Deze week las ik het boek Nigel Holmes about information design – met de voormalige graphic designer van Time magazine. Holmes vertelt over zijn werk, de journalistiek en het maken van infographics. Verspreid door het boekje noemt hij ook zijn inspiratiebronnen.
Holmes verwijst als eerste naar de illustraties in het wekelijkse BBC magazine, waar bij veel radioprogramma’s en soms tv-programma’s een kleine zwart-wit illustratie stond: The Radio Times die hem inspireerden in zijn jeugd:
“Among the artists I studied closely for their diagrammatic skills were Victor Reinganum and Eric Fraser. They both did highly organized line drawings that were slightly cubist.”
Maar ook andere Radio Times illustratoren waren favoriet:
“I also looked forward every week to see if any of my favorite illustrators were there: Bob Sherriffs, Heath Robinson, Terence Greer, Edwin Bawden and Peter Kneebone. Kneebone had a simple line style and he drew silly things. I saw that it was OK to have fun and make fun of the subject.”
Geinspireerd door de posters van zijn helden stuurde Holmes als jongetje van twaalf zijn tekeningen naar Punch. Ze kwamen allemaal terug met een beleefde, handgeschreven afwijzing.
“Poster artists I admired included Abram Games (for his simplicity), A.M. Cassandre (for his bold elegance), E.McKnight Kauffer, Tom Ekersley, Andre Francois, and Raymond Savignac. Francois also appeared regularly in Punch, which we got at home. But it was Fougasse (real name: Cyril Bird) who really showed me how simple a line drawing could be. ”
Zelf kende ik Eric Gill alleen van zijn Gill Sans lettertype, maar Gills maakte ook etsen.
“An eccentric English wood engraver and sculptor whose work influenced me was Eric Gill. He also drew my favorite typeface, Gill Sans. There’s something about cutting into hard boxwood that is very unforgiving – you can’t correct mistakes, so you have to plan the whole picture out before you start engraving. Perhaps because of this, much of Gill’s work is reduced to a few simple lines. Nicholas Bentley illustrated a few books I owned and, like Gill, he also drew with few lines and little or no tone – just solid blacks end an even, same-thickness line.”
“Likewise, but much earlier, Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations employed simple, unmodulated, almost mechanically produced lines with startling areas of flat black and terrific sense of overall design.”
Meer werk van Aubrey Beardsley.
“A little later, some of Saul Steinberg’s greatly simplified line drawings of people, and buildings, (and just lines) showed me a way to leave behind the traditional art school methods of illustration I was taught at Hull Art School, where I went for three years before going to the RCA.”
AFB Saul Steinberg
Katsumie Masaru – ontwerper van de pictogrammen van de Olympische Spelen in 1964 – noemt Holmes een bijzonder grote invloed:
“Katsumie Masaru drew the Olympic sports symbols for the 1964 games in Tokyo. Full of energy, really picturing each sport, and elegant in what they leave out as much as what is there, they remain to my mind the best set of Olympic games symbols ever drawn.”
Ook Otto Neurath heeft Holmes met zijn ISOTYPE (International System Of TYpographic Picture Education) geinspireerd. Samen met ontwerper Gerd Arntz maakte de Weense sociaal wetenschapper en filosoof meer dan 4000 pictogrammen. Over hen zegt Holmes:
“Neurath is probably the biggest single influence on my work and thinking. Among other things, his work taught me this: you can see what the subject of the chart is as soon as you look at it, before you understand anything about the numbers. He made a place for illustration, or at least pictorial elements, in otherwise “boring” charts.”
“The combination of Neurath’s “statically accountable” process with the artistry of Gerd Arntz is unbeatable. (…) That guy could really “draw”. Even though the result was always simple and symbolic. It was Arntz’s work that made Nearath a succes, I’m sure.”