History of Design…in a Box

phaidonIf print is your business, it’s easy to forget just how far design has come, how long a history it has, and that it isn’t relegated to just books, magazines and collateral. “The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design” does an excellent job of reminding us of all these things.

Available Sept. 17, the Archive ($235, but $150 on Amazon pre-order) is an intelligently packaged survey of “the very best in visual communication from the last 500 years.” Yet unlike those 1,000-page, lap-crushing tomes, this consists of more than 500 individual A4, double-sided cards housed in a minimalist case. (Think children’s “Safari Cards” of the ‘70s with a budget.)

The sheer range of the project is dizzying, with cards devoted to magazines, newspapers, posters, film graphics, logos, books, album covers – gah!

Though the publisher’s cheesy promo video tries to sell this as a designer-inspiration tool, a Vogue magazine review observing that it invites us to “Tap into the fetish of the letterset…” is nearer the mark. Start snapping up those picture frames, because there’s only one place these prints are going – the wall.


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