An history of graphic design before modernity: this first volume is a transdisciplinary collection of documents recording the existence of graphic design before the development of the written form.
The graphic designer, the graphiste and the typographer always seem to appear alongside the ever more complex notion of modernity, or, at any rate, the movement of an ever more self-aware industrialization. This is what seems to be supported by the great defender of modernity, Robin Kinross, as he situates the beginnings of modern typography in the 17th century, when the artisan printer left his dark studio to assume the reflexive stance of a librarian who edits content, or that of a typographer who considers, establishes and shares his practice in professional handbooks.
But does this mean graphic design was non-existent before said modernity and the recognition of the graphic designer's practice ? Such is the untimely question that graphic design teacher and theoretician Thierry Chancogne tackles, as he attempts to identify this discipline's moments of rupture in the long run of history, even before it was recognized as such.
As a first beat and movement of this "history", the question asked in this collection of the most diverse materials – artistic, technical, ethological, anthropological, psychological, archaeological – that the author encountered, will be to consider the written form before the appearance of writing, and to think of graphic design at the more or less original time of oral tradition and myth, before the confiscation of the logos by the somewhat exclusive prestige of writing.
Thierry Chancogne is a teacher and theoretician of graphic design, co-founder of the online journal Tombolo, and of the publishing association Tombolo Presses.