A *New* Program for Graphic Design

Justin recommended A New Program for Graphic Design and it’s so good that I blitzed my way through it over a weekend.

The book began as a course on graphic design by David Reinfurt at Princeton, which was then condensed into a three day talk that was then recorded, edited, and condensed again into a lovely book. Just that whole publishing exercise is real neat alone, without the book itself being extremely very good. But good it is.

The book is split into three courses about graphic design: typography, gestalt, and interface, but it doesn’t ever sit you down and nail the basics into your head about design. It’s not a book to learn about font-size and line-height. Instead, the book is pretty wild and rambling, scanning over a huge number of topics that are then are dropped on a whim in favor of something else more exciting that catches David’s eye. It sorta feels like a book of printed blog posts (not an insult!) and the energy matches a feverish, excited blog too.

In the intro, David writes:

This certainly is not a carefully collected, carefully crafted collection of rules, guidelines, and methods intended to shore up design as a relevant discipline. It is inevitably more of a digressive, discursive ramble and occasionally high speed pitch across any number of subjects and settings though never possibly enough. Anyone else by definition would do this differently, it’s limited as much by my imagination and my experience as by the practical constraints of a book. But in its form is also its argument.

So let me be explicit: when you’ve finished A New Program for Graphic Design, rip it up, throw it away, and get busy assembling your own.

Now let’s get started.