When should you call a piece of graphic design “boundary breaking”? The term gets thrown around a lot these days, but what makes a piece of design actually deserving of the label? There is boundary breaking in the literal sense, as in moving across bordered terrain. And then there is design that spectacularly shifts norms, creating a new aesthetic geography and language.
Graphic design today, perhaps, is especially boundary breaking when it does both: when it moves between cultures, can speak across terrains—and when it shatters and subverts the status quo of visual communication.
Across Borders: A Look at the Work of Latinx Designers, a digital exhibition organized by designers Jessica Arana and Julio Martínez in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture and AIGA, showcases an array of such boundary breaking works. Pulled from the AIGA design archives, the pieces in the show celebrate the contributions of Latinx designers to the field of communication design over the last 50 years. Designs by the likes of Rodrigo Corral, Pablo Medina, Claudia de Almeida, and Rebeca Méndez are made accessible on the site, presented in a harmony of slides and informative pull-quotes.
As the show’s introduction text states: “Whether it’s designing highly influential book covers, developing title sequences for legendary films, or creating bold illustrations that elicit political discourse, designers with Latin American roots have made indelible contributions to the field of communication design.”
Today, we’ve curated our own Eye on Design mini-selection of the work presented in Across Borders: a series of five memorable pieces of graphic design history produced by designers whose contributions have shaped the contemporary visual landscape, in the USA and beyond.