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Richard Buchanan

Subject Art
Communication Studies » Visual and Non-verbal Communication

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Design is the human power to conceive, plan, and make all of the products that serve human beings in the accomplishment of their individual and collective purposes. It is a cultural art and a practical art, supporting all forms of activity in the human community by providing a high degree of forethought for communications, artifacts, actions, and organizations. The practice of design provides the subject matter and examples upon which the arts and sciences of communication base a significant portion of research and theory. In turn, the exploration of rhetoric and the arts and sciences of communication deepens awareness of the dimensions of communication in design and human-made products (→  Art as Communication ; Rhetorical Studies ). The origins of design are prehistoric, since one of the signs of the emergence of human culture is the images and artifacts created by the first humans (→  Culture: Definitions and Concepts ). However, the beginning of formal discussion of design and human-made products may be traced to the ancient world, in philosophical and technical writings in both Greece and China. The earliest technical writings were about architecture, instruments for measuring time, and weapons of war. In the west, those discussions were shaped by a broad conception of rhetoric as an intellectual art of invention and communication (→  Rhetoric and Philosophy ; Rhetoric and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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