Graphic Design

This website is a visualization of some of the amazing tools and breakthroughs that led the design field to where it is today.  A combination of technology, mathematics, and visual design allowed the art of graphic design to blossom and become a multi-billion dollar industry. Be sure to also look at the Artifacts of Graphic Design Timeline!


Before the rise of digital technology, typesetting was done line by line, by hand. Here are some of the tools that graphic designers used. Hover over each tool to see what it does.

Pantone Swatches

Contact Paper

Pencil Compass

Mermaid curve

Rubber Eraser

Circle Template

Letraset stickers

X-Acto knives



Sketchpad (a.k.a. Robot Draftsman) was a revolutionary computer program written by Ivan Sutherland in 1963. Sketchpad was the first program that allowed users to design digitally. "Winking girl" was part of the first demo.

...and thus began the digital revolution.