The importance of
reading graphics

An article by our Graphic Designer, Natalie Fearn

I’ve always enjoyed reading a good book. Whether it is for academic purposes or just for leisure, find me a quiet corner, a cup of tea and a good book and I’m set for the afternoon.

When I went to university, the thought of being able to visit a library full to the brim of art related books, I couldn’t contain my inner design book worm. I’d sit with piles of books on the desk next to me, searching through them for useful information to reference in my dissertation. Some of my favourite design books include those by David Carson, Ellen Lupton, Neville Brody and Steven Heller, creators and curators of the understanding of graphic design
that we have today.

In hindsight, I’ve noticed that I learnt to understand design in a completely different way when looking through a design book, than when looking at design and research on a digital screen.

Design books are full of analysis, thought processes, sketches and development, which don’t always feature as the final digital outcome. Websites often only have the end product, for simplicity, immediacy and accessibility. Nobody goes to the design website for
hundreds of pages of information.

As Lewis Blackwell explains in The End of Print: The Grafik Design of David Carson (1995), there is the “resonance of print and its processes, as well as the potential for a more intense visual media.” A printed book can help to create the visual and emotive connection between both the content and the reader.

In the TMG office, we have a collection of design books that I can visit at my own leisure. I have bookmarks on useful pages in all of them, and I’d be able to find something I’ve found inspiring or thought provoking in previous visits much more quickly in those books, than I ever would be able to on the World Wide Web.

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