Who doesn’t like a good list, a learned selection of the best of the best? It invariably triggers debate about inclusion and omission, or joy of finding your personal favourite among the chosen. The imagery on the cover of Jason Godfrey’s new Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Books speaks of the gems inside, with the spines of some well-thumbed classics beckoning. Split into different sections – typography, sourcebooks, instructional, histories, anthologies and monographs – the book starts with American Line Type Book, published by the American Type Founders in 1906, and ends with 2005’s Robert Brownjohn: Sex and Typography by Emily King, with a varied mix in-between. As Godfrey explains in his introduction, Bibliographic is a library dedicated to the subject of graphic design. ‘It’s not a history of graphic design through its books, and it does not pretend to be the definitive list of 100 books on the subject,’ he writes. ‘Instead, it represents a cross-section of books that would be a welcome addition on any studio’s shelves. They are titles that have become sources of visual inspiration and vital objects for practising graphic designers.’ From vintage design books to practical handbooks, the selection on show is a combination of design legacy and inspiration. And it is more than just ‘eye candy’, writes Steven Heller in his foreword. ‘While a proportion of those published each year are pictorial inspiration for other designers, the majority of books represented here are essential to design practice and cultural study.’ Let the debate begin.
Bibliographic: 100 Classic Graphic Design Booksis published by Laurence King on 17 August, priced £30