Free Video: Foundations of Graphic Design History

Simply put, if you love history, graphic design, or both(!) you’ll love the course, Foundations of Graphic Design History by Sean Adams.

foundations of graphic design history lynda course

Here’s the official course description:

The history of graphic design is a history of cultural expression, reflecting not only what people thought during a given time period, but also how they felt. Whether you’re curious about the development of design or are seeking inspiration for your own creations, expand your visual vocabulary in this comprehensive introduction to graphic design history. Sean Adams, who managed the AIGA historical archives—the largest collection of graphic design history in the world—focuses on the hows and whys of each design movement, detailing the development and evolution of specific styles, techniques, and genres.

Beginning in the Victorian age, Sean explores the need for design in Industrial age advertising, the use of graphic design as propaganda during the two world wars, and the rise of the massively influential Bauhaus school. He sheds light on the development of poster, film-title, magazine, and album-cover design; the changing relationship between design and typography; and graphic design’s role in various art movements, ranging from Art Nouveau to new wave. Get started with Foundations of Graphic Design History and discover the power of imagery.

Topics include:

  • Why study graphic design history?
  • Art Nouveau
  • The Arts and Crafts movement
  • The Soviet Revolution
  • European avantegarde
  • New Typography
  • The great age of posters
  • American modernism
  • Post-war optimism
  • The rise of the corporate identity
  • Exploring the fused metaphor and the “big idea”
  • Reviewing Swiss typography
  • Post-modernism
  • Minimalism
  • The West Coast shift

In the free movie below, Sean talks about the ways in which graphic design helped shape the fate of nations in the 20th Century, with a look at World War I propaganda. Check it out!

Foundations of Graphic Design History

World War I propaganda


For members, if you are currently signed in to your account, you can also check out these videos from the series.

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Japanese design

The digital revolution


Posted on: April 28, 2017

Mike Rankin

Mike is the Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and He is also the author of several video training series, including Font Management Essential Training, InDesign FX, and InDesign CC: Interactive Document Fundamentals.

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