaging for clients including the confectioner Allen’s.edu. The large text . Katie. with time for leisure. http://adb.“Winter sport in Australie” the title of the poster lies across the bottom of the page. and “Slechts 12 dagen van Java” (only 12 days from Java) in Dutch underneath. We also see the official seal of the ANTA. The Modern style of the design also suggests a modern nation. Australian Dictionary of Biography. This poster is establishing Australia as a destination of modern luxury.anu. Again here we are seeing an example of conservative modern design which is reserved yet striking. Australian National University.) .au/biography/trompf-percival-albertpercy-8855/text15543. The Skiers also have shadows which indicates a bright sunny Australian day. although set in the desert. (Spearritt.This poster depicts an Australian snowscape with two warmly dressed AngloSaxon cross country skiers in the foreground.1991). The use of negative space of the images creates a perspective that gives the impression that you are there looking out over the snow and that there is plenty of space. This image is designed to appeal to Europeans’ perception of the travel and gives reassurance of modern lifestyle. soap-makers Palmolive and manufacturers Bryant & May. is written in capitals in navy blue while we see the other text in a smaller serif font. 'Trompf.Captain cooks landing for example. The use of text here is another cue which makes it clear that the poster is advertising tourism to Australia. and the branch reminding us of where we are. and what looks like a tobogganer and two children playing in the background.Java and represents one of the few attempts to lure overseas tourists to the Australian ski fields. Off to the distance in the left lies a cosy Swiss style chalet with a wisp of smoke coming form the chimney. Tromfs posters created for the ANTA received widespread recognition and Tromf also created popular posters which drew upon historical events. This could be the European Alps. The colours in this poster are a pleasant striking contrast of pastels with red and orange. apart from one telling branch of a eucalyptus in the top righthand corner. has similar themes modern themes and motifs to Northfield’s Winter sport in Australie. Alongside James Northfield. the Chalet representing luxury and comfort. accessed 12 April 2012. the important information. It depicts Australia's ski fields to be comparable to the ones in Europe an therefore creates visual link between Australia and Western Europe. This image is Percy Tromf's lithograph winter tours to Central Australia. National Centre of Biography.the happy tourists/skiers. Roger Butler. The story being told here is that not only does Australia have Ski fields to visit.
energetic white explorer-travellers with ‘primitive’ ‘native’ men. as they came under the Flora and Fauna Act. The text up the top reads “Winter tours to Central Australia” while across the bottom right corner “consult Govt. There is a story being told here of a modern. Roger Butler. it doesn't interfere with wideness of the landscape and it is a modern sans serif font. He assigned a set of formulaic positions and postures to the groups. During this time aboriginal people weren't counted as people. and quite detailed. alongside the camels. and couched down next to the car another figure crouched (a servant or guide perhaps?) unrolling what looks like a tent or mat. the exotic and is an interesting commentary on how indigenous Australians were perceived at the time. brave adventuring european man. the ANTA became heavily involved in commissioning travel posters. Colonial figures and their modern conveyance occupied centre stage and were orientated towards the right to symbolise the future. especially posters advertising the London Underground. This poster shows a number of contrasting juxtapositions.Tromf's travel posters were designed for an international audience as Australia wasn't well known as a tourist destination at the time“To communicate its message to a world that knew little of Australia. without being a photograph.” (Ingereth Macfarlane and Mark Hanna (2007) Transgressions: critical Australian Indigenous histories ANU E Press and Aboriginal History Incorporated) . It seems to be aimed at a white European audience. The Australian aboriginals are depicted as part of the landscape. It is prominent but not dominating in the picture.Man versus nature. Influenced by board member Charles Lloyd Jones. This poster design is very symbolic of modern ideas and colonialism. bureau or secretary for railways” The placement of text at the top of the page leaves the clear blue sky open. On the right there is a striped tent which we know by the shadow is under a tree. We see a use of composition and negative space to emphasise what is important to the designer here.” (Peter Spearritt. The main figure has been positioned in the centre of the poster overlooking the landscape. The ANTA had to resort to producing striking imagery and simple slogans. all set in capitals. representing adventure. travel. The graphic artists who it approached were influenced by the poster art of the period. white versus black. “Trompf likewise contrasted modern. Aboriginal men were relegated to servile positions. populated with indigenous Australians and camels. The imagery used here is realistic.not only does he dominate the landscape but also the poster itself. 1991) Winter tours to Central Australia shows us a image of a white man with his hands on his hips looking out on to the clear blue sky and yellow sand of the Australian desert. technology (cars) versus modes of transport from the past (camels). One of the first of the ANTA posters was Percy Trompf's. diminished in scale and located towards the rear to represent the past. master of the landscape with his modern vehicle and dominating the landscape. In the most immediate foreground we see a car to the left. Blue sky versus yellow sand and please note there is also an absence of any female adventurers in the rugged landscape. As a cultural artefact of the times.this poster is rich in symbolism of what it means to be western and modern.
There are other opposite elements at play in this image. This novel way to travel is emphasised by the placement of camels in the background.we know that the car belongs to the man and the camels are placed alongside the “primitive” aboriginals. we can see a representation of Australia as a place of adventure but with the reassuring presence of luxury. In both Trompf's Winter tours in Central Australia and Northfield's Winter sport in Australie.It is not only the indigenous population that is dominated by the standing figure.adventure. These posters represents at how the commercial artists and the ANTA wanted Australia to be perceived internationally. there are parallel themes in these works as we see a dominance over natural landscape. luxury and representation of Australia as a warm place to be during the winter. but the environment as well with the development of new technologies. As an advertisement this image seeks to persuade a modern audience to come and partake in the exotic adventures that can be had in Australia. and again the is a sharp contrast between the motor car and the camels. Although created by different artists.the caption itself is a contrast to the imageas the word winter for our audience is not usually associated with the desert. the access to modern luxury and the advertisement of a life of leisure and luxury. During this time period. What is being advertised here is a lifestyle. while again reassuring the audience that Australia is a civilised country with modern technologies. and are now an interesting insight into how designers represented this country at the time. The new modes of transport available to Europeans meant that previously difficult places to travel to were now accessible either by car or rail. and now represents the ideologies and beliefs which were held by the artists and clients of the time. Australian travel posters served the purpose of advertising Australia as a tourist destination to other Western countries. This clever use of the word draws the audience in at it's absurdity and as an advertisement serves it's purpose to grab the viewers attention. modern technologies. 1880 words .
'Trompf. Australian National University.edu. Peter. (2006) James Northfield and the Art of Selling Australia. 'Northfield. 1909-1990. Australian Dictionary of Biography. (1991). http://adb.anu.Hetherington.edu.Trading places: Australian travel posters. accessed 8 April 2012. Australian National University. Ingereth Macfarlane and Mark Hanna (2007) Transgressions: critical Australian Indigenous histories ANU E Press and Aboriginal History Incorporated) Spearritt. Roger Butler. Isaac James (1887–1973)'. Monash University. Dept.) Spearritt. Australian Dictionary of Biography. http://adb. Katie. National Centre of Biography. National Library of Australia.au/biography/northfield-isaacjames-11259/text20083. Peter Spearritt. Exhibition Gallery.anu. Percival Albert (Percy) (1902–1964)'. National Centre for Australian Studies.au/biography/trompfpercival-albert-percy-8855/text15543. National Centre of Biography. accessed 12 April 2012. of Visual Arts. Clayton. Monash University. Michelle. Vic _ .
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