Free Download Graphic Image & Vector

Graphic Design: History and Origins

  • Share

Graphic design is a career that involves the creation of visual communications. These communications are usually produced industrially and have a specific purpose. This activity allows you to graphically communicate ideas and facts. It also allows you to synthesize information in terms of form and communication. Visual communication design is also known as graphic design. Some associate the term figure with the printing industry. However, they understand that visual messages can be channeled through multiple media.

The demand for graphic designers has increased dramatically due to rapid growth in information exchange. This is especially true because of the advancement of new technologies and the need for attention to human factors that go beyond the capabilities of engineers.

Among the many categories of graphic design that are used is advertising design and editorial design as well as corporate identity design and web design.

Graphic Design History

In terms of their preparation, activities, and goals, the definition of graphic design is quite recent. While there isn’t consensus about the exact date, some dates it to the interwar period. Others believe that graphic design began to be identified as such in the late nineteenth century.

Specific graphic communication purposes may have their roots in Paleolithic cave painting and the birth of written English in the third millennium BC. C. However, the differences in work methods and training required auxiliary science are so great that it is difficult to identify the current graphic designer with the prehistoric man with the lithographer 1890 or the xylograph 15th century.

This diversity is due to the fact that not all opinions are the same. Some see graphic design as a product. Others only see visual manifestations that result from the application of a model industrial production.


Folio 114: A page taken from the Book of Kells. It contains decorated text and the Tunc dicut illis. A page layout and example of art from the Middle Ages.

The Book of Kells is a Bible written by monks from Ireland in the ninth century CE. It is a beautiful example of graphic design. It is an artistic demonstration of high quality and artistic value. This graphic piece can be used as a template for learning how to design. However, others think it is a graphic design product because it is not adapted to current graphic design projects.

Graphic design is closely connected to the history of typography. This may be because almost all graphics designs include these items. When discussing the history of graphic design, typography also mentioned the Trajan column and medieval miniatures, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press and the evolution of the book business, the posters Parisian Arts Movement and Crafts Art and Crafts, William Morris, Bauhaus, and others.

Johannes Gutenberg introduced movable type, making books more affordable to produce and facilitating their distribution. Incunabula, the first printed book, was a role model for the 20th century. This era is known for its graphic design, especially the typefaces that these early typographers used, or Humanist because of its predominant philosophical school.

The late nineteenth century saw no significant changes after Gutenberg. In Britain, however, there was an attempt to make a clear distinction between the applied and fine arts.

In the 19th Century

The Kelmscott Press published the first page of “The Nature of Gothic”, a book by John Ruskin. The Arts and Crafts was created to revitalize medieval art, inspire in nature and labor.

In the 19th century, visual message design was divided between two professionals: the publisher and the artist. The first was a skilled artist, while the second was a craftsman. Often they were both from the same school of arts and crafts. The printer saw typography as art. He used ornaments to choose fonts for his compositions. Typography was a child to the artist, with more emphasis on ornamental and illustrative elements.

The William Morris Kelmscott Press published a number of important graphic products Arts and Crafts Movement, (Arts and Crafts) and built a profitable business on the design and sale of high-end luxury books to the upper class. Morris established the distinction between design and production of works of graphic design. The Kelmscott Press’s work is distinguished by its recreations of historical styles, particularly medieval.

First Vanguards

Poster for Paris’ Moulin Rouge. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec created this poster in 1891 using color lithography. Art Nouveau is a graphic design tool that enhances visual clarity and graphic design.

The Bauhaus Isotype. Walter Gropius founded it in 1919. It is the birthplace for graphic design.

Given Poster for Matinee. In January 1923, Theo van Doesburg made this poster. This free font organization reflects the spirit of Dada, irrationality and freedom, and is opposed to the status quo.

Design of corporate identity for Lufthansa by the Development Group 5 at the HFG Ulm. Ulm School was a turning point in design history, as it established the scientific method of designing.

The National Park Service of the United States currently uses pictograms. The 1950s saw the development of simplified symbols forms.

The early twentieth-century design, along with the fine arts, was a response to the decrepit typography and design of late nineteenth century.

It was a concept that was cherished until the end of the nineteenth century. The growing interest in ornamentation, the proliferation and use of typographic style one-piece design and measurement changes, was synonymous with good design. Art Nouveau was a movement that promoted higher order visual composition with its explicit desire for stylistic. The Art Nouveau maintained a high degree of formal complexity but did so in a strong visual consistency. It eliminated the variety of typographic styles within one graphic piece.

The second decade of twentieth century saw dramatic changes in graphic design due to the political turmoil and art movements. The Dada, De Stijl and Suprematism as well as Cubism and Constructivism, Futurism and Futurism created a new vision which influenced all facets of visual arts and design. These movements were opposed to decorative arts, and popular, as was the Art Nouveau, which, under the influence from the new interest of geometry, evolved into Art Deco. All of these movements represented a radical and transgressive spirit in all arts at the time. This period saw the proliferation of manifestos and publications, through which educators and artists could express their opinions.

In the 1930s, graphic design was redesigned to highlight the most interesting aspects of composition. This was a significant graphic style shift. It shows a response against eclecticism ornamentalist organicism of the time and proposes something more minimalistic and geometric. This style was influenced by Constructivism and Neoplasticism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, and Bauhaus and played a significant role in the development and evolution of graphic design in the 20th century. The increasing use of visual forms as communication elements was another important aspect in professional practice. This feature was most prominent in the Dada and De Stijl designs.

Modern typography’s symbol is the sans serif font. This font was inspired by industrial designs of the late 19th century. Highlights include Eric Gill and Edward Johnston (author of the font for London Underground).

Design Schools

Jan Tschichold was the embodiment of modern typography and published his 1928 book, New Typography. Although he later rejected the ideas in his 1928 book, New Typography, he remained influential. Herbert Bayer, who oversaw the Bauhaus’ typography and advertising workshops from 1925-1928, helped to create a new profession, the graphic designer. The education program included the topic “Advertising”, which covered, among others, the analysis and psychology of advertising media. William Addison Dwiggins, a typographer and designer, was the first person to use the term Graphic Design in 1922.

Graphic design, as we know it, was born from the parents of Herbert Bayer and Laszlo Moloy-Nagy. These pioneers introduced styles and production techniques that we still use today. Computers have drastically altered the production system, but today’s experimental design approach is even more relevant. It involves dynamism, experimentation, and even the selection of fonts (Helvetica, which is a revival, was originally a Typography design that was based on the nineteenth century industrial) and orthogonal combinations.

The modern style was accepted in the years that followed, but it remained stagnant. Adrian Frutiger (designer of Frutiger and Univers typefaces) and Josef Muller Brockmann (large poster of the fifties & sixties) are two notable names in modern design’s midcentury.

Another important institution was the Hochschule fur Gestaltung (HFG), in Ulm, which played a key role in the growth of graphic design. The HFG has been adamant about avoiding any association with advertising since its inception. The department was initially called Visual Design. However, it became apparent that the HFG Ulm was primarily interested in persuasive communication. This includes traffic signs systems, technical equipment plans, and visual translation of scientific content. These areas were not taught in schools across Europe. The Bund Deutscher Grafik Designer (Association of German Graphic Designers) revealed several aspects of their professional identity in the early 1970s. This included Anton Stankowski and others. The 1962 profession definition was primarily focused on advertising. However, the definition has been extended to encompass areas that fall under the category of communication visual.4 Corporate images created by the Development Group 5 at the HFG Ulm for companies such as Braun and Lufthansa are also important to this new professional identity.

Gui Bonsiepe, and Tomas Maldonado are two of the first to try to use the design ideas from semantics. Maldonado suggested modernizing rhetoric and the classical art of persuasion in a seminar at HFG Ulm, 1956. Maldonado Bonsiepe then wrote articles about semiotics, rhetoric for Uppercase English magazine and Ulm magazine. These magazines would be a valuable resource for designers in this area. Bonsiepe suggested the need for a modern system in rhetoric, semiotics that can be used to analyze and describe advertising phenomena. This terminology could be used to expose the “ubiquitous” structure of a publicitario message.5

This idea of simplicity and good design features has been a constant throughout the years. Not only did it apply to alphabet design, but in many other areas as well. In the 1950s, simplicity was a key feature of all design. Simple was the equivalent to good and was easier to read. The design of symbols was one of the most difficult areas to hit. Designers asked how symbols could be simplified while still retaining their informative functions. Recent research has shown that simplification of one symbol does not always increase its readability.

Second Vanguards

The slow, but steady, reaction to the growing sobriety of graphic design was not only inexorable. Postmodern fonts date back to the humanist movement in the 1950s. This group includes Hermann Zapf who designed the typefaces Best (1952) and Palatino (1948). These designs blurred the line between sans serif and serif fonts, and introduced organic lines into the lyrics. They served to ratify the modern rebellion against Zapf.

The publication of the Manifesto first things first (1964) was a significant milestone. It called for a more radical style of graphic design and criticised the notion of design in series. His influence was huge on a new generation graphic designers and contributed to the creation of publications like Emigre magazine.

Milton Glaser was another notable designer in the 20th century. He designed the iconic I Love NY campaign (1973) and the Bob Dylan poster (1968). Glaser incorporated elements from popular culture in the sixties and seventies.

Technology’s advances in printing and photography were a major inspiration for the technological advancements of the early 20th century. Technology played a similar role in the last ten years of the century. But this time, it was computers. It was at first a step back. Zuzana Licko started using computers to compose compositions shortly after the computer memory was measured by kilobytes. Typefaces were created with dots. Rudy VanderLans, her husband, was the founder of Emigre magazine, and the type foundry with the same name. They experimented with the incredible limitations of computers and discovered a tremendous creative power. Emigre magazine was the first to publish digital design.

David Carson is the culmination both of modern design and contrition sobriety. Raygun magazine’s designs are deliberately difficult to read, as they aim to provide visual experiences rather than literary ones.

The Present Times

Digital tools are now assisting graphic designers in a lot of their work. Computers have made graphic design a vastly improved field. Personal computers began to replace all analog-based technical procedures for digital systems in 1984 with the introduction of the first desktop publishing system. Computers have become essential tools. With the introduction of the internet and hypertext, their functions have been expanded to include communication. The rise in telecommuting has also highlighted the importance of technology. Special crowdsourcing has started to influence work arrangements. This has made it more important to consider time, motion, and interactivity. Despite these changes, design as a profession has not undergone significant changes. Although communication channels and production methods have evolved, the basic concepts that enable us to understand human communication have remained the same.

Skills and job performance

Designing is something that can be learned through practice and reflection. It is still possible, but it is not a given. It is important to continue education and practice in order to fully exploit this potential. Intuition is not a good option. Graphic designers need to be creative, innovative and lateral-thinking to succeed. While creativity in design can be found within established frameworks, it is more important to have the ability to think outside of those frames to solve seemingly impossible problems. This results in design work that is of the highest quality and level. Although creativity is at the heart of any design manager, it is not a design act in itself. Although creativity is essential for the successful performance of design work, it is not a solely graphics profession.

In the communication process, the graphic designer plays the role of the interpreter or encoder. This is responsible for the organization, interpretation and presentation of visual messages. His sensibility to form and content must be equal. This is the work of planning, structuring and evaluating communications. Design work is always driven by customer demand. This can be either verbally or in writing. Graphic design is a way to transform a linguistic message into a visual demonstration.

Professional graphic designers rarely work with nonverbal messages. Sometimes the word is only briefly used in text, while other times it appears more complex. In many cases, the editor is an indispensable member of the communications team.

A team of professionals is often required to participate in design activities, such as photographers and technical illustrators. Designers often serve as coordinators of different disciplines that are involved in the production of visual messages. The designer coordinates research, design, and production. He/she may also make use of specialists according to the needs of various projects.

Graphic design is multidisciplinary. The designer must be familiar with other activities, such as photography, freehand and technical drawing, descriptive geometry and Gestalt psychology. Semiology, typography and technology are all important.

A professional graphic designer is a specialist in visual communication. His work involves all aspects of the communication process. In this context, creating visual objects is just one aspect. The following are some of the steps in this process:

Determining the problem


Communication strategy conception.


Schedule Production.

Monitoring the Production


The designer must have a deep understanding of the following areas:

Visual communication.


Visual Perception

Management of human and financial resources.



Assessment techniques.

These four principles are important for graphic designers to consider when working on a project.

  • Share