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Early Writing Systems The earliest writing systems evolved independently and at roughly the same time in Egypt and Mesopotamia, but current scholarship suggests that Mesopotamia’s writing appeared first. That writing system, invented by the Sumerians, emerged in Mesopotamia around 3500 BCE. At first, this writing was representational: a bull might be represented by a picture of a bull, and a pictograph of barley signified the word barley.

Egyptian 3000 BCE

Egyptian 3,400 BC


Papyrus & Writing tools

c. 31st century BC to 1st century AD c. 31st century BC to 1st century AD

Cuneinform in clay,14th century BC.

Clay & Writing tools

Though writing began as pictures, this system was inconvenient for conveying anything other than simple nouns, and it became increasingly abstract as it evolved to encompass more abstract concepts, eventually taking form in the world’s earliest writing: cuneiform. An increasingly complex civilization encouraged the development of an increasingly sophisticated form of writing. Cuneiform came to function both phonetically (representing a sound) and semantically (representing a meaning such as an object or concept) rather than only representing objects directly as a picture.

Alphabets Greek


Greek Alphabets,8th century BC.

The Greeks were the first civilization to use an alphabet. The Alphabet was developed after the Dark Age when the Greeks stopped using their previous written language. The Greek alphabet had 24 letters and believe it or not the word "alphabet" originates from the first 2 letters of the Greek alphabet; alpha, and beta. Today many letters of our modern alphabet originate from the Greek alphabet such as the letters A, B, E, and O. Greek alphabet influence the development of Latin alphabet. As the development of Greek alphabet, western culture popularize worldwide.



Roman Alphabets,8th century BC.

Asian Contribution Woodblock printing and paper

Chapter 2 of the Magical Charm Scripture of Great Splendor, 1231–1322,

The invented of paper making technique and woodblock printing had promote the development of culture. As the invention of woodblock printing in China, it spread into the other countries rapidly. After 400years, the technology of printing spread to Europe by Persia. In fourteen century, European began to woodblock prints. They initially printed image, and then they printed books. Under the continuous improvement by Gutenberg and the afferent of paper, typography of Western world began to flourish, accelerate the process of social development in Europe, and cause the Renaissance revival indirectly.

“The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” from the series “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji,” Japan, Edo period,

“Thunderstorm Beneath the Summit,” from the series “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji,” Japan, Edo period,

Illuminated Manuscripts Celtic

The Vatican Vergil, The Death of Laocoon, early fifth century AD

BOOK OF KELLS: the Chi-Rho page 794–806.


Morgan Beatus, Spanish, 10th century

The Psalms portion of the Old Testament.


14th-century painters - The Virgin of the Assumption

Parchment and writing tool

In the great era of the illuminated manuscript, the art of the illuminator often played an important role in the development of art. The portability of the manuscript made it a simple means for the transmission of ideas from one region to another, and even from one period to another. On the whole, the development of painting in manuscripts paralleled the development of monumental painting.The invent of parchment in western greatly promote the popularized of religions, and many religious masterpieces being preserved and spread.

The Codex Gigas, 13th century, Bohemia.

Rise of Printing in Europe, Renaissance Graphic Design

The printing press had dramatic effects on European civilization. Its immediate effect was that it spread information quickly and accurately. This helped create a wider literate reading public. However, its importance lay not just in how it spread information and opinions, but also in what sorts of information and opinions it was spreading.

Johannes Gutenberg, 1450 movable reusable type, mass communication

"Broadside (printing)."

"The Private Library."

Albrecht D端rer: "Alberti Dvreri Pictoris Et Architecti Praestantissimi De Vrbibvs..."

"Aldine Press."

First of all, more and more books of a secular nature were printed, with especially profound results in science. Scientists working on the same problem in different parts of Europe especially benefited, since they could print the results of their work and share it accurately with a large number of other scientists. They in turn could take that accurate, not miscopied, information, work with it and advance knowledge and understanding further. Of course, they could accurately share their information with many others and the process would continue. By the 1600's, this process would lead to the Scientific Revolution of the Enlightenment, which would radically alter how Europeans viewed the world and universe.

Geoffroy Tory – Illustrator and Typographer

Some people go as far as to say that the printing press is the most important invention between the invention of writing itself and the computer. Although it is impossible to justify that statement to everyone's satisfaction, one can safely say that the printing press has been one of the most powerful inventions of the modern era. It has advanced and spread knowledge and molded public opinion in a way that nothing before the advent of television and radio in the twentieth century could rival. If it were not able to, then freedom of the press would not be such a jealously guarded liberty as it is today.

"Broadside ("Typefoundry.")."

Venice ItalyGermany

Nuremberg Germany

Paris, France

Basel Switzerland

Lyons France

Typography in 18th century

Romain du Roi

"Font Designer – Pierre Simon Fournier."

William Caslon 1693 – 23 January 1766

"John Baskerville 28 January 1706 – 8 January 1775"

Rene Descartes 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650

Giambattista Bodoni February 16, 1740 – November 30, 1813

Firmin Didot 14 April 1764 – 24 April 1836

1. By the 1700s type design moved more and more away from influences of calligraphy, and became more scientific in proportion and based on machinedesign abilities. 2. New letters were to be designed by scientific principles 3. First important shift from Venetian tradition of “old style” roman type to transitional roman 4. Calligrapher no longer dominant typographic influence 5. Civil war, religious persecution, harsh censorship, government control of printing 6. John Baskerville Represent zenith of transitional style bridging gap between Old Style and modern type design 7. John Baskerville’s improved press and printing tools . 8. Giambattista Bodoni Redesigned roman letterforms Marked death of handwriting and calligraphy as inspiration for type design

The Industrial Revolution generated a shift in the social and economic role of typographic communication. Before the nineteenth century, dissemination of information through books and broadsheets was its dominant function. The faster pace and mass-communication needs of an increasingly urban and industrialized society produced a rapid expansion of jobbing printers, advertising, and posters. Larger scale, greater visual impact, and new tactile and expressive characters were demanded, and the book typography that had slowly evolved from handwriting did not fulfill these needs. Meggs' History of Graphic Design. Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

Industrial Revolution and Typographic Explosion

Technological Advances

Steam engine and factories,

Typeface Categories

fat-face,I Love Typography

egyptian,I Love Typography


"MLB Tuscan Font by Eriq Jaffe

“3d font”

"Reversed Logotype."

“Sans serif"

Printing Revolution

"press in london."

" Mechanization of Typography."


The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in human history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. Most notably, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. In the two centuries following 1800, the world's average per capita income increased over 10-fold, while the world's population increased over 6-fold. In the words of Nobel Prize winning Robert E. Lucas, Jr., "For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth. ... Nothing remotely like this economic behavior has happened before." n.html

“Muybridge's The Horse in Motion, 1878"

Victorian Era

“Victorian Era.

The Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition was the first international exhibition of manufactured products and was enormously influential on the development of many aspects of society including art and design education, international trade and relations, and even tourism.

"The Great Exhibition.London,1851"

Expanding View of the Great Exhibition Bailey Rawlins, England, 1851.

Arts and Crafts Movement

In time the English Arts and Crafts movement came to stress craftsmanship at the expense of mass market pricing. The result was exquisitely made and decorated pieces that could only be afforded by the very wealthy. Thus the idea of art for the people was lost, and only relatively few craftsman could be employed making these fine pieces. This evolved English Arts and Crafts style came to be known as "Aesthetic Style." It shared some characteristics with the French/Belgian Art Nouveau movement, to be discussed below. m

"Kelmscott Trademark,1892,Morris"

"Mosher Press."

Art Nouveau No longer looked to the past for inspiration Art nouveau represents the beginning of modernism in design (Modern Architecture). It occurred at a time when mass-produced consumer goods began to fill the marketplace, and designers, architects, and artists began to understand that the handcrafted work of centuries past could be lost. While reclaiming this craft tradition, art nouveau designers simultaneously rejected traditional styles in favor of new, organic forms that emphasized humanity's connection to nature.

“Ukiyo-e”,Utagawa Toyokuni, late Japanese Edo era: 1800s

“Dreams”, Aubrey Beardsley Zodiac, 1896, Alphonse Maria Mucha

May Belfort, 1895
 Henri de Toulouse–Lautrec

Henry van de Velde ,'Tropon' ,1898

Peter Behrens, The Kiss, 1898.

MODERNISM Graphic Design lineage

Modernism especially changed the thinking process for communications, graphic design and typography, the style of design shifted drastically from the prior 19th century approach. Before the concept of Modernism, graphic design and typography was 'overly decorated' and elaborate, every possible inch of a typical poster would be filled with imagery and type.

Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wrigh,1935

Home and Studio, Frank Lloyd Wrigh,1889

The Four (The Glasgow School) ,Scotland “In Fairyland” Charles Rennie Mackintosh



“The Sleeping Princess” Frances MacNair

Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg practiced painting, architecture and poetry - he also influenced graphic design and is considered the 'ambassador' of the movement De Stijl. He described Modernism times as: "Art should not deal with the 'useful' or the 'nice', but with the 'spiritual' and the 'sublime'. The purest art forms do not cause the decorative change of some detail from life, but the inner metamorphosis of life, the revaluation of all values." "Creative Bloq." The Easy Guide to Design Movements: Modernism. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.

Koloman Moser,Vienna Secession,

The kiss, Peter Behrens,

Pictorial Modernism

Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red, 1937–42, Piet Mondrian.

Otto Lehmann, WWI loan campaign

Poster for the Bauhaus Exhibition 1923,Joost Schmidt.

Akzidenz Grotesk

Bauhaus The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany. In spite of its name, and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not have an architecture department during the first years of its existence. Nonetheless it was founded with the idea of creating a ‘total’ work of art in which all arts, including architecture would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in modern architecture and modern design. The Bauhaus has had a profound influence upon later developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

Herbert Bayer, Self-Portrait,1932

Composition VIII, Kandinsky, 1911

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1965

László Moholy-Nagy

Expressionism, Dada, Constructivism, and de Stijl influenced the Bauhaus faculty and students. It’s weavers, furniture designers, and metal smiths did not try to create works of art but rather good and useful designs in which form was tied to function. Graphic design faculty also emphasized clean functional design. The profession of industrial designer was born from this movement. Bauhaus publications featured asymmetry, a rectangular grid structure and sans-serif type.

Colorchart study, Paul Klee

The contributions of artists and designers trained at the Bauhaus are vastly important and continue to exert a strong influence in contemporary design. A few Bauhaus artists who were influential in the development of graphic design: Josef Albers is known for his research into color. László Moholy-Nagy developed photography as illustration. Herbert Bayer created several typeface designs including Universal. In keeping with the Bauhaus philosophy, he believed in removing personal values from the printed page, leaving it purely logical and functional in design.

Isometric construction scheme, Walter Gropius,1926-28

Theo van Doesburg

Piet Mondrian, Line over form,1893

The New Typography What is the role of graphic design in this development of new typographic forms? It seems that graphic design is going to have to take a good hard look at itself and possibly re-define its parameters. The role of the designer has been simply stated as the communicator of messages. Designers should consider these new letterforms when designing a piece so that it may speak to our time and our sensibilities not to some preconceived notion of what design should look like. Our fall back aesthetic as designers has been the Bauhaus style and its Modernist credos. These ideas of design and communication were fine in their time but our time calls for design which expands the semantic role of graphic communication.

Jan Tschichold: The New Typography


The type faces of the digital era are quirky, personal and subjective, while the typography of the Swiss International Style strove for simplicity and objectivity. By designing and using new letterforms designers can advance the communication process of generations to come, most of which will rely less on the present forms of communication. Dutch designer Gert Dumbar defines graphic design as a “creative profession and creativity is by definition driven by innovation. It is not easy to convey this characteristic and still be able to transmit a message clearly�.31 I would agree that it may not be easy but it must continue to be a goal of the designer to convey messages in the most innovative way possible as to promote growth and interest in the field of graphic design, as well as, keep abreast of the needs of a changing society.

Font,Stanley Morison

International picture language, Neurath

American Modernism The Works Progress of America, the WPA, in 1935. As part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the federal government created the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1935. Direct relief for the unemployed was replaced by work opportunities, and billions of dollars were inserted into the economy as an average of more than two million workers were paid from fifteen to ninety dollars per month from 1935 until 1941.

Poster,Lester Beall,1930s

Spread from the June 1938 issue of Bazaar, Alexey Brodovitch

Under the leadership of Walter Paepcke, CCA was a patron of graphic arts and design. The company amassed an outstanding collection of art works which eventually found their way to the National Museum of American art. That collection is described in the book Art, Design, and the Modern Corporation.

Herbert Matte, Spread of magazine

A. M. CASSANDRE (1901-1968) 'Normandie', 1935

International Typographic Style (aka Swiss style) Also known as International Style, the Swiss Style does not simply describe a style of graphic design made in Switzerland. It became famous through the art of very talented Swiss graphic designers, but it emerged in Russia, Germany and Netherlands in the 1920’s. This style in art, architecture and culture became an ‘international’ style after 1950’s and it was produced by artists all around the globe. Despite that, people still refer to it as the Swiss Style or the Swiss Legacy.

Eduard Hoffmann 1892 – 1980.

Eduard Hoffmann’s notebook documents the birth and early development of Neue Haas Grotesk and Helvetica.

Max Miedinger 1910 – 1980.

sketch of Palatino,1973, Hermann Zapf

This progressive, radical movement in graphic design is not concerned with the graphic design in Switzerland, but rather with the new style that had been proposed, attacked and defended in the 1920s in Switzerland. Keen attention to detail, precision, craft skills, system of education and technical training, a high standard of printing as well as a clear refined and inventive lettering and typoraphy laid out a foundation for a new movement that has been exported worldwide in 1960s to become an international style.

Hermann Zapf.1918

Emerging from the modernist and constructivist ideals, the Swiss Style can be defined as an authentic pursue for simplicity – the beauty in the underlines of a purpose, not beauty as a purpose in itself. The principle “form follows function” became a battle-cry of Modernist architects after the 1930s. As a consequence of this principle, most of the Swiss Style craft is devoted to the minimal elements of style such as typography and content layout rather than on textures and illustrations. Poster,Josef Müller-Brockmann

New York School, Corporate Identity and Visual Systems, Advertising

Logos, Paul Rand

Rand's revolutionary vision on graphic design changed the profession forever. It was no longer a profession left for those who could not master the fine arts, but a profession with a style of its own. Rand and his modernist ingenuity brought about a new era in advertising and corporate trademarks that shaped the future of corporate America. ďźˆ"Logo Design Love." All about Designer Paul Rand. 

-For the purposes of Graphic Design, however, the New York School denotes the group of graphic designers active during the 1950s in and around New York. The older generation of these designers had fled from Europe earlier in the century, while the younger consisted of students which they educated at institutions such as the Cooper Union, Blackmountain College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and who in turn become educators themselves, setting up a chain of innovative, modernist design firmly embedded within an instructional tradition.

Herb Lubalin

"The History of Visual Communication The Modernists." The History of Visual Communication - The Modernists. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2014.

Herb Lubalin

logos design of Saul Bass

Campaign of volkswagen,Doyle Dane Bernbach

Postmodern Graphic Design in the Global Village 'Does it make sense' 1985ďźŒ April Greiman,

Jamie Reid,God Save the Queen (1977)

Paula Scher, Map

Postmodernism in graphic design for the most part has been a visual and decorative movement. Postmodernism was not a style, but a group of approaches motivated by some common understandings. It wasn't a theory, but a set of theoretical positions, which have at their core a self-reflexive awareness of the tentativeness, the slipperiness, the ambiguity, and complex interrelations of culture and meaning. Some argue that the "movement" had little to no impact on graphic design. More likely, it did, but more in the sense of a continuation or re-evaluation of the modern.

David Carson

Pearl Jam PosterďźŒart-chantry

poster for AIGA lecture in Cranbrook, Michigan,1999 Stefan Sagmeister.

Students of Cranbrook Academy of Art Output USA, 1992

Pacific Design Center - AIGA LA Presentation PosterďźŒ Charles S. Anderson

Vote Tibor! Tibor Kalman

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Luca Schenardi

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