The Graphic Design Archive explores 3 pivotal moments in graphic design's history — the Middle Ages, the Swiss Design movement, and the rise of zines in the punk movement — in search of inspiration and an answer to the question: who is a designer?

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These days, you see references to design’s power to shape politics, discourse, and culture everywhere. But all too often, that narrative is founded on vague presumptions and idealistic fantasies. Design gets credit for wins as inspiring as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ triumphant Senate campaign — and the blame, if indirectly, for the prevalence of “negative behavior” (their word) on Twitter. And yet, when we cast our eyes back over the centuries — and when we loosen our definitions of who a designer is — we find no shortage of powerful examples: 1. The monks of medieval Ireland, whose scriptoria not only produced some of the world’s most beautiful books, but also preserved many of the classical manuscripts that keep names like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates on our minds and tongues to this day 2. The riot grrls, whose powerful manifestos and zines — typewritten, Xeroxed, and hand-bound — brought feminism out of academia and rose-tinted visions of 60s rebellion and into the hands of young women everywhere, and played a vital role in a publishing revolution predating LiveJournal, Blogger, and Typepad by a good two decades 3. The educators and typesetters of the International Typographic Style, who, in the wake of a propaganda-drenched World War, aspired to “represent information objectively, free from the influence of associated meaning” — a dream that still haunts us in a world struggling to determine how to think of “the media” that we all now play a part in (via Twitter, comments sections, and online forums) So, when I presented the idea for the Graphic Design Archive to the team, this question was foremost on my mind: What might we design if — instead of looking around at what our peers are doing for inspiration, instead of another roundup of slick new interactions and animations (which we also do, for the record) — we looked to seminal moments in graphic design’s history and considered what these moments had to show us? Hence, the Graphic Design Archive, written by me, and made in Webflow by the talented Adam Ho. Enjoy.

Good read for any artist no matter what your discipline. It's inspiration and perspective.

Pros:

Love learning the history of different design styles! The site itself is a piece of art that draws you further into the subject.

Cons:

🤞Hopefully even more styles will be added in the future.I want even more topics.

Thanks, Matthew! So glad you're enjoying it. :) We're definitely looking forward to adding several more exhibitions!

Great product overall.

Pros:

All in one place for cool graphic design

Cons:

It will be nice if they can add more pictures to the archive