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After the Bauhaus, Before the Internet: A History of Graphic Design Pedagogy

Type: Conferences & Symposia [View all]
Posted by: Yale University
Deadline: Fri, May 10th, 2019

What: Conference, After the Bauhaus, Before the Internet: A History of Graphic Design Pedagogy

When: May 10-11, 2019

Where: Yale University, Department of the History of Art

This two-day conference traces a history of graphic design pedagogy in the United States from the late 1950s to the mid 1990s. Its inception comes from Katherine McCoy, who notes “graphic design moves from a professional practice to a discipline when design writes its own histories and theories.” We will examine the historicity of this statement, particularly within the broader context of design today, ripe with Silicon Valley chatter that interpolates terms like “interdisciplinarity” and “problem solving” into everyday speech. The introduction of comparative literature, history, and the rhetoric of postmodernism into graphic design leads to the creation of a historically-specific design discourse: a disciplinary act of self-theorization. But what does this mean for our present moment in which seemingly everyone is a designer, a time when all our choices and behaviors are “curated,” and when the notion “design thinking” is recruited to solve problems from across the economic and disciplinary spectrum? At a moment of design history when the call is for “inter-,” “trans-,” and “multi-disciplinary” strategies, we aim to slow these terms down, to parse them within a longer historical and conceptual scope. For if the language of graphic design has been generalized to those well outside the field, how should we think about the legacies and prospects of graphic design as a discipline? To follow Katherine McCoy’s logic: How do we write our histories? What are the theories that guide our approaches?

Confirmed speakers: Janet Abrams, Audrey Bennett, Andrew Blauvelt, Gui Bonsiepe, Sheila de Bretteville, Hugh Dubberly, Silvia Fernandez, Maria Gough, Juliet Koss, Deborah Littlejohn, Katherine McCoy, Sharon Poggenpohl, Rick Poynor, Fred Turner, Sydney Skelton Simon, Lorraine Wild.

Organized by Geoff Kaplan, Graphic Design Critic, Yale School of Art, and Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor, Yale Department of the History of Art.

The conference will be held at Loria Center for the Arts at Yale University (190 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511), and is free and open to the public. We do request that you please register in advance:

Please contact the conference coordinator, Caitlin Woolsey, at with any questions.


Posted on Tue, January 22nd, 2019
Expires on Fri, May 10th, 2019

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