An imagination of how the world looks without graphic design

What Would a World Without Graphic Design Be Like?

Summary. Have you ever imagined a world where graphic design was never developed or even discovered?

Thanks to the advancement of technology, distance and time no longer pose barriers to global communication. Digital communication such as email, text messaging, instant messaging, video conferencing, social media have, in many ways, flattened global borders and made Information easily accessible. But just what makes digital communication so effective? For that we have to turn to the art of graphic design—a tool that not only enhances the visual appeal of digital content, but it also helps to shape and reinforce the messages conveyed. A good example would be fast-food giant McDonald’s. Without the golden double arch or the “M” logo on the wrapper, McDonald’s would feel like it’s missing an arm or a leg, a disembodied brand

McDonald | World Without Graphic Design | Socium Thoughts
Image 1: McDonald’s logo. (Source: McDonalds Singapore)

The History of Graphic Design

Historians will tell you that the first graphic designs were those discovered in cave paintings dating back prehistoric times. Other ancient ‘graphic designs’ would include the cuneiform, the pictorial language used by Sumerians to communicate. But it was the invention of the printing press that paved the way for graphic design to be developed and today, it is an effective tool of communication that cannot be easily replaced. 

Richard Hollis (1994) articulated that graphic design represents an effort to select and arrange signs within a medium to effectively convey a message. While Oladumiye (2018), in his exploration of graphic design theory and its application in packaging technology, identified 10 fundamental elements in this art form, namely lines, shapes, texture, space, size, value, colour, balance, rhythm, emphasis, and unity. These elements serve as a vital component of the visual communication medium.

Graphic design wields the power to influence consumer decisions and perceptions of product quality. It plays a pivotal role in captivating attention and leaving a lasting impression. In the absence of design graphics, the world would be  mundane, devoid of character, excitement or fun. 

What if Graphic Design Never Emerged?

Imagine looking to buy a certain product, but the product is just a plain-coloured tube, bottle or box with nary a word or a graphic. 

Skin Care Product | World Without Graphic Design | Socium Thoughts
Image 2: Skin care products devoid of design features. (Source: Freepik)

As depicted in the image above, there’s nothing on the tube to help us make an informed decision a. Naturally, this would lead to perplexity, and in the most undesirable circumstance, we might opt against purchasing the product due to the absence of discernible information regarding its nature and purpose.

Unadorned Beverage Bottle
Image 3: Unadorned beverage bottle lacking graphic design (Source: Freepik)

In another scenario where you’re in a supermarket, looking for a grape-flavoured beverage, but all the bottles on the shelves are similar to the ones above — again, no sign, no colour, no identity. Do you know which one is grape-flavoured? Identifying the bottle that contains the grape flavour becomes a challenging task. Likewise, when looking for a specific brand of beverage and the bottle has no information about said brand, buying a drink becomes a chore.

Earth without graphic design | Socium Thoughts
Image 4: Earth portrayed absent graphic design. (Source: @anikjaindesig on Instagram)

Here is another example. We get an understanding of the Earth’s true shape, the spatial arrangement of locations, and the distances between them, largely owing to the existence of the globe being meticulously designed to mirror its authentic form. But imagine a situation where the discipline of graphic design remains undiscovered and undeveloped; in such a world, we would forever remain oblivious to the visual representation of the very place we call home.

In this video with title Without Graphic Design?, Creative Process Assignment promoting AUT Graphic Design has intentionally concealed all objects incorporating graphic design within an urban environment. This was done to evoke contemplation about the hypothetical scenario in which graphic design failed to emerge or was never conceived in our world. This video serves to underscore the significance of graphic design and how it has evolved, encompassing tasks ranging from marketing and product presentation to the dissemination of vital information on urban billboards.

In yet another TikTok video, the producer vividly illustrates the stark consequences of a world devoid of graphic design, turning the world into one that is melancholic and markedly unappealing. 

Tiktok's Comment | World Without Graphic Design | Socium Thoughts
Image 5: A user shares his thoughts about “Life Without Graphic Design” TikTok’s video. (Source: @hellostatuo’s Tiktok)

A comment by a TikTok user stood:

“This has the opposite effect. I now want to live in a world without graphic design. But can’t. Thanks.”

Whether we are conscious of it, graphic design has become an integral aspect of our culture and society. More than just decoration, it forms the bedrock of digital communication — a contemporary visual language with the power to connect people across space and time.  Graphic design, in digital communication, is the linchpin that bridges aesthetics and information, ensuring that our messages are not only seen, but also understood and appreciated.

Because it’s the thought that counts – Socium Thoughts bring together our thoughts and opinions on all things communication.

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