EPARTS 191 – DESIGN IN SOCIETY ASSIGNMENT TASK 2 Essay Graphic design is the art of communication. The designer takes an idea and creates a visual experience to communicate an idea, or to send a specific message to the responder through both printed and electronic means. Imagine a world without graphic design, you may not realise it right now but graphic design is everywhere. It’s what attracts you to a product or business and forces you to understand the message at the point of its creation.
If the message is not clear then the graphic designer has failed.
In this essay I will be discussing the history of graphic design, notable and popular styles, and the age old debate of computer versus the creative process, what the future holds and in turn proving that graphic design is the most important design discipline in our society. Graphic design has always existed, it has always been there for artists to express themselves and documents show that it goes back to the late 19th century at least but in my opinion graphic design never became more important and known until the Bauhaus was opened in 1919.
The Bauhaus or House of Building was an art school in Germany which pioneered simplistic design and became a style of design itself, although it only existed for 14 years. The style is still heavily popular today within examples such as Ikea who produce simplistic furniture, advertisements, accessories etc and sell unfathomable amounts each year. This couldn’t happen and continue to happen if it wasn’t for successful graphic design and the elegant Swiss style I talk about below.
With each era a new style emerged to match the changes in society, throughout the 1960’s when the hippy lifestyle was adopted it was shown heavily through the art produced. Posters were full colour, bright and flowing and colour theory was well used. The responder’s eyes were immediately drawn to the swirling and often unorthodox patterns which assisted in making it unique. The American ‘Big Idea’ style became popular in around 1950’s and is still used today. In brief this style is generally a provocative or stimulating mage with short headline over the top; it was also known as the ‘picture is worth a thousand words’ approach (Heller & Balance 2001). Another notable style is the Swiss approach which also uses simplistic techniques as well as symmetry and gridlines (which made most designs produced relatively predictable) to produce more logical designs as opposed to emotional or subjective. Why is it that in these modern times everything is computer based, computer done or needs a computer to begin it but does that take away from ones creative thinking?
It’s debatable whether the speed and efficiency of computers stops graphic designers from studying their project/s in finer detail and thus not providing as higher results as hand drawing or rendering. In my opinion nothing can ever make lead up sketches obsolete, putting a pencil to paper and loosely drawing ideas is umpteen times faster than computer aided design (although using a tablet may increase speed).
From my experience drawing on paper first allows you to relax and not concentrate as hard, in which ideas come about more freely than if you were to concentrate into drawing on a computer program such as Illustrator. Graphic design is innovation and advancement; it documents the growth of society and the changing of views, ideals, opinions and any other kind of free speech a person can express. If you look around, you can pinpoint most graphic designer’s styles down to someone work prior, be it taking inspiration or taking tips it becomes somewhat of a building block.
With newer technology comes newer ways to do things but traditional methods will never go out of style, how can you say a design discipline that has successfully been around for roughly 100 years can die out? In conclusion, what a boring and colourless life we would live in without graphic design; who would be there to trick us into purchasing and believing things. Heller, S. & Balance, G. (2001). Graphic Design History. Allworth Communications Inc.