15,000-10,000BC – cave paintings at Lascaux, France. The 1st record of human creativity.

cave paintings

2200BC – Egyptian hieroglyphics. Early writing that combined figurative and symbolic pictures representing real things.


8th-9th century – Book of Kells. Illuminated manuscript – elaborate text with illustrations.


1450s – Gutenberg bible. 1st major work to be printed on moveable type press. Gutenberg, the inventor, revolutionized how people obtain information and how words look on a page.


1530 – Garamond font. Claude Garamond opened up the 1st type shop foundry devoted to developing and selling fonts to printers.


1176 – Declaration of Independence. One of the riskiest feats of visual and verbal expression in American history. All of the signers risked being executed for treason.


1777 – American flag. “Betsy Ross version”, became the basis of our current American flag. Great example of horizontal stripes in design (more on that later).


1826 – The very 1st photo captured on paper, taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce.


1887 – Logo for Coca-Cola, rumored to have been designed by founder John S. Pemberton.


1890 – Poster by Alphonse Mucha. Art Nouveau movement in France began as a way of combining art and design in a new, decorative way. Typography and letters were often painted directly into the art, not done since the age of the illuminated manuscripts.

1919 – Poster by Alexander Rodchenko. Russian Constructivism… a bold, new graphic language, uses art as a way of advancing political and social causes.
1919 – Poster for Bauhaus School of Design. This school in Germany embraced all of the design disciplines, including crafts, architecture, painting and typography. Ushered in an era of simplicity in graphic design.

1922 – W.A. Dwiggins, a well-known designer in his day, coins the term “Graphic Design”.


1957 – Helvetica font by Max Miedinger.


1959 – Colorforms logo. Paul Rand’s clever, simple, geometric logo brought the simplicity of Bauhaus to a mass audience of kids.


1967 – Bob Dylan poster by Milton Glaser. Iconic design that becomes emblematic of the ’60s.


1972 – New York City subway map. Massimo Vignelli’s brilliant simplification and labeling system proves to be a highly enduring and effective solution.

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1984 – 1st Apple computer. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started a revolution in how everyday people use machines.

1989 – 1st version of Adobe Photoshop. Allowed people to tinker with photographs in a way that was never an option before technical training and photographic experience. No image will be completely trusted again!


1990 – The World Wide Web. British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee develops the WWW along with HTML, HTTP and the concept of web addresses.  Dude, he’s still alive!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee


more coming….