Graphic Design (The Communication Story)
April 8, 2017
Graphic design is the visual communication through a combination of images, symbols, and signs. Graphic design represents both the processes (designing methods) and the designs (products).
Early Graphic design
The art of communication started when the very early humans drew pictures on the walls of the caves, the combination of pictures colors and composition gave birth to the earliest forms of graphic design.
The methods of illustrating the thoughts for various applications improved and the technological revolution made it easier to communicate the relevant ideas.
The depiction of ideas and thoughts through symbols and pictures led the way to words and finally the origin of writing. The earliest means of writing that deployed something that looked like a pen & paper, as we know today came from a great Greek civilization. Greeks experimented with metals sharp edges, bones and ivory using them as stylus and scribbled marks upon wax tablets. The tablets made in hinged pairs, closed to protect the scribe’s notes. Pure hand written text messages originated in Greece, scholar Cadmus invented the written letter, text messages written and send from one individual to the other.
Chiseled pictographic communication earlier by humans transformed into scribbled text by the stylus and wax tablets of the great Greeks was just the foundation of the graphic art form.
The Indian ink invented by the Chinese, was a mixture of soot from pine smoke and lamp oil, musk and gelatin. Other cultures developed the basic writing material “ink” from berries, plants, and minerals. In earliest forms of writing use of different colored inks stood for various religious meanings.
The early civilizations of Egypt, Rome, and Greeks communication scripts inked on papyrus and parchment papers served the basic paper. The oldest written material on papyrus dates back to 2000 B.C Egypt. The Romans created a reed-pen perfect for parchment and ink, from the hollow tubular-stems of marsh grasses, especially from the jointed bamboo plant. They converted bamboo stems into a primitive form of fountain pen. They cut one end into the form of a pen nib or point. A writing fluid or ink filled the stem, squeezing the reed-forced fluid to the nib.
The writing instrument that dominated for the longest period in history (over one-thousand years) was the quill pen. Introduced around 700 A.D., the quill is a pen made from a bird feather. Goose feathers were most common; swan feathers were of a premium grade being scarcer and more expensive. For making fine lines, crow feathers were the best, and then came the feathers of the eagle, owl, hawk, and turkey.
Plant-fiber paper became the primary medium for writing after another dramatic invention took place: Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with replaceable wooden or metal letters in 1436. Simpler kinds of printing e.g. stamps with names, used much earlier in China, did not find their way to Europe.
Typography (Brief history of letters)
The art of designing, composing and arranging alphabets/letters is typography. The letterforms we use today were not always, as we see them now. Over the past 5000 years, they evolved, linked to the rise and fall of civilizations, different cultures adding their own distinct imprint on the symbols of language.
Johannes Guteburg, who cast individual blocks out of lead, each bearing a raised letter, invented printed letters in the fifteenth century. In Gutenberg’s system, thousands of metal characters are stored in graded wooden cases and assembled by hand into fields of text. The printer inks the raised surfaces of the letters and passes the type and paper through a press. After the job is printed, the metal letters returned to their cases, ready to be composed into new texts.
Advertising is a form of communication used to influence individuals to purchase products or services or support political candidates or ideas. Frequently it communicates a message that includes the name of the product or service and how that product or service could potentially benefit the consumer. Advertising often attempts to persuade potential customers to purchase or to consume a particular brand of product or service.
Earlier the ads were vocal, street criers served the main source of communication. Greeks advertised by shouting announcements of the sale of cattle and slaves. Printed advertisements also developed early. A 3,000-year-old ad from Thebes calls for the recovery of a slave. In Rome, signs pasted up proclaiming circuses and gladiator matches.
Handbills and notices invaded the advertising field in middle Ages, because few people could read so these notices mostly were drawings. The signs usually advertised the goods of individual merchants. The very first newspaper made its appearance in England in 1622 “The Weekly News”.
In 1630, a Paris doctor opened a shop where you could post an ad for 3 souse, by the mid 1600s many such offices existed. This was the beginning of the centralization of advertising. These shops did not write ads or move ads out into external media like the modern advertising agency.
An ad appeared in a newspaper for Robert Turner’s Dentifrice in 1661–brand names were coming into use. The London Gazette announced, in 1666, that it was going to print advertisements. Newspaper ads became the rage. By 1682, shopping guides were being published which consisted entirely of ads. In the 1700s, England was glutted with pasted-up notices and posters. London became jammed with large advertising signs announcing merchants’ places of business. The signs became so numerous that Charles II proclaimed, “No signs shall be hung across the streets shutting out the air and the light of the heavens.”
The art of advertising developed in nineteenth century, coinciding with the increased prominence of brands. Techniques of language and layout with a mixture of images and words flourished and gained popularity. In late 1800s, with the boom of manufacturing the consumer society was born, making advertising a very important part of business. During this period, many big brands laid the foundation of future.
The booming and flourishing period for graphic design was after World War II; as the American economy thrived, the demand of graphic design, particularly on advertisement and packaging sectors blossomed.
In mid 1980, the arrival of desktop publishing and the launching of software applications like Illustrator and PageMaker introduced an era of designers to computer image manipulation.
Today, graphic design the visual communication, has all the possible tools to convey messages that can place an impact on the behaviors of people. History yet has to write all of her pages for innovation and invention in this field.