Design in theory and practice - PDF by Ernest Allen Batchelder

Design in theory and practice

Design in theory and practice

From Introduction:

It is the aim of this book to be helpful, not only to teachers and students who may be directly interested in the subject but to the many others who feel the lack of a criterion or standard to assist them in forming a judgment in questions of design. Though the book is written primarily for workers, I have endeavoured to tell the story in such a way that it may be of interest to the general reader. A judgment is of little value unless it can be backed with a logical reason.

 If we would judge wisely and discriminate well, it must be from a more stable basis than personal whim or fancy. To fully appreciate a piece of constructive work, it is necessary to put one's self as nearly as is possible in the place of the worker, study the environment in which he worked, the conditions that confronted him in a solution of his problem, the technical limitations and possibilities through which his idea took definite form and from which his design derives character and style. Hence we may consider as pertinent any serious discussion which aims to define the principles of design and their practical application, touching upon a more sane, more artistic production, on the one hand, and a more intelligent, more discriminating judgment on the other. 

The purpose of the book is best accomplished by the presentation of a series of problems. We learn by doing. In setting mind and hand to the solution of a definite problem, we meet and overcome questions which no amount of reading can foresee.

 We may attend lectures and indulge in critical discussions of design in terms of language; we may become well versed in the history of art, and in bio- graphical data pertaining to the lives of artists; yet find ourselves far removed from any true appreciation of the work of the past, or quite at a loss when confronted by a simple problem in constructive design demanding artistic invention. 

Our problems lead from the simple, constructive use of lines and forms under clearly defined limitations to work involving considerable invention, fine feeling, and freedom of execution. They begin with the geometric and work toward Nature; with the abstract, coming gradually into closer relation with the constructive questions discussed in the different chapters of the book. 

The work is in no sense an effort to formulate a system or method for teaching design. Rather, it is a presentation of a few among many problems that have gradually developed during several years of teaching and practice. Many have found this work helpful, and its appearance in a series of magazine articles ('The Craftsman) has aroused sufficient interest to justify its publication in book form. 

Through the courtesy of the editor of The Craftsman, the material has been also selected from articles contributed to that magazine subsequent to the original series. The teacher of design in America must meet conditions quite different from those found in the Old World. Each country abroad has distinctive national traditions. We have no traditions; in which fact is our best hope. Our salvation is to be sought not in borrowing from Europe, but in boldly striking for an elementary basis on which to build, in digging for bedrock on which to raise our superstructure. 

The student abroad is at all times within easy reach of museums and galleries, of churches and monuments, through which the development of the art of his own and other countries may be traced, and which offer facilities for comparative study not open to most students in America. Books, photographs, even casts, are insufficient to stimulate the imagination or develop the thought and fine feeling essential to fine work; much less do they furnish a clew to work expressing something of American life and character. 

Throughout the book, the simplest type of technique with brush and pencil has been adhered to. It is not even brush-made design that is sought; for there may be a distinctive style imparted to a design through the manipulation peculiar to the brush. The sole purpose here is to make the worker think in terms of design, whatever medium or technique he may choose to employ. Skill in rendering with various mediums, charcoal, pencil, water and oil colours, contributes much to the problems given. But a book is no place for the teaching of technique.

the book details :
  • Author: Ernest Allen Batchelder
  • Publication date: 1910
  • Company:  New York: Macmillan

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