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Building Blocks

Mar 22, 2016



Sherry Saunders

Teaching Internship: History of Graphic Design
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  • 1T E AC H I N G I N T E R N S H I P : H I S TO RY O F G R A P H I C D E S I G N


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    Introduction ....................................................................................................... 5

    Teaching Philosophy .......................................................................................... 7

    Student Voices .................................................................................................... 8

    Building a Vocabulary for Design.................................................................. 10

    Special Collections .......................................................................................... 13

    Authorship & Collage..................................................................................... 16

    Student Projects .............................................................................................. 21

    Student Writing ............................................................................................... 31

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  • 5I chose to complete my teaching internship with Professor Sharokin Betgevargiz in the course History of Graphic Design. I am passionate about promoting the need for students in graphic design to understand the history of their discipline. Graphic design has a unique narrative that varies from more traditional art history. In discuss-ing the difference of graphic design to other art forms, Meggs states:

    The immediacy and ephemeral nature of graphic design, combined with its link with the social, political and economic life of its culture, enable it to more closely express the Zeitgeist of an epoch than many other forms of human expression.

    The design of this teaching portfolio is inspired by the Bauhaus. I want to pay hom-age to this point in graphic design history because many traditional academic art and design programs are still reminiscent of the teaching model the Bauhaus created.



  • 7At its most basic level, graphic design is a form of visual communication, and with advances in media and technology, it is always changing and evolving. I feel that college students are often on the cutting edge of media and communications trends, and they can bring new ideas to the classroom that reflect the world that they live in. My teaching philosophy is to combine the old and the new. I feel strongly that history and criticism in design and media needs to be addressed in studio classes and studio projects can be beneficial in learning history. I believe that by drawing connections to other fields of study, graphic design can be given more context. Cross-disciplinary research is essential for a well-rounded education. These practices add to the student experience and give them the skills to think critically about graphic design when they reach the job market.

    In the classroom, I promote diversity of opinions, and I am open to new ideas. Too often the classroom is seen as a one sided relationship, with the teacher having ev-erything to offer. I feel this neglects the value that each individual student adds to the classroom experience. Through collaboration and discussion, it is my hope to create a give and take relationship, where I can give my knowledge to the students and learn from them as well. Everyone has something to offer and it is my intent to nurture that in every student and encourage participation and exploration.


  • 8I hope to broaden my knowledge on the styles of graphic design, how it has devel-oped through different movements in art, and how its evolved to the point that it is at today. For me, its important to be educated in all styles done previously so i can work to develop my own.

    I am hoping to learn and be inspired by the techniques and philosophies of past graphic designers, as well as become more appreciative through learning about the handcrafted methods of printing and collage. I believe that learning the history of graphic design will help me grow as a professional by making me appear more knowl-edgeable and experienced. By becoming familiar with famous graphic designers of the past and their works, I can learn how to create successful designs through the use of line, type, color, etc

    From this class I hope to learn about the previous styles and paths of graphic design and apply them to the future. Also, I would like to be able to speak about past styles and time periods of graphic design in an intelligent and genuine way. I know the only way to prepare for the future is to learn from the past and that is no different in the graphic design world. I want to be among this generation of graphic designers that continue to take things to the next level.

    From this class I hope to learn the basics & beginnings of graphic design. Im really excited to learn about the past & what movements and styles that have come before me. I believe knowing the history of graphic design will help because I will know what came before me & can draw inspirations from that. Plus I can learn more about styles I enjoy & those I dont like.

    I hope to gather the technical knowledge that will help to reinforce my designs as a whole. Knowing the history of our ancestors and how they formed graphic design allows for designers like myself to have a solid foundation when experimenting and exploring the world of graphic design.

    How can history of graphic design help you grow as a professional graphic designer?


  • 9Consider how communication has changed in your lifetime. Discuss how this will effect graphic design.Communication throughout my lifetime has already changed drastically. Due to advancements in technology, we have gone from having conversations face to face, to having conversations over the phone, to having conversations through texting and email. Everything handmade is becoming electronic now we send E-cards and wish our 500 friends happy birthday over Facebook. On the other hand, technology has greatly improved our communication. Thanks to cell phones, internet, email, and Skype, we can easily chat with friends all over the country that we may never have been able to stay in contact with before. Because of this new technology based soci-ety, graphic designers must respond differently in finding solutions to communicate with large groups of people. I think as time progresses, the titles and jobs asked to be preformed by graphic designers will change, especially with web design becom-ing more popular and necessary. But I think there will always be a need for finding solutions to communicate with mass audiences, and therefore graphic designers will always be in demand.

    Some say that technology is taking away the youth from the younger generations but when you look at emails, text messaging, skype, wireless internet, digital type proces-sors, you can see how so much more technology has allowed for different fields to expand the boundaries. We as graphic designers can imagine some crazy design, and through the use of sketch pads and a pencil we can then transfer that idea from paper to a machine that will allow for us to construct this idea that goes beyond what a pencil and a piece of paper can do. I hope that technology will continue to get better and better to allow for the boundaries to be pushed even further. Communication has advanced causing less physical items like magazines and newspapers but allowing for a larger target market to receive those periodicals. I see that graphic design as a whole will shift from the printed world into a totally digital dominated world causing graphic designers to push the boundaries even further then what they are right now but benefiting from the larger audience in which their designs will be seen.

    Over my lifetime so much has changed. The internet really revolutionized the way we keep in contact which in turn changed the way designers have to think about com-munication design. People dont want to read a lot these days. Our generation doesnt just sit down and read the paper or a magazine. We are constantly on the go and we want our information quicker.

    If I were to predict where communication will go in the future, I would have to say that people will continue to find ways to make communication quicker and more readily available. As a graphic designer, this will effect us by we will have to constantly be aware of the different forms of communication to reach mass audiences to get our message across.

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    Learning the history of graphic design helps designers think about and explain their own work. Instead of just saying I like it and It works studying design history helps students find a language to talk about their own work. You can look at other designs and try to understand what the person who created it was trying to do, and then ap-ply these same techniques to your own work and consider what am I trying to do? It is important to develop a language for design because you can offer more valid cri-tiques and you will be able to articulate your own beliefs about graphic design. These critical thinking skills will be useful in in-class critiques and can be carried through to when you work in the field.


    Formalism is the belief that a work of art or design can be understood simply by con-sidering the art elements. This method prioritizes aesthetic assessments of art, rather than promoting the belief that art depends on its social or historical context. The visual form is the most important and includes all of the art elements, such as:

    balancebrush strokecolorcompositioncontrastdepth emotion expression form

    These words can help when you are analyzing a work of graphic design. Depending on the medium, there may be other formal aspects to a work. For instance, what new vocabulary has been created to describe the aesthetics of web design, motion media, and other new technological advances?


    linemediummodeling proportionrhythmscaleshapespacetexture

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    Iconography is the study of symbolism in images as a way of interpreting them. It re-lies on the notion that images have alternative meanings beyond their most basic and direct ones. Iconography focuses more on content rather than form.

    This approach is another useful way to analyze graphic design work. Once youve con-sidered the formal aspects of a work, try to see if there is a deeper meaning. For in-stance, what does the color mean? In graphic design, communication is vital and each choice a designer makes is often just another way to communicate with the viewer.


    Historical context is the political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a particular idea or event. In order to better understand something in history, we must look at its contextthose things which surround it in time and place and which give it its mean-ing. In this way, we can gain, among other things, a sense of how unique or ordinary an event or idea seems to be in comparison to other events and ideas.

    Historical context will be important while studying the history of graphic design. De-sign changes throughout history and often varies throughout the world. By gaining an understanding of the context of a design, students can begin to analyze where design is going in the future. Try judging the success of a design based only on its formal and iconographic style. After you make your assessment, go back and learn about the work. Does your opinion change?

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    One of my lesson plans included a trip to the SCAD librarys special collections. This was an opportunity to show students what sort of resources are available to them when considering writing research papers. The collection consists of a variety of graphic texts and original artist books. I was especially excited to show students that the school had an original copy of April Greimans poster Does it make sense? This was a great opportunity to discuss primary research, and also to understand the difference of experiencing graphic work in person versus in a textbook. In this situ-ation students were able to see how the poster folded up to the size of the Design Quarterly magazine. They also get a sense of scale, as her body is almost life sized on the poster.

    Students were really excited by this trip, and found the experience enriching. This was the first time the class had engaged in a trip like this. Due to its success, it has been repeated already in the quarter proceeding my internship.

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    In order to understand authorship, I created this lesson plan that involved creating a collage. Before class, I had students read Michael Rocks article titled Graphic Author-ship. As we were discussing the nature of Dada, Surrealism, and photo montage and its effects on graphic design, I felt that this would be a good opportunity to think about authorship. We discussed first the idea that the collage material was not created by the designer, and how does that influence the ownership of the work. We also discussed various types of graphic authorship as discussed by Rock in his article. In addition we also touched on the challenging nature of authorship in client/designer relationships as well as in collaborative settings.

    In addition to this conversation, each student was required to create their own col-lage, and I chose three to focus on. I presented each one to the class and asked them to consider the following questions:

    How does this image make you feel?

    What does this image mean to you?

    What parts of this image help you create that meaning?

    As we began to discuss each persons response, there was the realization that there was a disconnect between the authors intent and the meaning that was interpreted by the viewers. I did this to suggest the more post-modern concept that the viewer can also be an author of the work.

    Students also began to see how some images are more associative than others, creating a more common response to some images than others. I think these are important concepts for emerging graphic designers to understand. It has to do with the message they create, the audience they are creating for, and how these ideas are being received. As Rock concludes his article, this is often more important than who the author is behind the work.

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    In this class, students were able to choose between two different visual projects. In-cluding a studio project in a history class helps students research visually. Project one was a creative story map in which students were prompted to create a handmade artifact that represented their personal creative history. Often times, the students in this 200 level class have varying levels of technological knowledge. This gives the students who have not taken the technology based courses an equal opportunity to succeed. The second project option was to create a packaging system for a brand that incorporates three different aspects of graphic design history. Through the process of creating these projects students had to document their process and bring in materials for feedback and critique.

    Last, there is a project that I have proposed for more advanced students as a way to combine written research with a studio based project. I feel students can take more ownership of their writing if they know they are going to use it as the content for their graphic design work.

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    My creative life journey is represented in three parts. The first part represents my creative experiences before I came to college. The second part is about my early work at SCAD when I was majoring in photography. Although I am still influenced by photographic work, I am now switching majors to graphic design. The last piece is incomplete because my journey in graphic design is only just beginning.

    Project One: Creative Story Map

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    My life is very interesting because I am effected by many different cultures especially Korean culture and The United States. I focused on Asian drawing techniques because in real life, I am still Korean, but also I am staying in America to study art. I used ink pens, sharpies and pencils not brushes and rice papers, because I want to make the viewer consider Asian images created with European materials. Also, I put my Korean initials on the bottom right like a stamp because thats the old way to sign artwork. I made this all by myself, so this stamp is like my stamp of approval that my work is finished, and I am ready to show people my story map.


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    When you open the book I start with a type overlay on vellum with an underlying picture of Rosie the Riveter. Rosie is an inspirational icon not only in history but in my life as well. I find her to be a very important roll model for women not only of her time (1940s) but for mine and many more generations to come.


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    Project Two: Graphic Design History Inspired Packaging


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    DADA STYLE:For my design inspired by Cabaret Voltaire, I wanted to incorporate the use of the rose flower. With the copy, I used the idea of Dada being a plethora of different de-signs and incorporating them into one cut and paste aesthetic; therefore, I played off the idea of mixing Roses Grenadine into your favorite drink or dish to pack even more punch.

    ART DECO STYLE:For my design inspired by PM Magazine, I took the idea and created it by using fonts similar to the ones used in the original design. I created the copy to say bold flavor and timeless taste because the American Art Deco used aspects of the past, present, and future in its design to make it timeless according to Eskilson, who also de-scribed the art style being very bold.

    INTERNATIONAL STYLE:For my design inspired by Brockmanns grape juice advertisement, I used Franklin Gothic Demi Condensed for Roses and the Helvetica font family for Grenadine, 12 fl oz (355 ml) and the rest of the copy. I simply stated, Even though the image on the product has nothing to do with the product, itself, have no fear... Overall, I wanted to just take more of a comical approach to this design.


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    I created a teacup that the fiery squares seemed to be bursting out of. I used very simple, geometric shapes to represent the Sachplakat style of other modernist design-ers such as Edward McKnight Kauffer, who was also known for his London Under-ground posters. I chose apple cinnamon as the tea flavor, because I thought it best represented the warmth and fall colors illustrated in the label.

    (Opposite Left) I wanted to create a consistent theme between all my wine bottles. I used the concept of the Yellow Tail kangaroo to create a similar concept for each bottle. The first one is inspired by Theo van Doesburgs study of a cow. My design, however, is of course based on a kangaroo. The second design is based on Barbara Krugers Your Body is a Battleground. The last design is inspired by the art nouveau movement, specifically the designs of Alphonse Mucha.


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    Advanced Project Concept: Curate for Graphic Design History

    PROJECT BRIEF: Assuming the role of curator, the student will assemble works from the history of graphic design. They will have to write about the importance of their show and in-clude reasons why these works would be displayed together. For instance, they could all represent work from one designer, they could represent a specific movement such as the Bauhaus, or even the influence of a movement such as Lessons from the Bauhaus: How the Bauhaus is influential in todays design world. The student will have to reflect critically on the work chosen and describe its influence to the viewer. The final paper will then be designed into a book that would accompany the exhibition they describe. Additional design elements could include a website, package design for products that would accompany the exhibition, a mock up of the three dimensional space of the exhibition, or the something unique the student has created for the specific theme of their exhibition.

    PROJECT GOAL: The goal of this project is to develop a body of research that relates to a specific topic in the history of graphic design. The piece will develop the students understand-ing of a particular area of interest and help with independent research skills. This is invaluable to independent work on the job as well as in potential graduate study. The designed deliverable will challenge the student to create a cohesive visual that relates to their chosen topic. It should be well crafted, well designed and consistent with the students individual research. This is a great opportunity to create a great writ-ing sample as well as portfolio piece that can together highlight the students skills in problem solving and critical thinking.

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    Students in this course were required to write a research paper. The topic could be anything from Meggs or Eskilsons book that covers a significant movement or an individuals contribution to graphic design history. Examples of three paper topics and conclusions are provided here to give a sense of the variety of student interests in graphic design. I advised students throughout the research process in understand-ing everything from constructing a thesis statement to creating a cohesive outline to understanding citations.

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    Throughout the 21st century, graphic design has become ubiquitous and a major ele-ment within the worlds elaborate print and electronic information systems. Design permeates contemporary society, delivering information, product identification, en-tertainment, and persuasive messages. The relentless advancement of technology has dramatically changed and continues to change the method of which graphic designs are created and distributed to mass audiences. However, the fundamental role of the graphic designer remains: giving expressive form and clarity of content through com-municative messages.

    Taylor Lambert, Winter 2011


    Like every style of art, modernism has had its highs and lows. During the postwar pe-riod of the 1950s, graphic designers felt a social responsibility to clean up and rebuild the world around them. Michael Bierut described it as, seeming like youd crawled though a desert with your mouth just caked with filthy dust and then someones of-fering you a clear, refreshing, distilled, icy glass of water to clear away all this horrible burden of history. The 1970s saw a reaction against everything modern and rational. Modernist design was considered sterile, cold, and predictable. However, through all the ups and downs, designer Massimo Vignelli has stayed true to the aspects of modernist design. With their color and energy, his designs have crashed through these modernist stereotypes, creating a style uniquely his own. Vignellis passion for design has led him to create everything from silverware to clothing to buildings. And although he has experienced his fair share of failures, he is still one of the most suc-cessful graphic designers of his time. Vignelli says, Design is a failure. No matter how beautiful it is. Design is not art, design should express its meaning and it should be universally understandable. Some might argue with this statement, but the truth is that this is the essence of modernist design. This is Massimo Vignelli.

    Lauryn Reiners, Winter 2011

    Research Paper Conclusions

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    The true metaphor for the Beethoven Frieze is the panels show the past, present and intended future of the Vienna Secession period as Klimt saw it. In the begin-ning, Secessionists broke away from the Academy to discover a new path to art, all the while being ridiculed, deceived, and looked down upon as they continue forward. During their time of suffering, they discovered and experimented with new interna-tional designs all forbidden in the regular galleries. In the journals of Ver Sacrum, an idea was born from Koloman Moser, for six consecutive years (Powell, 660). During this time, Gustav Klimt seemed to send a positive metaphor to the Academy with his Beethoven Frieze exhibition, saying he did not wish to be enemies, but to make the Academy open their eyes and see the great effects design has contributed to the fine arts all around them. In the final panel of Gustav Klimts Beethoven Frieze and the future, there was hope that one day the Academy would listen, respect and love what the Secessionists had done for Vienna and all of Austria as both design and fine arts became one.

    Jennifer Maciuszek, Winter 2011

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