Author: Caitlin Condell

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Katagami, Arrow Design Imitating Warp Ikat (kasuri), late 19th–early 20th century; Japan; cut mulberry paper treated with persimmon tannin and silk thread; 46.7 x 34 cm (18 3/8 x 13 3/8 in.) Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22 in.); Gift of Helen Snyder; 1976-103-289
Pattern Papers
The word katagami, the Japanese term for the paper stencil used to print patterns on fabric, translates literally as “pattern paper.” Featuring designs and motifs drawn from nature, traditional folklore, and literature, katagami are crafted as tools to be used in the resist-dyeing process that is used to produce printed textiles in Japan. The patterns...
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Fragile Beasts and Where to Find Them
Have you ever wondered where you could find a spotted, two-legged creature with the body of a lizard, the ears of a goat, the wings of a bird and the claws of a chicken?  How about a monster with the head of a dolphin, ears of acanthus leaves, the body of a snake, and a tail...
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Imitating Nature
Jianping He was among forty Asian designers invited by the Taiwanese calligrapher Tong Yang-Tze to collaborate on a group of twenty-four works of calligraphy focusing on the subject of “imitating nature.” The theme, which had long been a driving influence in the tradition of Chinese painting and calligraphy, also reminded He of a quote by Albert Einstein: “Look...
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New Horizons
In 2012, under the direction of Stephen Frykholm, Herman Miller, Inc. solicited proposals from a group of international graphic designers for a limited edition poster campaign that would highlight ten of their iconic products still in production.  Ten posters, produced in a edition of ten copies of each, were printed and exhibited in a small...
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Harmonious Modularity
During the second World War, the French city of Le Havre was severely bombed. August Perret, a pioneering French modernist architect, was tasked with rebuilding the city. Perret’s reconstruction is considered exceptional for its seamless integration of the city’s extant historic structures with modern concrete construction and design innovations. Perret’s new buildings for Le Havre...
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Typographic Wonder
Canadian designer Marian Bantjes began her career as a typesetter before creating a personal style that combines type and ornament.  This distinctive aesthetic has allowed her to cross boundaries between fine arts and design, illustration and typography. This poster was produced to advertise the annual conference of the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA). It was printed in...
Drawing, Design for a Surtout de Table, for State Porcelain Service of Ismail, Khedive of Egypt, 1873–76. brush and watercolor, gouache, gold paint, black ink and wash, traces of graphite or black chalk on heavy tan wove paper. Museum purchase through gift of Levy-Hermanos Foundation, Inc. and Henry W. Safran Foundation, Inc. and from Friends of Drawings and Prints and Drawings and Prints Council Funds. 2000-8-1.
Egyptomania in Egypt
Throughout the 19th century, Egypt was considered to be nominally a province of the Ottoman Empire, although both France and Britain worked to assert influence and control in the country. Isma’il Pasha was a young man when succeeded his uncle as Khedive (Viceroy) of Egypt in 1863. Isma’il presided over the country as it was...
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A Room of One’s Own
German-born Margarethe (Grete) Fröhlich was a young artist when she moved to Frankfurt, Germany in 1929.  In the early 1920s Frankfurt had experienced a housing crisis.  In an effort to address the shortage of affordable housing, the city embarked on a major building project, constructing nearly 15,000 residences in a period of five years.  The...
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Anatomy of the Design Process
Many graphic designers have explored the graphic possibilities of lithography by combining it with photography. Among those was E. McKnight Kauffer, an American designer who moved to London just before the First World War and stayed until the advent of the second. Kauffer often combined illustration with halftone reproductions of photographic elements, and he remained committed...