Assignment #1

Kyasia Brown

ARTH 3311

January 31, 2017


In class, The History of Graphic Design, I learned about the development of—and the usage— of writing, it’s forms and how it was used to communicate. We also went over petroglyphs which are rock carvings; pictograph which are pictures of—for example, an apple; ideographs which are symbols such as a stop sign; and phonograms, symbols that represent sounds.

The first writing system was born around 310 BC in the river civilization, Mesopotamia that sat between the Tigris and Euphrates river. The Sumerians who lived along the river system wanted a way to keep records such as animal birth and death rates, sacrifices to the Gods, provide priest with the ability to look at past occurrences and make predictions for the future and write down their folklore rather than retell via word of mouth. The need to have the latter in writing ignited the birth of cuneiform, a picto-graphic form of writing created with a stylist on clay tablets that tended to their needs and changed overtime to be more complex and express a variety of ideas.

With this new trade also came the birth of Scribes. Designated writers who trained for years to learn to read, interpret and write the text since the common folk weren’t literate. One of the biggest achievements and contribution the Sumerians made, was their laws: Code of Hammurabi. This written law of the land solidified the laws and made them easier to enforce since a physical copy of what was expected was present.

Over in Ancient Egypt, Hieroglyphics or sacred carvings were used to tell elaborate tales and even mundane everyday life. Most important contributions of Hieroglyphics is Narmer’s palette, a stone carving that tells how King Narmer united upper and lower Egypt, The Book of the Dead during the new kingdom which thoroughly explained Egyptian’s funerary process. It was written on a papyrus scroll around 150BC. Touching upon the Rosetta Stone that held the secret behind their writing translated into more common languages was another interesting portion of the lecture as I had thought it was a reference to the language software. Even so, I can now understand the goal behind the program because of where it takes its history from.

Because the first chapters of the book focuses on writing systems, later in class we watched videos about Vernacular Vision which is, as defined by; “Vernacular Vision is the relationship between the everyday viewer’s perceptions to the urban environment, which from the influence of television and cinema and advertising was an agitated and reactive mode of vision.” We were instructed to learn about our surroundings outside of design. Graphic designers we were told to keep in mind for this week is Paul Rand, and Milton Glaser who designed the “I Love NY” logo. The circumstances and goal of Milton’s design is interesting never mind the fact that he was the first to use a pictograph in a logo.