Visual weight and its connection to Satyajit Ray

Not being good at perception, we often try to circumscribe our talent into a profound level, but all our attempts fall in vain unless we have a hold on to our clarity of concept. Well, physical weight is a magnitude that we feel due to the sense of gravity, but can we feel the weight visually?

Yes, we can!

This is possible through the perspective of shape, form, texture & line that we sense through our ability of vision.

All these concepts of texture, form, shape, line, when put together to design our idea thematically, we call it graphic art, which finds it's history back to 2500 BCE, when Egyptian used graphic symbols to transfer their ideas to each other in a written form called HIEROGLYPHICS. An inherent drive towards art, especially graphic art, has developed a logical understanding about the features which when associated in order blends our eyesight. We find this type of composition appealing, because, according to studies the human eye follows a path where a design is being scanned thoroughly.

Let’s look into some different aspects of graphic art

TYPOGRAPHY: A text has to be designed or presented in a way that I would make some sense of art. The appearance of a word in a sentence generates an insight that takes us to the main subject of our idea which has to be focused.

To improve the appearance of a text we use a variety of fonts such as

Serif Font - Often used in traditional projects

Display Font - it is of decorative nature and has many types such as block letters, all caps, etc

Therefore a font appeals to any meaning which has something to communicate with the viewers. On the other hand, some fonts come with extra baggage such as casual, neutral, curlz, papyrus, comic sans, etc. While arranging such fonts we should use complementary forms that will enhance our work, since opposites attract our eyes Well grafted text can mean the difference between an ordinary project & an extraordinary one. Specifically, a grafted text has to follow 4 important steps of arrangement they are HIERARCHY - use to guide the reader's eyes to whatever important, like the main heading, subheading, etc. Leading - is a space between lines of text. Tracking - overall space between characters. Kerning:-spacing between specific characters. In graphic art, one of the most important subject is color, it invokes a certain mood, draw our eye to an image, so color theory describes the use of color.

Colour combination: mainly has 3 forms, Saturation:- to intensify a particular color. Hue:-its synonymous to color which focuses on color blending Value:-describes the darkness or brightness, casting of the shadow of a particular color. A formula called color dormancy test combines all the above and approaches to a certain meaning.

Colour combination follows 4 steps in a graphic art Analogous combination:- use of similar color eg, red, orange. Complementary combination:- two different antagonistic color, eg red---green Triadic combination:- use of 3 colors that are evenly spread forming a perfect triangle. Tetradic color schemes:-forming a rectangle using not one but 2 complementary colors. Ultimately readability is the end result or consequence of all color arrangement, proper adjustment of all the aspects of graphic art engages viewers, make the eyesight easy to accept and move through “Never having seen a Satyajit Ray film is never having seen the sun and the moon” - Akira Kurosawa

Unknowingly, Mr. Ray became the first graphic designer in India, yes the man who pioneered the feature film to its utmost realism, started his career as agraphic designer. The most intricacy of graphic design with the perfect expression of the theme was noticeable from Ray’s poster design. In the midst of pre-digital times, when every art had to be done by hand, and screened by manual eye, Ray's film feature represented an exceptional difference through his ideas of poster making.30’*40’ posters for each film, one which used in the cities and 20’*30’ size prints were sent to countryside conceptualization of the poster would begin at the end of editing of any film. Use of ‘Alpona’ art, the traditional decorative style of art in Bengali culture has been depicted in the poster of ‘Pather Panchali’, where protagonist Apu was getting his hair combed by ‘Durga’ his elder sister, his mother ‘Sarvajaya’ alongside had an intense look at him, this particular candid snapshot till today appeals to the viewer’s eye with a flavor of homespun.

Keeping a keen interest in photography, he often used photography as well as sketch art together to crystalize his ideas. Having inspired by French photographer Cartier Bresson (father of candid picture, who pioneered street photography) which of course improved the visual attraction of his film posters.

Through amalgamation of photography and sketches, an exclusive screening of graphic art story was portrayed in Indian cinema. Typography was a subject of paramount interest that Ray often involved with, in his early days, Master calligrapher Ray has invented two typefaces RAY ROMAN and RAY BIZARRE, which won the international typography competition in 1971.

All sorts of artistic essence can't be understood but can be experienced through proper understanding, intelligence however is a spontaneous reflection of our existence that deal with duality, however, when it is balanced and used on the right track, it becomes a talent. Therefore in a graphic art design, the talent gets collapsed, if proper adjustment of its principles is not done. That’s exactly Satyajit Ray quotes here… ” The talent of doing the right thing in right circumstances comes from observation and personal experience”.

(Some of the film poster and typography of Ray films, concept & animation; Jyotirmay Roy )

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