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A minimum of words, a profusion of picturesand the result is a book on graphic style that is itself an expression of graphic style. This work examines printed communication as a reflection and often a manipulation of popular taste, whether for political motives, commercial gain, or philosophical beliefs. Stopping along the way for a look at Art Nouveau and Deco, Dada and Bauhaus, it discusses 48 distinctive styles. A major asset is the extensive bibliography and the index of every designer whose work appears in the book. However, the result is more style than substancesomething to leaf through rather than to read cover to cover. For large collections. Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum Lib., New York
Presented in celebration of 150 years of design (beginning with the Victorian age and concluding with the Post-Modern), this chronologically compiled volume entertainingly documents the development of graphic art, an often undervalued cousin of the fine arts. The esthetic and social values of each era are appropriately illustrated with a plethora of unusual and interesting black-and-white or color art, advertisements, typography, posters and everyday products, accompanied by a brief historical analysis. The designs of these previously inconsequential artifacts were influenced by political and economic events, and demonstrate the implications of expressive periods such as Bauhaus and Art Nouveau. This study by award-winning designer Chwast and Heller, art director for the New York Times Book Review , should heighten most readers' appreciation of the evolution of graphic design, as well as the way in which design reflects historical events of the period in which it was created. (Oct . )