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Ink under my nails. You still have ten fingers and why that matters

Abstract

Brody Neuenschwander will present an impassioned argument for using your hands and real materials to make the basic elements of graphic design.  Neuenschwander has been a calligrapher and studio artist for nearly thirty years and has worked with pens, brushes, ink, paint, canvas, paper, plaster, wood, metal, glass......The results of his studio activity are often filmed, scanned or digitized to create the final product.  Some mark making originates on screen and lives a purely digital life. 

In this richly illustrated lecture he will talk about the interface between his worktop and his laptop. There is more to it than might be imagined; physical processes usually lead to new and more original ideas faster than digital processes.  The mastery of hand skills such as calligraphy, drawing and painting are essential tools in the designer's arsenal.  To give but one example: when developing ideas for a new logo, dozens of different versions can be more quickly generated with a skilled hand and a range of writing and drawing instruments than on screen with mouse or stylus. This speed in creating variations depends on a good knowledge of letterforms and the ability to draw with a confident hand.  Once the ink is dry, the first rough trials can be scanned and retouched, recombined and rethought with stylus and Wacom tablet.  Within a few hours a presentation of a dozen strong ideas can be prepared for the client.

It is easy to forget that our hands are joined to our brains, and that our creativity comes by combining physical and mental processes.  Digital design that ignores the tactile, the kinetic and the sensual can be dry, dull and lifeless.  It can be good to shut down the computer and get some grit under your nails.