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Give Me More Than Art Now

These are the textbooks for Art Now and the History of Graphic Design, respectively. Only one of these classes is a requirement for all graphic design majors, but it’s not the obvious choice…So why is Art Now a required class for graphic designers, but the History of Graphic Design is not?

In Art Now, contemporary artists and movements are surveyed ranging from Modernism and Postmodernism to conceptualism and performance art. It focuses on the cultural and historical context and influence of art. The History of Graphic Design “looks at print and web design as both a reaction to and shaper of the broader culture…through the study of major movements and designers”[1]. The textbook used for the course addresses topics ranging from the development of typography, American modernism, and the latest trends and technologies in graphic design[2].

When I checked the graphic design program, Art Now is a general art major requirement. The Art and Visual Technology program gives a foundational knowledge into the art world to students by introducing them to the artists and movements that have come before them. For graphic design students is this not also accomplished–and in a more focused way–through History of Graphic Design?

A degree program should give students knowledge of the history of their field. Both courses offer valuable insight into the past for artists and designers, so why not have The History of Graphic Design be required like Art Now?

[1] Spring 2017 Syllabus

[2] Textbook description on back cover and inside flap

Additional reading with a web design lens: What Web Designers Can Learn from Art History

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