July 31, 2012 | by Liam

Graphic Design History – The Victorian Era

Graphic Design is visual communication that employs different techniques and influences that have been gathered through the ages. This post is the first in a series that will look at graphic design over the years.


The Victorian era of Britain was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign which ran from 1937 to 1901 and was a time of strong moral and religious beliefs. The Victorian people loved complex and ornate objects and this influence was applied to architecture, furniture, interiors, fashion, typography and commercial art. The Victorian ‘look’ was deeply influenced by their nostalgia for objects from the past. Typical design elements of early Victorian style were the use of outer decorative borders and elaborate typography. Symmetry was also used heavily in layout and design.


The Victorian design style almost always filled the entire page with images and type. Later Victorian style tended to use the decorative borders less but still used ornate type and romantic imagery. Typography through the Victorian era generally appeared in a curve or wave and was commonly encompassed in a banner.

On the whole, the Victorian age was a period of imitation and reproduction with many styles including gothic and rococo being revived, often with more than one style influencing a single piece of work.


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