Key Sectors in Visual Communication

  • Signs
  • Typography
  • Drawing
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Industrial Design
  • Advertising
  • Animation

Graphic Design Summary

  • Graphic design is a subset of visual communication and communication design
  • Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem solving.
  • Graphic Designers use text, space colour and image to create a desired effect.
  • They aim to communicate a concept in a very visual way through utilising technology and hand drawn techniques
  • Designers work in a variety of fields such as branding, digital design, publishing and advertising.
  • They can combine illustration, symbols, photography and textures to create either print or web-based designs for clients.
  • In graphic design, the designer interprets the needs and requirements of the client and presents it as a visual piece that will then reflect the clients style and message

The Origin of Graphic Design

  • Graphic design has only recently been recognised as a discipline by William Addison Dwiggins in 1922..
  • However activities considered to be graphic design-like have been around for much longer such as the illuminated manuscripts of the middle ages and the Trajan column in Rome.
  • Early artisans would create inscriptions that could be pressed onto tablets and clay.
  • It was also found that with the invention of papyrus paper Egyptians started to use it to transcribe early advertisements onto.
  • Monks are also believed to have used Symbols and text as a way of visual communication.

Styles of design being introduced to become movements

  • In 1850 styles of design started to become recognisable
  • After its origin Graphic design continued to develop and works can be seen in a variety of styles from different time periods.

The early movements of Graphic Design

  • Some of the early movements that involved the use of graphic design include the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau.
  • Arts and Crafts — a decorative style reminiscent of medieval times
  • Art Nouveau — artistic movement, designs featured organic and plant forms that are highly stylized.

Later Graphic Design movements

  • Art Deco-Focusing on particularly geometric shapes and simplistic patterns and overlapping shapes to create dimensions.
  • Constructivism — Originated in Russia and was used as a service to the Revolution with bold red and black colours and loud tone of voice created in the design, it was used to spread a message.
  • Plakatstil — Early style of poster art that usually features bold eye catching text along with flat colours and simple shapes.
  • Dada — Developed from Cubism and often contains elements of collage, unusual design layout with often distorted elements.

The Modern development of Graphic Design

  • International typographic style — simplistic shapes, legible typefaces, the main aim is to display information
  • Psychedelic movement- inspired by hallucinations due to drug use, often features swirling shapes and bright contrasting colours.
  • Pop Art — Introduces imagery from popular culture in advertising and in the news, designs are often a combination of completely different material, often combines mass culture with ideas of abstract expressionism.

The Invention of techniques and equipment and its impact

  • Wood Block printing — Developed in Europe and Asia. Involves an image being carved into reverse into a block of wood which is then covered in ink and a piece of paper is pressed on top which should transfer the image, this allowed graphic designers to print the same image several times.
  • Movable Type — Invented in 1450 by Johannes Guttenberg born in 1398. He used a mechanical metal, movable printing press machine which was a huge improvement from traditional handwritten manuscript styles. This had a high impact in the very early stages of graphic design as it improved production time for printing designs as it was a lot quicker than the wood block technique and also allowed the user to have more freedom to manipulate text. This technique went out of date in the 20th century due to introduction of hot metal typesetting.
  • Letterpress — photopolymer plates are used to translate a digital design onto a plate to be used later with a vintage press machine, allowed designers to create a fairly accurate print of a design.
  • Phototypesetting — Text is created on photographic paper and is used to create a layout
  • Engraving — Image carved into a metal plate which the space are then filled with ink before paper is pressed on top to transfer the image, it had a high impact as it allowed the creating of clear, very exact designs with saturated colours.
  • Silkscreen printing — design is placed on top of a silk screen then covered in photo emulsion this creates a stencil when exposed to light allowing very distinct outlines to be created.

Copyright and plagiarism Issues

Copyright and plagiarism is an important issue in the field of graphic design. In graphic design, designers aim to create distinguished, original ideas which they can then sell to clients. This can cause a problem when particular design styles are recognisable as other designers may try to make money from another designer’s ideas buy selling a very similar design slightly cheaper to their clients or editing an already existing design by someone else and claiming it as their own. By having copyright control of their designs, graphic designers can control commercial reproduction and exploitation of their work.

Copyright and plagiarism are very important issues that people working in the creative industries need to be aware of. The main difference between copyright and plagiarism is that plagiarism is when someone takes credit for and claims someone else’s work as their own without giving the creator of the work attribution. Copyright infringement is when someone is using someone else’s work without first asking for permission from the owner. Copyright law states that the owner/creator of the work can take legal action if their work is reproduced without their permission, if people create work clearly based upon their own work, if copies of their work are distributed by someone else without themselves being aware or giving permission and finally if someone publicly sells or displays the work. An individual can plagiarise anything by claiming work as their own, however this may not mean there is a copyright infringement as the work may be in the public domain.

Cultural and Economic Impacts on Graphic Design

  • 1883 the Flexile film was introduced having a potential impact on the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau style
  • The Introduction of the Linotype Machine in 1886 which became the industry standard for creating newspapers, magazines and posters, due to being introduced when the Art Nouveau style was popular it would have had a high impact on posters designed by famous designer Alphonse Mucha who would have used it to create the layouts for his posters such as ‘Job’ and ‘Monaco Monte Carlo’
  • 1896 Motion Picture was also introduced marking an important moment in history for the arts.
  • Minimalist style design works were popular around the time of World War 1 and the Great Depression, this includes movements such as Plakatstil and Dada and designers featured simplistic imagery along with bold text on a contrasting background.
  • The Russian revolution heavily influenced a graphic design style called constructivism which displayed political views and opinions in an almost propaganda style manor with the typical colours being red and black.
  • Psychedelic Movement started in the 1950s a few years after the colour TV was invented, this inspired designers to explore colour experiments and create vibrant, exciting designs with a huge amount of imagination and colour.
  • Post modernism and Graffiti Art were introduced and popular at the time of the introduction of the first Macintosh computer and the Internet. The first Macintosh allowed a huge amount of creativity for modern designers. They could now manipulate images and text using image and photo editing software, this allowed the creation of very professional, well finished designs, it was also much easier to edit a design using the software creative individuals used on the Macintosh, Individuals could change the position of a design and its colour without having to manually re-do an image. It also allowed layouts to be created to make creating magazine and newspaper layouts much simpler. The Internet also had a very high impact as users could easily search for inspiration and design ideas online, they could also share designs with others around the world and use it to build a client base for their designs through setting up a website.
  • Graphic Design is very important in culture and the economy in todays society , Graphic designers are creative and passionate about their work and can use both hand drawn and computer skills to create an exclusive image for a brand which will enable the brand to be positioned in its chosen market place. Graphic Design is what draws us to particular brands as it fuels advertising. It can be found anywhere from the huge billboards we pass on the way to work to newspaper and magazine ads, logos and web pages.
  • Graphic designers have an important part to play in culture and the economy. For example Graphic designers will work as part of a company or work closely with clients many of whom will be representatives from businesses. Graphic designers can then work closely with these companies to create a brand identity which is aimed at a specific target market, this brand identity will be continued throughout the companies advertising campaigns and with a well thought out and refined brand identity people will begin to recognise a logo or a typeface and associate it with a specific product range or service. The company can then advertise their brand identity to their target audience which will result in increased sales, with an established place in the market the business can then grow and expand which will have a positive impact on the economy as it means more jobs in communities and it also creates brand loyalty as people become more familiar with the company. Creating a very effective brand identity can mean the brand becomes recognised worldwide, for example in the case of McDonalds and StarBucks. A survey carried out by NESTA showed that before 2013 there would be 180,000 creative industries companies in the UK that would contribute a maximum of £85 billion to our economy while also providing an estimated 150,000 jobs for individuals across the UK. A news article published by the 2010–2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government showed that in 2013 5.6% of jobs were in the creative industries.
  • Graphic designers have a very specific range of skills which enables them to carry out design projects for clients. These skills includes computer skills such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. However graphic designers also make use of hand drawn skills for example sketching a logo design and altering it or changing the colour using an Adobe package. The designers use these specific skills to allow them to experiment with typography and graphics which they can then use in a design concept.

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