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The Elements of Graphic Design 2nd Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1581157628
ISBN-10: 1581157622
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"White sets out key concepts of space, unity, page architecture, and typography for the benefit of other designers, art directors, and students ... A clear introduction; recommended for anyone learning or reviewing graphic design." --Library Journal

“Alex W. White provides one of the clearest and most thoughtful introductions to graphic design that I’ve read. This book is also one of the few to really demystify the idea and use of white space in design—a topic that at once confuses young designers and causes seasoned clients to curl their lips with disdain. Read and learn.”
Alexander Isley, Lecturer at Yale Graduate School of Art, past President of AIGA NY
 
“The Elements of Graphic Design’s first edition has been one of the most useful books on the details of design and effective visual communication. The second edition is certain become a standard in every design studio library.”—Sharon Werner, founder of Werner Design Werks
 
“An expert educator, Alex W. White has purified the fundamentals of graphic design into a vigorous and all-embracing book. No matter what stage of your design career, this second edition of The Elements of Graphic Design is, or ought to be, required reading.”—Kevin Smith, AIGA awards recipient, Professor at Parsons, The New School for Design

About the Author

, professor of graphic design at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, specializes in publication design. Author of the bestseller

, he lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Allworth Press; 2 edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581157622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581157628
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 8.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Considering a degree in graphic design, I recently picked up this book to get a better understanding of the field. With only a quick scan of the titles available on the shelf, "The Elements of Graphic Design" seemed to be the most approachable. I have a studio arts degree, so I was most curious of how the visual language of design compares and contrasts with fine arts. I found "The Elements" not only answered my initial questions, but gave me a good grounding in understanding good design and has changed the way I view design text entirely.

The book is scholarly and thought provoking, yet thoroughly enjoyable; examples are well illustrated; the ideas expansive and far reaching. I think it would be a good text book. Whether I go forward in the field or not, I'm very glad I bought this book, and will return to it again and again for review.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Elements of Graphic Design" covers exactly that - all the important elements of graphic design.

Part history, part primer, this book is a great general introduction to the basics of graphic design. The large number of illustrations are accompanied by ample explanation of why those illustrations or pictures were included and what purpose they have in the greater design lexicon.

The author clearly has a firm grasp on typography, space, symmetry (or lack thereof) and pacing and is able to get those things across in a manner that is both technical and accessible. If you've never read any design book, you won't find yourself confused by obscure, unexplained terminology.

You would expect a book about graphic design to be well designed and indeed, this book is well designed. The only gripe I have (hence the 4 stars, not 5) is the chapter that gets into the hardcore history of design, starting with cave paintings and Sumerian cuneiform. This chapter feels cluttered and a little overwhelming, but the amount of information (which is pretty staggering) is at the same time fascinating. As an historian and journalist by trade, this chapter was probably the most interesting to me simply to see the track of graphic design concepts throughout history.

Bottom line: Excellent first design book and a good resource to have on your shelf, even if you're a seasoned expert.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with many of the other reviewers. This is an essential design book and it's ugly as sin to look at.

There is no clear visual hierarchy here and in practice, the author seems to hate the white space that he spends so much of the text (rightfully) exalting. The pages are busy and designers with problems focusing (nearly all of us, right?) are going to find the pages nearly unreadable.

If you can get past the layout though, this is one of the best introductions to graphic design that I have ever read. The content is well written and explained and easy to understand. You can immediately apply it to your work and see your layouts and logos improve immediately. The book is essential.

Buy it for the content and apply that content, the quality of your work will skyrocket.

Overall, if you are a designer, you should absolutely own this book, but maybe look elsewhere for examples to illustrate the principles contained within.

Four stars for content.
Seriously, this layout is bad.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a non-practitioner who wanted to learn more about fundamental design, this book nails it. While aesthetics are ultimately a matter of preference, knowing the fundamental reasons and history behind certain graphic design elements is a great help for those who have no formal training or experience in the field.

Specifically, the book's treatment of shapes, composition/layout, typography and color helped me formalize my thinking when coming up with new design concepts for our company's web site / web application. It has also piqued my interest in other design fields and graphic design as a whole.

The book is accessible for the layperson and serves as an excellent foundation for further exploration in design.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
White has been giving great design advice for many years and once again he has written a book I can recommend to my visual design students with confidence.

Even though he comes from a previous design generation, much of his astute commentary is still valid in midst of the current revolution of cognition-based design.

White's vocabulary is different to that used in 21st century cognition-based design instruction, but many of his concepts are validated by modern fundamentals.

I recommend this book highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this in my publications class half-a-dozen times. The new edition is not significantly better than the old—better examples and pictures, actually, but the textual content is almost exactly the same—but the book is quite good and my students like it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a fantastic introduction and in-depth examination of the process of graphic design. The author even outlines its history stretching all the way back to when Pictograms were a form of 'type' as well as exploring the basic tenets of a well designed graphic, regardless of the content or subject.

I heartily recommend this book. It is not cursory like other graphic design books I have read, but not so esoteric that a novice to the subject will fall by the wayside.
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