general design
Apr 202 min read

7 Historic Movements that shaped the Graphic Design Industry

written by

Team Kaarwan

The history of graphic design can be traced as far back as 30,000 years, existing in the form of cave paintings and inscriptions on clay, rock, and brick. But, graphic design as we know it today didn’t really start to develop until the modern era, around the late 1800s. In fact, it wasn’t until 1922 that the term “graphic design” even came into existence. Coined by book designer William Addison Dwiggins, the term appeared in his essay “New Kind of Printing Calls for New Design” to explain how he organized and managed visuals in his work.

Today, the graphic design industry is valued at around $41.8 billion dollars globally—and it’s only expected to keep growing as technological advancements and designers continue to raise the bar and redefine what is possible!


To appreciate how far graphic design has come, let’s take a look back at the key art movements that have informed the evolution of graphic design throughout history.

1. The Industrial Revolution (the 1760s)

Lithography was the biggest form of graphic design during this time, which evolved to chromolithography (lithography in color).  

Image Source: Shutterstock

2. Art Nouveau

The first modern style to be promoted through mass communication.  

Image Source: visualartsdepartment- wordpress

3. Wiener Werkstatte

One of the longest-lived design movements in the 12th century paved the way for the development of modernism.   

Image Source: Art Net

4. Bauhaus

Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 with the idea of creating a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, combining different art forms into one whole.  

Image Source: Flux Academy

5. Pop Art

Named by art critic Lawrence Alloway because it glorified popular culture and this was symbolized through bold, graphic printmaking.  

Image Source: andiamocreative

6. Art Deco

Emerged after the first world war in 1920s Paris and was regarded to revoke modernity, glamour, elegance, and functionality.  

Image Source: Archdaily

7. Post-Modernism

Born from skepticism and suspicion of reason, this movement embraced complex and often contradictory layers of meaning.  



These are just a few examples that show how Graphic Design has shaped our history! If you are interested to kickstart a career in Graphic Design, then join us for an Advance Graphic Design Certification Course to take a leap and skyrocket your professional journey today!

Team Kaarwan

Team Kaarwan

Since we graduated from IIT Roorkee, we have been on a mission to democratize education through affordable online and offline workshops on industry-relevant skills, that help students gain better employability across the Indian subcontinent!