Barcelona Cultura

Graphic Design: from trade to profession (1940-1980)


Attention! From the 2nd of April this exhibition will be closed due to its renovation

The Barcelona Design Museum is dedicating this room to Graphic design’s Collection.

Several years ago, the MDB decided to create a significant collection spanning the time from the late 19th century to the present day in order to trace the history of graphic design through its holdings.

Thanks to the generous donations made by many professionals and bodies, or their descendents or successors, the MDB now has a collection —albeit still under construction— that is highly representative of certain periods.

This first exhibition is dedicated to the generation that, as the title suggests, spearheaded the shift from trade to profession, in a field known for many decades now as graphic design. Immediately after the end of the Spanish Civil War, these creatives were referred to as poster artists or advertising drawing artists. After making the leap towards professionalisation, however, they became known as graphic artists and then graphic designers.

The autochthonous graphic tradition coupled with foreign influences from Switzerland, France and the English-speaking world led to productions that were not only outstanding from a graphic perspective (text and images), but also representative of an era and a culture.

The period covered by the exhibition ends in 1980, though there are plans to hold future exhibitions dedicated to other generations of graphic designers. In other words, the story is “To be continued…


Col·lecció de Disseny gràfic


Anna Calvera i Pilar Vélez

Number of pieces



532 m2

Exhibition fields

  • 1940-1952. Commercial artists and poster designers

  • 1953-1960. Towards professionalisation

  • 1961-1968. Graphic Design becomes self-aware

  • 1969-1980. Graphic Design consolidation

  • 1980-... Towards the standardisation of Graphic Design

Related activities


Outstanding pieces

Ajuntament de Barcelona