A Design History Imperative

Graphic Design is defined as the union of form and content. The many facets of design can be seen across history through a series of lenses, bringing into focus different points of view on the same form and content. One often looks at graphic design history through the lens of the philosopher, the psychologist, the art historian, or the anthropologist. Cultural context, style or great circumstances exist as additional critical points of view.

This website provides a rich resource for visiting exemplars and master designers to present, in image and word, the emergence and significance of Modernism in twentieth-century graphic design in America. Woven through this form and content are the threads of typography, information design, print design, magazine design, advertising design, dimensional design and identity design, and more.

The goal in acquiring, preserving and interpreting these unique original source artifacts of the history of design in America is for the education of our students and for others who seek this information. It is my firm conviction that for a student studying any discipline, knowledge of one’s field is an essential requirement of being an educated professional. Without the knowledge of this unique time in American graphic design, it is impossible to understand fully what happened in the past and to have a context for what is occurring in the present and future with any sense of confidence.