OPENNESS


A thesis presented by Qiwen Ju, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design in the Department of Graphic Design of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. 


Abstract
Opening Apertures
Relevant Terms
Multiple Perspectives
︎︎︎ Stereotype
︎︎︎We
︎︎︎ Stop Asian Hate Poster
︎︎︎ On This Day
Interview with Yiyang Hei
Shifting Perspective
︎︎︎ Maze
︎︎︎ Alienation
︎︎︎ Moiré Typeface
Studying Perspective
︎︎︎ Reframing Story
My Perspective
︎︎︎ Escape From Reality
︎︎︎ El Lissitzky And Werner Jeker
︎︎︎ The Grid
︎︎︎ If You Could See What I Hear
Afterword


BACK

MY PERSPECTIVE


As a fan of abstract form, when I read The Grammar of the Ornament 8 by Owen Jones for the first time, I was deeply attracted to its structural combination and color assortment. However, after several weeks of trial and research, I found out that, for me, it’s tough and challenging to derive a graphic language from another one. So, my biggest problem was how to make the extension.

After discussing it with classmates about my problem, Katie Burwick offered me an idea to lay the foun-dation for the entire topic; that is, why not change the direction of thinking? How about starting from my perspective and discussing my understanding of ornament? As far as I am concerned, the ornament is harmonious, beautiful, and neutral, and the opposites are disordered, ugly, and extreme. Based on the opposites and my recent experience, soon I identified a target — information. The outbreak of COVID-19 is just like a sword, cutting out the mask of hidden negative emotions and revealing them to the public. As an overseas student, I sit before the computer every day, receiving the “negative emotion” pushed to me on the internet in a confined space, and it is so hard for me to be relieved. The endless push of such infor-mation also hurts people invisibly. So, as a user, how can I avoid the negative emotion of such information?

Therefore, I decided to create a set of beautiful and harmonious ornament typefaces to replace the orig-inal Latin characters. If an alphabetic combination conveys information, the ornament characters convey intuitive emotion. When you see the graphic combination converted from characters, even a message full of violence can be converted into colorful visual language. The ornament typeface represents an abstract, metaphorical, and even floppy feeling. We can try to escape from the fast information world for several seconds and enjoy the aesthetic feeling and harmony brought by the simple graphic combinations.
In the book, Owen Jones summarizes 37 propositions about ornament language. I used two of these propositions as my guide for designing this typeface. The first one is “As in every perfect work of architecture a true proportion will be found to reign between all the members which compose it, so throughout the Decorative Arts every assemblage of forms should be arranged on certain definite proportions; the whole and each particular member should be a multiple of some simple unit. Those proportions will be the most beautiful which it will be most difficult for the eye to detect.” The second one is “Colour is used to assist in the development of form, and to distinguish objects or parts of objects one from another.”
In Chinese culture, the circle has always been known to represent balance and harmony, so I used the circle as the basis for the whole typeface. After that, I duplicated four circles of different sizes to give more depth to the entire typeface in terms of color. The colors were always meant to be the perfect but here I assigned the colors based on their initial letter. For example, there are 45 colors named after A, and then I rationalize the distribution by the value of the colors.
To make the whole typeface equally readable, I added a grid layer and then designed a second version from the grid. This version is both readable and decorative. Finally, I developed this typeface as a variable font. It can change from a circle to a square.
I picked out a few sensitive photos and comb-ined them with my typeface. When I refilled the photo with my ornament typeface, the original content of the photo was replaced by a color combination.