Graphic Design

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Graphic Design

The discipline of graphic design can be characterized as the art of choosing and designing the proper visual elements with the aim to carry a particular message to an audience. Thus, graphic design can also be described as visual communications as this term indicates its purpose of giving form to the specific data. An essential function of the graphic designer is to connect the visual and verbal elements into a compelling combination. Graphic design is hence a collaborative discipline that was formed as a result of different artistic movements.

To begin with, it should be mentioned that the development of graphic design as a discipline has been closely connected to the technological innovations, societal demands, and the visual creativity of artistic movements. Graphic design has been used in different forms throughout the worldwide history. Examples of graphic design can be seen in the works of ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Greek artists as well as the following artworks of the Impressionists. Then, in the late 19th century, the discipline of graphic design developed as a separate profession in the West, in part dues to the job specialization process that transpired there, and in part as a result of technological development and spreading of commercial opportunities during the period of the Industrial Revolution (Dabner et al.).

As a matter of fact, it is considered that Impressionists designed an art model that increased artistic freedom in graphic design. Thus, the Impressionists developed the particular art rules. Those rules included a choice of lines, subject matter, the structure as well as color, light, and shade (Fénéon and Thomson). In general, the Impressionists developed the new approaches of seeing the world that is different from the previous movement in which the items were mostly performed in an allegorical way. Thus, prior to the period of Impressionism, the landscapes and portraits were quite realistic, but ironically, they were affectedly represented.

It can be seen that the Impressionists attempted to transform the generally adopted patterns of art. They did this examining the shifting impressions of motion, color, shade and also time passing and then represented those elements on canvas (Fénéon, and Thomson). For example, considering Woman with a Parasol painted by Claude Monet, one can note that the author materially applied the lines and provided the audience with the vivid representation of the entire scene. The appliance of lines and the whole manner is unusual to the previous art movements, and it laid a basis for the further development of graphic design. It is generally considered that the evolution of graphic design reveals the contemporary art movement while the graphic designers borrowed a lot from the Japanese print and Impressionism (Fénéon, and Thomson).

At the same time, it is considered that graphic design developed under the influence of Ukiyo-e, which is a genre of art that emerged in Japan. The artists of Ukiyo-e created woodblock prints and paintings of different items. The style of Impressionism has been developed under the influence of Ukiyo-e that is considered as a prototype of graphic design. From the 1870s Ukiyo-e became a notable movement in art and had a significant influence in the early Impressionists and thus on the graphic design (Pérez-Arantegui et al. 98). Thus, the direct link between Impressionism and graphic design seems to be evident.

Currently, the discipline of graphic design actively incorporated the art elements that were firstly introduced by the Impressionists. The modern discipline of graphic design applied a lot from the Impressionists. Thus, as Impressionism shook up the art establishment and became the widely recognized, there is sufficient enough reason to acknowledge the legacy of the Impressionists.

With respect to the discipline of Graphic Design within the context of Post Modernism, it can be said that Graphic Design is aligned to the essential tenets of Post Modernism. Post Modernism was in fact developed as a response to Modernism. In other words, Post Modernism was a way that people used to critique and also carry further the discussion on Post Modernism. Indeed, this notion of furthering ideas can be seen in Graphic Design, as the discipline thrives on the continuation of ideas based on what is happening. Therefore, a Graphic Designer working in the era of Modernism or who finds themselves informed by the ideas of Modernism will work in a completely different way from a Designer whose work is informed by ideas of Post Modernism. This is because artists who are influenced by the era of Post Modernism typically have their work founded in ideas of experimentation with form, processes, and techniques. Thus, it can be posited and argued that Graphic Design as a discipline finds its impetus in the ideas of Post Modernism.

The primary purpose of Graphic Design is to communicate. Thus, in considering its evolution across the years, one notes that the evolution must also be understood in light of the changes in communication methods. Perhaps the most significant change in the field of Graphic Design has been its adoption of various modes or channels of getting audiences. Technological advances as well as the internet have revolutionized the ways in which Graphic Designers meet their target audiences. The other significant change is with regard to the tools of work. Graphic Designers now have newer and sophisticated technology with which they practice their art. While Graphic Design was limited to actual drawing and sketching, with the advent of technological modes of design, Graphic Designers can now use applications such as Adobe Photoshop to enrich their designs. It can also be argued, as Lupton and Miller (350) does, that the main event that influenced the recent changes in Graphic Design is the introduction and adoption of the internet into the work. Further, there has been a notable movement toward minimalism as an aesthetic.

It is not possible to say—with finality—the trends that are most practiced across the globe as far as the field of Graphic Design is concerned. In fact, the field of Graphic Design is progressing at such a fast rate that a conclusive scan of all the trends is impossible. Even so, there a few trends that are generally said to be embraced in many parts of the globe. As Lupton and Miller (351) proposes, some of the current trends in Graphic Design include the adoption of gradients, responsive logos, the use of photography, the use of bold typefaces, and the use of various shades in the same piece of work. It is Celhay and Trinquecoste’s contention that the single attribute that runs through the current trends is the rejection of all the traditional ideas about Graphic Design (1015). Indeed, the current trends harken to the beginnings of the era of Post Modernism as far as rejection of norms is concerned. In the future, one can indeed postulate that the trends that will be adopted will be those that make it possible for the target audience to interact with the work. The factors that will lead to an increase of interactivity in Graphic Design include the proliferation of the Internet, the globalization of financial markets, and the need to tailor work fit for each individual consumer. Thus, to conclude, one can maintain that the future of Graphic Design is more interactive.

Before technological advancements such as desktop publishing were rolled out in the 1980’s artist made use of traditional methods such as the use of x—acto knives to literally cut and paste elements that they wanted to use on their artwork. Artists had to manually cut them down and move them by hand instead of using clicking on an image and sliding over with a mouse. Other tools that were used in the past are the drawing tables. They are useful even today and essential when coming up with quick ideas by hand (Sinfield, p.57-64). Designers made use of the higher—end versions and swiveling T—squares that made drawings and parallel lines straight and efficient. Additionally, artists made use of tweezers that were utilized for cutting and pasting small elements, which worked better than hands during those times. Rubber and cement was the adhesive of choice for designers in the past. It helped make applications more smooth and flat. Lastly, they made use of pens and pencils such that there were regular ones for tracing and light blue pencils to draw images or notes that were invisible on preprint film.

            After, the technological advancement, there has been a change in approach of creating artistic works. For instance, the use of platforms like Fiverr has made it easier to find graphic designers especially for small business and made it easier to break into the industry. In addition, technology advancements have changed in the approach of creating artistic works through the introduction of animations and virtual reality (Vienne, p.55). In addition, the print media is on its way, and with such advances, the digital media is slowly becoming the future of graphic design. Moreover, there are ways in which technology are linked and ways in which they are autonomous from each other. For instance, paint jobs can make sensors and autonomous cars safer through high tech pigments that enable dark vehicles to be seen much better. 

The creative industry has become a vital contributor to sustainable development. The artistic focus transforms to align with the economic development of a society; the arts do not just respond to economic changes, but they are vital catalysts for the shifts. It follows that developed economies have vibrant artistic communities (Montague, Powell, and Swindells 129). The pursuit of graphic design as a profession implies there is monetary compensation involved. Even the most passionate artists have to temper their free spirits to meet their daily needs. The technological changes have created ripples across the economic world and caused graphic designers to adjust their strategies accordingly. Graphic design is heavily reliant on photography, and money is necessary to buy professional equipment. The arts and the economy can thrive autonomously, but synchronized progress in both fields leads to sustainable development.

The modern iteration of graphic design incorporates the resources the Internet offers and its corresponding exposure. Graphic designers’ relationships with the Internet, and more recently social media, exemplify the dynamics between art and economy (Montague et al. 134). Businesses strive to manage the perception of value that their respective products offer. This new economic reality has thrust graphic designers into the heart of organizations’ marketing strategies. In the digital age, consumers are inundated with information. The graphic designers assist with marketing strategies to help these organizations’ messages to stand out. Such endeavors require artists to balance aesthetics with purpose.

             Graphic designers have utilized their skills in visual communication to dominate the YouTube platform. The avenue enables graphic designers to elevate their craft and, at the same time, embrace other art forms such as storytelling to deliver value to their audiences (Manzini 62). While their authenticity is not in question, they are there partly for the money. Their love for the art form helps them create original content that will attract and sustain an audience. However, the economic incentives keep them motivated by showing them that their work is valued. Creativity requires a clear head; a decent income prevents the creator from distraction by financial instability. An economic situation that rewards its artists inspires them to be creative. Anticipating recognition is a part of human nature.

The age of Van Gogh and like-minded artists that lived deprived lives only for their works to be celebrated posthumously is gone. Art was a status symbol that often did not translate to prosperity for the artist with few exceptions (Manzini 58). Modern artists have a stake in the auction of their pieces. Investors buy works of famous paintings because their value appreciates and is more stable than stock. What elevates graphic design from traditional art is that it strives to communicate a message. The viewers are not responsible for interpreting their unique realities from a given piece. Instead, they gain a better understanding of a preconceived message. In this regard, appropriation is condoned as long as the result is achieved. Graphic designers have deliverables that they must fulfill to receive compensation. Nonetheless, the graphic designers remain autonomous; they can choose the strategy to employ to communicate a set deliverable.

Sometimes, art defies the economic trends to demonstrate its independence. The Renaissance coincided with the French revolution when poverty was widespread. The flexibility of the arts allows it to display a different dimension depending on the occasion. During financial turmoil, artists with platforms that range from graphic designers to filmmakers utilize their voice to express their frustrations. Art in its basic form is a medium of expression.

Work Cited

Celhay, Franck, and Jean François Trinquecoste. “Package Graphic Design: Investigating the Variables that Moderate Consumer Response to Atypical Designs.” Journal of Product Innovation Management, vol. 32, no. 6, 2015, pp. 1014-1032.

Dabner, David et al. Graphic Design School: The Principles and Practices of Graphic Design. Wiley, 2017.

Fénéon, Félix, and Belinda Thomson. “The Impressionists in 1886”. Art in Translation, vol 6, no. 3, 2014, pp. 271-285. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.2752/175613114×14043084852958. Accessed 14 July 2018.

Lupton, Ellen, and J. Abbott Miller. “Deconstruction and Graphic Design: History Meets Theory.” Visible Language, vol. 28, no. 4, 1994, pp. 345-365.

Manzini, Ezio. Design, when everybody Designs: An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation. MIT Press, 2015.

Montague, L. M., A. Powell, and S. Swindells. “Cultural Economics: Relating Urban Design, Art and Civic Society as a Platform for Creative Consultation.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Changing Cities II: Spatial, Design, Landscape & Socioeconomic dimensions. Grafima Publications, 2015.

Pérez-Arantegui, Josefina et al. “Colours And Pigments In Late Ukiyo-E Art Works: A Preliminary Non-Invasive Study Of Japanese Woodblock Prints To Interpret Hyperspectral Images Using In-Situ Point-By-Point Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy”. Microchemical Journal, vol 139, 2018, pp. 94-109. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.microc.2018.02.015. Accessed 14 July 2018.

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