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Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers

Posted on July 31, 2012 by Blog Design Journal

We are constantly surrounded by design—in advertisements, in books and magazines, on the Internet, on television—and each graphic element we see was carefully constructed through a designer’s very personal process. Yet only the finished article is presented. Rarely do we gain insight into how visual solutions have been reached or the exploration, experimentation, and ideas behind them. In this ambitious publication, some one hundred of the world’s leading graphic designers and illustrators open up their private sketchbooks to offer a privileged glimpse into their creative processes. The result is a visual tour de force.

Among the many artists featured are Milton Glaser, an icon of American graphic design and creator of the seminal I Love New York logo, who was the first designer to receive the National Medal of Arts, in 2009. Michael Bierut, a partner of Pentagram Design, is known as an advocate of the power and influence of design and co-founded the online journal Design Observer; he has clients ranging from the Walt Disney Company to Princeton and Yale to the New York Jets. Ed Fella, a prolific photographer as well as an iconoclastic typographer and designer, is known for fusing high- and low-culture sources and began mixing, changing, and matching fonts long before it was possible—and popular—with desktop publishing. Bruce Mau is the designer of the seminal S,M,L,XL and now has a client list including MTV, Coca Cola, and Frank Gehry.

Samples range from small, discrete typographical explorations to full-fledged illustrations, from a few scrappy scribbles and eccentric handwriting to photographic collages and other offbeat forms of visual inspiration. Concise and informative texts by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico—leading authorities on graphic design—provide invaluable commentary on the artists’ creative development, design philosophies, sketchbooking techniques, and visual influences. The combined effect of such high-level creativity is a treasure trove of design inspiration in a lively, engaging presentation that is a design object in itself.

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2 to “Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers”

  1. Parka says:

    Amazing variety but more doodle-like You’ll never know what’s in a sketchbook. That’s one of the surprises for opening them.In this thick 352-page paperback, 110 artists and designers are featured. A lot of graphic designers are unfamiliar to me but I do spot a few illustrators like Gary Baseman, James Jean (he seems to be in a lot of sketchbook collections), infographics maestro Nigel Holmes, John Cuneo.The illustrative style is incredibly varied and the drawing subjects random. The work featured range from scrappy sketches to photographic collages. Each is a snapshot of the artist’s mind. However the sketches are nothing like the commercial work the artists do, with the exception of a few. Compared to other sketchbook collections, this book is less illustrative in the sense that the drawings are more doodle-like.The commentary is concise, sure, but could have been longer for more reading pleasure. The websites of all the artists are included at the back of the book.If you’re not into any specific subjects and like doodles, you might like this book.There are two publishers for this book namely The Monacelli Press and Thames & Hudson. The editions are priced differently, but should contain the same content. On Amazon UK, Thames & Hudson’s edition is much cheaper.

  2. S. Battersby says:

    Wildly Varied & Inspiring Art – Visual Treat From scribbles to collage, to fully finished drawings, this book makes me want to get my sketchbook out and do something!A book I will show to my students to show them what a great creative tool (and visual diary) a sketchbook can be. A reminder that an artist can find freedom and FUN in a sketchbook. Fascinating to see the different styles and approaches.

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