Undergraduate Degree




DV2003 History of Graphic Design

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To introduce to students a survey of the key ideas and figures of modern and contemporary graphic design practice.


This course provides an historical and theoretical overview of the evolution and innovations in the field of graphic design, with a focus on major design movements from the early twentieth century to the present. Also discussed is the role that visual communication ideas, media and images play in contemporary society.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

• Historical overview of major technological leaps in visual communication (Neolithic to illuminated manuscripts, printing press, industrial revolution and early 20th century)

• Presentation skills

• Visual and lecture survey of early to mid twentieth century graphic design developments

• Research and writing skill development


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• Discuss and critique illustration the personal voice 

• Prepare an illustration portfolio


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The students will be able to place graphic design within a larger historical and sociological context.

Student Assessment

  1. Continuous Assessment: 100% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Lecture-based sessions

  • Individual and group written assignments​


  1. Philip Meggs (Ed), A History of Graphic Design, Wiley

  2. Nikos Stangos (Ed), Concepts of Modern Art, Icon

  3. Richard Hollis, Graphic Design A Concise History, Thames and Hudson

  4. Steven Heller, Elinor Pettit, Graphic Design Timeline, A Century of Design Milestones, Allworth Press

  5. Rick Poynor, No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism, Yale University Press

  6. Bamber Gascoigne, How to Identify Prints, Thames and Hudson>

  1. Vilém Flusser, The Shape of Things : a Philosophy of Design, Reaktion Books>