If Famous Artists of the Past Were Designers?

If Famous Artists of the Past Were Designers?

Styles in design have already been described many times and categorized into classes. Sometimes a style gets a special name, like Web 2.0, and sometimes the name of the style describes its appearance: grunge, minimalist, retro. Numerous brands have also contributed to the diversity of styles. Many designers look at brands like Apple as one of the flagships of modern design. And, in general, they’re right.

But even if a style seems to be revolutionary in its innovation, it most likely is not original. The roots of any style grow from the past. More so, the recent past. Inspirational examples of graphic and print design from previous centuries have translated into modern design trends.

In this article, the team from Smashing Magazine tried to analyze the works of famous artists who wittingly or unwittingly turned out to be the prototype of today’s web designers. 

When art met design

The term “graphic design” was coined in 1922 by William Addison Dwiggins, one of the first modern designers. He saw himself as “the man who brings structural order and visual form to printed messages.

  • Graphic design is where art and design meet. Design is necessary for communicability and to achieve a certain goal. Today, the goal is usually to sell goods and services through design, whether it’s to create packaging, brand development, or web development.
  • So is modern design simply art created for profit? Some say yes, citing the fact that many artists originally created their paintings to sell. Michelangelo’s dramatic “Last Judgment” fresco or Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” were commissioned by the church. And today we consider the works of these masters to be iconic symbols of the Renaissance.
  • Still, we like to think of great artists as vivid individuals expressing themselves and their understanding of the world in their works. And colors, textures and compositions are part of their process of self-discovery and a reflection of the aesthetics of the time. The same is true of contemporary designers. Although contemporary design may be commissioned by a corporation, still the artist’s work is still a reflection of the world around us.

Art History and Today

All outstanding works of art in history have been unprecedented and ahead of their time. Sometimes it seems that those artists created for future generations. Their influence can be felt strongly in contemporary works. Their compositions, colors, and styles can be seen not only in art galleries, but all around us, from shoe design, to music album covers.

Step back to move forward

Examples of inspired and memorable designs have filled all sorts of galleries, blogs and online services like Flickr. Leading design and art magazines offer the best examples of both ultra-modern design and the works of great artists of the past.

Many of us use them as sources of inspiration from which to light a spark for our own creativity. By taking a step back and learning from previous experiences, we take a step forward in our own development and improvement.