RETHINKING THE HISTORY OF GRAPHIC DESIGN
What if Max Miedinger decided to design a calligraphic font instead of Helvetica? What if the guy that invented vector graphics went backpacking to Argentina instead? What if Gutenberg died of Syphilis before he could invent the printing press?
Imagine the world of graphic design as we know it – if a defining moment in its history had happened differently or not at all. What would be its radical logic, consequences and chain reactions – realistically or speculatively – up to this present day?
Contemporary visual culture, and within that the field of graphic design, is the result of a multitude of evolutions in art, politics, technology, culture, knowledge, access. And the rest is … takes its starting point in exactly this cacophony of histories, while speculating about alternative turns and new consequences for our field.
As a kick-off one week assignment, the students were asked to investigate and choose a number of crucial events in the history of graphic design, considering inventions and developments such as the Latin alphabet, paper making, the printing press, digital technologies, the internet … A total of 45 defining moments were presented in the form of a One-Day-Symposium in January – a collection of subjective and at times incoherent events that served as our shared references and set of material for the class. The resulting 31 projects rethink the impact and potentiality of some of the defining moments since the cave paintings of Lascaux.