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Welcome to the second article on Graphic Design Basics. We hope to help the beginner, novice, and some professionals, in the area of Graphic Design.
A Brief Technical History of Graphics
Invention of Paper
Printing with carved wooden blocks on rice paper first appeared in China during the 7th Century Tang dynasty, as a means to inscribe thousands of sheets of paper with a memoir of the revered Empress. The sheets of paper were placed on hilltops and in shrines all over China, so her name would never be forgotten.
The oldest known technique for repetitive printing is woodcut, or woodblock printing. It was invented as a method for printing on cloth in China. This had reached Europe via the Byzantine or Islamic worlds before 1300, for printing patterns on textiles.
Movable and reusable type was first invented in China around 1045. This type allowed a printer to arrange words for printing a subject matter, then reusing the same type again for a new and completely different subject matter.
During the 15th century in Germany, Gutenberg enhanced the Chinese idea of moveable type, and invented the printing press.
Engraving on metal became popular between 1450–1460. Engravers used a hardened steel tool called a burin to cut designs into the surface of a metal plate. The metal plate was then inked, then wiped, leaving only the ink in the engraved lines for printing.
The use of the Etching process as applied to printmaking was invented by Daniel Hopfer of Germany around 1500. In the etching process, the artist “scratches” his design on a wax covered metal plate. The plate is then exposed to acid which eats at the exposed surface of the metal, leaving a behind lines sunk into the plate. The metal plate is then cleaned, inked, then wiped, leaving only the ink in the etched lines for printing.
A smooth, flat surface that is perfectly “square” used for precision drawing and drafting. At least one edge, usually the left, is perfectly square for accommodating a T-square for precise right angle drawing.
A technical drawing instrument in the shape of a “T,” primarily used as a guide for drawing horizontal lines on a drafting table.
A triangular piece of plastic with the center removed. The outer edges are typically bevelled for inking. Set squares usually come in two types; one with 90-45-45 degree angles, the other with 30-60-90 degree angles. Placed against the T-square, the triangle allows the artist or draftsman to draw perfect straight line at the desired angle.
A French curve is a plastic template made to achieve many different curves, and is used to draw smooth curves of various shapes and sizes by an artist or draftsman.
A ruling pen is an antiquated tool for drawing with ink. It was used to draw precise lines from thin to thick.
By 1953 the Rotring Rapidograph became the established technical pen for rendering lines by graphic artists, designers and draftsman. It replaced the ruling pen and made technical drawing easier to achieve.
Desktop publishing and the use of computer aided design has virtually rendered all of the above mentioned tools and processes extinct, with maybe paper and the printing press being the lone survivors. However, with the increasing use of online communication, digital storage and retrieval, paper and the printed word is struggling to keep pace with the virtual world.
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Graphic Design Basics: Part 2
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