“The following quote by Annie Dillard in her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a stunning description of her eyes being opened. This mirrors the impact Karen Nulf and Don Adleta have had on those of us who studied graphic design with them.” Robin Smith, Class of 1972
Learning how to draw has taken me a lifetime to refine. The specific techniques incorporated in these drawings have been evolving ever since 1991, while on a yearlong, professional sabbatical in New Zealand. These more recent drawings incorporate a lifetime of observation, experimentation, and gratification.
The last phase of this process is to sculpt the form. My eye looks at the overall form, not the detail, resolving the height, width and weight of the letterform first. Then I evaluate the details. The serif to the full stroke? Are they longer on the right side? How thick do they need to be to work with the thin of the letter?
The Don E. Adleta TypeShop and Bindery at Ohio University is a place and a plan. Currently, it serves the curriculum needs of the School of Art+Design, but will soon be relocated. This relocation presents some challenges, but it also reveals some visionary opportunities.
These investigations within the controlled environment of student research are a unique opportunity and would be rare within the practice. The time to achieve a perfect harmony between design and concept is the quality the student strives to accomplish.
My mentors include Wolfgang Weingart, who had the ability to inspire me. Karen Nulf was able to get me to reach farther. Gordon Salchow built my confidence. Armin Hofmann allowed me to calm complexity with simplicity.
During the 28th anniversary of the original printing of The Adleta Perpetual Calendar, it will be reprinted. This is a significant year as it is the year when the entire pattern of the years starts to repeat. The 2024 limited edition of 1000 will be distributed internationally during the 28th anniversary of its first year of use.
The visual translation process creates a graphic form to relay an idea successfully to an intended audience. The ability to create a form that appropriately interprets the idea involves careful analysis of harmonic visual aesthetics followed by comparative analysis to see when a result best matches an idea for its target audience.
Designers are the scientists of communication. We are able to visually interpret the complexities of a message and place it into a visual language that speaks to a set audience. The following topics that I have taught amplify this.
Professional Designs for The Upjohn Company; a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm founded in 1886 by William E. Upjohn. This trade dress design for The Upjohn Company’s worldwide market established a standards manual for more than 2,500 various shapes and configurations with color-coding for patient efficacy.
Typography is the letter, the word image, the space in and around the word, the line of type, the idea, the story, the context, and how it all fits together in life. How do you teach typography? I think it starts by writing letters and designing letterforms. Placing those letterforms into a word. Reading those words in a sentence, a paragraph, a story, a book, a series of files, and on.
These drawings incorporate a lifetime of observation, experimentation, and gratification. When I draw, I innovate and mediate ideas into metaphoric visual essays. I understand how the drawing can invite the audience through an implied line or an implied idea.
REACH is an exhibition featuring 50+ years of work by Ohio University Graphic Design alumni for clients around the globe. The exhibition of typography, complex communication systems, and the diversity of graphic design in contemporary culture was done by 20+ alumni of the Graphic Design program at Ohio University's College of Fine Arts.
My research is a rigorous visual and theoretical search for coincidences that expose the core of a quest. It combines rational and intuitive thinking. Logic is always active, but logic does not make me blind to the happy accident.
Exhibitions are both an ending and a beginning. Each exhibit features a body of work that is finished however it asks the question, “What is to come?”