• What is Graphic Design?

    Graphic design is a profession whose business is the act of designing, programming, and create visual communications, generally produced by industrial means and intended to convey specific messages to specific social groups, with a clear purpose. This is the activity that enables graphically communicate ideas, facts and values processed and synthesized in terms of form and communication, social, cultural, economic, aesthetic and technological. Also known as visual communication design, because some associate the word figure only to the printing industry, and understand that visual messages are channeled through many media, not just print.

    Given the massive and rapid growth in the exchange of information, the demand for graphic designers is greater than ever, particularly because of the development of new technologies and the need to pay attention to the human factors that are beyond the competence of engineers who develop them.

    Some classifications are widely used graphic design: advertising design, editorial design, corporate identity design, web design, packaging design, typographic design, signage design, multimedia design, among others.

    Graphic Design History
    The definition of the graphic design profession and answer to What is Graphic Design? is rather recent, in what concerns their preparation, their activities and goals. Although there is no consensus on the exact date of the birth of graphic design, some dating during the interwar period. Others understand that begins to identify as such to the late nineteenth century.

    Arguably specific graphic communications purposes have their origin in Paleolithic cave paintings and the birth of written language in the third millennium BC. C. But the differences in working methods and training required auxiliary sciences are such that it is not possible to clearly identify the current graphic designer with prehistoric man, with xylograph fifteenth century or the lithographer 1890.

    The diversity of opinion reflects the fact that some see as a product of graphic design and all other graphical demonstration only those that arise as a result of the application of a model of industrial production, those visual manifestations that have been “projected” contemplating needs of different types: productive symbolic ergonomic contextual etc.

    Graphic Design Background
    A page from the Book of Kells: Folio 114, with decorated text contains the Tunc dicit illis. An example of art and page layout of the Middle Ages.

    The Book of Kells – A Bible handwritten richly illustrated by Irish monks in the ninth century CE-is for some a very beautiful and early example of graphic design concept. It is a graphic demonstration of great artistic value, high quality, and that even a model for learning to design-for even surpasses in quality to many of the current-editorial productions, and also from a functional point of view contemporary This graphic piece responds to all needs presented the team of people who made it, however others believe that it would be graphic design product, because they understand that their design is not adjusted to the idea of current graphic design project.

    The history of typography-and by transitive, also the history of the book-is closely linked to graphic design, this may be because there are virtually no graphics designs that do not include such items graphics. Hence, when talking about the history of graphic design, typography also cited the Trajan column, medieval miniatures, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, the evolution of the book industry, the posters Parisian Arts Movement and Crafts (Arts and Crafts), William Morris, Bauhaus, etc.. ”

    The introduction of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg made books cheaper to produce, and facilitate their dissemination. The first printed books (incunabula) scored the role model to the twentieth century. Graphic design of this era has become known as Old Style (especially the typefaces which these early typographers used), or Humanist, due to the predominant philosophical school of the time.

    After Gutenberg, no significant changes were seen until the late nineteenth century, particularly in Britain, there was an effort to create a clear division between the fine and applied arts.

    Graphic Design in the 19th Century
    First page of the book “The Nature of Gothic” by John Ruskin, published by the Kelmscott Press. The Arts and Crafts intended to revive the medieval art, inspiration in nature and manual labor.

    During the nineteenth century visual message design was entrusted alternately two professionals: the artist or the publisher. The first was formed as an artist and the second as a craftsman, often both in the same schools of arts and crafts. For the printer as art was the use of ornaments and selecting fonts printed in his compositions. The artist saw typography as a child and paying more attention to ornamental and illustrative elements.

    Between 1891 and 1896, the William Morris Kelmscott Press published some of the most significant graphic products Arts and Crafts Movement (Arts and Crafts), and established a lucrative business based on the design of books of great stylistic refinement and selling them to the upper classes as luxury items. Morris proved that a market existed for works of graphic design, establishing the separation of design from production and the fine arts. The work of the Kelmscott Press is characterized by its recreation of historic styles, especially medieval.

    Graphic Design First Vanguards
    Poster for the Moulin Rouge in Paris. Made by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec with color lithography in 1891. Thanks to Art Nouveau, graphic design and visual clarity gained by the composition.
    Isotype of the Bauhaus. Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, is considered the birthplace of the graphic design profession.

    Given Poster for Matinée. Made by Theo van Doesburg in January 1923. The free font organization, expresses the spirit of the Dada movement, irrationality, for freedom and oppose the status quo and visual expressions of the time.

    Corporate identity design for Lufthansa, by the Development Group 5 of the HFG Ulm. Ulm School was an inflection point in the history of design, since there is outlined the design profession through scientific methodology.

    Current pictograms design for the National Park Service of the United States. The idea to simplify the symbols forms developed during the 1950s.

    The design of the early twentieth century, as well as the fine arts of the same period, was a reaction against the decadence of typography and design of the late nineteenth century.

    The interest in ornamentation and the proliferation of measurement changes and typographical style one piece design, synonymous with good design, it was an idea that was maintained until the late nineteenth century. The Art Nouveau, with its clear desire stylistic was a movement that contributed to higher order visual composition. While maintaining a high level of formal complexity, did so within a strong visual consistency, discarding the variation of typographic styles in one graphic piece.

    Art movements of the second decade of the twentieth century and the political turmoil that accompanied them, generated dramatic changes in graphic design. The Dada, De Stijl, Suprematism, Cubism, Constructivism, Futurism, the Bauhaus and created a new vision that influenced all branches of the visual arts and design. All these movements opposed to the decorative arts and popular, as well as the Art Nouveau, which under the influence of the new interest in geometry evolved into the Art Deco. All these movements were a revisionist and transgressive spirit in all arts of the time. This period also publications and manifestos proliferated through which artists and educators expressed their opinions.

    During the 1930s developed for the composition interesting aspects of graphic design. The graphic style change was significant because it shows a reaction against eclecticism ornamentalist organicism and the time and proposes a more stripped and geometric. This style, connected with Constructivism, Suprematism, Neoplasticism, De Stijl and Bauhaus exerted a lasting influence and inescapable in the development of twentieth century graphic design. Another important element in relation to professional practice, was the increasing use of visual form as communication element. This item appeared mostly in the designs produced by the Dada and De Stijl.

    The symbol of modern typography is the sans serif font or serif, inspired by industrial types of the late nineteenth century. Highlights include Edward Johnston, author of the font for the London Underground, and Eric Gill.

    Graphic Design Schools
    Jan Tschichold embodied the principles of modern typography in his 1928 book, New Typography. He later repudiated the philosophy presented in this book, calling it fascist, but remained very influential. Herbert Bayer, who dirigó from 1925-1928 the typography and advertising workshop at the Bauhaus, created the conditions for a new profession: the graphic designer. He put the subject “Advertising” in the education program including, among other things, the analysis of advertising media and the psychology of advertising. Notably, the first to define the term Graphic Design was the designer and typographer William Addison Dwiggins in 1922.

    Thus Tschichold, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, and El Lissitzky became parents of graphic design as we know it today. They pioneered production techniques and styles that have been using later. Today, computers have dramatically altered production systems, but the approach that contributed to experimental design is more relevant than ever dynamism, experimentation and even very specific things like choosing fonts (Helvetica is a revival, originally a Typography design based on the nineteenth-century industrial) and orthogonal compositions.

    In the years following the modern style gained acceptance, while stagnated. Notable names in modern design midcentury are Adrian Frutiger, designer of the typefaces Univers and Frutiger, and Josef Müller-Brockmann, large poster of the fifties and sixties.

    The Hochschule für Gestaltung (HFG) in Ulm was another key institution in the development of the graphic design profession. Since its founding, the HFG distanced himself from a possible affiliation with advertising. At the beginning, the department concerned was called Visual Design, but it quickly became clear that his current goal was to solve design problems in the area of mass communication in the academic year 1956-1957 the name was changed to Department of Visual Communication, modeled Visual Communication Department at the New Bauhaus in Chicago.2 3 In the HFG Ulm, decided to work primarily in the area of persuasive communication in the fields such as traffic sign systems , plans for technical equipment, or visual translation of scientific content. Until that time were not systematically taught these areas in any other European school. In the early ’70s, members of the Bund Deutscher Grafik-Designer (Association of German graphic designers), unveiled several features of their professional identity, as in the case of Anton Stankowski among others. While in 1962 the official definition of the profession was directed almost exclusively to the advertising, now extended to include areas located under the rubric of communication visual.4 corporate images produced by the Development Group 5 of the HFG Ulm such as those created for the firm Braun or airline Lufthansa were also critical to this new professional identity.

    Gui Bonsiepe and Tomas Maldonado were two of the first people who tried to apply the design ideas from semantics. In a seminar held at the HFG Ulm in 1956, Maldonado proposed modernizing rhetoric, classical art of persuasion. Maldonado Bonsiepe and then wrote several articles on semiotics and rhetoric for Uppercase English publication and Ulm magazine that would be an important resource for designers to that area. Bonsiepe suggested that it was necessary to have a modern system of rhetoric, semiotics updated as a tool to describe and analyze the phenomena of advertising. Using this terminology, could expose the “ubiquitous structure” of a message publicitario.5

    The idea of simplicity and good design feature continued this for many years, not only in the design of alphabets but also in other areas. The tendency to simplify influenced all means at the forefront of design in the 1950s. At that time, developed a consensus that simple, not only was the equivalent of good, but was also more readable equivalent. One of the hardest hit areas was the design of symbols. The designers raised the question of how they could be simplified without destroying its informative function. However, recent investigations have shown that the shape simplification only one symbol does not necessarily increase readability.

    Graphic Design Second Vanguards
    Reaction to the sobriety growing graphic design was slow but inexorable. The origins of postmodern fonts back to the humanist movement of the fifties. In this group highlights Hermann Zapf, who designed two typefaces today ubiquitous Palatino (1948) and Best (1952). Blurring the line between serif fonts and sans serif and reintroducing organic lines in the lyrics, these designs served more to ratify the modern movement to rebel against him.

    An important milestone was the publication of the Manifesto, first things first (1964), which was a call for a more radical form of graphic design, criticizing the idea of design in series worthless. He had a massive influence on a new generation of graphic designers, contributing to the emergence of publications such as Emigre magazine.

    Another notable designer of the late twentieth century is Milton Glaser, who designed the unmistakable I Love NY campaign (1973), and a famous Bob Dylan poster (1968). Glaser took elements of the popular culture of the sixties and seventies.

    The advances of the early twentieth century were strongly inspired by technological advances in photography and printing. In the last decade of the century, technology played a similar role, but this time it was computers. At first it was a step back. Zuzana Licko began using computers to compositions soon, when computer memory was measured in kilobytes and typefaces were created by dots. She and her husband, Rudy VanderLans, founded the pioneering Emigre magazine and type foundry of the same name. They played with the extraordinary limitations of computers, releasing a great creative power. Emigre magazine became the bible of digital design.

    David Carson is the culmination of the movement against contrition sobriety and modern design. Some of his designs for Raygun magazine are intentionally illegible, designed to be more visual than literary experiences.

    Present Graphic Design
    Today, much of the work of graphic designers is assisted by digital tools. The graphic design has changed enormously because of computers. From 1984, with the appearance of the first desktop publishing systems, personal computers gradually replaced all analog in nature technical procedures for digital systems. Thus computers have become indispensable tools and, with the advent of hypertext and the web, its functions have been extended as a means of communication. In addition, the technology also has been noted with the rise of telecommuting and special crowd sourcing has begun to intervene in work arrangements. This change has increased the need to reflect on time, motion and interactivity. Even so, the professional practice of design has not been essential changes. While the forms of production have changed and communication channels have been extended, the fundamental concepts that allow us to understand human communication remain the same.

    Graphic Design Job performance and skills
    The ability to design is not innate, but acquired through practice and reflection. Still, it remains an option, one thing potentially. To exploit this power is necessary continuing education and practice, as it is very difficult to acquire by intuition. Creativity, innovation and lateral thinking are key skills for graphic designer job performance. Creativity in design exists within established frames of reference, but more than anything, is a cultivated skill to find unexpected solutions to seemingly intractable problems. This translates into design work of the highest level and quality. The creative act is the core of the design process manager but creativity itself is not an act of design. However, creativity is not exclusive graphics performance and no profession, although it is absolutely necessary for the proper performance of the design work.

    The role that the graphic designer in the process of communication is the encoder or interpreter works in the interpretation, organization and presentation of visual messages. His sensitivity to the form must be parallel to its sensitivity to the content. This work deals with the planning and structuring of communications, with its production and evaluation. The design work is always based on customer demand, demand which eventually established linguistically, either orally or in writing. This means that the graphic design transforms a linguistic message in a visual demonstration.

    The professional graphic design rarely works with nonverbal messages. At times the word appears briefly, and in other texts appears as complex. The editor is in many cases an essential member of the communications team.

    The design activity often requires the participation of a team of professionals, such as photographers, illustrators, technical illustrators, including professionals with less related to visual message. The designer is often a coordinator of various disciplines that contribute to the production of the visual message. Thus, coordinates its research, design and production, making use of information or specialists in accordance with the requirements of different projects.

    We ask again what is graphic design? Graphic design is interdisciplinary and therefore the designer needs to have knowledge of other activities such as photography, freehand drawing, technical drawing, descriptive geometry, psychology of perception, Gestalt psychology, semiology, typography, technology and communication.

    The professional graphic design is a visual communications specialist and his work is related to all steps of the communication process, in which context, the action of creating a visual object is only one aspect of that process. This process includes the following:

    Defining the problem.
    Targeting.
    Conception of communication strategy.
    Display.
    Schedule Production.
    Monitoring Production.
    Evaluation.

    This process requires the designer to possess an intimate knowledge of the areas of:

    Visual communication.
    Communication.
    Visual Perception.
    Management of financial and human resources.
    Technology.
    Media.
    Assessment techniques.

    The four guiding principles of graphic design are variables that graphic design professional should consider when facing a project, these are:

    •     The Individual: conceived as ethical and aesthetic unit that integrates society which is part and to whom the visual space is uniform, continuous and connected.
    •     The advantage: because it responds to a need for information and this is communication.
    •     The atmosphere: because it requires knowledge of physical reality to contribute to the harmony of the habitat, and the reality of other contexts for understanding the structure and meaning of the human environment.
    •     The economy: it encompasses all aspects related to the study of the cost and streamlining of processes and materials for the implementation of the elements.

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