Taschen editions published a new rich volume on graphic design and what made it what it is today. “History is a complex business” they explain.

The History of Graphic Design 1890–1959” offers a comprehensive history of graphic design from the end of the 19th century to the remains of World War II. With his sweeping knowledge of the field, author Jens Müller curates the standout designs for each year alongside a running sequence of design milestones. 

The tome traces the evolution of this creative field from its beginning as poster design to its further development into advertising, corporate identity, packaging, and editorial design. 

Organized chronologically, the volume features over 2,500 seminal designs from all over the world, 71 of which are profiled in detail besides 61 leaders in the field, including Alphonse Mucha (chocolate advertisements), Edward Johnston (London Underground logo and typeface), El Lissitzky (constructivist graphics), Herbert Matter (photomontage travel posters from Switzerland), Saul Bass (animated opening titles), and A. M. Cassandre (art deco posters).

Meanwhile, in his introductory essay, David Jury situates graphic design from its point of origin in early printing, engraving, and lithography to striking creative developments in the 19th century. Each consecutive decade is then prefaced by a succinct overview as well as a stunning visual timeline, offering a vivid display of the variety of graphic production in each decade as well as the global landscape which it at once described and defined.

As we move on from and reflect upon the 20th century, this staggering collection represents the foundations of what would influence some of the fastest changing creative fields, and a long-overdue recognition of the enormous contribution graphic design has made to economics, politics, social causes, arts, media, and the way we see the world.

“Fortunes boom and bust, empires wax and wane, and change—whether social, political, or technological—has its winners, its losers, its advocates, and its enemies. Through all the turbulent passage of time, graphic design—with its vivid, neat synthesis of image and idea—has distilled the spirit of each age” notes Taschen.

Authored by Jens Müller and edited by Julius Wiedemann the publication chronicles the evolution of graphic design from 1890 to 1959, covering 70 years of artistic and commercial output, featuring year-by-year spreads, detailed timelines and profiles of the most important designers of each era visual history of graphic design through 480-pages and hundreds of illustrations. 

This is the first part in the series with a second volume which will cover the period from 1960 to today already in preparation.

Buy your own copy here

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