On the hunt for graphics’ roots

The furred and feathered graphic design community among ancient cave-dwellers had no need for Internet, no aspirations of a global village. They had it all already, according to Dr Jim Birchall, subject leader in design studies at the University of Central Lancashire.

These symbols were accessed last December by Birchall and his team in remote caves in the Urals, Russia. They are remarkably similar to those discovered just last week in the Ardeche, France. And – astonishingly – there appear to be more in Mongolia, which will be rooted out by the university’s design studies department this summer. “I never saw myself as Indiana Jones,” says Birchall, who will spend ten days rafting down a river to reach the caves. “These designs just shouldn’t be so geographically apart, there must have been some deep structure of graphics that was globally common.”

ICOGRADA education chairman Jorge Frascara should take note. His plans for a global network of design resources (DW 4 November) may have already been done to death in the last ice age.

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