history of design copy.jpg

Graphic Design has a rich and varied history dating all the way back to cave painting when prehistoric man published his exploits on the walls in Lascaux, France. Since then there have been many inventions that have influenced the course of history.Typography has it's origins in early written forms such as hieroglyphics. The real birth of graphic design though has to do with the invention of the printing press.

This invention allowed people to reproduce type and eventually pictures and thus publish and spread knowledge. The rise of the middle class is directly connected to the printing press and people's desire to read what was printed.

For this unit we will explore the history of more modern design in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will look at the influence of movies, magazines, posters and of course the invention of the Apple Computer. Steve Jobs and that first computer revolutionized the print industry and how designers create their work.

Some of the key designers of the 20th century have been highlighted in the Keynote you saw in class, but here are some more details and a list of designers to look at and explore. For your project you will be researching a minimum of 3 from this list and eventually narrowing it down to one that you'd like to design a postcard for. Remember that Graphic design encompasses, photography, typography, illustration, advertising and much more.

20th/21st Century Designers to Explore

Edward McKnight Kauffer- poster designer early part of 20th century, part of the Avant garde movement in design.

Ed Sorel- PushPin poster designer early 20th century

Wes Wilson- psychedelic poster design of the 1960s-70s, American artist and one of the leading designers of psychedelic posters. Best-known for designing posters for Bill Graham of the The Fillmore in San Francisco

Milton Glaser- poster design 1970s and onward, American graphic designer, best known for the I ♥ NY logo, his Bob Dylan poster, the DC bullet logo used by DC Comics from 1977 to 2005, and the Brooklyn Brewery logo. He also founded New York Magazine with Clay Felker in 1968.

Laurence Gartel-early digital designer 1970s to present

Nancy Skolos and Tom Weddell- 1970s and beyond poster designers (husband and wife team)

David Carson 1980s and beyond, wrote the book the end of print, surfer culture in design, really tried to challenge how we see typography and design. (poster and Raygunmagazine design)

Jamie Reid- punk rock influenced designer, see the Sex Pistols cover for God Save the Queen

Swiss Poster Style of early 20th century

Bauhaus Design style of early 20th century- strongly eastern European looking, played off of the Swiss style, used the grid to design. Bold diagonal movement with strong, non-serifed typography. Many of the WW2 propaganda posters were done in this style. Bauhaus also had a strong influence on the development of Typography Styles.

Paul Rand- known as the grandfather of graphic design, designed logos and many ads in the early to mid 20th century.

Saul Bass -

Poster designer and much more, many of the movies you've seen have type and opening sequences, credits designed by him. He did many of the movie posters for Alfred Hitchcock movies and is famous for designing the storyboard for the Psycho movie.

April Greimen

Recognized as one of the first designers to embrace computer technology as a design tool. One of the first to start using layered imagery with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.


Emigre Design Company- Developed essays about graphic design in the 1990s and created many modern, computer only fonts. Known for their use of symbol fonts too, that are the pre-cursor to emoticons. See also:


Ed Fella- is an American graphic designer, artist and educator. He created the OutWest type in 1993. His work is held in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Brauer Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Rudy Vandylans-is a Dutch type and graphic designer and the co-founder of Emigre, an independent type foundry, with Czechoslovakian-born designer Zuzana Licko. VanderLans studied at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague.

Stefen Sagmeister- is a New York-based graphic designer and typographer. Sagmeister co-founded a design firm called Sagmeister & Walsh Inc. with Jessica Walsh in New York City

Tibor Kalman- was an American graphic designer of Hungarian origin, well known for his work as editor-in-chief of Colors magazine.


Neville Brody

-is an English graphic designer and typographer, who is most recognized for his work on “The Face” Magazine and “Arena” Magazine, in the 80’s and 90’s. He also designed album covers for popular music artists, including Depeche Mode.

Louis Danziger

part of the modernist design movement, seen as a highly influential designer especially in advertising.

Leo Lionni- Best known as an illustrator, but also a designer of children's books including Swimmy.


Lois Ehlert

-an author and illustrator of children's books, most having to do with nature. Ehlert won the Caldecott Honor for Color Zoo . She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Eric Carle- Children's book author and illustrator has done many books including The Hungry Caterpillar

Some great resources to use for your research


Now that you've done some research it is time to post your own page that reflects what you've learned. Click here to post your Designer report and images from your research.