conditions still exist at far too many universities. Graphic
Design as an educational program had its beginnings at the
post secondary level at Yale University in 1950. Within fifteen
years, Graphic Design as a program title had replaced Advertising
Design at most institutions. Universities, Art Schools, Technical
Schools and Community Colleges generally identify their programs
as Graphic Design. However, in far too many instances, only
the name was changed and not course content nor educational
objectives. Many programs are still geared to advertising
and illustration. The confusion in definition between Graphic
Design and Advertising carries over into professional practice
as well. During the 1950s most agencies abandoned the concept
of inhouse artists and relied on outside studios for artwork.
Many of the studios that specialize in servicing advertising
agencies identify their business as Graphic Design.
surge of American corporations during the 1950s to establish
a public identity working with image or identity and communication
rather than marketing gave enormous impetus to Graphic Design
as a profession. Most corporations had substantial design
departments and retained prestigious designers as consultants.
Corporate design practices and objectives were borrowed by
smaller businesses, and Graphic Design was firmly established
as a profession in this period. There was a corresponding
impact on Graphic Design education as systems, grids, human
factors, symbol and letter form design, typography, communication,
formal values, and eventually, design history were addressed
as concerns or new courses. The new educational focus was
a direct outgrowth of design emphasis in business during the
1950s and 1960s.
the 1980s, the American Institute of Graphic Design established
regional chapters becoming a national organization. AIGA chapters
have replaced the old Art Directors Clubs in many major
cities. In recent years, the Society for the Typographic Arts
as the American center for Design and it is moving toward
becoming a national organization. Even though most educational
programs and professional studios work under the designation
of Graphic Design, there is a great variance in what they
do, and in performance standards. There is still insufficient
distinction made between Graphic Design, Illustration and
Advertising Design. The educational requirements for each
are quite different.
is based on marketing goods or services, and the objective
is to sell. Therefore, if a design results increased profits,
it must be regarded as good design. Advertising is a service
that is usually defined by the client. Marketing research,
trends, novelty, and clients wishes influence much of
what an Art Director does on the job.
Designers are visual communicators and problem-solvers. They
work with human factors, research and analysis. Graphic Designers
are strongly grounded in theory and formal values. They are
more prone to recommend to the client than to ask what the
client wants. They prefer to work at a professional level
rather than as a service to clients. Graphic Designers frequently
work in marketing but they are not limited to it. Graphic
Designers often collaborate with other professionals such
as architects, engineers, industrial designers or others.
Designers work in industry, marketing, promotion, publishing,
television, packaging, exhibit design, education and government.
I prefer Graphic Design to Advertising as an educational program
because of the wider latitude of job opportunities for graduates.
institutions that have had the greatest influence on Graphic
Design educational programs, largely as models or sources
for teachers, have been Yale University at the graduate level,
University of the Arts (formerly The Philadelphia College
of Art and Design) at the undergraduate level and the Kunst
Gewerbeschule in Basel. In advertising, Art Center, Pratt,
Parsons and the School of Visual Arts have had an equal impact.
the 1990s, most of the individuals who have been pivotal in
Graphic Design education since WWII have died, retired or
retirement is imminent. The distinctions between Graphic Design
and Advertising which were strongest in the fifties and sixties
are now blurred.
The large influential corporate design departments no longer
exist. Unfortunately, the ultimate criteria for design today
seems to be success in the marketplace. The future of Graphic
Design education is now being shaped by technology, mainly
the computer. It is unclear how this is going to affect traditional
values and change pedagogy. It is equally uncertain who the
new leaders will be and what directions Graphic Design is
moving. An important consideration at this time bears on whether
educators can subject the computer to its proper status as
a tool, or whether its application will be rampant and dictate
form rather than execute it.