The first thing which occurred after being told to begin to blog was writer’s block and blankness. Brain strike. Plain and good stage fright. Of course, to be fair, receiving a first target of “7 posts, each 500 words and all written on the first day of class onto paper” was – gently put – quite a bit more than ever imagined to come my way and thus I think I’m excused to be a tad overwhelmed, but as I do like a good challenge, this one calls to be tackled and mastered.
A major design hurdle I often have to overcome is the fact that I am Swiss by nature and only American by marriage. Due to this fact my English vocabulary and grammar can be quite lacking at times and the search for the right words overly frustrating due to limitations I did not know when I mainly spoke German. I definitely see writing to be one aspect of design, as I believe not only in visual design but also in acoustic beauty as well as in verbal and written words reflecting language aesthetics and if you love beauty it will show woven throughout the strands of your life.
History likes to begin with Adam and Eve, thus I think it quite proper to begin by introducing myself with my first VIVID memory I have of sucking in every drop of knowledge about art, design, colors and technics. This occurred when I put my hand on my first “art bible” which is “Knaur’s Mal- und Zeichenbuch” (Knaur’s paint and Drawing book) – a 432 pages book that covers so many art basics in an (now) old fashioned but very solid way.
At the time I was about 8 years old and I checked-out the book from our town library. If memory serves right, we had to return a book within 2 weeks. Between 8 and 14 I borrowed this exact book over and over again, so often that the library decided to give it to me as a gift when time had come to range it out of their stock due to it’s age. To this very day I still have this book in my possession. It has survived many moves, not only within Switzerland but also to Paris and Berlin and finally across the ocean to the United States.
The latest edition is dated 2004 whereas mine is from 1962. Not only is it a basic influence of mine, but also combines fond memories of the past and a gratefulness that I was fortunate enough to have this jewel.
When I now open this book in its linen binding, I still remember the pages as I saw them then, and I can again feel the awe I used to have when looking at those drawings and the almost feverish intensity when I’d suck-up the technical details of how to do something, mentally following the instructions and packing the knowledge carefully into the various niches of my brain.