Chapter 1. Design History

1.9 Summary

Alex Hass

The technological revolution of the 1990s brought the mobile phone and computer to every home and office and changed the structure of our current society much as manufacturing in the 1800s changed Britain and the Western world. As with the Industrial Revolution, the change in technology over the last 20 years has affected us environmentally, socially, and economically. Manufacturing has slowly been moved offshore and replaced with technology-based companies. Data has replaced material as the substance we must understand and use effectively and efficiently. The technological development sectors have also begun to dominate employment and wealth sectors and overtake manufacturing’s dominance. These changes are ongoing and fast-paced. The design community has responded in many novel ways, but usually its response is anchored by a look and strategy that reduce ornament and overt style while focusing on clean lines and concise messaging. The role of design today is often as a way-finder to help people keep abreast of changes, and to provide instruction. Designers are once again relying on established, historic styles and methods like ITS to connect to audiences because the message is being delivered in a complex visual system. Once the technological shifts we are experiencing settle down, and design is no longer adapting to new forms of delivery, it will begin to develop original and unique design approaches that complement and speak to the new urban landscape.

Questions to consider after completing this chapter:

  1. What design principles do Dada and Punk have in common?
  2. What influence does ITS have on Post Modern design?
  3. What influence does ITS have on current design practice?
  4. How did World War II influence design education?
  5. How did Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement help to create the Bauhaus design philosophy?
  6. How did technology influence early German design?
  7. How does technology influence contemporary design practice?


Ball, H. (1996). Dada Manifesto. Flight out of time: A Dada diary. Retrieved from

Bergdoll, B., & Dickerman, L. (2009). Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for modernity. New York City, NY: The Museum of Modern Art.

Meggs, P. B., & Purvis, A. W. (2011). Meggs’ history of graphic design (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Schjeldahl, P. (2009, November 16). Bauhaus rules. New Yorker.  Retrieved from

Schneider, S. (2011, September 20). Josef Müller-Brockmann: Principal of The Swiss School. Retrieved from

Tzara, T. (1992). Dada Manifesto 1918. In Motherwell, R., Schwitters, K., et al. (Eds). The Dada Painters and Poets (81). Boston, MA: GK Hall & Co.

Whitford, F. (1995). Bauhaus. London, England: Thames and Hudson.

Suggested Reading

Meggs, P. B. (1998). A history of graphic design (3rd ed). New York City, NY: John Wiley & Sons.


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Graphic Design and Print Production Fundamentals Copyright © 2015 by Alex Hass is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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