Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Industrial Revolution VS Arts and Crafts Movement

It is obvious that Industrial Revolution has a lot to do with the development of Graphic Design, began with the invention of the steam-powered letter press printing machine, and importantly the invention of photography which made it possible to print photographic images.

I was really excited while reading Chapter 9, because it seems like everything is getting close to the standard of our urban life which are all familiar to us, for example, the invention of camera, magazine, product advertisement, and letterforms which we uses for our daily digital demand. Industrial Revolution made "labors" work much easier, less time consuming, enable to produce a lot of products in short time, and therefore their work got steady. I thought those development are all towards positive direction for the first time. Here, I emphasized the word "labor" not the "artist."

On the other hand, there were also a reversed movement which is called Arts and Crafts Movement leaded by William Morris and John Ruskin. Their belief as artists is to make one and the only things, which is handicrafts.  Artists who didn't appreciate the benefit of Industrial Revolution were followed Morris' idea towards what is it to be as an artist. It is also obvious that after the Industrial Revolution, a lot of artists lost their job and their hard work didn't meet the demand anymore. But I was really impressed by their passionate art works and letterforms made by their own hands. Ironically part of their hard work was absorbed into digital and mechanical design however.

I think it can't be defined whether mechanically made products are better or hand made products are. But sadly, even today I feel like designs, products, or advertisement made by machine meets more demands than those made by artificially human hands. I think we need to look closely how beautiful and sensitive handicrafts are and we should not forget that all of the privileges are originally made by human hands. Graphic Designers have to think about merits of both handicrafts and digital designs.

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