The guys at Laurence King kindly sent me a copy of Graphic Design Visionaries by Caroline Roberts, founder and editor of Grafik Magazine, and after sitting down for a good read (with a cuppa tea) I wanted to share it with you guys. The book, which is due for release in August, is a celebration of 77 of the most influential Graphic Designers since the 1800s.
I’ve never really seen a book that features so many important figures for Graphic Design in one place – usually books focus on one person, style or era but this is basically a concise history of the best Graphic Designers from around the world:
There is a written history of each visionary, as well as 3 pages of imagery of some of their most iconic work and a time line pinpointing monuments in the designer’s life.
Jan Tschichold, Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert(whose talk I recently saw), Abram Games – so many amazing designers which I am very familiar and fond of, as I grew up with them through my design education.
Graphic Design Visionaries is different to other books too, as it’s not arranged alphabetically but chronologically by date. Flicking through, this makes it easy to see the changes in trends and movements, as well as building a bigger design picture in my head. I think when you study so many designers as individuals it’s quite hard to work out the relevance to the time/what else is happening. In some cases I found myself recognising iconic work, but not the designer’s name so it was good to connect the dots.
One thing that I noticed is that towards the end it is studios/collectives that are featured, rather than a singular designer; Pentagram, Studio Dumbar, Tomato, The Designers Republic. I find this really interesting – are we going to be recognising and remembering studios in the future?
A weird but great thing for me to discover whilst flicking through, is that Jonathan Barnbrook is featured. Barnbrook is a Graphic Designer whose work I have admired, seen develop over time and that I have met in person. Most of the other designers are icons from the past and sadly passed away. It’s weird to think that we are reaching the point where Graphic Designers that are practising in the current day are now making it into books about the overall landscape of Graphic Design. It’s amazing though, and means that we are living through a time where influential development in Graphic Design is happening (although it makes me feel a bit old if I’m honest!).
For me, this book really stands out on a bookshelf (and not just because it’s bright orange!) – I think it’s a book that I will keep returning to and discovering something new every time. Well done Caroline/Laurence King.
As I mentioned earlier, the book is available from August and whether you’re a practising designer or a student, I’d definitely recommend getting your hands on a copy. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be featured in a book like this…
- I was kindly sent Graphic Design Visionaries by Laurence King, but as always opinions are 100% my own *