Design Term

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” Steve Jobs
Typography featured image

It helps to have an appropriate language to talk about typography.  The following is a glossary of some of the words and their definitions that are used to described typography.Read More →

Shagreen Glass Case

Shagreen is fish skin used as a veneer to cover furniture and accessories. Also knownRead More →

Wrought iron an example - featured image

The term “wrought iron” refers to the material rather than the products made of iron. Modern mild steel has supplanted wrought iron, a forgeable ferrous material used up until about the middle of the twentieth century. Because of the extensive forming required during its production—under power hammers and through rollers—it was originally referred to as “wrought” (or “worked”). Read More →

Guilloche design term

The guilloche is a decorative element that encircles a line of bosses with two bands or ribbons intertwined. In the British Regency style, it was particularly well-liked and adopted by furniture designers from Renaissance to the Twenties and Fifties.Read More →

A cassone is a big decorated chest that was made in Italy between the 14th and 16th centuries. In 1472, a Florentine merchant married a young noblewoman named Vaggia Nerli. Cassoni were put on display in the most important and well-furnished room in the palace.Read More →

Dovetail joinery term

Dovetail is the name for a shape that looks like a dove’s tail and is used in woodworking. Joints are made up of tabs in the shape of a dovetail that fit into holes in the other part. Dovetails are often used to join the corners of cabinet drawers and box shapes.Read More →

Agitrop

Agitprop art (or the art of agitation) was used to manipulate ideological beliefs, specifically to spread the ideals of Communism in Russia in the period immediately following the 1917 revolution. The term ‘agitprop’ (an abbreviation for agitation propaganda: ‘agitational propaganda’) was first used shortly after the Revolution, and the Communist Party established the Department of Agitation and Propaganda in 1920.Read More →

Capitalisation - featured image

If you have ever read an old newspaper (early nineteenth century) and you look carefully at the old broadsheets.  You will notice that words are capitalised here and there and that the rules of capitalisation, some of which you will learn shortly, seem nonexistent.Read More →

Hannah Hoch's 1925 "Equillibre," or Balance," was originally titled "America Balancing Europe."

As a designer, I am passionate about the history of art and their influence on ‘visual design.’  In art history, Dada is the artistic movement that preceded Surrealism, it began in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1916 by a group of mostly painters and painters.  Dada artworks challenged the preconceived notions of what art meant.  Many Dadaists felt that the way to salvation was through political anarchy, the natural emotions, the intuitive and the irrational.Read More →

Brandewijnskom - brandy bowls

Brandewijnskom. Brandy bowls were made in Holland and Friesland in the 17th and 18th centuries.Read More →

Affichiste

Affichiste. Name (literally ‘poster designer’) taken by the French artists and photographers Raymond Hains (1926-) and Jacques de la Villeglé (1926-), who met in 1949 and created a technique to create collages from pieces of torn-down posters during the early 1950s. These works, which they displayed for the first time in 1957, were called affiches lacérées (torn posters). Read More →

beige and black chair in front of white desk

Minimalism is an art historical and critical term. The purest forms of minimalism include cubes and spheres, plain, unadorned surfaces, and solid colours. Adolf Loos’ famous quote, “Ornament is a Crime,” has become catchphrases for the minimalist design movement.Read More →

Sparton Model 557 'Sled' Table Radio, ca. 1936 Brooklyn Museum

Moderne was a decorative style that was mostly about how things looked on the outside. Moderne architecture was most noticeable in public buildings like skyscrapers and movie theatres. Postmodernism later brought back a lot of the styles that were part of the moderne movement.Read More →

slipware pottery

Slipware is pottery known by its primary decorating method in which slip is added before firing by dipping, painting or splashing on the leather-hard clay body surface. Slip is an aqueous clay body suspension that is a combination of clays and other minerals, such as quartz, feldspar, and mica.Read More →

A silver-gilt convex shield with a sizable central medallion depicting the shield of encrusted iron made by the god Hephaestus for Achilles at Troy, as it is described by Homer in Book 18 of the Iliad. The medallion, which depicts in high relief a figure of the Sun (Apollo) standing in a quadriga (a chariot drawn by four horses), is within a broad border decorated with a continuous frieze.Read More →

Silverware - Academic Style

A style of decoration, developed in the United States, based on the copying of earlier English and French styles. The style was in the tradition of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, the designs being precise and academic. It was introduced to flatware in the 1880s, initiated at the Gorham Company and occurs in hollow ware from the late 1880s, its use continued into the 1920s.Read More →

Ablution Basin - Oxford

Ablution basin. A type of basin for holding water intended: (1) in ecclesiastical usage, for rinsing the hands or some object of church plate, such as a chalice; or (2) in secular usage, for rinsing the fingers at the dinner table (sometimes called a rose-water basin). Its founder donated two ecclesiastical ablution basins in 1515-16 to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Bishop Richard Fox. See alms dish.Read More →

Hallmark example

A hallmark is a symbol or device struck at an assay office on gold or silver, indicating that article conforms to legal standards of manufacture established by the monarch, local guilds, government etc. Literally, mark applied at Goldsmith’s Hall (London assay office since 1300) but extended to cover e.g. all five stamps found on Victorian silver until 1890: assay office mark specific to each assay office; Read More →

Pedestal Table featured image

A pedestable table is originally the base support of a column, in classical architecture. A pedestal in furniture may have one of four definitions: Read More →

A method of printing from a design drawn directly on a slab of stone or other suitable material. The design is not raised in relief as in woodcut or incised as in line engraving, but drawn on a smooth printing surface. Initially, this surface was provided with a slab of unique limestone, but metal (usually zinc or aluminium) or more recently plastic sheets were prefered because they are less bulky. Read More →