Skip to content

Graphic Design: Then and Now

Graphic design is everywhere: in every logo, magazine, package, webpage, and font used in a slogan. For newer generations these carefully crafted images and identities may seem like just another part of reality, but none of these designs were created in a vacuum. Everything is created for a purpose and as a response to what has already been designed. As graphic designers ourselves we need to know where the world of graphic design has been, where it is now, and where it is headed. That being said, here is the abridged version of graphic design history. 

Graphic design has been around since mankind could hold a pencil, but the most fundamental developments in graphic design practices began after the industrial revolution with Art Nouveau. Art nouveau merged art and design with elegant illustrations and typography. In the 1950s, however, this style started getting rejected in favor of Modernism, which calls for simple fonts and shapes, and bold colors. 2D, or “flat,” design is a good example of Modern design. At the same time Swiss Design emerged in Switzerland which focuses on simplicity and purpose. Modernism and Swiss Design share many similarities and have shaped and influenced one another over the span of history.

Next came Art Deco during WWI. Art Deco is characterized by its playfulness with simple shapes in design in order to create a lavish, sophisticated feel. Now in modern day, graphic design pulls from all influences and has no single, unifying style but rather goes through trends that are ever-changing due to the speed of development in technologies and innovation. 

Graphic designers today need to be aware of these trends so that they can bring the world into the future. Some of these trends are outlined in this article by