Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash

Design is essentially the first form of written language. The first beings of this planet used imagery and symbols to tell the stories of existence. Without a background of actual words, it is amazing how these experiences are portrayed visually to communicate the reality of the time. Not only was it a form of storytelling, but it was part of a system that also upheld trading and record keeping.

Just as music is said to be a universal language, the use of imagery and symbols is also said to cross language barriers as opposed to written word. It provides a faster means of communication as full wording would have been time consuming to write and match phonetically between cultures. From the very first writings in Mesopotamia to the writing systems from the Natives of America, it is important to appreciate the relationship between visual depictions and spoken word, and the desire for it to be recorded.

Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Design was also used to communicate experiences in cultural ceremonies. Tribal masks and clothing were designed in specific ways to visually describe encounters, or to represent the subject(s) of the ceremony. The markings, color, and extended pieces of entire dressings were elaborate and descriptive by detail. This act is a part of generational storytelling to preserve history. It is seen throughout all of the early dwellers of this earth and continues to this day.

Looking back on how design was used in earlier civilizations can strengthen the relationship in how we use it today. There are more stories to be told that can be expressed visually in innovative ways.

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