Graphic Design the Influence of Technology Research Paper

Pages: 10 (2625 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Education - Computers

Graphic Design: The Influence of Technology

Graphic design

Graphic Design Meets Technology: How Technology Influences Design

From the time that a caveman returned from a food hunt, yelled to his neighbors to come visit, grabbed his walking stick and drew ferocious stick figures in the dirt of the beast that just barely got away, man has turned to visual elements to convey both facts and emotion.

It's difficult to imagine that same caveman withdrawing to his cave, putting down his walking stick, booting up his computer and firing up Adobe Illustrator -- the design world's premier graphic design software.

Think of the images he could create and the artistic details he could render. Reaching back to his recall of the beast and the attempted slaying and also unleashing the power of his senses and creativity, the caveman could, through the vast design capabilities of Illustrator, create a masterpiece worthy of neighborly acclaim and accolades. Cavemen, after all, were known to be competitive, too.

Man meets technology while graphic design merges with technology. Today, the proof of this phenomenon is everywhere -- from ubiquitous Starbuck's and McDonald's logos to the universal signs that guide travelers around the globe to the proper restroom or up or down a flight of stairs. These symbols, and thousands more, are the products of graphic design.

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The universal directional signs are staggeringly simplistic in form, yet they do point up a tantalizing question: Is it possible to simply put the "right" technology in someone's hands -- even a caveman's hands -- and expect truly masterful graphic design to result?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that while technology has made it simpler to create designs and has opened the field of graphic design to a generation of studious computer lovers, Illustrator and its more inferior cousins (such as Microsoft Publisher) still require

Graphic design 3

Research Paper on Graphic Design the Influence of Technology Assignment

extensive if not protracted training. Moreover, truly masterful graphic design doesn't stand a chance of creation without training in the basic fundamentals of design and all of its wondrous elements.

So while its influence has been staggering, graphic design technology is still incumbent on the inherent talents of man himself -- whether he etches pictures in the dirt with a walking stick or insists on beginning every graphic design project with a pencil and paper before bringing his crude renditions to life on a computer.

Graphic design, defined

The words seem hopelessly entwined, almost interdependent: graphic design.

Alas, the term warrants at least six degrees of separation to understand what brought them together in the first place.

Graphic(s) are visual presentations on some surface, such as a wall, canvas, computer screen, paper or stone to brand, inform, illustrate or entertain (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006).

Design, as a noun, informally refers to a plan for the construction of an object. Put the two words together and the meaning is the plan for construction of a visual presentation (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006).

Webster's New World College Dictionary defines graphic design as "the practice or profession of designing print or electronic forms of visual information, as for an advertisement, publication or website."

This definition implies that there is real work at hand -- and graphic design is the instrument, or tool. David Chu agrees, and he should know: he worked as a car designer for the Graphic design 4

Ford Motor Company in the 1970s and now teaches Illustrator courses at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

"Graphic design is the relationship of elements crafted for a purpose," he said. "Creativity is one thing. But you also have to know how to solve a problem. And to do this, you need to know and understand your target audience."

Yet Chu would also agree that graphic design is far more than just a plan or a practice that leads to a definitive end; it is an ideal that is achieved through myriad thinking processes and artistic techniques.

Steven Heller wrote a book whose subject and object could easily be juxtaposed: Pop: How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture. (or does popular culture also have a hand in shaping graphic design?)

"Designers are free thinkers, and in this age of accessible technologies, controlling the media is a viable and enviable option. Whatever type or design style suits a particular fancy, designers are more than designers; they are increasingly major contributors to the popular culture as authors" (Heller, 2010).

The origins of graphic design

W.A. Wiggins was an unusual combination of these mediums: as a type designer, book designer, illustrator and commercial artist, Wiggins was among several prominent and progressive artists who believed it was important to support design education and to define printing as art.

In 1911, at an informal gathering in of 14 people in New York, Wiggins marked the auspicious beginning of the largest and oldest graphic design institution in America. He was in Graphic design 5

good company, alongside Frederic W. Goudy, a famous poster designer, and Berkley Updike, a respected printer. Yet it was Wiggins who deftly coined the term "graphic designer."

Tied to the fine art community of New York City, this group understandably blurred the line between art and design. Determined and resolved to enlighten others to their point-of-view, they eventually formed what is now known as the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1914. As the country's oldest professional organization for design, AIGA has more than 20,000 members in 65 chapters nationwide.

The group's mission in part, is to "promote the higher education in these arts, generally to do all things which will raise the standard and aid the extension and development of the graphic arts in the United States" (Steven & Gluck, 1989).

Principle elements of design

Today's graphic artists, like the cavemen of yesteryear, carry a big stick. They must master and bring meaning to words that have come into common usage and which owe their origin to graphic design: line, shape, mass or size, texture, color, form, space and value (lightness or darkness). Other words, such as rebuses, pictograms, logos, trademarks, brands and monograms, aren't as well-known but underscore some of the principle elements of design.

But the point remains: advertisements, posters, postcards, brochures, letterheads, websites and television -- virtually all forms of multimedia -- use a combination of these elements and symbols to create visual communication. Like Chu, one of the more astute observers and educators of graphic design says that designers work with purpose, if not a mission, of sorts: "A distinct attribute of graphic design, when compared to other visual arts, is that of context" (Jackson, 2008).

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If "context" is subjective, then it follows that graphic design is, too. Show the home page of a Web site to four people and you're likely to elicit four different opinions -- a fact of life that once led one anonymous artist to lament: "Everyone with a pair of eyes thinks they're a critic. Well, I'm here to tell you: they're not."

In a sense, though, we are all critics of graphic design. As consumers, we know what we like when we see it; we know instinctively when, say, an advertisement for cologne appeals to our senses and taps into our emotions, ranging from fun and adventure to risk and the unknown.

And yet pros like Chu know that a "good" design must contain some core elements:

Exhibit contrast

Prove that less is more

Demonstrate that part of one element can be more intriguing than the entire element (i.e., a close-up of the core of an apple can draw more attention than a picture of the entire apple)

Keep it simple

Appeal to the senses

Surprise us

Today's graphic designers, also known as graphic artists, rub elbows -- literally and figuratively -- with fine artists, photographers, printers, publishers, etchers, engravers, lithographers, topographers and architects.

On high-profile projects in the world of business -- as Chu once was assigned -- graphic designers could gain access to CEOs and company presidents, entrusted with decisions that could make or break a company's fortune. Just ask Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike -- one of America's most successful sports equipment and apparel companies.

He hired Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, to create a logo for his then-company, Blue Ribbon Sports, in 1971. Just like any conscientious

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artist, Davidson presented Knight and other company executives with a number of design options before they voted for what has become universally known and recognized as the Nike "swoosh."

"I don't love it," Knight is said to have told her, "but I think it will grow on me."

Since then, it's "grown" on thousands of other logos, too; the "swoosh" is easily the most copied (or "emulated," depending on your point-of-view) in the history of graphic design.

Davidson submitted a bill for $35 for her efforts, which made Nike one of the most easily recognized brands in the world. (it's been strongly suggested that Knight has since compensated Davidson well… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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