The third edition of Graphic Style by Seymour Chwast and me (Harry N. Abrams Inc.) has just been released. The subtitle, “From Victorian to New Century,” describes the various incarnations the book has had since the first edition “From Victorian to Postmodern” and the second edition “From Victorian to Digital.”
This edition surveys the first decade of the twenty-first century and finds that major styles are less important than individual attitudes. Under the rubric “New Century” are Neo-Modern (recalling the simplicity of Modernism), Ornamental (the revival of exquisite obsession), Information (the craze for data visualization), Street Art (speaks for itself), Hand Lettering (the upswing in D.I.Y.), Political (the resurgence of polemical design).
This edition may, in fact, mark the end of mass styles and the fragmentation of smaller and smaller ones. Or it may simply be a guidepost in how graphic style of today will be viewed twenty years hence. But one thing is certain, as a visual overview of style(s), it reveals what’s new at a particular time and place and what is old made new.
It can also be ordered here.