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Who are our “Freuds”? A review of images in the history books of graphic design and their role in constructing a common vision about what graphic design is

Falcão, Gonçalo;


Alongside more in-depth historical analyses, a small number of illustrated global histories of graphic design have appeared in recent years. There are four fundamental authors who support the discipline’s global message: Meggs, Eskilson, Drucker and Hollis. This paper sets out to scrutinize these works in search of archetypes. Since the works in question feature both visual and textual content, priority will be given to the visual. Considered a secondary (illustrative) message, it is more suitable for expressing personal tastes and beliefs, and is also important because design students are highly focused on graphics, which influences the formation of their visual culture. By reading these works as “picture” books, we can access layers of their message in which images provide clear information (artists’/creators’ identities, nationalities, target clients, era, etc.). Thus we can understand part of the message by considering both the image and the intended effect on the reader. These metrics will highlight the type of clients or patrons present in the history of graphic design, the type and predominance of certain media, the designers’ geographical origins, “school” affiliation and other relevant issues. Examining what the reader sees will expose different aspects of graphic design heritage and of what is seen as archetypal. While teacher/student contact and the students’ visual environments greatly influence their development, we must also acknowledge that the images in these books will function as a reference for the shaping of a graphic designer’s identity.


Palavras-chave: graphic design history, graphic design identity, graphic design history books, graphic design visual milestones,


DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0067

Referências bibliográficas
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Como citar:

Falcão, Gonçalo; "Who are our “Freuds”? A review of images in the history books of graphic design and their role in constructing a common vision about what graphic design is", p. 471-475 . In: Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: major or minor influences? [=ICDHS 2014 - 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0067

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