History of Graphic Design – Part 1 – Cave Paintings

History of Graphic Design – Part 1 – Cave Paintings
by Mitchell Eismont

<a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_3195285_ancient-hunting-scene-painted-in-a-cave-in-patagonia-southern-argentina.html'>elnavegante / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Cave Painting – Early Graphic Design

Most scholars lay claim to what the cave paintings mean. They will say that it was meant for good luck during hunting, a few will say it was a map to where good hunting was. Scholars also think that these paintings may have been made for rituals. The paintings you are seeing above were made in Argentina. The hand painting, was down by place a hand on the wall and blowing pigment against the hand. My thought on this particular hand painting is that, it was a way of putting a signature on the wall. The hand painting could also show growth.

Normally thought these paintings are said to be pictographs. Pictographs represent the animal or subject. These paintings are more of a documentation, and not so much artistic or creative. Early graphic design history will mostly be about this, documenting history.

The other paintings you are seeing during this time were made charcoal and berries of some sort.  Graphic designers and artist would depict things on wall and in clay for thousands of years before paper and papyrus was invented.

In the coming weeks we will see how graphic design history changes with each technological leap.  As we move through to contemporary graphic design, we shall see how history repeats itself.

Written by Mitchell Eismont
Art Director at Eismont Designs
Professor of Graphic Design

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3 Responses to History of Graphic Design – Part 1 – Cave Paintings

  1. Pingback: History of Graphic Design Part 5 – Papyrus » A Library of Ideas

  2. arkjoan77 says:

    Although the pictographs are considered to be documentation, I think they still have elements of creativity. Early cave dwellers could have depicted the animals in different forms, styles and used different colors, so I do see creativity involved here

    • eismontdesigns says:

      I do agree with that. I am sure the caveman each had a personality, and probably had individual things, that made each one different from another. Hair cuts, clothing, the shape of spears etc. It would be neat to do research, if there was enough cave paintings in an area, to see if each animal was drawn with different styles.