Graphic Style: From Victorian to Hipster by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast, second edition
The book is concerned with the history and evolution of graphic design from the beginnings of commercial art as a result of industrial and business revolution of the 19th century and up until today. The edition examines both major graphic styles that have shaped the history of design, including their propagation, individual development and application in various countries, and unique isolated phenomena in graphics, such as Polish posters.
The second edition includes a new chapter, Hipster Style. In it, the authors analyze the graphic design of the 2010s which, in their opinion, is characterized not so much by style, but rather by a special free worldview brought about by the technical achievements of the era.
The authors concentrate on formal and visual characteristics of various design periods, the objects of their study are works of design, not their creators.
Style, in its most general sense, is a specific or characteristic manner of expression, design, construction, or execution. As it relates to graphic design, style suggests the dominant visual aesthetic of a particular time and place. The word has also been used to refer to a specific graphic designer’s signature: his or her preference for a certain typeface or family of faces, for a characteristic color palette, and for either a decorative or a functional approach. Style is further defined by the material being designed and the audience for whom it is being produced: corporate style differs from editorial, news style from commercial, and so on.
The graphic designer is basically organizing and communicating messages—to establish the nature of a product or idea, to set the appropriate stage on which to present its virtues, and to announce and publicize such information in the most effective way. Within this process, style is a transmission code, a means of signaling that a certain message is intended for a specific audience. By manipulating visual forms into an appropriate style, the designer can attract the right audience for a product or idea.
Graphic Style therefore addresses how and why elements of Arts and Crafts, Jugendstil, Constructivism, Expressionism, and the other significant methodologies became conventions used by printers, layout artists, and advertising designers for commercial and business purposes. By tracing the roots and development of style, we aim to show how graphic design has interacted with the material culture, how it has served both as an adjunct to and as the vanguard in the development of broader period styles. In effect, we are tracing nothing less than the evolution of the popular tastes of the period.
From the introduction
The edition is richly illustrated and can become an invaluable source of information for designers, layout artists and researchers of visual art history.