What the Tech!? site redesign (8)

Summer Projects: 4\n\nThis is one…the redesign (or perhaps just the design) of the What the Tech?! website.\n\nSteve is working on site architecture, me, interface/graphic design.

The starting point, conceptually, is Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, last of the German Expressionist Cinema offerings (the first being “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”). the man-machineThe film has some interesting themes: the mechanization of man as worker, and the literal mechanization of man in terms of the man-machine, the false Maria. In the same way the workers and elite are shown as polarized opposites in living conditions, locale and even palette and texture, so to is the representation of technology in the different strata. Good springboard for visual fodder for a radio show about technology and the human condition. Visuals: when I look at the movie, a black and white 1927 offering, the stylization provides some strong motifs. High contrast, grainy, overall- rather dark. Deco lines, beautiful rounded forms, machine as architecture.One thought was to actually stage some photos with me, Steve, Rick and Dave taking on various roles from the movie. Referencing, possibly satirizing, the movie. Problem with that is that we have significant content on the site, and the balance needs to be in favor of the text and the photos need to work in service of that.

Playing with the initial sketches, it’s easy to be seduced by the page as canvas. Much of the initial drawings are informative, but entirely unusable in their current state. They’re drawings, and digital paintings, not web backdrops as yet. Still, it is worthwhile to indulge the artist, as all this eventually feeds into the design in some form. At the initial stages, quantity counts. Synthesis and refinement are for later. So now I am researching posters, graphic design from the period to see how text and images made their alliances then. Paintings from the period are fabulous. Look to Kandinsky, Paul Klee, members of The Bridge and The Blue Riders. We’ll see how it goes.

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