10 Good Reasons To Study Design History

As I prepare to teach my next course in Design History at UCLA Extension, I gave some thought to why designers should study the history of graphic design in the first place. Here is my short list:

  1. To build a visual vocabulary and recognize how design elements are used and organized
  2. To learn to see rather than simply look
  3. To acquire good taste
  4. To strengthen one’s communication skills
  5. To become a better designer
  6. To appreciate the past, be inspired in the present and anticipate the future
  7. Because other designers know design history and they’re the competition
  8. To cultivate one’s curiosity
  9. To recognize that design is one of the oldest of human pursuits and is not the result of nor reliant on computer technology
  10. To understand what good design is and why it is important.

What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and design director at Alvalyn Creative, an independent practice near Thousand Oaks, California. She creates visual branding, publications and books for business, entrepreneurs and authors. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business roadmap program for creative freelancers. Contact her for your visual branding, graphic and digital design needs. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to her free monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Joni

    To use historic visual styles appropriately. Create coherency between a brand and it’s visual style.

  2. Eric Okine

    As a rational for good and accurate composition by designers

  3. Rebecca Tyler

    I don’t know what I would add to the list. I resonate with this top 10 list 🙂 In order to get better with graphic design, you gotta be a full time student of it.

    1. Alvalyn Lundgren

      Thank you for commenting, Rebecca.

      I would add that being a “full-time student” should be a constant pursuit, whether you’re in school or a working pro. Always be learning and moving toward mastery.

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