Richard Doubleday, assistant professor of graphic design at the LSU School of Art, has recently received three grants to help fund his research in areas ranging from modern Chinese graphic design to the 1930s British journal, Typography, and the German master typographer Jan Tschichold.
In March 2014, Doubleday lectured and led a class critique at Auburn University. His travel to Auburn was supported by an LSU Southeastern Conference Faculty Travel Grant, a program intended to enhance faculty collaboration between SEC member universities. The program gives faculty from one SEC institution the opportunity to travel to another SEC campus to exchange ideas, develop grant proposals, and conduct research.
The subject of Doubleday’s lecture at Auburn was Master Typographer Jan Tschichold’s life, work, and legacy. Tschichold (1902–74) was one of the most outstanding and influential designers of the 20th century. He was a master in his field and frequently lectured and wrote a number of highly influential books on the subject of typography. Tschichold designed many classic typefaces, including the bestselling Sabon.
Doubleday’s lecture was illustrated with archival photography and offered an overview of Tschichold’s major influences and innovations, including his three landmark writings: Elementare Typographie (1925), Die Neue Typographie (1928), and Typographiische Gestaltung (1935). The lecture also featured Tschichold’s seminal poster design, his groundbreaking work with Penguin Books, and his later appropriation of classical typography.
Doubleday received a second travel grant from the LSU Council on Research Summer Stipend Program. These supporting funds will support his travel to Reading and London, where he hopes to gather additional data for a research project examining the 1930s quarterly journal, Typography. Doubleday will have the opportunity to study primary resources firsthand at the Reading University Rare Books Library, the British Library, and the St. Bride Library.
Typography was edited by Robert Harling and published in London and Hertford, England, by printer and publisher James Shand in the 1930s. The journal explored the juncture of popular and high culture and made an important contribution to the British printing and graphic art industry by covering contemporary typographic advancements and historical articles not featured elsewhere. Harling’s intent was to reveal typography in everyday objects such as newspaper pages, transportation timetables, and tea labels. The quarterly’s layout included unique bound-in mounted insets, gatefolds, and decorative colored paper.
Doubleday’s research will explore and document the underlying principles and social and cultural values that defined modern British graphic design at the time, with particular attention to Shenval Press (founded by James Shand, the publisher of Typography). The research will illustrate Harling’s ambitious undertaking and masterful editorial and typographic accomplishments. Doubleday hopes his research will place more emphasis on critical writing and the history of British graphic arts and its important role within the academic curricula.
Doubleday is also the recipient of a grant from the Asian Cultural Council that will help fund the development of a book on contemporary Chinese graphic design. The Asian Cultural Council supports transformative cultural exchange by awarding grants to artists, scholars, and arts and humanities professionals, as well as organizations and educational institutions from the United States and Asia for research, study, and creative work within the countries of Asia.
The ACC grant will enable Doubleday and his colleague, Associate Professor Stephen Goldstein of Fitchburg State University, to continue their research and to explore with design educators and leading professional designers the design theory, thinking, and practices shared between Eastern and Western design movements. Their objective is to document the emerging visual language of modern Chinese graphic design in an aesthetic, social, cultural, and historical context, with a focus on the developments and achievements that began in China in 1979.
Their research and collaborative work will be the first significant study of modern Chinese design with Chinese designers and scholars produced by scholars outside of the country. Doubleday said their work will “expand design historical knowledge; lead the way in furthering the study, understanding, and appreciation of China’s culture; and illuminate the aesthetic values in design communications across cultures.”
In addition to his research efforts, in June 2014, Doubleday will give talks at Tsinghua University and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and he will lead a solo exhibition and week-long workshop with graduate graphic design students at the College of Digital Arts at Shanghai University.
Doubleday will certainly have a busy summer ahead with his travels abroad. For more information about the creative and research projects of LSU School of Art faculty, visit art.lsu.edu.
About LSU School of Art
The LSU School of Art combines the best of both worlds: the resources and faculty of a large liberal arts institution and the personal attention that comes in a close-knit community. Students in the School of Art develop specialized skills while experimenting with various mediums, exploring their own creative intuition, and studying art history and contemporary art theory. Education comes from intensive critiques, working studio classes, dedicated professors, and engagement with the larger arts community through a curriculum that combines academic teaching and hands-on experiences, both on and off campus.
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