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Meggs' History of Graphic Design [Hardcover]

by Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Meggs' History of Graphic Design, with Interactive Resource Center Access Card Meggs' History of Graphic Design, with Interactive Resource Center Access Card 4.3 out of 5 stars (49)
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Book Description

December 7, 2005 0471699020 978-0471699026 4
Now in its Fourth Edition, this unrivaled, seminal work continues its long tradition of providing balanced insight and thorough historical background. Under the new authorial leadership of Alston Purvis, this authoritative book offers more than 450 new images, along with expansive coverage of such topics as Italian, Russian, and Dutch design. It reveals a saga of creative innovators, breakthrough technologies, and important design innovations.


Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Under the new authorial leadership of Alston W. Purvis, Meggs' History of Graphic Design, Fourth Edition offers hundreds of full-color images supported by the latest information, including a new chapter on modern type design. With more than 1,000 illustrations, lucid text, and interpretive captions, this Fourth Edition reveals a saga of creative innovators, breakthrough technologies, and important design innovations.

Graphic design is a vital component of each culture and period in human history, and this Fourth Edition was carefully reviewed and updated to best represent the work of particular time periods and designers. This edition's historic account is an extraordinary panorama of people and events, including:

  • The Invention of Writing and Alphabets
  • Medieval Manuscript Books
  • The Origins of Printing and Typography
  • Renaissance Graphic Design
  • The Arts and Crafts Movement
  • Victorian and Art Nouveau Graphics
  • Modern Art and Its Impact on Design
  • Visual Identity and Conceptual Images
  • Postmodern Design
  • The Computer Graphics Revolution

A History of Graphic Design, Fourth Edition surpasses in detail and breadth the content, design, and color reproduction of previous editions. Professionals, students, and everyone who works with or loves the world of graphic design will quickly find this reference tool is an invaluable visual survey that they will turn to again and again

About the Author

The late PHILIP B. MEGGS was a designer, educator, and author. He was School of the Arts Research Professor, Communication Arts and Design Department, at Virginia Commonwealth University; visiting faculty at Syracuse University and the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland; and contributing editor to Print magazine. He authored more than a dozen books and 150 articles and papers on design and typography, including a section on graphic design in Encyclopedia Britannica. He was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame and received its Educator's Award for lifetime achievement and significantly shaping the future of the fields of graphic design education and writing.

ALSTON W. PURVIS is Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Boston University. During his career, he has worked as an instructor at The Cooper Union and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at The Hague. His photographs have been exhibited in Amsterdam, London, New York, and Paris. He is the author of Dutch Graphic Design, 1918–1945 (Wiley) and H. N. Werkman; and coauthor of Graphic Design 20th Century; A Century of Posters; and Wendingen: A Journal of Arts 1918–1932.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 4 edition (December 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471699020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471699026
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have reference book for graphic designers March 20, 2001
By SL
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In my opinion, this 3rd Edition "A History of GD" is the best reference book written about graphic design. This 500 plus pages book/bible is simply divided into 5 sections, 1) The Prologue to Graphic Design, 2) A Graphic Rennaissance, 3) The Industrial Revolution, 4)The Modernist Era, and 5) The Age of Information. The topics range from the invention of writing to, creation of new typogrphic styles to, the digital revolution and computer art. There are plenty of graphics and photos on every page to accompany the wonderfully written text. If you study art history or graphic design, I think this would be a great reference book to have. It will take some time to read the entire book. But this is like a text book, so, reading only part of the chapters would be quite informative as well. Once you are done, you will definitely appreciate graphic design/graphic designers.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Comprehensive Graphic History text around! August 3, 2005
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book for a class and am incredibly impressed. It covers the evolution of graphic communication from the earliest cave paintings to the web. This book has incredible pictures and describes different styles in an easy to understand format. It is thick, but is one of the best reference books for choosing style and historical content. I normally sell back my textbooks, but this one is staying in my library!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book June 17, 2001
By Mikhail
Format:Hardcover
This is The Book, a must-have. Incredibly helpful. What I like best - it provides an outstandingly complete context in which certain individual works and trends were developed. Also, you don't have to read the whole - very big - book to understand the things you're currently looking for; it's a great reference. And if you don't find something, at least you know where else to look and which next bookshelf to address. Nothing comes close.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as former editions February 2, 2008
Format:Hardcover
After using all the editions, the latest isn't up to the late Phil Meggs' standards. In its attempt to
be concise and concept oriented, it omits much cultural and marginal information that was
interesting and flavorful. This edition is not as delicious as the others. I'm thinking of switching
textbooks for my students.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book for introductory design August 1, 2001
Format:Hardcover
This book gives a concise background on the history of graphic design. It incorporates how graphic artists react to the times and societal issues they are faced with, and how they influence the world around them with their innovations. The collection of images is quite spectacular! A must have for every graphic designer and/or art lover!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book ! December 26, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a graphic design student, and this book was assigned for one of my classes. The History of Graphic Design, is such am amazing book. I find myself flipping through the pages for fun! You could read it over and over again, and always learn something new. This is a very thick book, full of vibrant pictures, and great for gathering your own ideas ! If you could only buy one book on the history of graphci design, this should be that book !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A History of Graphic Design by Philip Meggs February 8, 2004
Format:Hardcover
I am a student of Graphic Design, and was assigned this book as a supplementary text for my class of the History of Graphic Design. I am impressed with his well-written and considerable text as well as accompanying pictures. This is is a well-researched and thorough compilation of information which starts at 6000BC. I would consider this to be the bible to any graphic design student.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graphic Designers; steal this book. May 3, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Length: 0:45 Mins
This book is a must have if you are taking any graphic design courses. If you are already a graphic designer this book is also a must have. My class is long over and I wont sell this book, that says something considering I am a starving student, well maybe not starving.

I bought this for a class and I ended up reading it just because the information presented is both interesting and also very digestible to the average reader. It is a very interesting book that you can keep long after the class is over. One thing is it makes a fantastic coffee table book. It would not be out of place in the lobby of your design firm.

Content (+)
The content of this book covers from our earliest designs all the way to modern design and the impact it has on our lives. The content of this book does not shy away from the controversial to the mundane.

Images (+)
I made the video clip so you could see the great artwork in this book. Many full color images are wonderful references that can be used when you are designing. "Good artists copy, great artists steal", Pablo Picasso

Text (+)
As I was saying this is not just boring text droning on and on. It, in fact is very interesting to those that are into graphic design or art. Any art is graphic design, and all graphic design is art. You really get that feeling after reading this book.

Overall this book is a great value at what I paid for it which is twice what it cost now. Get this BRAND NEW and you will have this book for many years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend
I love this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Graphic Arts. It is important to know the history of things such as this. Read more
Published 4 hours ago by Cash
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun here!
I don't know all that much about graphic design, but the instructor of my only course on the subject recommended this book, and I don't regret buying it. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Andris Rutins
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
The book came in great condition and was the correct edition for my online course. I personally didn't care for the class, but the book itself was what I was expecting.
Published 7 months ago by Aubrey
4.0 out of 5 stars good history of graphic design
Good history of graphic design. I will keep it for my personal reference. Bit dry and wordy, lacks images for a design history book. I did not choose it as a textbook.
Published 9 months ago by Cheryl Dimson
3.0 out of 5 stars History Abound
This text has a great deal of interesting content. The layout is kind of strange, but it does a pretty good job at detailing different periods of design.
Published 10 months ago by Archer
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I ever purchased at that price!
Can't beat the price I paid for it! Wonderful book to help teach art students about design and the many important movements that revolutionized book art. Wonderfully illustrated!
Published 11 months ago by Montagnvs12
4.0 out of 5 stars Boring but effective
Be fore warned, I am a web design major, I thought this class involved design of some kind, It does not! It is the history of typography. Focus on the history of advertising. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Melissa M. Steele
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than A Textbook
This is one of the only texts books I've ever decided to keep after my class was over. It's a wealth of information about graphic design, the only I've found that is so... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Kari McBride
1.0 out of 5 stars Where is my item???
I dont have time to do anything with this problem.
I dont want this item any more, It was so late for my Art class and I want my money back.
Published 14 months ago by ivy
5.0 out of 5 stars this book can do no wrong
seriously. well made, comprehensive, chock full of images across human history. perfectly done and designed.

a must have for anyone in graphic design.
Published 16 months ago by Reijiro Sato
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