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  • The eras of graphic design

    Hello, this is my first post.

    Let me start by being honest and say I found my way here while researching my dissertation. No, I am not asking for ideas for a topic or for you to write it for me!

    My dissertation is called:

    Have Graphic Designers Lost Their Sense of Humour?
    The Changing Role and Significance of Wit in Graphic Design

    Catchy, huh?

    Anyway, in order to research this piece, it is obvious that I need to compile a list of designers and put each of them into an historical context. This way I can analyse their work and come up with a conclusion.

    So I think I am going to refer to set eras of graphic design. I just wondered if any of you had opinions on my selection:

    1940s/50s
    Wartime propaganda (Fougasse, Abram Games) thru to large-scale advertising design and branding

    1960s/70s
    Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Herb Lubalin, Bob Gill, Alan Fletcher, Wim Crouwel

    1980s/90s
    Magazines and mega-brands
    Paula Scher, Peter Saville, Neville Brody, David Carson, Tibor Kalman

    Modern era
    Michael Bierut, Sagmeister, Daniel Eatock, Banksy(?), Experimental Jetset

    Obviously I need to include examples from each era that are not especially witty or humorous, so that I can get an idea of the prevalent style.

    Again, I appreciate your time for reading this post and just wondered if anyone had thoughts on glaring omissions (designers and/or eras).

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Hi jimjiber and welcome to GDF!

    When you get settled please read this as well as these very important threads. They will give you all the info you need on how the forum runs, the rules and regs, and give you some background info on our long running, inside jokes

    Enjoy!
    Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.

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    • #3
      Thanks PanToshi.

      Did I break the rules by asking a dissertation-related question? I looked at some of the links you provided but couldn't find anything about that. I am sorry if this is the case.

      Comment


      • #4
        No Jim, you haven't done anything wrong. We point ALL new members to the rules and such. GDF runs a little differently from other forums.

        Enjoy your stay.
        This post is brought to you by the letter E and the number 9. Those are the buttons I push to get a Twix out of the candy machine.
        "I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."

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        • #5
          Why does it start in 1940 when GD was atleast 30 yrs old by then?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Roth View Post
            Why does it start in 1940 when GD was atleast 30 yrs old by then?
            Well spotted!

            I don't know. I am just drowning in research at the moment so I am trying to set up some sort of structure.

            When did graphic design begin, in earnest? Was it with the Bauhaus? Perhaps it was Marinetti. I am not sure.

            "Graphic design" is very difficult to define in my opinion. Ask any of the 80 or so people on my course and at least 50 will return a blank expression. Of the remainder, some will say illustration, others typography, others still will say photography.

            I don't know what kind of designer I am, although I am definitely not an illustrator. The more research I do the more I am starting to think that there are "ideas designers" and "aesthetics designers". Occasionally you find a designer who is both, often referred to as a genius.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jimjiber View Post
              Well spotted!

              I don't know. I am just drowning in research at the moment so I am trying to set up some sort of structure.

              When did graphic design begin, in earnest? Was it with the Bauhaus? Perhaps it was Marinetti. I am not sure.

              "Graphic design" is very difficult to define in my opinion. Ask any of the 80 or so people on my course and at least 50 will return a blank expression. Of the remainder, some will say illustration, others typography, others still will say photography.

              I don't know what kind of designer I am, although I am definitely not an illustrator. The more research I do the more I am starting to think that there are "ideas designers" and "aesthetics designers". Occasionally you find a designer who is both, often referred to as a genius.
              IMO graphic design was born at the very first painted hand laid on the entrance to a cave (probably even before that), that hand print meant something (like someone lives here) and it was understood, it predates our recorded history.

              Re: "idea designers" and "aesthetic designers", in most cases you have to be able to execute concepts (entry level - "aesthetic designer") long before you are given a chance to execute your own (mid to senior level), and still longer before you are given the chance to have other designers execute your ideas (CD or AD - "idea designer").

              To answer your dissertation question: Designers still have a sense of humour, it's boards and investors that are afraid to take risks that aren't directly backed by maths and facts.
              Design is not decoration.

              Comment


              • #8
                That's a good point about boards and investors.

                To quote Ivan Chermayeff "It is not easy to be witty in print, without a soundtrack and with no movement. And wit is essentially fragile, in that bad wit is less productive than no wit at all".

                I still think that part of the problem is that the role of graphic designer has also changed significantly over time. Illustrators are often now graphic designers, so are photographers (especially if they put some type onto an image).

                Wasn't there a time when the designer was the person hatching the concept, with the execution being done by the art worker?

                Nowadays a designer can be an illustrator, a photographer, a typographer or an art director. He can also be all of these things.

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                • #9
                  Or none of them.
                  Yet still be a designer by handling elements created by others.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cave paintings are truely the beginning, of what i like to term 'Visual Communication' which manifested into graphic design with the introduction of technologies, maybe it started in the mid 1400's with the Gutenberg press

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Welcome to the forum Jason. I hope you'll find it useful and fun here.

                      We ask all new members to read the threads posted HERE and HERE. They explain how the forum runs, the rules, frequently discussed topics and our inside jokes.
                      This post is brought to you by the letter E and the number 9. Those are the buttons I push to get a Twix out of the candy machine.
                      "I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."

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