9 Big Ideas That Changed The Face Of Graphic Design
What makes for good graphic design? You’ve probably formed your own opinions on the subject as you’ve looked through countless books, magazines, posters, and signage. And chances are you’ve also begun to recognize certain patterns: diagonal lines lend a certain dynamism to a page, typography can be readable or illegible, a layout can honor or obliterate white space. But how did graphic design develop into what it is today? Fortunately, there are people like Steven Heller to pinpoint the big-bang ideas that led to the standards we take for granted. In 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design (Laurence King), he and Véronique Vienne identify, define, and illustrate the breakthrough moments that continue to inform contemporary visual conventions.
When the authors began to compile their list, they made sure to focus on the big-bang ideas rather than “tropes or conceits–as in stylistic manifestations rather than substantive design foundations.” They also avoided the urge to catalog overarching movements: “Under the ‘great historical isms, there can be numerous big ideas, such as asymmetric or discordant typography or vibrating color . . . Rather than skim the surface using the shorthand of isms, this book unpacks those art historical categories and pulls out the individual big ideas within them.”
Nor do Heller and Vienne claim to have covered every important notion, good or bad, of graphic design: “We determined more ‘aha’ moments exist than these. Yet 100 is a nice round number.” Here are nine of Co.Design‘s favourites, excerpted and adapted from the book.