How Graphic Design Differ From Other Art Disciplines Essay

How Graphic Design Differ From Other Art Disciplines Essay

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Hai Ho
ARTH 176A
Take-Home Quiz
I. Short Answer

1. Graphic design differs from other art disciplines in that it has as much to do with people and society as it does with the design itself. Much of graphic design is intended to be consumed by an audience such as the public, whether they are aware of it or not (often not). Its success is measured by how well this audience receives the message it was intended to express within its historical context. For instance, the map of the London Underground was more conceptual than geographically accurate, but the confusion it caused its riders at that time is rarely discussed. However, Bridget Wilkins explains, “it is only with the inclusion of this normally absent context that there can be meaningful and constructive comprehension of history.” For this reason, it is advantageous to focus on how people read, understand, and use graphic design.

There may also be a disadvantage to this approach if the designers feel they do not receive the recognition in their work that they deserve. Most graphic design is ephemeral, lasting only seconds, so the status of the design and its designer can be relatively low, Wilkins writes. Focusing too much on the reception of graphic design may obscure the designer, which is unfavorable to those who do not wish to be invisible or anonymous artists.

2. The ARTH 176A Canvas website is an online platform that allows students to access the course content and enhances the learning experience of this course. It is located at the following URL: sjsu.instructure.com/courses/1184186. The username used to sign in is the student’s ID number and the password is the same password used to register for classes on PeopleSoft. Content posted on this Canvas website includes t...


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...a that I do not agree with. Indeed, typefaces should be expressive, but this expression should be appropriate for their context, rather than match the meaning of the word exactly. As Armin Hoffmann put it, “It is important to recognize that an isolated graphic sign has no meaning” (pg). Claiming that the word “caffeinated” printed in Helvetica does not “look” caffeinated, and is thereby an ineffective application of the typeface is ignoring the role of its context. This context may include the medium (print, web), usage (advertisement, book cover, restaurant menu) and audience (public, readers, restaurant customers). Insisting that a typeface visually translate the meaning of its words is missing the point. To Hoffmann, the graphic sign in this case would be Helvetica, which achieves meaning through its context and application, not its ability to synthesize meaning.

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