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Can You Believe It? Digital Design Now Has Its Own History – PRINT Magazine

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The digital age is upon us, according to art and design historian Stephen J. Eskilson in his new book. Digital design: historyfor the first time provided an origin story and analysis of how the genie out of the bottle influenced the field and culture as a whole. Many inventions, theories, and disciplines laid the foundation for computer-aided design before the irreversible changes it brought about. When Apple introduced his Macintosh in 1984, it was the beginning of a new multi-platform graphic, product, type and interface design era that captivated us all.

Mr. Eskilsson was previously the author of the following books: Graphic design: a new historytakes a broad approach to the evolution of digital practices and outcomes, examining all hot-button areas including gaming, UX/UI, digital typography, and prototyping. As the first book of its kind, this lays the groundwork for future research, where Eskilson discusses when and how a blank slate is filled with historical details.

Walter Gropius, Dessau Bauhaus, 1926. Photo by Cethegus, CC BY-SA 3.0. From the digital type chapter.

There are many books on how to become a digital designer, but yours is the first “history” of the revolution. At what point did you feel it was the right time to codify the history of design in the digital age? There is some gestation period before a phenomenon as important as digital design can be codified as history. Do you agree that it is necessary?
Well, when I was in art history undergrad and then graduate school, there was a “20-year rule” that said you should never discuss anything that was too recent, because a neutral evaluation was impossible. That unofficial rule has really become obsolete. The history of art and design is full of contemporary works. I’ve always looked at the rush of exhibitions on digital art/design in 2000 as a tipping point where there was a critical mass, so I mostly stick to the rules. Obviously, one reason this book is called a “history” is to demonstrate that historical writing is plural and contingent.

Portrait of Edmund Bellamy, 2018. Public domain as a computer algorithm work. From the Algorithms and Artificial chapter.

in philip meggs history of graphic designHe traced his graphic design back to cave paintings, and Paul Rand agreed when he titled one of his autobiographical volumes. From Lascaux to Brooklyn. What is the digital age equivalent of cave paintings?
I’d love to talk about the idea that graphic design goes back to cave paintings someday. I never felt like the premise made sense. I believe that graphic design was born in the industrial age of mass production (there are precedents, of course, but no cave paintings). This struck me as a Schopenhauer-driven idea about the human “will to form.” That being said, I think there are multiple entry points that people have experienced, including games, the web, and even command line text. Of course, I see analog/digital connections all the time. Today I was wondering what AM Cassandre, who loves sequencing motion, would do with graphics.

You write, “To fully understand digital design, we need to address both the future and the past,” and you use this quote as an example. Digital derived from latin finger“Which [means] Fingers and toes, appendages that serve as analog gateways to counting. ” You add, “Today, digital design is still an emerging concept.” How do you differentiate between analog and digital practices?
Digital/Analog: Talk about overlapping Venn diagrams! You can see two clear paths.

1) an honest use of computers, and 2) an attempt to create a digital aesthetic similar to the mechanical aesthetic of the early 20th century.

Paul Philippoteau, Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg, 1883. From the chapter on virtual reality.

You also say that digital communication was distantly related to the invention of Morse code and telegraph communication. It makes sense that one evolves into the other, but at what point in the communication story do the little dots and dashes become ones and zeros?
My interest here is really cultural. The telegraph was an incredibly disruptive technology that upended modern communication systems, yet it was never treated as a cultural force in the definition of digital tools. What parts of the digital world remain invisible and yet have a real impact?

William Playfair, The Statistical Breviary, 1786. From the chapter on data visualization. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

what was important sketch pad Is this a big step towards demonstrating the potential of what you call the two focal points of digital design?
Sketchpad can be seen as capable of creating authentic cave paintings, with the implicit promise of interacting with the screen (HCI) and making graphics faster and better (CAD) via the TX-2’s light pen. Masu.

When I started working as a designer, the cutting edge of technology was IBM MTST A typesetting system using a Selectric typewriter for input and output. Was this the beginning of digital presents?
In my opinion, this is one of many incremental steps. Still, MTST was a specialized industry tool and did not resonate with the idea of ​​a growing digital culture. I’m thinking from the perspective of breaking into the mainstream of PCs, the Web, etc.

A stage designer constructs a futuristic city scene in miniature for a Fritz Lang movie. big city,c. 1925. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images. From the virtual reality chapter.

In 1989, I was invited to attend an Adobe workshop prior to the release of Photoshop. Designers and illustrators were given the opportunity to learn basic programs and create artwork from scanned images. You write passionately about the influence of Photoshop. There were other image creation programs, but why did Photoshop take the lead?
I tend to think that Photoshop’s success is indicative of good marketing and brand building by Adobe, rather than the program’s inherent quality. I think that was partly due to luck. I had a friend who was at Adobe in the ’90s, and he wanted to stream compressed video on the web, and he was like, “Nobody wants to watch video on their computer.” , the project was abandoned among executives.

Herbert Beyer, Universal Project, 1926. Photo: Lelikron, CC BY-SA 3.0. From the digital type chapter.
Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House, 1973. Photography: Bernard Spragg, CC0 1.0. From the chapter on digital architecture and its origins.

How can Bauhaus, and especially its typography, be a path into the digital age?
This is one of the central stories of the book, and I was intrigued by how major technology companies adopted a whitewashed version of Bauhaus as their primary design format. In a literal sense, this is the story of foreigners and institutions like MIT and Aspen that promote this style. The tenacity of minimalism continues to amaze me. As a result, Chicago’s skyline is filled with Miesian towers currently under construction. Will this style look outdated and outdated?

One of the pioneers you cite as a paradigm shifter is April Greiman, a Swiss-trained graphic designer. She worked on getting off the grid using her pre-Mac hardware and her later Macintosh hardware. How would you define the initial “look” of digital design?
When it comes to style, I think layers, complexity of composition, pixelated type, and photo fragments. But I also seriously pay attention to futuristic iconography, such as space and timelines.

Regarding David Carson, you say that the digital roots of his work are often completely overlooked. His era-defining aesthetic has influenced so many people, so how can you claim it to be true? Digital work today?
This question was very on point and really got me thinking. Why, in the 90s, I thought of Carson as almost the antithesis of a digital designer (even though I knew he was full of émigré types and digital tools). I think that’s partly my blind spot, and partly a testament to how intuitively authentic his grunge style is.

After reading your book, I looked into existing old copies of the earlier books. wired, you describe this as an important record of our current digital age. I have to say that in some ways, it was poorly designed, except for the visuals by Eric Adigard. It wasn’t just futuristic new typography that emphasized digital design.did not follow emigre Or does the Carson pass have more subtle and widely understood effects?
I think I see fluorescent mind grenades with hyperbolic quotes as emblematic of the cultural arena. I don’t agree as much as the designed one.

John Snow, Broad Street Pump, 1854. From the data visualization chapter. Wellcome Collection, University of London.

While your previous work has been rooted in graphic design, the book’s open-ended definition of digital design covers products, games, interfaces, data visualization, textiles, and virtual spaces. For you, is the most important subject of your discipline ‘digital’ or ‘design’? In other words, all forms of design are now part of a larger whole, where one probably cannot function without the other. Is it just part of the field?
I think it’s unfortunate that in today’s world, various design paths are siloed. I love everything from academic and experimental digital projects to large-scale commercial operations. Design is my biggest concern. A few years ago I wrote a small book about glass in contemporary architecture, which was my thesis when I was focusing on introducing color into consumer products.

Do you agree that “digital” is synonymous with “future”? If so, how has it shaped design language? This book is a coda that explains and predicts the digital future. It ends with Are there other futures waiting to be explored?
I definitely agree that it is synonymous, albeit always rooted in the past.I suppose Futura Branded as “Today’s and Tomorrow’s Type”. Also, I’m completely agnostic about the future and skeptical that anyone can accurately predict it.

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