Monday, February 23, 2009

The Birth of Modern Graphic Design

As signs become increasingly important, minimalism became the norm. Posters communicate propaganda during times of war. Patriotism reflected in service. Futurism embraces the ideas of war and the machine age. Cubism embraces the relationships between forms and representation. This is an exciting time because it is where we begin to see the foundations of graphic design being formed. Many men of this time can be credited with this. Ludwig Hohlwien was a leading master in Plakasil. He was skilled in expressing emotions while reducing naturalism to symbolic messages. Stephane Mallarrre laid the foundation of "orchestral verse". This is when poets begin to consider the arrangement of letter forms as much as the words themselves by arranging the type to enhance it's meaning. There is a huge emphasis on the relationship between form and meaning. Futurism and Cubism come together to form modern graphic design and the Dada movement, started by Tristan Tzara, starts reacting to "a world gone mad". People seek freedom from convention. Duchamp brings into question the values held by people in the arts and challenges them with him work. Heartsfield worked with found images, rearranging them to create something completely different and sometime without meaning at all. Kurt Schwitter, an outsider to the Dada movement, created a movement of his own called Merz where he created extended cubist collages and type experiments that further seperated word from language. And finally, Surrealism challenged the psychie with exercises of freeing the mind and seeking alternate states of reality while modern photographic expression is pioneered by Man Ray.
All of these experiments lead to today's design from photography to type manipulation. It is all directly related to what I myself am currenlty learning in my design and photo classes. The birth of these ideas have formed what I know as graphic design today and it is facinating to see where it has come from and where it has gone. It also inspires a lot of ideas in my own design developments and encourages experimentation on my part to perhaps make my own impact on the direction graphic design is headed.

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