History of graphic design from 20th century + top designers

Graphic design is a way to convey different concepts and messages visually with beautiful and attractive designs that are done using different tools.

Graphic design is an emerging art in the 20th century that conveys a message to the audience by combining visual and written elements. From advertising posters to book covers and web pages, this art has a strong presence in the modern world. The history of graphic design is a fascinating story of developments and innovations that began with the modernist art movements of the early 20th century and has continued until today’s digital age. In these years, we have always seen a lot of progress and changes in the graphic industry and even in graphic design tools. Over the years, the tastes and styles that graphic designers use to create attractive designs have changed so that today we can witness the creation of different designs. These designs are even formed using special patterns. Today, in this article, we are going to examine the history of graphic design from the 20th century until now. Stay with us.

What is graphic design?

Graphics is a visual language for conveying concepts and ideas. This language uses visual elements such as line, color, shape, image and font to convey a message to the audience. Graphics are used in various fields including advertising, print, websites, and social media. The graphic designs that are created are inspired by different elements and patterns. Among these patterns, we can mention native patterns such as Iranian patterns. Also, the theme of these designs is an important factor in creating these visual elements. For example, you have seen that the business card design of a law firm is different from the advertising brochure design of a decoration company.

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History of graphic design

But you should know that this graphic also has its own history. First of all, it is necessary to explain that the history of graphics can be defined in certain decades of history. In this section, we are going to introduce the history of graphic design to you completely. Stay with us.

1910s and 1920s

The emergence of modern art movements such as Art Deco, Expressionism, and Cubism influenced graphic design. Designers such as Wilhelm Vodymka and El Lissitzky used these movements to create creative and daring works.

1930s and 1940s

With the outbreak of World War II, graphic design served war propaganda. Propaganda posters played an important role in arousing nationalist sentiments and encouraging people to participate in the war.

1950s and 1960s

After World War II, we saw the growth and prosperity of graphic design. Designers such as Paul Rand, Milton Glaser, and Charles Weems created new styles in graphic design using bold colors, creative typography, and simple images.

1970s and 1980s

The advent of computers and graphic design software created huge changes in this industry. Designers got new tools to create their works and we saw more variety and creativity in graphic design.


The emergence of the Internet and websites opened a new world for graphic design. Web designers faced new challenges such as user interface design and user experience.

third millenium

The emergence of social networks turned graphic design into an interactive phenomenon. Designers created visual content for different platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Today, artificial intelligence and augmented reality are among the latest technologies used in graphic design. These technologies have created new possibilities for creating creative and attractive works.

Top 5 graphic designers of history

Paul Rand

He is one of the best American graphic artists who lived from 1912 to 1996. This designer is famous for his simple and minimalist style in designing posters and logos. He is one of the pioneers of graphic design in modern style. Paul Rand is the creator of famous logos such as IBM, UPS, and ABC. The “We Want Miles Davis” poster is also the work of this graphic design master.

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Milton Glaser

American Glazer was born in 1929 and turned to visual design at a young age. Surely you all have seen the famous “I love NY” poster. It is interesting to know that the creator of this poster is Milton Glaser. He has gained a lot of fame in this field due to the use of bold colors and creative typography. He is also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts Award from the National Institute of the Arts.

Charles Weems

We have no shortage of skilled American graphic designers. Charles Weems is another prominent designer. He was born in 1907 in the United States of America and was engaged in this visual art until the last years of his life, i.e. 1978. He is one of the most prominent and famous book and magazine cover designers. Also, he worked with his wife for many years in the field of furniture design and architecture. He is an AIA Gold Medalist. His most famous work is the cover of the book “The Eames Lounge Chair”.

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Alex Truchot

But let’s introduce a famous Spanish graphic designer. He was born in Spain in 1981 and currently works in America. Among the prominent clients of this designer, he mentioned Nike, Puma, Adidas, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, etc. This designer prepares visual designs and attractive illustrations for these companies, which we may have seen many of in the virtual space.

Saul Bass

But let’s introduce another famous American graphic artist. Saul Bass was born in 1929 and until the last years of his life he was busy creating graphic designs. It is interesting to know that he was able to achieve acceptable fame in the cinema industry because of the title design of famous films such as “Seven Samurai” and “Vertigo”. Saul Bass is the creator of famous logos such as AT&T and United Airlines and also won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film.

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The best graphic design tools

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is a powerful software for photo editing and graphic design. This application has various tools for painting, retouching, and combining images. It is also possible to create HDR, panoramic, and 3D images. The user interface of Photoshop is simple and easy and it is used for photo editing, poster design, web design, digital painting, etc.

Adobe Illustrator

But this application is software for vector design and creating graphic images. Accurate tools for drawing lines, shapes, and curves make this tool stand out from many other drawing tools. It is also possible to create complex and detailed designs in it. Using this program, you can save images in different formats. Logo design, icon design, typography design, illustration are among the applications of this software.

Adobe InDesign

This application is a powerful software for designing magazine pages, books, and web pages. It has a variety of tools for arranging text, images, and graphic elements, making it easy for users to use. Also, this application allows you to create pages with creative and attractive designs. This software was also used to create magazine pages, books and even logos.


It is a software for user interface design and user experience. It has powerful tools for web and mobile user interface design and allows the user to create interactive prototypes. It is worth noting that it has an easy-to-use interface. The interesting thing is that by using this application you can communicate with other designers online.


But let’s introduce another one of the most popular graphic design tools. This application is an online tool for graphic design without the need for specialized knowledge. Ready-made templates for different types of graphic designs make it one of the most popular graphic design tools. Simple tools for editing images and text, the ability to share designs with others, and an intuitive and easy user interface are some of the features of this software. This tool is available in both paid and free versions. This tool can be used to design social network posts, posters, business cards, brochures and infographics.

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Graphic design is a dynamic and constantly evolving art. This art conveys a message to the audience by using visual and written elements. The history of graphic design is a fascinating story of developments and innovations that began with the modernist art movements of the early 20th century and has continued until today’s digital age. Choosing the best graphic design tool depends on your needs, skills, and budget. With a little research, you can find the best tool for you. Thank you for accompanying us to the end. Amood Design Group specializes in graphic design. You can contact us for more information and free consultation.

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