Graphic Design: A New History / Edition 2

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Overview

Now in its second edition, this innovative look at the history of graphic design explores its evolution from the 19th century to the present day. Author Stephen J. Eskilson demonstrates how a new era began for design arts under the influence of Victorian reformers, tracing the emergence of modernist design styles in the early 20th century, and examining the wartime politicization of regional styles. Richly contextualized chapters chronicle the history of the Bauhaus and the rise of the International Style in the 1950s and '60s, and the postmodern movement of the 1970s and '80s. The book's final chapter looks at current trends in graphic design, with in-depth discussions of grunge, comic book, and graffiti aesthetics; historicism and appropriation; and the influence of technology, web design, and motion graphics.

The second edition features over 80 new images, revised text throughout, a new chapter on 19th-century design, and expanded sections on critical topics including the Swiss Style, Postmodernism, and contemporary design.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

It should be no surprise that Eskilson's study of the evolution of graphic design from Gutenberg to grunge and beyond is an oft-assigned tome for budding designers. However, one needn't be a student to appreciate Eskilson's ability to hold a narrative thread as art movements, technology, and other influences continue to broaden the scope of his topic as the book progresses. Working his way through a dense and diverse mélange of media, such as pulp magazines, photography, architecture, typefaces, logos, Nazi propaganda, movie posters, and signage, Eskilson (coauthor, Frames of Reference: Art History and the World) is an enthusiastic and informative guide. The tome is liberally peppered throughout with iconic images such as Currier and Ives prints, James Flagg's I Want YOU for U.S. Army, and Shepard Fairey's Hope, featuring Barack Obama, as well as digressions on key contributors such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustav Klimt, and movements like De Stijl. Given the sheer number of topics and concepts encompassed by graphic design, Eskilson isn't able to dwell on any specific subject for too long, which may frustrate some readers. Originally published in 2007, this newly-updated edition adds over eighty new images and revised text, making this an even more essential reference for designers as well as art historians. Photos and illus.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly
It should be no surprise that Eskilson's study of the evolution of graphic design from Gutenberg to grunge and beyond is an oft-assigned tome for budding designers. However, one needn't be a student to appreciate Eskilson's ability to hold a narrative thread as art movements, technology, and other influences continue to broaden the scope of his topic as the book progresses. Working his way through a dense and diverse mélange of media, such as pulp magazines, photography, architecture, typefaces, logos, Nazi propaganda, movie posters, and signage, Eskilson (coauthor, Frames of Reference: Art History and the World) is an enthusiastic and informative guide. The tome is liberally peppered throughout with iconic images such as Currier and Ives prints, James Flagg's I Want YOU for U.S. Army, and Shepard Fairey's Hope, featuring Barack Obama, as well as digressions on key contributors such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustav Klimt, and movements like De Stijl. Given the sheer number of topics and concepts encompassed by graphic design, Eskilson isn't able to dwell on any specific subject for too long, which may frustrate some readers. Originally published in 2007, this newly-updated edition adds over eighty new images and revised text, making this an even more essential reference for designers as well as art historians. Photos and illus. (Feb.)
NYTBR - Steven Heller
"Eskilson looks at design from the art perspective more than the others do, which is valuable because design does indeed intersect with art movements."—Steven Heller, New York Times Book Review
Choice - S. Skaggs
“This second edition is one of the best accounts of the history of graphic design from the late 19th century to the present currently published in English.”—Choice
Library Journal

Eskilson (art history, Eastern Illinois Univ.; coauthor, Frames of Reference: Art History and the World) focuses here on the evolution of graphic design since the 19th century as well as on what recent developments in the field of information technology mean for today's designers. In a refreshing divergence from the usual pattern of art surveys, he attends more to social trends associated with graphic design rather than limits the content to artistic styles, time frames, and biographical sketches. The result is an effective description of the political effects of design (e.g., strategies used by illustrators of war posters) and countercultural influences (e.g., drugs and graffiti) supported beautifully by 400-plus large color reproductions. Given the book's readability and attention to larger historical topics, it is recommended as the best graphic design history for public libraries. It is also recommended for academic libraries; however, Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis's Meggs' History of Graphic Design(Wiley, 2005. 4th), which offers a more complete overview of artistic styles (especially typography), would perhaps be better suited for design history curricula.
—Eric Linderman

Choice - Outstanding Academic Title
Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2012 for Art and Architecture within the Humanities category.
Wall Street Journal

"What makes this history ''new'' is the author''s focus on the role that technology has played, for better or worse, in the evolution of design style."—Lisa Rossi, Wall Street Journal

— Lisa Rossi

I.D. International Design

"[Eskilson] has done excellent work. . . . Anyone with a serious design library should consider acquiring Eskilson''s new history. It will serve as a reliable reference and a fruitful compendium of visual ideas."—Ellen Lupton, I.D. International Design Magazine

— Ellen Lupton

Booklist
". . . . To awaken greater appreciation for both the creativity and the impact of this often-discounted art form, art historian Eskilson has created a uniquely comprehensive, discerning, and vital history. . . . Eye-opening on many levels."—Booklist
Rebecca Klein Ganz
"Eskilson’s user-friendly text has excellent coursebook potential for college-level classes in the history of graphic design. The book highlights and defines key terms, visually spotlights central information within chapters, and displays high-quality, detailed images throughout. Graphic Design: A New History will draw students in with exciting imagery and expand their knowledge with an engrossing narrative that presents an evolution of events unfolding as with any captivating plot."—Rebecca Klein Ganz, Savannah College of Art and Design
Ethan Robey
Graphic Design: A New History might well become a new standard in the field of critical graphic design history. A great strength of the book is the author’s attention to the relation of graphic design to larger social issues, especially the formation of national identity. Another is his facility in visual analysis and ability to elucidate the meanings embedded in the formal aspects of design and typography. The book effectively integrates graphic design history into contemporaneous aesthetic debates, and relates the work to fine arts, decorative arts, and architecture. The illustrations are remarkably good, extensive, and well printed. The text has at least a brief discussion of every piece illustrated, which makes it an excellent resource and provides students with a model of how to deal with design analytically. I would recommend this book for college-level history of graphic design courses, and as a general background text for a graduate-level introduction to the field.”—Ethan Robey, Parsons The New School for Design/Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Lucinda Hitchcock
“Stephen Eskilson’s new book, Graphic Design: A New History, is a comprehensive, thorough, well-illustrated and up-to-date survey of graphic design history. Amassing almost 500 pages, along with hundreds of color images, Eskilson’s new book should most certainly share shelf space with Philip Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, which until now has really been the only complete history of this relatively young but ever more prevalent design field. Eskilson’s book presents visual examples and contextual descriptions of how print, advertising, and design evolved and responded to currents in mainstream social, cultural, and political affairs. Students should find the book accessible, readable, and full of necessary introductory information. This volume offers enormous amounts of useful facts and background, and without a doubt it would be an appropriate book for any student of graphic design.”—Lucinda Hitchcock, Rhode Island School of Design
Henk van Assen
"An excellent survey of graphic design from the late 19th- to the early 21st century, this book is well written, highly accessible, and demonstrates sound scholarly research. Although the main focus is on the 20th century (unlike Philip B. Meggs's History of Graphic Design), this work compliments the prior with a much expanded contextual and historical framework. The author establishes connections to social, political, cultural, and technical developments that influenced the aesthetic outcome of graphic design work over time. The book is superbly illustrated in full color, which makes for a much better appreciation, understanding, and absorption of the topics discussed, and includes many lesser known samples from within the design discourse. Lastly, the text truly leads up to the most recent 21st-century developments in design, issues with which design students and professionals are currently grappling. Graphic Design: A New History is excellent for use with coursework in graphic design as well as other cultural studies classes, both at colleges and art schools.”—Henk van Assen, Yale University School of Art
Doug Wadden
“Stephen Eskilson has written an expansive new book on the history of modern graphic design. Rather than reconstruct the typical 'pyramids to Picasso' chronology, he begins with a richly detailed and insightful summary of the later part of the 19th century and assembles a remarkably thorough review of art and communications from the avant-garde and the war years to the international style, post modern design, and digital media. Interspersed with examples of architecture, references to contemporary essays and journals, and both familiar and new illustrations, it is perhaps the most inclusive, thorough, and up-to-date assessment of design available. It will prove accessible to students, authoritative to professionals and educators, and will provide an excellent basis for a comprehensive understanding of essential developments in contemporary visual culture. This is one of the most comprehensive and detailed texts I have encountered and is essential reading for any student or designer studying the history of 20th century design.”—Doug Wadden, University of Washington
Wall Street Journal - Lisa Rossi
"What makes this history 'new' is the author's focus on the role that technology has played, for better or worse, in the evolution of design style."—Lisa Rossi, Wall Street Journal
I.D. International Design - Ellen Lupton
"[Eskilson] has done excellent work. . . . Anyone with a serious design library should consider acquiring Eskilson's new history. It will serve as a reliable reference and a fruitful compendium of visual ideas."—Ellen Lupton, I.D. International Design Magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300172607
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 140,977
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen J. Eskilson is associate professor of art at Eastern Illinois University. He is coauthor of Frames of Reference: Art History and the World and publishes frequently on contemporary art and design.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2014

    This book is the perfect understanding of the stages of Graphic

    This book is the perfect understanding of the stages of Graphic Design.  I am a Graphic Design student at Eastern Illinois where I was able to take this course with the Author himself.  He has so much knowledge that he has shared in this second edition.  Even after taking the course with the book, I immediately bought it for my own library. 

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