Critical Reviews
Art 461: History of Graphic Arts

objective | list of artists | breakdown | content details | samples | submission

These critical review papers provide the student an opportunity to explore the similarities and differences in styles and movements over graphic art history. The goal is to compare various design artifacts and discuss the similarities and differences between, movements, styles, cultural significance, industry, formal elements and purpose.


List of artists to choose from:
See these links for an incomplete list:

Historical graphic artist list

Contemporary graphic designer list

Type designer list

It is highly recommended that the student look for artists that work in similar genres (Magazine, book covers, posters, etc) or similar stylistic features (Formal design elements show similarities).

Each paper must be about 2 graphic artists/graphic designers and their works. The paper cannot be on a painter, sculptor, architect, product designer, fashion designer, or furniture designer. The graphic artist's work should be work from the following:

Typography, Graphic illustrations, Packaging, Book Design, Poster Design, Advertising, Logo design, Magazine design, Motion graphics,
or with approval from professor


Breakdown of each paper:

Critical Review 1: Typography
Provide a review and comparison on 2 type designers and their work. Supply (with images) examples of the typeface that the typographers have created.
(any comparison of 2 styles)

(Note: Because not all students have an understanding of comparing type and the formal aspects and terminology or type, this review might be written differently. For this review, please write a comparison on cultural differences, purpose and biographies. In other words, take 2 type designers and compare their lives, their work, their time periods, etc. You may talk about some differences in typefaces based on classification -old style, Modern, Sans Serif, etc.- but your goal is to have a better understanding of the time period and what is different and similar about type design from those time periods.) - Type designer list

Critical Review 2: Graphic Artists
Provide a review and comparison on 2 graphic artist and their work. Supply (with images) examples of graphic art created by these people.
(must be from different time periods/ movements)

(Note: For all other Critical Reviews, the comparison must include the stylistic and formal features of the design artifacts. Also, biographies should be brief. The purpose is to discuss the similarities of styles. Design is not created in a vacuum. All design comes from other design or from art. )
Contemporary graphic designer list - Historical graphic artist list

Critical Review 3: Paper or Poster
(A poster mimic a graphic art work from history. The poster should be a visual advertisement on a contemporary product, event, or service. This poster should have the same look, color, typeface, and stylistic features from a graphic artifact in graphic art history. Students should flip through the Meggs book to find a piece that catches their eye to use for this project.)

Examples of posters


Content Details for Papers:
iscuss the similarities and differences of 2 designer and their work from 2 different time periods. Students can choose graphic artist or type designers from readings or lectures. Artists must be commercially based artist that have contributed to the graphic art field.

There must be a strong correlation between each group of graphic artworks.

For instance:
The 2 graphic artists works with the same surfaces (poster, Magazines, motion etc.)
Or the 2 artists have a similar stylistic design?  But they must come from different time periods.


Content in each paper:
At least 875 to 900 words for each paper to be considered as a B paper.

Provide a summary of what you will be talking about

Paragraph 2:
Note: Paragraphs typically consists of 4-5 sentences. Briefly provide some background about each artists. No lengthy biographies— One Paragraph only for each artist.

Other Paragraphs:
These sections state your point and supports your argument.
Note: Paragraphs typically consists of 4-5 sentences. Paragraphs are indented with tabs

- Explain why each these works are so similar
- Explain what are the differences
- Why did you choose these 2 artists?
- Investigate, describe and determine the significance of the artists' work.
- Describe the works.
- Explain the meaning of the work.
- Ask questions? Provide answers.

Provide a summary of what you talked about. Make a strong conclusion.

(at the end of the document) Must have at least 3 references for each unit.

Writings must be in your own words. Any quotes or paraphrasing must be indicated through a citation. (You must use: MLA Style,or APA writing style).( See the links provided and make sure you follow the format you choose.) (look at this website on searching the web)

Start your writing as soon as possible


All papers must be written in your own words.
Plagiarizing is a series matter and is considered student misconduct. If a student Plagiarizes, the Professor will:

       Give a grade F on the assignment

       Report acts of academic dishonesty to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

       See the policy on student dishonesty

  Grading sheet for Critical Reviews



Tips for Writing

Examples of a critical review on 2 type designers: type 1 | type 2

Example of a critical review on 2 graphic artists: graphic 1

Examples of posters



All papers must be posted in Moodle on the due date.

No email or printed assignments will be accepted. (Except for the first synopsis. This can be emailed to professor.)

All written assignments must be either in MS word or a text edit program.
(File type accepted: .doc, .docx, .rtf.--- no pdfs allowed)

The last Critical Review assignment is a poster. This will need to be printed larger than 10 x 13 but a digital version of the poster will need to be submitted in Moodle in order to receive full credit. This can be submitted as a .jpeg or .pdf, as long as it is smaller than 20 MB)