Notes for Drucker and McVarish Graphic Design History

This book has a one page 'headed' “Brief Contents” followed by a three page “Contents”, a one page “Acknowledgments,” and a two page “Preface” before about eight pages with only a few words on each as in the following table and then two successive pages of regular printed page text before the first chapter, all as introduction and summary we believe. At least we know that they know they we know that they paid very careful attention to the layout of the physical book, and rendering it on a blog is a non-trivial exercise. For this first pass I will not even try to render the large orange single lines that grace most pages.

Prehistoric Prelude to Graphic Design 35,00-2700 BCE
(3) (figure 0.1) The impulse toward personal expression and compliance with convention are the twin engines of all graphic design.

Evolutionary foundations of communication

Language and design
(5) human language and graphic systems use signs that are divorced from physical evidence or concrete references.
(5) In making these tools, human designers understood the
idea of shapes for use – independent of their embodiment by any particular object.

Early graphic forms

Communicating ideas and beliefs

Very well stated; a diagram could be made that ties this to time-critical computing operations in a feedback control system.

(6) evidence of advanced material preparation implies a pause between conception and execution that allows for critical reflection upon the act of making. The gap between thinking and making is crucial to all forms of design.

The invention of proto-writing
(7) Graphic conventions for arranging and reading marks and signs on a surface were already in place at the end of the prehistoric era.


Marx anyone?

(7) When more of this grain could be grown in a season than was needed for immediate or local use, accounting systems became necessary to help monitor ownership, distribution, and storage. These systems relied, for the first time, on symbols designed to signify numerical value and specific objects in the world.
(A two page timeline read like English text in a book from earliest to most recent and a list called “Tools of the Trade.”)

How many logotropoi are needed to make a point? Having bold and another size seems superfluous, but better than a third delimiter.

(9) Timelines These lists situate graphic events in relation to other cultural and political markers. Like all timelines, they are selective, and by their juxtapositions, inevitably suggestive of interpretations. Clearly partial, timelines call attention to the framing effects of editing and to the artifice of any history.

1. Early Writing: Mark-making, Notation Systems, and Scripts
3000-500 BCE
(11) (bullet) The distinction of mark and interval on a deliberately identified surface is the basis of any graphic communication system.
(11) Writing depended on the design of a stable
visual code for the representation of language. This connection to language makes writing distinct from other visual signs that stand for ideas or things but not for speech or a linguistic system. .. From the outset, these symbols had the effect of changing the power of language by aligning it with the administration of culture.

(12) Differentiating between marked and unmarked things is a conceptual act of enormous significance. We might even suggest that the idea of difference forms the basis of human knowledge, and that the making of a mark is the primary way of inscribing such difference.
(12) The earliest marked objects that remain from prehistoric periods are the stones from the Mas-d'Azil area in France. .. a deliberately identified surface, distinctions between figure and ground, differentiation of mark and interval, and principles of visual organization (sequence, scale, orientation, and juxtaposition) (Fig.

Rational explanation based on probability and phenomenology replace universalist explanation.

(12) (figure 1.3) Even when they develop independently, human scripts often share formal characteristics. This does not suggest that a universal code underlies all writing but rather, pragmatically, that simple lines can be combined in a certain number of fairly predictable ways.

The signs on these clay tokens are the same sort of marks mentioned in Phaedrus.

(13) During the several thousand years in which they were used, the signs on these clay tokens made a critical conceptual leap. .. the concept of quantity was abstracted from direct, concrete counting.
(14) The word
notation refers to signs that stand for categories and ideas in a stable graphic system but fall short of the ability to represent language or speech.

Varieties of early writing
(15) Cuneiform was first used to represent ancient Sumerian, one of a handful of ancient languages that have never been deciphered. The number of cuneiform signs suggests that they represented words in a logographic script.

So we can assume that machine consciousness may adopt human writing systems and languages; get on with it.

(16) these Sumerian pictograms themselves soon became schematized so that they could be drawn in a few quick strokes of the stylus on a soft tablet. .. The adoption of a writing system developed for one language by another is a pattern that is repeated many times in the history of scripts.

This is a mistaken view Ong refers to as the pipeline model.

(17) scripts and languages do not have a one-to-one relation to each other.
(17) (figure 1.9) the alphabets of the world are derived from a single source whose sequence and basic forms provided a foundation for scripts in Africa, the Near East, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Chinese characters are the other successful script form and, like the alphabet, were adopted and modified for use across a remarkable number of languages.

The spread of writing as idea and script

This is the beginning of the timeline.

(18)(figure 1.10) The developed palate, tongue, and mouth organs found in Homo sapiens remains suggest that language could have emerged by about 60,000 BCE.
(19) From a graphic perspective, one of the fascinating features of hieroglyphic writing is that it is organized according to underlying grid structures rather than in a fixed word order. .. the Narmer Palette [3200-3000 BCE] contains all three major forms of graphic communication: images, texts, and numerical signs.

How about intentional obfuscation of object code to discourage reverse engineering via decompiling: until I start annotating books containing blue text, I can use it to indicate notes.

(20) (figure 1.12b) The priestly caste introduced a deliberate obscurity into the use of hieroglyphics as a way of resisting Greek influence.

The alphabet
(22) (figure 1.15) the most important Greek contribution to the alphabet was the addition of signs to represent vowels around 700 BCE.

Literate culture
(24-25) Theoretical distinctions between oral and literate cultures stress the power of written documents to codify law, produce historical records, objectify experience, and facilitate rational, logical processes. Oral culture, by contrast, rely on reinforcing memory by means of repetition or rhythmic pattern and tend to see language as a form of action (naming, telling, performing) associated with events in the present.

Really, this is interesting and useful to go along with interpretations of Sisyphus and perhaps Tantalus.

(25) The Greeks attributed responsibility to Prometheus, who, according to legend, stole writing from the gods along with fire, thereby incurring a sentence of eternal torment.

2. Classical Literacy 700 BCE - 400 CE
Variations of literacy and the alphabet

But they made may others you can discover reading Diogenes Laertius Lives of Eminent Philosophers.

(32) The most significant modification made by the Greeks to the alphabet was the addition of five letters to denote vowels.

The function of graphic codes
(33) The relations between specialized functions and particular forms were embodied in the design of letters, their material production, and physical contexts.

Models of writing: gestural and constructed
(38) The purpose of cursives was to produce texts that were legible and efficient, rather than to create aesthetic forms.

Writing at the end of the Classical age


3. Medieval Letterforms and Book Formats 400-1450
(45) In the long period known in Europe as the Middle Ages, critical developments affected the means and scope of graphic design. These included the invention of the codex book's familiar features, the emergence of basic letterforms and styles, an increasing engagement with images as embodiments of knowledge, and the rise of a publishing industry that served a lay public as well as religious institutions. .. The ideology of textual production became encoded in graphic forms that actively participated in the control and use of knowledge.

Medieval culture and graphic communication
(46) When scholarly study joined prayer and contemplation as a use for codex volumes, books acquired page numbers, chapter headers, and other navigational devices.
(47) Important works of Greek and Latin scholarship were recovered in Arabic translations, while decorative styles of
calligraphy and imagery exerted their own influence.

The computational nature of writing is alluded to describing the letterform as a series of hand movements.

(47) (figure 3.2) A letterform may be thought of as a shape to be copied. .. But it may also be conceived as a series of more or less continuous hand movements .. that swiftly and efficiently produce their forms.

Graphic media and contexts

True today in the selection of electronic computer systems.

(49) Because of its association with Islamic culture, paper was shunned by the Church for its documents and sacred texts. Thus, the choice of materials for graphic production became culturally marked.
(49) (figure 3.4) The Diamond Sutra, printed in China in 868, is considered the oldest extant printed book. .. Charms, money, and playing cards were among the everyday items printed in Asia centuries before letterpress developed in Europe.

The codex book

This is the same as saying hard drives for the graphic forms of these artifacts as the idealization of their contents equivalent to any representation of this thought as a web page.

(51) As the technology of the codex (individual pages of uniform size, bound in sequence) replaced the scroll, graphic conventions for the layout and organization of books developed. .. Knowledge was created and preserved as much by the graphic forms of these artifacts as by their texts (Fig. 3.6b).
(51) The basic theological and scholarly practices of reading, interpreting, and commenting were accommodated and standardized in graphic form.
(51) (figure 3.6b) To be able to search a text for a salient passage and use it to support an argument, a scholar needed navigational aids built into the design of a book. One of the first such devices, seen here, was simply the alphabetic organization of excerpts according to their first word.
(52) The architecture of the book was a Medieval invention. The introduction of paragraph breaks and chapter titles, running heads, indices, and tables of contents established the formats that would be standardized in print.

What this preference for a random access device?

(52) Unlike the scroll, in which information must be accessed serially, the codex functions as a random access device.
(52) (figure 3.6d) The original text, in the center, is surrounded by a gloss or interpretative commentary. .. The idea of a manuscript as a living document is clearly demonstrated here, as are the principles of graphic organization and hierarchy that make relationships between commentary, gloss, and text clear and functional.

Letterforms, manuscript hands, and pattern books
(53) A script is a normative model of letterforms, and a hand is the actual writing that a scribe produces. Paradoxically, the model exists only through specific instantiations, even when these are pattern books meant for imitation.

Graphic forms of knowledge

There is a Greek text that addresses graphic forms of knowledge mixed with text.

(61) Manuscript images were always hand drawn, and irregularities caused by artists of varying skill were an impediment to scientific knowledge that only the standardization brought by print technology in the fifteenth century could overcome.

Publishing communities and graphic arts
(62) By the beginning of the thirteenth century, production by professional scribes had eclipsed the work of monks, and, in general, the beauty and quality of books had declined considerably.
(63) Two languages were in use – one that served an expanding literate population and one that engaged nonliterate readers through visual imagery; each created a community of users.


Back to those points about primary, secondary, and tertiary types of storage in von Neumann architecture electronic computing machines, and the empirical question is, is this statement also true of the radical design change of the 400-1450 period?

(65) What is the legacy of the Medieval period to contemporary design? Its most important and enduring influence lies in the forms of letters – particularly text faces – and the contextual information about origins, historical change, and cultural exchange they they embody. .. A radical design change occurred, as the serial (linear) access mode of the scroll shifted to the random access mode of the codex with its graphic navigation systems.

4. Renaissance Design: Standardization and Modularization in Print

A point made by Ong, too.

(69) Printing techniques were based on modularization: the breakdown of complex processes into smaller units. This modular approach to production was critically distinct from traditional handicrafts and made letterpress a prototype for industrialization.

Early print design

This argument can be recycled for possibilities for computer assisted design that had been inconceivable in the restricted economy of the pre-FOSS Ages.

(70) as print culture flourished, the variety and uses of printed materials opened possibilities for graphic design that had been inconceivable in the restricted economy of the Middle Ages.
(71) In the latter half of the fifteenth century, European print technology centered on two innovations: the invention of movable type (or, more properly, the means of casting it) and the development of reliable methods for reproducing images in substantial editions.

Graphic communication in Renaissance culture
(75) Oil paint added new dimensions to realism and luminosity to the canvas, but the rationalization of space - its depiction as a projection on a flat screen as seen from a single point of view - was a distinctly Renaissance development. The idea of drawing the world from an individual viewpoint was more than a technical innovation: it marked a shift in attitude. Perspective encoded rational conventions that brought the visual world into an ordered system.

Print technology and type design

And wait we get to the graphs in the future!

(76) (figure 4.8) thinking of the visible world as if it were a projection onto a flat screen is only one way to encode experience into images. Maps and architectural plans and sections, for instance, are based on other conventions.

As do those of the software authors, such that for example diminishment is rendered suspicious as either incorrectly spelled or not a word of the type in which the author thinks it is a word; this is slippage.

(80) Like letters, ornaments and decorative initials comprised a system of elements that could be used and reused, set in one line, then broken down and recombined in another. Images were often treated as generic representations of types of things – criminals, virgins, monsters – that could also be recycled without any diminishment of value or effect.

Graphic forms of knowledge

The authors own bias emerges here.

(86) The wealth of Europe was bolstered by trade as well as by the crimes of slavery and the wholesale destruction of New World indigenous populations.


If so then probably there is a type of relating to cyberspace that is like visual literacy of cartoon-like images with few words, no different than a Greek vase, which is what I think Van was getting at talking about the small proportion of digitally literature individuals compared to the mass whose visual literacy suffices to get the job of communication done.

(90) Although only a small portion of the population could read, visual literacy rose rapidly.

5. Modern Typography and the Creation of the Public Sphere

Is public sphere now cyberspace?

(95) newspapers brought a new social and temporal dynamic to publishing. Their design played a part in the creation of what is known as the public sphere, a virtual space made through the exchange of ideas and information. Communities of belief were built on shared reading and thought rather than common location.

Printed matter and the public sphere
(98) An intellectual project of ambitious scope, the French (sic) Encyclopedie, was edited by philosophers Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. This publication realized the eighteenth century idea of the book as a repository of human knowledge – systematically organized in a format well suited to express its philosophical commitment to rational order.
(99) Print became a site of contestation and debate, not just a means of reporting.

News books, broadsheets, and newspapers
(99) Ideas about what is newsworthy have always come hand in hand with vested interests in outcomes – and, in the case of newspapers, in sales.
(100) One type of forerunner to the newspaper was a system of private letters on matters of interest to a particular group. .. Public venues were established for the consumption of newly prized products of colonial exploitation - coffee and chocolate brought from the New World. These venues also provided a place for sharing newspapers that passed from reader to reader. The stimulating effect of caffeine coincided with the urge for conversation and exchange.
(102) As competition for readers' attention grew, the design of advertisers' notices demanded greater investment, and the visual differentiation of newspapers themselves became a matter of economic consequence.

Politics and the press
(103) Democratic forms of government were a novelty, and they depended on new models of political engagement. A public sphere of consensus and exchange was a significant component of this engagement.

Graphic arts and design
(105) Type casting, printing, papermaking, engraving, binding, and book publishing became separate enterprises.

The figure is a 1786 spreadsheet graph by William Playfair entitled Chart Representing the Increase of the Annual Revenues of England and France from The Commercial and Political Atlas representing the first attempts of consciousness to express itself in this now ubiquitous form format; from the perspective of a computer program designer the question is what to do with it.

(106) The elaborate scaffolding of civil service and business management depended on the abstraction and analysis of information. This abstraction made statistics graphically presentable. .. Currency and stock shares, rather than goods, became the instruments of financial activity, introducing yet another level of abstraction into the relationship between graphic representation and material realities.

Modern type design
(107) Transitional faces (so-called because they marked a shift toward “modern” type design) stood more upright and featured higher contrasts between thick and thin strokes. These took advantage of the capability of smoother paper surfaces to print more delicate lines and ornaments.

It was an advertisement for a tobacco imported from the New World, so why not?

(107) (figure 5.13c) Images of the New World carried exotic associations that concealed the more brutal aspects of plantation culture.

Very complex, programmed (planned, designed and illustrated for training beforehand, going back to their pause between conception and execution that allows for critical reflection upon the act of making) operations.

(108) Humanistic models based in manuscript brush and pen strokes were displaced by a calculated approach to measure and proportion. Even handwriting was subject to a new rational discipline. The virtuoso productions of writing masters in this era demonstrated systematic methods and elaborately choreographed movements of the hand.
(108-109) Designs for the Romain du Roi were prepared by a committee convened in 1692 by the French king, Louis XIV, and engraved by Louis Simoneau. The committee's charge was to achieve a formal perfection in type design. This perfection was to be based in a rational consistency that would embody the king's absolute power, his divine right to rule, and this definitive authority as arbiter of taste for the civilized world. .. They exemplified an attitude toward design rooted in the notion of
expertise as a function of intellectual knowledge rather than craft experience.
(109-110) Fournier's
1737 Table of Proportions proposed uniform measures to be shared by a communit of printers, and his imitations of the royal typefaces put their forms into wider circulation. .. Fournier's typographic ornaments, or fleurons, were flowery forms designed to be used with the same combinatorial regularity as any other font. Although modularity had been a feature or Renaissance print technology, the idea of a system as an overarching principle of organization was a new and characteristic feature of eighteenth-century approaches.
(109) (figure 5.15b) The final form of the typeface reveals considerable modification by Philippe Grandjean. He softened the mathematical rigidity of the models into forms that had some of the variation and liveliness of more traditional type designs. The contrast between ideal designs on paper and realized letters in metal demonstrates the difference between theoretical and practical knowledge.
(111) Caslon's faces were robust, and they were versatile. But if worn and battered, ill-set or poorly laid out, they could also seem banal and inelegant. The aesthetic effect of letterforms is not merely a function of shape but also of layout and printing skill (Fig.
(111) (figure 5.18) Note the peculiar fit of the letters and word spaces and the space before the question mark.
Orthography and punctuation were being standardized by printing, and conventions of composition established in the pressroom had a real influence.
(112) During his lifetime, Baskerville made exclusive use of his types for publications of his own design. A scholar with an international circle of correspondents, he worked in the mode of the
private press publisher, and the effects of his type were exquisitely controlled in layout and production. But when he died, his types and punches only found a buyer in France.
(113) He [Giambattista Bodoni] distilled letterforms into basic elements of serifs, straight lines, and curved strokes, as if they were units to be recombined, rather than integral parts of a gestural whole. .. His career demonstrates the extent to which print design was esteemed as an art and rewarded as a service.
(113) The durable versatility of typefaces by Caslon, Baskerville, and Bodoni was proven when they were reinterpreted for mechanized production by Linotype and Monotype machines in the nineteenth century. Digital versions are testimony to the continuity between their “modern” sensibilities and contemporary graphic design. .. The craft of printing and the work of graphic design were intimates of the business world, and commerce was more than a mere handmaid of the artistic spirit.

On the edge of industrialization
(114) In the eighteenth century, the novel emerged as a major literary form, distinct from poetry, drama, and other genres. Illustrated works by celebrated authors created visual archetypes alongside descriptions of characters.
(114) (figure 5.12b) Hogarth's work was widely pirated. In response, he lobbied aggressively for the Engraver's Copyright Act in England, which passed in 1735. Sometimes referred to as
Hogarth's Act, it was a significant - if not always effective - milestone in the protection of intellectual property in print culture.


6. The Graphic Effects of Industrial Production 1800-1850
(119) Lithography brought new flexibility to image production, while photography brought new codes of realism.

Industrialization and visual culture
(120) (figure 6.2b) A subsidiary graphic industry arose on the force of Byron's fame, aiming products at a mainly female readership. .. The capacity of industrial production methods to meet this demand helped create media stardom and make it an integral part of the romantic movement.
(121) Ephemera such as tickets,
billheads, bills of fare, menus, and other momentarily useful items began to make their appearance.

Illustrated papers
(121) The most radical change in the media landscape came not in books or prints - although these were certainly modified by industrialization - but in the development of illustrated papers.
(123) The illustrated press was as much a product for consumption as it was a means of communicating information.

Book design for mass production
(124) Mass media had become a cultural industry that drove styles and set consumption patterns.

Printing images
(127) The public display of images made for the sole purpose of consumption helped codify visual stereotypes (the term is derived from an industrial process) and increase the appetite for pictures.
(128) Lithographs were printed on different presses than type, but lettering could be drawn on stones in the same way as images. The possibilities for integrating text and images were, in this sense, much greater than in the side-by-side relationship of woodblocks and text blocks on letterpresses.
(129) The clash of fine art and mass media placed all the value of originality and creative imagination on the side of individual artists who made unique works. Yet photography provided the early nineteenth-century public with images of itself at a relatively low cost - especially by contrast to traditional portraiture.

Advertising design and typography
(131) As the railroad system spread in the 1830s, new possibilities for rapid distribution of goods made branding and advertising increasingly useful.
(132) The freedom of graphic expression afforded by lithography had injected a variety of creative letterforms into public spaces.
(132-133) The pantograph mechanized scalability of type design drawings, greatly facilitating the multiplication of elaborate faces.

Fine art and graphic art
(133-134) The habits of advertising transformed the tone of public language from admonition to seduction. .. The fine artist acquired a status very different from that of the graphic worker in the printing industry.
(134) Fine art was handmade and, to borrow the critical Walter Benjamin's term,
auratic - that is, its unique presence had a special air or aura of authenticity that linked it to the original artist. The use of mediating machinery to transfer images from drawings to wood, steel, and copper surfaces, and the intervention of engravers trained to exploit the properties of their printing media rather than to express themselves, shifted the very identity of mass-produced images into a new and separate category.

Critical issues
(136) Mass culture clearly plays an active part in ongoing negotiations of power through symbolic representation. .. the way individuals perceive themselves depends, in part, on the way they are represented.


7. Mass Mediation 1850-1900s
(141) Printed paper soon mediated so many aspects of modern existence that it came to be taken completely for granted.

Printed mass media
(142) The rhetoric of commercial art became a distinctive feature of mass culture. Printed matter was a site of cultural production (of shared customs, images, meaning, and aspirations), not just a vehicle for delivering practical messages.
(143) a world in which images shaped opinions about style and form, behavior and decorum, social priorities and prohibitions, in ways that were more integrated with the habits of daily life.
(143) (figure 7.3b) Mediated experience has become integral to conventional life.

Changes in print technology
(144) Until mid-century, almost all paper was produced in sheets from cotton and linen rags. These conditions were expensive and limiting, and pressure to find a cheaper alternative led to the invention of processes for turning wood pulp into paper fiber.
(145) metal type production technology changed for the first time since Gutenberg. .. The
Linotype and Monotype casters are marvels of nineteenth-century industrial design. These machines transformed the printing industry. New faces could be designed and cast in metal in a fraction of the time taken by traditional methods.

Development of photographic technology, such as decreasing exposure time and availability of 35 mm camera, changed attitudes toward composition and gave model to vision.

(147) By the century's end, the practice of photography was no longer restricted to professionals and die-hard amateurs. Attitudes toward the composition of images expanded to embrace the spontaneity of ever decreasing exposure times and the incidental quality of snapshots. Modern vision was linked to photographic terms, and photography was increasingly used to record and mediate aspects of contemporary life.

Changing patterns in the use of graphic media
(150) Paper money is one of the most dramatic examples of graphic design operating in and through symbolic value.

Media networks
(152) Photography altered expectation, not only about technique but also about the basic conception of visual documents. The major change that occurred in late nineteenth-century newspaper images was from generic images and stereotypes to highly specific visual records.

Graphic design and advertising
(155) (figure 7.21) Industrial methods of food production combined with networked transportation to make branding and packaging useful for attracting and keeping customers.
(156) Training for illustrators and commercial artists began to be institutionalized in trade schools in the 1880s.

Posters and public space
(159) The question of who owned visual public space became important, as licensing rules and censorship restrictions tightened.

(159) Printed matter would never again have so exclusive a claim on the role of mediating responses to contemporary life as it had in the final decades of the nineteenth century.

8. Formations of the Modern Movement 1880s-1910s
(163) Industrialization had brought the gap between aesthetics (form and surface) and production methods (means and materials) into focus. .. On the basis of a distinction between things that were made (in the traditional sense) and those that were designed (for production), design became an explicit field for the first time.

Response to industrialism
(164) The conviction that graphic design could help shape contemporary life was fostered by the writings of two significant architecture historians, Augustus Pugin and John Ruskin. Both suggested that design style and production methods expressed the quality and values of a culture.

Arts and Crafts publications
(166) Most mass-produced books in the nineteenth century were of appalling quality, careless design, and poor workmanship. The challenge to cultivate new visual sensibilities and production values gave rise to the concept of “the book beautiful.”

Arts and Crafts dissemination
(169) Unlike the original Arts and Crafts impulse, which was firmly rooted in a romantic socialist agenda, late nineteenth-century movements often combined a mystical spiritualism with nationalist undertones.

Art Nouveau
(170) It was originally the name of a Paris gallery established in 1895 by Siegfried Bing, a German importer of Asian objects. The term was soon applied to any work that seemed to reject historical reference in favor of a “new” sensibility.

(172) All were characterized by expressions of sensual freedom, signaled by female forms, floral and organic motifs, and suggestions of primal eroticism as a liberating force from the bonds of convention. The stylistic grace cultivated by these movements was an asset to commercial interests staked on consumption rather than social reform.

Viennese design
(173) Initiated by Gustav Klimt, the Vienna Secession attempted to forge fundamental links between fine and applied art, an approach that ran counter to prevailing distinctions between high art and the trades.

Decadence and Aestheticism
(176) The art-for-art's-sake agenda of British aestheticism was echoed in French Symbolism and a general stylistic decadence that flowered at the end of the nineteenth century.
(176-177) This pointed refusal of utilitarian purpose implied a criticism of the moral value placed on work and of assumptions regarding the virtue of usefulness as a positive response to necessity. .. Decadent books were the consumable graphic products of advanced printing and publishing industries.
(178) Independent artistic culture was supported by printed matter, and graphic designers used these alternative cultural spaces to develop a conversation among themselves about the role of design in modern life.

The private press movement and modern design

Integration of design and industry


9. Innovation and Persuasion 1910-1930
(187) machine aesthetics, functionalism, and abstraction replaced organic and historical sources of style in some dedicated circles, while illustration persisted in most popular contexts. Many modern approaches began with avant-garde artists committed to formal and conceptual experimentation. .. Their graphic inventions came to have an enormous impact on commercial practice, as the visual forms of avant-garde art from the 1910s were assimilated, systematized, and defined in professional settings of the 1920s. Perhaps at no other moment in the history of graphic design have innovators had such a high public profile in artistic and commercial circles simultaneously.

Visual culture and avant-garde design
(188) Motion pictures added a new dimension to mass entertainment, and the posters that promoted them showcased signature graphic styles.
(188) (figure 9.2) The philosopher Walter Benjamin referred to the print culture of the 1920s as a blizzard of “colorful, conflicting letters” that made concentration and reflection difficult. From a design point of view, the absence of any rules of composition or developed notions of visual communication meant that a free-for-all attitude persisted. The coming of professional design schools established new rules and methods. A sense that design was a skill that could be taught and would be valued gained credibility.
(189) Exposing and subverting the powers of mass media rhetoric and the pretenses of middle-class culture, avant-garde artists and designers appropriated the slogans of advertising to create publicity for their outrageous events and performances. ..
Disorientation and defamiliarization were catchwords for the idea that art and design could change the way people understood the world.

The graphic impact of Futurism and Data
(189-190) Futurism and Dada were international movements. In 1909, the Italian poet Filippo Marinetti burst into the spotlight when his Futurist Manifesto was published on the front page of the popular French newspaper, Le Figaro.
(190) (figure 9.5b) It [Marinetti's experimental typographic poem] is a prime example of poetic
synesthesia - an aesthetic carried over from Symbolism - in which one sense perception (e.g., sound, sight, smell) was expressed in terms of another.
(191-192) In 1916, artists of various nationalities gathered in neutral Switzerland to protest the war. They took a nonsense word, “Dada,” as their name to symbolize the outrageous attitudes of their movement. Dada publications and performances appeared in Berlin, Paris, and New York among other cities and embraced nonsense as an antidote to what artists considered a monstrous use of reason to justify the bloodshed of the war. .. Eventually, many Data techniques became part of the standard repertoire of modern graphic design, particularly mixed-face typography, hodgepodge cuts and figures, and high-tension collage. Indeed, in the hands of advertising designers, collage was to become one of the most versatile and reliable methods for activating visual energy and condensing complex messages. But at the time of their development by Dadaists, collage and
photomontage were techniquews of disruption - of the illusion of pictured space, of the cultural expectations of public discourse, and of the political effects of familiar directives.

From experiment to principles
(193) Another dramatic development in the early twentieth century was the adoption of geometric abstraction and flat, hard-edged forms as signs of a contemporary sensibility. .. In the broader Russian-based movement known as Constructivism, these formal developments were combined with a proactive orientation toward production. The idea that artists should seize the tools of industry and become engineers of a new sensibility established a powerful foundation for applied art, including graphic design.

Influence of photographic technology.

(194) (figure 9.9) Alexander Rodchenko's photography exploited dramatic angles as disorienting perspectives from which to view the world. These perspectives were facilitated by the Leica he bought in 1928. The first mass-produced 35-mm camera, the Leica was small, light, and easy to use, freeing the photographer to go anywhere and assume any position.

Propaganda and mass communication studies
(196) (9.13) Using designers whose work had already become recognizable in the promotion of commodities was a subtle way of eliding the difference between war and peacetime cultures.

Graphic persuasion and its effects
(198) (figure 9.15a) New verbal and visual rhetoric came into use. Direct graphic address in the second person - you - and a confrontational visual engagement with the viewer resemble both advertising and avant-garde techniques. The decorum of an earlier age would never have allowed such directness.
(200) Social analysts and policy makers in the United States and Europe grappled with the effects of the media on public opinion and the potential of mass communication as a political tool. .. Perversely, the burgeoning advertising sector would become a powerful client for communication theories. Edward Bernays, the nephew of the inventor of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, founded the field of public relations in the United States. Bernays used strategies of unconscious motivation and manipulation in highly successful campaigns for products and politicians.

Institutionalizing graphic design
(201-202) The Bauhaus, first established in 1919 in the short-lived Weimar Republic of Germany, became the most legendary of the new institutions for graphic design research and pedagogy. .. the Bauhaus established a concept of design as a discipline that meaningfully closed the gap between formal ideas and material conditions. .. Design became a highly elastic term, extending to include everyday objects and their industrial production.
(205) His [Jan Tschichold] 1928 outline for a “new typography” (
Die Neue Typographie) was a foundational text and is still read and used. His design principles swept away the muddle of earlier commercial approaches and demanded typography that was streamlined, modern, and elegant in its sans serif standards.
(206) Despite political pressures, the influence of the avant-garde was long-lasting and profound. .. The teaching of graphic design as a set of formal principles remains suffused with terms and concepts that can be traced to the work of early-twentieth-century practitioners. The idea of a language of graphic design came from this period when influential individuals and institutions formulated the bases of a modern practice. Almost incidentally, but no less importantly, they also invented the graphic designer as a figure both formally and conceptually skilled, for whom style was the expression of a point of view on the world, not merely an expression of individual taste or disposition.

(207) the features that had come to define modernism - geometric abstraction, asymmetric dynamism, and nontraditional sans serif type - caused it to be branded as subversive in Germany. Artists and designers became targets of persecution, and a wave of emigration began.

10. The Culture of Consumption 1920s-1930s
(213) Having demonstrated its power to sway public opinion during the war, graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s became the source of stylish fantasies that were crucial to the growth of consumer culture. Borrowing the innovative approaches of the avant-garde to shape these fantasies, graphic designers effectively sold modernism itself in the process, packaging its ideas as a fashionable aesthetic rather than a social project. .. Subtle advertisers channeled attention toward purchases that indicated status rather than satisfied needs. This image-driven attitude was described as conspicuous consumption, a term coined American sociologist Thorstein Veblen at the turn of the century.

Designing the modern lifestyle
(214-215) The delivery of electricity became reliable and petroleum readily available. This dependable availability of energy changed work routines, production parameters, transportation and communication networks, and entertainment habits. Automobiles, cinemas, phonographs, electric lights, and radios created new consumer markets.
(215) To make consumption glamorous, graphic designers developed an aesthetic that was modernecool, streamlined, sophisticated, and in tune with the jazz-age culture that thrived in the margins of a residual Victorianism and, in the United States, of Prohibition.

Modern style in graphic design
(218) Consumerism absorbed the formal lessons of the avant-garde without its visionary ideals.
(218) On the American scene, the high-profile innovator William Addison Dwiggins was helping define the field he called
graphic design.
(219)(figure 10.8a and 10.8b) Modern editorial design came to the New York publishing industry under the direction of European emigres. .. Objects and things, rather than people, command attention. This approach to design defines fashion as an abstract form and implies that bodies are to be subordinated to designed shape. Consumption is conformity, not only to a vogue or trend, but also to a body-type and a set of gestures that discipline the physical self.

Consumer culture
(221) Poster production declined, but billboards introduced a new scale of graphic design to be viewed from automobiles or across large urban spaces.
(221)(figure 10.11) The development of new products for personal hygiene subdivided the body into zones, each worthy of its own special attention and therefore capable of being targeted by ads.
(223) A new professional – the market analyst – was born. Armed with statistical methods and survey techniques, market analysts produced serious studies, proving that white evoked hygiene, black was sophisticated, sleek shapes were modern, stolid ones, old-fashioned, and so forth.
(223) The promotion of lifestyles as realms of self-realization and expression produced a curious side-effect – conformity. The mass production of fantasy channeled consumption into market-driven patterns. The industrial consumer was an engineered concept, a generic figure who followed trends with a personal interest.
(224) This spirit of organization, “spoken” through an identifiable graphic system, contributed to the “image” of a paternalistic government.

The profession
(224-225) Moholy-Nagy established the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937, an experiment that succeeded two years later as the School of Design. In the American context, the Bauhaus aim of teaching students to think beyond immediate pragmatic or conventional considerations was meant to counter narrow professionalism and Beaux Arts traditionalism.
(228) Ad agencies assembled teams to provide a range of services, replacing the older model of the individual designer working in a studio. In the 1920s, art directors began to assume editorial and aesthetic responsibility for shaping campaigns that assessed a client's identity and communication needs in a systematic way, rather than simply advertising goods as need arose. .. Alongside the organizational methods of
Fordism and later Taylorism, strategies for marketing and measuring communication's effectiveness adopted statistical methods.
(230) Display faces for advertising and commercial work featured geometric designs, streamlined shapes, and names that encapsulated the era by reference to fashion, stylish entertainment, luxury commodities, tourism, or technological innovations: Vogue, Broadway, Tiffany, Souvenir, Electra, and so on. For book publication, Monotype casting was most practical.
(230)(figure 10.23) As Frederic Goudy said, “The old guys stole all the good ideas.” That may have been true, but the
new guys produced a whole inventory of robust text faces.


11. Public Interest Campaigns and Information Design 1930s-1950s
(235) Bar charts and flow diagrams seemed like straightforward presentations of fact. The overwhelming emphasis on communication in these forms obscured the fact that the arguments structured by grids and arrows were grounded in a system of beliefs and values. The hidden rhetorical strength of information design lay in the appearance of fact-based objectivity.

Public interest and education
(237) By contrast to advertisements that encouraged the consumption of new products for personal distinction and gratification, public interest graphics often attempted to regulate individual behavior by promoting social norms as common sense.
(241-242) This graphic rhetoric was as persuasive as any text and often served to reinforce the way individuals were judged along gender, race, and class lines. Moral assumptions were implicitly encoded in such graphic images.

Photojournalism and documentary
(245) The great paradox of photography was that, while fine art and high fashion photographers' success depended on their ability to cultivate a recognizable style of expression, the general perception of news photography was that it presented a direct and unaltered record of the truth.

Wartime propaganda

Wartime information
(250) Electronics were still in their infancy, but cybernetics was born during the war and advanced alongside automatic calculators. These developments were essential to ballistics and intelligence operations. Their systems vocabulary offered novel approaches to the graphic presentation of information. Terms and metaphors were borrowed and adapted to introduce concepts like flow, metrics, and parameterization to the graphic design field.

Commercial and technical uses of information design
(250) Public and private sectors, from education to industry, from the media to the lab, sought graphic means to make information make visual sense. At the same time, they began to conceive of abstract constructs and phenomena as “information.” .. Graphic designers took on the intangible and lent it visible form.

Information analysis and design process
(251) The influence of informational analysis affected the way graphic design saw itself. Instead of being an approach to the display of objects and communication of messages, it was conceived as a system in which all elements operated as integral parts of a network of flows and exchanges.
(252-253) A unit of information, a module of humanity, or a bit of data is a notion whose graphic form reinforces the expectation that a well-functioning system can accommodate such elements gracefully and successfully.

Role of fantasy in depicting computers.

(253) As computers became an object of popular imagination in the 1950s, graphic depictions of them and uses of their imagery ranged from literal to fantastical. . . . Individual preference, emotional response, and cultural or gender differences had no place in these systematic processes – or in the graphic design of their operation – even when what was being depicted was fraught with such factors.

(255) Considerable overlap exists between rational approaches to information design and systematic identity campaigns in the corporate and public sectors.

12. Corporate Identities and International Style 1950s-1970s
(260) Uniformity (conformity) and abstraction were the hallmarks of corporate style.

Image and identity systems
(260) As companies became corporations, graphic designers were hired to provide identifiable images for complex entities comprised of multiple divisions and activities.
(262-263) Immediate recognition relied on clear and distinctive symbols rather than substantive texts or images.

International Style
(263) The spread of the International Typographic Style paralleled the growth of corporate culture. The Swiss style sprang from its own aesthetic sources, but its clean forms were so well suited to the image needs of the new business patterns that the entire movement could have been invented to serve those interests. Visually, the International style was characterized by underlying grid structures, asymmetrical layouts, and sans serif type. It also favored straightforward, “objective” photography, geometric forms, and an almost total absence of decoration or illustration.
(263)(figure 12.6) these [Symbol Signs] signs often incorporated biases and assumptions. The sign for women shows a figure in a skirt ending at the knees, for instance, an image that is problematic for different reasons in different cultural contexts.
(265) Educational programs institutionalized graphic design doctrines to an unprecedented degree in the 1960s. But another major force for the dissemination of the International style in the 1950s and early 1960s came in the form a publications that embodied the aesthetic they promoted.
(266) although the term
international suggested a global nexus, in fact, the major stylists of internationalism remained those working in European, American, and Japanese contexts. .. Internationalism meant a conformism that had little room for the social differences that stylistic diversity might express.

Style, systems, and graphic design concepts
(268) conversion of the very notion of identity from a subjective experience to a floating form of signage that presented a nonhuman entity - the corporation - was the goal in this context.
(269) Consumption had always been fueled by trends and fashions, but, in the 1950s, the term
design came to signify a high end, sophisticated sensibility in furniture, housewares, office equipment, and other product lines.


(269) Photographic production methods became the standard platform for static and animated graphics in the 1960s and 1970s. .. The notion of professionalism in graphic design was associated with a capacity to command technological means of production, rather than with skills at the drawing board.
(270) In addition to the dimension of temporality, design in the digital environment would require consideration of navigation, live data, animation, and other feature of intermedia display.
(272) The first generations of typesetting alternatives to letterpress involved more efficient means of generating this camera-ready original. Next came purely film and light-based processes that eliminated the need for a hard copy to be photographed. .. As phototype began to overlap with metal typesetting in this period, graphic designers experienced a newfound freedom. Type could be manipulated photographically or cut, pasted, and rephotographed. The
boundaries between text and image blurred. The old rigidity of text blocks began to break down, as more graphic design work involved film and copy camera manipulations.
(273) Overlapping, layering, bending, and rephotographing type offered new compositional possibilities.

The profession
(274) Sociologist Kenneth Boulding's 1956 book, The Image, had an enormous impact on corporate managers. The idea of value added by a symbolic profile gave rise to the perception that graphic designers could have a dramatic influence on the success of a corporation.


13. Pop and Protest 1960s-1970s
(281-282) “Pop” drew heavily on mass media productions shaped by commercial interests, advertising, and the entertainment industry. .. This mediated condition of existence was the subtext of pop culture. Self-consciousness about graphic design was one symptom of this emerging awareness of media. .. In design terms, pop was characterized by a sophisticated sense of humor and a certain measure of ironic self-consciousness.

Pop culture and style
(282) Consumers assumed that they were being manipulated by ads and images.
(283) Unlike early modern graphic designers who invested abstract forms with transcendent meaning, pop designers made a fetish of people and objects and images.

Self-conscious graphic design
(285-286) Cutting-edge publications pushed the envelope of permissiveness. Their editorial vision combined countercultural arts and radical political viewpoints. .. Whether their emphasis was intellectual, aesthetic, or commercial, these publications shared an orientation toward youth.

Slick surfaces and high production values

(286) Graphic designers had access to tools that were constantly pushing the industry standard, and fine art became a follower, rather than a leader, in the production of visual culture. .. The slickness that entered graphic design in the 1960s was, in part, a result of new color printing capabilities and the use designers made of their intensified range of saturated hues and fine screens.
(287-288) “Individualism” was an overriding theme of 1960s rhetoric. But its manufacture was often formulaic: Extreme masculinity, seamless androgyny, stereotypical liberated women, and sharply defined ethnic identities all struck their “own” poses. .. The myth of media was that it produced “immediacy.” But these “direct experiences” were the products of complex systems of representation.
(288)(figure 13.8b)
Ken Garland, First Things First, 1964. A landmark in the history of graphic design, Ken Garland's manifesto struck a note of countercultural consciousness among design professionals. .. The skills of designers could be better applied, they declared, to projects of use to the public, projects that addressed educational, practical, and informational needs.
(289) The fantasy of mass distribution for independent artistic expression resulted in a new surge of interest in artists' books and magazines.

Revolutionary culture and protest
(292) no movement used graphic imagery as effectively to advocate mass action as the antiwar movement.

Changes in the profession
(293) Type cast in hot lead became an outmoded technology. The capabilities of photographic typesetting seemed to have every advantage.
(294) The technical loosening allowed by photographic methods led to an outpouring of designs that echoed the enthusiasm of late nineteenth-century display-type designers freed by the pantograph.
(295) Media images became the standard of intensity to which to aspire, rather than a pale imitation of life.

Critical vocabulary
(295) French theorist Guy Debord published Society of the Spectacle in 1967. He argued that spectacle was an advanced condition of cultural alienation. Lived experience had been replaced by the symbolic expression of ideas, and contemporary life was profoundly integrated with representation.

(297) In 1972, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi published Learning from Las Vegas. Designed by Muriel Cooper, the book marked a turning point from pop and modern sensibilities to postmodern historical reflection. .. The era of radical politics was succeeded by one of complacency and conservatism, and the exuberance and experimentation that had characterized Pop and protest graphics were eclipsed.

14. Postmodernism in Design 1970s-1980s and Beyond
(301-302) The prefix in postmodernism signaled at least a momentary eclipse of the International style and its assumptions of neutrality, universality, and rationality. The term also announced a stage beyond the exuberance of Pop. .. But the critical claims for postmodernism went beyond a change in style, raising profound questions about knowledge, history, and power. Modernism had claimed that a design aesthetic grounded in universal principles could be put to any purpose without regard for historical conditions. .. Images were discussed as simulacra - figures without connection to a source or context that function as free-floating signs. .. Corporate executives sought a competitive advantage in global markets through innovative advertising that often promoted brands over products. These marketing campaigns mirrored the rise of sign over substance. Consumption was promoted in expensively produced campaigns that hid traces of the human or environmental costs of production.
(301)(figure 14.1)
April Greiman, Vertigo, 1979. .. Her decorative eclecticism became an almost instantly recognizable characteristic of the new trend. .. Form followed style, not function, in postmodernism's break with the orthodoxies of modern design.
(302)(figure 14.3a)
April Greiman, Cal Arts viewbook, 1979. .. Photomechanically rather than digitally produced, this piece was composed without monitors, previews, or automation of technical tasks. Making camera-ready art required a thorough understanding of the printing process, including color separations and screens in the late 1970s.

Postmodern styles
(303) The 1981 exhibition of the Memphis group in Milan sent a ripple through the design world. .. Not only did postmodern designers dispense with any rigid adherence to formal organization and rational order, but also they seemed to throw out legibility itself.
(305) Once the question “why” was raised with regard to any graphic convention, every assumption was up for interrogation.
(305)(figure 14.5b)
Terry Jones, i-D, 1985. .. Antihumanism was one of the lynchpins of postmodern theory that trashed precious assumptions about the value of the individual.
(306) Lifting and copying features of old styles was no longer seen to serve a nostalgic purpose because the past was also considered to be an invention. History itself seemed to be constituted by style motifs, a set of forms to be appropriated, rather than studied seriously as a record of production conditions, political systems, or material circumstances. If you could redraw, imitate, or stimulate a past style, then you could use it.
(307) Conspicuous exploitation of new technological capabilities was symptomatic of an approach that called attention to innovation while concealing actual production factors (such as labor costs or ecological effects) under an exceedingly complex surface.
(308)(figure 14.8)
Jamie Reid, Sex Pistols album cover, Never Mind the Bollocks, 1977. .. Unemployment rates were high among young people in Britain, and the 1970s drug culture featured heroin and cocaine rather than the psychedelics and marijuana of the optimistic 1960s. For the most part, Punk dealt in anger and despair rather than organized political action.
(309) Appropriation escalated when scanners became affordable, but the interest in found images and common iconography was as much a response against the modernist banishment of handmade and context-specific imagery as it was an effect of technological change.
(309)(figure 14.9b)
Barry Deck, Template Gothic, 1990. .. The idea that a typeface is an authored artifact barely registers in public imagination: Type seems simply to appear in the visual landscape.

Postmodern consumption and conservatism
(311) The language of simulation suited an era in which global capital flows were often masked by consumable signs freed from context or accountability.
(311-312) Spending by major manufacturers shifted increasingly away from production toward brand promotion. ..
Appellation - the constructive strategy by which a message or image positions a viewer as its addressee - was achieved by a game of mirrors in which urban backdrops, hip hop associations, and a graphic language that seemed to emanate from these sources situated Reebok and Nike products in a context that related them to a specific group of buyers.

Critical theory and postmodern sensibility

Great characterization of postmodernism.

(313) Postmodernism was, in part, an attitude toward origins and change: in the beginning was the quotation, and in the end, more of the same. . . . In practical terms, such theses suggested that the history of art and design constituted a vast archive to be quoted, appropriated, refused in a newly critical, reflective way.
(314) Throughout the modern era, design was as much an instrument of cultural administration as it was an expression or means of enlightenment. But belief in progress still underlay its practice and reception, and the loss of this belief amounted to a general crisis.
(314-315) The notion of history as a narrative of causal forces and culminating events was criticized by
post-structuralists as storytelling in the interests of the powerful. The art of interpretation as an associative play of meaning-production took precedence over concepts like inherent truth and transcendent meaning. .. Meaning was understood as a product of signs combined according to the laws of a semiotic system, and designers were skilled in the manipulation of such systems with all of their multivalent possibilities; they always had been. Postmodernism had simply caught up with, made explicit, and accelerated the complex codes that had been refined by design since the beginning of mass markets.
(314)(figure 14.15b)
Charles S. Anderson, stock art catalogue, 1995. .. The resulting nostalgia does not really express a longing for a particular time but suggests that a past of the imagination offers a reprieve, an ideal for which the present yearns.

Postmodernism and activism

Changes in the profession
(317) The use of photographic negatives to layer and manipulate content in self-canceling sandwiches of images and text preceded desktop computers by a decade. By the time computers were adopted, the work of 1970s practitioners had already sensitized designers to many of the possibilities they offered.
(317) By the 1980s, graphic design was no longer predominantly static composition of advertising, packaging, and editorial design but was moving into special effects, animation, film, television, and music video graphics, and disappearing into global corporate identity systems, branding, and so on.
(318) The influence of French critical theory brought attention to concepts of simulation, pastiche, and hyperreality (a media-permeated condition in which nothing and everything is real). Guy Debord's work on spectacle (in which experience is replaced by, or lived entirely through images), Jean Baudrillard's theories of hyperreality and simulation (representation without a model, a copy without an original), and Jean-Francois Lyotard's critique of grand narratives (the definitive stories we tell ourselves to support our belief systems) offered new understandings of sign and image systems. Designers often expressed these ideas graphically without a full appreciation of their theoretical implications.

(319) Earlier modern awareness of the effects of communication had been based on ideas of mechanistic impact. The postmodern critical sensibility wrestled with the complexities of complicity, as the scale of mass visual culture escalated.
1984 .. Negativland coins phrase culture jamming, referring to media sabotage

15. Digital Design After the 1970s
(324) Digital technology brought more than a style shift. It wrought a fundamental change in designers' tasks and knowledge. Graphic design now involves structuring environments for use rather than simply creating effective displays.
(325) The development of an intuitive graphical user interface was a crucial turning point. Introduced in the mid-1980s, Apple Computer aimed at the graphics market and succeeded. .. The development of affordable printers and the establishment of industry standards for outputting film from data files closed the loop between desktop and print production.
(326-327) The real shift was conceptual and involved understanding that images and texts were actually
information stored as code. .. Because all data files were, at base, machine code, they could be subjected to infinite processing. A photograph could be easily restructured to present a visual fiction indistinguishable from material fact. A new level of disbelief and distrust accompanied digital image composition, and ethical questions arose alongside fascination with the new capabilities.
(326)(figure 15.4)
Susan Kare, Apple Macintosh icons, 1984. .. These icons define a worldview in which a hierarchy of folders and files, palettes and tools organizes information and behavior. The extent to which we have accustomed ourselves to their use makes the values on which they are premised difficult to see.

Media transitions: type design and publications
(327) Knuth tried to discover algorithms for the alphabet. But he came to the realization that letters functioned primarily by being distinguished from each other within a stylistic system.

Fluidity and functionality
(331) Only at the stage of mechanicals was a composite of text and image artwork assembled for platemaking purposes. Digital media changed this relationship dramatically, bringing text and image files together in radically innovative ways.
(331) Every visual form was treatable as either a
bitmap, pixel-based image, or a scalable vector graphic.
(332) If image and text were no longer distinguished by their production, did that erase the difference between seeing and reading? .. The hyperbolic rhetoric of progress served market interests, but cultural critics raised questions about the unqualified and celebratory claims for a recombinant world.
(332-333) This “meta” aspect of design was perhaps clearest to those who ventured into the definition of style sheets. These linked particular choices of type style, size, color, or weight to an identified type of information (such as header, subhead, or paragraph).

Take this study of interface metaphors into the design decisions concerning free, open source software.

(333)(figure 15.13a) Interface metaphors: Windows 95. . . . Tensions between the metaphors of travel and easy access an d the realities of user experiences have been the subject of critical study and debate, exposing the ways in which graphic design shapes expectations and hides assumptions.
(334) The graphic task was no longer limited to communication but extended to the functional structuring of information and scenarios for its access and use. The human factor was paramount.

The myth of immateriality and challenges of digital design
(336-337) The independent designer had to maintain a steady rate of consumption just to keep pace with the “upgrade addiction” fostered by computer software and hardware industries. .. Such planned obsolescence also had environmental costs, as hardware parts piled up in landfills or were shipped off to be unsafely disassembled. .. Perhaps most significantly, the hours of effort that went into electronic design tended to disappear in the seamlessness of the final product. .. The term global absorbs all forms of cultural difference and national or local identities into a single entity. The erasure of difference creates an illusion under which political and social struggles are masked.

(338) Graphic design is now information design in the broadest sense, and a high demand for technical sophistication is built into the profession. .. Graphic designers envision and establish conditions for production in these environments, rather than designing products themselves. This difference marks a critical shift in the nature of graphic design.
(339)(figure 15.18b)
Stefan Sagmeister, AIGA poster, 1999. .. The rhetoric of “immateriality” that accompanied the development of electronic tools tended to gloss over a material basis of production that involved real people doing real work in lived conditions.

Drucker, Johanna and McVarish, Emily. (2009). Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Drucker, Johanna and Emily McVarish. Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2009. Print.