Graphic Design: Now in Production

Reviewed by Alex Zimmerman

Graphic Design: Now in Production

Back in 1991, the average art student had a choice between working as a clerk at an art supply store, flipping burgers, or working as a paste-up artist in the art worlds lowest field: Graphic Design. Boy, have times changed.

When the advent of digital files came, suddenly graphic design became an actual calling. Art Schools were now filled to the brim (just like this class). However, this was at the cost of the field being loaded with competition, making it even harder to make it in the field. Some artists even claimed to have a longing to do something more (you can only make so many business cards before you go crazy).

To make designs, you need to use tools. The book mentions that humans and their primate ancestors are separated by the use of tools in everyday life. Before computers, the tools that had to be used were out of reach to most people. Now that everything has some sort of design software, graphic design tools were now made available to pretty much anyone, and the field expanded with people’s creative visions. The computers can now edit the designs very quickly in case the client doesn’t like something about it (before, the designers had to get every possible detail due to the lack of an undo button). Websites like Tumblr and imgur also helped spread work everywhere. Parodies of famous designs also spread everywhere, with the book mentioning the “John & Paul & Ringo & George” shirt.

It’s not just posters that are graphic design: Movie intros and credits are also examples. They want to capture the eye of the audience so that they’ll be remembered in a sea of films of varying quality, and different genres have different methods. Crime dramas open with headlines, romances have flowing ribbons, and westerns have inspiration from old Wanted posters. Some specific examples the book gave were the famous Bond Gun Barrel opening, and the 2008 favorite, Iron Man, with it’s credits having hologram blueprints of the suit and Arc Reactor catching the eyes of people leaving the theater.

However, the book mentions that, due to the huge amount of DIY guides, and people start to make things themselves with Youtube and Flickr, what need do they have for a designer? Web pages are also mostly starting to become similar to one another due to expectations of the users, limiting creativity of the designer. Even album covers, once known for being part of the music experience, now is lost in the sea of song downloads and 200x200 jpg pixels.

It does end on a happy note: No matter how far design goes, it still can go farther; these are merely design’s “school days”.