A Celebration of Design

Design is everywhere, and everyone thinks they can do it.  We’ve all sat through ugly PowerPoint presentations or scrolled reluctantly through web sites with garish GIF’s blinking. There are a few more days left for Twin Citians to immerse themselves in good design.  The Graphic Design: Now in Production exhibit at the Walker Art Center ends January 22nd, and it is well worth the visit, even for a non-designer like myself.

The exhibit explores design over the past decade including the art of typeface, branding, movies & television, etc.  It emphasizes that design has evolved dramatically and that it continues to evolve with the popularity of e-readers and tablet computers.  You can read more about it in this MSP Magazine article.

Most of what I know about graphic design comes from–you guessed it–a children’s book.  Mark Gonyea’s A Book about Design: Complicated Doesn’t Make it Good is the perfect primer for those of us who are not necessarily artists but still want to be able to create their own graphics now and then.  Gonyea isn’t the only designer to attempt a children’s book.

Some of my favorite picture books are from graphic designers.  I mentioned Along a Long Road in this post, and you can see more of Frank Viva’s work at his design firm’s site Viva & Co.  Patricia Intriago, of Intriago Design, published a seemingly simple concept book for preschoolers in Dot, but it also works as an early introduction to design with young children.  Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet is an alphabet book that both kids and adults will love.  The alphabet prints available on Thurlby’s online shop would make great kids’ room decor if you’re going for a retro look.

Michael Hall, of Hall Kelley Inc., is the designer behind A Perfect Square, which is a wonderful book to inspire kids to create art out of shapes as talked about in this post on the Artful Parent blog, and My Heart is Like a Zoo, which takes one shape and creates a kid-friendly menagerie from it.  Both of these books have appeal that goes beyond the preschoolers learning about the concepts.  These are the picture books I push on my art-oriented friends who don’t have kids.  It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you know.  They are delightful in a way that surpasses the usual categories.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the trailer for My Heart is Like a Zoo:

Author: Mindy R

I'm a librarian, writer, book reviewer, etc.

7 thoughts on “A Celebration of Design”

  1. I am an avid admirer of good design. Thanks for these examples, The alphabet looks wonderful, However Animalia by Graeme Base remains my favorite alphabet of all time.

  2. I’m going to have to check out the Mark Gonyea book, even though I am not hopeful about improving my graphic design sensibilities. I have no fashion sense, and my artistic abilities are nil. So maybe I should stick to words and let someone else do the designing.

  3. These are GREAT book recommendations! I’m always telling kidlit writers and other folks that having a great graphic designer on board for a picture book is just as important as having a great illustrator.

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