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Graphic Design: The New Basics Paperback – Apr 1 2008


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Graphic Design: The New Basics + Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (April 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568987021
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568987026
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Ellen Lupton is adjunct curator at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and co-chair of the design department of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a Chrysler Design Award winner and the best-selling author of Thinking with Type, D.I.Y Design It Yourself, D.I.Y. Kids, Design Culture Now, and Mixing Messages.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The New Basics Designers at the Bauhaus believed not only in a universal way of describing visual form, but also in its universal significance. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TGD on Oct. 28 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased and reviewed this book when a student of mine (who turned out to be a top performer) complained that, "It's a cover and some pictures and nothing in between. It doesn't explain anything."

Sadly, I have to confirm her analysis. As a design instructor, I'll say flatly that this book simply does not contain what you need to know to understand the fundamentals of design.

This book is not a design text at all, but rather a collection of student art exercises (not design exercises, as the book title would imply).

The chapter outline does list a smattering of the fundamental concepts of design. But the book is devoid of any content, visual or verbal, that clearly explains the concepts it does mention.

Further, the book is missing many critical basic concepts, especially those developed in the last couple of decades (which is odd given the title). As such, it was long out of date the moment it was printed.

As such, it does nothing to prepare a student to make informed decisions in the discipline of visual design.

If you just want to look at some pictures of interesting student art projects, this book might be worth the $20. Even then, there are much better books.
But, if you want even a basic primer in the discipline of visual design, you'll need to look elsewhere.

If you were uninformed when you started this book, you'd be uninformed when you finished.

Visual design and its parent discipline, communications design, are in the midst of an explosive and exciting revolution of understanding.

But this book is not a window into that body of rapidly evolving knowledge.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randy Barba on Oct. 13 2011
Format: Paperback
Although I am new to graphic design, I have a long past working in arts, craft, and design - notably glass and photography - and for the most part, I am self taught. As a new comer to university design education, I have been nothing short of shocked by the mindset that is required to properly accomplish project goals and learn a lot of these necessities. Many people can create a compelling piece of visual communication, no matter their skill level, but can you accomplish very specific goals with very limited elements of design? How can you show me a strong static/motion contrast with just lines and/or dots? These foundation exercises have been extremely intriguing as it is such a new way of thinking, but it has also been extremely difficult stepping outside of my normal ways of thinking.

A single teacher is going to have a hard time breaking hardened design theory and practice - or bad habits, one could say - and I found books to be the answer. Since then, I have slowly been hording a huge selection of graphic and design books. Seriously, a LOT of them including a majority of the well known/iconic ones - I have a lot to compare to. Amidst my struggles, I thankfully found Armin Hoffman's "Graphic Design Manual", and it has been integral to my development and learning.

As I have been moving through my second year, Hoffman's book continues to be my number one source for inspiration when having to work with very constricting and basic design elements. However, there is a point where it can't help anymore. Being an introductory book from the 60's, it is most certainly dated. It can give you a mindset, but it does not put you in any contemporary position to move forward with developing concepts.
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By Ronald k on Oct. 28 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gave me a better understanding on graphic design. I took interactive multimedia at Algonquin college , and this book has helped me out allot.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By randy on Sept. 26 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book came in a perfect condition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 60 reviews
74 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Great book for the non-graphic designer April 25 2008
By K. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great overview for the vocabularies of print design. Technically, I am an illustration student, but I have been taking graphic design courses at my school. That being said, alot of the stuff being covered here would fall under the basic design courses at my school: Design 1 and Design 2. The information in this book ( I've read 2/3 so far) covers basic compositional structures, hue/ value/ saturation, and other good fundamentals, but doesn't give you more than a paragraph. This is a GREAT coffee table book to give you ideas on your current project, but it is by no means textbook-grade learning for graphic design. It simply does not go into enough depth in order to become a great learning tool. I just wish there were more professional examples rather than student-created ones.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
At least the title wasn't The ABCs of Graphic Design Sept. 13 2010
By Thomas John Zakrzewski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought this book sight unseen, based on the authors' reputations and the mostly good reviews. Sorry to say it, but the textual content of this book is the verbal equivalent of bad stick figure drawings badly layed out. I can only conclude that right-brained graphics-oriented people shouldn't be allowed to explain what it is they do. For me, this book has too many statements that are so abstractly vague or universally applicable as to be meaningless, plus a fair share of contradictory statements, some within a paragraph and others within even a single sentence.

Zooming out, if you are looking to this book for cohesive, practical guidelines for implementing these "New Basics", look no further than the back cover where you'll find the chapter names listed, each of which represents a basic graphic design element. Then go out and analyze some award-winning designs with these chapter titles in mind. The example designs reproduced in the book seem to be mostly a showcase for the works of the authors' students. I found many of them quite pleasing, and since they made it into the book, I assume they are "good design". Based on what I learned from the text, I can't really say.
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing Feb. 18 2010
By Louis B. Dina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed in this book. Given the title, I expected more cohesive guidelines and analysis on assembling the "New Basics" into my designs. To me, it was primarily a showcase of work done by the authors' students, some of which I enjoyed, but I didn't find it very helpful or insightful. In fact, I returned it for a refund.

Also, I found some of the type so small as to be unreadable, which for experienced designers, I found surprising. Not high on my list, obviously. I expect a title and/or subtitle to deliver on its implied promise. Perhaps I totally misunderstood the intent of the book, but I expected something that would weave these so-called new basics into a whole, provide direction, and help me produce better designs. Maybe that happens over the course of time in class, but I didn't see that happening in the book.

If you're looking for guidance and direction, I don't think this is the book for you. It wasn't for me.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Promising title. Short on insight and meaningful content. Dec 4 2012
By TGD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I purchased and reviewed this book when a student of mine (who turned out to be a top performer) complained that, "It's a cover and some pictures and nothing in between. It doesn't explain anything."

Sadly, I have to confirm her analysis. As a design instructor, I'll say flatly that this book simply does not contain what you need to know to understand the fundamentals of design.

This book is not a design text at all, but rather a collection of student art exercises (not design exercises, as the book title would imply).

The chapter outline does list a smattering of the fundamental concepts of design. But the book is devoid of any content, visual or verbal, that clearly explains the concepts it does mention.

Further, the book is missing many critical basic concepts, especially those developed in the last couple of decades (which is odd given the title).

As such, it does nothing to prepare a student to make informed decisions in the discipline of visual design.

If you just want to look at some pictures of interesting student art projects, this book might be worth the $20. Even then, there are much better books.
But, if you want even a basic primer in the discipline of visual design, you'll need to look elsewhere.

If you were uninformed when you started this book, you'd be uninformed when you finished.

Visual design and its parent discipline, communications design, are in the midst of an explosive and exciting revolution of understanding.

But this book is not a window into that body of rapidly evolving knowledge.
26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a current book on graphic design June 10 2008
By reader and maker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When Ellen Lupton released her wonderful book, "Thinking with Type," I adopted as a required text for my college typography course. Not only did I admire the thinking behind the writing and structure, but my students LOVED the book.

When I learned about this new book written with Jennifer Cole Phillips I pre-ordered it immediately. Now that I've read it, I'm thrilled with their effort and am eager to use it as the text in my Graphic Design 1 class.

This book provides current examples that both illustrate classic principles of Graphic Design and explore the edges of current design thinking. I appreciate the use of student examples rather than just using professional, commercial work. There are plenty of annual reviews of commercial work by publishing houses such as Rockport. The student work tends to take more risks and be more provocative. It will provide more room for discussion, debate and inspiration in a classroom setting.

While not extensive, the text in the book is concise and well-written. Paired with the bountiful examples, it makes the subject accessible to graphic design students or to anyone interested in learning more about design on their own.

The book introduces enough about typography to whet one's appetite for more (check out "Thinking with Type" for that) and introduces basics about Motion Graphics ("Moving Type" by Matt Woolman was and still is great for learning more - it is out of print now but still relevant if you can find it.)

Princeton Architectural Press should be commended for producing such a quality book at such and affordable price.


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