Discussion Point: How has use of visual hierarchy and grid evolved with the emergence of digital technologies over the traditions qualities and potential constraints inherent in letterpress? Find 2 examples to compare and contrast.
In the past ages, the visual hierarchy and grid were mostly simple. There were less colours that could be applied, less design of the layouts, etc. With the development of digital technologies, a larger variety of design tools could be applied in designing the visual hierarchy. For instance, colours, typeface are already the most significance improvements in designing visual hierarchy.
In traditional letterpress, the use of visual hierarchy and grid were limited as there were not as much as technologies that helped the designer to create larger variety of designs. In traditional letterpress, there were limited typefaces to be used as it was expensive and inconvenient to produce many typefaces. Also, there were limited colours in design as it was difficult for the letterpress printers to print multiple colours. Traditional letterpress technology did not allow the designers to overlap the text because of the limitation in printing technology.
While with the emergence of digital technologies, the use of visual hierarchy and grid has evolved. The use of the colours could be adjusted for different purpose, such as pointing out some of the main issues or differentiate different topics with different colours. There could also be more contents within one page, as there are different typefaces and colours that could help differentiate them.
Here are the posters of Life Magazine.
The one on the left was the cover of Life Magazine in 1926, and the right one was in 2012.
There were significant differences between them in terms of the use of visual hierarchy. Apparently the 2012 covers conveys more information than 1926 one. Although the magazine has chosen a coloured photo as the major design of the cover, much information could still be put on the cover, with the use of different typefaces and colours on the texts. Therefore, the text could still stand out even it is on the colourful picture. However, comparing with 2012 cover, the cover in 1926 could hardly achieve that. As seen in the picture, the hand drawing of the two people dancing had already occupied most of the page, it could hardly print some texts over the hand drawing as the colour of either the hand drawing or the text may turned after mixing with other colours. Also, the text could hardly be seen clearly as the text may be overlapped with the drawing.