Issuu on Google+

Discuss the impact of technology on today’s design world comparing it with the tools available to designers in the 1980s.


The ZX Spectrum was among the first mainstream home computers in the UK the introduction of the ZX Spectrum led to companies producing more hardware and software. This sort of technology led to what we have today, which allows us to input text, create images and download images and gather information from the Internet. The majority of devices nowadays have applications on them or applications already installed, which enable you to draw on them, such as the iPad, iPod and personal computers using specified software. These may be free of charge depending on the application.

Computers have changed the way in which we work as designers but have also changed the way in which we think about the design itself, when using technology to create a design the audience tend to look at how clever it is because of the way the artist has designed it using technology rather than the message itself within the picture which may be looked at in more detail when looking at artwork drawn by hand because of the way in which the artist has drawn it. Although technology now allows us to create work to a better quality, the ‘real object’ is no longer there for you to be able to look into the textures and get a real feel for the drawing itself although we can still give that look to the page when using technology. This can be a shame when you get an audience who prefer this sort of feel especially with it becoming more popular. Print Development 1440 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with replaceable/moveable wooden or metal letters in 1436 which was completed in 1440. This method of printing started a revolution not only in the production of books, but also developed the sciences, arts and religion in the form of text. His printing press which firstly had a wooden but later on developed to a metal movable type brought down the price of printed materials and remained the standard process till the 20th century. His method was a hand press in which ink was rolled over the raised surfaces of moveable hand-set block letters (wood/metal) held within a wooden form and then pressed against a sheet of paper. During the centuries many newer printing technologies were based on Gutenberg’s printing press, for example offset printing.


(Little change between here) 1880s/90s Lithography invented precursor to modern methods Lithography is a method for printing using a stone or a metal plate with a smooth surface. Invented in 1796 by Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works, lithography can be used for printing text or artwork onto paper or other similar materials. Originally used for etching an image into a coating of wax or an oily substance applied to the plate to transfer ink to a blank piece of paper in which produced a printed page. Lithography played a major part in the revolution of graphic design as it provided designers with the ability to hand draw type, allowing the artist to capture their true intentions in the piece of work. 1920s Offset Lithography/Printing is a commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanker then to the preferred printing surface. The offset technique provides a flat image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a water-based film (fountain solution) keeping the non-printing areas clean and ink free. Offset Lithography improved the quality and registration of printing. 1940s Photographic plates preceded photographic film targeted for photography. A light sensitive emulsion of silver salts was applied to a glass plate. This form of photographic material largely faded from the consumer market in the early years of the 20th century. Photographic plate production being developed improved range of colour and registration, but also in this period there was a development of screen printing as a commercial process.


1980s - First computers for design industry and design software started to develop. Computer Aided Design or CAD uses computer systems to create, modify, analyze or optimize a design. CAD software is used to improve the quality and communications through documentation along with creating a database for manufacturing. CAD software reduced the need of draftsmen significantly especially with smaller companies, CADs affordability and ability to run via computer saved companies masses of money. Current CAD software packages range from 2D vectorbased drafting systems to 3D solid and surface modelers. And can also frequently allow rotations in three dimensions, allowing viewing of a designed object from any desired angle, even from the inside looking out. First Macs and Adobe software The first Macintosh (Mac) computer was built with 64 kb of RAM, the combination of the Mac and other software’s allowed users to design, preview and print page layouts with text and/or graphics better known as desktop publishing. Initially desktop publishing was unique to Mac but eventually other platforms got hold of it. Later on other applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator strengthened the Mac’s position as a graphics computer but also expanding and emerging the desktop publishing market.

This leads into the more recent printing processes one of which is the process of 4 colour printing, the CMYK. The CMYK refers to the four inks used in some colour printing; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black). Although the order in which the ink is applied can vary typically the ink is applied in that order. CMYK works by partially or entirely masking colours on a lighter background, which is usually white. CMYK is not the only full colour printing process but is the most commonly used.


Some examples of different types of printing processes: Lithography - Lithography played a major part in the revolution of graphic design, it provided designers with the ability to hand draw type, allowing the artist to capture their true intentions in the piece of work. Screen printing – Screen printing was a method in which was developed in China but has been used more recent as the materials became easier to get a hold of, Andy Warhol uses this method to create his ‘Marilyn Monroe’ piece in the 1900s. Thermography – Thermography has increased drastically within the commercial and industrial applications over the past fifty years although it has been around some time now. Thermography has been used to detect swine flu by the government and airport personnel. Firefighters have also used it to see through smoke to locate the where beings of someone and locate the source of the fire and so on. Digital Printing – Digital printing refers to other methods of printing from a digital based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large format and/or high volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing however has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods. The savings in labor and the increasing capability of digital printing is reaching the point where it could match the ability of offset printing to produce a larger print at a lower price. The main differences between digital printing and traditional methods such as lithography, flexography, gravure, or letterpress are that no need to replace printing plates in digital whereas in analog printing plates are continuously replaced, resulting in a quicker and less expensive turnaround time, and typically a loss of some fine-image detail by most commercial digital printing processes. The most popular methods include inkjet or laser printers that deposit pigment or toner onto a wide variety of substrates including paper, photo paper, canvas, glass, metal, marble and other similar substances. Flexography – Flexography is a form of printing process which utilizes a flexible relief plate. You could say it is more of a modern version of the letterpress which can be used to print on almost any type of substrate such as plastic, metallic, films, cellophane etc. It is widely used to print on different types of food packaging and works well when printing large areas of solid colour. Labels requiring high quality have generally been printed using the offset process until recently. Since 1990 rapid changes have been made to the quality of flexography.


The V&A has had an exhibition examining the shifting nature of the design world over the past 60 years 1960-2012; they had three different galleries which explored the tension between the traditional and modern world of designing along with the subversive impulse in the British culture and Britain’s leadership in the design innovation and creativity. This exhibition showed how the British designers have responded to the way in which technology has changed the way that we live today via economic, political and cultural forces. Since I was born technology has changed rapidly in all aspects whether it’s in the design world or in general. For designers this has made a drastic impact as they can now use a computer to create artwork rather than drawing by hand there is now a much wider range of designers because of this. For example Milton Glaser, who created the I <3 NY logo, which followed by creating graphic identities for cities and artists too. Another major change is that artwork is now created using software such as Photoshop or similar sort of software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. This means that now designers don’t have to particularly be good at drawing by hand, which they would’ve had to be good at to become a designer in the 80s. The design world we live in today compared to the 80s has changed a lot more rapidly, allowing designing to be more versatile by choosing whether we work digitally or by hand. The improvement in technology also allows us to have access to live video feeds, which can teach us how to do certain things by typing into a search engine rather than maybe having to pay to have a number of lessons on learning how to do it. The Internet also gives us information in which we can access at our fingertips rather than visiting a library and so on. All these put me at an advantage in living in today’s design world as I choose what way in which I do things whether it’s by hand or digitally working depending on what I’d rather do. Whereas before the 80’s I would’ve had no choice but to work by hand if I wanted to be a designer. These changes in the design world not only made a huge impact on the artists it also had a huge impact on the pieces of work themselves allowing them to be clearer and professional. For example when creating a piece of work now you can work from one computer and use effects that enable you to make your work look like it’s been created on a typesetter, printer or designers itself by using one program. There are many advantages to the change in today’s design world such as not having to pay out for materials and there is a lot less labour involved! Which means that it is a lot quicker, cheaper and easier to become a designer as there are no large expenses and the whole process has been made easier with the help of technology, which can mean that becoming a designer can be more appealing to a wider range of people as it is now so diverse?


Essay graphics x