John Lennon imagined a world without many things, but not a world without graphic designers. He had bigger fish to fry, but the truth is that it’s not that hard because the idea of a graphic designer is essentially a 20th Century development. Before that, design was part and parcel of the printing process – it was not even itemised on a printer’s bill. A magnificent new book by David Jury aims to bridge the gap between histories of printing which tend to overlook the so-called jobbing elements of the trade, and the histories of graphic design which tend to begin around the turn of the last century.
Graphic Design Before Graphic Designers is a beautiful look at the unsung heroes of the trade and the handbills, adverts and packaging they produced. It celebrates many sadly anonymous designers as well as those like Bodoni, William Morris and Oscar Harpel who pioneered graphic design before it was really called that.
It certainly supports the quotation from Dr Jonathan Miller that ends the book’s introductory essay: “It is in the negligible that the considerable is found.”
Graphic Design Before Graphic Designers, published by Thames and Hudson is available now.
- Dressed in Black: the resolute book covers of the Spektrum series
- Dima Shriyeav’s textured poster designs incorporate hand-drawn and digital elements
- Hai-Hsin Huang’s detailed and delicate illustrations present “the lightness of being”
- Laurent Eisler draws playful figures in “precariously balanced compositions”
- Small Gods magazine explores “anomalies of the drone”
- Adam Wells animates Love and Radio’s Dan Deacon interview through obtuse vignettes
- Fashion photographer Miles Aldridge shoots the cast of Game of Thrones for Time Magazine
- The Netherlands’ royal crest changes gender for national women’s football team kit by Nike
- Peek inside erotic magazine Odiseo’s very NSFW tenth issue
- Rick and Morty’s Exquisite Corpse trailer features 22 animators including Simon Landrein and Bendik Kaltenborn
- Design director, Gail Bichler, on The New York Times Magazine typography exhibition
- Mark Shaw captures the glamour of haute couture runways from the 1950s