Graphic Design

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The Impact of Technology on Graphic Design

By Thamari Kottegoda

One of the earliest forms of Graphic Design is said to have been cave paintings from the South of France. They depict various animals and are said to have been made in 30,000BC. The history of writing appeared in 4000BC and with the history of these cave and rock designs the foundation of Graphic Art was created.

Between the 7th and 9th Century wood blocks were cut to print on textiles and to write Buddhist texts. The earliest printed book was a Buddhist scripture printed in 868BC. Movable type printing was used on scrolls and books in the beginning of the 11th Century. In the late 16th Century the pencil evolved and became one of the most basic graphic design tools alongside the marker or pen.

Lithography was invented in the 19th century, but was too slow and expensive to produce vibrant, colourful posters. This changed when a man called Cheret developed the ‘three stone lithographic process’ using the colours red, yellow and blue to create a rainbow of tones. Using this process the result was noteworthy, textures and transparencies created to rival other forms of media. This meant lithographic posters combining striking words and images became an influential innovation.

A long time ago a designer’s tools were very limited. A typical office would have a drawing board, a T-square, Letraset, and an electric pencil sharpener. Pantone markers were used which were expensive and unreliable. Letraset was tiresome and annoying as alignment and kerning proved difficult.

Things changed dramatically in the 20th century, with the development of computers. The mid twentieth century was a landmark era in Graphic Design. Words and images were brought together on posters, book covers, record jackets, billboards and other forms of advertising. In the mid-1980’s desktop publishing and graphic art software applications helped designers to create designs that would otherwise have been done laboriously...
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