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Longum iter est per praecepta, breve et efficax per exempla Teaching by precept is a long road, but short and beneficial is the way by example.--Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”--Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, New York , Crowell

This note has a rather long, challenging and perhaps volatile history; and here is the story: When I started as a young professor teaching various courses in Graphic Design in the early 1970s, in Iran, I could not find a satisfying reference material for my students. Hence, I created a set of lecture notes that many of my students found quite useful. When I moved to Europe and later to North America, copies of those notes accompanied me at the bottom of a box that contained the paraphernalia of a gradually fading memories. Many years later when I was working at my studio gallery at the Granville Island in Vancouver, a couple of young professionals came in to my gallery and introduced themselves as my former students. It did'nt take  a long while for me to recognize them and then, despite their receding hair-lines and mature demeanor, I saw, in my mind's eyes, their younger faces of the yester-years gradually come to focus.

To make a long story short, they wrote an article about that surprise encounter in one of the newspapers of Toronto, and later on they asked my permission to publish my old lecture notes in Wikipedia. However, my notes were more than thirty years old, and in the past three decades Graphic Design has seen many progresses and drastic changes, both technically and conceptually, and therefore I decided to revise the notes thoroughly and completely. The revised notes were submitted to the Persian Wikipedia, but the publication was confronted by many hurdles arising mainly from Wikipedia's various administrative rules and regulations. Regulations such as: the published article should not be an original research! It should not contain a Point of View (i.e., it should not represent the value judgement of its writer) and so on and so forth. Nevertheless, the text was published, albeit subject to a drastically re-edited version that cleansed it of any of my personal artistic judgements. Unfortunately, the article was also drastically curtailed and the works of many graphic designers were eliminated because of copyright concerns. Of course, as a not-for-profit educational material these notes are subject to Fair Use Doctrine (FUD), in the United States' copyright law, which allows certain use of copyrighted material without requiring permissions from the rights' holders for uses such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship.

The Iranian Wikipedia's restrictions motivated me to translate my materials into English and publish them in the English Wikipedia. Here the copyright rules were somewhat less intransigent, particularly for educational materials. They adhered, somewhat, to the FUD, for instance they let an author to incorporate copy-righted images into their articles that are more than thirty years old, since apparently after this period many images will enter into the public domain. For some other copyrighted materials, such as Mondrian paintings, one may resort to the argument that their publications for non-profit educational purposes are legitimate since they are unique and cannot be represented by other materials for teaching. These criteria are usually posted in the licenses that are attached to each image. Unfortunately, caught up in the torrent of the everyday flood of the gibberish and hacked materials, Wikipedia's editors and managers, who are mostly enthusiastic young college students, with no time to distinguish between a genuine piece of informational material from the otherwise; or being simply incapable of forming such a judgement, arbitrarily  allow or disallow certain images. As well, they are heedlessly following a maze of cumbersome procedural WP policies that have exploded in the past few years into voluminous files and are often contradictory, inconsistent and irrational. As a result, although under the auspices of one my students, an earlier version of lecture notes were published in the English Wikipedia, many sections were senselessly mutilated and degenerated into sorry states. At the same time some of the over-zealot editors eliminated some of the images based on the argument that my notes are image-heavy! Of course, this was a direct assault on my philosophy that a history of graphic design should ideally be self-explanatory by its judicious use of images. I want the textual explanation to be at minimum and provide only some factual information about their chronological aspects together with some circumstantial information that would help to place a particular design in its proper historical trajectory. I want my readers constantly connect the dots and form their independent judgments about various issues.

Thus, I started allover again, and in the process I wrote emails to many artists and got their permissions to publish their works. Virtually all of the artists contacted were very supportive, and many times helped me to improve certain parts of these notes. Still there were many other challenges, for example sometimes after many months of research the whole draft of a chapter was inadvertently deleted, and unfortunately it could not be recovered. In the early days Google's Blogger did not have an option to ask the writer if she wants to delete a chapter. Fortunately, they solved this problem after chapter 25, or so.

Hence, there you have it. I published this long history in various segments, and I treated it as a living document when I find new materials I add them in their appropriate places. Many professors of graphic designs and designers have written to me with encouraging messages, and at the start of every school year the number of visits surges to a new height. 

gN 2/9/10 -- revised 23/3/14 

Here is a short sample list of lecture notes, graduate theses, scholarly articles and so on  throughout various countries that have referenced this history. This I consider my greatest reward.

Chetcuti Gabriel, (2014) Individual Work Essay – Alphonse Mucha and Milton Glaser,

Cole Richard Alan,  (2019), Fiction and the Historical Frame, A dissertation submitted to the University of Bristol in accordance with the requirements for award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts, School of Humanities, Department of Classics and Ancient History June 2019,

[The] Danish Film Institute’s collection of Cuban Film Posters, (2013), Aphelis,

Elrayis Hanna, The Anti-Art Crusade Circa 1916, Ryerson University 

Falkowski K, (2015) The Falkowski Nation,   World History Honors,

Gerner Stephen, DES106 - Communication Design

Grey Elinor, (2014), Lecture 5: Protest; Revolt, Record, Rebuild  WSA Research and Communication Skills,

Ibrahim Riem, (2013), Behaving Typography; Letterforms in Action,   International Master of Fine Arts UIC/HGK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland Academy of Art and Design HGK FHNW Visual Communication Institute The Basel School of Design. file:///C:/Users/Farid/Downloads/MFA2013%20(2).pdf

Indonesia University of Education, Daftar Pustaka,

Kiseljak Darija, (2012), Vizualni Identitet Hrvatskog Svemirskog Programa, Sveučilište U Zagrebu 

Kotamanidou  N. (2013)  Σημειώσεις στο μάθημα Ελεύθερο Σχέδιο 2, Εαρινό Εξάμηνο 2013, ΤΕΙ Σερρών Τμήμα ΕΑΔΣΑ, Ν. Κοταμανίδου,

Kopacz-Thomaidis Dorota. (2019), The Polish School of Poster, The E. Geppert Academy of Art and Design in 

Lyche Josefine, (2010), How deep the darkness,
Nickolas Lascot, Graphic Design History; Art Nouveau, Italian Futurism, Propaganda, Swiss Design, Pop Art

Macharla Kaushik, (2018), Modern-day issues related to Graphic Design and their solutions in a Historical perspective Modern Day Graphic Design Issues, 

Morgan Ashley, (2018),  Reading to Seeing, Köln International School of Design 

Morris Katie, (2020) Graphic Design + Ceramics, Adventures of an Art Teacher 

PBS, newshour, (2013), Brooklyn Community Arts& Media  (BCAM) Lesson Plans

Sammut Antoine, (2014), Josef Muller-Brockman,

Shaheen  Shiza, (2013),  Is There An Understanding of Minimalism in Pakistani Advertisement in Reference to Print Media, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture,

Smith, Margit J (2014) « The dust-jacket considered  », CeROArt [En ligne], 9 | 2014, mis en ligne le 12 janvier 2014, consulté le 12 septembre 2015. URL :

SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE, (2015) Fine and Performing Arts, Division of Liberal Arts and Social Science, Art Department, Course Syllabus, Fall Semester 2015,

Spremberg Alexander, (2017),  Critical Anachronism: The recovery of the everyday in the context of Non-objective painting, A thesis  presented for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Curtin University, 

Sunandha Suan, Rajbhat University, (2014),

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  1. Guity! Thank you very much for your precious work!
    Hug from Brazil

  2. It is so wonderful that we still have a scholar who has a heart!

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful resource and your hard work!

  4. Thank you for your informative post! I was working as a web designer for two years, it's quite harder but it makes my life more challenging. It takes a long period of time to learn this skill but it's worth it.

    website design columbia sc

  5. Thank you all!
    I am glad that you find these notes helpful.

  6. Very usefull educational materials. Thank You! (Arief Adityawan, Jakarta, Indonesia).

  7. What I can say, thank, thank you for this blog. I was not aware there was a Cuban School of Graphic Design. Words are failing me at this time to express my appreciation for your information and the hard work it must have taken to compile it. The rich history and influence of Graphic Design in Cuba has blown me away, the intensity of the colors and perfect balance of esthetics can stand side by side next to any of the European artist of any style throughout the history of Graphic Design.

  8. I have shared your site with friends. I am in awe of what you have put together and the work involved. Thank you!

  9. This work has been fundamental for my sons design studies, giving him the logic and base to work his dissertation, more than most other texts. Of course clearly and extensively quoted...

  10. By far better than many of the books I have checked out. Thank you so much for openly sharing and putting so much time and effort into this.

  11. could all of this beautiful material ever be complied into a book or would there be copyright issues?

    1. I love the idea of live text. I am revising these material all the time. Beside, I love the fact that I am not causing a major environmental damage, using glossy papers etc.

  12. A wonderful book on graphic designing. Ever since I have came across, this had been a primary source for my assignments in my PhD course work, my own lectures at the university where I teach and even helped me develop new content for the new courses I teach as a Communication Designer.

  13. Hi! I'm from Brazil and I'm starting to study Design, your work seems precious to me, I'm delighted! sorry about my poor english skills :-/ and thanks so much! :D

  14. What a wonderful collection. Many thanks for posting this. I will be using this resource for my design work.

  15. Dear Guity Novin! I am a teacher from the Kama Institute of Arts and Design (Russia), for over 10 years I teach the discipline "History of Graphic Design". Several years ago I met your lectures on the history of graphic design and I use your materials in my work. Your work is a very important source of information for me. This is very important, because in my country there are still no textbooks and teaching aids in this discipline.
    I started work on writing a similar book, I propose to use translations of some sections of your work. Some time ago I wrote about this to you, however, I'm not sure that you received my message.
    Already today, when teaching this discipline, I offer links to my students on the sections of your work. And, although you have a little written about. Thank you! And God keep you!
    PS. Sorry for my imperfect English ...

    1. Dear Aktas, Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry that I haven't seen your previous message. Please go ahead and translate the section you find useful. Love, Guity

  16. Dear Mrs. Novin, Thank you for your research. This is definitely the best graphic design website I encountered in a while. Thank you!

    Warm greetings from The Netherlands

  17. Hello :)
    i just wanted to say thank you so much!! I'm writing my Bachelor Thesis in the field of Editorial Design and literally couldn't find any useful books about the history and the development of it whatsoever. You literally saved my life! You should publish you knowledge as a book!

  18. 谢谢你的无私奉献!我是一个来自中国的读者。

  19. 谢谢您的鼓励。我很感激

  20. Dear Guity,

    This is a tremendous resource. I am teaching Graphic Design to at risk students in High School for only my second year and am always scrambling for resources. Your trove of information will without a doubt excite and inspire my students to use their Art for activism.

    I am truly humbled and feel unbelievably lucky to have stumbled across your blog.

    In gratitude from Silicon Valley,


  21. Wow what can I say! Just discovered this amazing blog. I so busy making art that I seldom get on the net. I feel so privileged that fate lead me here. You restore my faith in human nature. I will be back again and again...Thank you!
    Penny Eamer. Australia.

  22. Just discovered your work. Thank you for sharing it with the world!
    You should consider working with a publishing house and getting it printed!