Back to the Drawing Board: Graphic Design and the Visual Environment of Television at Midcentury

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Abstract

This article explores the history of graphic design on television of the midcentury period. Modern graphic design played a major role in early television, both aesthetically and politically. Nevertheless, historians have for the most part neglected the relationships between design and the television image. After offering an overview of title art at the networks, the article focuses on “star” designers like Charles and Ray Eames, who worked on TV specials produced by major corporations. TV specials used graphic design to promote ideologies of progress through consumerism and to promote America itself as the center of progress for the “free world.” Finally, the article considers some of the countercultural trajectories of TV graphics during the 1960s.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-54
Number of pages17
JournalCinema Journal
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

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