on September 9, 2009
At last the graphics crowd get their turn with a hundred best books. As with all 'best of' this is a visually subjective showing but I thought amazingly comprehensive and I doubt that anyone who calls themselves a design professional would not own a few of these titles. The chapters follow an interesting sequence: Typography; Sourcebooks; Instructional; Histories; Anthologies and finally Monographs. Within each chapter the books are shown in date publishing order.
Many of the standard graphic design and typo titles are obviously are here but it definitely is a subjective list because a 1970s Letraset type transfer catalog is included, not strictly a book with an ISBN but back then these catalogs were eagerly awaited in the UK. A couple of quirky additions are the `Old Advertising Cuts from A-Z', basically a 1989 paper sample book from French Paper (I always found it annoying to use because the pages were so thick) and the amazing 1989, Stockholm published `Carouschka's Tickets'. A huge eight by thirteen inches book with 394 pages full of tickets from around the world.
The format presents each book over two pages with title and publisher details plus some quite comprehensive copy in one column with the four or five inside spreads and the cover filling up the rest of the space. Printed on good matt art with a two hundred screen this is a book worth looking at. The book spreads are big enough to keep anyone interested in the detail.
There are, though, a couple of whimsical design features: the book title and publisher details are set in a sans face with the x height sitting on fifteen deep cyan rules and likewise with the list of eighteen designers' favorite books (scattered through the book) this text is turned sideways on the page and sits on red rules. To my mind if all rules were deleted it wouldn't make the text any less readable. It's just the book designer doing something for themselves and not the reader. Pure whimsy.
If you look through the pages and see a book worth getting I bet, now that Bibliographic is published, second-hand copies will increase in value. For instance, the copy of 'Nova: 1966-1975' (pages 193/93) costs between $375 and $449 or 'A Sign System Manual' by Crosby, Fletcher, Forbes (pages 94/95) costs between $285 and $368. I didn't know, until I saw it on pages 184/185 that Bradbury Thompson had published a book in 1988 about his Westvaco magazine work, I recently managed to find a copy just under $60.
I have a few of the hundred titles, mostly from past decades but I would have included these if I was creating the list:
*Americam Modernism by Roger Remington ISBN 978 0300098167
*Typewise by Kit Hinrichs ISBN 978 0891343561
*The Pentagram Papers ISBN 978 0811855631
*Magazine Design by William Owen ISBN 978 1856690034
*Twen a legend revised ISBN 978 3781403925
*Swiss Graphic Design by Richard Hollis ISBN 978 1856694872
*U&lc by John Berry ISBN 978 0972424097
*Typographic Communication Today by Edward Gottschall ISBN 978 0262071147