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Graphic Design Time Line: A Century of Design Milestones Paperback – 12 Oct 2000

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Allworth Press,U.S. (12 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581150644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581150643
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 17.3 x 25.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,489,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Useful as a starting point for those interested in the history of Graphic Design, but flawed as it does not explain the significance of certain events or individuals by including some kind of context as to why they were included. If you don't know who Jan Tschichold is and why he was important to modern design then announcing his birth is of little relevance. Another issue is that many of the dates given for events appear to conflict with other sources such as Megg's History of Graphic Design and those of other academic sources. I got this book as part of my research material for building an info graphic on the development of graphic styles from the 1860's to 1918, it helped me start my searches but really only skipped across the surface of the data I needed..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa1ed915c) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1b9e87c) out of 5 stars Trivial Pursuit, Anyone? 16 Nov. 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've reviewed a few books here, and have generally been gracious. However, I couldn't get myself to give Graphic Design Time Line anything more than a one-star rating.

The book covers a little over 100 years of design history. Each decade begins with a quote, then proceeds to showcase numerous "milestones" that happened each year, one spread per year. Then there's a smattering of black-and-white images.

And this execution constitutes the failure of Graphic Design Time Line. The book is the equivalent of a Graphic Design Trivial Pursuit reference. Worse, it's akin to a highschool kid who knows more than enough to get through a fill-in-the-blanks quiz and yet is bereft of insight. A motherload of facts, true. But to any practicing graphic designer, facts are worthless without insight.

As an example, a 1913 entry highlights: "William Randolph Hearst purchases Harper's Bazaar." This may have been a milestone for the publishing industry, but graphic design? Did Hearst revolutionize magazine design, or use new printing techniques, or elevate the magazine to a new level of visual communication? No explanation.

One 1960 entry states: "Steff Geissbuhler is a designer for Geigy Pharmaceutical Company." Okay, so why is this event a graphic design milestone? Again, no explanation.

"Milestone" is a big word, but the book never supports the milestones it presents. In the early part of the book, design movements are mentioned but are never explained, not even in summary, and most of these movements don't have the benefit of a visual peg. There is nothing in the book that exhibits trends, their origins, or implications.

My fault is that I expected far too much from this book. If I were to have my "dream" Graphic Design Time Line book, I would start a decade with a summary of the design trend of that period, how it started, who were the major players, who were starting to get noticed, then add some images of works that defined that decade.

When it comes to each year, I'd scrape the twenty or so factoids and focus on four to six entries--the milestones of all milestones--expand on them, highlight their defining characteristics, interconnect them, and cross-reference them with other decades. A sidebar would still contain factoids as supplementary information.

So am I disappointed? Yes, yes, and yes. If you're a design student, a professional, or someone looking for practical info, you might be disappointed with this book as well.

I can imagine, though, that Graphic Design Time Line would be perfect for the graphic design history teacher. It can help a teacher with a course outline, but I can't see anything more than that.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2291330) out of 5 stars Time is of the Essence 26 Dec. 2002
By I. Brynjegard-Bialik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Heller is, as we all know by now, the preeminent graphic design writer of our times. This work displays the history of graphic design in simple, bulleted lists arranged by category in a chronoligcal arrangement that is as elegant as it is simple: each year gets its own spread (though earlier , sparses, years are two-to-a-spread), with reproductions of work from the year and stats on important developments in design, illustration, photo, and more, as well as the people who are responsible for such work.
Not a book to be read all at once, but to be enjoyed sporadically, leafed through, glanced through before bed... a must-have for the design history enthusiast.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1c5d210) out of 5 stars 5* Plus - Essential reading for any graphic designer 17 Aug. 2005
By Heather Rennie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am a great lover of the written word and adore books, in any shape or form. I have been part of the graphic design/print/typography industry for over 20 years and now share the knowledge I have acquired in education. But I still want to learn more and consequently I am always on the look out for graphic design books that entice me to look further. This book is one of those - it encouraged me to go online to find out more. Simple, clear, concise, easy to read, well laid out. In fact, something I would NEVER have dreamed of doing before to any book - I found myself writing additional notes on the pages where I found out more fascinating information. Exciting and inspiring. Would buy again and definitely encourage anyone wanting to learn more about the history of graphic design to buy it. I believe it is a must-have.
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