History of Graphic Design Part 4 – Egyptian Hieroglyphs

History of Graphic Design Part 4 – Egyptian Hieroglyphs
by Mitchell Eismont 

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_14542939_mortuary-temple-of-the-female-pharaoh-hatshepsut-luxor-egypt-hatshepsut-meaning-foremost-of-noble-la.html'>quasargal / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Mortuary Temple of the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut Luxor Egypt. Hatshepsut meaning, Foremost of Noble Ladies was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt

Egyptian hieroglyph means greek for “sacred carvings.” These where traditionally carved by temple priests. Most early writing and carving will be done for religious purposes. The meaning of hieroglyphs were kept secret. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 changed all of this.

The Egyptians eventually created papyrus so that they could scribe their work down on scrolls instead of on walls. “Egyptians used both pictorial symbols in their hieroglyphic language as well as sound cues… It is also fascinating that their sequence of line arrangement cues were intuitive and personal. For example, one writer might inscribe communication from left to right, another right to left, or top to bottom or vice versa.” – From “Graphic Communications Today, 4e” by William E. Ryan and Theodore E Conover.

I wish contemporary graphic designers and typographers had the power to put down words in whatever manner they want. Here in American though we read from right to left, top to bottom.

China will be developing a writing system around the same time of that in Egypt.

Stay tuned for part 5 of the History of Graphic Design

by Mitchell Eismont
Eismont is award winning writer and graphic designer, who teaches future graphic designers.

To see his work go to this website.  

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