Six design books selected by Emanuele Quinz to give for Christmas


Just released in France, the book Pour une critique du design graphique by the design historian Catherine De Smet is expected to become a reference source.

While Switzerland has been promoting graphic design for decades, through important publications, exhibitions and awards to the point of becoming an export cultural landmark, in France the process has only just begun. But it is visibly underway: not only the museums are increasingly interested in the complex and varied graphic design universe and its impact on society, but the publications are multiplying. Through a digital platform, an archive and a magazine, Graphisme en France, the Centre National des Arts Plastiques has committed to take a census of active forces. Several specialised publishing houses have emerged in recent years, such as B42, founded in 2008, which already has more than thirty publications in its catalogue, including Back Office magazine.

Catherine De Smet’s book (published by B42) is composed as a case studies constellation, dealing with the graphic design in its widest extension: from books (by Patrice Millot, Paul Cox, Le Corbusier or Bruce Mau for Rem Koolhaas…) to posters, from record covers to typefaces, from visual identities (such as the Centre Pompidou logo designed by Jean Widmer) to signage systems, until the use of graphics in contemporary art projects (by Thomas Hirschhorn). Episodes from a new and deeply vital story, which, by deciphering the signs impact, make it possible to reread the avant-garde experiments, the development of the media but also the contemporary society transformations.

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