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The Graphic Design Reader Paperback – February 15, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Those familiar with the writing of noted graphic design chronicler Heller may have already encountered several of the essays found here in various design periodicals such as Print, Critique, and Eye. Others may be aware of his work as the art director of the New York Times Book Review or of the innumerable design books he has authored and/or edited. For these readers, it will be gratifying to review a compendium that allows one to form a composite picture of Heller. He has an active mind and a balanced perspective and excels at placing graphic design in historical context, a much-needed boost for a profession that is coming into its own. If there is a complaint to be leveled, it would be that a book of this scope (which holds the design profession in such high regard) is itself so poorly designed. While visual communication may be the subject, there is little visual enjoyment to be had. A flat and uninspired layout is compounded by an overall shortage of illustrations, often leaving the reader to wonder in vain about the references being made. Despite the wide perspective that Heller brings to the graphic design field, the book is squarely rooted in the 20th century, and it certainly belongs in the graphic design section, as it would provide little gratification for the non-design reader. Recommended for larger public libraries or libraries with extensive liberal arts, fine arts, or art history sections. Phil Hamlett, San Francisco
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Steven Heller is the art director of The New York Times Book Review. Recipient of the 1999 AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement and author or editor of more than 70 books on graphic design, he lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allworth Press; 1 edition (February 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581152140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581152142
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 6.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Heller, author and editor of over 130 books on graphic design, satiric art and popular culture, is the co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. He is also co-founder of the MFA in Design Criticism, MFA in Interaction Design, MFA Social Documentary Film and MPS Branding programs. Although he does not hold an undergraduate or graduate degree he has devoted much of his career to fostering design education venues, opportunities and environments.

On the editorial side, for over 40 years he has been an art director for various underground and mainstream periodicals. For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times (28 of them as senior art director New York Times Book Review). He currently writes the "Visuals" column for the Book Review and "Graphic Content" for the T-Style/The Moment blog ( He is editor of AIGA VOICE: Online Journal of Design, a contributing editor to Print, EYE, and Baseline, and a frequent contributor to Metropolis and ID magazines. He contributes regularly to Design Observer and writes the DAILY HELLER blog for Print Magazine ( His 135 books include "Design Literacy, " "Paul Rand," "Graphic Style" (with Seymour Chwast), "Stylepedia" (with Louise Fili), "The Design Entrepreneur" and "Design School Confidential" (both with Lita Talarico), "Iron Fists: Branding the Twentieth Century Totalitarian State", and the most recent, "Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig."

He is the recipient of the 1999 AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement. His website is and his blog, The Daily Heller sponsored by Print magazine is

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Sheahan on March 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are addicted to the daily heller like I am you will really appreciate this book. It is a collection of essays and interviews that will really open up your mind to new design ideas. If you havent read any Steven Heller Books this is a good place to start. He really is a graphic design legacy who has played a key role in shaping the identity, image, and formation of contemporary design. Read it.
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