Cover image for Graphic design : a concise history
Graphic design : a concise history
Hollis, Richard.
Personal Author:
Revised and expanded edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thames & Hudson, [2001]

Physical Description:
232 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NC998 .H65 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This authoritative documentary history begins with the poster and goes on to chart the development of word and image in brochures and magazines, advertising, corporate identity, television, and electronic media, and the impact of technical innovations such as photography and the computer. For the revised edition, a new final chapter covers all the recent international developments in graphic design, including the role of the computer and the Internet in design innovation and globalization. In the last years of the twentieth century, at a time when "designer products" and the use of logos grew in importance, the role of graphic designers became more complex, subversive, and sometimes more political--witness Oliviero Toscani's notorious advertisements for Benetton. Digital technology cleared the way for an astonishing proliferation of new typefaces, and words began to take second place to typography in a whole range of magazines and books as designers asserted the primacy of their medium. Designers and companies discussed here include Neville Brody, David Carson, Design Writing Research, Edward Fella, Tibor Kalman, Jeffery Keedy, LettError, Pierre di Sciullo, Tomato, Gerard Unger, Cornel Windlin, and a host of others.

Author Notes

Richard Hollis is a former freelance graphic designer, and worked as a printer, art editor, production manager, teacher and lecturer. He studied art and typography at the Chelsea, Wimbledon and Central Schools of Art, London. From 1958 he taught lithography and design at the London College of Printing and Chelsea School of Art, before working in Paris in the early 1960s. From 1964 to 1967 he was Head of the Graphic Design Department at the West of England College of Art, Bristol, and was for six years Senior Lecturer at the Central School of Art and Design.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This short volume joins a relatively small group of works documenting the history of graphic design. Along with Philip B. Meggs's A History of Graphic Design (CH, Oct'83), James Craig and Bruce Barton's Thirty Centuries of Graphic Design (1987), and Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast's Graphic Style (CH, Apr'89), this book forms a familiar canon. No new ground has been broken. Most of the graphic representations are found in other texts. The gallery of male graphic design heroes is consistent with that delivered by other graphic design surveys. Women are severely underrepresented, especially before 1975. There are no images by graphic designers who work south of the equator; beyond a short section devoted to recent Japanese work, designs from throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim are excluded, as is most work from Eastern Europe. The male Western-Euro-American emphasis is fostered by the author's decision (not new in this historical genre) to present information as a series of discrete national histories. Little attention is given to the social, cultural, or sociological impact of the images or the image makers. Although it covers the same ground and repeats the errors of its predecessors, this paperbound volume is much less expensive than any other graphic design survey. Created as a textbook, it would be a worthwhile addition only for those libraries that do not contain copies of the other visual surveys of graphic design. General; undergraduate (all levels); graduate; professional. R. M. Labuz; Mohawk Valley Community College

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 7
From Graphic Art to Design 1890 to 1914
1 The Art Posterp. 11
Two-Dimensional Design and Graphic Reproduction
Information Design Bauhaus Typography
Photography and Sequence
Printing Technique and Design
Colour and Visual Clues
Production and New Technology
2 The Beginnings of Design in Europep. 25
3 War and Propaganda 1914 to the 1920sp. 32
The Avant-Garde and the Origins of Modernism 1914 to 1940
4 Futurism and Italyp. 37
5 Soviet Russiap. 44
6 Germanyp. 52
7 The Netherlandsp. 68
National Tendencies until 1940
8 Switzerlandp. 76
9 Francep. 83
10 Britainp. 89
The Designer and the Art Director
11 The United States in the 1930sp. 97
12 War and Propaganda 1920s to 1945p. 104
13 The United States 1945 to the 1960sp. 112
Variants of Modernism in Europe
14 Switzerland and Neue Graphikp. 130
15 Italy and the Milanese Stylep. 138
16 Francep. 147
17 Northern Europep. 155
Psychedelia, Protest and New Techniques
18 The Late 1960sp. 179
New Waves: Electronic Technology
19 The 1970s and 1980sp. 186
20 From 1990 to the New Millenniump. 216
Bibliography and Sourcesp. 224
Indexp. 229