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Graphic Design of the 1950’s

The 50’s – the time of bloom

The 50s was the period of bloom, the period of modernization and development of the everyday techniques. The 50s was the time of material well-being for many Americans, that meant people had more money to spend. The end of World War II brought thousands of young people back to America to build their lives with their families in new homes with new jobs. It reflected on every field of the social life. For example, the style of the 50s was highly colored and much different from what was before. People were tired of previous boring dark designs and had been waiting for something new and exciting for their lives. Science and technologies were ready to show what they can achieve. These years gave us the first youth culture Teddy Boys and Rock-n-Roll, popular music tendency. This decade was conservative in attitudes and views, but greatly changed by the end. All those changes influenced our tastes; they became more bright and free. With the development of social branches, people needed the development of the design to present their new ideas and goods.

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Graphic Design. Its history

The 50s gave great changes to the graphic design ‘visual communication by a skillful combination of text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, books, etc.’. The design History emerged in Europe, especially in Great Britain, where movement began to divide fine art and graphic design. Piet Mondrian is famous as the father of graphic design. As a fine artist he used the grids, and that inspired to use grid system in modern promotion, print, etc. During the post-war appeared a lot of combinations of design, such as Commercial Design, Advertising Design, Industrial Design, Fashion Design. The most famous design schools of that time were: Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, Parsons, and School of the Chicago Art Institute, Pratt Institute, and Rhode Island School of Design.

We meet common use of graphic design in magazines, journals, advertisements. Within 50th Graphic Design replaced Advertising Design. During the 1950’s most agencies left the notion of in-house artists and built on outside studios for artwork. Many of these studious which were specialized in promotion identify their business as Graphic design. Graphic Design became as profession and a bit other than marketing. Most corporations and companies had design departments and leading designers as consulters. So, Graphic Design was firmly set up as a profession during this time. The corporative logos, labels, advertisements, are main parts to a marketing complaint and graphic design. The task is to create a unique logo, so it indicates your company. In the 59th the style of American graphical design was determined.

Historical influence on the graphic design

The main historical influences on the graphic design of America are European avant-gardism, changes in technology, geopolitical problem, and pop-art, innovations in education, architecture and photography. America enjoyed prosperity and security and it reflected in graphic design. The graphical design went through various ways of its development: from posters, brochures, and journals to corporative identification, and promotion on television, as during the 50th it became the dominant media. The development of graphic design as profession and practice has been tightly connected with technological innovations and society needs. The creation of television alerted the roles of print media and graphic design, and gave new chances for designers to work on television and on-air graphics. Exactly it this time, general trademarks and visual originality were created by Paul Rand, an American designer with an individual and rationalization approach to contemporary design, who understood the importance of color and shape. He performed ideas prominently through the power of forms and symbols. During this time the great influence on the design played popular music, as it gave the new field, recording industry, for design creativity.

The film production and photography also played a great impact on the graphic design during that decade. The posters advertising movies and photos moved from black and white to multicolor which helped create new visions.

During this decade the graphic design changes greatly. It reflected in every social branch, as education, music culture, photography, filming, etc.


Contemporary Design of the 1950’s, much like the fine art of that time, was a reaction against the decay of typography and design of the 19th century. The main products of graphical design of the 50’s became: logotype (company style’s main element), booklets, brochures, calendars; packaging, labels, and covers. Due to the graphic design all of those became bright and interesting.

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Reference List

Alston Purvis. Graphic design 20th Century. Princeton Architectural Press. Web.

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1. StudyCorgi. "Graphic Design of the 1950’s." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Graphic Design of the 1950’s." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Graphic Design of the 1950’s." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Graphic Design of the 1950’s'. 19 November.

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