Graphic Arts

The Influence of Technology on Graphic Design

design technologyEvidence of art has been found from the earliest history of man. The idea of creating something of beauty is nothing new, and the tools to create works of art have evolved as civilization has developed and changed.

Beginning with cave drawings that were drawn with sticks and other crude tools to the modern use of computers, graphic design has undergone massive change. Many elements of art have remained the same: the use of brushes to paint has been a technique for centuries; the brushes themselves have changed but not their use. Printmaking has become more precise with the development of machine generated stamps and prints, but it still used today.

The advent of technology, however, has added a new element to graphic design. How has technology influenced the changes in graphic design?

Combining Technology and Skill

In a recent publication outlining the way technology has evolved over the years, Monica Eaton-Cardone said: “A lot of my job is cheerleading because the guys on my team are artists. You can’t expect them to create something fabulous without inspiring them, no matter how advanced the technology that is at their disposal.”

Eaton-Cardone is a technology specialists who has a background in marketing. She highlights perfectly one important point: technology will come and go, but greatness will last a lifetime.

As graphic designers consider their modern technological options, it is important to remember the basics of design and aesthetics.

Drawing goes digital

Many point to 1984 as a turning point in the development of graphic design. Apple, under the direction of Steve Jobs, released MacPaint, a graphic design program designed by a computer programmer and a graphic designer. Tools controlled by the mouse allowed artists to create new designs. Adobe entered the field with the introduction of The Postscript, an interface that allowed text and images to be layered and assembled on the screen. Within ten years, graphic design migrated into a computer based activity.


The use of computers allows designers to implement more colors, intricate designs and higher resolutions. The early days of computer assisted drawing were limited to basic tools and colors. As technology has advanced, the quality of the graphics has improved. Lines have become sharper, colors more vibrant and designs are crisper – making it feel as though the elements were jumping off the monitor, page or sign. Additionally, putting powerful graphic tools into the hands of designers has resulted in hundreds of methods and programs to choose from, translating into thousands of styles and techniques, all of astounding quality.


Software allows images to be stretched, made transparent, layered over text and combined with other elements to create montages of all varieties. With the introduction of tablets and other technology enhanced drawing tools, the designer is no longer limited to using a mouse to create graphics. Touch pads and high resolution printers have given designers the opportunity to create graphics that represent exactly what is on their computer screen, and present it in a bolder and more attention grabbing way than ever before.


Internet use has further influenced graphic design and the use of images. Consumers expect a consistent design in every aspect of business. From the logo to packaging to web design, every element fits into the overall design – a process made possible by technology. Technology has provided the means for a consistent look – regardless of the graphic’s use. Seamlessly fitting into the branding of a company, there is no longer a line between text and graphics. The graphic becomes part of the text and the text is included in the graphic.

As technology continues to advance, the development of graphic design will continue to push the limits of what is possible. In every time period of history, artists have broadened the scope of what could be done and today is no different. With new, powerful tools, artists and designers are creating works of art that depict stories and reflect the world around us in vibrant, vivid detail.


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