Designing Graphic Design History
This research is situated firmly within the discipline of graphic design history and was peer-reviewed by five reviewers for this internationally established journal, where it was remarked: ‘this essay offers an excellent contribution to the field’. The paper applies Clive Dilnot’s notions of design history to graphic design and through a case study of a design publication titled The National Grid, published in New Zealand, critically examines the validity of defining ‘a’ graphic design history. This is the first academic paper to analyse the work of this unique publication and its designer-historian producers.
The essay has also been reprinted in an anthology: Catherine de Smet and Sara de Bondt (eds, 2012) Graphic Design: History in the Writing (1983–2011) London: Occasional Papers. The publication of this article led to an invitation to edit a special issue of Design Issues on the subject of graphic design history (Winter 2011, MIT Press) to which Triggs contributed a 1,500-word essay reflecting on the history of graphic design conferences and the emerging themes within this field of study. A 6,000-word paper expanding the research into defining a graphic design history entitled ‘Whose history? Graphic design history in context’ was also presented in a mentoring event at the Bern University of the Arts, Switzerland.
The paper built upon a panel peer-reviewed presentation ‘The current state of design history’, College Art Association 96th Annual International Conference, New York. The panel focus (and presentation) was on the significance of the design historian Clive Dilnot’s work. The work employs a historiographical approach, using primary interviews with the publishers and research drawn from design archives (e.g. personal archives, St Bride Library), and includes reference to subcultural theory, publishing history and design history. It also undertakes a visual analysis of the publications’ covers and interior pages.
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