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Design Invention


Online Graphic Design Degree: Design Invention

Computer technology along with the invention of the Internet may be the most significant contemporary advances in technology. Changing many aspects of modern life, the impact of inventions such as these are undeniable. One such dramatically affected area is graphic design. Improvements to technology have historically directly resulted in changes to graphic design. Newer forms require new content and means of production. Just one of our many guides on the topic, the Guide to Invention and Graphic Design explores the relationship between advances in technology and its impact upon the world of graphic design. This resource is useful for students of graphic design, or those interested in understanding the ways in which invention affects it.

How Graphic Design and Invention Intersect

Inventions make some forms of graphic design possible, while changes to graphic design can also help direct the advancement of technology and lead to the invention of new products. Both are highly affected by one another. The personal computer revolution illustrates how inventions in graphic design work in conjunction with innovation.  While personal computers had already existed, improvements to graphic design made them much more accessible.

It is possible to see how graphic design and inventions intersect with one another through computers and computer operating systems. Earlier systems that were text based such as the one used by the CP/M as well as DOS required computer users to enter lines of text which controlled a computer’s operations. Apple further spurred technological production forward through its Apple Macintosh, which included a graphical user interface. This abstract form of graphic design meant that users could navigate through a visual system intuitively.  The prospect of interacting with computers in an easier and less intimidating way was highly attractive, making Apple’s graphic design a success. Along with the invention of hardware, improvements in the realm of software have also dramatically altered design as well as its creative process. Inventions such as Adobe Photoshop have drastically changed the way in which graphic designing is done. Rather than completing work by hand, many have chosen to go digital. While earlier mediums required greater amounts of instruction and labor, graphic design continues to move towards higher functionality.

With the invention of touch screens and more tactile, interactive technology, graphic design faces different challenges. Now that technology and inventions are used in a new way they must also react appropriately. The form of design employed should lend itself to its medium. Advances to user interfaces are continuing to move towards more intuitive forms, which require flexible and relevant graphic designs. In the case of touch screens and interactive technological inventions, it is important to create content that is easily viewable and requires fewer resources.  Graphic design is the means through which advances in technology can be realized.  It is the goal of graphic design to improve the dissemination of knowledge as well as visual communication itself.

The Role of Technology in Graphic Design

Graphic design has consistently been dictated by technology and available tools. Historically, means of producing images such as printing directly affected design. Fonts, for instance, differed as printing presses developed and mass production became possible.  More recently, artists such as Andy Warhol illustrated the effects of improvements to production related technology through art. His “Elvis” series of silkscreen prints brought discussion about the relationship between technology and art to the foreground.  Similarly, graphic design continues to change as technology evolves. Further, digital media and many forms of modern design are directly dependent upon recent inventions. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator make it possible to create graphic designs more quickly and less repetitively.  Digital graphic design also allows for more flexibility. Layout can often be changed much more easily in a digital format than on paper. Highly favored by graphic designers, these programs dictate trends and contemporary style. While there may always be room for freehand designing, implementation at almost any level nearly requires digital technology. Despite this reliance on technology, good graphic design is still a product of knowledge and technical ability. While technology may make it easier to produce designs, the graphic design environment is such that innovation is still necessary for success. Beyond typography, interface design, layout, and visual arts all contribute to graphic design and are all affected greatly by advances in technology.

  • Graphic Design History – Advances in technology directly affected graphic design in fundamental ways. The relationship between graphic design and technology is explored from times before printing to the rise of modern graphic arts.
  • In and Around: Cultures of Design and the Design of Cultures – Andrew Blauvelt discusses issues surrounding the ongoing debate about modern form and content as well as technology and graphic design in this article. He argues that the contemporary environment for graphic design is such that it is to some extent dependent upon inventions, but that ultimately, graphic design can thrive in all spaces and environments.
  • Graphic Design in the Postmodern Era –Changes in form as a result of the invention of the Internet and other modern technologies are considered. The ways in which the work of great designers such as Jan Tschichold and W.A. Dwiggins continue to influence graphic design today, amid advances in technology, is also explored.
  • Difference Between Pixel and Vector Based Graphics – Differences in technology as seen through artistic medium result in forms that have different strengths and weaknesses. In this case, specific technologies are more beneficial for differing circumstances.
  • Scalable Vector Graphics – Adobe’s SVG responds to challenges posed by providing graphics for handheld devices, websites and even for print. A royalty-free vendor-neutral standard, SVG allows the presentation of high quality images while using fewer resources.
  • What Impact Has the Internet Had on Graphic Design? – Graphicmania.net explains how the Internet has changed graphic design, as well as individual’s perspectives on its influence. The advantages and disadvantages of the invention of the Internet are considered, looking at content management systems and advances in graphic designing programs.
  • The Internet and Its Impact on the Photography and Graphic Design Field – A presentation on the ways in which Internet technology has changed the market and graphic design practices. The Internet is a highly usable medium as a marketing tool, changing the priorities of advertisement and design.
  • Integrating Technology Into a Problem-Solving Curriculum – Advances in technology require that those in the field of graphic design must understand discipline specific lessons as well as possess problem solving skills. A curious mind is necessary in utilizing new technologies.

Additional Resources

The following resources are helpful for graphic designers who wish to work with modern technologies and digital mediums. Here, you will find websites which provide tools for digital graphic design such as brushes for Photoshop, or textures to be used in your designs. Further, vector art and stock image websites have been included in order to improve the depth and flexibility of your designs. Additional articles discussing matters relevant to graphic design or invention in general have also been provided.

  • Innovation vs. Invention – Innovation is often overlooked when compared to invention. Improvements upon existing design can be more valuable and efficient in some cases.
  • Pattern8 – Background textures for use in graphic design are available for free download at Pattern8. It is possible to search by color, rating, or popularity.
  • MorgueFile – Allows users to find free images for use in graphic design, for both commercial and recreational purposes. Patterns and textures are available as well as thousands of nature images, objects, animals, and people.
  • BrushKing provides free brushes for use in Adobe Photoshop. Additionally, a number of graphic design tutorials for improving your Photoshop skills are accessible.
  • Vecteezy – Vector art and patterns are offered for free through this community oriented website. Other stylistic additions such as the swirls, flourishes and icons that are available can help improve your design.
  • Dafont – One of the best established and most extensive collections of fonts available on the Internet. Font can be one of the most important aspects of a design and can be very powerful in achieving effective visual communication.
  • Spoon Graphics is a place to find free patterns, icons and textures as well as blog posts about graphic design in general. Further, tutorials which explain how to achieve particular effects such as creating detailed heraldic designs or imparting a retro feel are given.