GDH Questions chapters 1–4

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Please answer the questions for chapter 1-4 in essay form. Regardless of the specific question, always keep the following general guidelines in mind;

  • What caused this style, movement or innovation to occur?
  • How does the effect of this person, place or thing influence design today?
  • Was this innovation an example of design leading or following the general thinking of the time?
  • Design works should be analyzed formally with reference to their particular cultural, social, political, religious and/or technological contexts—the Zeitgeist—of the time.

Discover how this (these) new processes, strategies and technologies are invented. Historical precedents are reevaluated and critiqued. Innovative storytelling and narrative techniques are formed. How have designers actively reshaped the creative process and as a result re-directed currents in contemporary culture, and the meaning of design in general?

From an awareness of style, and close scrutiny of exemplary visual communication, your answers should provide a written perspective on human development by critically analyzing select historical examples and demonstrate informed judgments about their meaning. In otherwords—Apply Design Thinking.

I am interested in your opinions based on your ability to reason. Your success is largely determined by your ability to cite specific historic examples to support your viewpoints and then interpret their larger meaning and impact on design and culture. This will require you to look beyond just the object examples and instead interpret their greater meaning and impact.

Please send your essay responses to Be sure to include the phrase “GDH: chapt 1-4” in the subject line of the email.


  1. Discuss how written languages were developed. (compare/contrast alphabets where the letters are based on pictures vs. letters based on abstract symbols)
  2. Discuss how the main writing substrates (papyrus, parchment, vellum, and paper) differed from one another and influenced how design changed because of their use.
  3. Describe the look of the main letterform styles pre-Gutenburg. (Roman letterforms, Uncials, half-uncials, textura)
  4. Discuss the main characteristics of Medieval Illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells.
  5. Discuss the idea of “power” as it was associated with the ability to read in the ancient world.

Remember each of these questions are simply a point of departure. You need to expand your answers to each so that they also include Design Thinking (as described above).