Editor’s Note: The graphics display “Does this Make Sense,” featuring the artwork of April Greiman, is on display Nov. 5-26, 2021, in the Cube Gallery, Room N231, at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. This display is part of the UGA’s Spotlight on the Arts.
Chances are favorable that anyone who has studied the role computers have in graphic design has heard of April Greiman’s poster, “Does This Make Sense?”
Students in Kristen Smith’s Advanced Graphic Communication class this semester are not only trying to make sense of the 6-foot poster, but also educate others on campus about the history of the piece as part of the UGA Spotlight on the Arts celebration.
The students have studied the poster since the beginning of the semester and have curated and installed a display including a short video explanation in a gallery in the Lamar Dodd School of Art.
Smith, a senior lecturer with a keen interest in graphic history, has known about the poster for years and found an original edition on the shelves of the main library at UGA.
“This is a really historic piece and it just so happens it was on the shelves of the UGA library,” said Smith, who in addition to her teaching also serves on the UGA Arts Council. “I checked it out and then I told them, ‘you shouldn’t let people check this out.’”
The display features a poster created by Greiman in 1986, considered the first piece of completely digital print design and one of first examples showing the potential that computers have in graphic design. Grieman used an early Macintosh computer and the programs MacDraw, MacPaint and MacVision to create Design Quarterly issue #133. Instead of the typical 32-page publication, she created a 6-foot poster that folded to the dimensions of the journal. This pioneering example of digital design is reprinted in many graphic design textbooks but has to be reduced to the point that it’s unreadable.
Fortunately, the library agreed to let Smith borrow the original version of the poster which services as the centerpiece for the display. A short video was created by two students explaining the importance of the poster, and accompanying text and visuals provide context for the art.
Design Quarterly explains that the experimental poster was composed entirely in the computer: “merging type, still frames captured from video, digitized photographs, and computer-aided illustrations using MacDraw software—a technical feat at the time for desktop publishing.”
Grieman is still a practicing artist through her design studio in LA called Made for Space.