History of Graphic Design
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLVS 2025
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Visual Culture
  • Graphic Design
  • Media Studies
The goal of this course is to learn about twentieth century graphic design movements and design pioneers and to gain an understanding of how graphic design, perhaps more than any other design discipline, is a visualization of the social, economic, and political conditions of a particular time, place and culture. The history is presented somewhat chronologically though there is a great deal of overlap between movements and styles that don’t always fall into neat categories. In addition to looking at and analyzing the formal elements of an individual designer's work, the class studies how posters, books, magazines, packaging, corporate communications, information design, and motion graphics function as instruments of persuasion or as marketing tools, identifiers, style setters, and/or organizers of information. Pathway: Visual Studies
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: Bachelors degree in Communication Design, Design & Technology, and Integrated Design majors; others by permission of the School of Art and Design History and Theory. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.


Open to Lang/Parsons BA/BFA students.

Open to Parsons students.


Open to Undergraduate students.


Open to Communication Design students.

Open to Design and Technology students.

Open to Fine Arts students.

Open to Integrated Design Curriculum students.

Open to Illustration students.

Open to Photography students.