Stephen J. Eskilson
Nonfiction, Graphic Design
11.7 x 9 inches, hardcover, 464 pages, 561 illustrations
ISBN: 9781856697620
Suggested Retail Price: $65.00

From the Publisher of the British edition (also available from Yale University Press). Now in its second edition, this wide-ranging, seminal text offers an accessible account of the history of graphic design from the nineteenth century to the present day. Organized chronologically, the book makes an important critical contribution to the subject by presenting graphic design and typography as deeply embedded in the fabric of society in every era.

This distinctive approach enables Stephen J. Eskilson to discuss the evolution of graphic design in light of prevailing political, social, military and economic conditions, as well as nationalism and gender. After surveying typography from Gutenburg to Bodoni, he traces the impact of the Industrial Revolution and the influence of Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movements on the graphic arts. In the richly contextualised chapters that follow, he chronicles the history of the early 20th-century modernist design styles, the wartime politicization of American and Soviet regional styles, the Bauhaus, the rise of the International Style in the 1950s–1960s, and the postmodern movement of the 1970s–1980s right through to the challenges facing the world’s designers today.

This second edition has been carefully reviewed and revised throughout to best reflect contemporary scholarship. In addition to over 80 new colour images, there is a revised final chapter that includes an up-to-date survey of the wealth of aesthetic, conceptual and technical developments in graphic design over the last few years.

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Rick Poynor

When Stephen J. Eskilson’s Philip Meggs-challenging history of graphic design appeared in 2007—then subtitled A New History—it drew some heavy fire from critics at Design Observer. Just five years later, a substantially overhauled new edition has arrived, suggesting that the book succeeded in finding an audience. Eskilson has made necessary corrections, expanded the sections on Swiss, postmodern and contemporary design and the bibliography, and added 75 new images. His book is well illustrated, cleanly laid out, and the mass of text is readably presented—vital in a production on this scale. For anyone seeking a broad, serviceable introduction to graphic design history, these refinements add up to strong competition for the latest (posthumous) edition of Meggs’s survey.

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