Decorative Arms and Armour


When one asks the question “what is graphic design?” It may be hard to give a definitive answer because graphic design has changed over time to fit its purpose. Through the course of history graphic design has been, the creation of websites, designing layouts for graphics during football games, illustrating and designing the look of pages in bibles and many more roles throughout history. without graphic design these things would still exist, you would still have bibles, text on screen telling you which team is winning in a football match and words on a webpage in an almost incomprehensible order. The difference between these things, between raw information and visually pleasing design is graphic design.

One could argue that where this is first explored to the depths that can be described as graphic design is the medieval ages (1500s) during this period weapons and armour stopped being exclusively tools of war and also became works of graphic design started to constrict around these forms. A great example of this is Sir George Clifford’s armour for tournaments comparable to modern-day sports Jerseys, it includes the fleur de Lis and queen Elizabeth’s initials. Decorative armour served as an important symbol representing the wearer’s status and character.
These custom engraved armour sets are important to graphic design history because they embody the spirit of graphic design’s ability to turn something brute and rugged into something beautiful. One of the tenants of good graphic design for websites is that the design of the website should be an extension of the content of the website. This is equally true with custom engraved suits of armours as they act as an extension of the dueler’s character. The bloodline of these trends live on as custom engraved firearms, sports jerseys, ceremonial maces, and possibly the inspiration for many articles of many modern clothing articles as many modern tracksuits mimic this.

Chevron daisy velvet harem style pant
Chevron daisy velvet harem style pant
Armor Garniture of George Clifford (1558–1605), Third Earl of Cumberland METMuseum
Armor Garniture of George Clifford (1558–1605), Third Earl of Cumberland

A chapter on this would benefit the book greatly as the book seems to focus too much on modern-day graphic design and not cover why we hold the current belief in graphic design that we do and, where they came from. In the end, this crucial part of graphic design history needs to be remembered as they serve as an early and important example of why graphic design exists, to turn brute unorganized elements into something beautiful.

Works Cited:

“Armor Garniture of George Clifford (1558–1605), Third Earl of Cumberland.” Accessed April 3, 2020.

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