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Dive into the history of graphic design with this fascinating book

What once humbly started out as printing and engraving eventually turned into graphic design — a powerful visual force that left its mark on not just the arts and advertising but also politics and society as a whole. A new book from Taschen showcases the history of how we’ve come to see the world…

Visual impact

If you wanted an unforgettable logo for your tissue company or a movie poster that made people want to rush to see your film, then Saul Bass was your man. Considered one of the foremost graphic designers of the 20th century, Bass designed both the iconic Kleenex script and the poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Throughout the 19th century, graphic design matured from printing, engraving, and lithography into a creative field that was embraced with the rise of advertising for tourism, mass-produced products, new media such as film, and political parties and movements. But, unlike artists, graphic designers and their contributions to how we see and understand the world have remained largely unrecognised. In this sweeping, comprehensive, and beautifully illustrated book, History of Graphic Design, author Jens Müller introduces us to designs and designers from the end of the 19th century until the 1950s and the worldwide impact they’ve had — and still continue to have — on graphics and artwork. The book offers an overview with a visual timeline, which includes detailed profiles of influential artists, such as Edward Johnston, a teacher of calligraphy who shaped the logo and typeface of the London Underground. The book costs 50 euros, but if you’re a budding enthusiast of the graphic arts, you might want to get ready to invest more, as Jens Müller and publisher Taschen are preparing a second volume to cover the period from the 1960s to the present.

Photos: Taschen

For more information on History of Graphic Design. Vol. 1, 1890–1959, visit Taschen’s online shop.