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No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval systemor transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of thepublisher.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade, belent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise disposed of without the publisher’sconsent, in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it ispublished.

The correct price of this publication is the price printed on this page, Anyrevised price indicated by a rubber stamp or by a sticker or by any othermeans is incorrect and should be unacceptable.

First EditionMarch 2009 Chaitra 1931


© National Council of Educational Researchand Training, 2009

Rs. 170.00

Printed on 80 GSM paper with NCERTwatermark

Published at the Publication Departmentby the Secretary, National Council ofEducational Research and Training,Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi 110 016and printed at Gita Offset Printers,C-90, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I,New Delhi 110 020

ISBN 978-81-7450-944-4


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The National Curriculum Framework (NCF)–2005, recommends that children's

life at school must be linked to their life outside the school. This principle marks

a departure from the legacy of bookish learning which continues to shape our

system and causes a gap between the school, home and community. The syllabi

and textbooks developed on the basis of NCF signify an attempt to implement

this idea. They also attempt to discourage rote learning and the maintenance of

sharp boundaries between different subject areas. We hope these measures will

take us significantly further in the direction of a child-centred system of

education outlined in the National Policy on Education–1986.One of the key recommendation of the NCF is to increase the number of

options available at the senior secondary level. Following this recommendation,

National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has decided to

introduce certain new areas highlighted in the NCF for their potential for

encouraging creativity and interdisciplinary understanding. The present

textbook attempts to provide a new pedagogic approach to the specialised

study of Graphic Design. This approach focuses on combining background

knowledge with practical experience.This initiative can succeed only if school principals, parents and teachers

recognise that given space, time and freedom, children generate new knowledge

by engaging with the information passed on to them by adults. Treating the

prescribed textbook as the sole basis of examination is one of the key reasons

why other resources and sites of learning are ignored. Inculcating creativity and

initiative is possible if we perceive and treat children as participants in learning,

not as receivers of a fixed body of knowledge.These aims imply considerable change in school routines and mode of

functioning. Flexibility in the daily time-table is as necessary as rigour in

implementing the annual calender so that the required number of teaching

days is actually devoted to teaching. The methods used for teaching and

evaluation will also determine how effective this textbook proves for making

children's life at school a happy experience, rather than a source of stress or

boredom. Syllabus designers have tried to address the problem of curricular

burden by restructuring and reorienting knowledge at different stages with

greater consideration for child psychology and the time available for teaching.

The textbook attempts to enhance this endeavour by giving higher priority and

space to opportunities for contemplation and wondering, discussion in small

groups, and activities requiring hands on experience.NCERT appreciates the hard work done by the syllabus and textbook

development committee. The work for developing this interactive textbook was

challenging and the painstaking efforts by its Chief Advisor, Shri Krishan Ahuja

are praiseworthy. We are indebted to the institutions and organisations, which

have generously permitted us to draw upon their resources, materials and

personnel.We are especially grateful to the members of the National Monitoring

Committee, appointed by the Department of Secondary and Higher Education,

Ministry of Human Resource Development under the Chairpersonship of


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Professor Mrinal Miri and Professor G.P. Deshpande, for their valuable time and

contribution. As an organisation committed to systemic reform and continuous

improvement in the quality of its products, NCERT welcomes comments and

suggestions which will enable us to undertake further revision and refinement.

New Delhi

National Council of Educational

Research and Training


December 2008


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The National Curriculum Framework (NCF)–2005, emphasises the “importance

of multiplicity and fluidity of optional subjects at the senior secondary level….”

Considering the need the National Council of Educational Research and

Training (NCERT) in consent with Central Board of Secondary Education

(CBSE) has decided to introduce ‘Graphic Design’ as an optional subject for

Classes XI and XII at par with other subjects. Accordingly, the NCERT has

developed a Graphic Design course for senior secondary level. This course is

being offered to those who have passed Class X or equivalent examination, with

or without Art/Drawing/Painting as a subject.In our day-to-day life we are surrounded by information: logos, signs,

symbols, visual images, textual messages and so on. While travelling in a bus,

for instance, we see the road, the traffic, and the traffic signs . Some

information is important while some other is not. Some information makes

sense to us, other does not. Our eyes and mind are highly selective and always

look for information in the surrounding that is useful, meaningful and captures

attention that is properly designed or interesting.This book on ‘Graphic Design’ for Class XI is about enhancing visual

awareness and design sensitivity. Everyone of course, uses her/his visual

awareness to some extent but graphic designer goes beyond it and is specially

trained to get deeper insights into designing information around us in a best

possible way. The crafts of ‘how to design’ is not the only concern of this book.

The book is about understanding the development and philosophy of graphic

art, design and graphic design.As every student is unique and has different needs similarly the subject of

graphic design cannot be taught, like other subjects. Graphic design is taught

through the method called Learning by Doing . A student goes through the

whole course of carefully worked out exercises, practical and projects and at the

end develops insights about graphic design. At every instance, teacher

monitors growth and development of student by looking at individual needs and

requirements and by giving personal attention. In the process student learns

to generate creative ideas, visualisation of creative concepts,

use of appropriate medium and materials; and also learns the visual language

of graphically expressing and communicating. At the end of the course of

Class XI, the student will be capable of understanding various theoretical

concepts as well as would have gained sufficient experience of expressing and

‘ ’

‘ ’

and get motivation

communicating through graphic design. The students are expected to yearly

submission of portfolio consisting of selected works (at least 20) produced

during the year. The works should be rich in terms of material exploration and

visual impact.Graphic design has great potential in developing aesthetic sensibility,

creativity and skills. The experience and skills gained through this course at

school level, may lead students to pursue the subject at higher education since

most of the art or art-related institutions offer the opportunity to do a masters

level programme in this area to produce a work force. The aesthetics teaches to

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appreciate a work of art. In this age of information technology, if the technical

knowledge is combined with creative thinking and execution, there awaits a

golden age for creators and graphic designers.The course is not only linked with the opportunities for higher studies at

university level but is also designed to help students to find employment

avenues in different fields, institutions, organisations, agencies working for

print and non-print media. After leaving school they can get associated with

graphic design studios or produce original works of graphic design to become

self-reliant.The Council is grateful to those who have contributed to the development of

this textbook. The utility of this book could, of course, be judged by its users,

mainly the students, teachers and parents. Their comments, observations and

criticism would be greatly valued by NCERT and will certainly help in bringing

out a revised version at an appropriate time in future.


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Krishan Ahuja, (Retd.), College of Art, Delhi

Anil Sinha, , Communication Design,National Institute of Design, Ahemdabad

Dinesh Puri, , CRPF Public School, Rohini, New Delhi

Sujay Mukherjee, , Future Hope, 1/8, Rowland Road, Kolkata

Vinod Vidwans, , Foundation for Liberal andManagement Education, Pune

Sunil Kumar, , DEAA, NCERT New Delhi

Associate Professor

Senior Faculty




Reader ,

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The Story of Graphic Design

Pro Vice Chancellor



A History of Graphic Design ,

The Oxford Companion to Art

Indian Symbology (Ed.)

Indian Language: Font

Designing and Font Technology

A History of Graphic Art

, Bhartiya

Chhappachitrakala: Aadi Se Aadhunik Kal Tak

, Indian Art, A Concise


A Concise History of Indian Art

Banglar Vrata

Madhubani Painting

Indian Printed and Painted Fabrics,

is the result of a collective efforts of a large

number of professionals, educationists, school teachers, editors and designers.

Each unit is shared, discussed and revised over months of rigorous exercise.

National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) thanks all who

participated in the process. We thank in particular the members of Textbook

Development Committee for their valuable suggestions in developing this

textbook: Professor Bhuleshwar Mate, , Assam University

Diphu Campus, Assam; Shri Dattatraya Apte, Design and Display Division,

ITPO, New Delhi; Shri G. Vinod Kumar, Delhi Public School, R K Puram,

New Delhi; Shri Pulak Dutta, Department of Graphic Art, Kala Bhavan, Vishva

Bharti, Shantiniketan, West Bengal and Dr Ram Babu Pareekh, ,

Regional Institute of Education, NCERT, Ajmer.The contributions for reviewing the manuscript by Professor

M. Vijayamohan, , College of Art, Tilak Marg, New Delhi, Professor

Nagaraj Paturi, FLAM, Pune, Anjan Bose, Tagore International Public School,

New Delhi; and R. S. Akela, Government Boys Secondary School, Matia Mahal,

Jama Masjid, Delhi are also acknowledged. The contribution of Central Board of

Secondary Education (CBSE) in developing portfolio assessment is also

acknowledged.The ideas drawn upon from existing printed materials are also

acknowledged: , Philip B. Meggs, 2nd ed. New York,

Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992; , Harold Osborne,

Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1970; , Professor Kirti Trivedi,

I.D.C., Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, 1987;

, Professor R. K. Joshi, Vishwabharat@tdil,

April 2005 Journal (online Journal by Ministry of Information Technology,

Government of India); , James Cleaver,

Peter Owen Limited, 50 Old Brampton Road London SW 7, 1963;

, Sunil Kumar, National Book

Trust India and Bhartiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi, 2000;

, Roy C Craven, Thames and Hudson Ltd. London, 1976; Reprinted 1995

(Previously published as );


Abanindranath Tagore, Visva Bharati Press; ,Upendra

Thakur, Abhinav Publication; John Irwin

and Margret Hall and paper presentations of Anil Sinha and Sujay Mukherjee.During the preparation of this book various information were collected

from different World Wide Web sites. There are also acknowledged.http://

Tribal Art of Middle

India, Verrier Elwin, Oxford University Press, 1951;

http://, free encyclopedia


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www.bradshawfoundation.comhttp://“Mandala”, Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2008http:// © 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

We have made every effort and care to acknowledge credits, but we

apologise in advance for any omission that may have inadvertently taken place

and is unintentional.


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Pages 2 and 3 - Figure 1.5 -

Figure 1.7 - Websters’s International Encyclopedia Pages 12 and

13 - Beggars receiving Alms A History of Graphic Art

Figure 2.1 - Websters’s International Encyclopedia Figure

2.2 - Figure 2.3 - Los

Caprichos A History of Graphic Art

Figure 2.4 - Figure 2.5 - Figure 3.24 - The Scream


Figure 3.33 - Last Supper

Figure 4.1 - Figure 4.5 and 4.10 - Tribal Art of Middle India

Figure 4.11, 4.12, 4.13 and 4.14 -

Pages 52 and 53 Figure 5.2 -

Figure 5.5 and 5.6 - Figure 5.7, 5.8

and 5.9 - Figure 5.10 -

Figure 5.11 - Figure 5.12 and 5.13 -

Tribal Art of Middle India

Figure 5.14 -

Figure 5.15 Figure 5.16 and 5.17 -

Sunil Kumar;

J1.htm; Flags ;

Etching by Rembrandt, ,

James Cleaver, 1963; ;;

Aquatint by Goya, , James Cleaver, 1963;

Anil Sinha; Sunil Kumar;

Edvard Munch, 1893, National Gallery, Oslo The Great Artist, A Marshall

Cavendish Weekly Collection, 74, UK; Leonardo da

Vinci, 1495-97

Sunil Kumar; ,

Verrier Elwin, Oxford University Press, 1951;

Sunil Kumar; - Kolam ;

Professor Nagraj Paturi; Sujay Mukherjee;


, Verrier Elwin, Oxford University Press, 1951;

: Professor. Nagraj Paturi;

“Mandala," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2008 and

Http:// Sunil Kumar; 9 -;



Figure 6.2 - Figure 6.4 Figure 6.7 -

Figure 6.8 - Figure 6.

Figure 7.1 -

Figure 7.11 - Figure 7.12 -

Figure 7.13 -

, Figure 7.18 -

; to ;

Sunil Kumar;

Cal ico Museum, Ahemedabad;

; Earliest wood

cut, 1423, Processes of Graphic Reproduction in Printing, Harold Curwen,

Faber and Faber Ltd, London ; Georgetown Frame

Shoppe, 2902-1/2 M St. NW Washington, DC


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This book on Graphic Design for Class XI is about

developing visual understanding and sensitivity

towards design. The crafts of ‘How to Design’ is not the

only concern of this book but exposes through the

method called ‘Learning by Doing’. To make it possible

that students go through the whole course of carefully

worked out exercises, practicals and projects,

documentation of work in a portfolio is suggested in the

study. Portfolio will provide an opportunity to teachers

at every instance to monitor the growth and

development of students by looking at an individual’s

creative work and giving personal attention. In the

process students learn and get motivation to generate

creative ideas, visualisation of creative concepts, use of

appropriate medium and materials.A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student’s

work that exhibits student’s efforts, progress, and

achievements in overall areas of the curriculum.

The portfolio needs to be maintained by the student

throughout the year. It reflects the growth in thinking,

evolution in creative skills and a change in attitude and

values of the learner through the class assignments,

home-work, projects, documentation, field-trip reports

and other educational task assigned. Each chapter of

the book contains ‘Practical Activities’ that have been

earmarked for inclusion in the portfolio.

A portfolio helps learners to think about their creative

ability as well as their observation and execution skills.

It helps them to reflect on their work in progress and

make judgments about the quality of their own work in

consultation with the teacher.

To enable a student to develop the ability to:create, document and preserve an original body of

graphic design works;think critically about it;continuously reflect on one’s own work in terms of

elements and principles of graphic design;monitor and assess one’s creative abilities over a

period of time through the designs produced;identify one’s own strengths and weaknesses in

creating works of graphic design.

The Specific Objectives of a Portfolio

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What Contains a Portfolio?





Distinguishing Characteristics of a Portfolio


A portfolio represents a collection of student's best graphic design works as

well as the best efforts, including the drafts, rough-sketches, scribbles and

drawings as an evidence of gradual growth and development towards

mastering the skills. It is a documentation of students’ journey towards

imbibing creative skills required for graphic design.Although there are many variations of portfolio building, most of them

fall into two basic types - process portfolios and product portfolios. These

are not the only kinds of portfolios, even also not of pure types, hence are

not clearly distinct from each other.The first step is to develop a process portfolio, which documents

growth of a student over time towards the desired objectives clearly spelt

out in the curriculum. Documentation includes the statement of a design

problem given to students or the ‘brief’ given to students, contextual

description if any, description by students about how to approach and

tackle the design problem, evaluation criterion, scribbles and

doodles–since doodles are the wheels of thought and therefore, their

documentation mirrors students’ thought process, all the rough sketches,

student’s honest reflections about the assignments or projects, etc.

teachers’ comments on the work, written remarks or corrections on

students’ works.The next step is to develop a product portfolio also known as a

‘best works portfolio’. These include finished works which demonstrate

attainment of students skills and capabilities as a graphic designer. The

student, either individually or with the help of teachers or parents, are

involved in selecting the ‘best works’ and therefore the selection of

‘best works’ is also a part of learning process. Always there are two types of

criteria - firstly, certain criteria are clearly spelt out before beginning of the

assignment. Secondly, the principles of graphic design discussed in the

textbook are the default criteria applicable to all the projects and

assignments. So, students should select their ‘best works’ accordingly.These two steps of portfolio building are crucial. However, sufficient

freedom is given to students to build portfolio in an innovative way.

If student shows an inclination for innovation or explicitly expresses the

desire to build a unique portfolio then student is encouraged by the teacher

to do so.

The assignments and projects, etc. documented and preserved in the

portfolio should be based on the textbook. All the works in the portfolio

should be checked and signed by the teacher.


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Flow and Continuity

Explicit Criteria of Evaluation

Integration and Application

Portfolio Assessment: Self assessment

Portfolio Assessment: by Teachers/Evaluators

An important feature of portfolio is that the works are added at many

points in time during the entire period of the curriculum. Rather than

including only the best works, the portfolio includes examples of different

stages of mastery. At least some of the works should be self-sufficient, if

possible, to show the growth of the student. This allows a much richer

understanding of the process of learning.

The students are told in advance what is expected of each assignment or

project, etc. so that students can organise the portfolio accordingly and

also it will have positive impact on quality of work.

Portfolio should establish a correspondence between academic activities

and life. Teachers have a larger role to play in this regard along with

students. Students are asked to demonstrate how they can apply their

skills and knowledge achieved through assignments and projects, etc. to

real-life situations.A well-designed portfolio reflects the effectiveness of teacher's

intervention at the same time it shows the growth of the learner.

It also serves as document worth sharing with family, friends and

community members.

Self-assessment is the best way to assess a portfolio by the student.

Self-assessment improves students’ ability to assess their strengths

and weaknesses in creative process and their progress in related areas. It

helps share their experience of growth and improvement and their

awareness of what they know, what they are learning, areas and skill

that need improvement and so forth. Students learn how to interact

effectively with their teachers and parents to gain an even fuller picture

of their own achievements and progress. For students to use

portfolio assessment to grow in their understanding of themselves as

learners, they need guidance and support from their teacher. It is a

good idea to allow students to prepare a self-assessment report based

on the portfolio that can be considered by the evaluators at the

time of assessment.

While assessing student portfolio, evaluators need to take into account the

self-assessment done by the student. Evaluators may agree or disagree

with it; however, there should be a mention of it in the final assessment.


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Portfolio assessment is a multi-faceted process characterised by the

following qualities:It is continuous and ongoing process, providing both formative and

summative opportunity for monitoring student’s progress toward

achieving the objectives.It provides for collaborative reflecting, including ways for students to

reflect about their own thinking process and introspection as they

monitor their own comprehension, reflect upon their approaches to

graphic design, problem-solving, designedly decision-making and

observe their own emerging understanding of subjects and skills.It focuses upon student’s experiential learning as well as their

acquisition of key knowledge, skills and attitudes.Portfolio contains samples of work that stretch over an entire

evaluation or study period, rather than one time evaluation at the end

of the study.Portfolio contains works that represent a variety of different

assessment criteria specific to different assignments and projects, etc.Portfolio contains a variety of works and appreciation and

assessment of the work by the students, peers, teachers and parents is

always possible.For thoughtful evaluation to take place, teachers must have multi-

dimensional criteria of assessment to evaluate student’s progress. Criteria

for a finished portfolio might include the following:Thoughtfulness including evidence of students’ monitoring of their

own comprehension, reflection, and overall thinking style.Novelty, originality and uniqueness are the main guiding criteria.Communicability of design, usefulness and usability, robustness of

design is valued.Sense of beauty, elegance and spontaneity is evident through the

work.Precision, accuracy and craftsmanship are demonstrated in the work.Growth and development in relationship are key to curriculum skills

and indicators specific to each assignment and projects, etc.Understanding and application of key concepts and skills acquired.Completeness, correctness, and appropriateness of tasks and

methods presented in the portfolio.Application and exploration of principles of graphic design such as

visual balance, proportion, contrast, harmony, rhythm, centre of

interest, etc. as discussed in the textbook.It is especially, important for teachers and students to work together to

prioritise those criteria that will be used for various assignments and

projects as a basis for assessing and evaluating student’s progress, both

formatively and summative. As the school year progresses, students and

teachers can work together to identify especially significant or important


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activities in addition to those given in the textbook and to be captured in

the portfolio. Finally, some form of discussion or investigation is done as

part of the summative evaluation process.The syllabus document clearly states that 20 marks will be earmarked for

Portfolio Assessment. These are meant for continuous assessment and

student will need to attempt the activities given at the end of each chapter

of all units. To ensure that the portfolio is taken seriously the CBSE/Public

School Examination Board has also provided for an external monitoring

mechanism by experts to be nominated by the Examination Board on a

random sampling basis.

Apart from exercises and practicals at the end of each chapter the book

contains boxes, activities and projects. Box is meant to enrich the learning

process, but not for evaluation. Activities, visits, projects and practicals

will form part of portfolio and evaluated.

The book also provides an exhaustive bibliography with technological

terminologies used in Graphic Art and Design. Bibliography will enhance

the understanding of graphic design subject. A tentative list of art

institutions is also part of book. The list may be helpful in providing

information to the students who wants to persue higher studies in art.

Further Defining



Informationin Box



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Introduction to Graphic Design

Graphic Art, Design and Graphic Design

Elements and Principles of Graphic Design

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The term graphic design refers to anumber of artistic and professionaldisciplines which focus on visual

communication and presentation. Variousmethods are used by combined symbols,images and words to create a visualrepresentation of ideas and messages. Agraphic design uses typography, visuals andlayout techniques in varying degrees toproduce the final result. It often refers to boththe process (designing) by which thecommunication is created and the products(designs) which are generated.

A work might include a logo or otherartwork, organised text and pure designprinciples and elements such as shapes,colour, balance, harmony which unify thepiece. Composition is one of the mostimportant features of graphic designespecially when utilising pre-existingmaterial or using diverse elements.

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When we look around we find that we are surrounded by a

number of pictures, photos and images. These visuals are

various forms of graphic design. Graphic design is part of our

daily life from simple things such as postal stamps to huge

hoardings and advertisem*nts on clothes, etc. Graphic design

makes it easier to interact and communicate, stimulate mind,

attract attention and provide information to the user in an

aesthetically elegant manner. Graphic design is a major

component of visual communication and it comprises a variety

of communication medium and strategies in order to convey a

visual message to the target audience. These visuals are

representations of thoughts, emotions, ideas and reality.

While communicating, if a person communicates using a

language, then it is termed as ‘verbal communication’. Radio-

broadcast and loudspeaker announcements are very good

examples of verbal communication. But if someone does not

use a language and uses some other medium to communicate

then it is called ‘non-verbal communication’. Non-verbal

communication takes place through visual images, logos,

newspaper advertisem*nts as well as other media such as

music, dance, body gestures or acting. Films, television,

theatre, animation, multimedia and the internet are some of

the examples where verbal as well as non-verbal mediums of

communication are successfully combined.

Among non-verbal medium of communication, visual

media is the most widely used media. Graphic design deals

mainly with visual communication. Contemporary graphic

design practice has been engaged in digital technology also.

Today most graphic designers are working in new areas, viz.

new media, interaction design, information architecture and

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Figure 1.1 A peaco*ck havingbeautiful patterneddesign on its feather

Figure 1.2 A digital clock

Figure 1.3 Books, magazines andnewspaper have text andvisuals

graphical user interface (GUI) design. Therefore, a

contemporary graphic designer requires a range of technical

skills, aesthetic sense, an imaginative mind and creativity.

You might, however, still be wondering what graphic design

really is?

The sun rises…

The birds chirp…

… Eyes open…

You get up on the bed and see newspaper headlines

(typography- graphic design!)

You have breakfast and you see a ‘logo’ on the milk pack (once

again graphic design!)

You drive a bike and see the ‘traffic signs on the road! (Graphic


You open your computer and click on the ‘icon’ (graphic design


... And it goes on...

Graphic design has merged with our lifestyle in a big way.

From the moment we get up in the morning till the time we go

to sleep in the night, we are surrounded by graphic designs.

We wake up in the morning and see the time in the clock.

Readability of numbers, colour of the dial, everything has an

impact on us. Then we want information and read a

newspaper. News flows through all the pages of a newspaper

with appropriate attention to text, type sizes and layout.

Graphic design is everywhere

Graphic design makes things intelligible


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Graphic design provides safety

Can you imagine a newspaper with text scattered everywhere

without any columns or layouts? Graphic design makes

understanding simpler, organised and better. Graphic design

has always contributed and impacted society in a constructive

way by helping people to create a clear and imaginative visual

communication. It helps to relate tendencies of people

amongst each other, with culture, economics and social lives

and thus creating awareness about environment and society.

Can you imagine if an instruction booklet is not provided how

will you operate a new device?

You step out of your house and see so many graphic images

around you — a poster on the nearby wall, bill board and neon

signs on the nearby shop, and many other signages and

symbols. Do you know how many accidents will take place if

the road signage does not exist?

The earliest road signs were milestones, showing distance

or directions; for example, the Romans erected stone columns

throughout their empire showing the distance to Rome. In the

Middle Ages, multi-directional signs at intersections of roads

became common. The basic patterns of most traffic signs were

set at International Road Congress conference in 1908 in

Rome. Since then there have been considerable changes in

their design to make them more user friendly and meaningful.

Now it is very common in countries to install signage,

known as traffic signs or road signs, at the side of the roads to

give information to commuters. As different people speak, read

and write different languages which can create barriers in

understanding the written words and therefore uniform and

similar looking international signs using symbols in place of

words have been developed and adopted in most countries.

Figure 1.4 Traffic symbols shouldalso have theirmeanings. Road signsprovide information tofollow

Figure 1.5 Roman Milestone


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Milestones or the indicators of distance on Indian

highways have white background with a yellow or green top.

The names of cities and distances are painted in black. The

names of nearest towns and cities are written along with

distance in kilometres. On undivided highways, both sides of

the milestones are used, the distance to the nearest

cities in both directions. The head of the milestone has the

highway number written on it. The side of the milestone has a

number that indicates the distance covered by the commuter

and the remaining distance. With changing times, new

generations of traffic signage with an intelligent information

systems are being developed.


Today, the signages are designed

using various types of materials suitable even for night vision

and low-light visibility.

It is evident that human beings have been relating to forms

and symbols from primitive times and it helped them build up

association and identity. From earlier times people are using

flags to exhibit their identity. A flag is a piece of cloth, often

flown from a pole or mast, generally used as a symbolic tool for

signalling or identification. This was especially used where

communication was difficult otherwise and still are used for

signalling by railways, ships, even on airport runways

including project, institution and national identity.

Graphic design and identity

From road signs to technical

r e p o r t s , f r o m i n t e r - o f f i c e

memorandums to reference

manuals, graphic design enhances

transfer of information. Readability

is enhanced by improving the visual

presentation of text. Graphic

design makes life convenient as it

makes information more accessible

and understandable. How many

people will be lost if directional

signage does not exist?

Figure 1.6 Signals of differentcolours give differentinstructions. Zebracrossing is used bypedestrians to crossthe road safely.


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Figure 1.7 Flags of differentcountries




Sri Lanka



The Indian National Flag is the symbol of the land and people ofIndia. Our National Flag is a tricolour panel made up of threerectangular panels or sub-panels of equal widths. The colour ofthe top panel is India saffron and that of the bottom isIndia green. The middle panel is white, bearing at its centre thedesign of the Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24equally spaced spokes. The Ashoka Chakra is visible on bothsides of the Flag in the centre of the white panel. The Flag isrectangular in shape with the ratio of the length to the height(width) being 3:2.

Dr S. Radhakrishnan explained about the National Flagin the Constituent Assembly which adopted it, ‘‘ or the

colour denotes renunciation or disinterestedness. Thewhite in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide ourconduct. The green shows our relation to the soil, our relationto the plant life here on which all other life depends. TheAshoka Wheel is the wheel of the law of . Truth or

, or virtue ought to be the controlling principlesof those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotesmotion. There is life in movement. India must move and goforward.’’



dharmasatya dharma

Figure 1.8 National Flag ofIndia

Flags were invented and first used by ancient Indians.

The usage of flags spread from India and China to

neighbouring Burma, Thailand and south-eastern Asia. Flags

are also adopted by socio-cultural institutions or groups to

represent religion, associations, sports and so on and so forth.

Institutions and organisations represent their ideologies

through flags. In fact, every institution is formed on certain

strong thoughts and principles that need to be communicated

to gain trust of people and establish their identity

through flags.

National flags are patriotic symbols and have colours with

varied wide-ranging interpretations. Many national flags and

other flags have symbolic designs, reference or patterns. Flags

are usually rectangular in shape (often in the ratio of 3:2 or

5:3), and of any shape or size that is suitable for flying,

including square, triangular, or swallow tailed and usually in

sets of different colours.

Logos are another form of identity. We find ourselves

surrounded by different logos, symbols and brands. Graphic

designs have a unique ability to sell a product or idea through

effective visual communications. It is widely used in designing

company identity using logos, text and colour. Branding has

increasingly become important in the corporate sector and


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industry. When you go to market, you have various choices

available for buying a product but there will be a few which

will attract your attention, because of its attractive design

and packaging. Packaging design is a part of graphic design

which also has an important role in identification.

Every signage on the road side calls you and tries to capture

your attention. In fact, literate as well as illiterate people are

equally benefited by visual information or graphics. You step

into a bus or a train and you will see lots of information

surrounding you. Providing information about everything

from shops, malls and doctors to festivals and cultural

programmes in the city or town is done through graphics.

Graphics are useful in providing information during natural

calamities, earthquakes, disasters and even during a war.

Graphics are used in textbooks of all subjects and

particularly in geography, science, language, history and

mathematics to illustrate theories and concepts. Common

examples of graphics in books are maps and diagrams.

Graphic design is also used in designing of educational

materials to make the instructional material more

accessible, interesting and more easily understandable.

Graphic design combined with visual communication

with user interaction makes information seeking a

fascinating experience through aesthetically designed

interactive websites. Websites create both the look and feel

and enhance online experience to a web user. Every page of a

website is full of icons. You click an icon in search of

information and a whole world of information opens up in

front of you. The further you search the more information you

get. It has become important to understand the intricacies of

the digital medium with translation of graphic ideas into

experiential ideas.

Graphic design expresses and informs

Figure 1.11 Institutional andmathematical signs

‘Logo’ is a symbolic visual/textual

representation of the ideology and

principles of an organisation. Logotype is

a logo designed by using letterforms or


Figure 1.9 Logos of differentinternationalorganisations

Figure 1.10 AIDS (AcquiredImmune DeficiencySyndrome)


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The primary requirement for graphic designing is a

creative mind. Observation, critical thinking and analytical

thinking enhance graphic design capabilities. Traditional tools

such as pencil, pen and brush are absolutely important. Apart

from that, contemporary graphic design requires

understanding of digital tools and technology. Selection of

appropriate tools to address communication solution at hand

is also a key skill in graphic design, and surely a defining factor

for aesthetically appealing design.

Figure 1.12 Textual materialwith graphics

1. Explain the difference between verbal communication and

non-verbal communication giving some examples.

2. How do you think graphic design helps in providing safety?

3. Graphic design contributes to design identities. Discuss.

Collect images of at least twenty logos. Select five symbols

that you like the most and analyse their graphic features.

Design is not just about creating beautiful images, it

generates new thoughts, provokes mind, creates or

changes mindset and ultimately changes people and


Figure 1.13 Home page of thewebsite of NCERTwith interactive iconsand visuals


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Beggars receiving alms, etching by Rembrandt

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Graphic art and design span the history of humankind from

cave paintings to the dazzling neon signs of the modern era.

In both its history and in the relatively recent expansions of

visual communication in the twenty-first century, there is

sometimes a blurring distinction and overlapping relation of

advertising art, graphic design and fine art. They share many

of the common elements, theories, principles, practices

and language. The essence of graphic design lies in

representing information, providing form to ideas, expression

and feeling and giving shapes to artefacts that document

human experience.

The word ‘Graphic’ has been derived from the Greek word

. It stands for writing, drawing (pictorial or symbolic

rather than verbal) and ‘Art’ meaning skill applied to a

production of beauty or to a work of creative imagination.

In general, the phrase ‘graphic art’ covers a large number of

activities from designing logos to book printing, from

symbol designing to artistic print-making, from commercial

arts to fine arts. Diagrammatical drawings, signs and

symbols either painted or printed are also included under the

rubric of ‘graphic art’, but the phrase is largely used for

printing activities.

It is possible to trace back the roots of the graphic design

in history. Humans always have the desire to communicate

and preserve their knowledge, ideas, skills and life experiences

for future generations. This drive has revealed itself in

many forms. Their first attempts to communicate were






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through body signs, gestures and symbols. Later on

through using words or language, through legends and story-

telling; and then by means of some visible form through

engraving etching

clay, wood, met , paper


The drawing expressions discovered in 1940 are

considered to be the finest and oldest examples of

prehistoric art. Carbon dating suggests that images were

created between 15,000 and 17,000 years ago in the caves

near Montignac, in the Dordogne region, in south west

France. Whereas the earlier pictographic representations are

about 5,000 years old while the most recent written language

is around 1,000 years old.

All are the significant milestones in the history of

graphic design and other fields which h roots in

graphic art.

In India Bhimbetka caves surrounded by the northern

boundaries of Vindhya mountain ranges near Bhopal have

more than 600 caves that have the oldest prehistoric paintings

in India. And out of the 24 world heritage sites Bhimbetka

caves have been recognised by UNESCO in India, as one of the

oldest. These caves had been used as a shelter by people from

the earliest periods. Thus, you find paintings of all periods

starting from the Paleolithic era to the medieval era.

The paintings turn out to be a mirror showing evolution of

humanity through time.

These are very old accomplished renderings of animals

resting or in action. The depiction shows their

draughtsmanship, sense of observation, memory and drawing

skills which overrides the limitations of inadequate materials.

These were drawn on rough walls of cave rocks. The meaning

of some of them remains undiscovered.

Are these, symbols of magical power invoking favourable

conditions, through the miracle of creative art?

Are these, drawings of animals to gain power for hunting?

Or perhaps they were primitive artists who had no

message to convey but a desire to create?

preserving in caves on stone, carving, ,

and writing on al or any other

available material



Similarly, in Europe, the cave

drawings in the Altamira cave rocks of Mount Vispieres in

Spain have similar artefacts of the Paleolithic Age or Stone


ave their


Figure 2.1 Cave paintings,Altamira, Spain

Figure 2.2 Bhimbetka cavepaintings, India

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There are no simple answers to these questions. One thing is

for sure that these are the earliest graphic documentation or

representations of their experiences.

Across all the civilisations of the world, there is ample

evidence of graphic practices for documentation and

representation of life experiences. However, it was not called

graphic design in those days. Historically, graphic design has

originated from the art of painting during and after

renaissance in Europe. Initially it was called graphic arts.

The graphic arts were defined as the fine arts of drawing,

painting, engraving, lithography, wood-cut, print-making and

printing processes, etc.

During seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, engravers

copied the works of other artists. Then the photographic

techniques replaced the process of engraving, in print-

making. By and large it denoted reproductive techniques and

related processes and artists as well as craftsmen involved in

this activity were called graphic artists. Many professional

artists, viz. Durer, the first artist to engrave portrait, Lucas

Cranach, used etching and woodcut for reproduction of their

works. Rembrandt did more than 300 plates and explored the

expressive possibilities of the medium of graphic arts. In the

nineteenth century, many of the impressionist and post-

impressionist artists such as Goya, Manet, Degas, Renoir,

Gauguin used the lithographic process in new and original

ways as an aesthetic and expressive medium.


During Renaissance, design was considered as an integral

part of painting in Italy when a systematic vocabulary of

design was worked out. Around the fifteenth century,

the art theorists identified design (disegno), colour (colorito),

composition (compositione), and invention (invention) as the

four elements of painting.

During that period, i.e. century art critics used

to divide design into two parts: and

. In its wider meaning means a creative idea in

the mind of an artist, as this was often thought to be embed ed

in initial drawing or conceptual sketch. Thus Baldinucci, an

art critic and theoretician, defined design as a visible

demonstration by means of lines or sketches on the paper

(French- deeseing; Italian-Disegno; Sanskrit- Kalpa,


disegno interno disegno

esterno disegno





‘Los Caprichos’Figure 2.3Aquatint by Goya

Figure 2.4 Different designs


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which man first conceive in his mind and

picture in the imagination, hand made them appear


In sevent century, art critics who believed in the

philosophy of Socrates and Plato attached certain mystique to

the word ‘design’ due to the analogies drawn between creative

activity of the artist and the creation of world by God.

Accordingly, the power of design was held to distinguish an

artist from the craftsman. On the other hand the art critics and

historians who were the followers of Aristotle's philosophy

insisted that design must be based on a careful observation of

nature and does not require any mysterious powers.

In the modern context, usage of the term design in its

widest sense denotes the planning of any artefact whether for

use or for presentation. In the book titled

(1964), David Pye, a twentieth century critic, specified six

conditions of design. Firstly, design must follow essential

principles of composition or arrangement. Secondly, each part

of the design must be geometrically related with each other.

Thirdly, the parts of a design must be robust or strong enough.

Fourth condition of design is that it should communicate

the desired intention or a message to its users or the

audience.The fifth condition is that design should avoid the

possible unwarranted results or interpretations. Finally,

design should be properly accessible by the user or the

audience. During this period, theory of functionalism

influenced design thinking, which argued that form or the

structure of an artefact should follow function. Later a more

balanced opinion prevailed which argued that the function of

design may act as a guiding principle but not dictate the form

or beauty of the design. Thus the term design is used with

special regard to appearance then beauty of the form, style,

fashion or trend, etc.

The word ‘design’ is used in different senses in different

contexts. It has a wider meaning as well as a narrower

meaning. In a narrower sense it is used as ‘graphic design’,

‘industrial design’, ‘textile design’, or ‘fashion design’. In these

cases the term ‘design’ refers to highly specialised creative

activity pertaining to these fields. In a wider sense the term

‘design’ refers to purposeful activities that lead to creation of

something significant. The term ‘design’ is used in different

senses in different fields such as circuit design in electronics,

design of a building in architecture and design of a logo in

graphic design.

had d developed

then on a

surface in the form of expression or design


Nature of Design

Figure 2.5 ‘Transition’graphic print inaquatint medium


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Commonly the term ‘design’ is used as a noun to refer

some object or a pattern which is beautiful and/or useful. It

can be a sketch of an idea, a concept or a thought. For example

design of a washing machine, design of a car or design of a

futuristic car. It also refers to a beautiful pattern on the shirt,

sari or a cloth in the same sense.

‘Design’ as a drawing or a preliminary sketch.

‘Design’ as a graphic representation, especially a detailed plan

for construction or manufacturing, such as an architectural

plan of a building.

‘Design’ as a purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or

details as elegant design of an aeroplane.

‘Design’ as a decorative or an artistic work or an ornamental


The word ‘design’ is also used in another sense as a verb to

refer to a process or an activity that results into a design. The

process of designing involves a series of activities that finally

leads to a product or an artefact. This process or activity of

designing can be a mental process and/or a physical process of

making artefacts or objects of design. The process can also

involve a group of people, system or entire organisation. Thus,

the process of design can be an individual process as well as a

group process.

‘To design’ means to conceive or fashion in the mind such as

‘visualising’ a futuristic car or an aeroplane.

‘To design’ means ‘to innovate or invent’ something new such

as a new type of mobile phone.

‘To design’ means ‘to formulate a plan’ for an event or making

arrangements for a function in a planned and systematic


‘To design’ means ‘to devise a strategy’ for launching a new

product in the market.

‘To design’ means ‘to have as a goal or purpose’ or an intention

such as to design a vehicle that will not cause pollution.

As a noun the word ‘design’ is used in the following ways

The word ‘design’ is used as a verb to denote some activity

in the following sense

Figure 2.6 Drawings ofdifferent objects


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‘ To design’ means ‘to create or execute’ in an artistic or highly

skilled manner for example creating an artwork for an


Thus, the term design as a noun as well as a verb has

many meanings and usages in different contexts. The

word design is used to refer to the process as well as the output

of the process. Now you must have realised that when a

concept is created and you are engaged in the process of

developing an idea as well as you are

creating beautiful patterns/design on your creation

and also finally there is a new design of a concept at

the end.

Broadly, design involves two stages: the first stage is a

mental activity of imagination, visualisation and generation of

new concepts or ideas. The second stage is the stage of

manifesting or articulating these ideas using some medium

of expression and/or communication. When an idea is

generated in the mind, it is in an abstract form. Then at

the second stage it is articulated in some form which is

perceivable or understandable. One can draw a sketch of the

concept, write it down on a piece of paper, act it out or

express through gestures and so on and so forth. The first

stage is termed as ‘ ’ (generation of mental

image or an idea) and the second stage is called ‘

’ (externalisation of the mental image or idea into a

physical form).


— design as a verb,

— design

as a noun ‘ ’

Therefore, the simplest definition of design

would be as follows:

Design is a purposeful or intentional activity to generate

concepts or ideas which are new in some sense and manifest

or represent them. The output of this activity is also

termed as design.

disegno interno



Figure 2.8 Architectural layout design of a house

Figure 2.7 A textile design

Figure 2.9 User friendlygadget designincludes design ofthe whole gadgetas well as userfriendly graphicimages andtypography on it.


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Graphic design differs from graphic arts because graphic

design is goal oriented while graphic art is not. That is why

graphic design comes under the rubric of ‘design’. Secondly,

graphic design activity is always concerned about target user

or target audience and attempts to fulfil user requirements. On

the other hand, graphic art activity is not practised keeping the

user in mind. Graphic art is practised for its own sake as well

as for pursuing a higher aesthetic experience.

Graphic design involves the process of transformation of

the mental concept into actual form through specific medium

which is called representation. The activity of representation is

the crux of graphic design.

Graphic design spans over but not limited to the activities

mentioned below:

Design of logos, graphics, letterheads, brochures,

newsletters, posters, signs, advertisem*nts and any other

type of visual communication.

Combining text and graphics to communicate an effective


Representation, decoration, and writing or printing on

two-dimensional and three-dimensional surfaces.

Techniques and crafts associated with drawing, engraving,

etching and lithography, photography, serigraphy and


Printing and bookmaking of all types for publications.

Figure 2.10 A modern motor vehicle

Figure 2.11 Solar energyvehicle

Figure 2.12 Structural design


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� Design for various media, such as print, digital media,

motion pictures, animation, product decoration,

packaging and so on.

Philip Meggs, a noted historian of graphic design defines

graphic design in his classical book .

He looks at graphic design from a historical point of view as


"Since prehistoric times, people have searched for ways to givevisual form to ideas and concepts, to store knowledge ingraphic form, and to bring order and clarity to information.Over the course of history, these needs have been filled byvarious people including scribes, printers, and artists. It wasnot until 1922, when the outstanding book designer WilliamAddison Dwiggins coined the term ‘graphic design’ to describehis activities as an individual who brought structural orderand visual form to printed communications, that an emergingprofession received an appropriate name.”

Thus, it appears that the term graphic design was used inthe context of book design and printing. However, primemotivation for graphic design activity was towardsrepresenting ideas and concepts for better communication andpreservation. Graphic design achieves the task ofrepresentation of ideas and concepts in an elegant andaesthetically acceptable way.

Graphic design has a remarkable impact on individuals,society and culture in general. Starting from prehistoric cavepaintings to the modern age, elements and concepts of graphicdesign are used to express, communicate or promote andprovoke. We can see plenty of examples throughout the historyof mankind where ideas, expressions, experiences,perceptions and stories are depicted through visual language.

History of Graphic Design

Graphic design has always contributed and impactedsociety in a constructive way. It helps people for clear andimaginative visual communication to relate people withpeople, cultures, economies and social lives. Graphic designhelps shape messages and images which create awarenessabout environment and society.

Therefore, a simple definition of graphic design would beas follows:

Graphic design is a purposeful activity of representationand communication of information in simple and effectiveways. It involves processes of imagination and visualisation for

Lalit kumar mourya

Lalit kumar mourya

Figure 2.13 Letterhead design

Figure 2.14 Logo design


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1. What is the difference between graphic art and graphicdesign? Explain by giving your own examples.

2. What is ‘Design’ ? Elaborate on David Pye’s concepts ofdesign by using examples of graphic design.

3. Define ‘graphic design’ in your own language.

Design an invitation card for a school festival/annualday/sports day.


generating ideas and represent them through the medium ofvisual perception by using visual language of basic elements,viz., dot, line, colour, texture, shape, form, two-dimensionaland three-dimensional space, typefaces and principles ofvisual language, viz., balance, rhythm, proportion, symmetry,contrast and harmony.

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Graphic design is about representation of ideas and concepts

for communication or expression. It requires a visual medium

of representation. A graphic design communicates through

the visual language of dots, lines, shapes and colours.

When we write something on a paper with black ink we ‘read’ it

because we see it first and then understand the meaning.

Reading is nothing but first and foremost, a visual perception.

Similarly, when we see a beautiful painting, it is a visual

perception. Visual perception has two basic components.

Firstly, there should be some material medium such as the

white surface of a paper, or black ink, colours that result into

dots, lines, shapes and so on. This material is called ‘medium’

in graphic design. Material medium is a vehicle of visual

perception. Secondly, visual perception happens through the

eyes and, therefore, visual sensitivity is very important.

Material medium and visual sensitivity, both play an

important role in graphic design.

Any random scribbling of ink on paper is not called

writing. Similarly, any random splash of colour on paper is not

called a beautiful picture. Therefore, a disciplined or proper

visual arrangement is required. Dots, lines, shapes, forms,

colours are the basic elements of graphic design without which

graphic design is not possible. Similarly, there are time-tested

rules or laws of arrangement of these elements so that they will

look beautiful and will be effective. These rules are called

principles of visual composition. A graphic designer needs to

learn and understand the role of basic elements and principles

of composition in design. They are the core of graphic design.

These elements and principles are discussed in detail here.



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Let us first discuss the elements of graphic design followed by

principles of composition.

There are three major categories of these elements.

Basic elements

Relational elements

Intentional elements

Basic elements of composition are abstract concepts. They do

not actually exist but seems to be present in a picture or in any

visual representation

In geometry, a point is defined as an entity without length and

breadth or an entity without any dimension. In graphic design

s represented in the form of a dot indicates a

position. It is the end or the beginning of a line. Dot

has a physical dimension which is a visual representation of

an abstract concept also known as point .

There is another interesting notion related to a ‘dot’.

Assume that there is a bird sitting on a tree or near your

window. You can see the bird in detail. When it starts flying

and goes away from you, all the details get blurred and you just

see a shape of a flying bird. As it goes further and further then

even the shape also gets blurred and finally you see a ‘dot’.

This dot need not be round in shape. It can have the shape of a

flying bird reduced to its limits of recognition. It appears as a

‘dot’. Therefore, a ‘dot’ can have any desired shape.

A line is defined as a one-dimensional entity having length but

no breadth. In graphic design, it is metaphorically defined as ‘a

line is a dot gone for a walk’, that is, a line is a point in motion.

However, in graphic design a line is depicted where it has

length as well as breadth. A line can be thin or thick. It can

have many variations in thinness and thickness.



a point i and it


‘ ’ For example, we feel

that there is a point at the angle of a triangle or wherever two

lines meet. This point is a basic element of design.





Figure 3.1 Scribbling drawing

Figure 3.2 Points

Figure 3.3 Dots of variousthickness

Horizontal straight lines ofvarying thickness

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Thinness or thickness of line creates a visual impact.

A thick line appears heavy and a thin line appears lighter in a

visual composition. Lines can be of various types. They can be

straight, curved, zigzag, decorative, ornamental, vertical,

horizontal, inclined, random or showing free movement.

Each type of line will create a visual impact. If lines are grouped

together then they will create even more visual impact.

Straight horizontal lines create a feeling of calmness.

Horizontal lines are stable. Vertical lines appear dynamic

and may also suggest upward mobility. Inclined lines are

unstable but may suggest growth or decay depending on

the context of use. Curved lines create various types of

rhythmic movements while zigzag lines create a feeling

of harshness. Decorative and ornamental lines create an

impact of Indian tradition. In all the above cases, thickness

and thinness of lines will either increase the visual impact

or reduce the impact.

Therefore, depiction of line in graphic design is not

just a representation of an abstract concept of a line but it

is a representation of emotions, expression as well as a

visual impact.

A plane is defined as an entity with length and breadth but no

depth. It is a two-dimensional flat or level surface.

Space is defined as an infinite expansion. It is also defined as a

collection of points in three dimensions. However, in graphic

design space is defined in terms of its visual representation in

a composition. Using the other elements of design such as

lines, colours and forms, it is possible to create an illusion of

three-dimensional spaces or volume on two-dimensional



Figure 3.4 Lines of differentcharacteristics

Curved line

Zigzag line

Horizontal rhythmic line

Rightwardslanted lines

Verticalstraight lines

Rhythmiclines merginginto eachother tocreatemeaningfulform

Activity 1

Collect images or photographs of lines from news

papers. Briefly describe the character and impact of

lines in the collected images.

Figure 3.5 Visual plane of three-dimensional object

Figure 3.6 Visual effect ofthree-dimensionalspace by tonalvariation

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surfaces. Similarly, a physical space as well as conceptual

(or mental) space can be represented in a composition.

A shape is a contour or well-defined outline of a two-

dimensional form. In the case of a three-dimensional form, a

shape will be the skeleton of a form. In the figurative drawings

of humans, natural things or man-made objects initially

shape, i.e., contours or outlines are depicted.

Form is

defined in two ways. In graphic design, form is understood as

one of the basic elements of visual composition as well as the

whole visual composition is also considered as having a

form . As a basic element of composition form is defined as a

shape that

colo r and other forms in the




Any shape, outline or structure of anything like the body of a

person, animal, tree, leaf or object is defined as ‘form’.

‘ ’

‘ ’

is ‘meaningful’. A shape is just an outline, but when

it is filled with some colour, texture or gradation it becomes

‘meaningful’ as well as it creates an illusion of three

dimensions. In such cases a shape becomes a ‘form’. Form also

becomes ‘meaningful’ due to its position in the visual

composition or its placement in the composition. Similarly, a

form becomes ‘meaningful’ due to its relationship with other

basic elements, viz. dots, lines, u

Figure 3.8 -Two and threedimensional basicforms

Figure 3.7 Visual effect ofthree-dimensionalspace by variationin size of trees, theirreflection, tonalvariation and alsocolour variation

Figure 3.9 Three-dimensional form Figure 3. he wholecomposition is treated as a formas well as the mountain inside thered triangle is also treated as anindividual form

10 Form as composition, t


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Figure 3.11 Basic form is alsounderstood as abasic structure asindicated withlines in abovefigures

Figure 3.12 An irregular formof a leaf

Figure 3.13 A palate is used tomix colours withbrush to getappropriatecombination, tint,tone or shade ofcolours

Whole composition is considered as a ‘form’, when the

overall visual impact of a composition is ‘meaningful’. In this

case, the overall impact is the cumulative result of all the basic

elements and their arrangement in a composition. Also, it is

the result of the overall relationship of each part of the

composition to the whole. In both cases, form as a basic

element as well as a whole, a ‘form’ becomes ‘meaningful’ since,

it generates a psychological impact in creating mood, emotions

and feelings in the minds of the audience. Apart from this a

form creates an impact if it has some unique features. In such

cases the audience recognise the form easily and remember it

for a longer duration.

In graphic design written text that is made up of typefaces

is also treated as form. Each word and sentence has a meaning

in a particular language but apart from that, the word or

sentence itself is treated as a visual form in a visual

composition. You can achieve maximum impact from a word or

sentence if its linguistic meaning and their visual treatment in

a composition are complementary to each other.

Colour is the basic and core attribute of visual perception and

therefore it is the most effective element of graphic design.

Can you imagine a world made up of only black, white and grey

shades? Colour is studied in physics, psychology, cultural

studies and many other disciplines of knowledge. In fine arts

and graphic design, colour is studied to understand its visual

properties such as hue, luminosity (intensity) and value.

Grey scale is an ordered arrangement of white, black and

various tones generated by mixing of white and black in

different proportions. When black and white are mixed in equal

proportions then the resultant tone is called ‘grey’ or ‘medium

grey’. If there is more amount of white and less black then the

resultant tone is called ‘tint’ or ‘light grey’. If there is less white

and more amount of black, then the resultant tone is called a

‘shade’ or ‘dark grey’.

Hue is a unique quality of colour by which a particular colour is

identified. Due to this quality, eyes can differentiate one colour

from the other. The colour ‘red’ is called red because eyes


Grey Scale


Figure 3.14 Grey scale


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recognise the quality called ‘redness’ of the colour. The same

applies to other colours also.

Luminosity is the brightness or freshness of a colour hue.

When a colour hue is pure, it is brightest. When a colour hue is

mixed with other colour hue or black or white, it loses its purity

and brightness. Graphic designers always try to preserve the

luminosity of the colour hue. If you go on mixing again and

again with different colour hues then finally the resultant

colour will be dull. Green colour with maximum luminosity on

the left side of the rectangle decreases luminosity as it is mixed

with blue colour towards right side of the rectangle as shown

in the image.

A visual texture is the characteristic of a surface that creates

an experience or the feeling of touch in a visual composition.

Many a time designers create an illusion of a tactile

experience. This is termed as simulated texture or implied

texture. Designers work with simulated texture as well as real

texture or both. When we run our fingers over a stone or a bark

of a tree, we experience the tactile feeling. The tactile

experience could be smooth or rough and most of the time it is

very difficult to express it in words. Designers create such

tactile experience through their designs by using colours and

any available material on a particular surface. Designers also

try to generate the same effect or an illusion of the same tactile

feel by using colours alone. People appreciate designer’s skill

in creating such an experience or creating illusion. Texture

also helps in creating and enhancing subtle feeling and mood.

This group of elements governs the placement and

interrelationship of the basic elements such as dot, line and

form in a visual composition to enhance the visual impact of

the composition.

Value is a relative darkness or lightness of a colour hue in

relation to a grey scale. Blue colour with light value

comparable with light grey values on the grey scale as shown

in the image.





Figure 3.15 Colour hue

Figure 3.16 Colour value

Figure 3.17 Colour luminosity

Figure 3.18 Various types oftexture


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Visual Thrust

Figure and Ground

When a group of elements in a composition are arranged in a

vertical or horizontal manner in such a way that they fall in

line, then this arrangement is called alignment. The elements

can be arranged in a diagonal manner also.

It is an arrangement of basic elements of graphic design that

helps in organising various elements in the composition. It can

be parallel or angular arrangement. Direction is perceived

always with reference to the observer, with reference to the

frame that contains it or with reference to the other major

forms in the context.

It is an arrangement of graphic elements that helps or guides

the audience’s eyes to move in a desired way in the

composition. It literally forces viewers to move in the expected

direction. Above mentioned directional elements contribute to

generate visual thrust. It is also termed as visual momentum.

Visual elements in a composition occupy space. The space

occupied by the majority of visual elements is called positive

space and rest of the space in the composition is negative


Activity 2

Activity 3

On a white paper take impressions of

interesting textures from your

surroundings. For this, first select a

surface in your surroundings, then

cover it with the white paper and with a

colour pencil, gently scratch over the

paper and try to capture the impression

of the surface texture. Now collect at

least twenty such interest ing

impressions and make a composition

out of it.

Each impression should be at least 3 cm by

3 cm in size. Size of the composition should

be 10 cm by 15 cm.

Collect different materials having different

texture surfaces and then make a

composition out of them. Size of the

composition should be 10 cm by 15 cm.

Figure 3.19 Relational elements

Figure 3.20 Aligned figure


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Visual Gravity


All of us experience earth’s gravity and associate heaviness or

lightness with it. Thus, the notion of gravity is established in

our mind. In the context of visual composition we tend to

attribute the notion of gravity in terms of visual heaviness or

lightness, stability or instability to individual elements or

group of elements in the composition. Therefore, big shapes in

the lower part of the composition appear heavier and small

shapes in the upper part appear lighter in the composition.

Visual gravity is also termed as visual weight.

All designs have some purpose or an intention. Graphic works

make an impact on the target audience. For example, an

advertisem*nt in a newspaper not only communicates the

information but because of appropriate graphics makes an

impact. This is possible due to the proper use of intentional

elements. There are three types of intentional elements:

Aesthetic, Content and Function.

Figure 3.21 Negative andpositive space.Here figuresconstitute thepositive spacewhile whitebackground istreated as anegative space

Figure 3.22 Visual gravitycreated by variedthickness of lines

Figure 3.23 Form as ameaningfulelement in acomposition


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Figure 3. The Scream,24 EdvardMunch 1893,National Gallery,Oslo. The figures inthe composition arealigned followingdirection by therailing and thewhole paintingcreate a visualthrust. Also all thelines create a visualthrust to supportthe emotionsexpressed in thepainting.

Activity 4

Collect images or photographs from magazines

and newspapers and classify them according to

various aesthetic styles.

Activity 5

Collect images or photographs from magazines and

newspapers and classify them according to the

categories of content.

Figure 3.25 Science kit isdesigned to keepthe tools and othermaterial used inconductingexperiments inclass




When a concept or an idea derived from nature is expressed

using dots, line colour, texture, shapes, etc. it is called

representation. The representation of a concept or natural

forms is called realistic if it is depicted as it is. It is called

stylised if the representation is decorative and ornamental. If

the representation eliminates unnecessary details and

representation is minimal then it is called abstract. All the

styles produce distinctive visual and thematic impact.

A message or a theme of the design is called the content. The

theme can be historical, socio-cultural, eco-friendly, or

scientific and so on.

It is the purpose or application of the design to deliver results.

Design can be informative, for instance, it can create

awareness about something or provide information about

something. Design can be expressive, i.e., it can be used to

express thoughts or emotions. In that case the function of the

design will be termed as expressive function. Sometimes

graphic design is used for giving instructions to operate an

instrument or machine or a kit, viz., science kit. Graphic

design is used to design a textbook, instructional manual,

educational CD-ROM, or it can be used as a teaching tool. In


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all such cases the function of graphic design is instructive

function. In advertisem*nts, many a time graphic design is

used to create an impact. It does not have any specific function

as discussed above; creating impact itself is the utilitarian

function of graphic design in such advertisem*nts.

There are several principles of design that have evolved over a

period of time. Understanding and practical application of

these principles is varied and diverse depending on the

designer's attitude and overall approach. These principles are

used in various fields, viz., graphic design, industrial design,

fine arts, and architecture. They are understood and

interpreted according to the need of the profession. However,

there is a certain consensus among practising designers

across all the disciplines about their nature and utility. Some

of the definitions of these principles are accepted and shared

across all the disciplines. By and large it is agreed that they

are generic principles related to design sensitivity and

designers use them to arrange or organise the basic elements

of design so that overall composition looks appealing. These

principles govern the relationship among various components

and basic elements of design. These are the principles of

aesthetic arrangement of components of design. They also

govern the relationship of parts of design to the overall

design. Successful application of these principles helps a

designer to achieve the purpose of graphic composition and

visual goals.

In any work of art or design the consideration of form, i.e.,

overall structure and its relationship with individual

components, fitness and unity has become a great source of

beauty. Every work of art or design supposes unity of graphical

basic elements, depicted by the artist or designers in the

composition. The beauty or elegance of design is considered as

the expression of design emerging out of principles of design

such as balance, unity, consistency along with careful

implementation of variety with rhythm.

Humans always experience balance in everyday life, for

example, riding a bicycle. It is used for controlling gravity.

Graphic designers apply same principle to control the visual

gravity or visual weight of various components in a

composition or design. The principle of balance provides a



Visual balance

Figure 3.26 A plane is abalanced form


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visual stability to design. There are three types of balance:

radial balance, symmetrical or formal balance and

asymmetrical or informal balance.

In radial balance, there can be multiple visual axes and all

should converge to one single point. It is interesting to try out

the possibility of having radial symmetry where the

convergence point needs not be in the centre of the

composition. The centre point can be anywhere in the

composition. With little bit more practice you can achieve this.

Radial balance generates radiating visual effect. Most of the

flowers have radial symmetry.

It is the most common balance and all of us are familiar with it.

Designers achieve this by placing graphic elements in one part

of the composition and then mirror it in the remaining part of

the composition. You can divide the composition vertically,

horizontally or diagonally. The line of division is called visual

axis. In symmetrical balance preferably there should be only

one axis. The main difference between the radial balance and

symmetrical balance is that symmetrical balance needs one

visual axis, while radial balance requires multiple axes and

Radial Balance

Symmetrical or Formal Balance

Figure 3.27 Different formsshowing radialbalance

Activity 6

Study the radial symmetry of different flowers and

analyse it.

Figure 3.29 Taj Mahal in Agrais a perfectarchitecturalexample ofsymmetricalbalanced design

Figure 3.2 Formal/Symmetricalbalance



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there should be a convergence point. Radial balance is the

advanced and complex type of symmetrical balance.

Symmetrical balance and radial balance are visually appealing

and widely used widespread across all civilisations. However,

beyond a point they become predictable and visually

uninteresting. Many people do not favour them. Therefore,

designers use them with caution.

Informal balance is achieved when the elements of

composition are not arranged along with and/or across the

visual ax s. On the other hand informal balance is achieved

only in terms of visual weight of all the basic elements spread

over the entire composition. To achieve this you need to

imagine or assume a visual axis of the composition and then

arrange basic elements one by one in such a way that they

should not appear like a mirror image of each

other. For instance if you place one large form one p

the composition then other part of the composition

elements may be of smaller

size but having equal visual weight. You can continue this

process of placing visual elements in a composition till you are

satisfied with the overall visual balance of the

When a basic element or a motif in a composition is repeated

with variation to guide the eye movement of the audience

gradually from one part of the composition to other parts of the

composition in an elegant way, then it is called visual rhythm.

If one motif is repeated again and again then that will create a


or repetitive

, at lace in

will create

asymmetrical balance, as many


While achieving informal balance many factors play an

important role. It requires proper understanding of visual

weights of all the basic elements with their relational

properties in the composition. For instance, dots and their

sizes, lines and their thickness, thinness, and movement,

positive and negative space, visual and relational properties of

colours, various colours and their relative impact, relative

visual weights of colour hues, colour values and colour

luminosities. Therefore, achieving informal balance in a

composition requires practice and deep understanding.

However, it is not difficult because it is a natural tendency of

humans to seek balance and therefore, designers follow their

visual sensitivity and intuition to achieve informal balance in

their compositions.

Asymmetrical or Informal Balance


Figure 3.30 Asymmetrical/Informal balance


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Figure 3.31 Rhythmic formsare created byrepeated curvedlines and dots withvariations

rhythm but it will be boring. But if while repeating the motif

there is a little variation with each variation in terms of

orientation, size, colour or any attribute of the motif then the

resultant rhythm will not be boring. Basic elements and the

relational elements can be organised to achieve interesting

patterns of rhythm. Visual order leads to a generation of

rhythm in a composition.

Proportion is the relative ratio between or among various

components of a composition as well as between a particular

component or a group of components and the overall ‘form’ of

the composition. The ratio can be expressed as a mathematical

formula, however, in visual composition, proportion is

understood as a relative ratio in terms of visual weight, size,

visual thrust and other visual relational properties of the

components. There are few well established ratios accepted in

the fields of art and design. ‘Golden Mean’ or ‘Golden Ratio’

(golden proportion) is based on the Fibonacci series. If two

sides of a rectangle follow the ratio of 1:1.618 then that

rectangle is called a golden rectangle. A famous painting titled

the Last Supper, painted by Leonardo da Vinci follows the

golden ratio. Many such ratios are well known and can lead to

interesting visual composition. For instance some of the

following ratios can result in interesting compositions:

1:1, 1:2, 2:3, 3:4, 4:5, 5:6.


Figure 3.32 Human bodygrows inproportion fromchildhood toadulthood.Relativeproportion of eachpart of body withother parts as wellas the whole bodychanges as wegrow old.


15 yr. toadults

10 yr. 5 yr. 3 yr. 1 yr.

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Figure 3.33 Last Supper byLeonardo da Vinci is the idealexample of all the elements andprinciples of visual compositionand organic unity. The originalpainting adheres to the ‘goldenratio’. Relative proportion ofits height to width is 1:1.618.Christ’s face is the centre ofinterest in the painting. All thehuman figures are either looking athim or their body actions aredirected towards his face includingall the lines of perspective of thebackground architecture. Lightcoloured sky visible throughwindow creates an impact of anaura around his head. The lightsky, dark colours of the interiorcreates maximum contrast. Due toall this a visual thrust is generatedso that our eyes come back to hisface repeatedly.



When two or more components in a composition are in

complete conformity or unison with each other then their

combination results in harmony. If the components are not in

perfect unison but adhere to certain ratios then it is

considered proportionate unison. Various colour schemes

discussed earlier are good examples of proportionate colour

harmony. There can be harmony of colour, shape, size, form,

etc. Skilful application of the principle of harmony leads to a

pleasant visual impact.

When two or more components of a composition have an

opposite visual impact in terms of certain attribute then the

resultant impact is called contrast. There can be a contrast of

color, value, size, etc. There can also be a proportionate

contrast. For example, if white and black come together then

they will produce maximum opposite visual impact in terms of

value. On a grey scale white has highest value while black has

the lowest value in terms of tonality. But if grey and black are

put nearby each other then they will produce medium

contrast. If any two nearby grey values from the grey scale are

put together then they will produce low contrast. Therefore,

there can be three categories of proportionate contrast—high,

medium and low. If you look at the colour wheel, then any two

colours which are opposite to each other on the colour wheel

will produce high colour contrast. Therefore we have standard

pairs of contrasting colours, viz., yellow-violet, orange-blue,

and red-green. Any two nearby colours on the colour wheel will

produce low colour contrast. Any two colours on triads will

Figure 3.34 Visual harmony

Figure 3.35 Visual contrast


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produce medium colour contrast. There can be contrast of

value, colour, shapes, size, lines, and form and so on and so


In a visual composition, a component or a group of

components are placed in such a way that they attract the

attention of the viewer. Visual composition should always

have a centre of interest. It is achieved by skilful application of

the principle of contrast. It is also achieved through deliberate

emphasis on certain elements in a composition and deliberate

subordination of certain other elements in a composition.

There is another way of achieving it by isolating one element or

component from the rest of the components in a composition.

The isolated component will capture the attention of the


Organic unity is the most important principle of composition.

It is the quality of a composition that makes visually

complete. In such a composition add an extra

element you can remove any. It is the state of achieving

visual perfection in a composition. In ature, for instance, if a

branch of a tree is cut then you always feel something is

missing from the tree. A tree looks incomplete because by


neither you can



Centre of Interest

Organic Unity

Activity 7

Activity 8

Colour also produces value contrast. Now select any two colours from the colour

wheel and find out whether they belong to high, low or medium value contrast.

Explore various possibilities of high, low and medium contrast of lines in terms of

width of lines or expressive character of lines.

Figure 3.36 Centre of interestin a visualcomposition

Figure 3.37 Organic unity indifferent forms


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cutting a branch, the organic unity of a tree is disturbed. In a

visual composition, organic unity is achieved by optimum,

appropriate and skilful use of elements and principles of


Activity 9

Observe nature and find out how principles of design or composition are manifested in

nature and how they contribute in achieving organic unity. Collect images and

photographs of natural things from newspapers or any available source and recognise

the presence of principles of balance, rhythm, proportion, contrast, harmony, centre

of interest and classify your images accordingly. Write brief description of how a

particular principle is visible in the image or a photograph.

Figure 3.38 A colour wheel, a new colour is obtained by mixing one or twosecondry and/or tertiary colours with primary colours


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Activity 10

Draw a rectangle of 10 cm by 15 cm (use pencil to draw the rectangle). Using compass,

draw a circle of any size inside the rectangle (do not draw a circle in the centre of a

rectangle). Then you can draw four rectangles or squares of different sizes. They can

overlap each other as well as the circle. Now draw three triangles of different sizes in such a

way that overall composition looks good. These triangles can overlap each other as well as

circle and rectangles. Now you have a composition with many divisions. Now trace the

composition and make at least ten copies. Now fill up these compositions using the above-

mentioned colour schemes.

1. What is the difference between elements of graphic design

and principle of graphic design? Explain with your own


2. Explain various types of balances with your own examples?

3. What is organic unity?

1. Take a compass and draw a circle in the centre of a white

paper. Now fold the paper vertically and then horizontally.

Then open it again. The vertical and horizontal lines of the

fold act as the axis of symmetry for the circle. So the circle is

divided into four parts. In one of the parts draw any shape

with a pencil; preferably this shape should touch the centre

of a circle as well as both the axis. Now trace this shape on

the nearest quarter of a circle (Teacher may explain the

process of tracing) so that it will look like a mirror image.

Now you have a half circle with a drawing. Trace this half on

the remaining half of the circle. You have created radial

symmetry. You can try this exercise with eight folds and

sixteen folds. More interesting is trying this exercise with

three folds, six folds, five folds or any number of folds.

2. Develop a grey scale of nineteen steps.

3. Develop a value scale for any one colour that will match your

grey scale.

4. Develop a colour-wheel of twenty four colours as shown in

the diagram.


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Indigenous Graphic Design and Culture

Indigenous Graphic Design Practices

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Throughou t Ind i a f r om t imeimmemorial an idiom of simple formprovided the language of inward

searching, a vocabulary of signs to expresshuman relationship with the universe. Thisability of design to embody, to symbolise,could be seen in various symbols that weencounter in our daily life not only secular,but also political, religious and evencommon. It may be a , ,or , it is a deeply rooted essentialpractice in our society.

rangoli kolam alpanamehendi


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CULTUREThe word ‘indigenous’ has the common meaning of ‘having

originated in or being produced in a particular region or

environment’. Therefore, in this sense any ethnic group or

community as well as their artistic and cultural expressions

and practices may be described as being indigenous in

reference to some particular region or location.

In the Indian context, the first ever documented use of the

words that may mean ‘design’ is found in Vedic literature.

Vedic hymns always postulated that the entire cosmos is

created as ‘pre-designed’ or ‘pre-planned’. In the tenth

(Chapter) of there is a hymn called

. It is a hymn of creation that describes a

step-by-step process of creation of the universe. It is said in

the hymn that the universe is created as ‘pre-designed’. The

hymn uses the word to denote the process of design. The

word is a Sanskrit word which means imaginative

composition or a plan. Similarly, in second (Chapter)

of the (a philosophical treatise that captures the

essence of Vedic wisdom), it is argued that this universe has a

design. In this context uses the word

meaning thereby that the universe has a design, a structure or

a composition. The Sanskrit word means

composition, construction or organised structure. Also

of argues further that since the

universe has a definite design, one cannot think of a design

without the designer indicating that there must be a creator

was as well as the designer of this universe. Thus, it can be

stated that there are two words, and to denote

the activity of design or imaginative composition or organised

structure. Apart from the Vedic concept of design, we come

Mandala Rigveda






Brahmasutra rachana


Adhyaya 221 Brahmasutra

kalpa rachana


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across the discussion about design and related artistic

activities in many treatises on fine arts, architecture and in

other classical literature. These treatises provide a theoretical

basis for design by laying down the canons or the rules of

artistic and architectural design practices. Design has been

an integral part of the profession for many of the communities

in India. Communities which were involved in the professions

of making artefacts and products, wood-work, jewellery,

metal-work, stone-work, ceramics, textile, toys, painting and

architecture possessed the traditional wisdom of designing

and it was passed on from one generation to the next.

Indigenous design practices encompass a vast area of

enquiry. This ranges from adornments of various complexities,

pertaining to different functional modalities, religious, social

and communicational, to religious symbolism of various

kinds the , the pictographs on the walls, to the

or done by the woman on the floor to the body tattoos

and outfit and headgear These expressions are used

with formal peculiarities evolving out of specific needs

both religious and secular in the particular context or


In a country like India with diverse socio-cultural

traditions and customs, design forms change from place to

place, from one ethnic group to another with formal

peculiarities and each of them are unique. As evident

indigenous design practices vary in different functional

modes such as religious and social, so the communicatory to

objects of use with formal features evolving out of specific

religious and secular utilitarian needs also vary. For instance

style of wearing in Rajasthan, keeps on changing after

every 15 km.

Thus, social and religious life has affected the design

forms of various regions in India and can be classified in

various ways. One of the ways of classification would be as

ritualistic and utilitarian.

ritualistic s

These designs are used in

the rites associated with some beliefs and religious


– yantras alpana


mehendi .



Tatoo and designs are excellent examples of

indigenous graphic design which have survived

from ancient times to modern days.

Indigenous designs are also applied to individual

in person in the form of surface ornamentation and decorative




Figure 4.1 Tribal wearingheadgear andpainted face reflectsstatus of tribe

Figure 4.2 Pagri also represents

Figure 4.3 Mehendi Design


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devices like graphical marks made on walls or on objects to

various forms of jewelleries, headgears and so on. We see girls

adorning their hands and feet with designs during

marriage ceremonies and on festive occasions. These are worn

not merely for decorative intent. Aesthetic considerations also

play an important part in it.

is a temporary form of body art done with

naturally prepared paste obtained from a plant, usually found

in the Middle East and in other Asia-Pacific regions, where the

weather conditions are hot and dry. The leaves are dried and

grounded into a fine powder. This powder is mixed with water,

eucalyptus oil, tea, coffee, and lime and then applied on the

body. is traditionally used for its medicinal qualities.

Its use became popular in India because of its cooling effect in

the hot Indian summers and is still used in sacred and

ritualistic ceremonies in India. Mainly used by women, the

fine curvilinear lines of the design are testimony to its

feminine essence.

Other than , more permanent forms of body

adornments are also practised in the form of

or you may call it a , which means

tapping or marking something. Tattoo designs were initially

used to identify specific tribes. Certain communities used it as

a status symbol. Apart from using as a form of permanent

tribal identification it was also used for decorating bodies even

though it is a very painful procedure. The ritual was performed

very carefully as putting on the wrong tattoo would jeopardise

chances of being one of the tribe and might just permanently

mark a person as an outsider.

The tattoo design practice involves piercing into the body,

which is done by dropping a sharp-pointed comb into

lampblack ink and then inserting it into the skin. Despite the

trouble involved, many people got their bodies tattooed,

especially arms. Tribal tattoo designs have taken ideas from

the tribal art that was pursued by the native and indigenous

tribes. Wearing these can variously be attributed to fertility,

magical rites of various kinds, to ideas of beauty, social status

or as markers of tribe identity.







pachakottu, oolki tattoo


Social customs demand the objects, modes of manufacture

and material values determine the form of indigenous designs.

Figure 4.4 A decorative bodytattoo

Tattoo is a permanent

imprint. There are

instances when a

tattooed person wants

to remove tattoos

later, but the removal

process is too

expensive and painful.

And at other times

they are unable to

remove the tattoos

completely and might

just be left with a

partial tattoo or a

permanent scar.

Figure 4.5 A place on the wallfor keeping lamp


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Motifs seem to dictate the design of various objects with

modifications and adjustments in forms, shapes and sizes

done to serve specific purpose. The shapes and forms of pots

have variations according to its particular usage and locality.

Forms of containers vary depending upon its use from

a cooking pot, - a water pitcher, to larger containers

with wide mouth for storing waters brought in pitchers

attesting their specific usage. are made of porous

sandy clay with beaten and rounded bottom which keep water

cool through evaporation.

There are separate shapes of pots for carrying on the head,

at the waist or by hand and special sizes of pots to contain

certain measures of rice, oil, milk, etc. Storage pots of different

kinds have different local names and their shapes squat or tall

with necks broad or narrow, are according to the use they are

meant for.

Different sizes and forms of large mangers are used for

feeding cattle and other animals which hold hay and large

round-bottomed bowls for boiling paddy to make parboiled


Religious activities have also dictated the form and shape

of containers and objects needed during the observance of

various rites.

The architectural make-up of a holy place or shrine,

encapsulates within its design, ideas of hierarchy - the

architectural setting itself acting as a tool of worship. For

example the elongated dominical structures peeking to a

summit that we generally associate with religious sites or the

flurry of stairs leading to the main structure all encapsulate

within it, ideas of hierarchy, distance and sublime reverence.

Handi -





Figure 4.6 Ghara Kalshiand


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Four animalsalternated withthe wheelillustrate theextent andpersuasivecommand of theBuddha’sSermon:

The Horsesymbolised theSouth

The Bullsymbolised theWest

The Elephantsymbolised theEast

The Lionsymbolised theNorth

The four lionsback to back


The wheelsymbolisedthe

or thewheel of law.




Figure 4.7 LionCapital

Let's us now take up a symbol that we often come across

on currency notes, coins, sign boards in front of government

organisations or defence forces or on stamps or on top of the

dome of Rashtrapati Bhawan and so on.

What is common to all of them?

The Lion Capital.

The Lion apital, erected by Emperor Ashok at Sarnath

commemorating the first sermon of Buddha has been adopted

as an emblem for modern India. Known as edict columns these

capitals are originally surmounted over a long shaft or

column erected at places associated with events of Buddha s

life or marking pilgrim routes to holy places.

function imilar to that of a modern day hoarding, is it!

Both perform certain promotional functions while one

advertise the other a particular commodity oth

displayed above the eye level and placed at prime location for

maximum and aspiration.

The shaft of the edict appears to be a culmination of an

older pre-Buddhist religious tradition of the axis head ( ).

The axis is a symbol representing the point of

connection between the sky and earth. It offers means of travel

and correspondence between the two realms. The axis

appears in all cultures and takes many forms.






, ’

These columns

s not

s . B are

attention This makes a great visual

appeal and impact on commuters and observers

The above ritualistic and utilitarian classifications are

made for better understanding of indigenous designs.

However, we normally find that designs can be classified

under more than one category. While understanding

indigenous design one needs to look at it from various

perspectives. Indigenous design always has some specific

meaning. It also has beautiful and aesthetic form which is an

integeral and important part of a design. Lastly, the design

emerges out of necessity and it has specific function or

purpose to perform. Therefore, indigenous design can be

understood from the following perspectives.

Objects change their meaning, significance or utility value

according to its contextual placement. A rectangular yardage

of cloth could be wrapped around or tied in various ways to


Contextual Perspective

Figure 4.8 Lahenga


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create different articles of clothing When wrapped around the

head it acts as a , when draped around the upper torso it

becomes the or the and when wrapped or tied

around the waist, covering the lower part of the body it

becomes the the or the .

Throughout India from time immemorial an idiom of simple

form symbolises a language of inward searching, and a

vocabulary of signs to express the human relationship with the

universe. This makes designs meaningful in some or the other

sense. Semiotic perspective create an understanding, the

relationship of indigenous designs which evoke a meaning in

the minds of the users. Since graphic symbols are visually

appealing and effective, the issues are even more important.

On the other hand the ability of design to embody to

symboli e, could be seen as another functional obligation it

lends itself to as seen in the various symbols that we encounter

in our daily life not only secular, but also political, religious

and cultural. This creates a great visual appeal and impact on

the observers



shawl uttariya


antariya, kanccha lahenga

Symbolised design depicting deities could also be

observed in the amazing structure of Anga, the supreme deity

of Muria tribe in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. The Anga has a specific

form created by three para lel poles joined together by

crossbars and tied up, with peaco*ck feather sticking at its

Semiotic Perspective





Figure 4.10 Anga

Figure 4.9 Symbolic Sun


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joints. Coins are fixed on the upper surface of two sides of

poles. Anga is carried on shoulders by its bearers. The central

pole is Anga himself, with front part bending upwards at an

angle and then bend again parallel to the pole to form the

head, providing a feeling of tremendous forward thrust. Anga

dominate its powerful presence as it is polished by a dull black

colour. It strikes admiration to the beholder and when

possessed, moves along with great speed on the shoulder of its


Designs are used to perform a function. Let us see an example

from Sanchi to illustrat that how form follows function. The

Yakshi bracket figure is an architectural design. The notion of

supporting the weight of the lintel which a bracket practically

does is not only understood in the dynamic stance of the


Functional Perspective


but also in flayed gesture of the feet carrying the

connotation of the weight.

Let us look into how the scarcity of urban space is being utilised for maximum utility.

We see space orientation of a small shop or any road side tea stalls; where the

claustrophobic space is divided vertically into a series of tiers; the upper space for the

daily transaction and servicing to take place while the lower section utilised either as

a workspace or storage. This experience of functionally organised space around us

contributes to nurture our sense of visual space and graphic sensibility.

Figure 4.11 Yakshi


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Cultural and Social Forms of Signification

Our social and cultural life leads to the creation of various

forms of signification like

/turban (to signify class, caste, profession or religious


(confirming the marital status of a woman)

Religious drawings like , geometric diagrams

like triangles and inverted triangle to signify male and

female faculties of creation as seen in the and wall

decorations or the presenting a microcosmic

view of the macrocosm, etc.

Memorial pillars erected by the tribal communities in

memory of the deceased (like the for male and

for the female erected by the Bhils, also a practice among

Korkus known as or the Maria memorial

pillars carved out of whole trunks of trees).

Marriage pillars also known as were

erected by the Gonds not only as a fertility symbol but also

to ward off evil eye. They used to immerse the pillars in the

river after performing the ritual.


Mangal sutra




Gatha Sati

Shadoli Munda

Mangrohi Khambs

Figure 4.13 Varioussymbols ofindigenousrituals

Figure 4. Terracotta formfromfor ritual use

12Ider, Gujarat


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The broom and the chappal/slippers tied on a long bamboo

pole in construction sites to ward off the evil eye.

Votive figures (terracotta horses, buffaloes, elephant and

camels are made as devotional objects).

Deities signified through pieces of stones arranged under

trees, flag poles and tridents, peaco*ck feathers arranged on

top of a pole ( by the Gonds) or the polished boulders

from river beds arranged on top of the other signifying



1. What do you understand by the term indigenous

design? Explain with few examples.

2. What do you understand by body designs? How is a

design different from the body ?

3. What do you understand by the term memorial pillars?

Elaborate with few examples.

4. What are Edict columns? What do you understand by

the term Axis Mundi?

5. Discuss in brief the role a culture plays in creating

symbols. Explain with examples.

6. Explain that the society and objects are related to

their ritual and utility.

1. Identify five traditional or contemporary forms/objects

from day-to-day uses based on their function and

make pictorial analysis.

2. Collect some (three to five) designs from your local

environment and modify them to make more effective

and aesthetically appealing.

3. Design a motif and convert it into three-dimensional


mehendi tattoo

Figure 4.14 Votive terracottaelephant fromBastar


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DESIGN PRACTICESIs graphic design only a modern idea or do we have art

practices from earlier times which could be called graphic

design practices? Do only the urban educated practise graphic

design or can we find art practices in tribal and rural areas

among people and communities that are not educated in a

modern way?

What do you think? Yes, we can see many art activities

that come under graphic design among the pre-modern and

traditional people and communities. It ranges from drawings

on thresholds to corners, walls, roofs and front-yards of

houses. The list goes on to the handloom cloth, ceramic

decorations, , designs on hands and palms such as the

to religious icons and , talismans, walls and

roofs of temples and forts in India and so on. All the art

activities can be distinguished from the modern or

contemporary graphic design practices and may be called

indigenous graphic design traditions or traditional graphic

design practices.

Based on the tradition to which they belong, living Indian

indigenous graphic designs and motifs may broadly be

classified as under:

Vedic and earlier design practices

Folk and popular traditions

Tribal design practices

Tantric design practices


mehendi yantras

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To an extent, the above traditions are mutually connected.

But there are several possible ways in which these strands

could be connected to each other. The connection between

earlier traditions is well known and undisputed. The early

design practices are widely accepted as the later and popular

form of the Vedic. But the problem whether Tantric has Vedic

connections or it is an autonomous tradition or it has

folk/tribal origins is not yet settled. There is a possibility of

connecting both Puranic and Tantric traditions to Vedic

traditions on the one hand and to folk and tribal traditions on

the other.

In Vedic rituals, are the rituals of dedicating

materials through fire to various gods and goddesses.

These such as (ancestor worship

rituals), rites such as marriage-rites, etc., shapes such as

circle, square and triangle are used to represent and invoke

different gods and goddesses. For example in a

, a circle is drawn by the (performer of the ritual)

with his finger on water smeared by him on the floor, to invoke

the spirit of the ancestor being worshipped by him in that

ritual and a square is drawn in a similar fashion to invoke the

gods called .

More complex figures are drawn with finger with white

rice powder on the raised platform or floor prepared by mud to

invoke various Vedic gods as part of .

The script symbol for the most vital speech sound of Vedic

culture, pronounced as and called , is one of the

most significant graphic representation in this culture.


Yajnas Shraaddha karmas


karma Karta



Om Pranava

Figure 5.2 Vedic symbols

Figure 5.1 A ritualYajna


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Many other such powerful graphical symbols such as swastika

can be traced to Vedic graphic symbolism.

Non-vedic, non-modern, rural traditions are usually classified

under ‘folk’ traditions. There is a controversy about whether

these traditions are pre-vedic or not. Whatever is the truth in

this regard, as we find them today most folk traditions are

either influenced by or usually in some way are connected to

vedic tradition. There is evidence of influence of folk traditions

on Vedic tradition or absorption of folk tradition into Vedic

tradition also. There is a great part of folk tradition that is

continuing with little influence from Vedic tradition.

Traditionally in Indian villages, front yard or threshold is

either plastered by mud or cow dung and some drawings are

made on specially prepared walls and floor. The threshold

could be understood as an intermediary space between the

outer and the inner world of the home. The function of this, at a

superficial level, seems to be purely that of a decoration.

But there are studies that show the origin of this practice in


Threshold Decorations

Folk and puranic traditions include popular cultural and

artistic practices that may be religious or secular in nature.

These practices, by and large, have evolved in the form of

customs, profession or artistic traditions. Some of such folk

and puranic design practices are discussed below.

Figure 5.4 A swastika isdesigned on wall

Figure 5.3 A front yarddecoration withspace to keep oillamp


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the notion of fertility and magical (supernatural) beliefs

around them.

Usually, the drawings are made in powder. This powder

appears to be white in colour in most parts of India. In some

parts this white powder is powdered from a soft brittle white

stone. But today, in most places, rice flour is being used for

this purpose.

Although they vary in name, material, and part of the

house they are made in from region to region, these are

exclusively done by the women folk on the threshold of the

house, according to knowledge passed on from one generation

Figure 5.5 Thresholddecoration on floor

Figure 5.6 Making design onfloor


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to another, from mother to daughter. This gender exclusivity

has given this design form a feminine identity understood in a

social setting where women were limited to a certain work-area

of the household.

In Kerala, the design's outlines are filled in by flowers,

while in Ori sa, Rajasthan and other parts of North India, the

design is made from a mixture of rice flour and water and is

applied with the finger piece of cloth or a brush. While in North

India, they are mostly done during religious festivals or during

. In South India the is practised daily.

is made by women of the household during the days of

festivities and religious functions in front of households in

Bengal. They are drawn on the ground by means of a small

piece of cloth wrapped round a finger which is soaked in thin

paste of grounded rice mixed with water.

These drawings are connected with certain rites performed

exclusively by matrons ( ) and virgins ( ) or

by priests on behalf of women ( ) are rites



vratas Kolam


nari vrata kumari vrata

sashtriya vrata . Vratas

The practice of decorating floor is known with different

names as or in Bengal, in Bihar,

in Orissa, in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,

in Gujarat, in Maharashtra, in Andhra Pradesh

and , in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and

Kerala and in Uttar Pradesh it is known as or


Alpana Alpona Aripana Jhuniti

Mandna Salhiya

Rangoli Muggu

Kalamezhuthu Kolam



Alpana Alpona Aripana Rangoli Jhuniti/ / / /

Figure 5.7 Different formsused as motifs


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for the realisation of special wishes and performed according

to rules transmitted from generation to generation not

confined to any religious cult or special sect.

As evident, these are done by people with rudimentary skill

inputs. The forms could be understood as a kind of picture-

writing using simple-forms and shapes (calligraphic

simplification of objects). These forms are utilised to create

designs/narratives of varying complexities as a testimonial of

their desire and wishes through an .

Also prevalent among them is a sense of decoration/

ornamentation as seen in the various innovative creeper and

lotus motifs associated with the . But when they are

taken out of this contextual setting of rituals as part of

fulfilment of vows they become mere objects of decoration.

In the Mithila region in Bihar is done by

Brahmana and Kayastha ladies closely associated to religious

rituals. Using their fingers they create graceful lace like

designs on the mud floor of homes and courtyards. Colour is

added with the blood red vermilion powder in the form of dot

like patterns. The material like turmeric, rice and wheat

powder used is called .

Moving out from the domestic threshold drawings done by

women we look into another form of sand painting practised in

the temples of Kerala. This requires more accomplished skill

and greater precision through traditionally prescribed and

mandated at different hierarchy levels.

Temporal in nature this is conducted as

part of the general festivities in the temple, or as part of a major

ritual, and is immediately erased after the ritual is over.

This colourful ritual is done by hands without using any tools

using powdered pigments extracted from natural mineral,

vegetable or combined sources.

is mainly done with the belief to bring wealth and

prosperity into the household. The welcoming/inviting gesture

of the could be understood in a larger context, where the

coarse rice material ingredient with which the is done

acts as a means to invite insects, birds and other small

creatures to eat it, thus inviting other beings into one's home

and everyday life as a tribute to harmonious co-existence.











Figure 5.8 Kalamezhuthu


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This becomes more ironic in today’s world of fragmentary

values, and overall environmental degradation.

On the other hand, the designs are also believed to

sanctify the threshold and make the house auspicious, pure

and protected from the inauspicious, impure and dangerous

outside world. The closed lines symbolically prevent the evil

spirit from entering the shapes and therefore prevented from

entry into the house. If the threshold is not constantly

sanctified by the , inauspicious forces may trespass into

the home and eventually disrupt the health and well-being of

the family. Thus, this function of warding off inauspicious

forces at the threshold is performed.

The structural basis of a is the predetermined

matrix of dots ( ), that acts as simple structural unit on

the basis of which the patterns are formed either by joining the

dots or looping around them to create the designs.

Work circuits of various strata with varying degrees of

sophistication, skill inputs could be seen in any culture

ranging from people with rudimentary skill trying to fashion

Figure 5.9 Kolam

Floor decorations of various kinds could be seen all over

India and it would be interesting to research into the

formal peculiarities and nuances in floor decoration

pertaining to one’s locality.


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out symbols to render the visual facts around them, to the

more complicated, more individual and sophisticated forms of

design on textiles.

or is a type of hand-painted or block-

printed cotton textile produced in parts of India for hanging on

walls. The word is derived from the Persian words (pen)

and (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen.

tradition is very old and flourished in Coromandel

and the wealthy Golconda Sultanate of Hyderabad, in the

middle age it was traded to Persia. This art was patronised by

the Mughals particularly in Golconda.

There are two distinctive styles of design in

India one, the style and the other, the

style of art. Both the style are different in

practice. The style of is influenced

by Persian art The motifs used are trees, flowers and leaf

designs are printed using blocks. The style

flourished around temples with Hindu patronage, thus has an

almost religious identity, wherein the or pen is used for

freehand drawing of the subject, and filling in the colours is

entirely done by hand. The themes and deities are drawn from

great epics like , , and other

mythological classics. These are depicted on scrolls, temple

hangings and chariot banners.

In the execution of design in both the styles only natural

dyes are used. The cotton fabric gets its glossiness by

immersing it for an hour in a mixture of myrobalan (resin) and

cow milk. Then contours and themes are drawn with a pointed

bamboo ( ) soaked in the mixture; and then one by one

the vegetable dyes are applied by hand and/or block. After

each colour the is washed. Thus, each fabric can

undergo up to 20 washes. Various effects are obtained by cow

dung, seeds, plants and crushed flowers.

or means ‘to tie’ or ‘to bind’ and describe both the

process and the cloth itself. and duble have cultures

with long histories of production in South-East Asia. is a

process of weaving that uses a resist dyeing technique similar

to tie-dye on either the warp or weft before the threads are

Kalamkari Qalamkari





— Srikalahasti

Masulipatnam s

Masulipatnam Kalamkari




Ramayana Mahabharata Puranas



Ikat Ikkat

Ikat Ikats




Figure 5.10 A withevents fromRamayana



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Figure 5.11 An clothIkat

woven to create a pattern or design. When both the warp and

the weft are tie-dyed before weaving it is known as double .

cloth, a double from Gujarat and

from Andhra Pradesh are indigenous practices of textile

designing in India. Like any craft or art form, vary widely

from place to place and region to region. Designs may have

symbolic of ritual meaning. are often symbols of status,

wealth, power and prestige. Perhaps because of the difficulty

and time required to produce an .

The easiest way to create is that the warp strings are

arranged into bundles before they are attached to the loom.

Each bundle is tied and dyed separately, so that a pattern will

emerge when the loom is set up. This takes a good deal of skill.

The tightly bound bundles are sometimes covered with wax or

some other material as resist. In resist technique a medium

(wax) is used, it keeps the dyes (water soluble) from

penetrating, as both (wax and dye) repel each other. The

process is repeated several times for additional colours.

Sometime each strand of the cloth may be dyed differently

from the ones next to it. After the threads are dyed the loom is

set up. fabrics are woven by hand on narrow looms in a

laborious process. The pattern is visible to the weaver when

the dyed threads are used as warp. Threads can be adjusted so

that they line up correctly with each other.

Double are the most difficult to produce, the warp

and the weft are precisely tied and dyed so that the patterns

interlock and reinforce each other when the fabric is woven.

The uniqueness lies in the transfer of design and colouring

onto warp and weft threads first and then weaving them


Patola Ikat Pochampally









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together. The fabric is cotton, silk and sico on a mix of silk and

cotton. Increasingly, the colours and their blends themselves

are from natural sources. The weavers from the older and new

generation have adapted themselves to the changing tastes of

society and are creating untraditional design.

The tribal society has been practising their rituals with

pictorial writing which could be argued further in the wall

decorations done in various parts of India from the Saora

pictographs to the Madhubani or Warli. All these depict their

lore and ritualistic functions. These pictographs also act as

modes of communication repository of mythological tales,

history and even glimpses of daily life as seen in the Warli wall

decorations: painting figures and diagrams was the only way

for these unlettered people to transmit their hereditary

knowledge, folklore and good wishes.

The pictorial format of these wall decorations uses

extremely basic graphic vocabulary to create their pictorial

narratives. Simple elements like square, circle, triangle,

semicircle act as elementary form units like alphabet in a

language to build up signifiers of varying degrees of

correspondence. The circle and triangle come from their

observation of nature; the circle representing the sun and the

moon, the triangle derived from mountains and pointed trees.

Only, the square seems to obey a different logic and seems to

be a human invention, indicating a sacred enclosure or a piece

of land.

The figures as represented in a Saora or Warli pictographs

are the inverted triangle or two triangles joined at a point. The

upper triangle represents the upper torso while the lower as

the abdomen. Head is represented by a small circle and a

smaller circle in conjunction with larger circle is for the female.

When circle drawn together with lines for the legs and hands, a

human form appears. Through this kind of similar other

signifiers, they create the narratives of various complexities.

These narratives evolved a kind of picture writing which forms

an essential aspect of these wall decorations.

in Orissa is a traditional way of their life.

The elaborated pictographs drawn in white is also called

Saora (Saura)



Pictograph: A Case StudySaora

Figure 5.12 A tribal design


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or . The practice is done on both inside and outside walls

of their houses. The or is created to appease the god.

As a testimony of charming flattery, it tries to show what a

powerful person Jaliyasum is, how many servants he has, how

lavish a marriage he can afford and so on.

Let us now look into a pictograph to delve more into

the communicational efficacy of these signs. paintings

or are made in honour of the dead, to avert disease, to

promote fertility and on occasions of certain festivals. Done on

the wall of the house, freshly washed with red clay which acts

as the canvas, the paint made with a mixture of powdered rice

mixed with water is applied with twigs slightly frayed at the


In the given pictograph, there is a palace in the centre

which is represented by the rectangular enclosure with people

dancing in it. The human forms are depicted through a

combination of rudimentary graphical elements like triangles,

circles and simple lines for hands and feet. On a tree outside,

monkeys are dancing with joy. Approaching the building is

Jaliyasum's mother, sisters and daughters dancing in a row

and is protected by police carrying guns on their shoulders.

Sun, moon and stars represented by circle, semicircle and dots

shine upon the scene. Another god comes to attend the

marriage on an elephant. For making drawing of an elephant,

they first make the body with triangles then add legs, tail and

the trunk and eventually white is filled in the body and rider is

drawn. The horse is drawn by two opposite triangles like that of

the human figure but tilted on the side. The potter brings pots

for rice-beer. A local chieftain comes on a mare followed by its

foal; he brings two she-goats for the marriage feast. Two men

bring in a sambar killed by God’s servants. The range officer

also attends and sits with his family on chairs (indicated by the

parallel lines). An unwanted guest is caught by Jaliyasum’s

dog a tiger (indicated by the stipples) and another dog

attacks a lizard while a man shoots at it with bow and arrow.

Simple marks like the hatched line, dots or curvilinear

lines not only gives a graphical splendour to the motifs but also

are ritualistic symbols of hair, quills, leaves, etc. With this

repertory of characters of finite elements they create infinite

number of signifiers. These signifiers represent their dreams

and folklore in pictorial poetry and prose with vibrant details

for effective communication which is attested in the charming

simplicity of these designs.


Saora Ittal




Figure 5.13 A pictographSaora


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Pithora Bhil Paintings: A Case Study–


Rathwas Bhils Naykas







alpana kolam warli madhubani


paintings are much more than ritual colourful images

on walls for the tribes of , , and of

Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. They signify the advent of an

auspicious occasion for celebrations like wedding, childbirth,

festivals in the family or community. This celebration and joy

reflect in paintings with their colours and animated

figures. These paintings on the walls of their houses have belief

that it would enhance their fortune and keep poverty out of

their lives.

These paintings mostly depict the marriage procession of

Baba Pithora and Pithori Devi, the two gods worshipped by the

tribals. Other gods, animals and characters from the Hindu

mythology are also included in the paintings. The complete

process of making these paintings reflects and reminds the art

practice inspired by tradition and culture. Apart from this, the

paintings also depict the daily lives of the people. Therefore,

farmers, women, animals and insects and other objects are

also represented in the paintings.

The materials for painting are prepared by mixing colour

pigments with milk and liquor prepared from the Mahua tree.

paintings are more of ritual practice than an art form.

The first wall of the house is considered to be the right place for

a painting of . The identified walls to be painted are first

plastered with a thick mixture of mud and cow dung. This is

done by the unmarried girls in the family. Then it is coated with

chalk powder and this preparation process is called .

After the painters proceed to create their work which is

done by males. painting ritual is a male performing

process unlike that of , , or .

A painting is drawn or composed within a

rectangular enclosure with an opening at the centre from the

bottom border. Everything which has concern with Bhil tribal

life is represented and painted. The figures included are tigers,

elephants, goats, camels, banyan trees, insects, scorpions,

chameleons, beehives; deities and mythological figures,

farmer ploughing the field, women churning butter and

hunters carrying games and so on. Above all, the boldly drawn

and centrally placed figures of horses of the Baba Pithora and

the deities. These are shown either riding the horse or

represented as horses. The horse also represents as the

Figure 5.14 A Bhil painting


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repository of fertility and power which is an important

preoccupation of the Bhil tribe.

is one of the most prominent traditions of religious

practices in India. Though what is and what its origin is

interpreted differently by different people. The most

conspicuous and well known aspect of is its

association with graphic icons known as .

is one of the three essential elements of

tradition, namely (the syllables viewed as magical

spells), , the graphic icon and , the actual action

such as meditation, offerings, etc. The practitioner of

concentrates his/her appearance on and meditates on

it. This action is believed to be capable of giving supernatural

powers and experience to the practitioner. Since is

often practised by the learned, there is a large amount of

literature giving theoretical interpretations to each element of

the figures. This literature shows how the

metaphysics is represented by these drawings. But an

interesting aspect of this tradition is that the are

believed to be capable of giving their intended effect

irrespective of whether the person meditating on it knows this

meaning or not.

In Hindu and Buddhist Tantricism, a symbolic design is used

in performance of sacred rites and also as an instrument of

meditation. For this purpose, a design is created and is called






Yantra Tantra


Yantra Tantra




Yantra tantra




The concept of Mandala was prevalent during the Vedic

age. All the hymns of are classified in ten classes

which are called Mandalas. Mandala indicates cyclical

property. There was a strong Vedic tradition to recite Vedic

hymns in a cyclical manner. For instance, there are 191

hymns in the tenth Mandala of . Therefore, 191 Vedic

priests used to sit in a circle. Then the first priest used to recite

the first hymn of the Mandala. Then the 96 priest used to

recite the second hymn. Then again the second priest used to

recite the third hymn and the fourth hymn is recited by the

97 priest. Likewise, all the hymns of a Mandala were recited

in this fashion. In this arrangement, there are two interesting





Figure 5.15 Tantra design


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graphical patterns. Firstly, probably the circular sitting

arrangement is visualised to symbolically represent the

cyclical nature of the world phenomenon and secondly, the

pattern of recitation follows diametrically opposite sequence or

order of recitation of hymns indicating that the Mandala is

formed by connecting diametrically opposite points. The

symbolic meaning of the ritual is not known today. However, it

is evident that the word Mandala was ascribed to the

classification system of Vedic hymns due to this tradition of

cyclical recitation.



‘ ’


The Mandala is basically a representation of universe,

a consecrated area that serves as a receptacle for the gods and

as a collection point for universal forces. Men (the microcosm),

by mentally ‘entering’ the Mandala and ‘proceeding’ towards

its centre, is by analogy guided through the cosmic processes

of disintegration and reintegration.

Mandalas are rich with symbolism that evokes various

aspects of Buddhist teaching and tradition. This is part of what

makes the creation of a Mandala a sacred act for imparting the

Buddha s teachings. Mandalas are works of sacred art in

Tantric (Tibetan) Buddhism. The word andala comes from a

Sanskrit word that generally means circle and Mandalas are

indeed primarily recognisable by their concentric circles and

other geometric figures. Mandalas are far more than

geometical figures and are rich with symbolism and sacred

meaning. A andala is usually made with careful placement

of coloured sand, and accordingly is known in Tibetan as


Figure 5.16 A Mandala

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Later on,

the concept of Mandala is used in many religious and cultural

practices. are

dul tson kyil khor- - - , or Mandala of coloured powders.

In China, Japan and Tibet, Mandalas also made

in bronze or stone as three-dimensional figures.

The process of constructing a Mandala is a sacred ritual with a

meditative, painstaking process that can take days or even

weeks to complete. Before participating in the construction of

a Mandala a monk must undergo a lengthy period of artistic

and philosophical study and this period may last up to three

years. Traditionally, four monks work together on a single

Mandala. The Mandala is divided into quadrants with one

monk assigned to each. Midway through the process, each

monk receives an assistant who helps fill in the colours while

the primary monk continues to work on detailed outlines.

Mandalas are constructed from the centre outward,

beginning with a dot in the centre. With the placement of the

centre dot, the Mandala is consecrated to a particular deity.

This deity will usually be depicted in an image over the centre

dot, although some Mandalas are purely geometric.

Lines are then drawn through the centre dot to the four

corners, creating triangular geometric patterns. These lines

are then used to construct a square ‘palace’ with four gates.

The monks usually keep to their own quadrant at this point.

From the inner square, the monks move outward to a series of

concentric circles. Here the monks work in tandem, moving all

around the Mandala. They wait until each section is entirely

completed before moving outward together. This ensures the

maintenance of balance in composition.

The square structure in the middle of a Mandala is a

palace for the resident deities and a temple containing the

essence of the Buddha. The square shaped temple’s four

elaborate gates symbolise a variety of ideas, including:

The four boundless thoughts: kindness,

compassion, sympathy and equanimity.

The four directions: east, west, north and south.

The images of the deities are within the square palace or

temple, which are usually the Five Dhyani Buddhas (the Great

Buddhas of Wisdom). The iconography of these deities is rich

Constructing a Mandala


Endless Knot


Figure 5.17 Graphical symbolin Buddhism


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in symbolism in itself. Each of the Dhyani Buddhas represents

a direction (centre, south, north, east and west), cosmic

element (like form and consciousness), earthly element (of air,

water, earth and fire), and a particular type of wisdom. Each

Buddha is empowered to overcome a particular evil, such as

ignorance, envy or hatred. The Five Dyani Buddhas are

generally identical in appearance, but each are represented

iconographically with a particular colour, (hand

gesture), and animal.

Outside the square temple are several concentric circles.

The outermost circle is usually decorated with stylised scroll

work resembling a ring of fire. This ring of fire symbolises the

process of transformation for humans to undergo before being

able to enter the sacred territory within. It symbolises the

burning of ignorance. The next circle inward is a ring of

thunderbolt or diamond scepters, which stands for

indestructibility and illumination. This is followed by a circle of

eight graveyards, representing the eight aspects of human

consciousness that bind a person to the cycle of rebirth.

Finally, the innermost ring is made of lotus leaves, signifying

religious rebirth.

In the centre of the Mandala is an image of the chief deity,

who is placed over the centre dot described above. Because it

has no dimensions, the centre dot represents the seed or

centre of the universe.

Although some Mandalas are painted and serve as

an enduring object of meditation, the traditional Tibetan

sand Mandala, when completed, is deliberately destroyed.


Figure 5.18 Buddhist symbolsused as motifs ingraphic designs

Abhaya Mudra Buddha Eyes Bhumisparsha Mudra

Dhyana Mudra Dharmachakra Dharmachakra Mudra

Common features:

The following are some

of the common features

of the living indigenous

graphic designs all over

the world in general

and in India in




beliefs about

graphic design

(attribution of


powers to graphic




response in the

beholding tradition


Ritual use and

ritual origin of the



association of the


Use of natural/


tools and materials

for drawing and the



ecological influence

on the form (lines,

shapes and colours

and the technique,

structure and style

of their use).


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The sand is poured into a nearby stream or river to

distribute the positive energies it contain. The ritual reminds

of those who painstakingly constructed the ‘Mandala’ — the

symbolism of ‘impermanence of all things’ — the centrality of

the Buddhist teachings.

Apart from these living traditions, there are certain

extinct traditions which could be found only on archaeological

sources and other such documents that are no longer in use

by any community. But the purely aesthetic/artistic/

decorative aspect of graphic design is still not totally absent in

these indigenous traditions. In fact, some of the graphic design

traditions that started as religious traditions used in a

ritual context gradually got transformed into artistic

and decorative practices.

1. How are designs different from designs?

Explain with drawings.

2. Write 10 lines about the cultural aspect of a design.

3. What form of design practice has a feminine identity?


4. With reference to the describe the importance of tribal


5. is one of the most prominent traditions of religious

practice in India. Explain.

6. How the process of constructing a Mandala is a painstaking


1. Study and identify design practices within your own

locality and document their peculiarities and diversities.

2. Explore the floor decorations of various kinds in the

immediate environment and document their pictorial

formal peculiarities and nuances.

3. Prepare a colour design with pattern formation in the size of

5 cm by 15 cm.

4. Select a few utilitarian objects of your choice and design five

different ways of their representational use.

kolam alpana





1. Develop a project on“Objects change theirmeaning according totheir contextualplacements”. The entireproject should bepresented in adocumentation formatusing drawings,pictures or photographstaken by the studentsthemselves. Chooseinteresting ways ofpresenting your files.

2. Document similarpractices withobjectives in otherforms of walldecorations in theimmediateenvironment.


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Development of Script

Evolutions in Reprography

Movable Metal Type to Digital Imaging

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Graphic Design, simply defined, is

the use of communication to

promote development and ideas

through various techniques and medium.

More specifically, it refers to the practice of

systematically applying the processes,

strategies, and aesthetic principles of visual

communication to bring about positive

social change. Communication is

characterised by conceptual flexibility and

diversity of communication techniques used

to address the problem by information


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Books, magazines and other forms are recent developments in

the history of civilisation for seeking information. Prehistoric

men lived without such visible means of communication for

many centuries. Nevertheless, man’s mind made them

curious about their environment. This led them to invent ways

to communicate with each other. Sign language which

developed because of this desire was probably the first method

of communication which early men had. Sign language,

however, did not suffice. Men sought some way of recording

and preserving their ideas. These initial efforts were crude and

could not adequately express detailed information.

Memory aids and picture writing were developed to enable

men to give a more accurate version of their deeds and

expressions than was possible by means of signs. The

experiences of early men and their historic and religious

traditions were communicated orally from generation to

generation usually by narrators with keen memories. The

societies, however, were not satisfied to depend entirely upon a

man’s memory. They soon learned that men forget, and that

the more a story is told the further it varies from the original.

The words of religious songs and stories of important events

must not vary if they are to keep their values. For this reason,

picture diagrams were used to help recall ideas in correct order

to make the meaning more certain.



Buddhist tradition records that the principle of Buddha wasinscribed on sheets of gold in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 88 BC andon sheets of copper in Mathura during the reign of Kanishka(1st century AD) in India. None of these has survived, but froma very early period offerings on gold or silver inscribed with theBuddhist creed are found, which would appear to have beenplaced in stupas or buried in the foundations of monasteries orsimilar religious foundation.

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There has been an ancient practice for reminding an

important event or experience where cairns were used as

memory aids. A heap of stones piled up in a conical form is

known as cairn. An event was recorded by the people who

already knew the event by gathering stones in a pile to serve as

a reminder of the event for the tribe. Memorial cairns, time and

again, have been erected, for instance, the Ajit Garh in North

Delhi erected by the British in the memory of the soldiers died

during First Indian Independence Movement,1857. Buddha

Stupa and Taj Mahal also serve the purpose of reminders.

Even in modern times cairns are often erected as landmarks or

as reminder monuments.

As the tribes grew larger and become more numerous, the

need for labelling one’s personal property became important. It

was also necessary to mark the graves of the dead so that they

might be remembered for a longer period than was possible by

a mere memory aid. Personal property such as cattle also bore

the marks of the owner. These marks were crude at first, but

soon took the form of simple pictures known as ‘ideograms’.

Modern brands and trademarks are an outgrowth of this early

system. Stone and metal inscriptions were put on graves, land

and posts, etc. Maps of the tribal camps were drawn in

pictorial style. As their characteristics became more and more

well-known the details were dropped and figures began to take

form as symbols rather than pictures.

As the most important characteristic of graphic art is

considered to be the momentum of reproducing identical

copies by means of mechanical process of taking impression,

or printing. This explanation may be extended to include all

those pre-industrial impressions, which are represented by

Figure 6.1 Ajit Garh

Figure 6.2 Bull Seals


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the relief prints (taking impression from raised surface). These

were printed from seals, coins, and larger mould cast

surfaces specifically invented for this purpose. This mould

casts were used in the earliest Indian civilisation, especially in

the Indus Valley at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Later, the

alphabetical signs were segregated more and more from the


Throughout the ages, the evolution of writing from the

image of pictograms and then later on inscriptional images

were inspired from calligraphic strokes. There seems to have

been a kind of cyclical process. This recurs whenever we have

to teach the child the phonetic meaning of an alphabetical sign

for easy memorisation, the practice being uniformly adopted,

simply because image often precedes idea. In fact, in India the

alphabet is called , or band of colours, and may owe

itself to the coloured seal impressions used for instruction in

ancient India.

The sound symbols thereafter became more and more

simpler in form. The changing characters slowly led towards

the development of a complete set of sound symbols (phonetic

symbols) which are now called the alphabet.

The ancient Indian grammarians had, by the 5th century

BC, scientifically analysed the phonetic system of the Sanskrit

language. They also arranged the letters of their alphabet on a

thoroughly rational system, i.e. vowels before consonants. The

latter being grouped according to their class palatals ( -

the word/sound pronounced with the tongue raised against or

near the hard palate in mouth), glotturals ( -

pronounced from vocal cards), retroflexes ( -

pronounced with the tip of the tongue raised and bent slightly

backward), dentals ( -word/sound formed by placing

the tip of the tongue against or near the upper front teeth) and

labials ( -produced/formed with the lips like b,m,p)

each in a separate group. They had probably achieved this

without the help of writing, so the introduction of the written

alphabet caused them no difficulties in relating sounds to

symbols. (The divine script) used in the inscriptions of

Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC is found all over the

subcontinent. All the multitudinous scripts of India developed

from this. Their offshoots in Central Asia, Tibet and South-

East Asia, with the exception of , were derived from

Aramaic, which was used in north-western India for a few










Figure 6.3 Inscription onAshoka Pillar atQutab Minar

Figure 6.4 Indian alphabet


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In India, the earliest concept of the book was as a

collection of leaves or sheets of bark strung together between

covers by a cord. Similarly all the manuscripts from south

India have their texts written on leaves through incision with

an iron stylus. After inscribing, the leaves were usually

smeared with carbon based ink and then cleaned with sand,

leaving the ink in the incised letters, which otherwise would

have been almost invisible. As it was difficult to write directly

on to the leaves of the palmyra, the method of inscribing

became the only one used in southern India after its

widespread adoption as the normal writing on palm leaf.

Later Indians turned naturally to stone and metal when

they wanted to record a text for all time. The long lasting stones

were used widely for inscriptions from the 3rd century BC.

This was occasionally used by a royal author to demonstrate

his literary as well as martial talents. Buddhist texts were

frequently inscribed on metal plates, and strung between

covers like palm-leaf manuscripts. The copper-plate charters

( ) were more in practice than the stone

inscriptions, which recorded the granting of land to

individuals from the king, represented by his chief minister or

chief of staff. Some examples of these survived from the 4th

century. These records were first copied on cloth, birch bark

or palm leaf, before being handed over to the copper smith

( ) for engraving. The originals were apparently kept

in the royal chancellery and the plates were given to the




Figure 6.5 A metal inscription


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The smiths copied not only the letters but also the shapes

of the original. The text was incised parallel to the long side.

Usually several sheets were required to complete the text, and

these were usually in (book) format. They were then

strung through a hole to which a royal bronze seal that was

cast from a mould could be affixed. Some dynasties of

northern India preferred to issue grants in large single sheets

with the seal welded or riveted on. They were usually of same

type kept in secure storage, but buried at the boundaries of the

granted land. They were especially important as the only

permanent records of land holdings and were frequently

altered by beating out the important details and recarving;

and in later centuries entirely spurious grants are

commonplace. China, Japan, and Korea have employed the

phonetic forms of writing for more than 2000 years. Even

today their prints, made in many colours from carved cherry

woodblocks, are excellent examples.

While the art of printing and paper making was quite

advanced in China, the people of middle-East were inscribing

their records on stone and clay with characters known

as cuneiform writing. The Chaldeans are credited with

having been the originators of cuneiform writing in Egypt.


Figure 6.6 Cuneiform writing

Figure 6.7 Hieroglyphicswriting


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The splendid examples of cuneiform writing on clay tablets

and clay stamps were first found in Mesopotamia. Cuneiform

writing was inscribed on clay tablets and cylinders and on the

great monuments of Assyria and Babylon. Since all these

countries lie in the Middle-East, it is possible that the

Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Babylonians got their ideas from

the Chinese. Clay tablets, being lighter than stones, were

easier to work with and easier to store and move. The

inscriptions were made by wedge-shaped tools, or styli, from

which the tablets acquired its name ‘cuneiform’ which means

wedge shaped.

Hieroglyphics or picture writing (symbol representing a

word) was another form of the early stages of writing. True

hieroglyphics were used only for decorative purposes. The

most picturesque forms were carved by the early Egyptians on

tombs, pillars, buildings, temples, palaces, and wherever else

the need for record and communication arose. Hieroglyphics

were given their name by Greeks ( sacred;

to carve). Later the art of writing was freed from any

constraints of mechanical means or technological devices and

calligraphy developed.

The art of beautiful handwriting is known as calligraphy.

Calligraphy reached its highest point of development in

Chinese and Japanese art. Also some remarkable

achievements took place in Islamic art and certainly

traditional Indian art.

Handwriting was preceded by cutting of the characters in

stone or metal using some sharp tool and therefore

development of calligraphy is influenced by this. Angular letter

style is supposed to be inherited from epigraphy and then

changed to rounded characters. Greek papyri of the Roman

period show great variety but the noticeable qualities are

roundness of the shape of the letters, continuity of formations

and regularity.

In Europe, there was a marked difference between the

hand used literary works which is known as ‘uncial’ style and

the hand used for documentation and letters known as

‘cursive’ style. Within each of these styles many sub-styles

emerged. The Latin calligraphy also developed from epigraphic

style called ‘majuscule’ writing known as ‘capitals’. By first

hieros — glyphic —


Figure 6.9 Chinese calligraphicwriting

Figure 6.8 Latin calligraphicinscription


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century AD, the cursive style started transforming into a

running hand called ‘minuscule’ style for rapid writing and in

the process many letters gradually changed from capitals to

small case letters. During the renaissance, artists and scribes

adopted the geometrically formed letters of Roman

inscriptions. They are the originators of the fine round

letterforms which are the foundations for present-day ‘ ’

type used in printing. Gradually, calligraphy paved the way for

typography as printing took over handwriting.


1. What were the means of communication before the picturediagrams existed? Why were they considered insufficient?

2. Write in your own words, why was there a need for awritten script?

3. Describe in stages the development of script.

4. How were the early books produced?

5. Write a short note on the Indus Valley script and itsrelation with image.

6. How did image later evolved into calligraphic art of writing?

1. Prepare a design using Chinese calligraphy style.

2. Design images with Roman alphabet.

3. Write expressing words reflecting or expressing particularfeeling of the word. Example: Space/storm/stop/ relation,etc.

4. Write a page about yourself and your family in calligraphicstyle.

5. Find out the calligraphic styles of different languages/cultures with examples.

6. Recognise the characters of any script from yoursurrounding and then design your name using thosecharacters in Roman or Devnagari script.

7. Design a book cover of a textbook on ‘Language Learning’.

8. Represent a text in graphical form. Using graphical imagesdepict a particular word and then a sentence in English orany other language.


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Reprography is the reproduction of any design or text in print

form. This print form for communication is understood as a

basic human need, a need that stems from a desire to relate

not only to the creator but also with others at large. Various

means of visual communication find their outlet in different

formats—ranging from manuscripts, books, scrolls (with a

narrator to narrate the various pictorial sequences), puppet

shows, theatres, dance, leaflets, posters and hoardings. The

list is endless.

Technology has aided in the growth and diversification of

communication techniques. Nowadays, with the aid of the

internet, cable networking and various forms of other

electronic and digital media, communication has become truly

global. And these developments could be understood as a

process that started with the invention of the first printing

press by Gutenberg in the 15th century. That made the

mechanical reproduction of scripts possible and

revolutionised learning which was otherwise concentrated

within a selected few by making it possible to reach out to the


Let us now pause for a moment and look into some of the

features of mechanical reproduction as we encounter them in

our daily lives. Take the instance of this book that you are


Does your friend just sitting by your side have the same

book? Is that book identical in every sense of the terms?

In a larger context, millions of students like you will or can

possess copies of the same book. Imagine a situation where

we may have to reproduce these books by hand. Think of

the time consumed, the labour required or the cost involved.



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Look at this image.

It could have been sourced from









Various scraps

Or all of the above

How many of you have visited the real?

May be a few.

But you can see the image of the real without going to it. It is available and comes to

you in the form of representation or reproduction on a television screen or in a

movie or in a poster, etc. The reprography has made convenient to get information

from across the world through a number of medium.

Figure 7.1 Eiffel Tower, Paris, France


The books produced by hand, firstly won't be cheap; secondly,

would lack timely production; and also would be available only

to a select few.

Don’t you think mechanical reproduction overcomes

these problems? And in the process, helps in spreading

education, ideas and that in essence were limited to a selected

few before the advent of printing processes. Mechanical

reproduction has increased the mobility of images with

information to unprecedented levels providing unlimited

contextual interpretation and use.

Figure 7.2 Hand operatedearlier reliefprinting press

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Let us now look into some of the few basic graphical

printing techniques.

Printing is understood as the process of creating identical

multiples from a single matrix that forms as primary block

from which the prints are taken. The block or surface is

prepared in such a manner that the printing and non-printing

area (raised and depressed) remain distinguished. Before we

discuss different printing processes, it is important to note

that principally there are three types of printing processes –

relief printing, intaglio and planography. They follow different

techniques, processes and tools.

In relief printing, the area or design to be printed stands

above the non-printing area, the ink is applied to the raised

printing area in such a manner that the non-printing

depressed area remains untouched and clean on the printing

surface. Generally in relief printing, the ink is either applied by

means of an ink roller or by dabbing the block into an ink pad,

which happens to be a relatively flat surface.

In intaglio printing, the printing area or design is cut into

a flat surface and is made depressed from the non-printing

area. The ink is rubbed into the grooves and the upper area is

then wiped clean before the plate is brought in contact with a

pre-dampened paper. An even pressure is applied on the paper

which has a soft padding. This printing results in a very fine

print, the deeper the grove on the plate, the darker the printed

image will be.

The third process is planography. In planography, as the

name itself suggests, the printing and the non-printing areas

have virtually no difference in height. This is basically a

combination of water and oil based ink resist technique.

In this process, the printing area is made receptive to ink while

the non-printing area repels the ink either by means of a

stencil or the physical properties of the surface of medium

using water which repels oil based ink. When an inked roller is

passed over the whole surface it delivers ink or colour only on

the design.

When you walk on floor with wet feet, you leave foot prints.

This could be a simple way of understanding relief printing.



Figure 7.3 Intaglio printingpress

Figure 7.4 Relief printing


Depressed area


Figure 7.5 Intaglio printing



Figure 7.6 Planography printing





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This is the method which is being practised everyday. It could

be in the form of a thumb impression or in the form of a

rubber stamp. We dab the area to be printed on an ink pad

and simply bring it in contact with the surface on which the

print is required.


was invented in China by Tsai Lun in 105 AD. Paper was

formed by pulping and shredding materials of vegetable origin

in a solution of water and gum and catching the suspended

fragments on a fine mesh; when allowed to dry, a malleable and

durable sheet of considerable strength is obtained. The

Chinese after perfecting the process used the bark of the

mulberry as the vegetable basis of their paper. With the

invention of paper, printing became widespread in China.

The process

was learnt by the Arab s after the conquest of Samarkand in

751 AD, and spread throughout the middle-east. Later linen

rags were substituted for the mulberry bark. As China

developed, business increased and the recording of

transactions and exchange became difficult. Since printing

was far advanced in China by 807 AD, paper money came into

use as a simple means of exchange and was widely used

throughout the empire. This paper money was the first form of

block printing encountered by foreign visitors and also carried

to Europe through the middle-east.

In India, growing of cotton-weaving and dyeing cotton

cloth for garments were an ancient tradition. A fragment of

madder dyed cotton cloth had been found from Mohanjo-Daro,

establishing prevalence of knowledge of cotton weaving

and of the fabulous process of mordant dyeing even five

thousand years ago. The cotton established the genius of the

Indian weaver, printer and embroiderer for its richest and

boldest expression.

The printing on fabrics with blocks of wood, carved, cut or

engraved, to produce designs and images on cloth, is a very

ancient craft of India. The earliest impeccable numerous

historical evidences of archaeological nature of woodblock

printed textiles of Indian origin were supplied by a large

number of finds from Fostat on the river Nile, southern

outskirts of Cairo in Egypt. The site excavated during the latter

part of the 19th century, reveals that between the 10th and

The invention of helped the printing widespread.


The word paper is derived from the word papyrus, which is

a plant found in Egypt along the lower Nile River.


Figure 7.10 Engraved woodblocks

Figure 7.8 A block of wood

Figure 7.9 The inked woodblock ready forhand printing

Figure 7.7 Hand-roller


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14th century, Cairo developed as a major centre of east-west

trade and one of the principal meeting points of merchants

between the Mediterranean and Red Sea. A considerable

trade from India also took this route as Cairo was the centre

for Indian goods intended for the Egyptian market.

These objects, described as the Fostat fabrics, are best

seen at the , at Mulhouse in

France. In India Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad,

Gujarat has also some very good Fostat fabrics. From the

character of designs and on the evidence of the history of trade

and commerce, historians have come to the conclusion that

the Fostat fabrics are undoubtedly of Indian origin. There are

three types of Fostat fabrics — block printed, hand painted

and a mixture of the two techniques. The consensus is that the

earliest known block-printed Fostat fabric can be dated back

to the fourteenth century. The Calico Museum also has a

fifteenth century piece of Fostat in the mixed technique.

A cotton fragment found at Fostat has a design printed on

white cotton now weathered to a soft brownish tint. It is

printed with two red and a colour possibly violet, which has

now become brown. The design is block printed from a single

block. It seems that the block had been used to print the

outline using a resist process, probably wax, which prevented

the dye from adhering to the outline. Colours were applied to

the design with some kind of brush. After the cloth was dyed

and washed the three colours appeared separated by a fine

outline of white.

Musee de L’Impresion sur Etoffes

Figure 7.11 A printed piece ofcloth, the gooseare printed asmotif


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The design is most ingeniously planned. Four pairs of

(goose) are arranged in the design in a circle around

a lotus flower in the centre. The meeting point of the imprints

appears at the center of the quarter fold. The combination

of printing and hand painting is a feature of the work of


Before the invention of the mechanical types practically all

books were produced by hand writing by scribes in temples

and monasteries. This hand writing process was very

laborious and slow. People experimented to find quicker ways

of reproduction of books. A number of books were reproduced

by cutting both illustrations and letters on the same solid

blocks of wood, and printed from these. Such books were

known as block books. These books were written, illustrated

and decorated partly for private study and reference, and also

for public circulation.

The world’s oldest known printed book is the

a collection of Buddhist scriptures printed from wood

blocks. The book was printed on 11 May 869 AD by Wang

Chieh for free distribution. The impressions were taken by

hand from carved and inked wood blocks on to crude sheet of

paper made from bamboo. As civilisation developed, the need

for keeping records in large numbers became important not

only preserving the holy scriptures but instructions for the


During invasions of the Chinese Empire, Chinese taught

their ancient art to the invaders and it spread to the middle

East and then to Europe. Initially, in Europe crude and

somewhat immature pictures of saints and religious scenes

were created, by a few lines of reading matter cut on the block,

similar to our present day captions below illustrations or

pictures. Eventually whole pages of text were cut in blocks,

and from these the early block books were printed. The best

known of these books was the , or Poor

People’s Bible. Wood cutting for printing slowly improved in

technique all through the fifteen century and reached its peak

as an art in the first quarter of the sixteenth century.

The main examples of intaglio printing are line engraving, line

etching, soft ground etching, drypoint, stipple and crayon





Biblia Pauperum

Printing of Books


Figure 7.12 Diamond Sutra

Figure 7.13 The earliestknown woodcut,


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method, aquatint, sugar ground aquatint, mezzotint and


Among all, the engraving is the oldest technique, and in

many ways the most satisfactory method. The entire process is

executed on polished copper plates. Zinc, iron, steel and even

silver plates have also been used, but copper remains the most

commonly used. In this technique a design or image is carved

or engraved deep in the surface.

The tool used for creating images is known as burin or

graver. It is a strip of highly tempered steel, square in section,

fitted into a wooden handle and sharpened at an angle to a fine

point. All drawings are done mainly with graver. While

working, the handle rests in the palm of the hand and at a low

angle the point is pushed into the metal surface to create an

image. The tool is controlled by the thumb and right forefinger

which hold the sides of the burin and rest on the plate. The

quality of thickness or thinness of line varies partly by

choosing the kind of burin. The square section will give a

thicker line than the pointed section, and partly by the angle of

working. If the graver is held at a higher angle to the plate, the

point will go deeper and the result will be a thick line. The

metal removed by the burin is cut out as a curl in front of its

point, and it leaves a slight burr on either side of the engraved

line. This burr is removed by a scraper, a tool with cutting

edges which taper to a point. The scraper is also used to make

corrections and alterations in all intaglio techniques.

In common with all intaglio methods, it cannot be printed

with types and requires a roller press for printing. The plate is

inked by dabbing all over and then the ink is wiped smoothly

from the surface, leaving ink only in the engraved cavities.

Engravings are mostly printed on slightly damp pliable

paper. For taking the printing, the inked plate is placed

on the platen of press by keeping the image side up. A damp

paper is placed on it and is covered by a padded blanket.

As the plate, paper and the blanket padding pass through the

strong rollers of press, force the paper to take up the ink from

the cavities.

During the middle ages, engraving and etching were added to

wood cut and at the beginning of the 18th century, lithography

made its appearance. With lithography the technique of



Pointed burin for copperengraving

Etching needles



Figure 7.14 Different toolsused for creatingdesign in intagliomethod

Figure 7.15 A lithographicstone


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reproduction reached an essentially new stage permitting

graphic art for the first time to put its products in the market in

large numbers. Lithography enabled graphic art to illustrate

everyday life, and it began to keep pace with printing.

The origins of most of the methods of graphic art are quite

obscure, but lithography can be firmly credited to the long

research of Aloys Senefelder of Munich in the year 1796.

Senefelder was not a painter but worked in the theatre as a

performing actor and playwright. He was experimenting with

etching to find a cheaper method of reproducing his own

scripts. By chance, he discovered the unique characteristics of

the Bavarian limestone which became the basic printing

surface of the medium. He experimented with limestone for

two years and achieved the perfection of the method. He also

designed a press suitable for litho stone as neither the existing

platen nor the intaglio roller press were capable of

accommodating the thick stone.

But only, a few decades after its invention, lithography

was accompanied by screen printing and photography. For the

first time in the process of pictorial reproduction, photography

freed the hand of the most important artistic functions, which

henceforth, devolved only upon the eye looking into a lens.

Since the eye perceives more swiftly than the hand can draw,

the process of pictorial reproduction was accelerated so

enormously that it could keep pace with the requirement.

Figure 7.17 Lithography press

Figure 7.16 Hand roller andinked stone

Visit a nearby printing

press and understand

the printing techniques

used and also the

process from layout to

finished printing.


Figure 7.18 Marc Chagall1966 Lithograph(Part)


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1. What do you understand by block printing?

2. What are the main reasons which made man feel the need

of printed books?

3. What is the meaning of block books?

4. Principally there are three printing processes—(relief,

intaglio and planography. Elaborate.

5. How was block printing used in ancient India? What

influence did it have on the Egyptian civilisation?

6. Make a scrap book of different printing media/

techniques available around you and write briefly about


7. Write the difference between engraving, wood block and

lithography printing. Give examples.

1. Repeat a pattern to make a design with direct printing

technique (any raised material that can be printed on a

surface) e.g. cut an eraser to make a relief pattern and

apply colour on the surface. Get the impression on the

surface or discover and use other materials and

technique from which a print can be taken.

2. Get the impression from the raised surface on a paper by

rubbing pencil and then try to duplicate the effect with

other media.

3. Make two illustrations using the effects achieved from the

earlier exercise.

4. Use Red (R), Yellow (Y), Blue (B) colours to mix and create

different colours. By increasing or decreasing the

quantity of the colours prepare as many combinations

possible and make a chart of the achieved colours.

5. Make a design based on a given subject or product and

then recreate the design fit for printing as a Black and

White image as used for planography.

6. Design your own name and then create the reverse of the

letter in a manner fit for printing.


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The first printing machine came into existence during the

renaissance period. Till then the books were written by hand

and each one was decorated and illustrated individually as

already discussed in previous chapters. With the advent of a

lithographic press, things became a little easy. But still the

text was written by hand either directly onto the sensitised

stone or on the gum coated transfer paper. Writing with hand

was a tedious process. When the letter press (treadle) machine

was invented, reproduction became easier. There were

individual matrices cast out of lead or woodcut blocks of

individual letters which were arranged and fixed in a

temporary frame known as the format. The format needed to

be mounted on the machine and in a very short time it was

ready for printing. After the printing was over, the format was

again removed and the type went back to the compositor tray

after a thorough cleaning. These could be reused until the

shapes of type are deformed or damaged. In case a picture or

an illustration was to be inserted, a block for the same was also

required which was either a half tone block or a line block. The

reusability of the type and the blocks was one major advantage

of this type of printing and above all it was quite compact and

fast as compared to the lithographic press.

The invention of printing from movable metal type is

credited to Johann Gutenberg of Mainz, in 1450. Gutenberg

invented a method of creating type which can be transported,

moved and used for number of printings. The new invention

made possible the production of a book just in a matter of

days in contrast to the years of labour put in by scribes

and illuminators. This new technique suggested a set of




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conventions and method already established for many

generations. Gutenberg invented the method of casting of

individual metal types for each character of the alphabet. A

punch or die was cut in the shape of a type character. This was

stamped into soft metal to create a mould into which molten

lead could be poured to cast the piece of type in a matter of

seconds. A printer could rapidly compose type to form words,

lines and pages of books and by using the newly developed

screw press could take a hundred impressions.

In spite of the startling innovation of this method,

Gutenberg at first kept the process a secret, his printed works

(mainly Bibles) were produced as blunt imitations of the

manuscript books. The body of the printed text matter and the

design of his type closely followed the hand written words of

the illuminators, which required very close examination to

identify a page as printed.

The invention of Gutenberg introduced many new

terminologies in reproduction techniques.

When the signs and symbols which constitute the means

of communication known as writing are painted or engraved

on wood or stone with mechanical devices then they are

called letterforms.

Type font is a set of letters having some common elements

resulting in a distinctive style of lettering, and is used to

compose a linguistic text. A standardised digital version of a

type font is usually designed by a type designer and released or

marketed by a type casting developing firm. The terms type

font and a typeface represent a common concept of

prefabricated lettering styles.

The difference in typefont and typeface is technological in

nature. In the early days of hot metal technology an image

of a letterform had to be transferred on to the top (face) of a

rectangular metal piece called a type; hence term the typeface.

The term type font is indicative of the typeface created

through using digital technology consisting of bits and bytes.







Extra Bold



Figure 8.1 Letter press


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It also reflects the new profile of a typeface which contains,

digital information of a lettering style, and is not an object or

an analog image of a letterform. An operating system stores

the information of digital fonts through an application such as

a word processor. A user can select a type font of his/her

choice and generate, view, edit, process, print and transmit

linguistic text.

The difference between art lettering and a typeface can be at

two levels. Art lettering is constructed by a lettering artist for a

given purpose and for single use in short headline. It is not a

permanently documented lettering style, whereas a type face

is a design activity of a permanent nature and can be used for

various purposes. A variety of documents can be created

using typefaces.

Calligraphy is an artistic handwriting as an art. The

expressive and aesthetic visual qualities can be associated

with calligraphic lettering as compared to hand drawn

lettering. Calligraphic letters are usually the authentic

outcome of writing tools and the sensitivity of a calligrapher.

Once manifested, calligraphy cannot be (or should not be)

retouched or modified.

Art Lettering



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Type Design

Type Designer



Importance of Type

The art of printing with movable types is described as

typography. Typography is a discipline. It is the art and science

of laying out the text as per the requirement of the

content/theme. Various type faces are used in a printed

document to create the required effects through typographic

design. Typography will make use of prefabricated type


Type design is a discipline which deals with planning,

designing, executing and testing letter forms for a given

purpose in a required script. Type design activity requires

sensitivity towards aesthetics of letterforms, as well as

knowledge of type face production technology.

A type designer is a professional responsible for type designs.

A typographer uses his understanding about type faces

and technology of text composing. He is responsible for

designing the text.

A calligrapher through his or her commitment to the

aesthetics of letterforms spontaneously draws/paints letters,

words, sentences and/or statements; with maximum

expressive quality using appropriate writing tools and writing

surfaces. In the process each work produced by a calligrapher

is unique work of art.

Without a type font, no printed text will ever exist. The

effectiveness of written communication will depend upon the

visual qualities of a written text. The proper use of type fonts

and effective typography would result in an effective piece of

written communication, in any language, in any script,

anywhere, anytime. The role played by type fonts in printing is

extremely important. Printing technology caters to both text

and images. In context to text composition and text printing,

Figure 8.2 Calligraphy writing


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type fonts are vital input elements. The publishing industry

can establish its unique identity, if needed, through a specific

type font style. Reputed newspapers have initiated type

designs according to their requirements. For example, Times

Roman type designed by Stanley Morrison was initiated by

as their new identity. Information technology

and information design are two vital sides of the information

industry. The usage of innovative ideas in information

technology, as well as creatively designed and typographically

well presented text/images as part of information design, are

the two key factors that enhance the quality of content in a

visual. Well chosen type fonts and well presented visuals, play

an important role in information design.

Type font family consists of type font members. The type font

family can be identified through its stylistic renderings of

elements, weights, transformation variations and sizes.

For example, Times Roman has thin smooth serifs at the end

of vertical strokes, so this stylistic feature will be observed in

all its family members. Different weights of a letterform

such as extra light, light, medium, demi-bold, bold, extra bold

can expand a given type family. The angular slope given to

vertical strokes would result in italic variation of the

same font. Condensed, extra condensed, expanded, extra

expanded proportions of a letterform would form another

feature of a typeface family. For example, Universe

type designed by Adrian Frutiger is an excellent example of a

Sans Serif type font family in Latin script. Nirnaysagar

typeface, a pioneering style in Balabodh Devanagari,

is an excellent example of a type face family in India.

Generally, a light, medium and bold weight typeface along

with its slant (Italic) versions are designed as a minimal

font family.

It is a well known fact that copper plates, litho stones and

wooden blocks with images of pictures or linguistic signs were

used as reproduction tools in the early days. The concept of

using an individual letter of a script again and again, as an

individual master tool, was initiated by Gutenberg.

This revolutionary concept to compose text was handled in a

soft material like wood. After many experiments movable types

in metal were introduced using hot metal technology.

Times London

Font Family

Impact of Typeface on Society

Figure 8.3 Posters with imageand type





o S


Technical Text Normal Text Italic

Font family


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Fig 8.4 The Type MouldsMoulds for 225 different charactersare contained in the frame

Fig 8.5 Gallery

desiredat stage

As the type is placed in its consecutive order itis passed into a long channel or ‘gallery’ whereit is broken up into pages or any form.Corrections are also made this .

The original image of a letter had to be engraved on top of a

steel punch. The execution of engraving activity in actual size

and shape of a letter on a hard steel was a laborious and

painstaking, yet artistic achievement. This punch was to be

struck into the side of a metal piece (called Matrix). Then hot

metal was poured into such matrix moulds, resulting in

individual type metal pieces. On the top face of such metallic

rectangular pieces the impression of a letter would emerge as a

mirror image.

When such pieces are composed together in a linear

fashion, ink applied, pressed and printed on paper, it is called

letter press printing technology. From this brief description,

one can conclude that it was indeed a long drawn and an

individualistic approach to create design and produce a type

font. In spite of such pioneering and revolutionary efforts,

printing was treated as black magic and learned people did not

accept this process of reproducing a text as compared to a

handwritten text or calligraphic text. Yet, the art of printing

caught on and helped to spread the written word all around.

It helped society in general to get literate faster by reading

ready-made printed text. Economy and speed of this printed

text were two crucial factors. It is now obvious that Gutenberg

as well as printers, designers who followed him designed type

fonts based on handwritten models, as if the text was

handwritten and not printed. ‘Gothic’ styled typefaces were

the outcome. Fractur and Swachbacher, German text fonts

would reflect the same spirit. When the typefaces were

designed on the basis of ‘Gothic Calligraphy’, in England they

were loosely called old English typefaces. The usage of such


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Indian Typography

The type design activity on the Indian scene was also based on the handwritten styles

(calligraphy) from old manuscripts. Many European scholars and missionaries such as

Dr. William Carey, Sir Charles Wilkins, Thomas Graham, etc. had engaged themselves in

creating typefaces and developing composing technology for Indian texts. This era was

quite important and relevant for the spread of literacy in the Indian continent. Some

attempts of type designing and print were also observed in European countries—(V&J

Figgins, London, 1884 (Devanagari), Tamil type cut in Germany (1716), Schlegel’s

Devanagari, Bonnae, 1848, Devanagari typecast in Rome (1771).

and similar typefaces still gives us the ambience and aura of

the olden times.

In India the printing machine arrived in Goa in the mid

15th century by accident. Indian font designing and text

composing activity started on the Malabar Coast, then Madras

in early 18th century, and established its strong identity at

Serampore Press near Calcutta in the early 19th century.

Then it shifted to Bombay. Influenced by such activities,

Indian printers such as Ganpat Krishnaji and others

then followed the trend of type designing and text printing in

Indian languages.

This era can be described as the pre-Nirnayasagar era.

The dedicated all-round efforts to design typefaces was truly

introduced by Nirnayasagar type font foundry in Bombay in

early 19th century. This all round activity including type

designing, content creation in the Sanskrit language, casting

typefaces, printing and publishing books in Sanskrit and

other Indian languages was undertaken by a great pioneer by

name Jaojee Dadajee. He established the Nirnayasagar Type

Foundry, Nirnayasagar Printing Press and Nirnayasagar

Publishing House. This great institution was the centre of

scholarly linguistic activities guided by Sanskrit scholars and

. The publications printed in Sanskrit by this

institution are still treated as the most authentic printed

editions of ancient Indian texts all over the world. A punch

cutter named Aaru was at the helm of type design activity

at the institute. The efforts of Jaojee Dadajee and Aaru

had created an unparallel instance of a type family

which comprised different weights and variations in early

19th century.




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This Nirnayasagar era is a golden era in Indian language

font designing and text printing using hot metal technology

with international standards. Unfortunately, very little

documented archives of this activity are available apart from

type catalogues and printed books. Post Nirnayasagar era

marked the emergence of many dedicated printers and

publishers equipped with modern technology for type foundry

and text printing. This printing and publishing activity spread

all over India and contributed towards creating content in

various fields of art, science and other disciplines. The

exposure to western technologies made many of them adopt

modern facilities to reproduce Indian languages and scripts.

Linear composition of text in the Latin script was the basis of

the development of technologies for type designing and text

composing/printing in the West. This forced Indian printers

and publishers to consider changes in Indian scripts, and thus

script reform activity took root in Indian soil. Many Indian

engineers, linguists, politicians and enthusiasts have

contributed their bit since 1884 till the end of 20th century.

Some of the script reforms were incorporated on

mechanical machines in order to get faster reproduction of

Indian texts.

As already explained design existed from the time we existed.

Design had been a part of our lives since the world began.

When humans got hungry they designed weapons to kill, when

they wanted shelter, they designed houses, and when they

needed to communicate, they designed symbols and scripts.

Digital Imaging

Fig 8.6 Structure of developingdigital character


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Wherever there is a need to communicate visually; there is

potential enhancement of communications through graphic

design. With the advancement of modern techniques a simple

press of a button unfolds the whole world before us on

internet. Different sites offer different modes of information

both passive and interactive or with minimal effort. We watch

different Television Channels with the help of a remote control

sitting in the comfort of our room.

During mid 1980s, the arrival of desktop publishing

and the introduction of graphic art software applications

introduced a generation of designers to computer image

manipulation and 3D image creation that had previously

been laborious. Computer graphic design enabled designers

to instantly see the effects of layout or typographic

changes without using any ink in the process, and to

simulate the effects of traditional media without requiring

a lot of space.

A computer is now no more a mere accounting machine. If

it is a toy for a kid, it is also an office in itself. Just see the

flexibility of the medium. For a designer on the move, it is an

office on the go, a compact work studio full of innumerous

tools. This helps you working without mixing colours with

water or oil on a pallet and away from clogging air brush,

cleaning brush after every use and also a wrong colour stroke.

It has an undo command that comes to your rescue, if you

have done something unwanted and want to go back to your

previous work.

The computer is loaded with varied software and tools.

This huge array of tools follow your command. The precision

of a computer remains unmatched. A line can be drawn in

curve, straight, angular, thin, thick, etc. of a choice with the

help of a line tool. The attributes are defined in the dialogue

box. You can cut it, copy it, and paste it any number of times,

at any desired place in the design. It can be undone if anything

goes wrong and can repeat any command without any

problem. Most software provides a whole range of calligraphy

tools with varied styles.

All computers use an operating system and some

softwares to follow commands. Software is basically of two

types, vectors and rasters. Let us see what these vector and

raster based softwares are?


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Vector Based Software

Raster Based Software

This software is linear in nature, all kind of line based work is

done through this kind of software, and when enlarged the

image remains sharp.

This kind of software produces images that are softer at the

edges. They are ideal for editing photo and image activities.

When enlarged beyond its actual size they become hazy.

Traditional tools such as pencils or markers are often

used to develop graphic design ideas, even when computers

are used for finalisation. Computers are generally considered

to be an indispensable tool used in the graphic design

industry. Computers and software applications are more

effective production tools when combined with traditional


The thumbnail sketches or rough drafts on paper can be

used rapidly to refine and produce the idea on the computer in

a hybrid process. This hybrid process is especially useful in

logo design.


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Rapid production from the computer allows designers to

explore multiple ideas quickly and with more detail than could

be achieved by traditional hand-rendering or paste-up on

paper. Software enables the designer to venture through the

creative process more quickly experimenting with tools and

methods, be they traditional or digital. Ideas explored using

pencil and paper are executed using fonts, clipart, stock

photos, or rendering filters on the computer. One of the key

features of graphic design is that it involves selecting the

appropriate image making tools out of its ability to generate

meaning rather than preference.

1. What do you understand by the word typography?

2. Describe the importance of type.

3. How did Johann Gutenberg’s hot metal technology make

printing simpler?

4. Write a brief history of type foundry in the Indian context.

5. How have computers influenced the life of graphic designers

and what role do computers play in the printing industry?

1. Draw six parallel lines with equal space and design your

own typography, using basic shapes like circle, square and

triangle with geometric tools, starting with alphabets and

then your name followed by a whole sentence, keeping in

mind the geometric relation between all the alphabets.

2. Make a design using your own initials (i.e. the first

alphabets of your name and surname).

3. Write a quotation in your own designed typography.

4. Copy typography styles of different products available

around you.

5. Make a logo type on a given subject or product.

6. Use roman alphabets to make few 2D/3D designs like a

chair, accessories, apparel, a futuristic car, a cartoon or

comic character, etc. and then digitally generate the design.

Take a print of your work.


Visit a nearby graphic/


multimedia/ art studio

to understand the

entire sequence of

processes from the

layout stage to final



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Autolithography :

Bed :

Ben Day Tints :

Bite :

Black Letter :

Bleed :

Blind Stamping or Tooling :

Block :

Block Book :

Blocking :

Body :

Bold Face :

Bolts :

Book Hand :

Book Sizes :

Box Wood :

Brochure :

Drawing original work on the stone or plate as distinct fromchromolithography in which a drawing or painting is copied by a professionallithographic artist or photolithography in which the work is transferred to theplate photographically. Autolithography is not restricted to any form oflithographic drawing and can be in colour or black and white, with pen, chalk,airbrush, ben day tints or splatter.

The table of a press or machine on which the forme lies.

Named after the American inventor, mechanical tints applied toline blocks.

The action of acid in the etching of a metal plate.

An alternative term for a type face based on the gothic hand of thelate middle ages.

An illustration or block which spreads over the margin to the edgeof the page.

The impression of a design on the leather cover of abook without using ink, gold or foil. The heated tool makes the leather somewhatdarker, when impressed.

A generic term applied to any relief printing surface other than type ortypographic ornament.

A popular type of book printed entirely from woodblocks. They wereperhaps the earliest form of printed books but continued in production in theNetherlands long after Gutenberg’s invention.

The impression of a design or lettering on a book cover by machine.

The shank of the type.

Type with a heavy black appearance, but in the same style as themedium weight of the font.

The folded edges of a sheet or section of a book on three sides which willeventually be trimmed off.

A formal style of handwriting as used by professional, copiers ofbooks before the invention of printing such as uncial, half uncial, carolineminuscule, cancellaresca.

The standard sizes (in inches) of British books (untrimmed).

Hard wood used as end grain blocks for wood engraving.

A pamphlet or other small work which has its pages stitched butnot bound.


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Burin :

Burnisher :

Calligraphy :

Capitals :

Dabber :

Deckle :

Em :

Emblems :

En :

End Papers :

Engraving :

Etching :

Face :

Fecit, fee., f. :

Figuravit :

Format :

Forme :

A graver or tool used for engraving on either metal or wood.

A smooth curved metal tool used in copper plate engraving forpolishing the plate surface when making corrections or additional work. Specialburnishers are used for gold leaf work (agate) and for taking impressions by handfrom a woodblock.

Decorative handwriting or handwritten lettering. The creation andpractice of pen scripts to adorn and decorate books, documents and letters for thechurch, the law or commerce.

Large letters such as A E B D which derive from Roman inscriptionallettering.

An inking pad of cotton, silk or leather.

The rough edge of hand-made paper.

Spacing metal, the square of any size of type, popularly known as a mutton. A12 pt or pica em is the printer's unit of measurement and all areas of type on thepage are expressed in ems. Approximately 1/6”.

( cons) are more effective than a written name, especially for logosbeing translated into many alphabet; for instance, a name in the Arabic languagewould be of little help in most European markets. A sign or emblem would keep thegeneral proprietary nature of the product in both markets. In non-profit areas, theRed Cross (which goes by Red Crescent in certain countries) is an example of anextremely well known emblem which does not need an accompanying name.Branding aims to facilitate cross-language marketing. For example, a soft drinkcompany’s logo can be identified in any language because of the standards ofcolour and design.

Half an em, popularly known as a nut.

Leaves of paper at front and end of a book which help to secure thebody of the book to its case or binding. At one time they were decorated with aprinted pattern or marbling, now more usually quite plain.

A generic term used loosely to cover all methods of printing a picture.Properly, it refers to copper plate engraving with a burin in which the subject isrendered and printed in intaglio. See Appendix.

Using acid to erode areas of a metal plate instead of engraving with theburin. See Appendix.

The printing surface of a type.

A term used in the lettering of old prints to denote ‘etched’ oroccasionally ‘engraved’.

A term used on old prints meaning ‘drew’, and particularly a drawingmade from a painting which is in process of being reproduced.

The size and layout of a book or other printed work.

The complete type and blocks necessary for printing a sheet, usuallycontaining 2, 4, 8, or more pages, imposed and locked up in a chase.



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Formis :

Foul Biting :

Fount (Font) :

Foxed :

Fraktur :

Frame :

Frontispiece :

Furniture :

Galley :

Gathering :

Gothic Type :

Graver :

Grotesque :

India Paper :

Intaglio :

Intertype :

Invenit (Inv.) :

Italic :

Jacket :

Layout :

Leads :

Leaders :

A term used on old prints to denote ‘issued’ or ‘published’.

Accidental dots or other irregular areas bitten into a plate, caused byimperfect grounds.

A complete set of any particular type.

Brown spots on the paper of old prints and books brought about by damp.

Gothic type, batarde style, used in the 15th and 16th centuries and stillsurviving for occasional use in Germany at the present time.

A rack or desk at which the compositor works, usually containing thevarious type cases.

An illustration or other picture facing the title page of a book.

Pieces of wood or metal used for spacing type.

Flat metal tray used for holding type after it has been composed on thestick and before it is made up into pages and put in chase. The first proofs fromtype, made for literal corrections, are pulled from a galley.

Placing the sections of a book in the correct order for binding.

Type faces based, like Gutenberg's, on the hand used by scribes inNorthern Europe in the 15th century, known as black letter types for their heavycolour on the page.

See burin.

A form of sansserif type introduced in the early 19th century and likemany other types of that period enjoying a revival at the present time.

A very thin but strong opaque paper made from rags and used forprinting bibles and dictionaries with their many pages in a convenient size.

A printing image below the surface of the plate.

A type setting machine which casts a line of type, automaticallyjustified in one piece.

Terms used in the lettering of old prints meaning ‘inventor’ or‘designer’.

A type face based on the sloping chancery hand (canceIleresca) of the 15thcentury introduced by Aldus Manutius in 1501 for printing small octavo volumesof verse. At first used with upright roman capitals, its main advantage was itscondensed nature and the resultant saving of space.

The paper wrapper in which the book is sold. Not regarded as apermanent part of the book but as an aid to sales promotion.

The design and arrangement of copy for setting.

Strips of lead under type height used for spacing out lines of type.

Type characters which print as rows of dots as used in tables and charts.


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Legend :

Letterpress :

Lettre Batarde (Bastarda) :

Lettre de Forme (Textura) :

Lettre de Somme (Fere Humanistica) :

Line Block :

Lino-cut :

Line Engraving :

Linotype :

Lith. :

Lith. by :

Lithography :


The caption or descriptive matter below an illustration.

Printing from a relief surface as from type or blocks.

Gothic type in a cursive style used by the earlyprinters chiefly for works in the vernacular, the Schwabacher type of Germany.

Gothic type of a condensed nature as used byGutenberg in printing his Bibles. It became the usual type for religious books inthe 15th and 16th centuries.

Gothic type with roman tendencies usedfor printing classical and scholastic works in Latin.

A printing plate of zinc or copper consisting of solid areas and linesreproduced directly from a line drawing without tones. Mounted on a woodenblock it prints with type.

A relief printing surface of linoleum on which the background to thedesign is cut away with a knife, gouge, or engraving tool.

An intaglio method of engraving lines on a copper plate by theuse of the burin, removing the metal turned up by using a scraper. With its widerange of work from boldness to great delicacy it superseded the woodcut for bookillustration in the 16th century, reaching its zenith in France in the 18th century.

A type setting machine, which casts a line of type, automaticallyjustified, in one piece.

Drawn on stone.

Indicates the lithographic printer.

A method of surface printing invented by Alois Senefelder in 1796,making use of the chemical reaction of grease and water and the absorbentqualities of the Bavarian limestone to both.

: (from the Greek = logotipos) is a graphical element, symbol, oricon that, together with its (which is set in a unique typeface or arrangedin a particular way) form a trademark or brand. A logo is typically designed tocause immediate recognition by the viewer, inspiring trust, admiration, loyaltyand an implied superiority. The logo is one aspect of the brand of a company oreconomic entity, and the shapes, colours, fonts and images are usually differentfrom others in a similar market. Logos may also be used to identify organisationsor other entities in non-economic contexts.

Today there are many corporations, products, services, agencies and otherentities using a sign or emblem as logo. As a result, only a few of the thousands ofsigns people are faced with are recognised without a name. It makes less sense touse a sign as a logo, even together with the name, if people will not duly identify it.Therefore, the trend in the recent years has been to use both images (icons) andthe company name to emphasise the name instead of the supporting graphicportion, making it unique by its letters, colour, and additional graphic elements.

Logo design is commonly believed to be one of the most important areas ingraphic design, thus making it the most difficult to perfect. The logo, or brand, isnot just an image, it is the embodiment of an organisation. Because logos are



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meant to represent companies and foster recognition by consumers it iscounterproductive to redesign logos often.

A mould used for casting type or blocks. In the making of stereotypes apapier-mâché, rubber, or mould of other material is used.

Manuscript or copy to be printed.

The length of line to which type is set, expressed in a number of picaor 12pt ems.

A method of engraving in tone which was very popular in the 18thcentury in England for reproducing oil paintings, particularly portraits, andtherefore known generally as la maniere anglaise.

The lower case or small letter which developed during the Middle Agesas a more convenient and quicker method of writing.

A typeface with flat unbracketed serifs and with a sharp contrastbetween thick and thin strokes and a vertical stress on the curves, such as Bodonior Walbaum.

Making a painting on glass or metal and then taking an impression onpaper, only one of which is possible.

The trade name for a machine for setting type much used in bookprinting. First invented by Tolbert Lanston of Ohio in 1887, it casts type singly andjustifies them in lines automatically.

A general term applied to individual type characters as distinctfrom slugs.

A stone, glass, or metal block used in grinding inks and pigments.

A groove on the body of a piece of type. The compositor places the type in hisstick with the nick uppermost, which ensures that the type though upside downwill read from left to right.

A standard broadside divided into eight parts. A sheet of paper folded intohalf three times, making eighths or sixteen pages.

The normal lithographic printing machine which transfers the impressionfrom the plate to the offset cylinder (of rubber or composition) and then to thepaper. Thus two reversals of the image are made which means that the work on theplate is identical with the print.

The process of offset printing had evolved out of lithography.Actually it is lithography technique which is done with the photo-mechanicalprocess. Therefore, it is also called photolithography. Just as in the case oflithography which is a resist process (planography), here also we use water alongwith the oil bound inks the only difference being that instead of lime stone, we usezinc plates.

The upper surface of the plate is roughened on a machine which is calledwhirler the process of roughening is called graining. The plate is placed in thewhirler and some sand and a little water are put into it then some glass marblesare dropped in it so that they rub sand when the machine vibrates vigorously.

Matrix :

Matter :

Measure :

Mezzotint :

Minuscule :

Modern Face :

Monotype :

Monotype :

Movable Type :

Muller :

Nick :

Octavo :

Offset :

Offset Printing :


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Next is the process of sensitising the plate. The plate is sensitised with asolution of gum acacia and potassium bichromate. Since an even coat of thesensitising solution is required therefore the density of gum had also to be takencare of. There is a machine designed for the purpose of coating the plate too. Thisentire process is carried out in subdued light (away from ultraviolet light) this typeof plate is called the heliographic plate. Most offset printers use the pre-sensitisedplates also known as the ‘ps’ plates or the deep etch plates the difference betweenthe heliographic plate and the ps plate is that in case of ps plates we need the filmpositive of the image to be printed.

The plate is then processed in a wash out solution the commercially availablesolution for ps plates is called the developer. After this the plate is ready forprinting. The plate is then mounted on to the drum of the offset machine. Where itis dampened before the ink roller could apply the ink. Another padded roller(rubber blanket) now lifts the ink from the plate and transfers it onto the paper, thedensity of ink is gradually increased so as not to spoil the non printing area. Animportant thing to note is that in offset the plate is not the mirror image ascommonly seen in other printing processes. It is in the case of offset printingonly that the plate never comes in direct contact with the paper hence thename offset (off set).

Just because in offset process the ink is transferred to the paper indirectlythere is a loss in the density of the ink. In order to compensate that loss in densitya fourth colour is printed that is black. Conventional printing processes requireonly three colour inks (yellow, magenta and cyan) to make the entire range ofspectrum. Colour separation from the coloured originals when done throughthe process camera needs coloured filters. The three colours used ascolour separation filters are red, blue and green. An image that is produced usinga blue filter is printed in yellow, an image that is produced using a redfilter is printed in cyan and an image that is produced using a green filter is printedin magenta.

A typeface based on the roman first used by Aldus, and subsequentlyby Garamond and Caslon. It has a light even colour, diagonal stress on the curves,bracketed serifs and no great contrast in strokes.

Sheets of paper or other material pasted on to certain parts of theimpression cylinder in a letterpress printing machine to improve the printing of ablock by varying the pressure on its different parts. Part of the make-ready.

One side of a leaf.

Numbering the pages of a book.

A parchment or vellum on which the original writing has been almosterased in order to write on it a second time.

Writing material manufactured in ancient Egypt from the stalk of arush. An excellent early form of paper of which many examples survive. Also usedby the Greeks and Romans.

An intaglio process of printing in which the impression of pictorialand type matter is made from a copper plate or cylinder on which the work hasbeen transferred photographically and etched.

Old Face :

Overlays :

Page :

Pagination :

Palimpsest :

Papyrus :

Photogravure :


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Photolithography :

Photosetting (Photocomposition) :

Pica :

Pie :

Plank Grain :

Plate Mark :

Platen 1. :

Point :

Printing :

Proof (Pull) :

A lithographic printing method in which the pictorial and typematter is transferred to the plate photographically and printed by the lithographicprinting machine, sometimes known as of set.

In photolithography and photogravure, onlythe impression of type is used, being transferred to the plate or cylinder by thecamera. Recent developments have produced machines for setting typephotographically, such as the ‘Monophoto’ film setter. Also used in letterpresswhere the printing is done from plates.

An abbreviation of pica em (the printers unit of measurement of 12 pointsapproximately 1/6" (0.166").

Type which has been accidentally mixed.

When the grain of the wood runs parallel to the block as in thewoodcut.

The imprint of the level of the plate on all intaglio prints caused by thedamp paper, when passing through the press under considerable pressure. Asmany old prints are frequently cut, the plate mark is valued by collectors asindicating that the complete work is present.

An iron or steel plate in a printing press which forces the paper on to thetype or blocks to obtain an impression. A type of small printing machine.

The standard typographic unit of measurement in England andUSA of approximately 1/72” (0.0138"). Type sizes are expressed as a numberof points.

reproduction of words and pictures with ink on paper or other suitablemedia. Despite the advent of information retrieval systems, the storage anddissemination of knowledge are still based primarily on the printed word.Modern printing began with the work of Johann Gutenberg, who inventedmovable type and type metal in the 15th century. Individual characters could beused several times. The process was little changed for 400 years, until theinvention of machines that could cast type as it was required.Letterpress and lithography are today the two most used printing techniques.Letterpress uses raised type that is a mirror image of the printed impression.The type is inked and the paper pressed to it. Lithography depends on themutual repulsion of water and oil or grease. In fine art a design is drawnwith a grease crayon on the surface of a flat, porous stone, which is then wetted.Water is repelled by the greasy areas; but ink is repelled by the damp and adheresto the greasy areas. Modern mechanised processes use the same principle.Commonest is photo-offset, where the copy to be printed is photographed and theimage transferred to a plate such that the part to be printed is oleophilic (oil-loving), the rest hydrophilic (water-loving). Gravure is another major printingtechnique. The plate is covered with a pattern of recessed cells in which the ink isheld, greater depth of cell increasing printing intensity. Little-used for books, it isused extensively in packaging.

An impression obtained from an inked plate, stone, screen, block ortype to check the progress of the work.



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Relief :

Resist :

Rocker :

Roller Press :


Roman :

Sandground Aquatint :

Sans Serif :

Scraper :

Scorper :

Scraperboard :

Serifs :

Serigraphy :

Romain du Roi

Raised form in which the elements of the design, whether figures orornament, project from their background. In high relief the elements stand outprominently and may even be undercut; in low relief they hardly emerge from theplane of the background.

An acid-resisting ground applied to a plate before etching.

Mezzotint tool for preparing the plate surface. A curved blade withnumerous tiny sharp teeth which when rocked on the surface produces a line ofevenly spaced indentations.

The type of press used for intaglio methods, sometimes known as anetching press. The plate covered with its paper and a protective blanket lies on themoving bed which passes through two rollers that are adjustable to provideconsiderable pressure.

The series of complete fonts of roman and italictype instigated by Louis XIV for the Royal Printing House of France producedunder the direction of Phillipe Grandjean de Fouchy and his pupil Alexandre. Thelast size cut by Louis Luce in the early eighteenth century.

Type based on the humanistic hand of the Italian Renaissance scribes.First introduced in Venice by John of Speyer and later by Nicolas Jenson whosetype has been the model for many designers up to the present day.

An aquatint ground produced by running a plate with anormal etching ground through the press with a sheet of fine sandpaper face downupon it.

A typeface without serifs, usually with strokes of even thickness as inGill Sans.

A tool having a three sided tapered blade used for removing theunwanted burr in copper plate engraving or mezzotint work.

A wood engraving tool with slightly rounded edges for clearing spaces.

Prepared card with a surface of gesso which can be first inked overand then scratched or scraped with a point or blade giving the effect of a white lineengraving. Much used in drawings for newspaper advertisem*nts.

The horizontal or vertical finishing strokes of a letter.

Practised today is the subsequent development of the stencil.Prehistoric cave decorations are the earliest examples of stenciling. Discoveredand described by the Abbe Breuil as ‘stenciled hands’, they are supposed to havebeen created by blowing very finely grinded earth colours around actual hands.Most traces of early stenciling are found in the far east, as in the Tun Huang cavesof the 'Thousand Buddhas’ in China. The ceremonial robes of the Japanese arelater but splendid examples of stenciling.

Whereas, the stencil is centuries old the silk screen came into beingduring the early years of 19th century. Today stenciling in its widest sense entersevery aspect of our daily life, from the light stencils in the forms of windowsto the perforated stencil principle of selective shutting out and letting through.



Class XI Graphic Design the Story of Graphic Design - [PDF Document] (127)

In the more limited sense stenciling may be understood as squeezing pigmentpowder or paint through or around a surface onto another surface. Screenprinting is also known as serigraphy in modern world.

The width of a type body which may vary according to the face. An alphabet ofa widely set type will occupy a greater space than the same size of a type morenarrowly set.

The standard height for type and blocks is 0'.918".

In type capital letters.

The distance between the base line and the top edge of the lower caseletter x, and consequently all other lower case letters excluding the ascenders anddescenders.

Set :

Type Height :

Upper Case :

X Height :


Class XI Graphic Design the Story of Graphic Design - [PDF Document] (128)


Anatomy and Drawing.

Art and Visual Perception.

Artist Manual for Silk Screen Print Making.

Bhartiya Chhappachitra Kala: Aadi Se Aadhunik Kal Tak. .,


Computer Graphics.

Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance: Lessons in VisualLiteracy .

Design Fundamentals.

Design Lessons from Nature.

Discovering Design.

Element of Colour.

Exploring Print Making for Young People.

Graphic Design.

Human Figure.

Introducing Screen Printing.

Learning to See Vol. 1-5

Learning to See Creatively. .

Practical Screen Printing.

Relief Printing.

Theory and Use of Colour.

The Non designer’s Design Book.

The Reproduction of Colour.

The Techniques of Graphic Art.

Type and Lettering.


Typography for Desk Top Publishing.

What is Art

1. Victor Gerand

2. Aruheim Rudolt

3. Harry Shekler American ArtistsGroup, New York

4. Sunil KumarNational Book Trust India and Bhartiya Kala Prakashan, New Delhi

5. Mike Darton

6. Rogers

7.. Lohr, L.L., Upper Saddle R. Ver. NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall

8. RG Scott

9. Benjamin Taylor

10. Downer Marion, Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Company

11. J. Itten

12. Harvey Daniels and Silvie Turne

13. Richard Hollis

14. Vanderpole

15. Anthony Kimsey

16. , . Rowland Kurt

17. Peterson Bryan Watson Guptill Publications

18. Stephen Russ

19. Michael Rothenstien

20. Luigina De Grandis

21. - Williams

22. R.W.G. Hunt

23. H. Van Kruingen

24. William Long Year

25. Ruary Mac.Lean

26. Grant Shipcott

27. . Madhav Satwalekar

Class XI Graphic Design the Story of Graphic Design - [PDF Document] (129)


Class XI Graphic Design the Story of Graphic Design - [PDF Document] (2024)


What is graphic design answers? ›

Graphic design is a craft where professionals create visual content to communicate messages. By applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, designers use typography and pictures to meet users' specific needs and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs to optimize the user experience.

What is graphic design pdf for students? ›

Graphic design is the creation of visual compositions to solve problems and communicate ideas through typography, imagery, color, and form. The elements and principles of graphic design include line, color, shape, space, texture, typography, scale, dominance and emphasis, and balance.

What are the fundamentals of graphic design summary? ›

The fundamentals of graphic design are about seeing (and understanding) how the qualities of visual material—shapes, images, color theory, typography, and layout—work, and work together… and then being able to decide which qualities of each are relevant and engaging and useful for visualizing a particular idea or ...

Is graphic design a hard class? ›

Learning graphic design is not hard, but it does require creative thinking, an aptitude towards art and design, and time and dedication. Graphic design requires learning the necessary tools, as well as understanding and applying the principles and theories of design.

What is graphic short answer? ›

Graphics refers to visual images or designs created or displayed on a screen or printed on a physical medium. Graphics are used to communicate information, convey ideas, or enhance the visual appeal of various forms of media.

What are the 7 types of graphic design? ›

Here are the most common types of graphic design that a brand may use frequently or on a daily basis.
  • Visual identity graphic design. ...
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Jan 16, 2023

What are the 7 principles of graphic design PDF? ›

The most important, fundamental principles of design include emphasis, balance and alignment, contrast, repetition, proportion, movement and white space.

What is graphic design for beginners? ›

Graphic design is the art of composing visual elements — such as typography, images, colors, and shapes — to communicate information or convey a message effectively. Designing the layout of a magazine, creating a poster for a theatre performance, and designing packaging for a product are all examples of graphic design.

How can I teach graphic design? ›

One of the most important ways to teach and mentor graphic design is to show and tell your learners how to apply graphic design principles and techniques to their projects. Graphic design principles are the basic rules and guidelines that help create visual harmony, balance, contrast, and hierarchy in a design.

What are the 7 rules of graphic design? ›

There are seven traditional and universal principles of design, which are significant across the industry: emphasis, balance & alignment, contrast, repetition, proportion, movement, and white space.

Which degree is best for graphic design? ›

The best graphic design degrees for your career goals are typically Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design, Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Graphic Design, or related programs in Visual Communication, Digital Media Design, or Interactive Design.

What are the 7 elements of design? ›

7 Elements of Design and Rule of Thirds

Design elements are the basic units of any visual design which form its structure and convey visual messages. The elements of design are line, shape, form, space, texture, tone (or value) and color, "These elements are the materials from which all designs are built."

What is the hardest thing in graphic design? ›

Fighting creative blocks

As a graphic designer, you are expected to consistently generate new designs, layouts, and visual solutions. Some days, the ideas just won't come, no matter how hard you brainstorm or stare at a blank page. Pushing through these creative blocks to meet deadlines can be incredibly frustrating.

Can I learn graphic design in 2 months? ›

Most of them acquire a degree, and go on to fortify their knowledge and skills with a PG program. The vast discipline that it is, two months may be too short a time to learn graphic design properly. Leave alone gaining command over the craft, it may not even be enough to receive basic grounding.

Is graphic design a lot of math? ›

Design work does involve a fair number of math formulas. Proportion, scaling ratios, and other equations all factor into a professional design. These skills are inherently math-based, as calculations will be needed to make sure that the final design product can be scaled properly while keeping proper aspect ratios.

What is this graphic design? ›

Graphic design is “the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content,” according to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA®). In simple terms, graphic designers make visuals to communicate certain messages.

What is graphic design quizlet? ›

Graphic design. is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.

What is graphic design in one sentence? ›

Graphic design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas. The designer works with a variety of communication tools in order to convey a message from a client to a particular audience.

How do you answer graphic design interview questions? ›

Be ready to discuss your design process, problem-solving abilities, and how you collaborate with clients or team members. Finally, prepare to answer questions about your experience, strengths, and passion for graphic design. Why choose me as a graphic designer?

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