Category Archives: Books

Vintage Infographics From the 1930s

Designers everywhere are suddenly drooling over this 70-year-old book. Including me.

Someone needs to get me a paper copy of Willard Cope Brinton’s Graphic Presentation (1939), because it is awesome.

Brinton discusses various forms of graphic presentation in the 524-page book and what works and what doesn’t. There’s also some good stuff in there about how to make your graphs, charts, maps, etc (by hand).

The most interesting part is that many of the graphics — despite having no computers in 1939 — look a lot like what we have today. Albeit, they’re a little rougher because they’re made by hand, but that’s just added flavor.

Never Use White Type on a Black Background: And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules

What a great idea for a visual book:

Design has many rules that claim to be big truths and full of wisdom. Designers all go by rules that work for them. However, their rules may not work for someone else, or for a particular piece of design work. When a rule is forced upon you, it stops working and becomes a joke, like “Never use a PC,” or “Leave it until the last minute,” or the most famous of them all, “Less is more.”

The problem is that every rule related to, or governing, design is ultimately ridiculous. In this book we have collected the most talked-about rules and the viewpoints of designers and thought leaders who live by them or hate them.

(Thanks SwissMiss!)

Dave Gray » Projects

Dave is the founder and president of XPLANE:

I\'m a project guy. As an artist, entrepreneur, educator and amateur philosopher, I always have a number of projects going, both personal and professional. Sometimes they go somewhere, sometimes I get bored and abandon them. One of the beauties of the internet is that even abandoned projects continue to exist and can be picked up or reenergized at any moment. Here\'s the definitive list of projects that I am working on or have worked on in the past (A work in progress). The list is alphabetical because I don\'t work on these projects in any kind of linear way. They are like a busy kitchen: there is always something simmering, something boiling, something set aside to cool for awhile, something in the deep freeze, and something being served. In fact I am still working on this list. If you see something with no explanation it\'s because I haven\'t finished writing the description yet :)

Working through Screens

“100 Ideas for Envisioning Powerful, Engaging, and Productive User Experiences in Knowledge Work: Working through Screens is a reference for product teams creating new or iteratively improved applications for thinking work. Written for use during early, formative conversations, it provides teams with a broad range of considerations for setting the overall direction and priorities for their onscreen tools.”

Imitation, Influence… and Coincidence

This is an online look at Covering Photography’s exhibition at the Boston public Library, up through December 31st, 2008 in the BPL’s Rare Books and Manuscripts exhibition space. The show features original photographs that became, inspired or coincidentally predated book designs and illustrations. Just have a look — it’s pretty interesting.

The Designer’s Review of Books

“Although there are several good design websites that occasionally have book reviews, there didn\'t seem to be a single place online where you could get constant updates and reviews of new (and sometimes old) design books.

Design books are often expensive and contrary – sometimes the book is worth having for the physical production values alone, sometimes for the images, sometimes for the words and, occasionally, for all three. We wanted to cover those elements in our reviews so that you know whether it\'s worth owning.”

Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design

“The recently released book ‘Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design’ available at and seems to be an ideal Christmas gift. The book introduces an expansive scope of innovatively designed diagrams, and presents an abundant range of possibilities in visualizing data and information. These range from chart-like diagrams such as bar, plot, line diagrams and spider charts, graph-based diagrams including line, matrix, process flow, and molecular diagrams to extremely complex three-dimensional diagrams.”