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Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design Paperback – December 1, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Gomez-Palacio, Bryony & Armin Vit. Graphic Design, Referenced. Rockport: Quayside. 2009. 400p. illus. index. ISBN 978-1-59253-447-0. $50. GRAPHIC ARTS
A major challenge of comprehensive books on graphic design is to fit the numerous dimensions of the field into a work that is logical and readable. The authors of this book, both founders of UnderConsideration, an online graphic design networking site, provide an accessible overview of graphic design in a very browsable format. Its success is owing to a general-to-specific subcategorization based on four main ideas: principles (typography, color, etc.); knowledge (important books, journals, schools, and repositories); representatives (notable designers, firms, and typefaces); and practice (design applied to book and music jackets, posters, products, etc.). Each entry includes full-color illustrations with one- or two-paragraph discussions on the related concepts. The index is thorough, and a brief illustrated time line at the book’s beginning is also nice. VERDICT Highly recommended for design students as a supplement to the core texts mentioned above --
Library Journal, September 2009

About the Author

Born and raised in Mexico City, Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit are graphic designers and co-founders of UnderConsideration (www.underconsideration.com), a growing network and enterprise dedicated to the progress of the graphic design profession and its practitioners, students, and enthusiasts. Since 2002 they have published and edited some of the most widely read design blogs, including Speak Up, Brand New, Quipsologies, Word It, and FPO (For Print Only). In 2007, they established the Department of Design to produce client-driven work. Bryony and Armin each have a decade of experience in various disciplines including corporate and brand identity, annual reports, business collateral, web design and programming, packaging, and magazine and book design. They are the authors of The Word It Book and Women of Design, published by HOW Books in 2007 and 2008 respectively. They reside in Austin, Texas, with their daughter, Maya, and two cats.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Bryony Gomez-Palacio and her partner Armin Vit are graphic designers and co-founders of UnderConsideration (www.underconsideration.com), a growing network and enterprise dedicated to the progress of the graphic design profession and its practitioners, students, and enthusiasts. Since 2002 they have published and edited some of the most widely read design blogs, including Speak Up, Brand New, Quipsologies, Word It, and FPO (For Print Only). In 2007, they established the Department of Design to produce client-driven work. Bryony and Armin each have a decade of experience in various disciplines including corporate and brand identity, annual reports, business collateral, web design and programming, packaging, and magazine and book design. They are the authors of The Word It Book and Women of Design, published by HOW Books in 2007 and 2008 respectively. They reside in Austin, Texas, with their daughter, Maya, and two cats.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Rockport Publishers (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592537421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592537426
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ellen K. Lupton on July 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Every graphic designer and design student should get a copy of this book. Created by two of our field's most committed chroniclers and advocates, this book is full of information and ideas. Providing the backstory for today's design profession, this book is fun to read and fun to look at. If you're looking to invest in your permanent design library, this volume will be useful for years to come. It will help newcomers to the field get up to speed on what graphic design is all about. (What is it all about? The intriguing people, the ever-changing visual language, and the rough and glittering texture of public life.)
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Format: Hardcover
The two authors of this amazing book wisely say in the intro that their endeavors are not really comparable to the Meggs, Hollis, Bringhurst or even newcomer Stephen Eskilson's standard history of graphics, design and typography. They have approached the subject in a fresh and I thought unique way.

The book is in four sections: Principles (design, type and print); Knowledge (books, online, collections and colleges); Representatives (designers, type creators, design writers and design clubs); Practice. The 139 pages bulge with practical examples of anything designed. What I thought interesting was the way these four sections are developed to cover a phenomenal amount of information, either historical or contemporary, and presented primarily as visual items backed up with bite-size text.

Obviously the more technical aspects of design can only be covered briefly: print is wrapped up in twelve pages and nothing about paper but the range of design, from magazines, motion graphics or typography (anatomy; genealogy; classification; typesetting) is spread over fifty-eight pages. Brand identity covering logos and corporate programs gets twenty-five pages. Perhaps the weakest part of the book is 'Recommended reading', summed up with just a spread and not including the 1989 Typographic Communications Today by Ed Gottschalk or the 2001
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I teach Graphic Design and Digital Media and am very impressed with this book. I often refer to it and use its examples in my classes. The book does a wonderful job with laying out the numerous elements of graphic design while providing great examples. Designer biographies and mini-portfolios are included, as well as categorical breakdowns - album covers, logos, posters, etc.

The book is accessible to those who are just starting out in graphic design, as well as helpful to those who are masters in the field.

The world of Graphic Design can be a bit overwhelming at times, as there is so much information out there. This book captures all of that information and organizes it into an enjoyable, easily understandable layout.
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Format: Hardcover
It is not a history, a how-to, a reference, or a book of examples--though it includes elements of each. Instead, it offers a studied impression--via 400-plus well-written, beautifully illustrated entries--of the people, principles, and ingredients that have made (and are making) the field of graphic design such a compelling part of world culture.

Authors Armin Vit and Bryony Gomez Palacio ([...]) have again demonstrated their wonderful sense of what is important about graphic design. It is a must-have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Solid reference book that covers a lot of graphic design info.

I'm taking off one star because the presented information comes across as little dry when compared to other, similar books. Granted, this is more of a reference text, but I thought the tone could be a little more "personable". However, I'd buy it again.

It's not a one-and-only book to have, but makes a nice complementary piece for a beginner or experienced design-oriented person.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a beautiful compendium of graphic design. So much delicious eye candy and a must have for all designers. I imagine with all the really great designs out there over time and thousands of excellent designers, it must have been difficult to include only a little of everything; could easily have been twice the size. Highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been looking to own books that show graphic design as a template and this one does the trick. It simplifies not only the creative part but also the history in wich we have used design to either sell things or show branding! I love this book it is perfect for the graphic artist in your family or someone who wishes to be self taught in the art of graphic design..
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is very pretty, but unfortunately not very informative. The writing is rather poor and the subject matter was not presented well.

This book is mostly a picture book. There are a few, small informative pieces to it, but mostly it's for flipping through the pages. It employs many modern layout techniques but does almost nothing to explain construction at all. There is a brief section on the elements of typography. There is a small amount of effort spent on referencing historical developments in design, but it is bare reference: there is no exposition on the importance of the development or the interconnect between related developments.

The middle of the book is essentially nothing more than lists of other books and magazines--many out of print--that you can also read, lists of art schools you could pay too much to attend, and lists of websites you could visit. You're expected to understand they are important merely because they are included in the book; the text does nothing to describe what makes them important. The last third of the book is lists of noted designers, but again, no exposition on their work, just pictures and the barest of bare text for stating date and place of creation.

I was pretty disappointed in the book. I wanted to learn more about the history of graphic design, to gain context, and feel this book did almost nothing in that way. The pictures in it aren't even really big enough to be able to study the work. It reads more like someone writing a picture book for other design students to reminisce about how awesome it is they know this stuff already.
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