Johanna Drucker argues in her piece on “Experimental Typography as a Modern Art Practice digs into the nineteenth century and the avant-garde that was happening to the art of typography. In essence she compares the difference between what we had in the early-mid 20th century compared to the past – how much has changes and just how much as stayed the same.
One of the main points that Drucker is trying to make is the importance of experimentation in art and typography. In one way we can understand that written typography is important to the experimentation and it’s emphasis on linguistics, poetics and visual arts. It was the poets in particular who had great influence in linguistics. There was also a situational context when it comes to advertising and artistic publishing. These artistic achievement through advertising are unfortunately downgraded by the advancement of publishing since Gutenberg. We also publish in two ways – marked and unmarked. This tripped me up a little till Drucker was able to establish the difference. By unmarked she means that texts are untouched by author or publisher and are purely the words of the author/narration like the bible. The marked text are the ones who are more free with textual artists decisions. This included anything from varying fonts and colors do draw attention to the action for emphasis and notation purposes while also denoting those that are not beyond the norm.
A second main point that Drucker makes is about the design elements and consciousness that goes into book design. Due to the Arts and Crafts movement (which we learn is more than a child’s playtime) called attention to the material qualities of printed works. It was William Morris and his volumes however that altered the book form to an art form and object rather than just a vehicle for text. This kind of change was evident in trade books, manuscripts, and other elements of fine press production.
The third aspect Drucker attempts to argue is the separation and distinction between advertising and book design. Three decades before institutions began to practice advertising academically or professionally it was developing it’s own language, its own vocabulary separate from printed texts. These individual aspects were made distinct in the 1913 article in La Pablicite where it was laid out that advertising would be an improved upon form of typography able to communicate individuality. Advertisements were becoming more and more bizarre but they were doing their job – by individually making themselves known they were catching the eye of their audience.
One thing that tripped be up is the idea that no much has changed since the beginning of publications and the invention of the fine press. I understand that the ideas behind it have not been innovational since its inception but we do not print in the way we used to. Not as much thought it given to a given page when we are assured that each copy will indeed be a copy of the page it is meant to mimic.
The second thing that tripped me up in the reading of Drucker was the description of the advertisement examples provided on page 100-101. Perhaps it is because of the language difference but it made it harder to understand the objections toward the artwork and how it was to reach its audience. I believe that critiques at the time would not have understood some advertisement of this sort in the time as they were new and uncanny. I suspect with time the individual styles of these ads were regulated to what we have today, a century later, and they were surely change again.
(I realize this is probably not intentional but the shady print or copy of the text would often make reading and concentration hard. Interestingly enough it was also easier when I moved the pages further away from my face.)
My question for the class and author is about her notion (designated on page 96) that suggests a hierarchy of technology, one leading to the other, which I believe is something we fought against earlier in our class discussions.