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What Is Graphic Design: History And Origins

Graphic design is a profession whose business is the act of designing, programming, and create visual communications, generally produced by industrial means and intended to convey specific messages to specific social groups, with a clear purpose. This is the activity that enables graphically communicate ideas, facts and values processed and synthesized in terms of form and communication, social, cultural, economic, aesthetic and technological. Also known as visual communication design, because some associate the word figure only to the printing industry, and understand that visual messages are channeled through many media, not just print.

Given the massive and rapid growth in the exchange of information, the demand for graphic designers is greater than ever, particularly because of the development of new technologies and the need to pay attention to the human factors that are beyond the competence of engineers who develop them.

Some classifications are widely used graphic design: advertising design, editorial design, corporate identity design, web design, packaging design, typographic design, signage design, multimedia design, among others.

Graphic Design History

The definition of the graphic design profession is rather recent, in what concerns their preparation, their activities and goals. Although there is no consensus on the exact date of the birth of graphic design, some dating during the interwar period. Others understand that begins to identify as such to the late nineteenth century.

Arguably specific graphic communications purposes have their origin in Paleolithic cave paintings and the birth of written language in the third millennium BC. C. But the differences in working methods and training required auxiliary sciences are such that it is not possible to clearly identify the current graphic designer with prehistoric man, with xylograph fifteenth century or the lithographer 1890.

The diversity of opinion reflects the fact that some see as a product of graphic design and all other graphical demonstration only those that arise as a result of the application of a model of industrial production, those visual manifestations that have been “projected” contemplating needs of different types: productive symbolic ergonomic contextual etc.

Background

A page from the Book of Kells: Folio 114, with decorated text contains the Tunc dicit illis. An example of art and page layout of the Middle Ages.

The Book of Kells – A Bible handwritten richly illustrated by Irish monks in the ninth century CE-is for some a very beautiful and early example of graphic design concept. It is a graphic demonstration of great artistic value, high quality, and that even a model for learning to design-for even surpasses in quality to many of the current-editorial productions, and also from a functional point of view contemporary This graphic piece responds to all needs presented the team of people who made it, however others believe that it would be graphic design product, because they understand that their design is not adjusted to the idea of current graphic design project.

The history of typography-and by transitive, also the history of the book-is closely linked to graphic design, this may be because there are virtually no graphics designs that do not include such items graphics. Hence, when talking about the history of graphic design, typography also cited the Trajan column, medieval miniatures, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, the evolution of the book industry, the posters Parisian Arts Movement and Crafts (Arts and Crafts), William Morris, Bauhaus, etc.. “

The introduction of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg made books cheaper to produce, and facilitate their dissemination. The first printed books (incunabula) scored the role model to the twentieth century. Graphic design of this era has become known as Old Style (especially the typefaces which these early typographers used), or Humanist, due to the predominant philosophical school of the time.

After Gutenberg, no significant changes were seen until the late nineteenth century, particularly in Britain, there was an effort to create a clear division between the fine and applied arts.

In the 19th Century

First page of the book “The Nature of Gothic” by John Ruskin, published by the Kelmscott Press. The Arts and Crafts intended to revive the medieval art, inspiration in nature and manual labor.

During the nineteenth century visual message design was entrusted alternately two professionals: the artist or the publisher. The first was formed as an artist and the second as a craftsman, often both in the same schools of arts and crafts. For the printer as art was the use of ornaments and selecting fonts printed in his compositions. The artist saw typography as a child and paying more attention to ornamental and illustrative elements.

Between 1891 and 1896, the William Morris Kelmscott Press published some of the most significant graphic products Arts and Crafts Movement (Arts and Crafts), and established a lucrative business based on the design of books of great stylistic refinement and selling them to the upper classes as luxury items. Morris proved that a market existed for works of graphic design, establishing the separation of design from production and the fine arts. The work of the Kelmscott Press is characterized by its recreation of historic styles, especially medieval.

First Vanguards

Poster for the Moulin Rouge in Paris. Made by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec with color lithography in 1891. Thanks to Art Nouveau, graphic design and visual clarity gained by the composition.

Isotype of the Bauhaus. Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, is considered the birthplace of the graphic design profession.

Given Poster for Matinée. Made by Theo van Doesburg in January 1923. The free font organization, expresses the spirit of the Dada movement, irrationality, for freedom and oppose the status quo and visual expressions of the time.

Corporate identity design for Lufthansa, by the Development Group 5 of the HFG Ulm. Ulm School was an inflection point in the history of design, since there is outlined the design profession through scientific methodology.

Current pictograms design for the National Park Service of the United States. The idea to simplify the symbols forms developed during the 1950s.

The design of the early twentieth century, as well as the fine arts of the same period, was a reaction against the decadence of typography and design of the late nineteenth century.

The interest in ornamentation and the proliferation of measurement changes and typographical style one piece design, synonymous with good design, it was an idea that was maintained until the late nineteenth century. The Art Nouveau, with its clear desire stylistic was a movement that contributed to higher order visual composition. While maintaining a high level of formal complexity, did so within a strong visual consistency, discarding the variation of typographic styles in one graphic piece.

Art movements of the second decade of the twentieth century and the political turmoil that accompanied them, generated dramatic changes in graphic design. The Dada, De Stijl, Suprematism, Cubism, Constructivism, Futurism, the Bauhaus and created a new vision that influenced all branches of the visual arts and design. All these movements opposed to the decorative arts and popular, as well as the Art Nouveau, which under the influence of the new interest in geometry evolved into the Art Deco. All these movements were a revisionist and transgressive spirit in all arts of the time. This period also publications and manifestos proliferated through which artists and educators expressed their opinions.

During the 1930s developed for the composition interesting aspects of graphic design. The graphic style change was significant because it shows a reaction against eclecticism ornamentalist organicism and the time and proposes a more stripped and geometric. This style, connected with Constructivism, Suprematism, Neoplasticism, De Stijl and Bauhaus exerted a lasting influence and inescapable in the development of twentieth century graphic design. Another important element in relation to professional practice, was the increasing use of visual form as communication element. This item appeared mostly in the designs produced by the Dada and De Stijl.

The symbol of modern typography is the sans serif font or serif, inspired by industrial types of the late nineteenth century. Highlights include Edward Johnston, author of the font for the London Underground, and Eric Gill.

Design Schools

Jan Tschichold embodied the principles of modern typography in his 1928 book, New Typography. He later repudiated the philosophy presented in this book, calling it fascist, but remained very influential. Herbert Bayer, who dirigó from 1925-1928 the typography and advertising workshop at the Bauhaus, created the conditions for a new profession: the graphic designer. He put the subject “Advertising” in the education program including, among other things, the analysis of advertising media and the psychology of advertising. Notably, the first to define the term Graphic Design was the designer and typographer William Addison Dwiggins in 1922.

Thus Tschichold, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, and El Lissitzky became parents of graphic design as we know it today. They pioneered production techniques and styles that have been using later. Today, computers have dramatically altered production systems, but the approach that contributed to experimental design is more relevant than ever dynamism, experimentation and even very specific things like choosing fonts (Helvetica is a revival, originally a Typography design based on the nineteenth-century industrial) and orthogonal compositions.

In the years following the modern style gained acceptance, while stagnated. Notable names in modern design midcentury are Adrian Frutiger, designer of the typefaces Univers and Frutiger, and Josef Müller-Brockmann, large poster of the fifties and sixties.

The Hochschule für Gestaltung (HFG) in Ulm was another key institution in the development of the graphic design profession. Since its founding, the HFG distanced himself from a possible affiliation with advertising. At the beginning, the department concerned was called Visual Design, but it quickly became clear that his current goal was to solve design problems in the area of mass communication in the academic year 1956-1957 the name was changed to Department of Visual Communication, modeled Visual Communication Department at the New Bauhaus in Chicago.2 3 In the HFG Ulm, decided to work primarily in the area of persuasive communication in the fields such as traffic sign systems, plans for technical equipment, or visual translation of scientific content. Until that time were not systematically taught these areas in any other European school. In the early ’70s, members of the Bund Deutscher Grafik-Designer (Association of German graphic designers), unveiled several features of their professional identity, as in the case of Anton Stankowski among others. While in 1962 the official definition of the profession was directed almost exclusively to the advertising, now extended to include areas located under the rubric of communication visual.4 corporate images produced by the Development Group 5 of the HFG Ulm such as those created for the firm Braun or airline Lufthansa were also critical to this new professional identity.

Gui Bonsiepe and Tomas Maldonado were two of the first people who tried to apply the design ideas from semantics. In a seminar held at the HFG Ulm in 1956, Maldonado proposed modernizing rhetoric, classical art of persuasion. Maldonado Bonsiepe and then wrote several articles on semiotics and rhetoric for Uppercase English publication and Ulm magazine that would be an important resource for designers to that area. Bonsiepe suggested that it was necessary to have a modern system of rhetoric, semiotics updated as a tool to describe and analyze the phenomena of advertising. Using this terminology, could expose the “ubiquitous structure” of a message publicitario.5

The idea of simplicity and good design feature continued this for many years, not only in the design of alphabets but also in other areas. The tendency to simplify influenced all means at the forefront of design in the 1950s. At that time, developed a consensus that simple, not only was the equivalent of good, but was also more readable equivalent. One of the hardest hit areas was the design of symbols. The designers raised the question of how they could be simplified without destroying its informative function. However, recent investigations have shown that the shape simplification only one symbol does not necessarily increase readability.

Second Vanguards

Reaction to the sobriety growing graphic design was slow but inexorable. The origins of postmodern fonts back to the humanist movement of the fifties. In this group highlights Hermann Zapf, who designed two typefaces today ubiquitous Palatino (1948) and Best (1952). Blurring the line between serif fonts and sans serif and reintroducing organic lines in the lyrics, these designs served more to ratify the modern movement to rebel against him.

An important milestone was the publication of the Manifesto, first things first (1964), which was a call for a more radical form of graphic design, criticizing the idea of design in series worthless. He had a massive influence on a new generation of graphic designers, contributing to the emergence of publications such as Emigre magazine.

Another notable designer of the late twentieth century is Milton Glaser, who designed the unmistakable I Love NY campaign (1973), and a famous Bob Dylan poster (1968). Glaser took elements of the popular culture of the sixties and seventies.

The advances of the early twentieth century were strongly inspired by technological advances in photography and printing. In the last decade of the century, technology played a similar role, but this time it was computers. At first it was a step back. Zuzana Licko began using computers to compositions soon, when computer memory was measured in kilobytes and typefaces were created by dots. She and her husband, Rudy VanderLans, founded the pioneering Emigre magazine and type foundry of the same name. They played with the extraordinary limitations of computers, releasing a great creative power. Emigre magazine became the bible of digital design.

David Carson is the culmination of the movement against contrition sobriety and modern design. Some of his designs for Raygun magazine are intentionally illegible, designed to be more visual than literary experiences.

Present Times

Today, much of the work of graphic designers is assisted by digital tools. The graphic design has changed enormously because of computers. From 1984, with the appearance of the first desktop publishing systems, personal computers gradually replaced all analog in nature technical procedures for digital systems. Thus computers have become indispensable tools and, with the advent of hypertext and the web, its functions have been extended as a means of communication. In addition, the technology also has been noted with the rise of telecommuting and special crowd sourcing has begun to intervene in work arrangements. This change has increased the need to reflect on time, motion and interactivity. Even so, the professional practice of design has not been essential changes. While the forms of production have changed and communication channels have been extended, the fundamental concepts that allow us to understand human communication remain the same.

Job performance and skills

The ability to design is not innate, but acquired through practice and reflection. Still, it remains an option, one thing potentially. To exploit this power is necessary continuing education and practice, as it is very difficult to acquire by intuition. Creativity, innovation and lateral thinking are key skills for graphic designer job performance. Creativity in design exists within established frames of reference, but more than anything, is a cultivated skill to find unexpected solutions to seemingly intractable problems. This translates into design work of the highest level and quality. The creative act is the core of the design process manager but creativity itself is not an act of design. However, creativity is not exclusive graphics performance and no profession, although it is absolutely necessary for the proper performance of the design work.

The role that the graphic designer in the process of communication is the encoder or interpreter works in the interpretation, organization and presentation of visual messages. His sensitivity to the form must be parallel to its sensitivity to the content. This work deals with the planning and structuring of communications, with its production and evaluation. The design work is always based on customer demand, demand which eventually established linguistically, either orally or in writing. This means that the graphic design transforms a linguistic message in a visual demonstration.

The professional graphic design rarely works with nonverbal messages. At times the word appears briefly, and in other texts appears as complex. The editor is in many cases an essential member of the communications team.

The design activity often requires the participation of a team of professionals, such as photographers, illustrators, technical illustrators, including professionals with less related to visual message. The designer is often a coordinator of various disciplines that contribute to the production of the visual message. Thus, coordinates its research, design and production, making use of information or specialists in accordance with the requirements of different projects.

Graphic design is interdisciplinary and therefore the designer needs to have knowledge of other activities such as photography, freehand drawing, technical drawing, descriptive geometry, psychology of perception, Gestalt psychology, semiology, typography, technology and communication.

The professional graphic design is a visual communications specialist and his work is related to all steps of the communication process, in which context, the action of creating a visual object is only one aspect of that process. This process includes the following:

Defining the problem.

Targeting.

Conception of communication strategy.

Display.

Schedule Production.

Monitoring Production.

Evaluation.

This process requires the designer to possess an intimate knowledge of the areas of:

Visual communication.

Communication.

Visual Perception.

Management of financial and human resources.

Technology.

Media.

Assessment techniques.

The four guiding principles of graphic design are variables that graphic design professional should consider when facing a project, these are:

  • The Individual: conceived as ethical and aesthetic unit that integrates society which is part and to whom the visual space is uniform, continuous and connected.
  • The advantage: because it responds to a need for information and this is communication.
  • The atmosphere: because it requires knowledge of physical reality to contribute to the harmony of the habitat, and the reality of other contexts for understanding the structure and meaning of the human environment.
  • The economy: it encompasses all aspects related to the study of the cost and streamlining of processes and materials for the implementation of the elements.

Impacts of Graphic Design Development on Teaching Graphic Design in the Arab World

I don’t firmly believe that the Arabic library contains sufficient books dealing analytically with Graphic Design that could support the Arabic universities, with specialized art academies, and could be utilized as special curriculum within the teaching plans of these academies. The Arabic library is condensed with other artistic methodological books in addition to some translated books which discuss the basics of design, advertisement, and other topics that fall within the framework of advertisement.

The fact is that there is a short understanding of the comprehensive concept of Graphic Design. This concept is not sufficiently represented by advertisement and publicity or printing design because such specialization per se received little attention before the advent of computer to the Arab World and the return of unspecialized cadres living in the European countries and USA, who brought with them the sophisticated technology and transferred it to us without defining its actual identity, academically and vocationally.

With the start of teaching this specialization, dependence in determining the study plan was basically on the academic staff entrusted to teach such specialization. Some were distant from the roots of this specialization and others considered that any person with a specialization in art or architecture can play the role of planner. But, after a careful review of the total study plans in most Arabic universities, we realized how unbalanced and, sometimes, insufficient such attempts were; they have no identified identity; half of them were fine arts and the others tackled one part of Graphic Design but of no grass root.

Any method for teaching Graphic Design has to bear in its priorities the promotion of creativity factor and concentrate on the techniques and demonstration methods and their correlation with skill to enable the student of this specialization to benefit from this study- this should also include, but not limited to, studying related knowledge such as Graphic Design history and its theories to allow the students to apply what they learn to develop their own means of creativity and invention.

It is necessary to take into consideration the needs of new students in Graphic Design and students who are expected to graduate by defining a systematic plan capable of gradually refining design students to enable them to acquire expertise and techniques.

First levels students need to be introduced to Graphic Design history, manual skills, and design principles and techniques through the computer in order to develop their capabilities in designing and creating advertisement campaigns or integrated projects that include logos, posters, Internet homepages and other materials, any graphic designer will need.

High level students need to be introduced to the approaches that can develop their technical and intellectual skills as well as develop the innovation status through carrying out series of integral projects in presenting their works entirely and collectively. These approaches should be able to grant student enough space of positions sets they can apply for through a group of specialties that fall under the umbrella of Graphic Design. All of this will not be materialized without provision of studios and labs qualified to perform the role required in addition to cadres qualified technically and knowledgeably to realize the goals of Graphic Design. Graphic Design syllabus relies, in its execution, on the practical principle as well as on the theoretical one. Further, it mentally qualifies and trains the student to face the changes and the techniques of time as well as empowers him to deal with what is to come as the extract of developed fields of knowledge related to Graphic Design taking into consideration the necessity of linking it with the classical approach that is linked with cadres that need to be qualified in order to be able to keep pace with the latest techniques of information and knowledge.

As a fact, when we talk about Graphic Design, we should pay considerable attention to widening the base of Graphic Design that exceeds the limits of typing which is the result of its development and to reach various resources of visual communication, as television, computers and internet which enable us to get better view of the resources made by other people in different parts of the world. This will definitely help us to be more creative, innovative, and more able analyze and assess, and, that of course, requires a good deal of curiosity which can be enhanced and triggered by the size of acquired information in form and substance.

Methods of teaching can rely on multiple factors, such as increasing the need and curiosity of the student to learn, expand his knowledge, self- confidence and be more self-motivated in order to overcome what is new through applying intellectual practices, keeping pace with science and utilizing it to trigger his imagination and increase his meditation and search for new mechanisms and methods of work. Therefore, triggering the challenges in a student is inevitable; this can be supported with mechanisms that enable him to find solutions to problems he may encounter through the use of special techniques and knowledge pertaining to his specialization. However, this will not be enough to enable the student to use his manual skills, design programs and its techniques, if he is not qualified to know when and how to handle an idea and when it is able to realize to target.

From the above mentioned, any academic approach we think of as a base to be used to teach graphic design should take the following into consideration:

1- Implementing Graphic Design education in professional practice.
2- Development of different Graphic Design media due to their direct correlation with technology.
3- Design and critic theories.
4- Importance of designer’s material cognition.
5- Designer’s language and its theory as well as his ability to talk.
6- Designer’s decent visual eloquence.
7- Designer’s education in art, design sciences, society, literature, technology, sciences and industry.
8- Knowledge of the theories of communication and transfer of information.
9- Management of programming, computer science and the science of management and marketing.

The focus should be directed towards the personal design of each student and toward the various methods that boost his design abilities beyond the single design problem as well as toward successful and appropriate self motivating and development. Further, critical thinking practices and search and development of concepts and contents of analysis, editing and technical execution need to be developed through going over the special skills expected in designing all Graphic Design media as they are considered unique communication media.

– How can we contribute to Graphic Design development?

Before answering this question, it is necessary to emphasize the important role of the teaching curriculum or the teaching plan, the size of information presented through it, the methods and means approved to apply it, its resources, its relationship with information revolution that shorten time and distance as well as the positive and negative role of this revolution through emphasizing the methods of teaching the curriculum that depend on integral expertise, the purpose of which is knowledge and refining it.

We should emphasize the necessity of matching Graphic Design teaching plan and its coherence with time and its development, its relationship with the latest audio-visual technologies in addition to the information management, which forms the basis of the designer role through the ability of graphic design teaching curriculum and its philosophy to comprehend the challenges of time (the time of information and technology) so as to enable the student to comprehend time product with its information in an effective way and to be active in developing his portrayal impression of information in order to direct it in a form harmonious with the language of time.
This needs a set of books that focus on the following topics:

History of Graphic Design:

This book should present a survey of the main events and accomplishments that led to the evolution and development of Graphic Design so as the student can track the ceaseless search to clarify the ideas beginning with (pictograph), the symbolic picture drawn on the walls of caves, and ending with the latest of graphic designs. Suck knowledge will help the students to be acquainted with cases of innovation and innovators in addition to knowing the depth of technology that formed communication media revolution in Graphic Design.

Graphic Design fundamentals and factors.

These books should present the definition and analysis and comparison of all design fundamentals and factors. They should emphasize design fundamentals and factors with regard to forming and their manual skills through the use of technical tools and methods, the ways, procedures and presenting the work of Graphic Design in a professional way so as to identify the ways of creating high quality works that persist through Graphic Design programs for each later specialized course.

Programs of publishing and design

Such books should present the definition and analysis of all programs specialized in design and editing which the designer will has to use to acquire the required skills to be used in other courses that would assist him when entering the world of contemporary markets. An indication should be made not only to its tools and uses but also to its software infrastructure. Among these programs:

Adobe PHOTOSHOP
Adobe ILLUSTRATOR
Corel DRAW
Desktop of PUBLISHER
Quark Xpress
Front PAGE
Macromedia Flash

Printing: Techniques, origin and development

Such books should present define and analyze the development stages of printing, its approaches and technologies as well as defining the designer with the post-stages of printing and pre-printing and special design characteristics for each printing style such as the offset, silk, rotogravure and others. Further, these books should tackle the history of printing letters, their technical and aesthetic uses as well as solving presentation and text style problems.

Graphic Design concept:

Such books should present innovative strategies for design-related problems and issues. They should focus on: Establishing firmly effective design, boosting and reinforcing knowledge and skills of Graphic Designin order to present projects’ management. Such books should also provide methods to master the skills of analyzing researches and design processes which lead to innovative structuring and design final solutions with developed decisions that reflect a high level of expertise, study and accomplishment too.

Electronic multi media

These books should define and analyze all specialized programs used in training graphic designers in developing interface inputs related to electronic Graphic Designfor electronic communication means. The target of this course is to focus on interaction packages of the laser discs in order to find solutions to design styles special for books, electronic magazines, interactive information, education sequence, presentation, interactive television and the increasing goodwill of services special for the internet and interface inputs of desktops. Furthermore, the books should provide students with new software and technical information that qualify them to work on linking chains in the Internet, critical locations and how to manage sites on the internet as well as how to design their pages.

Defining types and tasks of Graphic Design means

These books should define and analyze Graphic Designmedia, their promotional and the commercial tasks in particular. They should emphasize the research and study of the extent of response and invitation of media which all come under new letters, brochures, guides, catalogs, flyers, newspapers, magazines, posters, signs, ads., calendar and other media. All of these come together through the form of solution and determining the identity of the targeted audience to fulfill the goal and the use of the piece of information in order to determine the form of the printed material or the medium.

Photography

Such book(s) should define what photography, normal and digital, means, its history, stages of development and tools in addition to its importance in related to Graphic Design. It should tackle the methods of photography serving Graphic Designand how to apply them inside or outside the studios. Moreover, the book should demonstrate the theoretical and practical concepts of the methods of commercial and industrial photography.

Marketing

This book(s) should define and analyze marketing tools related to Graphic Design which will help the student to develop his ability to distinguish between long term and a short term designs, and the different forms of communication means. In Addition, such book(s) should train the student in the principles of team work and group effort in tailoring campaigns, and introducing innovative marketing ideas in cooperation with the text writers, executive manager and other main players. Identifying the requirements of the market in terms of promotion and marketing a product will include all stages of planning, marketing research and final implementation. All these require the student to identify the goals, purposes, problems, chances, the targeted audience, the innovative strategy, competition, mass media strategy and the communication means to be used.
It is not surprising that the sources of books are international 100% due to the absence of Arabic books specialized in Graphic Design.The fact is that the roots of this specialty are European and the technology and techniques utilized are also international.

The goals of innovative work combined with designer’s competency and qualification are the basis on which planning strategy depend to prepare study plans that motivate and activate creative thinking and relate it to information technology relying on the different levels of human knowledge and scientific programs supporting the principle of how to understand and apply comprehensively a Graphic Design program in order to protect it from short term programming relying, in this respect, on the designer’s cognitive theory, the language, his ability to deal with time changes, technologies, and his training.

Our target is to arm the student with skills, courage, innovation, ability to judge and assess, and curiosity that depend on the size of information, knowledge and content of what is acquired.