Graphic design has been evolving and changing throughout the years, often redefining the definition of form and functionality while it does so. But why has graphic design changed so rapidly in the last ten years? Thanks to the ever-rapidly developing technology used to create, display, and even print graphics and art, we're seeing designers push themselves — as well as the boundaries — as to what we define as graphic design. We'll explore the influence of technology on graphic design, learn the reasons for the rapid advancement, and take a look at how designers are continually coming up with new ways to blow our minds!
Thanks to the advent of faster, more powerful computers and faster Internet, we expect our graphics to be higher quality. We as viewers expect more colors, higher resolutions, and more detailed designs, because our computers can handle these graphics; whereas even as little as five years ago, designers had to be mindful of what they could unload onto us. Now we fully expect art and design that seem to jump right out of our computer monitors, signage, or product packaging.
Thanks to graphic tablets, new design software, and advances in printing, designers can really get creative and design — almost without limitation! Imagine how much faster a graphic designer can create with a tablet, rather than using a mouse to do all of their work. And of course with design suites like Adobe Creative Suite releasing new, updated software consistently every few years, the programs feature robust options for designers to utilize in new and often unexpected ways!
Printers now have the ability to print high resolution images, blending inks together to create true-to-life representations of what you see on a computer monitor, allowing for bolder designs on more materials than ever before.
New Concepts and Techniques
When Internet-era graphic design first began to take off in the 1990s, there wasn't a lot of deviation from the first designs. People tended to use a lot of the same techniques to create quite a bit of similar content. Slowly but surely, people began to deviate from the technique and began to create content in new and exciting ways.
Now that technology has branched out, offering designers hundreds of programs to choose from, there are almost as many methods of graphic design as there are graphic designers! Seeing a designer's personality shine through in their work is always a bonus.
Sure, we want more colors and more details, but some of the best designs offer something more: immersion. People expect to be pulled in by a design, whether it's product packaging or a movie poster, web design or digital art. We expect our graphic designers to utilize the powerful technology around them to create a world at a glance. After all, isn't it nicer to browse a website that feels like it tells a story about a company, product, or individual rather than browsing one that feels very sterilized and cold?
A designer that can utilize technological advancements to tell a story through their design — and even across several pieces in their portfolio — is considered to be one of the best at their trade!
Back when the Internet was just becoming widely available to the average home, design was more function than form. Pages were often large amounts of text, broken up by the occasional very small (and very low quality) image, or simply with horizontal rules. Product packaging was simple but effective, but didn't wow us. Today, when we look at a great website, we expect every element within it to fit into the overall design, to flow easily from one area to the other. Product packaging has become an art in itself, with dazzling arrays of colors and information that adds to the design, rather than detracts from it.
The WOW! Factor
Let's face it, we're all aware how much we want to be impressed by graphic designers' latest projects. We expect there to be a certain "WOW!" factor in design these days. For example, the piece to the left is actually what is known as vexel art, or pixel art that has been made to imitate high quality vector art. This piece isn't a vector piece that involved hours of work in a program like Adobe Illustrator, but rather a simplified form created in Adobe Photoshop.
Thanks to advances in technology, artists and designers are developing methods and styles that continually impress us!
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