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Thirty Centuries of Graphic Design: An Illustrated Survey was published in 1988 with the goal of incorporating graphic design into the larger story of the arts and humanity.

Thirty Centuries of Graphic Design is the story of graphic design beginning with humanity’s first visual images. It is a story of endless fascination--one that both anticipates and mirrors the history of civilization. Thirty Centuries of Graphic Design is the first book to look at graphic design and the graphic arts in the context of history--relating mankind’s efforts to communicate visually with parallel developments in the fine arts, music, literature, and historical events.

Period by period, these pages reveal graphic design’s evolution, giving both general background and, where important, detailed information on the key developments in the long history of graphic design, the people who were responsible for these events, and the intellectual and technological breakthroughs that prepared the way for them.

Although the story begins in prehistoric times, the emphasis is on the thirty centuries following the development of the phonetic alphabet. From the pictographs of prehistory to today’s computer-generated images. James Craig and Bruce Barton have written a logical, easy-to-grasp text including a wealth of resources lists and abundant illustrations.

“...the best book so far on this subject. The final text.”
Massimo Vignelli

“Book is excellent. Much needed addition to knowledge about graphic design.”
Colin Forbes

“I am absolutely in awe of the amount of information and data.”
George Tscherney

“Thirty Centuries is one helluva burden to take on. Jim and Bruce should take their place at the head of the line for the highest award for effort and result”
Gene Federico

“I liked it from the first page to the last! Layout, typography. The choice of material, the text. Most of all the structure of the book itself. The happy combination of historical facts, unrelated to the artistic material makes the reading twice as interesting.”
George Giusti

“Ich kann das Buch vor allem Kunst- und Designstudenten empfehlen, da es eines der wenigen Bücher ist, in welchen versucht wird, Graphic Design in die grossen geschichtlichen Zusammenhänge hineinzustellen.”

“I can highly recommend this book to both art and design students. It is one of the few books that attempts to place graphic design into the larger historical context.”
Armin Hofmann

224 pages. 8 1/4 X 11. Over 400 B/W illustrations. Bibliography. Index.

ISBN 8230-5355-5.
Watson-Guptill Publications

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Thirty Centuries of Graphic Design