The Elements of Graphic Design / Edition 2

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Overview


This very popular design book has been wholly revised and expanded to feature a new dimension of inspiring and counterintuitive ideas to thinking about graphic design relationships. The Elements of Graphic Design, Second Edition is now in full color in a larger, 8 x 10-inch trim size, and contains 40 percent more content and over 750 images to enhance and better clarify the concepts in this thought-provoking resource. The second edition also includes a new section on Web design; new discussions of modularity, framing, motion and time, rules of randomness, and numerous quotes supported by images and biographies. This pioneering work provides designers, art directors, and students--regardless of experience--with a unique approach to successful design. Veteran designer and educator Alex. W. White has assembled a wealth of information and examples in his exploration of what makes visual design stunning and easy to read. Readers will discover White's four elements of graphic design, including how to: define and reveal dominant images, words, and concepts; use scale, color, and position to guide the viewer through levels of importance; employ white space as a significant component of design and not merely as background; and use display and text type for maximum comprehension and value to the reader. Offering a new way to think about and use the four design elements, this book is certain to inspire better design.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

True to its subject, Alex W. White's classic Elements of Graphic Design has been thoroughly redesigned and expanded to better present its core concepts. Now in full color and in a large format, the second edition contains 750 images and substantial new content about timely topics including framing, modularity, rules of randomness, motion and time, and much more. Professional designers, directors, students, and aspiring artists can all benefit from this standard, now updated in a stunning revamp. Browse it; buy it.

Library Journal
The challenge of creating and arranging text and images just got more comprehensible with the revision of this work from veteran designer and teacher White (Thinking in Type: The Practical Philosophy of Typography). White sets out key concepts of space, unity, page architecture, and typography for the benefit of other designers, art directors, and students. The 750 illustrations include a wide selection of ads, logos, magazine covers, posters, as well as web pages, and the author reminds readers to follow human visual perception and to strive for elegance: "Successful designs describe the content fully and as simply as possible." He offers a historical perspective, including time lines and thought-provoking quotations. White shows here that graphic designers use, rather than just fill, space. Some of the illustrations could have been enlarged to further the author's points. VERDICT A clear introduction; recommended for anyone learning or reviewing graphic design.—David R. Conn, formerly with Surrey Libs., B.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581157628
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 177,150
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex W. White, professor of graphic design at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, specializes in publication design. Author of the bestseller How to Spec Type, he lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Space is emptiness
 
fill up a place, which may be better … when I
have made it empty. – William Shakespeare
(1564–1616), As You Like It
 
Emptiness is an essential aspect of life. It is the unavoidable opposite of fullness, of busyness, of activity. It is the natural and universally present background to everything we see. Emptiness is silence, an open field, a barren room, a blank canvas, an empty page. Emptiness is often taken for granted and thought best used by filling in. It is generally ignored by all but the few who consciously manipulate it to establish contrast, to create drama, or to provide a place of actual or visual rest. It is best used as counterpoint to filled-in space. Composers and architects use it. Painters, photographers, and sculptors use it. And designers use it. The most important step toward sensitizing yourself to using space is first seeing it. Gregg Berryman writes in his Notes on Graphic Design and Visual Communication, “Everyone ‘looks’ at things but very few people ‘see’ effectively. Designers must be able to see. Seeing means a trained super-awareness of visual codes like shape, color, texture, pattern, and contrast. These codes make a language of vision, much as words are building blocks for verbal language.” Being trained to see more critically is best guided by a teacher, but such training relies on exposure to excellent art and design samples.

The figure/ground relationship
The single most overlooked element in visual design is emptiness. The lack of attention it receives explains the abundance of ugly and unread design. (Ugly and unread describe two separate functions of design which occasionally occur at the same time. Ugly refers to an object’s aesthetic qualities, an evaluation of whether we like the object. Unread is infinitely more important, because an unread design is an utter failure. A printed document, regardless of its purpose or attributes, is never intended to be ignored.) Design elements are always viewed in relation to their surroundings. Emptiness in two-dimensional design is called white space and lies behind the type and imagery. But it is more than just the background of a design, for if a design’s background alone were properly constructed, the overall design would immediately double in clarity and usefulness. Thus, when it is used intriguingly, white space becomes foreground. The emptiness becomes a positive shape and the positive and negative areas become intricately linked.

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