Art and Design

Hannah Snow

Graphic Design

2013


Back to Senior Show 2013

After three years of experimenting with typography, I started creating typographic prints by cutting letters out of paper. This came after seeing Matthew Hoffman’s art exhibition, We’re All in This Together. In my senior thesis show, I incorporate hand-cut lettering into a bakery branding project. I named the brand Bag-L as a response to all the criticism I get for pronouncing the word ‘bagel’ as ‘baggle.’ I made a display of this hand-cut style through the large menu back drop and a counter top. I use various materials to get a crafted effect, including vinyl, paint, and cut out cardboard. Extending it further, I apply the branding to various packaging pieces such as cream cheese containers, coffee cups, and to-go bags. With all the elements, I set a tone for my bagel brand that is personal, and friendly. Bag-L a place anyone could go without having to worry how to pronounce anything on the menu, or even the word bagel itself.


Artist Statement
I started ordering scones my freshman year because people laughed at me when I said “bag-gle”. Senior year, I’m facing my previous insecurity head-on and opening a bakery named Bag-L. It’s a bakery tolerant of all pronunciations — bag-gle, bay-gul, bog-gle, etc. — just don’t call it a doughnut. As a designer, I wanted a well-rounded portfolio that included an extensive branding project and gave me an excuse to eat bagels and drink coffee for research.

For the past three years I’ve been experimenting with type. In typography class, I learned the basics of setting type in traditional and modern layouts. Then I took a close look at postmodern trends and the current rebellion of computer-based design. My recent obsession follows this play with type that is hand drawn, cut, or made from unorthodox materials. This came from observing the work of Stefan Sagmeister, Chris Piascik, and other postmodern designers who reject the use of computers. In topics class, I used materials such as syrup, fabric softener, condiments, toothpaste, and spoons to communicate messages. One of the main themes in postmodern art and design is the critique of materials. Materials are not neutral, each carries along a weighted meaning and history behind it. Upon entering the 1980s, artists started using nontraditional materials that related more to culture, making their art more accessible. Artist Tom Friedman pushed this idea by using pedestrian objects in his work.

For example, his construction paper self-portrait is displayed as a gruesome, torn apart body, but the juvenile material subdues its severity. My favorite design work is a result of incorporating hand crafted elements to the piece. Although it can be tedious and time-consuming, it shows a designer’s personal touch. During my time as the head of marketing and advertising on Student Activities, I tried to add hand drawn, or even stenciled type in my design to stand out from other advertisements on campus. My work goes against Swiss design which favors geometric grids and sans serif typography. Swiss designers like Josef Müller-Brockmann and Armin Hoffman capitalized on a simple, straightforward aesthetic. Yet what was innovative and striking back in the 1950s is overdone today. Modern sans serif typography is useful for legibility and simplicity, but it also carries an impersonal coldness with it. It has its place in graphic design, but I am more interested in typography that has been physically manipulated off the screen.

Matthew Hoffman’s art exhibition We’re All in This Together at The Coop influenced my work with cutting letters out of paper. His hand cut typography prints prompted me to create similar prints of my own. Although Hoffman created messages of advice and encouragement framed for a wide audience, I wanted my prints to focus on a specific audience. While living in Chicago for a semester I got to experience the highs and lows of public transportation. I did a series of advices for L train passengers using this hand-cut technique. The most challenging part was coming up with concise phrases and
imagery that would elicit recognition (and hopefully laughs) from the audience.

Design is art for the business world. In preparation for my senior show, I took special note of the different identities of coffee shops, frozen yogurt joints, and restaurants that I visited. I considered what kind of design drew me in and what fell flat. Well-known brands such as Chipotle and Caribou Coffee use hand drawn typography and casual language to connect on a personal level with their customers. The Doughnut Vault, located in the Near North side of Chicago brands itself with many hand-touched elements. Their menu is painted on the outside of their building and on mirrors inside. They stamp
their logo on coffee cups and to-go bags. The complete experience and superior doughnuts keeps customers coming back, even if you have to wait in line for an hour to buy a doughnut. I appreciate businesses who take the time to create visually stimulating atmosphere with hand touched elements.

My goal in this thesis project was to round out my portfolio with a branding project combined with my love for hand cut type. In my Bag-L brand, I create a display of my hand-cut design style through the large menu back drop and a counter top. I use various materials to get a crafted effect, including vinyl, paint, and cut out cardboard. Extending it further, I apply the branding to various packaging pieces such as cream cheese containers, coffee cups, and to-go bags. With all the elements, I set a tone for my
bagel brand that is personal, and friendly. Bag-L a place anyone could go without having to worry how to pronounce anything on the menu, or even the word bagel itself.