Feb 6, 2020 in Analysis

History of Graphic Design Essay

This paper focuses on the works of two well-known graphic designers Lance Wyman and Deborah Sussman. Lance Wyman in its history, has created 68 projects in Mexico, more than that, he headed the commission for many other projects. But most of all he is known for his design of the logo in 1968 Summer Olympics. Deborah Sussman is known for her environmental graphic designs that were created for the visual view of architectural objects and public spaces. Her passion for work has helped to build a career and led to the multi-faceted cooperation with many architects. The main purpose of the essay is to make three comparative design projects and discuss all the details, similarities and differences.


The first pair of designs is “More is more” by Deborah Sussman (pic.1) and “Road signs” by Lance Wyman (pic.2).


“More is more” is California monument, whose design consists of bright pink stars which head totem poles. Pillars are mostly red color with delicate peach-colored panels. Two lanes completely surround each column from the top. It allows seeing this building from a distance, as the white color of the lanes allocated to the general bright background. The panels between the top stars and columns alternate between three colors: turquoise, orange and pink. Each pole is decorated with a small number of young stars at the bottom of each panel. This monument stands against the blue sky and surrounded by a variety of pavilions, which have a pyramidal roof. It looks very bright and unusual, especially in the blazing sun.


Road signs” is a prime example of non-standard approach to the general rules of the road. Lance Wyman in used a large number of colors in his design: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink and their shades. In addition, all road signs have a different shape: symmetrical and not symmetrical, circular, square, triangular, heart-shaped and even human form. On more familiar of signs even presented the whole picture, such as: building, person, hand, bike, car, trees and flower beds. Bright design by Lance Wyman forces to draw attention to the road signs.

In comparing these two designs, it has been found that they have differences and similarities. Similarities consist in the fact that both designers use a lot of bright colors and make their design eye-catching and noticeable. Differences in these two specific designs are that each object has different scales: the monument prevails over the road signs.

The second pair of designs is “The brief for the LA Olympics” by Deborah Sussman (pic.3) and “Zoo map for the National Zoo of Minnesota” by Lance Wyman (pic.4).


 “The brief for the LA Olympics” is the tower, which was designed and made for television. Deborah Sussman was working on this design together with the architect John Jerde and wanted to build a small pop-up city. There have been staged triumphal arches, canopies, also have been hanged bright banners. The entire structure is generally composed of assembled scaffolding and shipping tubes. It was a temporary structure specifically for the Olympic Games. This place was the epitome of a multicultural California through the use of a pacific palette that included purple, aqua colors and three patriotic colors of red, white and blue.



When Lance Wyman began work on “Zoo map for the National Zoo of Minnesota”, he was searching for an animal to match it to the letter M to create impressive Zoo Logo. As seen in the picture Wyman sintered letter M with a deer - an animal that has local associations, and still exist in the wild Minnesota. Now this animal is the logo of the Minnesota Zoo and the most emotional graphic invention by Lance Wyman. After that, he decided to create a series of letter plates with pictures of animals to use throughout the zoo. As a result, he created labels for the five major roads zoo. Also that fact is important that it was designed in the smallest details the zoo map itself. Lance Wyman counted the entire territory of the zoo, and reduced volume of transferred it to the card; entrance of the zoo he outlined with the mark "You're here." Then thought various sizes and forms he painted all the main roads, all the twists and turns, as well as the location of animals with their symbols. Discussion and consideration of the designs has made it clear that the work of Deborah Sussman is a large-scale in size than object by Lance Wyman, but it does not mean that the design by Lance Wyman importance are less than the design by Deborah Sussman. If we compare these two designs, it should be noted that there are not similarities because Deborah Sussman created design mainly for external display, so had been used vivid colors and catchy banners. Lance Wyman’s design has a large extent prevalent sense, rather than the appearance of design, so it does not present bright colors. The last pair of designs is “Interior for Standard Shoes” by Deborah Sussman (pic.5) and “Mexico City’s metro signs” by Lance Wyman (pic.6).


“Interior for Standard Shoes” is the design which decorated one of the shoe stores in the mall, it is in all complies with previous designs by Deborah. The purpose of this work was the creation of civil identity with less cost. That is why a large number of bright banners were used in the design of an object. The style of this object is the Festive Federalism that Deborah likes to use creating her designs. Also, it was given the style of “street arts” for this design thought traces notes of youth culture. If consider the design in detail, then hung out in the premises of the bright banners and bands, which combines blue and bright orange colors. In the center of the ceiling hang collected a bunch of different color bands in the shape of a circle, just above the place for fitting. In general, this design looks bright of specific Deborah’s approach to the design creating.


Creating the design “Mexico City’s metro signs” Lance Wyman approached this issue from a historical perspective. The aim of the design was to integrate the metro signs of new layer of urban infrastructure with pre-existing towns of colonial times. Wyman has developed a graphic icon for each station. To do this, the object was visually correlated with historical and geographical indication. Each icon shows the image that corresponds to the historical factors and the location of each station. For example Balderas station is located in the historic center of the city and its icon shows the above-ground gun library that corresponds to the historical specific events descended on the site of the station. Also, Lance Wyman created a visible link between the street and underground surface by connecting the special road signs. These signs are accompanied by all the underground space of the subway. Each tunnel has a table with all icons and it helps anyone to navigate to the location. Icons are bright pink color and stand out against the dark background of the table, which allows even from far away seeing the location. Design by Lance Wyman, by the use of graphic elements help tidy up the chaotic system of subway tunnels.

Comparing these two designs it should be taken into account the factor of sense rather than external decoration. The design by Deborah Sussman mainly consists of bright and flashy colors, as well as posters, banners, ribbons and a lot of different bands which hanging from the ceiling. All of this is made to create a certain image for the store, which is remembered by each customer. Design by Lance should be evaluated on the other hand, because the main aspect is the meaning. Therefore, in the design Lance have not used bright colors and came to a decision more conservatively.

Considering this three pairs of comparison designs the following conclusions we made:

  1. “More is more” is an imposing structure, which constructed with bright pillars and the stars; also it is surrounded by many tourist pavilions. The memorial is a very bright and unusual.
  2. “The brief for the LA Olympics” is a tower that Deborah Sussman developed for television during the Olympics. It was a temporary building, which were also allocated with bright colors and a variety of posters.
  3. “Interior for Standard Shoes” is a design that adorns the shoe store. Creating this project, as previous designs Deborah used lots of bright colors and hung posters were used.
  4. “Road signs” by Lance Wyman is a unique approach to the design of road signs. Bright colors and a variety of images on the signs were used in creating this project.
  5. “Zoo map for the National Zoo of Minnesota” is also a specific vision of the designer of the logo and the zoo map. When he was creating this design he did special icons which were developed and depicted with animals and synthesizing with a certain letter.
  6. “Mexico City’s metro signs” is a design of the metro stations and its image on special icons on the table; historical and geographical principle was used to make the design.

So, Deborah Sussman and Lance Wyman guided entirely different principles and approaches to create their designs. In general project of the same designer is very similar to each other in their appearance and semantic design.


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