Graphic design is the profession of selecting and arranging visual elements with an aim of conveying a message to an audience. This includes the use of symbols, images and colors. Graphic design requires the designer to combine verbal and visual elements in their work. Therefore, this requires a collaborative interaction between writers and photographers to create images that have a visual communication. The renaissance revived classical learning from ancient Rome and Greece all over Europe. In the beginning of the 15th century, typography played a major role in reviving knowledge from the ancient world to the modern readers. Typeface designs developed to old style types that were inspired by Roman inscriptions and other writings from the Carolingian period. The objective of this essay is to study how the graphic movements of the Italian Renaissance and French renaissance affected graphic design revolution.
Graphic Design of the Italian Renaissance
Graphic design renaissance in Italy grew after the Nazi regime sacked printers in Germany and most of them relocated to Italy. The printers from Germany set up the first press in Benedictine. The initial printing designs were inspired by Italian humanists and gothic forms. The design innovations characterized in the Italian renaissance entail a title page, printed page numbers, woodblock and metal ornaments and roman or italic types. The stylistic features of the first designs include loved floral, vines and wildflowers decorations. An Italian scholar, Aldus Manutis, founded the Aldien press in 1495, which produced printed books of ancient Latin and Greece classics (Beier, 2015). Aldus innovations included pocket-sized books with cloth covers. In 1500 A.D, Aldus introduced the first italic typeface from designs made by Francesco Griffo. These italic typefaces were essential because they easily fit on book pages reducing the printing typefaces required for printing books.
Venice was a wealthy trading community in Ancient Italy. Its proximity to the neighboring towns made it a destination for printing firms (typography). In the 1489, Venice had established more than 50 printing centers. Johann de Speyer and is brother (Wendelin) were awarded the first printing contact in Venice to build a printing press. Epistolae ad Familiares was the first book printed in Venice by Speyer (Margolin, 2015). Speyer used graphical design techniques that portrayed extraordinary clarity. The graphical design techniques used by Speyer embodied pure roman forms that stand out even in the modern society. Venice developed new printing forms that transformed graphical design in the printing press. For instance, Vneice initially used old metal type that had numerous limitations such as uneven screw press pressure and rough printing surfaces. Some of the old style types faces used in Italy were Garalde and Venetian.
In the 19th century, graphic design stared emerging as a profession. This was because of the growing influence in typography by designers in the west. Graphic designers created various things such as magazine pages, trademarks, advertisements, signs, posters, postage stamps and motion pictures. The Italian renaissance started fading and cultural vitality of the Italian renaissance was imported to France. Typography helped in the growth graphic design renaissance because it promoted visual communication.
The French Renaissance in Graphic Design
France renaissance in typography grew because of King Francois 1 influence in France. King Francois 1 supported art in France because he was a poet and a painter. The Rococo movement was characterized by curvilinear decorations in the 18th century. Pierre-Simon Fournier promoted the Rococo movement and he opened his own foundry operation and type design (Margolin, 2015). Fournier developed a series of typefaces with different weights and letter widths, which had similar sizes and designs. These typefaces could be used together in an overall design. Fournier designs enabled French printers to create books using decorative designs that were parallel with the resonance architecture. Type founders were not allowed to print in French and Fournier delivered decorated pages to printers in France. This gave him the role of a graphic designer in the French resonance.
French renaissance developed through the use of information graphics in typography. France was experiencing war and censorship at the time when French renaissance in graphics design was introduces. However, the humanist spirit in France produced excellent scholarship chances for young graphic designers in the country. Leading French printers produced books with fine proportions, elegant ornamentation, beautiful typography and outstanding legibility. The French renaissance eliminated the use of dense and claustrophobic page layout techniques used in the Italian renaissance. In comparison, the French renaissance developed a new typography style that was open to new techniques.
One of the major contributors towards the French renaissance was Geoffroy Torz who was a printer, author and typographer based in Paris (Margolin, 2015). Torz designed beautiful initials, illustrations and borders in his publications. He produced his first book Book of Hours in 1525, which introduced a unique type design that did not depend of handwriting. Further, Tory introduced book designing as an art in France. Further, Claude Garmong also contributed towards the growth of graphic design in French renaissance. He was the first independent type founder and he made types available to printers at a cheap price. Nevertheless, a conflict between French troops and a church congregation sparked a religious war that ended the golden era of the French typography.
Graphic design uses a collaborative approach of specialists. In the 18th century graphic design artists specialized in book illustration (Rabinowitz, 2015). Rococo book design combines the use of ornamented types, elaborate frames, rules and decorative initials. In the late 18th century some designers developed neoclassical typographical designs that used straight lines, restrained geometric ornamentation, and rectilinear forms. John Baskerville played a major role in the evolution of typography from rococo to neoclassical. Baskerville designed types printed on smooth paper without illustrations and ornaments. In the 19th century graphic design evolved during the industrial revolutions and books were produced in bulk and sold all over Europe.
Typography played a major role in the spread of graphic design during the renaissance era. Typography designs were parallel to architectural designs developed during the renaissance era. This led to the spread of culture and technology through the use of graphic design. The renaissance movements promoted innovations and the development of virtual information. This has helped it the development of modern magazines, books and other texts. Further, renaissance movements also helped in the development of modern media using technological innovations. Consequently, technological innovations have transformed the graphic design profession. The basic role of graphic designer in the modern world is to combine verbal and virtual information in different platforms such as websites, magazines and books.
The future of graphic design is on the rise because of improving technology. New designers are finding new ways of incorporating old texts with new texts. Further, the use of different fonts has enables artistes to express themselves in different ways. The presence of numerous platforms for designers has helped in revolutionizing graphic design to a digital profession.
Beier, S. (2015). The design process seen through the eyes of a type designer. Artifact, 3(4), 8-1.
Margolin, V. (2015). World History of Design (Vol. 2). Bloomsbury Publishing.
Rabinowitz, T. (2015). Exploring typography. Cengage Learning.
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