ikrsek-Looking Outwards-09

For this Looking Outwards, I decided to look into one of the projects that Ashley Chan wrote about. She decided to talk about some of the colorful illustrated works of John De Cesare – specifically about how he renders visual interpretations of musical scores through first studying music theory and creating a “complex algorithmic language” to interpret said musical scores. I’d say that I agree with much of her commentary on his work in the way it looks and acts as a visual representation of music – and the quote she gave from an analysis done on his work by Cooper Hewitt was extremely insightful regarding the way that he works. Particularly regarding her commentary on how Cesare’s work is unique from that of other artists who decide to visually represent score.

I’d venture to say however, that she left out some very fascinating information regarding the artist himself, for example the fact that he didn’t start doing this work until he was in his 60’s or so – he was born in Italy in 1890 and immigrated to the United States when he was a child. It should also be noted that De Cesare was not a musician, nor had he any musical training at the time he decided on doing this and that’s when he really dove himself into the deep history musical theory and the basics of such. As a notorious problem-solver, he couldn’t help but pick away at the complex idea of translating something entirely auditory into a visual art form, whilst still managing to maintain an aesthetically pleasing design and doing the score itself justice.


DRAWING, 147-137#2B, APRIL 14, 1964
DRAWING, STUDY 152-137A-B, FEBRUARY 24, 1966


Link to the Looking Outwards:


Peer: Supawat Vitoorapakorn

Peer Post: https://courses.ideate.cmu.edu/15-104/f2017/2017/10/13/svitoora-07-font-map/

Creator: IDEO

Title of Work: IDEO Font Map

Year of Creation: 2016

Link to Project Work: http://fontmap.ideo.com/

Link to Artist Bio: https://www.ideo.com/about


Exploring the IDEO Font Map

The IDEO Font Map Supawat discussed in his Looking Outwards 07 interested me for reasons similar as Supawat’s — collectively, typeface can be considered a massive arsenal of bullets used for different purposes. For exploration purposes, the IDEO Map gives users the ability to visualize a type and its similarities to others — by grouping type based on shared elements and the intensity of those shared elements, it becomes easier to encourage the utility of less-used typeface (rather than use established, sometimes over-used typeface).

As an actual selection tool(i.e. in opposition to dropdown style menu) however, the Font Map can be somewhat confusing  — the quantity of sampled “A”s on a frame is overwhelming, and the individual aspects of the typeface, although highly contrasted, get lost in a sea of letters. The user does not have the ability to increase the proximities of the letters further away from each other, nor do they have the ability to swap the A for a different letter.