Graphic Design is a forever changing subject, ever since the creation of branding and the mechanical movement of typography. Historical graphic design has helped graphic designers get to the contemporary stage and style in which we have entered into at this point in time. To get to the point we have reached today in graphic design, there has been many changes in the styles and productions including platforms in which we now view graphic design. Graphic Design will be a forever changing subject and with graphic design and graphic designers being needed more than ever we need to realise that graphic design will always be a pioneer of technology and with more designs being produced on a daily basis the need for the new technology will always be at the front of a designers mind, this goes for where the designs are viewed, how and what products that these designs are viewed on and the formats these designs are produced in.
Looking back at the beginnings of graphic design is always a good starting point when answering a question of were I believe graphic design will be in 10 years time because we can get a greater understanding of how quickly it has changed even within the past 10 years. The means of producing graphic design was basic, the printing, the media and the programs are no where near as advanced as they are today. For example the iPad, now are influential product which we can display media on, everybody owns one, it takes seconds to upload and can be viewed by anybody and the iPad only came about within the past 4 years so we can only imagine the possibilities over the next 10 years time.
Looking back at the beginnings of graphic design, branding and logo’s began around 500BC during the Pre-Christian era where makers marks were placed onto pottery so the public knew, what designers that had created that certain piece of pottery, so they knew there quality was guaranteed, very similar to today’s style of Branding, a company is so assured the quality of their products are up to standards they put their name onto the product, so a consumer will continue coming back to the same place for products in the future.
Throughout history branding continued and developed up to the modern day of branding and the formats we display branding. Today branding is there to promote a person or a company, the same way it was used when it begun, but the way branding is created and displayed is completely different, Branding today consists of a digitally created logo, which is then placed on business sets, posters and products this helps a company sell themselves and get there name out there, hopefully to become recognised across the world.
Contemporary Graphic Design has also many formats in how it can be displayed, originally graphic design was all hand created from the layers, photography and typography. This was reinforced by using printing techniques and building layers upon layers to create the desired design. Historically designs were made using screen printing and mechanical type. Today though with the invention of computers and digital design software, designs are all digitally made, which is a simpler, more efficient and aesthetically a better process which can be produced into numerous formats including print and web.
These styles of designing are the factor in which Graphic Design grew to its current state. The concept remains the same, but the way in which we now make and display graphic design has changed with the invention of computers and design based programs, especially with the invention of the Apple Macintosh computers and the Adobe Creative Suite Programs. Graphic Design has become simpler and a lot more detailed as there are more styles, layouts and typography to choose from and this can be integrated into a contemporary design. Graphic Design is a forever changing field as even though we are at our current stage, the way designs can be viewed are changing constantly from the Historical style of only being able to do one of prints up to the Contemporary of having cross platform technology displaying designs including Internet, TV, Apps & Computers.
Throughout my contextual studies essay I am going to base it around the historical and contemporary technology and processes showing how this has affected the way graphic design has progressed from the early stages when work was created from paper and block type up to today’s technology where graphic design is created all Digitally. After I have discussed these two topics, I will move onto the subject of where graphic design will be in the next 10 years.
Firstly the Historical background behind Graphic Design, the building blocks of Graphic Design began as far back as 105AD when modern paper was invented by Ts’ai Lun, and ever since this invention the creating of Design work was made possible, as this sparked off the possibility of Graphical pieces from the simple but effective invention of paper. After many years with the invention of moveable type in 1045AD by Bi Sheng, the creating of books and information was a possibility and easier to reach the people slowly but surely, until mechanical moveable type came around thanks to Johannes Guttenberg in 1450. With the production of mechanical Moveable Type, this helped increase the production rate and amount in which a piece of design work could be produced, with the Guttenberg Bible being the key mechanically printed book.
With typography being mass produced there was a lack of imagery and this was fixed by the Pfister Bible this was a mixture of wood cut images and mechanical printed type, this was a major breakthrough in Design Technology. There had to be a mass production, to get information and books out and this came about in the Industrial Revolution of 1760 and this is where the mechanical printing came about, meaning mass production helping the cost to go down but printing images were still expensive. 30 years later, technology had improved with the creation of lithography in 1796.
With the invention of this technology printed images were colourful and production cost reduced dramatically, meaning the printing of type and imagery was cheap and accessible. With the introduction of mechanical type and cheap image printing, this paved the way for a new age of typography and the styles and sizes of typography could be printed. This was kind of like branding as a type designer could put their mark on print.
There had to become a point in time where technology and print design had to continue to change, typefaces became more stylish and there was a bigger need for them. Fonts were still produced by Type Designers of the time up to the Transitional Period. This is where the productions of Type families such as William Carson and John Baskerville in 1722 – 1757 came about with the latest font styles and the more abstract typefaces. Serifs were used so a modern style of printing was invented and to be able to do so inks that could cope with these detailed typefaces had also been invented. Now with a bigger need for print and print becoming so accessible, Type Designers became more skilled in their field and type designers such as Francois Diobt invented the point system, where 72 points = 1 inch in height and this is still used today when using Type on Computers and Print.
As the contemporary type technology began to grow so did the paper as text became finer and detailed, so to keep the detail of the images, type and colour all the technology had to keep up with each other. This opened the way to contemporary styles being made and new printing techniques including screen printing and opened up a new wave of art and graphics including ‘Art Nouveau 1890’, ‘Dadaism 1916’ and ‘Bauhaus 1985’. All of these styles occurred in such a short space of time. This is where we get contemporary graphic design from, because without this latest style of graphic design we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do today.
Now if we look at contemporary graphic design ever since print, type and images have been produced there has forever been a market for them, ever since print designers have strived to be ahead of the competition and the breakthrough in modern technology for Graphic Designers came in the form of the Computer mouse by Designer Douglas Engelbart in 1969 which made modern design possible, even though the technology has changed and modified the concept behind Digital Design was made possible. This paved the way for new and forever changing Technology and this was made possible with thanks to Apple who launched the Apple Macintosh 2 which contained the first 128k bitmap graphics which had a huge impact on the world, Digitally and Graphically as designers now could design digitally, making simple graphics which were easier to design, print and manipulate than handmade designs from the past.
With the introduction of computers and Desktop Publishing Software including PageMaker in 1985 which is currently known as Adobe, the world of print was took by storm, print design and branding had changed forever and the technology could only get better for Graphic Designers. As this was the breakthrough they needed, especially as during all the styles that came about during the 1920’s onwards all had to be created by hand, they had use many printing techniques to layer images onto paper, then use mechanical type to place typography onto their design, which took a great deal of time and came at a cost. But with the invention of Computers and Desktop Publishing software the future of computer design was upon us, which meant images, colours and type could be done at the same time, on one screen with the click of a button and with the new printer technology, these designs could be printed multiple times at a very cheap printing cost.
Computer Technology and Print Software has went through dramatic changes to get to where we are at this stage in time and with the invention of the internet by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 which made it possible to place designs online which could be viewed and accessed all over the world without the need of print, so with the new technology and the internet we get to where we are today with multiple display format we as designers can use to give our work a crisp high definition look, that can then can be placed onto TV, which is also becoming more interactive with the invention of Smart TV’s, Websites with interactive banners and advertisements and with free web hosting meaning designers can demonstrate their qualities and skills without paying for multiple prints.
With multi-Platform devices including iPads, tablets and mobile phones, we can socially connect with clients and designers all over the world through Social Networking sites including twitter and Facebook. This has had a profound impact on Graphic Design companies as they display their designs and bring in bigger and better client bases. Also with online blogs and portfolio’s designs can be made easily accessible and showcased with today’s culture this is a weighty part of everybody’s, everyday life. We are always online, always connected whether on phones or tablets and millions of people connected, today’s culture is a socially led.
Now I can confidently respond to the question, ‘where you think Graphic Design will be in 10 years’ time?’ I believe in 10 years that print will become a dying art with forever changing technology and the increase in digital and visual design, printing techniques will become some-what obsolete, on the other hand print has its own personal look and feel. If we take into consideration the many printing techniques other than the basic’s of simply printing using ink cartridges on a sheet of A4 paper, then there can be a counter argument on whether print will no longer exist. Printing can take on many forms, it can change the look and feel of a design in an instant, printing techniques are also becoming more available and cheaper in the cost which printers charge, for example I have pulled together a list of the latest printing techniques we can use as graphic designers these include; Embossing/Debossing, Silk Lamination/Lamination, Spot UV, Foil, Thermography, Die Cut, Letterpress and Silk Screening, I want to believe print is not a dying subject because we can achieve so many new styles, designs become a living object which we can hold, feeling the weight and the material of the stock, we can create so many effects from the many printing techniques listed, and I like many would agree that when creating a portfolio for a potential employer, a printed portfolio which you mail out shows you have a greater understanding for the original art of graphic design and its printing techniques.
On the other hand we can’t disagree that the future is moving further away from print and most design work is simply becoming more digitally produced. Technology is a forever changing and expanding subject and becoming the normal form of producing graphic design material. Their are a number of formats in which we can view designs. This is now changing from the times of printing processes up to the 3D design and motion graphics and this is because technology is always changing and becoming more and more advanced.
With design work now being digitally viewed, everything is becoming clearer and cleaner, their is a lot more white space and typography is becoming entirely optional, many online portfolios including my own is laid out using a grid systems keeping imagery and type aligned, work can be put together so much quicker and the quality of designs have never been as good, but within the next 10 years with the generation of 4k viewing platforms the quality is going to be nothing like we have ever seen before. The design programs which we use daily are making a designers job a lot easier than it has ever been, there is a lot more tools and options to chose from, designs have never looked so advanced and realistic from swatches and patterns that can placed onto artwork, through to the vectored line works and editing options to photographic imagery which can be photoshopped to make it take on a whole new look and feel that couldn't of been done in the time of screen printing.
There is no requirement for paper anymore as designs can be viewed in multiple formats including, Online Portfolios, Digital Newspapers, Books and Magazines. Products including iPads and tablets were everything is App based, Social Media sites and websites. Nevertheless, we are never sure what the future holds for the design industry because the technology we use is growing and an unstoppable rate. But I believe in 10 years’ time when I’m working in the Design industry, designs will become 3D, Designs will have movement not just on a iPad or Tablet, but on Bus stops, Billboards and shop windows, were they are currently static ad print based designs. Designers thanks to the technology will broadcast their design’s utilising interactive interfaces, meaning the general public can interact and form an integral part of the design. This will go to have a huge impact on companies helping them put their business out and becoming a futuristic brand. The use of virtual reality will come into effect especially with movies and video gaming, meaning better experience for the consumer. Branding will use holograms, meaning branding will become bigger and better.
However, we know everything will become more interactive and more futuristic, meaning more job opportunities and bigger and better design products, as in the near future it is unavoidable that everything will become digital. We hear about it on the news and on the internet everyday with companies joining forces to produce bigger and better forms of technology including the google glasses and 4k screens, and these are things that will be available within the next few months something designers in the past would have never thought possible and its for myself and designers alike it is just around the corner. I believe we can only predict what the future holds in store for graphic design because the industry is evolving at pace and 10 years is a very long time within the creative industries.
There could even be the possibility that graphic designers may be replaced by technology itself as it is becoming so advanced and moving at such a pace, we cant really tell what the future holds in store for ourselves as graphic designers.