At first glance, Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design by Bryony Gomez Palacio and Armin Vit appears to be very similar to dozens of other titles that are available on the market today. It does not take the reader long, however, to discover that this 400+ page, beautifully illustrated manuscript gives a timeless view into the world of graphic art and how it has evolved throughout modern times. Readers will find brilliantly displayed examples of graphic design elements, a list of the most common terms within the industry, examples of outstanding artists and projects; all delivered in a single volume.
Many critics have even gone as far as to say that Graphic Design, Referenced is the staple publication of the graphic design world and a must-read for anyone pursuing a profession within the field. While it would qualify as a standard history lesson of how graphic arts began, the title actually takes these concepts a lot further by focusing on why certain projects were significant, how specific artists revolutionized the industry, and what the future holds for talented artists.
In June of 201, Bryony and Armin stated to PrintMag, “Our 400-page book, Graphic Design, Referenced…took over our lives for the better part of a year and a half. Our dynamic was integral to making sure we finished it.”
Graphic Design, Referenced is made up of four distinct components:
- The introductory chapters, entitled “Principles”, are focused on defining commonly used terms, practices, and concepts within the field of Graphic Design. Its focus is to educate the reader on the basics of the industry and how it functions within our society.
- “Knowledge” shifts the content towards the realm of where Graphic Design is taught and practiced in the world today. This section explains nearly every aspect of the learning process that Graphic Designers go through while mastering the art and discusses how different forms of learning media affect our overall prospective.
- The chapters entitled “Representatives” takes into account the members of the Graphic Design world that have influenced the industry through inspirational campaigns, groundbreaking ideas, and superior long-term results. Both traditional and modern artists are recognized for their outstanding achievements and creations.
- The final section of Graphic Design, Referenced is entitled “Practice” and it showcases over a century of iconic works of art that have defined the industry as a whole. This section not only serves as an inspiration for current and upcoming artists but it also serves as a visual timeline within the field.
While there are several other quality graphic design books on the market today, none of them seem to compare to the way that Palacio and Vit have captured the industry as a whole. While this is quite a large publication with a lot for the reader to digest, the information is delivered in a relaxed, conversational tone that makes each of the chapters easy to follow. There are also over 2,000 design projects incorporated throughout this book and it is as visually pleasing as it is insightful.
Bryony Gomez Palacio and Armin Vit live together in Austin, Texas and work together professionally out of their modest home. Besides writing Graphic Design, Referenced and operating their own firm, the couple is also avid bloggers about the graphic arts world and easily considered two of the planet’s premiere experts on the subject. They have also co-written Women of Design and The Word It Book in recent years and created the website UnderConsideration to showcase their personal successes.