Cover image for No more rules : graphic design and postmodernism
No more rules : graphic design and postmodernism
Poynor, Rick.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
192 pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Origins -- Deconstruction -- Appropriation -- Techna -- Authorship -- Opposition.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z246 .P69 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



The past twenty years have seen profound changes in the field of graphic communication. As the computer has become a ubiquitous tool, there has been an explosion of creativity in graphic design; designers and typographers have jettisoned existing rules and forged experimental new approaches. No More Rules is the first critical survey to offer a complete overview of the graphic revolution during the postmodern period.

Design critic Rick Poynor tells this story in detail, breaking down a broad, multifaceted field of graphic design activity into key developments and themes: the origins of postmodern design; deconstructionist design and theory; issues of appropriation; the revolution in digital type; questions of authorship; and critiques of postmodern graphic design. Each theme is illustrated by spectacular and significant examples of work produced between 1980 and 2000 that have changed the way in which designers and their audiences think about graphic communication.

This generously illustrated book is a vital reference for design professionals and educators as well as for students of graphic design, image-making, advertising, and the visual arts.

Author Notes

Rick Poynor is founding editor of Eye, & writes frequently on design. He is the author of seven previous books, including Design Without Boundaries (1998).

He lives in London.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

As twenty-first-century design concerns seem to center increasingly on the depiction as well as the use of technology, this new graphic design book, copiously illustrated and thoughtfully written, provides a comprehensive overview of modernism as applied to American graphics and a look at the explosion of creativity ushered in via digital design. No more rules0 screams the title in a font reminiscent of De Stijl-ist Germanic modernism as design critic Poynor explains the changes in graphic work both before and after new electronic technologies took hold in the 1990s, with emphasis on the unleashing of creative energies occasioned by computer-assisted design. The last two decades of the twentieth century saw many of the old, tried, and true rules of graphic design abandoned as the idiosyncratic and self-expressive took precedence. Poynor, who founded Eye,0 an international design journal, provides good overviews of graphics development and issues in the electronic age, including the digital revolution's impact on "fontography" and discussion of appropriation, the visual equivalent of musical sampling. --Whitney Scott Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

As the prevailing style of modernism unraveled and the fundamental tenets of graphic design were questioned, graphic communications experienced a radical transformation. Poynor, editor of Yale's "Monographics" series and the founder of Eye, an international review of design, documents the developments of the last 20 years and provides a context for evaluating contemporary work. Bypassing the awkward (and ultimately futile) task of defining postmodernism, Poynor uses terms and themes such as deconstruction, appropriation, technology, and authorship to categorize his examples and trace the development of the profession. Picking up where R. Roger Remington's American Modernism: Graphic Design, 1920 to 1960 leaves off, this well-written volume is a logical companion piece. In fact, the contrast between the two books is instructional in itself. While several of the 300 color illustrations will be familiar to the graphic design audience, this book is unique in providing much-deserved historical context. Anyone interested in a critical analysis of contemporary communications would benefit accordingly.-Phil Hamlett, Turner & Assocs., San Francisco (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

These two books from Yale University Press are indispensable. The history of graphic design is a story still being shaped. The first important contribution was Philip B. Megg's A History of Graphic Design (CH, Oct'83). Since that time, there have been important books by Steven Heller, Ellen Lupton, Gunnar Swanson, and others. These works paint a picture of graphic design as it emerged from its infancy in the 20th century and grew into an important cultural force. Using an amalgamation of printing technology, art, and new notions of information theory and mass communication, graphic designers have arguably influenced the look of Western societies more profoundly than fine artists.Remington (Rochester Institute of Technology) traces the development of the self-awareness that changed "commercial art" into graphic design. Although modernist design was prevalent well into the 1980s and one might have hoped that he would have extended his book into that decade, he admirably covers the important players in the story of its development. Poyner, founder of Eye and a regular columnist for Print, picks up the tale in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to the present. Poyner's book is arranged by topic--"Origins," "Deconstruction," "Appropriation," "Techno," "Authorship," "Opposition"--rather than chronologically. Although this organization is perfectly suited to postmodernism, it does cause a disjuncture between his book and Remington's, which is conventionally chronological by decade. But this is not the time to nitpick: both books are beautifully printed and bound, lavishly illustrated, comprehensive, and important. Together, they provide the bedrock for the design history on which future building blocks will be based. ^BSumming Up: Both--highly recommended. All levels. S. Skaggs University of Louisville

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 6
Introductionp. 8
1 Originsp. 18
2 Deconstructionp. 38
3 Appropriationp. 70
4 Technop. 96
5 Authorshipp. 118
6 Oppositionp. 148
Notesp. 172
Selected Bibliographp. 180
Indexp. 184
Picture Creditsp. 192