Graphic Design and the Computer
Constraint vs. Restraint
Graphic Design Education And The Computer
I have taken liberties with Webster's de nitions for and software but did change printers although
the purpose of making more clear the nature of the new one is still a dot matrix. Now that my 147
my comments. Constraint is de ned as the act of credentials have been stated, I can proceed with my
holding back or repression because of external forces remarks in clear conscience.To loosely paraphrase
or conditions. Restraint is de ned as control over a well known axiom, They who fail to learn from
one's thoughts, actions or feeling - reserve, to curb, history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
check or bridle, and this is internal to the individual.
This certainly applies to design, and the concept is
I am one of those persons who instinctively relates deserving of examination as it pertains to design,
to plants and animals but totally freak out with typography, printing and computers. In many
mechanical devices when they do not work. respects, the computer has created a similar dilemma
This includes cars to refrigerators and everything in as that faced by Victorians - the sudden decrease of
between. I am convinced that machines sense my constraints with a corresponding increase in options
ineptitude and deliberately test me. With good because of new technology. I think we are seeing
reason, I have a deep-seated belief in the inevitable today many of the same conditions that beset our
perversity of inanimate objects such as any kind of forebears. In hindsight, we know they failed to disci-
machine including computers. pline themselves when presented with a greater range
My rst computer sat on the desk for a year before
I turned it on. The computer was delivered to me in During the fteenth century there were numerous
1983 and turned on sometime during the Fall of 1984. constraints imposed on printers. Most of them
It was an IBM hard disk with Word Star software. were physical and related to available technology.
I learned word processing, - period. Twelve years Presses were primitive, paper was handmade, type
later I was still using the same machine was made a letter at a time and illustration was
restricted to woodcuts. Every aspect of printing was
labor intensive and demanded great skill. During the Even with its excesses, letterpress printing was
incunabula period, books were precious. Most were governed by a vertical and horizontal bias because of
printed with wide outside margins so that edges lock-up. With the invention of lithography at the
could be trimmed as they became worn or soiled. end of the eighteenth century and its perfection
The combination of technological constraints, during the early years of the nineteenth century, the
function and skills resulted in some of the most right angle constraints were eliminated.With
beautiful books ever printed. There was a unique lithography, artists could integrate illustration with
af nity between handmade paper, type, woodcut and type, create new letterforms, curve or bend lines of
printing impression that has seldom been matched type. Conventional typographic materials could be
since that time. The books themselves are works of printed letterpress and transferred to lithographic
art.With each advance in the technology of printing, stone where it was combined with that of the artist.
there were fewer constraints and lesser skills were Other than speed of production, there were few
Typography is the substituted for more dif cult ones. Woodcuts were constraints for artists using lithography.
rst replaced by wood engraving or lithography, and By the 1870s, most standard typefaces were made in
visual translation of later by halftone screen; text type was supplemented families of six or more styles of expanded, condensed,
verbal communication, with decorative faces, and eventually, the hand-caster bold to lightface and ornamental. With the invention
and traditionally, the was replaced by automatic type casters. Printing of electrotyping, the proliferation of designs and
function has dictated style. presses moved from platen to drum and steam power availability of type rapidly multiplied. By the 1880s,
With computers, replaced hand-operated equipment. Paper production major type houses published specimen catalogs three
typography has become increased through the use of wood pulp with new to four inches thick illustrating thousands of styles,
movement, color, texture
machines and processes. variations and sizes.
or shape with Evolution was relatively slow until near the end of From 1828 onward, large letters for posters,
communication often the eighteenth century, and it was the nineteenth announcements, marketing and various other uses
becoming subservient century in which dramatic changes took place. were cut from wood and mass produced. These
to decoration. Printing and type design were both stimulated by, letters regularly ranged from four to one hundred
and reflected, the growing industrial revolution. pica but some were much larger. Until this time, text
As options increased because of improved type was viewed as texture and ornamental display
technology, constraints on design became less of a type as decoration. With the large wooden letters,
factor. Technology that expedited printing or reduced shape became another consideration.With the
its cost was favored although it decreased quality. invention of paper made from wood ber,
With more options, there was a corresponding and reliance on wood engravings as well as nely
bastardization of design most commonly delineated ornamental typefaces, paper surfaces were
demonstrated through complexity and mixing of calendered and smooth. Paper was produced in an
styles. With greater production of marketing ever increasing range of sizes, grades and colors.
ephemeral and various public notices, typographic None of them possessed the same qualities as the
novelty became the rule rather than the exception. incunabula rag papers.
Near the end of the nineteenth century, all design architecture illustrated their philosophy. Others
was in a chaotic state. As constraints were eliminated believed that the source for all design was nature.
by advancement in machines and processes, few Design was an interpretation and extension of
restraints were imposed. Victorian values were a mix nature. It was believed that the principles for design
of eclectic sources. The nineteenth century was a grew out of natural laws and that imagery should
period of exploration, archaeology and colonization mirror nature.
by Europeans. Contact with foreign and ancient
cultures resulted in an exotic array of diverse imagery Yet another group believed that design should
integrated into the design repertory of the day. incorporate and reflect new technologies,
Traditional standards for value such as hand-formed materials and the industrial age. Key elements of
embellishment by artisans were still popular. their philosophy were integrity of materials and
During the nineteenth century, the same decorative substituting function for embellishment in design.
effects could be done by machines. Intricate relief These principles became central to the philosophy of
was stamped in a second, and arti cial gems the Bauhaus. During the latter years of the 149
substituted for real ones. John Ruskin was to say of nineteenth and early years of the twentieth century,
Victorian design that "...it was done without the there was a growing understanding for the need of
labor that gave it honor." restraints to establish order in design. A number of
books were published promoting different
Near the end of the nineteenth century, design chaos philosophies of design. Most books offered visual
was nally acknowledged as such, and reaction began principles best described as recipes for design.
to build. The counter action was led by various In one form or another, facets from several
individuals and groups loosely identi ed as the movements were incorporated into the Bauhaus
Arts and Crafts Movement. which emerged as the dominant voice for
The revivalists, with William Morris as their
architecture and design in the twentieth century. It
principal exponent, believed that printing should
was the Bauhaus that rmly established restraint as
return to the age of decadence for its means and values.
essential to the quality of design by making the
The Kelmscott Press was established within this
distinction between function and embellishment.
context. Paper and ink were handmade, type and From around 1900 until the 1930s, there were
decorative styles were based on those of the middle various art movements such as Dada, DeStijl,
ages, and printing was done on a hand-press. Futurism, Bauhaus and others experimenting with
Another group felt that values had declined because
type, letterform and design. Some individuals
of urban decadence, and that true values resided with
represented more than one school at different times,
peasants and were to be found in simple country life.
or followed the philosophies of more than one
To regain morality, it was necessary to return to basic
movement at the same time.
life styles and values. Folk art, home crafts and rustic
Constraint vs. Restraint
What are command constraints in the Army? A constraint is a restriction placed on the command by a higher headquarters. A constraint dictates an action or inaction, thus restricting the freedom of action of a subordinate commander. Commanders find constraints in paragraph 3 in the operation plan (OPLAN) or operation order (OPORD).
Author: Amy Fox
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