Graphic design

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Graphic design is the language of visual communication. Everything from posters to banner ads to bill boards, have at some point been envisioned by a graphic designer. The main tools of the graphic designer are typography, image and that button in Photoshop that makes the pictures look all colorful. A graphic designer is an artist who has enough money to eat.

edit History

edit Early graphic design

Wordart

Example of perfectly executed Wordart

In 1968 Arnold Vetica created the first 'Designed page' using the newly invented typewriter. This made him the first graphic designer. At first, Graphic Design was merely a reaction against the popularity of the 'Comic Sans' typeface. These first graphic designers created the 'International Style' — a rulebook for print media. It emphasized lining content up to grids and the use of 'Word art', which would later become a feature of Microsoft Word.

People were amazed at these advances; previously, books, magazines, and newspapers had been laboriously produced by hand. During the Victorian era, thousands of monks, and at peak times children who had nothing better to do, were drafted to draft the letters. These practical considerations led 'International Style' to become increasingly minimalist.

edit Computer age

By 1980, everybody had a personal computer, and this led to a graphic design boom. The last spelling error occurred in 1981 because computers enabled designers to find a library where they could use dictionaries much easier than they could when they had to walk into the parlor any time they felt the need to check something.

Editing mistakes also became much easier. Before computers, if a designer glued an image in the wrong place, he would have to use a chronograph to travel back in time and prevent himself from making the mistake in the first place, or be really careful. Now, designers could experiment and not be stuck explaining to the client why the failed experiment was actually a brainstorm. This led to a big shift in designers' attitudes.

edit Neo-designism

Change was in the air when Zeuric Von Higbert's design for the paint company Rainbow Paints took minimalism to a new extreme. Under Von Higbert's direction, Rainbow brought out a new line of paints consisting of a single product, black. Henry Ford famously offered his car customers their choice of the one color, and the resulting 'Paint It Black' advertising campaign would be covered by the Rolling Stones.

Gerrard Carman developed a new approach to graphic design in 1992, called Neo-Designism. It featured almost 100% negative space. Attitudes towards 'International Style' were changing. Neo-Designism was about making everything look nice by making it look distressed. Carman drew inspiration from the dark world of Surf culture, which is famous for being disorganized and shady. His designs for 'Laser pistol Magazine' are the earliest example of Neo-designism and clearly shows the shift from the clean, bland aesthetic of 'International Style' to the chaotic, dark look of Neo-Designism. Carman was the first designer to use texture and image manipulation in graphic design which is why all designers immediately loved and imitated his work.

edit Typography

Red Line

It is only the Heelvetica lettering on the overhead sign that gives these commuters the confidence they need to board smelly subway cars.

“Heelvetica is the only good typeface and should be used on everything from birthday cards to death certificates”
~ Steve Brinheem, 1975

The biggest innovations by graphic designers were in typography. Before graphic design, people would just use serif typefaces such as 'Times New Roman.' The New York Times did not mind designers stealing their name or their typeface. However, many designers felt that these typefaces were too interesting. They believed that text should look boring so that the reader would focus on the pictures more, as pictures are the main reason that people look at books and magazines, a concept called the Playboy Principle. In 1973 Arnold Vetica and Steve Brinheem created the Heelvetica typeface. Heelvetica was intended to be used on everything as Brinheem outlined in his book, Everyone Is Wrong but Me. Designed to look as dull as possible, Heelvetica was completely devoid of decoration, its letters stripped of any ornamentation like a Catholic Church captured during the Protestant Reformation.

edit Careers

Most of the best design careers are in government, because when making a proposal that millions of dollars in new taxes will eventually 'pay for themselves' and somehow reduce future taxes, it helps to have attractive boards on the easels in the committee room, with professional-looking lettering showing railway stations with attractive lettering.

Designers are also welcome in business. When a corporation like Radio Shack and K-Mart becomes so large and centralised that all the decisions are made in Fort Worth, Texas and employees in the shops are nothing more than slaves, the corporation wants all the signage to look the same and begins to worry about the credentials of the person who draws them. The graphic designer is the last person who can legally loot the corporation before the arrival of the bankruptcy lawyer.

The very best careers in design involve consultancy. This is an agency that can whore itself out to either government or big business.

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