Here, There, and Everywhere: The Ubiquity of Graphic Design
Graphic design is e v e r y w h e r e. This fundamental mode of visual communication—a strategic combo of text and type, images and/or graphics—can be crafted to convey a near-infinite array of messages that run the gamut from promotional to political, educational to emotional, and everything in between and beyond. It can also be one of those tricky practices to parse—not because it’s exceptionally specific, but rather because it encompasses just so much.
“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”
―Paul Rand, granddaddy of modern graphic design
Look around: At the stylized business names emblazoned on awnings and in neon around your city;
At the drool-worthy product spreads that populate your favorite catalogs and Pinterest pages;
At the jackets that flank the books you chose to line your shelves because–old adages be damned–you’ve judged the covers and deemed them to be wonderful and worthy of display;
At the gifs you could waste hours staring at;
At the powerful imagery in your social feeds supporting important causes and candidates in this crazy election year;
At the street signs that told you, without any words at all, what to watch out for on your office commute this morning;
The stylized Adobe logo you see at the top of this webpage you’re reading? It’s an evolution of the original by graphic designer Marva Warnock—wife of Adobe co-founder John—way back when the company was founded in 1982.
Mastering this ever-evolving craft in the modern day means designers are adapting and influencing a massive and growing collection of tools. From pens and paper to styluses and tablets, these products and programs transcend the scope of creativity and what was possible a decade; a year; even a month ago.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be (re)introducing a selection of graphic designers who established themselves by making rules, and by breaking them. Who incited passion through their often unconventional work and changed the way we see and relate to the world. We’ll look at the way their tools have matured. And we’ll look at what’s next.