I'm reasonably familiar with design trends and movements of architecture and, to a lesser extent, art; and i've been interested that many of the asthetic considerations and philosophies loosly lumped as 'modernism' in those fields are often branded 'minimalism' when it comes to graphic design. I also find it interesting, that i don't hear of many other graphic design trends, even though they must surely be documented.

Hence the question: What are the major design trends in graphic design history?

An ideal answer to this question would be a short overview of graphic design history and the major trends in design up to this point, a bit of speculation as to the direction the current design asthetic is heading, as well as resources to find out more.

  • 5
    This is not a question one is going to be able to answer in a stackoverflow format. There's dozens if not hundreds of books on the subject at Amazon. Anything by Steve Heller I'd recommend.
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 2:39
  • Perhaps the question should be rewritten to ask for book recommendations?
    – e100
    Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 9:49
  • I guess a list of trends would fit an answer, but I agree it is broad in scope and slightly argumentative. Maybe a community wiki question?
    – user247
    Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 10:17
  • See my rational for this question here meta.graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/96/…
    – Hemi
    Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 19:59
  • 2
    Community wiki would help, and I can appreciate the intent here, but I have to agree with DA01 that this is just too much for the SE format. It seems like what is being asked is an essay paper of sorts. I've always felt the SE format was about clear answers to well-defined questions, unless a site, like Programmers, expects subjective content. Commented Feb 19, 2011 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


Not the answer you're looking for but a great resource: There's a website called Design Is History which traces design trends and notable designers or all disciplines from the early days of typesetting up to the present.

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