Documenting the history of graphic design

Documenting the history of graphic design from a personal, growing archive and a series of lectures and workshops.

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the graphic design archive - design reviewed

The Graphic Design Archive

Hi, my name is Matt Lamont and I have collected printed matter for over a decade. Design Reviewed is a personal project dedicated to digitally preserving graphic design history and documenting the vast visual culture from the last century.

My current collection of design artefacts contains over 5,000 artefacts of printed matter, spanning 150 years of graphic design history. From rare graphic and architecturally focused periodicals such as Typografia, Architectural Design and Typographische Monatsblatter and National Theatre programmes designed by Ken Briggs. To mid-century colourful folded maps and illustrated German film posters designed by Hans Hillmann.

It’s my aim to digitise my entire design collection, whilst offering easy-to-digest articles and interviews to inspire anyone interested in graphic design history.

Design No.161 November 1972. Cover design by Koji Kusafuka
Typographica - Graphic Design Magazine
Scan 287
Scan 366

Historic Graphic Design Articles

A selection of graphic design articles based on the design artefacts in the archive. Articles discussing aspects of design such as logos, advertisements, posters and book covers. Explore historical context and its impact on the field of graphic design.

By drawing on historical design artefacts, the articles provide valuable insight into the evolution of graphic design as a discipline and its ongoing impact on visual culture.

Members Content

Crouwel was the predecessor to Willem Sandberg who used an avant-garde approach in his work, utilising torn-paper montage, mixing of sans serif and old Egyptian typefaces and often off-center positioning. Crouwel steered away from this artistic approach and implemented a cohesive design system and a strong identity that emulated the corporate identity boom of the 1950s and 60s. 
I came across two sample books containing printed examples of the work executed by the students in the Composing and Machine Departments of the Polytechnic School of Printing, between 1907 and 1910. I couldn't resist adding these to the archive.

Members Content

A total of 24 posters were created for the campaign during 1964, using the arrow symbol as a key features, representing power, motion and speed. The handmade lithographs use up to 19 colours, which were individually printed at large scale. The posters also utilise the brand colours red and yellow from Shells corporate identity. 

Members Content

Beyond being mere artefacts of design, these examples encapsulate the dynamic changes Japan was undergoing during this period. The design output of this era not only served commercial purposes but also became a powerful medium for expressing these societal shifts.
Among the young graphic artists of Berlin, who set to work after the war, Hans Adolf Albitz and Ruth Albitz-Geiß can claim special attention. In a short time, at a period when economic conditions were pretty unfavourable, they worked themselves so to the fore that their names came to mean something in Berlin publicity, and in western Germany their posters are known and appreciated, too. 
Oskar Reiner advertisements for Opel distinguish themselves by clarity and visually appealing conception.
Leeds Beckett University students utilising the design archive
The Design Reviewed archive in use at Bournemouth Arts University

Graphic Design History Workshops and Lectures​

Interested in graphic design history workshops? 

I can bring a selection of the archive to your organisation/class and provide an interactive/tactile presentation. This approach allows participants to engage with the artefacts in a tangible way, providing an engaging learning experience.

Design history lectures can also be conducted online to reach audiences overseas for remote learning opportunities and flexibility, providing a more accessible learning experience.

Collecting graphic design has introduced me to numerous designers and offered me a comprehensive panorama of graphic design, spanning continents, styles, and formats.