What is missing By Amy Hu

Graphic Design: A New History discusses the beginnings of graphic design to present-day graphic design, highlighting famous designers that brought graphic design to where it is now. From Gutenberg to Shepard Fairey, Stephen J. Eskilson discusses as much of graphic design history in as much detail as possible, but what is missing. What has impacted design in a strange, but the new direction that has continued to impact politics and graphic design; memes.


The word meme was first introduced in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book on  The Selfish Gene.  The book discusses the word as a way to define the spread of ideas through generations. Later in the early 21st century memes became popular as the internet grew, spreading memes throughout the internet. Now it has become universal for the spread of cultural information through imitation and has continued to evolve in every culture based on the skill, behaviour, phrase or style of that culture shared electronically.

Exhibition poster for  “What Do You Meme?”
Exhibition poster for  “What Do You Meme?” Taken by Alice Bucknell from Artsy

As odd and humorous memes are there is no denying that meme culture has impacted the world in a phenomenal way. Memes have impacted the change in visual forms and allowed people to connect and capture people’s interest in politics. This opens up new opportunities and changes in graphic designers in technology. Memes have demonstrated the critical role that graphic design plays in responding to the political issues through challenging, changing and dictating the changes in the world. Due to the influence of meme culture, there has been a change in how many of us view politics. For instance, the many representations and interpretations of Donald Trump that has become ridiculously apparent in our culture that has captured the eyes of the world due to his distinguishable memes and numerous illustrations of Donald trump such as TIMES magazine, the New Yorker, and many more.

(Credit: Design Museum)
The photo was taken by Lindsay Baker from BBC


For a long time Memes have been a medium that has truly impacted the way that the world views things and feels should be in the next edition of graphic design: A new history because memes have had an impact how graphic design is viewed in the world and how the world has changed generation to generation.


Work Cited

Baker, Lindsay. “Culture – The Powerful Political Graphics Sparking Change.” BBC, BBC, 28 Mar. 2018, www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180328-the-powerful-political-graphics-sparking-change.

Bucknell, Alice. “What Memes Owe to Art History.” Artsy, 30 May 2017, www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-memes-owe-art-history.

Gavin, Brady. “What Is a Meme (and How Did They Originate)?” How, How-To Geek, 29 Sept. 2018, www.howtogeek.com/356232/what-is-a-meme/.

Rogers, Kara. “Meme.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Mar. 2020, www.britannica.com/topic/meme.

Dawood, Sarah. “Hope to Nope: Exploring the Power of Graphics in Politics and Protest.” Design Week, 2 May 2018, www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-march-1-april-2018/hope-nope-design-museum-power-graphic-design-politics-protest/.


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