What is Graphic Design?

Most people see more examples of graphic design before they get to work than they see examples of arts in the year. Before they even fully awake, most people will see the numbers and letters on the faces of the alarm clocks, the colours, the shapes and lettering on tubes of toothpaste, the letters and symbols on taps and showers, the signs for ‘On’ and ‘Off’ on the kettle, coffee maker, the packaging on their tea or coffee, the stations idents on morning television and the prnt, photography and layout of the newspaper.

This is before they climb into cars (with front and rear badges and logos, and a dashboard full of tiny pictures, symbols and numbers) or onto buses and train that is full with advertisment around and inside. Yet it is often taken for granted, passing unnoticed and unremarked as it blends in with visual culture of everyday life.– Malcolm Barnard (2005)

Most people are familiar with advertising; they know it when they see it and they are more or less happy to be entertained, offended and persuaded by it. As William Dwiggings – whom Margolin credits with coining the phrase ‘graphic design’ (Margolin 1994:236) – pointed out in 1922, advertising design is the only form of graphic design that gets home to everybody’ (qouted in Jobling and Crowley 1996:6)


If you have similar interest as mine, here are the list of books that I recommended for you to read. Of course there are much more than this list but this will be a good start to search for the books if you don’t know where to begin.

Communication Design – FRASCARA, Jorge (2004)
The Design of Everyday Things – NORMAN, Donald A. (1998)
In The Bubble – Designing in a Complex World – THACKARA, John (2005)
An Introduction to Design and Culture from 1900 to the present – SPARKE, Penny. (2004)

Looking Closer – Critical Writing in Graphic Design – BIERUT, M., DRENTTEL, W.,
& HELLER, S. (2006)
Design Literacy, Understanding Graphic Design – HELLER, Steven. (2004)
No More Rules – PAYNOR, Rick. (2003)
Citizen Designer – Perspectives on design responsibility – edited by HELLER, S. and VIENNE, V. (2003)
What Is Graphic Design – NEWARK, Quentin (2002)

Imagine Communities – ANDERSON, Benedict (2006)
Massive Change – MAU, Bruce. (2004)
Authenticity – BOYLE, David (2003)
Orientalism – SAID, Edward. W (2003)
No Logo – KLEIN, Naomi. (2000)
Global Nature, Global Culture – FRANKLIN Sarah., LURY Celia., STACEY, J. (2000)
Ethics Future – The State of Identity Politics in Asia – Edited by GOMEZ, NANDY, SENANAYAKE, CZARNECKA. (1999)

How to Brand A Nation – OLINS, Wally (2005)
Brand America – The mother of all brands – ANHOLT ,Simon (2004)
Pro Logo- Brands as a factor of progress – CHEVALIER, M.MAZZALOVO, G. (2004)
Brand New Justice – ANHOLT, Simon (2003)
The Brand Gap – How to Bridge The Distance Between Business Strategy and Design – NEUMEIER, Marty (2003)
Brand New Justice – ANHOLT, Simon (2003)
Citizen Brand – GOBE, Marc (2002)
Emotional Branding – GOBE, Marc (2001)

Malaysia – A Pictorial History 1400-2004 – MOORE, Khadijah Wendy (2007)
Building Cultural Nationalism in Malaysia – Identity, Representation, and Citizenship – DANIEL, T.P. (2005)
Dilema Melayu – MOHAMAD, Mahathir (2003)
The Other Malaysia – NOOR, A. Farish (2002)
The Shaping of Malaysia – KAUR, A. & MATCALFE, I. (Eds.) (1999)
Malaysian Flavours – Insights Into Things Malaysian – LEE, S. K. (1996)
Lat ‘The Kampung Boy – ‘LAT’ M. N. K. (1995)

Design Research – DOWNTOWN, Peter (2003)
The Craft Of Research – BOOTH, W.C., COLOMB, G.G. & WILLIAMS, J.M (2003)