Theory and History of Design

Academic year
Subject Area
Audio-visuals and Media Production
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Potuguese reading and writing skills.

Teaching Methods

Theorectical classes.

Practical classes based on a development of a project.

Learning Outcomes

The course is an introduction to graphic design history and basics.

Students may be able to identify the great periods of graphic design history and their influence in contemporary design.

Work Placement(s)



1. Introduction
What is graphic design? 

What designers do.


2. Nature and origins of graphic design

The design before the design

2.1. Origins. The invention of writing

2.2. Evolution of the forms of information struture

2.3. Europe, typography and movable types


3. Design and the artistic movements of the XIX century

Going to the XX century

3.1. Industrial Revolution and the impact of technology in visual comunication

3.2. The Arts&Crafts movement

3.3. Art Nouveau


4. Schools of design in the XX century

Modern art, modern design

4.1. The influence of modern art: Cubism, Futurism, Arte Deco

4.2. Revolutions in design: De Stijl, Suprematism, Construtivism.

4.3. Bauhaus and the New Typography

4.4. Modern movement in America

4.5. Internacional style

4.5.1 Suisse style

4.5.2. Britain and the internacional style

4.5.3. The New York School

4.5.4. Corporate identity in Germany and in the USA

4.6. The return of expression

4.7. Design in contemporary society

5. Program and process in design

Head Lecturer(s)

João Manuel Frade Belo Bicker

Assessment Methods

Exam: 50.0%
Project: 50.0%


Drucker, Johanna e McVarish, Emily. 2009. Graphic Design History: A critical guide

Boston: Pearson

ISBN: 978-0-205-21946-9

Eskilson, Stephen J. 2007. Graphic Design: A New History

London: Lawrence King Publishing

ISBN: 9781856695114

Heller, Steven. 1997. Design literacy: Understanding Graphic Design

New York: Allworth Press

ISBN: 1-88055-976-5

Hollis, Richard. 2002. Graphic Design: A Concise History, Second Edition

London, Thames & Hudson

ISBN: 978-0500203477

Lupton, Ellen e Miller, J. Abbott. 1999. Design Writing Research: writing on grapfic design

London: Phaidon Press Limited.

ISBN: 0-7148-3851-9

Meggs, Philip e Purvis, Alston W., 2006. Megg´s History of Graphic Design (4ª edição)

New York: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0471699020

Newark, Quentin. 2002. What is Graphic Design

Mies: RotoVision

ISBN: 2-88046-539-7

Resnick, Elizabeth. 2003. Design for Communication: Conceptual Graphic Design Basics

New York: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-41829-3