my3books: Graphic Design Books for Designers and Non-Designers Alike

In a time lost to the mists of history, before Adobe InDesign, before Quark Express, even before Aldus PageMaker, graphic designers were a secretive lot, hidden away in their garrets with Pantone color swatch books, pica rulers and propotional scales, bins full of inky Rapidograph pens, cans of spray adhesive, and X-acto knives. They were apprenticed in their youth to mystical greybeards who taught them the occult arts of typesetting, paste-up, and color separation.

But those days have passed on, and the old ways are soon to be forgotten.

In the future, everyone will be a graphic designer for 15 minutes. Or at least, everyone will create at least one horrendously botched document with a mix of completely inappropriate typefaces (not fonts!) and badly spaced lines of copy and call it a day.

To the rescue comes Chronicle Books, and their publishing partners, Princeton Architectural Press and Laurence King Publishing. This year, they are bringing out a trio of helpful books that will provide the curious with a sense of context and history, and the clueless with comfort and inspiration.

100 Classic Graphic Design Books
by Jason Godfrey
Laurence King Publishing | 9781856695923 | $50 | Aug 2009

Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Books provides an introduction to some of the most influential books on design ever published. From historic books by the likes of László Moholy-Nagy to modern monographs by Peter Saville and his contemporaries, this book covers typography source books, monographs on designers, histories of design, anthologies and instructional how-to books. There are hundreds of illustrations in full color, including page spreads from all of the books.


The Handy Book of Artistic Printing
A Collection of Letterpress Examples with Specimens of Type, Ornament, Corner Fills, Borders, Twisters, Wrinklers, and other Freaks of Fancy
by Doug Clouse
Princeton Architectural Press | 9781568987057 | $40 | Mar 2009

The Handy Book of Artistic Printing is a wonderland of quirky typefaces. The subtitle says it all. In the late nineteenth century, letterpress printers, engravers and lithographers blew the minds of their customers and readers with an unprecedented turn towards the insanely elaborate - a style that came to be known as "artistic". You can almost hear the air quotes: "My, that is certainly an ... artistic ... design. But are you sure my flour canister requires it?" Nevertheless, this book from PAP brings together examples of period ephemera, promotional pieces from the various print shops, and specimens of type and ornaments. A treasury for type fans.


Graphic Design for Nondesigners
Essential Knowledge, Tips, and Tricks, Plus 20 Step-by-Step Projects for the Design Novice
by Tony Seddon
Chronicle Books | 9780811868310 | $22.95 | Sept 2009

This is the book for every one of us who's been asked to come up with a printed object without the benefit of any training or experience. Guidance for 20 different projects - from web sites to business cards to t-shirts - along with general instruction for the beginner on graphic design principles like the effective use of space, color and type. Consider this a must-have reference for every bookstore's back office, where you never know which bookseller is going to have to design the next bookmark or author signing poster.

>> Curious about what else Chronicle Books has coming out this fall? You can view their catalogs online, or download them, here. Read their blog or follow them on Twitter.
>> Princeton Architectural Press offers a direct download of their Fall 2009 catalog, but no fancy animated page flips. Read their blog or follow them on Twitter.
>> Laurence King offers downloads of their catalogs, but they're a couple seasons behind. Read their blog (filled with contributions from their own authors - good idea!) or befriend them on Facebook.
>> You can also search the Chronicle Books web site for books by them or any of their distributed publishers.

DISCLOSURE: This particular entry features books that are brought into the world by publisher(s) that I represent. But you knew that, right? The whole point of this blog IS to talk about books you should be buying or reading, so just take it as a given that in the back of my mind, it has been my secret plan all along to make you want to buy these books. Preferably from an independent bookseller.