graphic design

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Angry Graphics
In 1992, Karrie Jacobs and Steven Heller published Angry Graphics, a chronicle of oppositional images created during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. (An excerpt from Angry Graphics appears in the publication How Posters Work.) These passionate works were born in the heat of that period’s wars, epidemics, and economic upheavals. Jacobs...
Poster, NR. 4, 1974. Designed by Wolfgang Weingart for Kunstgewerbeschule (Basel, Switzerland). Letterpress. 87.4 × 61.7 cm (34 7/16 × 24 5/16 in.). Gift of Anonymous Donor, 1997-19-140.
Experimenting with Type
While many works of design explore a blunt, diagrammatic simplicity, others challenge the viewer to fill in the blanks. Inspired by cubist collage, E. McKnight Kauffer created images with fluid boundaries. Wolfgang Weingart turned letters into parts of bodies and parts of other letters, playing with text as both language and not-language. In a series...
matter
Texturemontage
We can feel an image in our bones and muscles. We can also touch it with our skin (almost). The knitted wool glove in Herbert Matter’s Engelberg, Trübsee, Switzerland (1935) is so real we can almost sense it against our skin. Designers speak of “texture” as a basic design element, and yet this quality often...
Matt Flynn 003
Masked Cowboy
While many film and theater posters entice viewers with direct eye contact and a strong emotional connection, others build tension by denying that basic human satisfaction. The giant brimmed hat featured in Waldemar Swierzy’s 1973 film poster for Midnight Cowboy  hides the character’s eyes. The portrait focuses our attention on the man’s full, ripe lips while...
pfaffli
The Rise of Risography
Risography was invented in the 1980s in Japan as a cheaper alternative to xerography for small businesses. The machine is similar in appearance to a photocopier, but as a form of stencil duplication, it is akin as a printing method to screenprint. An image, designed to print one color at a time, is cut into...
shiro shita saori
Let’s Get Digital
The rise of digital printing has transformed the ability of graphic designers to produce and publish their work. Inkjet printing is a technique that propels tiny droplets of ink onto the paper. Laser printing— the updated method of photocopying—uses a laser beam to train back and forth across an electron-charged drum to define the image....
warhol
Pushed Through A Screen
A screenprint is produced using a gauzy screen that has been stretched across a rectangular wooden frame. Ink is spread across the top portion of the screen by the printer, who then pulls the ink towards them with a rubber blade commonly known as a squeegee. The pressure forces the ink through the screen and...
cabellon
Quality and Quantity
Around the turn of the twentieth century, the new process of offset lithography emerged within the commercial printing industry. “Offset” refers to the process of transferring ink from a flexible matrix to a rubber cylinder, which then transfers the image to the paper. Offset printing replaced heavy stones with light, flexible plates and automated the...
klucis
Revolution in a Grid of Dots
Although photography was invented in 1839, its impact on poster design remained relatively minor until the late nineteenth century, as traditional lithography and letterpress are incapable of reproducing shades of gray. A sea change in poster design arrived with the advent of the halftone process, which emerged fully in the 1880s. Halftone mimics the appearance...