History Of Graphic Design

Graphic design has a very rich and varied history. The word “graphic design” didn’t appear on the scene until 1922, when William Dwiggins created the term to describe the art of designing with graphics.

In the earliest days of graphic design, professionals drew by hand. However, in the last 6 years graphic design has forged ahead, advancing rapidly since the addition of today’s digital art tools.

Earliest Graphic Design

Even though the term graphic design wasn’t created yet, some of the earliest designs included typography for books and newspapers. One could also argue drawings on cave walls represent a form of ancient graphics.

Fast forward to the 1940s, graphic design appeared in propaganda posters, such as the “We Can Do It” poster with Rosie the Riveter. Slogans were short, to the point, and added to a graphic that set the tone. As technology changed and became available to more people, the entire industry that would become known as graphic design began to emerge.

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The 1980’s

The 80s were all about bold, bright colors that grabbed people’s attention. Personal computers became affordable for everyone, putting design tools into the hands of all.

In 1984, Apple released MacPaint for Macintosh computers, allowing designers to use computer graphics in an effortless way, such as with a mouse or graphics tablet. Postscript language allowed designers to place type and graphics on the same page and send it to print, rather than using a drafting table to assemble designs.

In 1985, Microsoft introduced Windows, which meant people no longer had to learn MS-DOS to operate a computer. You just clicked on a few buttons and it was easy to design anything.

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The 1990’s

In 1990, Photoshop 1.0 arrived on the scene. Back then, you could only use Photoshop with Macintosh computers. The birth of this new tool again changed the designers ability to experiment with new techniques, including overlapping text, faded elements, and digital overlays.

Grunge was also born in the ’90s, which showed up in movie poster designs, book covers, and album covers with dark looking images and simple color palettes, such as white on black, perhaps with a pop of red.

The movie poster for Fight Club uses this grunge style, you can see how the background of the poster is dark and grainy, while the text is bright but raw. This combination creates the overall grunge effect from the decade.

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The 2000’s

The 2000s began an entirely new frontier for graphic designers. In addition to tools becoming even more powerful, people were suddenly designing on portable devices, such as smartphones. On top of that, designers began to realize the importance of designing in a way that looked good across all device types.

Movement also became more of a focus, with designers looking for ways to make even static logos look like they’re in motion.

Recent Changes

There isn’t one method that dominates graphic design today, but a mix of design techniques and styles. Trends emerge from year to year and sometimes month to month. Trends included flat icons and the addition of videos across marketing channels. On top of websites needing to be mobile responsive more than ever before, simplicity also was needed, along with speeding up overall rendering.

Where graphic design will go in the future is anyone’s guess, but the user experience is sure to remain at the forefront. Designs will become more personalized and more interactive over time.

Regardless of where design goes next, you can expect to see more personalized designs that will enhance the user experience in our daily life.

Apple

The bitten Apple is one of the world’s most notable and recognizable logos and is from the well known computer manufacturer: Apple Inc. Apple as a company has a huge recognition across the world and is sure to be seen in almost any computer store you go into. The Apple logo was not even remotely similar to the one seen now when the company first started though.

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The Newton Crest: 1976-1976:

The first logo was created by Ronald Wayne, one of which co-founded Apple in the early days in 1976, who wanted to represent the law of gravity that is inspired by an apple. In this logo you can see Isaac Newton, the man who revolutionized science with his discoveries on gravity, sitting under an apple tree with an apple dangling precipitously above his head reading a book.

Steve Jobs, who undertook many roles at Apple for the business of design, decided he was going to explore something new for the logo, something different. He believed that the original was too old fashioned and considered it to be to difficult to use and reproduce in a small size. Steve wanted the Apple name and logo to be fused as one.

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The Rainbow Logo: 1976-1998

The Newton Crest logo only lasted a year before Steve Jobs commissioned graphic designer Rob Janoff to come up with something more modern. Janoff’s eventual design would go on to become one of the most iconic and recognizable corporate logos in history.

As for the “bite” in the logo, Janoff stated that the bite had been added so that people don’t confuse the fruit imagery with a cherry.

For the rainbow stripes of the logo, Steve Jobs was rumored to have insisted on using a colorful logo as a means to “humanize” the company. It may of also been because it was launched right before Apple’s newest computer, Apple II which was the world’s first PC with colored display.

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The Monochrome Logo: 1998 – Present

The current logo, the one everyone knows, borrowed heavily from the 2nd logo. The pattern, bite mark, and the size are all the same but the colors were removed leaving a slick, chromatic appearance. This served to symbolize the technological leap forward and gave the company a more of a “high-tech” appeal.

Today the company now uses a more modernized flat “Millennial” Apple logo, which now comes mainly in 3 colors; black, white, and silver.

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The millennial apple logo is now one of the sleekest and famous logos in the world, just as famous or even more than McDonalds’s yellow arches. Steve Jobs’s decision to hire Janoff, and go for a minimal styled logo was a genius choice made by the brilliant minded founder.

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                                                                 Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

 

Saul Bass

Saul Bass might be the single most accomplished graphic designer in history. Working in the mid 20th century, when the importance of graphic design was just on the upswing, Bass branded a staggering array of major corporations with his iconic, minimal designs. For about 50 years, if you were looking for a clean, thoughtful design that was made to last, this was the man you called.

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Who is Saul Bass?

Bass was born in the largely Jewish New York borough of the Bronx in 1920 to working class Russian- Jewish immigrants, who encouraged his early interest in the arts. In preparation for a career in graphic design, he studied modernism at New York’s Art Students League under the direction of Howard Trafton. Bass worked also as a freelance designer during that time. Near the end of the Second World War, and still freelancing, he enrolled at Brooklyn College where he studied with Gyorgy Kepes in 1944-45. In 1946 he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he established and operated a more permanent business

venture, a design firm called Saul Bass and Associates.

Bass’ Style

Bass is famous for his use of simple, geometric shapes and their symbolism. Often, a single dominant image stands alone to deliver a powerful message. These shapes, as well as type, were often hand-drawn by Bass to create a casual appearance, always packed with a sophisticated message. His ability to create such a powerful message with basic shapes makes his work even more impressive.

From Print to Screen

Bass is best known for his work in film. He started out in the industry doing poster design, first hired by director and producer Otto Preminger. Bass had an uncanny ability to capture the mood of a film with simple shapes and images, much like his other work. He would go on to work with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorcese and design classic posters for movies such as The Man with the Golden Arm, West Side Story, The Shining, Exodus, and North by Northwest.

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From poster design, Bass would move on to creating impressive title sequences for many films, such as Psycho and Vertigo. These opening credits felt like animated graphic design, maintaining Bass’s print style for a consistent branding of a film. This work would continue late into Bass’s career, designing title sequences for Big, Goodfellas, Schindler’s List, and Casino. To top off his involvement in the film world,Bass won an Oscar in 1968 for his short film Why Man Creates.

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Corporate Branding

Along with his impressive film portfolio, Bass was responsible for creating memorable logos, many of which still exist today. Through his freelance work and with his firm Saul Bass & Associates, he would create identities for companies such as Quaker Oats, AT&T, The Girl Scouts, Minolta, United Airlines, Bell and Warner Communications. In addition, Bass designed the poster for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and several Academy Awards shows.

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Bass’ work can catch you by surprise at how deceivingly simple it is. His distinct talent for turning ideas into a kind of universal language pushed the boundaries of graphic design. He proved that simple design is timeless, and 20 years after his death Bass is still a recognized name in graphic design.

Brand Identity

Brand identity is a collection of all the representations of a brand. it’s the logo, the trademark, the mascot, the brand collateral, the signage, and all other company collateral. Basically, anything that communicates the message of a brand to its audience.

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What is Branding?

Branding helps a business form its identity in the marketplace. In order to be able to stand out from a countless amount of different companies and agencies a business has to have a unique voice. By creating a cohesive and consistent form of visual representation a brand is able to convey its story and its core message to the consumer. To be able to do this effectively you must pay attention to the needs of your consumers.

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How to Create Brand Identity?

A brand is a perceived image of your company that represents the company. A brand identity system consists of using style guides and framework to create a visual representation. Before you start creating a brand identity system it is important to have a strategy in place. This will help you define your company’s goals more easily and will help your branding design deliver the brand’s message with clarity and consistency.

After the brand strategy is documented research is usually done. This research is not just figuring out the core values and needs of the company, but it’s also researching the competition in the marketplace. Understanding your company and it’s needs will help you gain an understanding of your business and this will help you create the perfect branding in a more methodical and systematic way.

To create effective designs it is important to consider the following factors:

  1. Making your design distinct so that it stands out from your competition.
  1. Making it memorable by creating visceral experiences that people can connect with.
  1. Make it scalable, flexible and consistent throughout the system.

In addition to all of the above it would also make sense to invest in thinking about how your branding is going to live after its made. Figuring out ‘What it means to design for the future?’ and ‘What are the ethical implications of the design?’ will help you tackle u foreseen problems and design solutions that can bridge the gap between the consumer and the product.

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Why do You Need a Branding Identity?

Brand identity helps define your company’s image in the marketplace. It includes all the different associations and interactions a consumer has with the company. If you are not able to make a great impression upon the consumer, the brand tends to be forgotten in the vast amount of choices that are out there. It’s very important to pay attention to all the details, such as the logo, the web design, and the packaging to presentation design, everything matters for a brand to be taken seriously.

Recognition is another important aspect of brand identity design. It helps the user form associations. With consistent interactions with your brand it will seep into the daily life of the consumer. This means that it’s essential to create a design that is scalable across all devices, products, and platforms to keep the overall image of the brand consistent. Your brand identity needs to live and breathe within the product itself and should shape and influence your consumers.

Ultimately understanding your product and the marketplace is crucial when it comes to creating a strong brand identity system. If you are looking to create a branding identity for your company GraphicCom is more than happy to help you. Please contact us at GraphicCom.com or call us at (586) 566-5200.

Website Design

Website Design, Website Development, UI, UX are terms used frequently when discussing websites. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, each of them have a specific meaning. It is important to understand the difference if you are in the process of or planning to get a website done.

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Website Design

Web design is everything that you are able to see on the screen of mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Each and every element on the website, including the layout, graphics, colors, text,

photographs, videos and visual elements of UI and UX are all part of the website design. It all starts with the creation of a website wireframe, layout design, and mock ups. Web design defines the functionality of the website and helps you enhance the website experience and increase conversion rate. Coding is not part of the website design process.

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Website Development

Web development is creating and maintaining a website with the use of different types of programming languages, frameworks, and tools. Even creating a single web page with HTML and CSS is web development. It can range from 200 lines of coding to 2 million lines of coding. In the beginning web developers were limited to creating static web pages. Nowadays, web developers can create dynamic websites, online tools, web based applications and portals using different technologies.

Web development handles the coding of the website and is divided into two types of categories, front-end, and back end. The front-end coding controls the actual display of the website design, and the back-end coding is the processing of user data on the web server and displaying it back to the user. There are also full-stack website developers who can manage both the front-end and back-end coding of the website.

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UI

UI is the visual platform that enables us to control the device functionalities. Any device with a screen has a UI or User Interface Design. UI designing differs with the mobile screen, laptop, tablet, and website. UI design can be divided into three categories, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and User Testing.

  • Graphic design is mostly known to everyone. It is the process of visual designing of a digital product.
  • Interaction design is all about designing the operational flow and specifications. It is mostly performed by Interaction Designers.
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UX

UX or User Experience designs the experience of the website users. UX designers will make sure that the website is engaging and interactive to enhance the user’s website experience. The user experience is scaled on the basis of the interactive abilities of the user interface created by UI designers. UX designer crafts the wireframe for the website and renders interface communications to acquire the feedback of users. UI design is associated with UX design but they are not the same, many people get confused between the roles of both UI and UX designers.

Depending on what you are looking for you first have to understand the key differences between Web Design, Web Development, UI and UX to narrow down what you need according to your requirements. This will help you select the best suitable option for you.

Words

Experts repeatedly say ‘content is key’ and whether you are a web designer or a graphic designer you must give importance to words in your design. Content is an important factor in any design and adds a greater value. Words have the ability to include critical thinking along with creative thinking of web designers and graphic designers. For any web and graphic design to get exposure and compel action, the written content has to match the tone of the design.

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The Quality of Words

The quality of words defines the success of website and graphic design. The words in your designs have the power to keep people engaged.

As a web designer, you have to understand the requirements of your website visitors. Having high quality content will allow you to create the best website experience which will ultimately help you drive traffic, increase conversion, and increase sales on the website.

As a graphic designer, pairing high quality words or content with appealing design will improve the quality of your graphics as well and an intellectual value in your graphic design.

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Using Words to Understand Design Better

Designers are creative people and sometimes their creativity goes beyond the understanding of a layman. Words will act as a guide to explain your designs in a much better way. Both web and graphic designers have to maintain the balance of creativity along with the help of content.

With well written content on a website it can solve the struggle of visitors not being able to find what they are looking for and will improve the websites navigation. Content helps your visitors to have a clear idea about the products and services that are available to them. If your designs are not easy to understand you will lose their attention quickly.

Graphic designers create strong designs to establish brand identity, but at the same time designs should communicate the message of the brand. Using words along with creative design elements will make the design more clear and comprehensive.

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Using Words to Increase Recall Value

With web design or graphic design, words add greater value to the design. Simple yet effective words can be used to fill the gaps. In the case of both website design and graphic design, words are used to express the visuals.

When you visit a website with extraordinary written content you will definitely remember it for a long time. If the visitor is not in the mindset to buy and just searching for the best option to buy later, your content’s recall value will count. Visitors will come back to your website later to purchase what they were looking for earlier.

Creative content will help create graphics with better recall value. There is always a chance that a design without words will make your audience scroll down their feed without stopping. However, the same design could also grab their attention if it is used with effective wording.

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SEO Friendly Website

It is important to add SEO friendly content on your website. A great website design and well written content are not very useful if no one can find it on the internet. This is why it is vital for all your content to be SEO friendly to increase your website traffic. With the use of effective and well researched keywords, you can easily boost your website rankings.

You have to understand the fact that design alone won’t help to increase website conversion.

You can use blogs with SEO friendly content along with eye catching graphics to increase traffic. You can also optimize graphics and images with platforms like WordPress by simply adding SEO optimized keywords in the caption which will help attract more traffic to your website.

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Place Your Content Effectively

Placement of the content in any design is as important as the placement of design elements. You should ensure that the content fits the space provided by the designers. For instance, overuse of written words may allow the viewers to lose interest. Additionally, for printable design materials, effective content placement helps reduce the total number of pages which reduces the printing cost.

Make sure that the design and content are balanced equally. The right placement will lessen the chances of cluttered visuals and the design loosing its attraction. The website design should also have a specific space for content placement to enhance the website experience. The same applies to graphic design, if there is an excessive use of words it can shadow the creativity of the design.

In conclusion, words combined with creative design are the most effective tools of communication. Web design or graphic design alone can’t win the battle of attention.

You have to use the right words along with effective design elements, doing so will improve your chances of conversion and communication.

Paula Scher

Paula Scher was born in 1948 in Virginia and grew up in Philadelphia and Washington DC. During High School she embraced Art, stating that it was “the first place where I felt like I actually belonged” and she became a publicity chairman for her school, designing posters and pamphlets for school dances and events. She continued her interest in the arts and took night classes at Corcoran College of Art + Design. Her mother wasn’t supportive of her interest in the arts and insisted she should obtain a certificate in teaching so she would have something to fall back on, but Paula would go on to prove her mother wrong.

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In the Beginning

Paula attended college in1966 with the intent to become a painter, but admitted that she couldn’t really draw so she decided to experiment with both metal working and print work. She went on feeling like she wasn’t good at anything, but then she discovered she had an natural liking for graphic design in her junior year. She went on to graduate in 1970 and against her mother’s advice and moved to New York City, where she was employed to design the insides of children’s books. Paula would go on to become an incredible designer, with her work winning dozens of awards and being featured in numerous museums including the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Her Career

Paula’s first major role in New York was with CBS Records in 1972. She joined CBS as part of the publicity team and wasn’t involved with the design of album covers, which is what she wanted to do. She then left CBS a year later and joined Atlantic Records where she worked for a year designing various album covers and promotional materials.When Paula was 25 she decided to return to CBS Records to become their new Art Director for the East Coast. For the next decade, Paula Scher would design almost 150 record covers each year and countless more ads and posters. All of her album covers used imagery from popular culture in an effort to engage with the audience and make them more inclined to buy the record.

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In 1982 she grew tired of the music industry and left it to form her own design agency with an old friend, Terry Koppel, who at the time was a magazine designer. Together Paula and Terry began producing brand identities, product packaging and book covers. Unfortunately with the Gulf War in 1990 and the recession it ended Scher and Koppel’s agency.

Soon after Woody Pirtle, a partner at Pentagram invited Paula out for coffee and asked if she would be interested in joining. She decided to join in 1991, and has stayed there ever since. Since joining she has designed identities such as; Citibank and Microsoft, exhibitions for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and editorial designs for Metropolis.

In 1998, Paula was tasked with creating an identity for the multi-billion dollar company, Citi. Paula designed the logo during an initial client meeting. The concept only took only a few seconds to sketch and was on a napkin. Pentagram was concerned that their clients would not pay for something that only took several seconds to design, but they did. Paula’s ability to design such an iconic identity on a napkin in a few seconds was from her abundance of experience that she had gained through her career.

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Other Work

Some of Paula’s lesser known work includes commissioned graphics for public buildings. Paula herself refers to these large-scale designs as ‘environmental graphics’, transforming blank space with the use of vivid colors and unique typography.

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Recently she was commissioned by the PAVE Academy Charter School, to turn their range of motivational and inspirational messages into environmental graphics. Paula worked closely with the architects for the build, creating dimensional signage and bold super-graphics. The unique identity for the school has helped freshen the existing brand, and to create a memorable learning experience for students and teachers alike.

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Alongside her professional work, Paula also works on a range of fine art pieces in her free time. She spends most of this time creating incredibly detailed maps by hand. Her father, Marvin Scher was involved with cartography, which is the science or practice of drawing maps. She spends a great amount of time adding tiny details to each map. The work forces her to have patience, which she says she lacks in her day job at Pentagram. Paula finds that both art and design compliment each other perfectly.

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“Design happens quickly on a computer and the painting is laborious. Design is social. Painting is isolating. Design has a purpose. Art has no purpose. I can’t imagine one without the other.”

– Paula Scher

Paula Scher is a perfect combination of both art and design which creates a perfect blend of the two. Her work spans many fields, and has certainly influenced many designers in creating their own work.