Graphic Design and Architecture, A 20th Century History: A Guide to Type, Image, Symbol, and Visual Storytelling in the Modern World

Graphic Design and Architecture, A 20th Century History: A Guide to Type, Image, Symbol, and Visual Storytelling in the Modern World

by Richard Poulin

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610586337
Publisher: Rockport Publishers
Publication date: 11/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 38 MB
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About the Author

Richard Poulin is cofounder, design director, and a principal of Poulin + Morris Inc. (, an internationally recognized, multidisciplinary design consultancy located in New York City. His work has been recognized by major design organizations, competitions, and publications including the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Communication Arts, Graphis, Library of Congress, Type Director Club, and the New York Art Directors Club. Richard is a Fellow of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, the organization's highest honor, and is a past President and board member of the New York Chapter of AIGA. He has been a faculty member of the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 1992 and was previously an adjunct professor at The Cooper Union.

Read an Excerpt

First Church of Christ Scientist
Graphic Tile Panels
The Hague, Netherlands

Piet Zwart (1885–1977), Designer
The Hague, Netherlands


Piet Zwart (1885–1977), a Dutch craftsman, draftsman, architect, photographer, and pioneer of modern typography, was born in Zaandijk, north of Amsterdam. From 1902 to 1907, he attended Amsterdam’s  School of Arts and Crafts, where he became interested in architecture. His early work involved designing textiles, furniture, and interiors in a style that showed his affinity for the de Stijl art movement. Zwart was influenced by many of the modern, avant-garde movements, as well as Jan Tschichold’s (1902–1974) Die Neue Typographie (The New Typography, 1928). He was also one of the first modernist  designers in Holland to apply the principles of de Stijl and constructivism to graphic design in the built environment during the 1920s. From 1921 to 1927, Zwart worked for H. P. Berlage, the most influential  Dutch architect of the era. Hendrik Pieter (H. P.) Berlage (1856– 1934) was the architect for the First Church of Christ Scientist complex in The Hague. This modernist complex is composed of a church, assembly hall, residence, and school with its interiors designed by Berlage, in collaboration with Zwart. One primary example of this collaboration is located above the entrance to the complex in a series of metallic gold-on-blue ceramic tiles containing bold, square, sans-serif “fat-face” letterforms designed by Zwart to visually integrate with the rectangular architectural form of the church. Throughout the  auditorium, typographic inspirational quotations are located on walls and ceilings articulated in a similar graphic manner by Zwart, reinforcing a strong visual integrity to the graphic and architectural identities of the buildings.

Zwart synthesized two distinct and contradictory points of view—the constructivist movement’s visual playfulness and de Stijl’s formal functionality. With the First Church of Christ Scientist, as well as with his  entire body of work, this typotekt, as he called himself, created a unified language that has prevailed for the last eighty years and to this day strongly influences contemporary graphic designers.

Table of Contents


Forward by James Stewart Polshek, FAIA

Forward by Deborah Sussman, HAIA, FSEGO

Pre-20th-Century Influences

The Modern Age 1900-1950

Chapter One: The Impact of Invention

Chapter Two: Art and Technology, a New Unity

Chapter Three: Style and the Mass Market
1924 - 1947

Chapter Four: Between the Wars
1932 - 1945

The Post-War World
1950 - 2000

Chapter Five: Populuxe: The American Influence
1948 - 1961

Chapter Six: Modernism and the International Style
1950 - 1979

Chapter Seven: Postmodernism and Beyond
1966 - 1995

The Beginning of the 21st Century



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About the Author

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Graphic Design and Architecture, A 20th Century History: A Guide to Type, Image, Symbol, and Visual Storytelling in the Modern World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author's love for his subject matter is evident and makes for an enlightening and enjoyable read. Well researched, well written, and overflowing with great photos, the book brings into plain view the relationship between graphic design and architecture - a link that's always been there but is too often overlooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An incredibly thorough and informative read into a subject-matter not many authors have divulged. Poulin's narrative showcases an exciting array of architectural and environmental exploration over many decades, and each environment is presented in a beautiful and information-driven design. One-of-a-kind reference everyone should have!
Michelle2Rae More than 1 year ago
Brilliant! It's unlike any history book I've read. Many are terribly didactic, but this book is written in an engaging narrative style -- a great read!