Graphic Design

Written By: Charles - Jun• 30•11

Mid-Summer                                                                             Waning Garlic Moon

Started my History of Graphic Design class last night.   The guy teaching it has a solo design practice after working first for Larson, then a smaller advertising company.

The class consists of four women, all working or having worked in design oriented professions, and me.

As I anticipated, this is way different from anything I’ve done before, even different from art history.  Graphic Design proceeds, our instructor says, in an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary manner.  This differentiates it from art history where styles and movements often appear over against something has come before, abstract expressionism versus the entire representational tradition, for example.  Graphic design, in contradistinction, moves in gradual steps from, say, cuneiform and Egyptian demotic to the Phoenician alphabet which morphs into the Greek alphabet.

Like art history, though, graphic design has one particular emphasis that sets it apart from any other discipline I’ve studied, mark-making.  Cuneiform for example had triangular marks made by a cut reed in soft clay.  This emphasized straight lines, no curves.  The Phoenician alphabet used ink on paper, so curves entered writing, made more easy by the both the substratum, paper, and the mark-making tool, a brush or pen.

There’s much more here than I can recapitulate in a quick summary, but I’ll keep you informed as I go along.

One thing:  we have a project that will take up the last three weeks of the course.  My thought right now is to redesign Ancientrails.  Just how, not sure.  If any of you have ideas, let me know.

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