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Ornament

by on April 13, 2011

In ‘The decriminalisation of ornament’, Alice Twemlow talks about the evolution of the use of ornamentation in design. She also appears to be having a debate on whether or not ornamentation has a place in modern society. Twemlow brings in parts of ‘Ornament and Crime’ by Loos to illustrate why ornamentation had a “falling out” with designers and other artists. Along with mentioning the “falling out” of ornamentation, Twemlow also examines it resurgence in the twentieth/ twenty-first century.

She starts off by discussing the logo for Matter , a small design and homewares store.  The logo, which is featured in the article, is reminiscent of heraldry designs of family crests. The logo features a lowercase “m” in a square with matter centered underneath. Attached to the square/box are wings with five feathers, gradually increasing in size. Above the square/box is a floating crown, centered between the wings. Extending from both sides, just below the middle of the square/box, are vines. In my opinion, Matter’s logo is more similar to that of a makers mark seen on decorative plates and other ceramics. The advantage this style logo has is that it implies Matter as a well-established company/ business. Is this a good practice for businesses to have?

The article also discusses the relationship between craft decoration and ornamentation and the role technology is playing in today’s society. As seen through history the designs and decorations reflect the current times. The problem that has occurred is that the a that we see today, is rarely designed by hand, in the desired medium. Today and artist or designer sits in front of a computer and either scans in imagery or creates vector graphics. On the positive side, this method creates consistent, clean imagery that can be reused easily.

I feel however that by creating decoration and ornamentation in this fashion becomes similar to the way society is constructing houses and businesses. Simply

Sifting through files of layouts that have been proven to work and adapting them to fit a space. While this method provides a way of reducing the time it takes for construction, you end up with “cookie cutter” designs, with very little room for individuality or expression. Is this the way we want the design industry be?

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