The History of Graphic Design – A Brief Recap

0 Comment

Graphic design is very popular today, and present in almost all parts of our lives. Designers work from their homes or anywhere in the world, because technological progress made everything mobile and accessible.

Graphic design, however, did not start with our modern world, the late 20th and the 21st century, as many would think. No, it started far back, in prehistoric times. Here is a brief history of graphic design.

Before the Printing Press

The times before the printing press required people to be extra creative. From cave paintings in the prehistoric times, depicting buffalos, hands, spears and the general act of hunting, to medieval heraldry, there were interesting approaches to graphic design. The Sumerians had the first written word, although it was more carved than written, as stone was used. The carvings resembled art, more than words, yet it is still a language.

The medieval times saw the development of calligraphy, both in the eastern and western parts of the world. An interesting way of advertisement were logos, or rather, store signs. Merchants would have artists design their store signs which would often be recognizable and memorable.

After the Printing Press

In 1439, the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg. That brought about change, very quickly. Not long after, logos started appearing, printed rather than drawn. It took 200 years from the invention of the printing press for printed advertisements to become popular and omnipresent.

200 years more, and chromolithography was invented, also known as color printing. Advertisements boomed from this invention, from posters, recruitment ads, merchant’s adverts and anybody who needed something printed in color.

The 20th Century

The 20th century was important for graphic design. The first design agency was founded in 1922, called the Vienna workshop or in German, Wiener Werkstatte. They were from Austria. Their example prompted others to follow. The term graphic design popped up from the writings of William Addison Dwiggins, that same year. That was the term’s inception.

Two more important events mark the history of graphic design, namely the book Thoughts on Design by Paul Rand. This book influenced the development of graphic design; it was published in 1947.

The next great event is the creation of Adobe Photoshop in 1990. The creation of a powerful software which can manipulate colors, layers and help you create great illustrations and drawings moved the entire industry forward. Many programs followed after photoshop, slowly shaping what we have today.

A Developing Topic

Graphic design is evolving. From the prehistoric times when walls and stones were the only canvas, to today, where you can design while moving between continents, graphic design has changed in many ways, and it is still going to.