An IT-Revolution in the Graphic Design after the 1970s?

The so-called computerization of the western societies at the beginning of the 1970s shaped many social subregion. But concerning the work of the graphic designers in the three decades until the new millennium it was a far-reaching change. Some has argued – and in my point of view this would be an outstanding thesis for a research project – that this was a revolution for the profession of the graphic designer.

First civil constructions for design with computers where made in the USA and Western Europe in the 1960s. This so-called „Computer Aided Design“ was in the 1960s widely discussed i.e. under the West-German industrial designer for finding new ways in the production design. Anyhow not before the 1980s CAD was used in this way. Even some are arguing that this way of developing design by computers came in the factories not before the 1990s. So it was a long way to go until the industrial designers used CAD in their daily working life.

In contrast to that the neighbor profession of the graphic designer was highly affected by this computerization. So looking at this, it is easy to argue that this all changes the workflow of the graphic designer totally in the time from the 1970s to the end of the 1990s. Even before the Time Magazine elected the personal computer as „man“ of the year in 1982, the work support by microchips changed a lot in the graphic fields. First typewriters with electronic assistants started modifying the way of writing not only in offices. With the appearance of first personal computer i.e. the development of new fonts or the printing technics were not anymore a secret knowledge to only a few anymore. Not the airbrush, pencil and ruler was the standard equipment, the PC was the new tool for all graphic designer.

The project „Graphic Means“ lead by Briar Levit at the Portland State University is planning a film about this transformation of work in graphic design. As the trailer shows, this film project wants to demonstrate these revolutionary changes with original cinematic material as well as with different eyewitnesses.