The Design Center / Typography Department / Alex White / The Elements of Graphic Design  

The Elements of Graphic Design:
Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type

The headline read:
      Looking At Your Work with Critical Eyes;
Designers Train Their Inner Judgement with Alexander White's New Graphic Design Primer

For the longest time, Alex has talked about a "white space" book. Since white space has been a running theme in Alex's teachings, the prospect of expanding on that theme for a feature-length book was most inviting. I waited and waited. Then, The Elements of Graphic Design appeared. WOW. But what about white space? I popped out a quick email to Alex about the title and he chided me gently to go ahead and READ the Elements book. So I did.

Space is emptiness

Alex says:
      What is space? Space is created when a figure is placed in it. Space must look deliberately used. Space is context. Space adds functionality. Space adds quality.

My lust for the white space book was somewhat quenched -- this literally is about designing space, along with all the other stuff designers may feel compelled to put in that space.

Alex continues:
      "The single most overlooked element in visual design is emptiness. The lack of attention it receives explains the abundance of ugly and unread design . . . [Emptiness] is more than just the background of a design, for if a design's background alone were properly constructed, the overall design would immediately double in clarity and usefulness."

THE ELEMENTS OF GRAPHIC DESIGN I wish I could print the whole chapter. You'd love it. But I've got to get on with this review.

This is a lot more than just a design book. Heaven knows there are design books coming out of the woodwork. This one is more aptly described as a "design thinking, looking and seeing" book. That's why I'm going to say, up front, that anyone who teaches graphic design at college or university levels MUST make this book required reading. If you teach graphic design on a high school level, make your students read this book (seriously) and they'll graduate with a fuller understanding of the subject than many university graduates who didn't read it.

Since graphic design went mainstream, lots of highly creative talent has found its way into the industry. Yet when it comes to the quality of today's design work, the absence of solid aesthetic judgement is often painfully evident. Boosting the critical and creative sensibilities of design students, self-made designers, and routine-trapped professionals is the goal of THE ELEMENTS OF GRAPHIC DESIGN, by the highly respected graphic designer and design educator Alexander White.

In this incisive text, generously illustrated by 350 examples from art, architecture, pop culture, advertising and editorial design, the author demonstrates how imaginative thinking and the lessons gleaned from the best design can lead to quantum leaps in one's design work.

The foundation of White's approach to design is the element of space and its counterpart, negative or "white space." With convincing arguments, the author shows that thinking about page design from the point of view of "solids and voids" opens the doors to new, more efficient design solutions.

As you'll see in this page sample, White's stimulating comment provides beginning designers and professionals with fresh insights into creative, quality-driven design.

THE ELEMENTS OF GRAPHIC DESIGN teaches designers how to

In addition, THE ELEMENTS OF GRAPHIC DESIGN boasts striking two- and four-color illustrations, a textbook-example page layout, and a detailed chapter on design history.

This unique resource is guaranteed to inspire more creative and thorough thinking. And at the end of the day, designers who aspire to be great designers will be a bit closer to their goals.

The Elements of Graphic Design:
Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type

Allworth Press; Pages: 160; Paperback; country: us,
Suggested retail price: $24.95
* Buy it now for $11.85 and help support this web site!

Who is Alexander W. White?

Click Alex WhiteAlex is the author of some of the best design teaching in the industry, including Thinking in Type, The Elements of Graphic Design, Advertising Design and Typography, Type In Use and numerous articles on typography and visual communication for all the best design publications.
      He is an accomplished graphic designer who has shaped the visual design of nineteen magazines and twenty identity programs and who has been a consultant to numerous publications, art directors, and editors. He was the senior faculty member in design at the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford for fifteen years and has lectured widely on typography and design to professionals in corporations and at conferences. His credits also include adjunct faculty at Parsons, City College of NY, and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
      Alex serves on the boards of several arts and civic organizations and is currently the President of the New York Type Directors Club in Manhattan

Go to the DT&G Fall Fonts Festival

Return to the DT&G Type Department

Advertise your products or services among these pages! Call: 540-433-8402 for details.