The past is present in the future
11 March 2019
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Life. Life is a funny thing really. There is one thing you can be certain of - you get older, everybody does (if you are lucky). It's not all bad though. Yes you get wrinkles, grey hairs, and your life experiences show. But every scar, every wrinkle, every laugh line tells a story. And you learn from it, you never stop learning. You are never too old to learn, and grow - if you are open to it. Every experience adds to your story, and believe it or not, to your creativity.

Your history and experiences add to your story, and influence your design. Design too, has a story, even though it is ever changing, ever evolving. Design as we know it was not created in a vacuum. Design, like our forefathers, evolves, always changing and adapting to new challenges, environments. It has a history that shapes it.

Recently, I found myself searching for my copy of 'The History of Graphic Design' by Phillip B. Meggs, a book much loathed when I was a student because we thought it boring, and a book that I seem to have discarded in one of my moves.

I wish I hadn't though. In hindsight, a beautiful if useless thing really unless you do, by some miracle, learn from your past mistakes, was a great book really. What this book taught me, on reflection, was that no matter how far we go, how design styles change and how trends influence design, and how many great new features you find in Photoshop, or Illustrator, one thing remains true - concept is king. And simplicity rules.

Think Chermayeff and Geismar, Paula Cher of Pentagram fame, and Herb Lubalin - if you don't know who they are, Google them. They created some of the most iconic and enduring brands that have withstood the test of time. And they all still practice and create and contribute to design today. Except for Herb Lubalin, who died. Unfortunately. At the age of 63.

It is not just future trends and innovations that influence design. It also lies in the past. Yes we need to be conscious of design trends and new technologies shaping the future, but there is a great wealth of knowledge to draw from the past. The great masters of graphic design forged the path. They knew what they were doing, and still do. There is merit to age, in history. Don't discount it.

By Martina Bogusch
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