The 45 RPM Adapter

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The object presented is a 45 RPM adapter. Sometimes referred to as a 45 record insert, or 7 inch adapter, the object is a small insert that is placed in the middle of a 45 RPM record in order for it to be played on the more common 78 RPM sized spindle of a record player. I have chosen this object because I work at a radio station, and we have a pretty big vinyl collection. I remember being puzzled the first time I found a 45 adapter laying around, I had no idea what it was. With it’s unique design, I thought it would make for an interesting description.

The shape of the object presented is generally circular in nature, but consists of three identical pronged points that round outward from the converging points of a central shape.  This central shape is compound and consists of both an equilateral triangular shape with concave sides, and a circle. The negative space plays a critical role in defining the shape of the object. There is a hole cut from the center, about 1/5 the diameter of the overall circular shape of the object. There are also three equivalent curved lines that cut inward, and wrap around the central circle from any given angle, but never touch one another.

The shadows that are visible in the negative space make it clear that the object has depth, but the size of the object is impossible to determine from the attached image. There is also raised, sans serif text that wraps around the center, in between the central cut circle and the three curved lines. In terms of color, the object is very clearly blue, with only slight variations in value caused by the way the object has been lit.

The first 45 rpm inserts were invented by the Webster-Chicago Corporation. They were made of solid zinc, very difficult to insert into a record, and nearly impossible to remove without breaking the record. Eventually, a number of differently shaped adapters were invented, and the plastic “Spider” design you see here became the most widely used, and recognizable. While not as widely recognizable today, especially to younger generations, the design can still be seen on t-shirts, posters and the like. My boss even got a tattoo of one a few weeks ago. This brings up the symbolic nature of the 45 RPM adapter. With advancements in technology and the dominance of digital streaming, they are no longer widely used today for their technical purpose. However, the image of the 45 adapter has come to represent something beyond its function; nostalgia for a music scene past. Symbolic of a transient product that is very hard to come by today, the 45 adapter represents, especially to members of older generations, a time when music was pure, artists played all of their own instruments, and recording and producing a record was a process that took time and careful attention to detail.

Time does not stop, technology will keep advancing, and for the music industry, this is no exception. And who knows, maybe in 40-50 years Spotify’s logo will come to represent the nostalgia for the music scene past that the 45 adapter represents today.

The Macbook Pro

 

The MacBook Pro by no surprise is an item used worldwide amongst millions of people in society today. This tech savvy device is one of the top competing computer brands on the market. In the image, the MacBook Pro can be seen with its simple yet modern design. The company Apple, who specialize in products like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, established this computer. Apple hdsc_8940olds a high reputation in the technology market due to their cohesive product line. When it comes to Apple’s computers there’s a variety of targeted consumers. Specifically for the MacBook Pro, one targeted audience would be graphic designers due to the laptops features such as their retina screen display and increased RAM space. While this device can be used for many different everyday tasks it also has a clean look to it that consists of may stylistic qualities.

There are different design elements present in this particular computer. The main shapes of the MacBook consist of two large rectangular forms. On the base of the computer are smaller black rectangular keys that lay horizontally on the plane. Below the black squares is a light grey rectangular track pad. If one was to closely look, the faint rectangle slightly dips down into the base of the computer, giving it a sense of depth. The way the colors contrast with each other also stands out. Two of the colors that is most apparent are black and grey, with black taking up majority of the piece. The screen and frame of the MacBook are all black, while the base of the computer is a light grey color.  The way the black offsets the grey allows the viewer to see the dimension throughout the whole computer. For example, the small square keys that fall along the base of the laptop show depth because of the grey that intertwines between the keys. Another stylistic element to this design is the texture. The overall form is smooth, with the exception of the keypad. Even though they are elevated, the forms still have a flushed surface to them. This computer sits on an almost perfect 90-degree angle, which show the symmetrical relationship between the top and bottom pieces of the laptop. Due to the angle the MacBook sits on, there is also a slight shadow that appears underneath of it. This shadow gives the viewer an idea of the deepness that is apparent along the front and sides of the item. Towards the top left hand corner, the presents of a slight glare can be seen as well. This gives off the sense that the surface may be similar to glass or hard plastic since it shows a reflection from the light. Overall, there is a sense of unity within the design due to the way the colors compliment each other, the shapes are symmetrical, and the textures are cohesive throughout.

This laptop is something that is resourceful within society, especially with technology advancing everyday. The fact that this computer is portable as well as verily slim in design adds to the effectiveness of the product. Based off a lot of products Apple has put out, their use in simplicity is always very apparent, which show in the MacBook Pro design. The very simplistic color palette as well as the overall sleek look to the computer is pleasing to the eye in personal opinion. Like the saying “Less is more”, Apple definitely has conformed to this phrase.  There is also a feeling of sophistication in the overall design. All of Apple’s products carry the signature apple logo and muted color palette to complement the design. This allows the consumer to focus in on the important aspects of the computer rather than be distracted by an overworked design concept. The design aesthetic can be seen as very clean and straight to the point. This adds to the fact that Apple raves about the speed and technological advances their product offers compared to other marketed laptops. Their design choice also creates a sense of luxury due to the sleek modern style of the computer. The simplistic design Apple chose for their computer also keeps the historic feel of the original laptop, with a twist of more modern features. Due to the stylistic choices Apple has made, their computer is one of the top selling brands to date.

Otto Eckmann

In the time in which Eckmann was alive, he was living in a Germany that was rising to power and well on its way to a united German state and a world power like England already was. For much of its history, Germany seemed to be rising with England almost step for step in the Industrial Revolution and even in the world of art progression (Kitchen).

Otto Eckmann was a very versatile artist from Germany. Eckmann was originally born in Munich in the year 1865. During his early artistic career he was focused very much on painting, as most artists in Germany were before Art Nouveau really broke out (Meggs). From the beginning however, Eckmann had always ben interested in and heavily influenced by Japanese woodblock printing, the Japanese term for this style was Ukiyo-e, and the very organic nature of the lines and overall image. This Japanese influence soon became the driving force of art Nouveau.

This emerging art style that is Art Nouveau, Jugendstil in Germany, was developed out of the Arts and Crafts movement (Kunstgewerbe), which was a revolt by the artists against the Industrial Revolution (Meggs). Eckmann, along with others such as Peter Behrens, were driving forces in this artistic movement. This period in time is where Eckmann became more diverse in his artistic explorations. While Eckmann did start out as a painter he eventually became a printer, graphic designer, jewelry designer and type designer.

Eckmann’s use of organic lines and shapes not only paid homage to Japanese woodcuts but also to the swan. As one may be able conclude, the swan was Eckmann’s favorite animal. A quote from Eckmann himself is: “To borrow from the angry swan the rhythmic line and not the swan- that is the problem of ornamental usage” (Weiss). This means that an artists often forgets just how often nature can influence their artwork and how the world around them can really shape their art.

In order to complete the design of his typeface Eckmann joined with Karl Klingspor, owner of a type foundry. In this foundry is where the typeface Eckmann resided until it eventually found its way into the hands of Linotype.

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Image from Artstor, of Otto Eckmann’s sketchbook

Kitchen, Martin. 2006. History of Modern Germany, 1800-2000. [N.p.]: Blackwell Pub,   2006. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed September 19, 2016).

Meggs, Philip B., Alston W. Purvis, and Philip B. Meggs. 2012. Meggs’ history of graphic design. n.p.: Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, c2012., 2012. catalogUSMAI, EBSCOhost (accessed September 20, 2016).

Stein, Laurie. A. “Otto Eckmann.” Oxford Art Online. Accessed September 19, 2016. http://www.oxfordartonline.com/

Weiss, Peg. 1979. Kandinsky in Munich : the formative Jugendstil years. n.p.: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1985. catalogUSMAI, EBSCOhost (accessed September 19, 2016).