Literature review – the impact of digital technologies on the graphic design practice.

The impact of digital technologies on the graphic design practice.

Literature Review

Technology today is referred to as electronic cocaine according to a statement on the ITV news, it is said that 70% of people become stressed when they can not access the internet, digital technology has become a major part of peoples lives and most say they can’t live without it either it being to socialize or when they are working. Even when people are not working they admit to carry on working 24/7. 62% of people believe that technology has changed their lives forever.

“Technology is rapidly progressing and we are forgetting the simple things” (technology in graphic design,2008)

In the case of the graphic design practice technology has had a huge impact on how people work, before you would start off by sketching your ideas, then you would create a mockup showing what the product would look like, complete with the dimensions and colors ready to show the client. I feel designs before technology had a lot more time and effort spent in them as people had to dedicate a lot of their time making these designs perfect.

But as technology progressed everything became a lot easier you could print and scan things quicker and you could use the Internet to search for ideas, see what other people are producing, post your ideas up on a blog and receive feedback within a few minuets.

I emailed a graphic designer on their thoughts whether they prefer design these days or whether he preferred it before technology. This was his response.

“Bit of both, I like the technology and ease of now but prefer the older days when skill and ideas were appreciated more. Photoshop and Computers do not make you a designer – Ideas and thought do. You can’t purchase that in a box” (Burgess,b).

Another opinion of this would be “new technology has had a great impact on the field of graphic design because of printers and scanners, internet and designing programs” (Ausrine31,2008)

Although someone would disagree “despite the health hazards and rampant insanity, there were some great things about the whole “hands – on process”

Berry Burges also believes “I think we actually had a life, to be honest. We weren’t slaves to technology, original thought was a valued prize, and a person’s craft and skill were honed over well-balanced judgment, implementation and experience. Focus and application were the name of the game, not option 3-9” (Burges,2010)

Although William Perez would disagree, “New graphic design software allows us to skip the old copy and past and stripping process, allowing us to do the work in a quarter of the time, lets be thankful” (Perez,2010)

Andrew Kelsall would argue “a couple of things bother me, one is the extent to which technology has evolved. The evolution of technology has been tremendous. I’m not computer literate at all and at the risk of being thought of as an old fogey, I mistrust what computers do to ideas.. but given the impact of computers within the design world, the impact of computers on photography, the impact on the web, I think there has been a really fundamental sea change, a kind of shift of the critical mass” (S.Heller,E. Pettit,2001)

Someone else who would agree with the above quote would be Dean Rieck “After more than three decades of technological evolution, creativity isn’t what it used to be. I don’t mean the pool of creative advertising talent is shrinking; I mean the way creative people go about creating is different , its design programs; it’s a complete shift in the creative process” (Dean Rieck,2006)

He would also argue “Technology often is criticized for taking us further from the natural order of things, But in my experience, technology brings us closer. Today creating advertising can be more organic and free flowing than it ever was with typewriters or paintbrushes, with such a low barrier to entry, there’s more bad advertising than ever. But there’s also more good advertising than ever” (Dean Rieck,2006)

Theories according to business writer Richard Thorton, “the invention of the personal computer made it possible for untrained designers to create their own documents. This injured the market for included document templates, typefaces clip art and more. The end user can also go online and purchase or sometimes download  for free any of these things as well” (Richard Thorton)

Other designers such as Todd Bertsch “recognize that todays web designer usually wears the hat f the computer programmer as well. (Sharon Mcelwee)

Sharon mcelwee’s opinion of the impact of digital technologies on graphic design would be “the internet has impacted graphic design and many other industries in a major way. Just as the advent of the personal computer allowed designers to take their designs off the drafting table and on the screen, the internet has created anew medium for design, a new way to collaborate more opportunity for education and an easier way to plagiarize the work of others”

New Medium

She also believes “The single most beneficial thing that the Internet has done is to create a new medium for designers. Design becomes a living, breathing animal that users can interact with. Many broadcast designers find the Web a natural evolution of their skills, while print designers may constantly struggle. Whether watching a movie, flash animation, or using interactive tools on a well-designed website, the user is no longer a passive participant”


“Collaboration using the Internet is instant. Online communities allow a designer to work together with her peers to come up with solutions that arise in everyday work. Uploading work to the web for review or tweaking is simple with the massive online storage space (many times free) and high-speed Internet available to anyone at a reasonable cost. A designer in Japan can instantly comment on the work of a designer in the United States. Designers have clients worldwide instead of just in their own backyard. Cultural boundaries melt away and influence becomes farther reaching than ever before”

Although she argues the good of the impact of technology in design she also puts her point across about the bad sides to the technology, “The biggest problem that both graphic designers and writers face regarding the Internet is plagiarism. It is simple to save a web page designed by someone else and use it as your own. Plagiarists can download graphics with a click of the mouse. Adding copyrights to images can help, but it is impossible to know who has taken your things unless you are constantly looking for them. Many users are unaware of copyright laws and that they are violating them by using your work. A simple email after looking up the site owner is usually enough to deter them.” (Sharon Mcelwee)




Ausrine31 (2008) technology in graphic design [online] available from


Andrew kelsall(2001) the impact of the new digital technology on the nature of graphic design the digital designer[online]available from                               <>


Dean Rieck (2006) how technology had changed creativity in the ad business [online] available from <;



Sharon Mcelwee, how has the internet changed grapic design [online] available from <;

Technology in graphic design (2008) technology in graphic design [online] available from <­>



Personal Email

Burges,b.(2012) their opinion [email] to me. [accessed 9 october 2012]




Burges,BB.(2010)Advertising and design b.c – before computers, advertisitng and design b.c – before computers. [blog]26th November 2010. Available from <–-before-computers/>

Perez, WP.(2010)graphic design before the computer, graphic design before the computer.[blog]27/September/2010.available from <>

Title: The impa…

Title: The impact of digital technologies on graphic design practice.



Within my essay I will be looking at the the different ways that digital technologies have an impact on graphic design practice. I will be looking at a brief history about the concept of a

design method, how graphic designers work now compared to how they used to work before technology was available to them, designs created without computers, how the computer changed the industry, finding out wether computers really do speed things up? The people who played an important role in setting the principles of modern day graphic design, different peoples views on the change with technology & how new media and the internet has impacted graphic design. 



  1. How graphic designers used to work compared to how they work now
  2. A brief section on the concept of a design method
  3. How the computer changed the industry

    – Do computers really speed things up?

  1. The people who played an important part in setting the principles of modern day graphic design.
  2. Opinions of other people
  3. look at designs created without computers
  4. How internet & new media has impacted graphic design
  5. conclusion



The impact of new digital technology on the nature of graphic design the digital designer [oct/2001]


How the mighty computer changed the industry [10/01/2011]


How the internet has changed graphic design [2012]


How technology has changed creativity in the ad business [1995]


Technology in graphic design education [1995]


How computers have changed art & design [05/11/2010]


People who changed graphic design forever [9/11/2009]


Graphic design before the computer [27/11/2010]


Interview print and design before computers [24/11/2010]


The effects of graphic design on new media [2011]


What impact has the internet had on graphic design [28/10/2010]


Design before computers ruled the universe [2012]