When looking at these readings what struck me was the ongoing discussion and changes in the evolution of graphic communication. Looking at the different systems throughout time from the simple to the complicated we can see the development of these systems were often times built on the foundations of the past. Not by copying but by utilizing the techniques , theories, and ideas to form new ways to graphically communicate.
We can see cases of this happening throughout all of human history as Lupton and miller state “ The production of tokens appears to have ceased around 3100 BC, when a system for graphically recording the spoken language was emerging in Sumeria. The new script retained some symbols from the older token system, but a basic conceptual change took place.” (pg27) Another example of this can be seen with the abacus being replaced by the Hindu – Arabic system of numbers. The invention of the symbol Zero helped the Hindu -Arabic system to essentially become the “numerical equivalent of the alphabet”(pg31) which led to its wide acceptance. This is another example of how graphic communication built on rudimentary methods was relevant for a contemporary information system.
The idea of modern Hieroglyphs brings us to a new understanding of approaching graphic communication for our ever-changing world. As Lupton and miller state the new system called “isotype“ created a universe of people, places , objects, and actions, the International System of Typographic Picture Education” (pg41) that was meant to be easily identified. These were flat silhouettes that helped provide a language of public information. The main example used was the man and the woman symbol seen on public restrooms.
Looking at these readings we see that perceived to be long obsolete writing, accounting, or printing techniques are actually a guide or blueprint on how graphic communication in our modern world can be handled. We can then use these theories and designs as a model for evolving communication for the future. Not only can this be applied for a language of public information but also in the programs and tools used buy modern graphic designers. An example is the Adobe suite uniting graphic designer’s around the world with digital tools that come from real world techniques adapted for our modern computer driven age. These are only tools though it is up to us to use the theories learned from the past as Lupton and Miller state “Otto Neurath Could serve as a model for the graphic designer of the next millennium, the language worker equipped to use design and theory as tools for unearthing new questions and constructing new answers.”(pg44)