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Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design Paperback – December 1, 2011
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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
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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 The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher and a book I'm sure would have been included had it been published before 2009 Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Books.
All of this information, which includes 2500 images, is deftly served up in a clear, straightforward page and typographic design which fortunately avoids one of the annoyances of books for designers: acres of empty page space, which I tend to think is only an indication of too little material for too many pages. There is, though, a slight annoyance with the book. Whenever a cross reference appears in the text a miniscule arrow is used pointing to a page number both of which are in a light tint and therefore almost unreadable.
As the title's sub-deck says 'A visual guide to the language, application and history of graphic design' and I thought it worked a treat. A real-page turner presenting creativity in a fresh format.
***SEE SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover,
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.
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.
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.