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Best all around GD book?

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  • Best all around GD book?

    So I was thrust into the world of GD after having gone to college for something else, and while I love GD, I am often lost with the technicals. This forum is helping me immensely, but I would love to buy a book, or several books that will teach me what I missed in school:

    GD theory, terminology, layout rules, printing, etc.

    What books do you recommend I buy so I can teach myself as much as possible about GD?

    I saw in another post "looking good in print"...any others?

    thank you!!!
    Last edited by Melina635; 11-11-2011, 07:20 AM. Reason: misspell

  • #2
    There are good books, but I've been a professional designer for 30 years, and I can't provide concise answers to your questions.

    I've accumulated a library of, probably, a thousand design and technical books of one sort or another. Half, probably, are mostly picture books that show good examples of various kinds of design. A quarter might be technical books related mostly to technology — especially Internet/Web/coding-related stuff. The rest are a mish mash of things from architecture to interface usability to historical essays to long-winded diatribes on all sorts of arcane, design-related things.

    Right now I'm in the middle of reading/skimming/analyzing 1200 pages of materials in two books about Dieter Rams — the industrial designer who designed most of Braun's incredible products. I've also been revisiting an old book on typography written by Emil Ruder — the Swiss designer who, as much as anyone else, was a leading proponent of the Swiss interpretation of the International Style that dominated design for decades (and really still does). And I've also got an O'Reilly book on PHP sitting here in front of me. The new Communication Arts advertising annual came in the mail the other day, and I'll be pouring through that later on this evening — that is, unless I decide to watch the Netflix DVD on industrial design that just arrived titled Objectified.

    I'm not recommending that you read or watch any of these things that I just listed. I'm just using them to illustrate the problem I'm having in answering your question. I've been reading these sorts of books for 30 years. Graphic design is a small subset of a huge, gigantic field that encompasses everything around us from the structure of a tree branch to the size and shape of the dot on this "j", to the color of the paint on your walls, to the way the spoon fits against your lips when you eat a bowl of cereal (that, by the way, was also designed to fit on that spoon and to stimulate your taste buds in just the right way).

    It's certainly possible to get books on how to use QuarkXPress or how to code HTML or someone's philosophy on what constitutes good typography, but it's the synthesis of all these things that are important to a good design education.

    Design — graphic design included — is a blend of the artistic, the practical and the technical. There is no inherently right or wrong way of doing design, and there is no universal standard of what constitutes good design. It's a moving target that constantly changes along with society and technology. It's a field with an infinite number of greys, but almost no black and white answers. It's like learning to play a musical instrument — there are books cellos, but no book will teach you to be a cellist. Instead, it comes from constant practice and a never-ending process of evaluation and re-evaluation.

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    • #3
      wow, that is a really great answer, thank you- I guess I will learn things as I see that I need to, and read as much as possible. communication arts sounds like something I should be reading!

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      • #4
        It sounds like you're looking for stuff on the nuts and bolts, which is a good approach to take.

        I've always found that the best entry-level books are those which aren't meant for the professional designer or design student, but for, say, the person who puts out a newsletter and wants it to look better (I think Looking Good in Print is along those lines).

        There's someone named Robin Williams who puts out beginner-level design books (I remember that because of the name Robin Williams).

        And learning the production metods, at least in a theoretical sense, so you have an idea of what can and can't be done. If you're interested in publications, learn about how the offset litho process works. If you're interested in making T-shirts, learn about screen printing, and so on.

        For historical overviews of the design world, I'll always take a look at anything with Stephen Heller's name on it.
        People will believe anything, which means I will believe anythingI want to start believing in things that have shapeliness and harmony.
        -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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        • #5
          yes, I need to learn the nuts and bolts I missed in school! This forum has been incredibly helpful for sure! I want to learn all the little 'rules' I missed out on (like some I have learned here: Never use comic sands!)

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          • #6
            Don't use Comic Sans either- that sibling is a bitch.
            "Be realistic, plan for a miracle."

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            • #7
              Also, don't use comic Sanz.

              People will believe anything, which means I will believe anythingI want to start believing in things that have shapeliness and harmony.
              -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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              • #8
                lol! ^^

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