Here is a snapshot of the work done on day one. (I lost the name tags! oops – sorry)
You can see how everyone has been diligently mixing colour swatches and painting on either side of white lines ‘freehand’ Adolf Bernd did not use masking fluid, but he had an advantage over us in that some of these letters are a mere 7cm tall (some are 20cm) but all of Bernd’s were between 35 and 45cm in height. Yes! He worked big.
As soon as you get a sense of the monumentality of his lettering, you realise that his patternwork was still quite bold and that this adds a lot more abstraction to the letterform. Just for fun, I enlarged one of his letter-designs to the full size of paper – 45cm x 60cm, and it was very impressive and quite beautiful. Now imagine a gallery filled with these huge letters. Yummy-licious?
Sometimes his colour combinations were simple and this was the one that Sue chose to try. But have a look at those little patterns on the sides of the letter. Nice! Bernd’s letters were usually quite chunky like this.
Just for fun, I took Els’ piece to the next stage in Photoshop, duplicating the blue square (her Art Deco design) and drew the middle bar a bit darker. This is by way of apology for walking off with her scissors!
Els likes to know where she is going so it will be quite an adventure for her – to be making it up as she goes. I am convinced that Bernd had a sketchy idea in his head and did a lot of the designing ‘on site’ If you do it all in advance its really difficult to navigate because areas of colours have such an impact on the design. The use of colours can simplify a design or make it much more complex.
Aren’t Greek letters fabulous. I was talking about how I thought Bernd designed as he went. Ann had some interesting challenges. She decided to make this one panel rather than two and so needed a filler of some sort. When the design was off centre, she had to balance the overall inbetween spaces and it became delightfully assymetrical.
That is the joy of designing as you go. Otherwise it just becomes ‘paint by numbers’ and once you have done all the drawing and all the decision making, it is so boring to start the actual piece. I like serendipity and challenges and often my designs are the better for it. And if its an almighty flop, it’s quicker to do it twice than to over-plan first time around.
In finishing (I hope I have everyone’s work recorded), here is some encouragement to everyone over fifty. Bernd retired from graphic design at the age of 61 and spent the last twenty years of his life producing this exquisite collection.