A Brief History of Graphic Design and Its Evolution: Key Elements of Effective Design

Graphic design can be found everywhere in the world. From advertisements in a magazine to the artwork on a paper cup of coffee, to the logo on your sneakers, it can draw us in, or make us cringe. For any business, brand recognition is vitally important to building a consumer base that is aware and interested in your company. It is for this reason that graphic design is something absolutely essential in our lives.

Styles of graphic design change throughout history as well. The 1920s and 30s had the Art Deco/Nouveau style, with bold shapes and colors, silhouettes, and lots of ornate lettering. This style has become iconic and has stood as a timeless visual style with everything from art, architecture, and advertisements to planes, trains and automobiles!

Another widespread graphic movement came in the 1960s and 70s. The Hippie culture influenced a lot of the “earth tones” of browns, yellows and oranges that swept magazine pages and billboards throughout the era. Doritos recently hearkened back to this design era with a bag design for their taco chips. Flat, unshaded letters, and a tan, orange, yellow and brown color palette really captured the 70s perfectly. The 60s had earth tones as well, and incorporated psychedelic imagery and floral patters with lots of colors. Also in terms of typefaces, bubble letter and oversized, flowing typefaces dominated proceedings.

The 1980s were characterized by the “futuristic” design elements. There were many sharp edges, metallic or chrome treatments (think of any rock album cover from the era, as well as movie posters). Neon, bright colors were also definitely in vogue, and any and all references to the brand new computers and their untapped potential. All design in the 80s tended toward the angular, and the typefaces of the era (think of the film Tron, or the band logos for Metallica or Iron Maiden) were no different. It is also worth noting that through the 1980s, virtually all graphic design was done by hand, making a graphic artist a very exclusive position with only a few quality practitioners.

In the 1990s, computers started being used for design and while the 1990s were not a particularly influential or inspiring era (especially with album covers) this change to more computer based work was important. It meant that talented artists could create great work without having to rent studio space, and that more and more businesses could get quality work, with a greater talent pool.

This current era is something I’ll call the Macbook era. With the app market exploding for desktop, laptop and mobile computing, icons for apps are one of the most obvious ways to see this current graphic style. Simplicity that is bold, but with nuanced details and textures and just enough text are the order of the day. In the 1950s, advertisements usually carried at least two or three paragraphs of advertising copy to explain their product. Whereas now, they will carry a sentence or less (often just a word or two) with well placed color and layout and that is enough to drive consumers to a product. Apple is the master of this new style of advertising and their clean, minimalistic designs are very memorable and very effective, evidenced by Apple being the biggest corporation in the world!

Another element that makes designs more memorable, regardless of era is acknowledging personal elements of the client the design is being created for. This personalization can be very effective in logo design and advertising. For example, in Virginia Beach graphic design you see nautical elements, mermaids and water related things, since the city is on the Atlantic Ocean and a popular vacation locale. The deer in the J├Ągermeister logo, as another example, hearkens to the famous Black Forest in Germany and its local wildlife. Adding touches like that can be seen as far back as race posters for Grand Prix racing from the early 20th century, rather than just focusing on the cars, elements of the scenery of the race’s location were often added as well, to build a connection between race goers and the event itself.

The art of graphic design has seen many stages of evolution and will continue to grow and change. The abundance of technological resources available to today’s designers is staggering and I predict we will see even more creative uses of color and shape moving forward. I am very excited about the future of one of my favorite realms of visual art and enjoy having my designs adapt to its evolution.

Effective Design Tips for Start-Ups

When you start a new business, what you need is solid advice from experienced people to take all the hassle away and provide you with a clear path towards success. If you are starting an online business, then you need advice related to design. After all, you will be getting your website, logo, etc. designed and you have got to know how you can get everything done effectively and professionally. So, what I will do here is that I will provide you with some solid tips that will allow you to understand the importance of design and why it’s important to get it right. Plus, how you can get it designed professionally. So, let’s get started.

Web Design:

The first thing you need to learn about is web design. As your website serves as your store front, it has to look professional and elegant to bring your visitors inside and make them check out different pages or categories. A low quality design will convey the message that your products are of low quality. Hence, you can’t expect your potential buyers to buy from you. This is why it is crucial that your online store looks professional even if you are selling a single product. Make sure the navigation is simple as well and your visitors can easily access the pages or information they need.

Logo Design:

Another important element of your business is logo design. See, your business doesn’t have any physical shape or appearance. So, how can people imagine your business and recognize it? Well, this is where your logo design comes in. It becomes the face of your business. It becomes a symbol that represents your business. So, when people see your logo, they can instantly relate it with your products and services. So, now you can very well realize the importance of logo design. Ensure that you get it right. It must look relevant to your business and represent your business professionally.

Banner Design:

Now, once you have your web design and logo design ready, your business can go Live. But, how can you bring visitors to your website? Well, there are several marketing methods you can use and one of them is Banner Advertisement. For this you will have to get a banner designed. How does banner advertisement work? Well, you have to display it on different websites and bring traffic to your site from there. This is a very powerful method, provided you manage to show your ad on a relevant and busy portal.

Brochure Design:

When we talk about brochures, people instantly think about offline marketing. Well, it’s a fact that brochures are mainly use for offline marketing, but they are also used on websites now. This way your potential buyers can download your brochure, print it out and read it later instead of sitting in front of the monitor for a long period of time.

Now, you know some of the important designs that you may need as a business owner. The most important thing to remember is to hire a professional designer always. If you compromise on quality just to save a few bucks, then you will have to bear loss later due to your unprofessional designs.

Effective Design

Developing new products and services rapidly and effectively is a very important skill in many businesses and the ‘decision to design’ can commit the business to hundreds of thousands of pounds and many months of work, as well as significant risk. The focus needs to be on minimising cost whilst reducing the time taken to develop the product or service and reducing the business’s risk exposure.

The problems with traditional design processes are that they occur sequentially and often involve ‘over the wall engineering’ in that one department ‘throws’ the design to the next department who then have to unpick the problems that have been designed in, often at great cost. In manufacturing companies, often the design engineers will not understand the production process and will design a product which cannot easily be made, or is too expensive, and in service companies often the marketing team will not understand in detail the operations function and will promote a product which is difficult to manage effectively – both examples of dysfunctional and sequential design.

During WWII, the need for rapid product development was recognised and the concept of Concurrent Design (CD) was born. The backbone of CD is the formation of a multi-function team consisting of designers, production, quality and test engineering personnel and key suppliers to develop a new product. This changes the cash flow profile (ie more money is spent earlier on), but can easily reduce the ‘time to market’ and post-design changes by 75% as well as reducing the actual development spend by up to 40%.

CD is a concept which is viable for both manufacturers or service sector businesses, but for manufacturers is complemented by Rapid Prototyping tools and techniques which have evolved to a new level of sophistication over the last 20 years, again reducing the time taken to receive solid models from weeks to hours and contributing to shorter development times.

Reducing time to market for new products and service can be shown to have many benefits including increased market share, longer product lifecycles and higher margins, but requires collaboration between departments and companies and the adoption of new practices and processes in the design value stream.