CCOG for ART 214 Summer 2024

Course Number:
ART 214
Course Title:
History of Graphic Design
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores the history of graphic design from the earliest communication technologies to the present, with a focus on the Modern era. Examines changes in style and technology within the field and considers the relationship between graphic design and its cultural, political and social contexts. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Explain how graphic design is representative of the historical moment in which it was produced, acknowledging the interactions between social, cultural, technological, and/or economic factors and design.
  • Utilize a critical vocabulary as a framework for discussing, creating and/or writing about graphic design.
  • Analyze the relationship between form, context and meaning in visual communication. 
  • Articulate the relationships between graphic design, visual culture and world history to enhance civic and global engagement.
  • Apply insights gained from course content to visual culture encountered outside of the classroom.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

Through the study of art history, students look closely at works of art and architecture, articulating the way elements of art are interrelated and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time. They critically analyze visual communication, work creatively with art historical data, use evidence to support arguments and assess the stakes of primary and secondary sources. They also analyze the relationships between art and its historical, cultural, social and political contexts. Art history enhances students’ engagement in contemporary global culture through a deeper understanding of history, which helps students recognize connections between the past and present and become more aware of their own vantage points.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment tools may include:

  • informal and formal responses to discussion questions

  • analysis and evaluation of reading assignments

  • visual and contextual analysis of graphic design in writing assignments and exams

  • journals assessing learning in and out of the classroom

  • research projects resulting in papers or presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Analyze and work creatively with art historical data, using it to better understand the history of graphic design and visual culture.

  • Evaluate primary and secondary art historical sources, assessing their stakes and motives.

  • Assess the ways in which design is impacted by the viewer’s vantage point.

  • Articulate the relationship between design and its historical, social and political context.

  • Recognize and differentiate various styles of design and evaluate how values and interpretations change over time.

  • Recognize and identify parallels between the art historical past and the present.

  • Conduct a formal analysis of a work of graphic design and articulate the way its elements are interrelated.

  • Research and write coherently about design history, using evidence to support arguments.

  • Use knowledge gained in the course to study graphic design, multimedia, art history, fine art, anthropology or history at a four-year institution.


  • The First Visual Communication

  • Pictographs, Ideograph and Logos

  • The Invention of Writing

  • Ancient Design in Mesopotamia

  • Ancient Design in Egypt

  • Ancient Design in the Mediterranean

  • Ancient Design in China and Korea

  • The History of the Book

  • Illuminated Manuscripts

  • Global Calligraphic Traditions

  • Medieval Design in the Christian World

  • Medieval Design in the Islamic World

  • The History of Printing and Movable Type

  • The Early History of Typography

  • Design and the Industrial Revolution

  • Victorian Design

  • Design and Imperialism

  • The Early History of Branding

  • Typography and the Industrial Revolution

  • The Arts and Crafts Movement

  • Design and Labor Reform

  • Design and First Wave Feminism

  • Design and Race in the Nineteenth Century

  • The Nineteenth Century Poster

  • Art Nouveau

  • Japanese Design and Ukiyo-e

  • Formation of the Modern Movement

  • The Scottish School

  • The Vienna Secession

  • Modern Art and Graphic Design

  • Graphic Design during World War I

  • Graphic Design and Photomontage

  • Photography and Modern Graphic Design

  • Russian Constructivism

  • The Bauhaus and New Typography

  • Graphic Design in the Interwar Years

  • The Art Deco style

  • Economic Depression and Graphic Design

  • Graphic Design during World War II

  • Post War Modernism

  • The Swiss School

  • The New York School

  • Conceptual Graphic Design

  • Post Modernism

  • Graphic Design and the Mass Media

  • Graphic Design and Globalism

  • Design and the Digital Revolution

  • The Role of the Designer in Society