The Future of Handmade Design (Creative Bloq): An article arguing that creating things by hand helps designers better understand how things are produced. It is less sterile and modern and more humanist. Provenance, heritage and sustainability are important in modern brand development; which are qualities found in handmade products.

“The future of handmade is not simply about an aesthetic or a set of tools or practices, then, but a system of beliefs, or an ethic about ways of working that upholds quality, craftsmanship and innovation. The handmade in design is bound up with wider cultural changes relating to consumption. The hegemony of the mass-produced is compromised when we, as consumers, feel the need, and find ways to reverse it, by hacking its products into something more personal, rewarding and long-lived. Fundamentally, we are rediscovering our hands as tools, making us active participants in designing the future.”

Do I Need to Know How to Draw to be a Graphic Designer? (Graphic Design Degree Hub): This page sums up the general consensus that I’ve found about what’s expected of design graduates in terms of illustrative talent: graphic design is mostly done on a computer, so drawing skills aren’t really necessary; though being a good drawer is a nice bonus and may increase your employability. Most graphic design work is typography and layout based, but why do either of these things have to be done purely on a computer? Typography and layouts can be made and assembled by hand.

“Since most graphic design isn’t drawn by hand, you don’t really need to be a great illustrator to establish a career in this field, although designers who are also accomplished illustrators have increased opportunities.”

“Tactile Typography in the New Aesthetic” by Dominique Falla (Studio Research): A scholarly article by a PhD student on how modern graphic design tends to only deal with sight and sound, and not the other senses; in this particular case touch. They show a lot of different examples of typographic work where the audience was encouraged to touch the work. Goes into what handmade typography does better than machine made typography and why audiences like it at all.

“According to my research findings, online audiences appreciate written messages more if the typography is executed in a way that is clearly time-consuming, creative in its use of materials, and exhibits a visual tactility rather than being solely digital in its appearance. Touch, it would appear, is not solely for communicating with the vision-impaired.” (p. 46)

Holloway Paper Art (Holloway Life): Talks about a designer named Hannah Miles who recently graduated from a Bachelor of Graphic Design degree and created her final major work out of paper as opposed to on a computer. Her final project, “The Sound Machine”, uses sight, touch, and features a garden of paper roses and a paper covered sound machine.

“Whilst researching for her final year project, Hannah knew that she wanted to work with her hands, rather than the digital confines often expected of graphic designers today.  She was amazed by intricate works made using paper, and realized its material versatility.”

Handmade Graphics Refuse to go Quietly (Eye Magazine): Review of a book of essays by Claude Lichtenstein, Felix Studinka and others. Unfortunately, some are in German which I can’t read. Talks about how handmade adds more playfulness and emotion to modern design and is more imperfect and unfiltered, so has more of a human touch than the precision added by machines.

” The stranglehold of the computer program in flattening out the texture of imagery and its physical, material presence creates something quite different in experience from the image created by materials manipulated by hand. From childhood onwards everyone has the ability to connect to the inventiveness, danger and downright fun of directly applied experimentation: what happens when you mix this with that? How will this paint react with that material? With computers much of the magic has all been worked out by programmers a long time ago.”

Some graphic designers who make works by hand (in particular typography):

Marian Bantjes: American designer who does intricate illustrations and hand-drawn typography. In some works she uses both digital and hand-drawn typography and patterns.



Stefan Sagmeister: Austrian designer who creates typography out of objects and the environment around him.



I’d like to look more into illustrators next, and dig up my old art journals which hold prior research I’ve done on artists who draw intricate graphite drawings (which is what I enjoy the most).