Digital Revolution

Graphic design was changed forever during the period of quickly evolving computer technology in the last quarter of this century. This time period, which came to be known as the “Digital Revolution”, was originally opposed by many designers. However, after numerous developments in technology, the opposition died down. Computers were here to stay, and many designers embraced the changes. The entire design industry was about to be revolutionized.

The revolution was foretold by the introduction of the Macintosh computer in 1984. It used bitmapped graphics and included a device called a mouse. The mouse made the computer usable by just about anyone, not just programmers.This is what drew designers to the computer medium. The man behind all this was Douglas Englebart. Not only did he invent the mouse, but his early innovations could be likened to modern day applications such as email and Windows. The first readily available laser printer was introduced in 1985 by Apple Computer. With this new printer, fonts could be much more closely reproduced in a printout. However, they still were not typeset quality. This was corrected with new laser printers which were introduced shortly after. Typography was now easily accessible to the general public. “Paint” programs, while still rudimentary, were also available to the general public. By 1990 color computers (Macintosh in particular) had changed the face of graphic art and communication. In A History of Graphic Design (3rd Edition), author Phillip B. Meggs likens the change to “..the fifteenth-century shift from hand lettered manuscript books to Gutenberg’s movable type.”
Everything from photography to type design was affected by this tremendous change in the industry. Magazine design was taken to a completely different level. Art directors toyed with new ideas and took production in new paths. Two new programs in particular, Quark and Adobe photoshop, expanded the possibilities available to art directors. Some of these directors explored new ideas, such as irregularly shaped columns and backwards, undulating text

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