10,000 B.C. — Geoglyphs appear; this artwork features designs etched into the earth’s landscape, best viewed from vantage points above.
3,000 B.C. — Ideograms, or symbols that repesent a thought or idea, are created; Heiroglyphics, possibly the oldest form of writing, told stories with a combination of symbols and pictures.
2,000 B.C. — The alphabet — a common set of letters that correspond to sounds — changes the speed and quality of communication. Books, texts and manuscripts can now be written, shared and produced in quantity; different visual writing styles, including varied fonts and sizes, now convey feeling and give more meaning to written words.
80 A.D. — World-traveling merchants developed rudimentary advertising with images to attract buyers and sell their goods.
Late 1700s — The invention of charts and graphs allows data and ideas to be grouped and communicated with visual representations.
1835 — Posters and photography encourage the beginning of commercial advertising.
Mid-1800s — The invention of billboards leads to a market for brand advertising.
1928 — The first televisions are installed in private U.S. homes; “television sets” becomes a common household item in late 1940s, bringing outside images and ideas through film, art and news into the average home.
1960s – 80s — Invention of the computer paves the way for the growth of digital graphic design, digital photography, website design and social media.
Today — Low-cost, portable “super” technology gives users the instant ability to capture, create and share images. This makes visual communication even more common, especially through online communications.