Re/Responsive Eye






Above, top to bottom: James Dunphy’s exhibition graphics were designed to be assembled within the viewer’s eye with optical effects like foreshortening and reflection. Katie Richanbach’s campaign was inspired by the color interaction studies of Josef Albers. Alison Munn’s buttons and posters use optical after-images to reveal branding only after the viewer has passed it by.

Wikipedia reports the following:

In 1965, an exhibition called The Responsive Eye, created by William C. Seitz was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The works shown were wide ranging, encompassing the minimalism of Frank Stella, the smooth plasticity of Alexander Liberman, the collaborative efforts of the Anonima group, alongside the masters of the movement: Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley and the Italian Getulio Alviani. The exhibition focused on the perceptual aspects of art, which result both from the illusion of movement and the interaction of color relationships. The exhibition was enormously popular with the general public, though less so with the critics.

Suppose in honor of the show’s 45th anniversary, MoMA is bringing many of the original works back to the museum and placing them alongside contemporary examples from the worlds of art and design.

On the blog this week, propose several works you think the curators should consider as they make their final selections. In the meantime, design 3 or 4 headline treatments for MoMA’s outdoor advertising and prepare comps showing the headline treatments in place. Along with these treatments, plan to show the process by which you developed this typographic solution, including working drawings, mathematical models, optical distortion effects, etc.

This assignment is from the class Typographic Research.



A few selections from the history of color systems from the “eclectic bookart” blog BibliOdyssey. A particular favorite is this one by Tobias Mayer from 1758. (BibliOdyssey’s annotated archives are done entirely in and available here.) See more color systems at the online Color Museum and Prof. Hans Irtel’s “Color Systems” site. A great classical essay on color is Wittgenstein’s book on the subject; a great contemporary essay is James Goggin’s “In Living Color” for Dot Dot Dot #6. My thoughts on arranging books by color are here.


Softbank, one of the three largest cellular carriers in Japan, has joined forces with Pantone to develop a color-coordinated selection of new phones. See the energetic ad here (thx, Leslie).


"The absence of the printed word not only draws attention to the role text plays in the modern landscape but also simultaneously emphasizes alternative forms of communication such as symbols, colors, architecture and corporate branding." From Matt Siber’s great photo series Untitled Project (via DO).


Some new examples of arranging books by color popped up on Apartment Therapy the other day. An essay I wrote on this method of arrangement for Design Observer is here.


The older I get, the more I try to preserve the sense of wonder I had as a child learning to read, write, and draw. Thanks to the glory of YouTube, two classic cinematic takes on the ABC’s from Sesame Street are now online: one alphabet is made by a crowd of people and the other is made from NYC street signs. Both are glorious. So is the original set of 1951 Colorforms for the budding Bauhaus baby in your life.