DaN FrieDMaN

March 21, 2006

Introduction of Dan Friedman

Dan Friedman is an artist whose subject deals with design and culture. He was born in Ohio and recieved his education at "Carnegie Institute of Technology" in Pittsburgh, the "Institute of Design" in Ulm, Germany, and the "School of Design" in Basel, Swizerland. In the early1970's at "Yale University" he developed guide-lines for the first program in Visual Arts at The "State University" of New York in Purchase. As a graphic designer, he has created posters, publications, packaging and visual identities for many corporations and organizations including those done in the mid-1970's as Senior Design Director of "Anspach Grossman Portugal inc". In the late 1970's, he joined the British firm "Pentagram Design", became an Associate and helped establish their office in New York. The first solo exhibition was at legendary "Fun Gallery" in 1984. Both "Neotu" in Paris and "Alchymia" in Milan have produced his experimental furniture. His works is in many public and private collections including the "Meseum of Modern Art" in New York, the "Art Institute" in Chicago, the "Gewerbmusuem" in Basel, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts" in Richmond,"Seibu" in Tokyo and the "Musee des Arts Decoratifs" in Montreal.

March 14, 2006

Dan Friedman

New York, June 1994

What do you thinkabout the state of design today?
Is graphic design pervasive throughout society, or is it virtually non-existant? I've been asking this question for quite a long time, and I don't know how to answer it. We want people to be aware of what makes it different and worthwhlie, and yet we also want to be inclusive in our definition of "design"...

There's so much in-fighting among the members of the "edge"-a frenzy about originality.It reminds me of the stuff that would go on during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Wolfgang Weingart was infuriates that everyone was ripping him off. He was a spoiled brat, but I think he deserves the ultimate credit for the "new typography."

Describe the connection between you, April Greiman, and Wolfgang Weingart.
In a nutshell: I went to study in Ulm in 1967. I had gotten a Fullbright to go to Germany, even though I really wanted to go to Basel. I became fascinated with the theoretical approach at Ulm. At Basel, in 1968, they had just started the post-graduate program. I wanted to be in the first class. I was one of two Americans, and Weingart had just started teaching there. He was young about my age. Our relationship was more as a friends than as a student/teacher relationship. But it is important to say that I was influenced by him. He was reacting against rational Swiss typography, the work of tyhe previous generation...

Unlike Weingart, I wasn't reacting against Swiss typography, because that rational system didn't really exist here in the united States except in isolated instances. Whereas Wolfgang Weingart was teaching based on intuition, I was trying to verbalize, demystify, the structures of typography. I wanted to create a method. I had to find a way to teach the rules and also how to break them at the same time, since nobody knew the rules.

When Wolfgang started lecturing and teaching in the United States in early 1970s, he realized he needed to construct a methodology, too. I believe my work was a useful model fo him in that respect...

In 1972, I was teaching one day a week at PCA (Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts), flying down to Philadelphia from New Haven. Louis Kahn and I took the same flight. That's when I met April...She had just come back from Switzerland, where she had studied for one year. She wasn't happy there, except in Weingart's classes. She had been aware of my work through Weingart, and we became friendly during the second semester at PCA. From the very beginning, I had discussions with her about vher intuitive approach to typography. She was intuitive like Weingart. He had even done a cover of TM Magazine with her picture on it, saying "I feel typography." I thought that was kind a crny.

Often, I would play devil's advocate with April, arguing for a more rigorous methodological approach, especially in teaching. April continues to work from an intuitive base, and, like Weingart, she has excellent intuitions. BUt I'm still hung up on content. She would say that there is content in the form. And I would say, yes, but it's a very limited means of expressing content. Consider minimalist painting, such as Albers:there is implicit meaning there. But that's a very territory to work in. It limits the kind of content you can deal with.

I still follow April's work. She sees Calofornia as a place somewhere in outspace, moved by primal spirits. I see it as a place where there are earthquekes, mudslides, and gang warfare. As she sees it, her "heavenly hyperspace" has meaning in it-Jungian psychology, spiritual issues but to me it's limited in its ability to deal with other kind of issues....It's hypocritical for me to citicize it too much,though, because I'm often guilty of the same thing. The differece is, I keep it in my own apertment.


Graphic Design gives form to countless messages we see and read each day. Designers use typefaces, colours, symbols, and images to transmit informayion and ideas, generating a literacy of the eye that shape our experience of the world. During the last fifteen years, technological innovation,from the printed page to the Internet.

Design elicits divergent responses in a crowded landscape of competing signals, where people are confronted with endless demands to buy, watch, and participate.

Introduction of Typography...

Typography is the design of letterforms and their organization in space and time.
Typography is the basic grammar of graphic design, its common currency. Over the last twenty years, some designers have sought to base their work in histirical or regional traditions, while others have pushed toward new ground. Graphic designers have plumbed the heritage of typogarphic history, using digital and photographic technologies to generate countless interpretations of typefaces from the near and distant past. this search has broadened the vocabulary of design, while raising questions about appropriate relationships to history.

The central social function of graphic design is to embody identity through visual forms.Design creates a visual personality for institutions, products, audiences, and for designers themselves. Over the past fiffteen years, design for corporate identity has come to favour open, flexible languages overrigid systems. corporate logos and brand images have generated a literacy of the eye, a commercial alphabets of symbols and style familiar to consumers. Activist groups have used design to publicize specific issues, from feminism to AIDS, while designers working within the subcultures to rave, hip hop, skateboarding, and snowboarding have envolved visual languages that mix styles and symbols from the mass media and the urban underground. In the 1980's, the design profession-itself a subculture-exprienced an identity crisis, as pracitioners challanged the profession's authority and looked outside its established walls for easthetic and social models.

History of Typography...

While the typographer's art is rooted in the growing body of existing forms, the broader social role of printed letters is to preserve the evidence of civilixation in a permanent and tangible form. While some of the most ambitious approuches to graphic design in the twentieth century have sought to reject old traditions in pursuit of originality, typographic forms are always subject to appropriation and reuse-a new typeface quickly enters the public realm, where its meaning is open to change.

O R Y +

Dead History, typeface, 1990
Designer : P. Scott Makela (b. 1960)
Courtesy Emigre Fonts, Sacramento

Dan Friedman ARTWORK

Touchstone is Viterbo University's annual art and literary magazine. Its purpose is to provide students with an outlet allows students a learning opportunity through the creation of this professionally published journal.


MesTi DgR!!!